Before you read this post there are two things you need to know about me and I hope neither will but you off from reading further because they are both very important to me and entirely different.
I am desperate to Remain
I am desperate to see a Labour Government as soon as possible
Right, now that’s out of the way I can get down to the nitty gritty of this discussion.
I must have taken part in at least 100 Twitter polls that ask me if I would prefer a People’s Vote (PV) or General Election (GE) and my answer has always been an unequivocal PV. That does not mean that I don’t want a GE to get rid of the austerity-driven ideologues. In fact the opposite is true. I would love a GE and nothing I have read or seen over the last 8 years has changed my mind about the current (and previous depending on your definition) government but what sometimes gets forgotten in the political melee we find ourselves in. A PV is a binary (kind of) choice about our future place in the EU and a GE is about multiple, complex issues on a variety of different matters. Yes, Brexit is complicated but it is merely a series of jigsaw pieces that make up a corner of the whole puzzle.
A choice that someone makes when they vote at a GE is never, or very rarely, just on one issue and to suggest otherwise is disingenuous. To be honest I have been exasperated by Labour’s slow crawl towards a PV even though my rational mind understands the underlying basis for this. If a GE were called tomorrow I would undoubtedly vote for Labour regardless of it’s seemingly endless delaying of backing a PV. The Party represents my overall ideology of socialism and that is what will get my vote.
But I want a vote on Brexit because it is something that supersedes Party Politics which can be witnessed in the unending ramblings in Parliament. Tortes are at war with Tories. Labour members are at war with Labour members. UKIP are at war with everyone and I will never forget the Lib Dem betrayal during their years in coalition despite them backing my preferred stance on the EU.
When, and I sincerely hope that it is when, I get to vote on this issue I want to be voting based entirely on that. I find it offensive when Leavers say that the referendum result was confirmed in Theresa’s hastily called General Election in 2017. That was a vote on the entirety of a party’s policies. Admittedly this did include the issue of Brexit but in it’s entirety Labour secured my vote.
This is by no means a Party Political Broadcast for the Labour Party. I am just using my voting record and intentions to illustrate the point that a PV is what I think we need.
Seldom do political parties expect to remain in power and make plans beyond their term of office (I know the Fixed-Term Parliament Act altered things slightly), but we know that if a particular party does not fulfil their promises then they can (and in theory) should be booted out in 5 years time. If we leave the EU then the repercussions will be felt for decades which is way beyond the lifetime of any government or particular direction of those holding the powers given to them by the population.
The clock has almost wound down on this whole Brexit malarkey so the priority is a PV unless we get a long extension to Article 50. Then, with some breathing room, we could have a GE followed by a PV but perhaps that’s just hoping for too much. Soon it will be too late to do anything more about Brexit so let’s fix this mess first and then move on to the other mess straight afterwards.
I suppose a Brexit is not just for Christmas (to bastardise a phrase) but a GE is. and That is why I want a PV on this issue that is entirely separate from the overarching dimensions of a General Election.
After all if the Brexit issue were not so significant then it would have just been part of all the other manifesto pledges made during the run up to a General Election. It wasn’t and therefore it deserves the same treatment now.