Friday, 1 July 2016

Brexit catastrophe - what next, and what to fight for?

Day seven in the Big Brexit shitstorm. I'm still furious, and sad. But I'm trying to think about what next.

On the question of if we will ever leave the EU, or if there should be another referendum, I don't want to say too much, except that since the referendum campaign was largely based on lies, since two of the four constituent areas of the UK voted against it, and given the narrowness of the margin, there is no mandate for the Leave campaign to do whatever wants.

Remainers also have every right to keep campaigning to change the minds of those who wished to Leave, and therefore stay in. That is what the Leave campaign have done for 40 years, since they lost the last referendum.

There is also a very strong argument for a new General Election before proper negotiations begin, within 6 months. 

But if we assume that something is happening, and that there will be some form of Brexit, what should we do? What should we work for?

I have thought about this, and while I am by no means an expert on all of this, I have some ideas:

1. We need to gain assurances that EU citizens currently in the UK will be allowed to stay indefinitely. 

2. We should seek for the UK to remain part of the European Economic Area (Common Market - and ability to work anywhere). There is no mandate to withdraw, given the narrowness of the result and the plethora of reasons people may have voted out.

2. We need to stand together to combat racism and xenophobia unleashed by the referendum. We must call on all Parties to do the same.

3. We need voting reform. People vote when their vote counts. We need to move to PR.

4. We need regional devolution. Many of those areas which voted to leave feel left behind. Proper devolution. particularly in English regions would help, and might address the huge London bias in the country. For cities like London and Bristol their vote to stay should be recognised, and an accommodation reached to allow them to remain open, connected, European cities.

4. We need a Green New Deal to help tackle economic inequality. Mark Carney has already indicated a need for more quantitative easing. It should be Green, and channeled into renewable energy, insulating homes, new sustainable housing, public transport and research and development.

5. We should use the opportunity of exiting the CAP to reform the UK's agricultural policy to work for wildlife and nature, as well as people.

6. We must fight to defend hard won rights that have flowed from the EU - parental pay, workers' right, the Habitats and Birds Directive which protects the countryside and wildlife.

7. We must continue close integration of scientific research and funding. The UK is a world leader in science and research, and has developed as part of the EU. That must not be put at risk.

This is obviously by no means exhaustive, but its a start. But we will need to be motivated. In order to protect those things that are important, and to build a movement necessary to achieve them, we will need to be much more politically active than previously. Joining Parties, supporting NGOs and standing up for each others rights.

So what to do right now? 

Write to your MP expressing your concerns, and demanding that the UK stay in the EEA or whichever of these you agree with. Make the case that the Leave campaign has no blank cheque.

Take part in the rallies that reflect whatever aspects you agree with.

Join/support campaign groups like Friends of the Earth (declaration, I work for them, although they have nowt to do with this blog or action) or Hope Not Hate.

Write to your crime commissioner urging them to tackle racism and xenophobia.

Set something up! Think of an idea to advance one or more of your goals, find some people to help and go with it. Every campaigner knows that a lot of what you try won't get off the ground, but it doesn't need to. Some ideas will, and that's enough.

1 comment:

  1. Hey man, great blog. As an 18yo I feel very determined to push my future and that of my generation in a positive direction. I have been writing to my MP, House of Lords, European parliament etc for the past week asking them not to invoke article 50/listen to the 48% who want to stay, as well as keeping informed on what's going on and going to the protest on Tuesday in Bristol. I feel that the best way to go is to continue writing to MPs etc as well as having regular (ie weekly) protests to show that Bristol and the surrounding area will not give up and to make our voices heard. Let's keep pushing forward!