Brexit Referendum really was advisory says A C Grayling

(Jane Williamson) #1

Professor AC Grayling accuses MPs (with a few honourable exceptions) of failing to offer any form of justification for taking the UK onto the damaging Brexit path. He points out that Briefing Paper 07212 of 3 June 2015 told MPs that the EU referendum was advisory only, non-binding on Parliament and government. The then Minister for Europe, David Lidington, stressed this in the parliamentary debate on the referendum Bill later that month, in alleging why there was no need for a super-majority requirement in the referendum. In the campaigns before referendum day, the public was offered no plan or costings or analysis of consequences by the Leave campaign. If MPs cannot answer his accusations, Professor Grayling calls for them to stop Brexit.
Also this morning on the Today programme Nick Clegg accuses the government of failing to take into account any of the wishes of the 48% of the electorate who voted Remain.
It seems to me that the Europhobes have taken a leaf out of the White House!

(Paul Flinders) #2

Yes technically the vote was advisory but it became impossible to ignore politically. Especially following David Cameron’s “if we vote leave I trigger Article 50 on June 24” claim.

Perhaps if it had been made clear that it was an advisory vote which would result in consultation, a considered plan on how to follow it through etc. we would not be in the mess in which we currently find ourselves.

But Cameron’s promise effectively made it binding and we have now formally stated our desire to leave the Union we are rather stuck with it. I understand that the view is that the Article 50 notification is revocable but I’m really not clear how the EU would take such a step.

I can’t see any political will to reverse Brexit - even Labour won’t go that far to avoid alienating the leavers.

(Jane Williamson) #3

Perhaps I am wrong, but I thought that politicians had to work within the law.

(Paul Flinders) #4

Yes but it is not against the law for a politician to mislead (within limits) or not deliver on a promise. If it were we’d have to lock up the whole of parliament.

However I’m not quite sure where you are trying to go with your comment, perhaps you could expand?

(Tony PERLA) #5

A referendum is “strong stuff”. After all, it is the direct manifestation of the will of the people.

Rather, politicians must learn how to ask the right question, which most certainly did not happen.

And is why the PM who put the question to vote is in deep, deep hiding nowadays . . . ?

(Jane Williamson) #6

If this had been an election it would hhave been binding.
How many Prime Minister’s promises have nit been kept?
This government has just been found guilty of acting illegally against victims of torture and the recent findings on ethnicity are all shouting that ethnic minorities are not doing well in jobs, education, housing etc.
Very little seems to be said that it is white working class children that are failing the most in education.

(Paul Flinders) #7

However it was not an election - different beast, different rules.

It would possibly be easier to count (but harder to find) instances where promises have been kept unmodified. This isn’t always the politician’s fault of course as situations do change but on the whole it is very apparent that a wise man does not set too much by a politician’s promises - especially when they are trying to get elected.

Yes, the government has recently been found to have acted illegally in detaining asylum seekers where ther was evidence of torture - not sure how that relates to Brexit. Do you want to live in a country which ignores human rights?

As for your comments about education - they are rather rascist I am afraid - those ethnic minorities will be people who have the right of abode and the right to have their children educated in the UK. It is almost self-evidently true that if you are a member of a marginalised group access to education, healthcare, representation etc is harder. It is the mark of a civilised, mature and equal society that we wish to do something about it.

Just consider - we see almost every day on this Forum how members struggle with French bureaucracy when faced with linguistic and cultural barriers.

As for “not helping the white working class who are struggling in education” - what do you think is the practical result of improvements to education are. Even the Tories recognise that we need to improve schools and that benefits everyone (that said they could do with loosening the purse strings a bit).

The big problem with this group - the disaffected British benefit classes with low education is that there is little for them to do whatever level of education they achieve - that is entirely down to the UK government though (of both colours) and nothing to do with the EU

(Jane Williamson) #8

David Cameron also promised to restore voting rights to those who had been living within the EU for more than fifteen years. This would have significantly affected the outcome of the Referendum, we are awaiting the result of a court case with regard to this.
I find it strange that you can say my comments are racist when it is a majority of one class that seems to be underachieving and yet very little is being said of that.

(Paul Flinders) #9

Well, complaining that “ethnic minorities” are getting, or being identified as needing, extra help while “the white working class are being ignored” is a little suspicious.

As it happens I agree that there is a problem – where I disagree is that “no-on is talking about it”, if you look there is quite an awareness of this as an issue and there has been for a long time.

The problem is that you get families where no-one has worked in 2, 3 or more generations locked into a cycle of low expectations and low achievement. Parents do not see the value of school because their parents did not and are perhaps even frightened that an educated child will reject them. The result is no engagement by parents in their children’s education and the cycle repeats. Couple that with low levels of opportunity because what manufacturing is left in the UK is not as labour intensive as it once was; the pits, foundries and ship yards are a shadow of their former selves and not even the army can make use of swathes of young men with little in the way of education and you have a BIG problem.

This group, certainly the older generation, was conned by the Leave campaign into thinking that the fact they have no prospects was down to EU migration when it is down to poor social policies by successive UK governments.