A People’s Vote is the only route out of the Brexit crisis, argues Hywel Williams
Once again, the sharpest legal minds of Her Majesty’s Government have flushed public resources in to another pointless judicial wrangle and come out the other end looking characteristically foolish.
In the pointless fight over whether Article 50’s triggering can be unilaterally revoked by the United Kingdom without permission slips from the other EU nation states, the European Court of Justice (ECJ) has come back and confirmed what we knew all along: that Brexit is not inevitable.
Normally Mrs May’s proxies in the Department for Exiting the European Union (DExEU) are ostensibly keen on talking up parliamentary sovereignty but on this matter her velvet puppets in No. 9 Downing Street – the Whips Office – have been absolutely insistent that parliament’s actions are the responsibility of everybody except parliament. The political equivalent of “A big boy did it and ran away.”
This ruling, of course, raises a number of interesting prospects for those of us battling to block Brexit and to stop the calamity Brexit will inflict upon the people I have been elected represent.
For one, now that the ECJ has ruled that we in the House of Commons do indeed possess the authority to independently revoke Article 50 this confirms a belief which many of us have long held – that the UK can (and must) stop the clock on Brexit. One of the central cons this UK Government has tried to pull is that Brexit is as much an inevitability as the sun going down. It is not.
Brexit is a political choice being made day in, day out by people who should (and do) know better. Half of any political battle is in its framing – by setting the parameters as ‘Leave with my deal or leave with no deal’, Theresa May is attempting to hoodwink commentators and passive observers alike in to believing that remaining in the EU is an impossibility. That to refuse her Brexit deal is to endorse debilitating World Trade Organisation trading terms. Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain.
Our job in the wake of this positive ECJ ruling is to reframe remaining in the EU for what it is: a real and tangible option.
Perhaps more consequentially, this ruling has today made a People’s Vote with an option to remain more possible than ever. Where sceptics of a People’s Vote yesterday may have worried that a second referendum would amount to little more than a vanity exercise without a guarantee of consequences, today’s ECJ ruling should put those concerns to rest. The evidence weighing on the side of a People’s Vote being the only route out of this crisis is- at that new juncture – incontrovertible.
Whichever way the ECJ ruled, what matters is that we do not let the campaign for a People’s Vote live only in the pages of broadsheet newspapers: we must take it to the doorstep, to our communities and to our neighbours. Regardless of whether parliament has the legal right to revoke Article 50, it is the country who must give us the democratic right to do so.
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