LETTER: Absolute rubbish!

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In last week’s letters [May 26] Raymond Cade states that any notion of holding a second Brexit referendum would ‘shatter confidence in our democratic process and challenge the rule of law that underpins it’.

What absolute rubbish!

One of the tenets of democracy is freedom of expression and debate, which might even lead to people changing their minds on major issues (after all, Theresa May does that regularly).

Like many other hard Brexiteers, Mr Cade is trying to close down any consideration of what our country might look like after Brexit. (Other examples of attempts to stifle debate include ‘Brexit means Brexit’ and ‘the people have spoken, and that’s it’.)

Anyone who even dares to suggest that it might be necessary to reconsider the decision in the light of more facts is branded a ‘saboteur’ or ‘enemy of the people’. When the decision of principle to leave the European Union was taken last year by a small majority of those who bothered to vote, there were no facts on what kind of future we might be moving towards, just propaganda from both sides of the debate. By the end of 2018 I hope that we will be in a position to know the basic terms of any trade agreement that the government has negotiated with the EU, or indeed whether no agreement has been, or is likely to be, reached. We should also know more about the prospects for making new trade agreements with other parts of the world. (Liam Fox where are you? We don’t hear anything from you these days.)

On the 8 June our parliamentary democracy is giving us the opportunity to vote on whether we wish to continue with the existing government, elected only two years ago, or elect a different one. Given that the impact of the Brexit decision is likely to have a much more significant and long-term impact than a change of government, is it not right that we should have the final say on the future that we are heading into, based on fact rather than propaganda? It seems to me that as well as giving us the opportunity to vote on whatever deal (or no deal) has been agreed, a second referendum should also include (heaven forfend!) the option to stay in the EU on the existing basis.

The reason why hard Brexiteers like Mr Cade constantly close down debate is that they are terrified that when more facts are available, people might actually decide to stay where we are. Although I’m obviously a so-called ‘Remoaner’, I’m well aware of the many and various deficiencies in the structures and practices of the EU. I just feel that the best interests of our country will be served by working closely with our European friends and colleagues to improve EU procedures and policies so as to achieve the best outcome for all European citizens.

Tony Sims

Western Road, Lewes