Dear Partners in thought,
Following the signing of the current deal with the EU, I noticed Ms. May’s soon to be tour of the four nations of Britain which seems a bit odd as surely she knows it is the Parliament that must vote on the deal (I am being facetious) and not the nation. If wanting to get the support directly from the people, one could wonder (as some reader in the FT today rightly did) why she does not go for a second referendum with three questions (current deal , no deal and…yes remaining). If I were an MP I would not be too pleased to see my PM trying to exert pressure on my vote in that way. It is all the more odd as only between 15% and 22% of Britons support her now signed deal (with more preferring the No Deal route, terrifyingly) while Ms. May is getting more popular due to her doggedness and resiliency as she pushes a lost cause deal, showing perhaps the national admiration for the very rooted British trait of standing tough against all adversity.
I was reading Gideon Rachman’s op-ed in the FT today where as a sensible Remainer at heart he finally express his support for the current deal which, if not good for sure, is the best one could get. I seem to remember he was at some point talking about a second referendum but now feels that it could bring “partisan bitterness and civil war”, something I hear from other reasonable people. I think that while a second referendum would clearly upset some, it is still the best outcome of all as it gives back the voice to all voters who can at last choose in a more educated way for some, likely post-Parliamentary rejection, between a “No Deal” and “Remain” based on facts and not promises. Also fearing partisan bitterness and even civil war as the extreme Brexiteers and populist activists usually speak louder and could be more violent than the Remainers, thus more prone to a civil war “of sorts” (even if I feel the latter way overstated) is not really an argument, also as after all leaving in a no deal manner could be an option and stick to vox populi “today”. Democracy would be respected and people could choose “today”. I humbly think the British people should not surrender principles and what is best for them just because it might be an easier and less painful path societally. This is not British history, fortunately for many of us in Europe.
Serge- Nov 27, 2018 (Prague)