Expert View

Voters were tricked 2 years ago. Is that their final say?

by Dafydd Wigley | 03.04.2018

Dafydd Wigley is a Plaid Cymru peer.

The Brexit battle is not to be fought on the fields of party politics. This constitutional change will affect our collective future forever. Our nation, our heritage, our principles, our very way of life is being thrown into the fray. The battle for Brexit transcends party lines.

We must approach it as people, as citizens, not as politicians with points to score.

As the only Plaid Cymru representative in the House of Lords, I know the true meaning of collaboration for the good of Wales.

Brexit is the biggest battle I have had in my political career. It is my privilege and my duty to protect Wales, preventing Westminster from turning us into an inward-looking little Britain and thereby undermining the devolution settlement for which my predecessors worked so hard to attain.

I worked my fair share of gruelling 12-hour days to make sure Wales’s voice is represented in that Place. And although, as is common practice, no votes were taken, I garnered widespread support. As the dust settles over the House during the Easter break, I will be readying myself for the most crucial battle yet: report stage.

This is where amendments can be voted on. My priorities will include, rallying against the illogical severing of ties with the single market and customs union. In particular, I shall try to safeguard the National Assembly’s power in relation to functions currently exercised at an EU level. And I will, once again, be working collaboratively to defeat the government on this issue.

People’s vote

I accept that the vote was to leave the EU. I place no blame on people in downtrodden communities for raising a voice of desperate protest against an economic system that allows Kensington and Chelsea to have average income levels 10 times that of Gwent and Gwynedd.

How can I blame people who were systematically fed an agenda of lies and distortions with the English tabloid press whipping up anti-foreigner hysteria and racist tensions where none existed?

However, I do not accept that we should turn our backs on our continent, cutting ourselves off from our European trading partners. I do not accept that we sacrifice jobs and communities on the altar of backward looking imperial hankering for a bygone age and I do not accept that we dwindle into nothing more than an offshore tax-haven for the super-rich.

Our job is to give people new hope. My battle is to provide a positive alternative to the job-destroying Tory hard Brexit.

If the government fails to negotiate a satisfactory compromise with Brussels, then the people must have the right to endorse or reject such an outcome.

Parliament must give those people, tricked by a cocktail of lies and half-truths two years ago, the final vote.

It was to enable Wales to play its part as a free nation within a Europe of the Peoples, that I entered the political fray a generation ago. The vision of a free Wales in a united Europe, part of a customs union with our neighbours, trading in one mutually beneficial single market. That dream will not surrender to any Westminster Government, and neither will I.

This is an edited version of an article in Nation Cymru.

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Edited by Hugo Dixon

10 Responses to “Voters were tricked 2 years ago. Is that their final say?”

  • Good article- but why do you accept the referendum result when you say the people were tricked? Having reviewed Vote Leave’s claims it appears to me that almost all of them were at best half- truths.
    In addition, given the current allegations of improper spending against Vote Leave, the fact that many of those most affected could not vote, the narrow margin: why are any of our elected representatives accepting that vote as valid?

  • Yet again another elite who wants to overturn a democratic vote. No second referendum was offered 44 years ago and as for deception I accept some but it was without question on both sides. The Country voted to leave and without question that vote has to be respected.

  • Good article. Re the comment by Judith the validity of the referendum, is undermined because it was virtually a draw, the game was played in fog, lots of dodgy practices and it makes obvious sense to “let the people decide” once the choice is somewhat clearer (it will never be totally clear) and to see if we can get a more convincing vote one way or another. And make it truly advisory so if the straight popular vote is again very close, let the decision be made in our representative body, Parliament, where people and parties have to stand up and be really counted. It is a very complex choice, it is not single issue decision, and reasoned debate is appropriate. As a voter I feel very cheated that an advisory referendum was taken as decisive but it’s a little late to revisit that one.

  • I wish it were as simple as that. The fact is that their liars were better than our liars and neither side seems to want to open that can of worms. That is not to say that we abandon any attempt to fight this gross fraud on the British population.
    What seems to be the “strategy” is to muddy the water enough so that the gov. can claim a successful Brexit, regardless of the damage done to the country. Thus the claim that the “Brexit dividend” allows more money to be pumped to the NHS, legitimizes the lies of Boris and presents a positive story…in spite of the gov. borrowing more money to cover this “dividend”. There is a chance that the leading Brexiteers will start getting worried about their careers if enough bad Brexit news surfaces and they can be held responsible. They seem to already be preparing a defense of “this is not the Brexit we wanted”. Watch them wriggle. We should not forget them, nor forgive.

  • There must be a second referendum with at least three options initially:
    1) Accept the deal that has been struck
    2) Tell them to go back and renegotiate
    3) Remain in the European Union

    If none of these get over 50% There would have to be a rerun of the highest two.
    The chief, and perhaps only. publicity should be a pamphlet delivered to each household in which the supporters of each option should put their case and each should be allowed the same number of words, pages and illustrations.

  • Unless all politicians show there is no link between the Referendum and the harmful Labour and Conservative “Leave the EU and its institutions” agenda, instead of addressing genuine concern, there won’t be effective government.

  • Well put, thank you. Would everybody please reflect on the fact that the 2 headliners for the remain campaign were and are serial liars. They were responsible for many bad decisions and broken promises. The leave effort was led by rolly poly Blous and Gove. Both are Euro bashers with years of experience. Not only was the NHS funding an empty promise Blous has the nerve to restate it again recently as a possibility in Brexitland.

    The facts are in. Brexit it bad for Britain and the voters were hoodwinked into supporting this position. These are many issues that are not resolved and the country is already spiralling down a year before the actual exit. False statements that a vote is a vote and it must be respected even in the face of the outrageous eventualities that will befall us is a disservice to us all (except the wealthy).

    Brexit is all about handing over the UK back to the powerful elite who will reshape the countries to their benefit without EU controls.

  • All of the above shows how totally inappropriate it is to submit such an issue to a referendum. A vote to leave would never have obtained anything like a majority in the House of Commons. Does that not say it all?

  • Dana Clarkson-Grove,

    “You think we are stupid. We are leaving the EU”.

    An interesting comment, but you are only half right. Not only Daffydd thinks we are stupid to be leaving the EU, most of the globe thinks so.