Chair's message to members - 18 March 2019
Dear Member or Supporter
If we wish No-deal off the agenda, we have to persuade voters no longer to want it. Perhaps our campaigning against the deal has increased support for this awful option. We should stop emphasising immediate harms - easily dismissed as Project Fear Mark IV - and focus on the harms to future relationships with both the EU and - having shown ourselves to be an unreliable partner - other countries.
“We will back a public vote in order to prevent a damaging Tory Brexit or a disastrous no deal outcome.
“We will also continue to push for the other available options to prevent those outcomes, including a close economic relationship based on our credible alternative plan or a general election.”
That is the People's Vote campaign's aim. But it is everyone else's too. Both Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn keep bringing their deal back after successive defeats claiming that theirs is the only way forward. Supporters of Norway/ Norway Plus claim theirs would be the compromise to which all would rally - but both Customs Union and Single Market membership have been rejected in the past. The ERG point out that theirs is the default even though it has been rejected twice. Last week Parliament yet again rejected a referendum this time because Labour abstained at the urging of the People's Vote campaign. So all ways forward have been rejected. None is standing.
A passive strategy of waiting until everything else has been rejected assumes that it will be our option that MPs pick up off the floor. But they might pick up any. We need to give a positive reason for choosing us.
No-one wants a referendum per se. It's just a process. We want the result that only a referendum can bring. Focussing on the People's Vote is as though the Spanish tourist board ran advertisements that said only "spend hours in the departure lounge at Gatwick!". Doesn't "A sunshine and culture holiday in Spain" sound more appealing?
We have to make the case by a positive message. So let's remind MPs, especially those who voted Remain and now do not back a referendum, why Remain is the right answer: sovereignty, freedom, national identity and peace.
What can we do to help
We need to give MPs the reasons to back Kyle Wilson:
one is good government:
- No-one takes a project from idea to implementation without a review of the project plan. No-one better to undertake that review than the same electorate as launched the process.
- No-one in 2016 was promoting any of the Brexits now on offer. The will of the people then cannot be found in the Brexits we have now.
- another is to make the case for Remain. Most MPs believe it - they need to be reminded of it so that they are willing to be brave enough to return the question to the electorate.
- The electorate would like Brexit to just go away. If we have the deal we'll have years of arguing about what Brexit means. Remain is the only way to make the question go away.
- We can appeal to Conservative loyalists and opponents of the ERG: a referendum condition would get the deal through by harnessing Labour and other opposition votes.
- more controversially, we could appeal to the ERG and Labour Leavers and call for no-deal to be on the ballot paper. Not only would it bring their votes in Parliament, but it would prevent Leave voters saying that the referendum does not count as their option was not on the ballot.
- a referendum would keep parties together. Tom Watson's Future Britain Group has held dozens of MPs in the Labour party. Will that work much longer without a referendum? The same is true for the Conservatives. It worked in 1975. It failed in 2016 because the result opened up the question. 2019 would close it down, whatever the result.
Of course there is a problem. Whatever we say to turn people on will turn some off. Well, let's be true to ourselves then and speak for what we believe in. Remain, and a fair referendum to obtain that.
This e-mail sets out the personal views of the author and does not necessarily reflect the views of London4Europe.