After a second devastating defeat of Theresa May’s deal, the question on everyone’s mind is: where next? The answer? British politics is now stepping into the unknown, and into the extreme.
May set out a plan of three important votes this week; on her deal, on No Deal, and on extending Article 50. Although there are murmurs that May will look for a third meaningful vote on her deal, it looks more likely that the decision on Brexit will now be a choice of two: No Deal or Remain.
You might ask: why isn’t an extension of Article 50 on the cards? The EU have stated that there needs to be a suitable reason for extending and all EU27 nations will need to agree on an extension. From the way things have gone so far (May unwilling to budge and substantially change her deal), this is highly unlikely.
What is most concerning is how the next two votes will affect our direction. We’ve previously seen that there is no majority in Parliament for a No Deal Brexit – there are potentially 40 Conservative MPs who are against the idea. Alongside this, we’ve seen the devastating reports concerning what a No Deal Brexit would look like. Quite frankly, a No Deal Brexit is a kamikaze move – MPs would never be forgiven.
However, knowing the state of British politics, knowing the predictions that we would remain in the EU in June 2016, there’s always a small concern that a No Deal will be pushed through. If so, Britain will be plunged into a time of uncertainty, anger and extended division.
However, let’s say a No Deal Brexit is rejected. We move on to the next and, some might say, most crucial vote of all three – the vote to extend Article 50.
What if MPs vote for an extension? Well, as previously stated, the EU27 nations would have to really consider this in detail. What benefit does it have to them? Would they allow it if Theresa May shifted her red lines? Would they accept it if there is a proposed referendum? There are so many options on the table, and so much uncertainty around both the Conservatives’ and Labour’s motives that it’s why I believe we are being led into a black hole. No one has shown their true colours; the video of May pre-referendum on the benefits of staying in the EU has recently resurfaced, so there’s little trust on what her exact motives are. On the other side, Corbyn has shied away from last week’s declaration that Labour would support a second referendum.
Should MPs vote against an extension the country would be left in limbo. All options have been rejected and could this signal a turn towards revoking Article 50. In the event of revoking Article 50, this, again, would leave many across the country devastated and angered.
So what’s the solution?
I have concerns that a second referendum might be pushed through. Whilst this might give us more time to discuss the issues at hand, it just extends the process. Brexit has gone on for far too long now, destroying the everyday politics we usually see and splintering our parties and our population into tribal groupings. We cannot rewrite the June 2016 referendum. But whilst a second referendum might not do this with the type of question presented, a second referendum might reignite the toxicity of the Murdoch media empire and the lies which were spread through Vote Leave. This cannot go ahead. We might have more facts, more clarity since June 2016. But we’ve also had more fake news since June 2016. To take Brexit down this dangerous road a second time would be a national travesty.
Would you rather the UK was led down a path of lies, creating further divisions through fake news, or would you, perhaps, rather tackle the concerning, pressing issues which need resolving as soon as possible?
Instead, revoking Article 50 would be ideal. We know that any sort of Brexit will leave us worse off, and we know that the negotiation process has been a calamity.
Now is the time to graciously admit that the entire process, from David Cameron’s announcement of a referendum, has been completely mishandled. We are now so connected as a world that isolation cannot be completed simply – something which other EU countries with tendencies to leave the bloc now need to consider.
Now is not the time to leave the EU. Let’s listen to the population’s concerns and tackle them together as a nation and as a united Europe.