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Hit the Road

I’m getting up early next Saturday to catch the train down to London for the March for a People’s Vote, with my UK/EU-born son. We need to shout louder than Johnson, Davis, Rees-Mogg, Farage and all the prominent Brexiters. Time is running out.

It would be so much easier if everyone came to their senses and recognised the fundamental illegitimacy of the 2016 referendum, thanks to covert Russian interference, Cambridge Analytica, the exclusion of many affected people from the vote, and the lack of either a compulsory vote or a higher bar (say, two-thirds) for what was effectively a constitutional referendum, without which it was always likely that a supposed “mandate for change” would represent less than half the electorate. But there’s no sign of that; instead, Theresa May is calling the entire basis of parliamentary democracy into question. Meanwhile, Europe is getting on with other, more pressing matters.

I’m not sanguine about the chances of overturning Brexit in another referendum; that will be just as hard a battle, bitterly fought. But we need at least to try. The prospect of a dystopian No Deal future grows more real and daunting by the day, and none of the possible deals offer much comfort either.

Renowned forward-planner Boris Johnson has dismissed concerns over customs disruption as “pure millennium bug stuff”. I swear that the Millennium Bug has become this century’s equivalent of the story of King Canute, with people drawing entirely the wrong lessons from it. The disaster scenarios didn’t happen because IT departments and managers spent years preparing for it to make sure they didn’t.

Where’s our No Deal preparation? The eminent domain purchases in Kent for giant lorry parks? The massive recruitment into the civil service to replace the shared EU resources we’re about to lose? The government IT departments and managers spending years preparing for it?

Who needs Y2K to stop planes flying when you can do it through political incompetence?

18 June 2018 · Politics


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