Analysis

Farage wants a second referendum? Bring it on!

by Luke Lythgoe | 11.01.2018

Nigel Farage has told Channel 5’s The Wright Stuff that he’s “reaching the point of thinking that we should have a second referendum on EU membership”. The former Ukip leader claimed another vote would “kill [the Brexit debate] off for a generation” and that the percentage for Leave would be “very much bigger than it was last time”.

But the facts have changed since June 2016 – and not in Farage’s favour. Here are seven of the most important.

1. The UK economy is hurting. A crash in the value of the pound following the referendum has pushed up prices, which are outstripping wages and so making people poorer. And this is even before Brexit has happened.

2. Donald Trump is in the White House. Farage may want to burn our bridges with the EU to suck up to an erratic bully prone to sexist and racist outbursts. But most Brits don’t want that; and given all the dangers in the world, it doesn’t make geopolitical sense either.

3. The NHS is suffering a terrible crisis made worse by EU nurses and doctors leaving the country in droves. Meanwhile, the government is preparing to pay Brussels a £39 billion divorce bill – a far cry from the £350 million a week Boris Johnson promised would come winging its way to the NHS if we only voted to quit.

4. EU immigration is no longer Farage’s ace card. Net migration from the continent has almost ground to a halt – particularly from Eastern European countries – starving the UK of talented workers.

5. Britain cannot have its cake and eat it – again the opposite of what Johnson and the Brexiters promised. We are discovering we need the EU more than it needs us. As a result, Theresa May is bending over backwards to do a deal, while Brussels hasn’t budged. What’s more, we are going to end up following rules without a say – a big change from our current position as one of the EU’s most influential countries. Take back control is fast becoming a joke.

6. Brexiters’ plan for “Global Britain” to strike trade deals across the world to fill the gap for lost trade in Europe is falling apart. Rather than gain trade deals, we could lose deals we already enjoy as EU members. Even Trump will only do a deal on his terms. That could involve chlorine-washed chicken and competition for the NHS.

7. Hundreds of thousands of young people are newly eligible to vote, knowing full well their futures could be blighted by May’s Brexit botch-job. If Farage wants a second referendum, bring it on!

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Edited by Hugo Dixon

6 Responses to “Farage wants a second referendum? Bring it on!”

  • Donald Trump may well have changed his mind about Brexit anyhow – not least because the French laid out the red carpet for him, honouring him in Paris on Bastille Day, whereas London and its Mayor put him off by exhibiting their grumpiest and most dismal face.

    Why can’t we learn the difference between respect and showing respect? Perhaps Londoners are simply not as bright as Parisians. Or perhaps Brits no longer understand politesse.

  • I entirely agree with you. But the problems of Brexit are still a closed book to, for example, most of the readers of the Daily Mail. Just look at their articles and comments columns. How do we get the message out of the bubble to them? Similarly they are a closed book to many of the Brexit voters in Brexit heartlands like Walsall, from my experience talking to them.

  • Judith has made an important point. How does one reverse 40 years or more of right wing misinformation/prejudice vis-a-vis Europe.? As it was brilliantly summarized in an article on the Young European Movement website entitled Pigeon Chess, how can one debate with people whose whole approach to the issues involved is irrational ? They start from the conclusion-no to Europe- and then look for reasons to validate their approach ( that is, once they cease to vilify the persons not sharing their basic view on Europe ).

  • The problem will be if there is a second referendum because Farage says so, and not because anyone actually elected to office in the UK said it first. It will not be conducted fairly if it is a Nigel-model poll which avoids the questions the voters ask.

  • Fair comments Judith. However, the answer in my view is that we all keep talking about the disadvantages of Brexit, with evidence from the latest news, and all in a repeated mantra: in this blog, letters to newspapers, discussions with neighbours, at the hairdressers, etc. Just keep plugging away. Brexit needs to be killed off “by a thousand cuts” – in other words everyone needs to contribute to this to get an anti-Brexit majority momentum underway.

    Remember, where we are now, with a parliamentary veto and Nigel Farage suggesting he’d like to see a second referendum are great positives – I’m convinced there will be more positives, but we all need to work at it.

  • There are a lot of grass roots groups doing just that. I belong to one that works with the European Movement to organise a Day of Action every month where we talk to people in the street, hand out leaflets etc. We are having one later this month concentrating on the effect of Brexit on the NHS. That’s what we need to be doing, talking to people, and listening to them as well.