The reality of Brexit is now sinking in fast. It can’t be delivered. That’s why we need another vote.
Government ministers promised that Brexit will give us “the exact same benefits” as we have today.
That’s impossible. That’s why we need another vote.
Last year Brexit Secretary, David Davis, promised a trade and customs agreement with the EU “that will deliver the exact same benefits as we have.”
Prime Minister, Theresa May, also said that Brexit can have “the same benefits” as we have now for free trade with the EU.
Also promised by the government:
no hard border on the island of Ireland or across the UK;
an agreement with the EU that’s fully negotiated by March next year;
no payment for access to the EU market;
a complete end to EU rules and regulations;
converting around 40 EU trade agreements with 65 countries into UK bespoke deals “one second after midnight” on 30 March 2019.
Promises, promises, promises.
And the truth? These promises cannot be delivered.
In a business, if a company reneges on its promises, the customer can cancel the deal and claim compensation.
In a democracy, when a government reneges on its promises, the people – us – should be able to give its verdict. In a vote.
The people’s vote.
Because the promises of Brexit can’t be delivered.
The government knows this. They are desperate for the UK to continue to enjoy EU membership benefits of frictionless trade after Brexit, because they know that our economy’s survival depends on it.
But the government is pretending to us that we can continue to enjoy these membership benefits as an ex-member:
without being part of the EU Single Market or customs union;
without agreeing to the rules of the EU and its market;
without being subject to the European Court of Justice to oversee those rules;
and without paying anything to the EU for access.
It’s not going to happen. Mrs May knows this.
Before the referendum, she prominently stated:
“It is not clear why other EU member states would give Britain a better deal than they themselves enjoy.”
Yet that’s exactly what Mrs May now wants. She says she aims to achieve a new agreement with the European Union that’s unique to us, that no other country in the world has ever achieved.
Of course, it’s not going to happen.
What’s the point of a club if you are going to allow non-members to enjoy the same or better benefits as members? What club allows that?
So, here’s the bottom line:
Britain needs frictionless trade with the EU.
We need free movement of goods, services, capital and people for our country not just to survive, but to thrive.
We need to continue with the status quo: the arrangement we have now.
Has this sunk in yet?
We’re leaving all the benefits of the EU, only for our government to desperately try and get back as many of those benefits as we can after we’ve left, but on considerably inferior terms.
This is complete and utter madness. The government cannot offer us anything better than we have now; only something worse.
That being the case, it will be wiser to keep the current arrangement: to stay in the EU. It will be cheaper, and we will all be better off.
That’s why we need another vote.
As an EU member:
we have a say and votes in the running, rules and future direction of our continent;
we have full and free access to the world’s largest free marketplace;
we enjoy the right to live, work, study or retire across a huge expanse of our continent;
we enjoy state healthcare and education when living and working in any other EU country;
we enjoy free or low-cost health care when visiting any EU nation;
we are protected by continent-wide rights that protect us at work, when shopping and travelling;
we benefit from laws that protect our environment (and have, for example, directly resulted in Britain’s beaches being cleaned up);
we enjoy excellent EU trade agreements with around 60 countries, with more on the way, on advantageous terms that Britain is unlikely ever to replicate.
And what are we gaining from Brexit? Surely something?
No. All the reasons given to leave in the referendum were based on false promises that cannot be delivered.
More sovereignty? Nonsense. We’ll get less.
In the EU, we gain a share of sovereignty of our continent. Outside the EU, we’ll still live on a planet and have to obey thousands of international laws and treaties.
We share sovereignty with NATO, for example. Is that a reason to leave it?
Outside the EU, we will only be able to look on as decisions about Europe are made without us, even though those decisions will affect us just as much, whether we’re a member or not.
Fewer migrants? Really? Just think about it.
Most EU migrants in Britain are in gainful employment, doing jobs that we simply don’t have enough Britons to do. So if they all left, we’d have to replace them with about the same numbers of migrants as we have now to get all those jobs done. What’s the point of that?
More houses, schools and hospitals? Think again.
Without EU migrants we’ll have fewer builders, teachers, doctors and nurses. Migrants are not the cause of our problems. Blaming them just excuses successive UK governments from investing sufficiently in our country.
Get our country back? We never lost it.
If being in the EU means losing your country, why aren’t the 27 other EU member states complaining?
With Brexit, we won’t be getting our country back. But we will be losing a leading place and role on our continent.
Our own laws? The vast majority of laws in the UK are our laws and passed by our Parliament in Westminster.
But in the EU, we benefit from laws for our continent that no single European country alone could ever achieve. Could our UK government have got mobile phone companies to scrap mobile roaming charges across the entire EU? Of course not.
It took the might of 28 EU countries working together to achieve that, and so much more.
More trade for the UK as an ex-member? Another false promise.
The EU is the world’s largest free trade area. As a member, we receive huge benefits worth billions more to Britain than the net annual membership fee of £7.1 billion a year.
As a member, we enjoy free, frictionless trade with our biggest trading partner by far, right on our doorstep, where almost 50% of our exports go to and over 50% of our imports come from.
Nowhere else in the world comes close to that. Nowhere in the world can replace that.
The bottom line? Brexit cannot be delivered as promised. The Brexit people voted for on 23 June 2016 was a mirage. It does not exist. It cannot happen.
That’s why we need another vote. To give our new verdict, not on the fake Brexit that was sold to the nation in the referendum, but on the real and entirely different Brexit that the government now wants to impose on us.
The ‘people’s vote’ on the final Brexit deal? Bring it on.
∗Jon Danzig is an award winning medical journalist and formerly an investigative journalist at the BBC. He specialises in health, human rights and the European Union.