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Analysis

Only a People’s Vote can end the wasted years of Brexit

by Nick Kent | 20.12.2018

Over two years since the referendum and the UK’s future is no clearer. Meanwhile there is no political time for the big problems facing the country.

Both Brexiters and pro-Europeans are fed up with the fact that nothing else is getting political attention. A cross-party group of six Commons select committee chairs, who hold differing views on Brexit, recently issued a joint statement expressing concern that Brexit is “sucking the life” out of government and having a “serious detrimental effect” on domestic policy.

With signatories as diverse as Frank Field, Nicky Morgan and Norman Lamb, the statement expresses particular concern about the need to safeguard the NHS, about social care reform and about the rise in gun and knife crime.

They are right to be worried. Even Leave supporting newspapers are reporting that the NHS faces a winter crisis worse than that of 2017/18 with beds already 94% full. And last winter was supposed to be the worst in the history of the health service.

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We still haven’t had the green paper on the future of social care that was promised in 2017. This is a crucial area of public policy whose problems are making the difficulties of the NHS worse. Now we are told that the green paper has been delayed yet again.

Then there is the shocking rise in gun and knife crime, with the homicide rate at its highest for 10 years. And that is just part of a broader problem of the 12% jump in violent crime last year. Last week the Prince of Wales and the Duke of Sussex held a summit to discuss knife crime and youth violence; good for them but shouldn’t it have been at Number 10 and been led by the prime minister? But of course Theresa May was otherwise engaged as the Brexit farce plays out.

May memorably promised, when she took office, to tackle the problems faced by the most disadvantaged in our society. That agenda, to address many of the issues that lay behind the Brexit vote, has faded into nothing. The lack of social mobility, the absence of hope in communities blighted by the loss of industry and jobs, the poor quality of infrastructure in the north – all of these questions and more should have been at the centre of the prime minister’s programme for government.

And if you think the crowding out caused by Brexit will get any better if we leave, you are in for a rude shock. Under most Brexit scenarios, particularly the government’s deal, we will spend years negotiating a new trading partnership with the EU. Indeed, the evidence from other countries like Switzerland and Norway is that they are in a state of continuous negotiation with the EU.

The only way to stop this and bring closure to this depressing chapter is to hold a People’s Vote. If we vote to keep the great deal we already have as members of the EU, we can stop wasting time on a pointless and destructive Brexit and begin the process of putting our battered and unhappy country back together again. Now that would be a Christmas present worth getting.

Edited by Luke Lythgoe

One Response to “Only a People’s Vote can end the wasted years of Brexit”

  • This is not analysis or factual, it is just the opinion of the author. The whole problem with the Brexit debate, it is just full of opinions and very short of facts presented in an unbiased manner.