Regular readers know I have largely steered clear of discussing Brexit for the three years its possibility then prospect has dominated the UK political agenda. I used to be enthusiastically pro-EU, as part of my general outlook of supporting international law and organisations. I was however shocked, deeply, by the enthusiastic support of all three institutional strands – council, commission and parliament – for the appalling Francoist paramilitary violence in Catalonia, and decided that the EU is no longer an institution I can support.
The increasingly illiberal developments of the EU’s Third Pillar – including the abuse of arrest warrant procedure against Julian Assange and the internationalising of “Prevent” style Islamophobia – had already increasingly been worrying me. My reservations about the EU are therefore different to those of many. I particularly bemoan the loss of Freedom of Movement which I believe to have been one of the greatest achievements of civilisation in my lifetime. I remain incensed at the success of the elite in conning the deprived that their poverty is caused by immigrants, whereas it is caused by massive inequality of wealth.
So I am conflicted on Brexit, but on balance would prefer to leave but stay part of the single market, thus retaining freedom of movement. My personal preferences aside, there is plainly a huge majority against leaving the EU in Scotland, so for Scotland to leave the EU at all at present would be wrong. It is my profound hope that the SNP will find the courage shortly to move on towards Independence.
Having a nuanced view on Brexit is not in the least fashionable at the moment, when the media are whipping up a climate of extreme division. It is very plain that Tony Blair and the Blairites see Brexit, and the growing stock of the People’s Vote campaign, as a rehabilitation opportunity for discredited war criminals – war criminals who have to date avoided punishment. That the Blairites succeed in smuggling themselves back into political power via the People’s Vote campaign is the biggest danger in the entire process.
Tony Blair yesterday made a speech on the People’s Vote platform at the Royal Academy, widely reported. Who exactly is running the People’s Vote and why are they giving a platform to Tony Blair? Three days ago it was Margaret Beckett representing the People’s Vote, and on Newsnight last week Peter Mandelson. It is like plunging into a recurring nightmare. Today we have a completely deranged – even by Nick Cohen’s standards – attack on Jeremy Corbyn in the Guardian/Observer, on this issue. And on Marr we had the deeply odious Chuka Umunna.
The major reason that Remain lost the referendum campaign in England and Wales is that the Remain campaign was fronted by the most detested and discredited politicians in the UK: Blair, Brown, Cameron, Clegg, Mandelson, Osborne, and Kinnock and Straw jr. There is nothing these people could propose which would not be rejected out of hand by huge numbers, just at the sight of them.
The question arises, who are “the People’s Vote” and who agreed that Tony Blair speaks for them? My strong belief is that a large majority of the 700,000 who marched through London would regard Blair as a war criminal and be horrified. Plainly, the People’s Vote does not in any sense belong to the People as a campaign but is being controlled by the New Labour war criminal elite, who see it as a chance to redeem their loss of political power.
My disinterested advice to Remain supporters, if they wish to win a second referendum, is for “the People” to wrest control of “the People’s Vote” from the self-appointed war criminal friendly clique currently running it, to ditch the war criminals and to lead with Caroline Lucas. If the People’s Vote is really – as it seems to be – the Blair Bandwagon, it will crash into the buffers of entirely well-merited public distrust.
England and Wales voted for Brexit 53.3% to 46.7%. I do wish Sturgeon would accept – as every genuine believer in Scottish Independence should accept – that the vote in England and Wales is no business of us here in Scotland, and leave the English and Welsh to it. Sturgeon should be working for nothing else but Scottish Independence, which is the way to honour Scotland’s clear vote to Remain.