A challenge

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A few months ago, MP Sam Gyimah posted a short piece on Medium arguing for a second referendum. Yet the article, while it waxed lyrical about the disaster of Brexit and the calamity of No Deal, was very thin on the ground on facts and figures. I posted a reply, which surprisingly garnered a few claps (or whatever they are on there), asking him to elaborate and back up his assertions with some cold, hard facts.

He didn’t.

Even when the likes of Mark Carney and Philip Hammond and various people at the CBI keep peddling the same old warnings, the substance still feels very thin on the ground (which it really shouldn’t for these people). Now, I know I’ve gone on at length about the fact that Brexit is a choice made by our subconscious minds and we don’t always know precisely why we believe these things to be true for us, but people like the head of the Bank of England and the Chancellor of the exchequer, should really be able to back up these nebulous assertions with some kind of evidence.

Indeed, I think that if they did and they were presented in a straightforward, no-nonsense way, most sensible people would go, ‘Oh dear, we made a mistake, look at those terrible facts and figures, what were we thinking?’ And yet nothing is generally forthcoming, and so far the rather thin offerings of doom and dispair amount to little more than speculation and opinion.

So, here’s a challenge to everyone who wants to discuss Brexit, both Leavers and Remainers. When you get into a debate about it, or express an opinion, try to at least offer some kind of rational, evidence based argument. I would be more than happy to be wrong, if the evidence was presented to me. Yet, I’ve just not seen it.

Perhaps those clever boffins in London keep it all hidden away; no point showing to the ignorant masses, they wouldn’t understand it. Try us! We’re not as daft as you think.

What’s next?

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Nigel Farage writes in the Telegraph today that he believes people no longer identify as left-wing or right-wing, but rather as Remainers or Leavers.

It’s an interesting stance to take, but I’m not convinced it holds much water. In the short term it does; all the time there is the chance Brexit could be stopped, conservatives (small c) that wish to keep things just as they are, will do all they can to preserve the status quo.

Mr Farage identifies these people as un-democratic, and focuses his party on ‘restoring democracy’. Obviously, this is a populist stance. It’s easy to paint the government as patently anti-Brexit, particularly with its pervading liberal authoritarian viewpoint. But Brexit is convoluted and complex. Most of the current MPs voted for Article 50; they all agreed we should leave. Since then though, they’ve become hopelessly divided over exactly how to leave. Simply reducing it down to ‘we haven’t left yet, democracy is broken’ might be a little bit disingenuous. Yes, the likes of Letwin, Cooper, etc. have tried to take control of the situation to ‘stop the process’, but they could only do that because of the division about the way forward and lack of leadership from number 10, not necessarily because the system was broken. Indeed some people went along with them as they saw it as a way to break the deadlock, particularly with the indicative votes.

This disparity of consensus is also showing up in the leadership race. Each of the 5 million candidates has a slightly different take on how to do the Brexit thing, from Hard-No-Deal Raab through to Second-Referendum Gyimah.

The thing is, ‘we haven’t left yet, democracy is broken,’ is a nice simple concept for people to wrap their heads around. It’s also emotive. It ticks all the right boxes to get the old brain chemicals firing and stir up a bit of conflict in the old grey matter.

But what happens once Brexit actually happens (and it should do, most MPs agree with that)? We’ll move on, some people will be disgruntled, others vaguely happy something got done, but maybe not so happy with the eventual compromises I think we’ll have to make (even No Deal is a sort of compromise). What does a Leaver or a Brexiteer stand for once we’ve left? These are the messages that the Brexit Party need to focus on, I think. Some of the conservative leadership candidates have cottoned on to this, like Boris with his UBI-lite school funding.

It’s about time the Brexit Party started defining more of what they would stand for post-Brexit, and show how they will unite the likes of Fox and the Widdecombe. There is plenty to talk about, I’d just like to hear it.