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My first trip to Milan
09 Nov, 2018

It should have been my second

London4Europe Committee Member Michael Romberg considers what his holiday planning tells us about the case for a referendum on the terms

I finished my Italian holiday with a few days in Milan. It was my first trip there.

Milan is not like an Italian city of the imagination (Sienna, Genoa, Florence). Milan is too modern, C19th, C20th, business-like, hectic, European for that (my hotel did not have a bible in the room, but a copy of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UN 1948)) – though Milan is all those things in a particularly Italian way; European does not mean homogeneous.

A few years earlier…

It should have been my second visit there because a few years ago l had decided to go to Milan on a citybreak.

At this point, Leave campaigners will be reading with incomprehension. How come, if l had once decided something, did l not go through with it? How could my decision to go to Milan not have been binding?

What happened was that l looked at flights and hotels for the time of my annual leave and they were too expensive. So l went somewhere cheaper instead.

Leave voters would tell me that the costs did not matter. “Go to Milan” had been a decision. I was absolutely bound by that decision. My choices were only how to arrange the trip: stay in a decent hotel and bust my budget or keep within spending plans and stay in a dive.

Fortunately l know that if you make a decision without a plan, without knowing all the costs, benefits, opportunities and risks, then that decision is only provisional until you do have a proper plan.

The Case for the Referendum on the Terms

That is the whole intellectual case for the referendum on the terms with the option to Remain. In 2016 Leave had no plan. The resultant Brexit mandate is valid - but provisional until there is a plan. Then we can decide what to do: go with the plan, or ditch the project and Remain in the EU.

I’ll vote Remain for easy travel to places that are close by, safe and have a quite different feel to home.



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