Theresa May’s call for a general election on 8th June is a game-changer. The pundits predict a land-slide victory for her and her party, partly because of the disarray in Labour. This seems a premature judgement. Much can change in the next 6 weeks. But it is a sufficient motive for Future of our Children to post this new introduction on its website.
The big issue for the election will be where the 16 million people who voted to stay in the European Union – as well as the many others who are becoming increasingly sceptical about the outcome of the Brexit process – will place their votes. These are people who simply don’t want a Brexit, hard or soft. So far, apart from the Liberals, the SNP and the Greens, no major party is yet speaking up for them. It looks as though both Conservatives and Labour will campaign for Brexit. However, until their manifestos come out, we won’t know their views on what form of Brexit they are seeking and how much freedom their candidates will have to commit themselves to supporting Britain staying as a member of the European Union.
It seems incredible that anyone who looks at May’s record over the past 9 months should vote in support of her remaining Prime Minister. She claims to be responding to “the will of the people”, but, by going for a super-hard Brexit, she is steering Britain into an economic slump and lower influence in the world, which few outside UKIP have called for. One gets the impression that she knows full well that her strategy is bad for Britain but that she lacks the courage to admit it. Instead, she confronts us with “post-truth” contradictions, including blatant U-turns on her own stated beliefs about staying in Europe and the Single Market, as well as on her call for a “snap” election. It’s not a record that can earn much trust amongst either us or among those with whom she must negotiate.
The contradictions between the goals of the leave campaign and May’s actions are astounding.
The “leave” campaign called incessantly for Britain to reclaim its sovereignty, but May has deliberately sought (and still seeks) to keep Parliament – the institutional locus of our sovereign democracy – out of taking key decisions on the most significant shift in national policy in our lifetime. When the courts twice told her to respect Parliament, she muzzled her own party members with a 3-line whip that prevented all but the most brave from standing up for the views of their constituents.
The “leave” campaign championed free trade, but May is bent on withdrawing the UK unilaterally from the Single Market and Customs Union which, together, already give Britain access to by far the best free trade system in the world, right on our doorstep.. She and Liam have travelled the world hunting for new trading partners but have come home almost empty-handed, beyond a few vague commitments by budding dictators to buy weapons.
May constantly calls for “healing of divisions” but instead inflames them by treating all those who disagree with her with haughty disdain. By dismissing the concerns of the Scots, she risks breaking up our United Kingdom and she doesn’t seem to care. Her failure to listen to Irish and Northern Irish leaders over the border issue reopens prospects of violence. Her fixation over opting out of the Single Market (driven, it seems, mainly by her personal grudges against the European Court of Justice) puts thousands of jobs and businesses – as well as our overall economy and fiscal stability – at risk. Already major players in the financial sector are moving out of Britain, taking jobs with them.
She has alienated scientists and academics, farmers, health workers, trade unions, the “city” and big business, and most major industries that benefit from seamless borders with European countries. She has upset people like us who look to the EU to sustain peace in Europe and who welcome its respect for human rights and the environment. Most importantly, her plans for Brexit seem bound to fail as Britain’s young people (the under-55s who make up over 70% of the population and most of the work-force) will hardly throw their energies behind a project outcome that tramples on their aspirations for themselves and for their vote-less children.
If we want a decent future for our children, all who want to stay in Europe must vote May out of Downing Street on 8th June – whatever it takes.
It is probably too late to expect that a new and credible national leader emerges to champion the cause of all those who would prefer that Britain stays in the EU. But at constituency level, much can be achieved by local groups – ideally crossing party divides – to throw their weight behind those candidates who pledge to do their best to keep our country in the EU and our Kingdom united. Even if this might not overturn parliamentary majorities, it would send a very strong message to any future government as to where the “will of the people” now stands.
This website will continue to post articles in support of this outcome with the intent that they will be shared by campaigning groups with their members, helping them to make the case for Britain to stay in Europe. We will also concentrate on highlighting the EU’s great but under-rated successes – nurturing peace in Europe, the promotion of common values, addressing trans-boundary issues, and the advantages of the Single Market and Customs Union.
We will happily post contributions from readers (please contact: firstname.lastname@example.org).