A Christmas message from Bristol’s Green MEP, Molly Scott Cato, on where we are on Brexit and how, as we head into 2019, a People’s Vote offers a way out of our political crisis.
We end the year in a completely different place to where we started it. At the beginning of 2018, a People’s Vote was little more than an idea; now it seems like the only realistic way out of the impasse. Again, at the beginning of the year, the Tories were deeply divided over Brexit; a party at war with itself and lacking trust in its leader. But now… oh well, some things never change!
Indeed, so bitter has the infighting become, that the Brextremists plotted a coup. But the failed attempt to ditch Theresa May, looks like the final desperate throw of the dice by those who want to throw the country off the hard Brexit cliff face. This was really a vote of no confidence in a failed project, based on lies and won by cheating.
Not only has Theresa May shown contempt for parliament by cancelling the meaningful vote on her deal, she has, as expected, failed to persuade European leaders to renegotiate the deal. Her theatrics are little more than a delaying tactic, with the vote on the deal now kicked down the road to mid-January. When we all know it will fail to gain enough support to pass.
Which leaves us in stalemate. The Brextremists’ dangerous fantasy Brexit is dead; Theresa May’s deal won’t get enough support and No Deal is simply not an option.
As to Labour’s alternative of a general election and reopening negotiations, this is self-serving pie in the sky. Nine in ten Labour members support the idea of a People’s Vote, but the Labour leadership’s strategy is effectively blocking this.
Corbyn’s failure to table a vote of no confidence in the government – opting instead for his own delay theatrics of a vote of confidence in Theresa May – is obstructing the route to a People’s Vote. Labour would inevitably lose this vote but that would then open up the only realistic alternative – handing the decision back to the people.
Greens were the first Party to call for a public vote at the end of the Brexit negotiations. Right the way through 2017 we called for a vote on the final deal, or ‘ratification referendum’. This year the People’s Vote campaign took up the baton and ran with it.
By October, the idea was so popular it drew 700,000 people to the streets of London, in the biggest demo in the capital since the Iraq war. The idea has now established strong cross-party support, including from many Labour MPs and a growing number of Tory MPs. It has the full backing of Greens, Lib Dems, the SNP and Plaid Cymru.
A People’s Vote offers the easiest, fastest and fairest way out of this shambles. This time the referendum will be based on the facts and the reality of Brexit: a clear choice between the prime minister’s deal – the only deal on offer – or remaining in the EU.
I have been immensely proud of the way Green MP Caroline Lucas has become the figurehead for the People’s Vote, with the campaign choosing her to champion the idea on TV debates and panel shows. There has been an avalanche of positive comments about these appearances. It has been said that she is the only adult in the room in such debates.
The momentum now seems unstoppable. We can exit from Brexit in 2019. We can achieve the best possible deal with the EU – which is our current deal as fully-fledged members. The EU have repeatedly said the door remains open if we want to change our minds.
So I believe we can look forward to the New Year with great hope. We can put this disastrous chapter in our country’s history behind us by giving control back to the people. I have every confidence – given the facts and the reality of what Brexit actually means – that people will choose to remain in the EU.“
Molly Scott CatoFind out more about her work at www.mollymep.org.uk