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Black Wednesday

April 5, 2017 6:54 PM
By Anita Day in Postcard from a Lincolnshire Liberal

Anita DayLast Wednesday was a sad day for many people. For those of us concerned about Theresa May's decision to trigger Article 50, we had feared that day ever since 24 June last year.

Of course, we had always known that it would come. But at various times, some of us had started to hope that perhaps it wouldn't actually happen… perhaps the legal challenges would halt, or at least delay, the process?.... perhaps Labour would finally vote against the government (and in line with their rhetoric about safeguards)?….perhaps the realisation that triggering Article 50 might lead to the break-up of the UK would cause the government to re-consider?...... perhaps the march of 100,000 people in central London (shockingly almost ignored by the BBC) would weaken Tory resolve? Or at least, if it had to happen, perhaps the government wouldn't go down the UKIP-inspired 'hardest of all' Brexit routes? But of course, they did! And for those of us incredulous that the ministers in charge of negotiations are as ill-informed and ill-prepared as they seem to be, it was hard to accept.

So we mourn, and wonder what we should do now. Some say we should continue to fight to overturn the decision; others that we should accept the reality and focus on making the best of a very bad job. Lib Dem policy is that the people should vote on the terms of the final Brexit deal in another referendum. It's a good idea in many respects- I believe many Leavers didn't understand the implications - but I worry about how practical it would be, given that a 'no' vote could potentially mean more uncertainty - would we then revoke Article 50, leave the EU without any deal, or force the government to re-negotiate?

I also worry that a majority of the British people - who have only a passing interest in politics and do not follow events avidly on Twitter as I do - may now become bored of the whole thing, and start to 'move on'. If they do, they might not engage with a second referendum even if it were called, and in the meantime, we end up being seen, not as the party leading the Remain cause, but the party who become irrelevant because that's all we talk about!

It's a tricky problem, and I don't know the answer. I will, however, say that in my campaign literature for the Stamford West County Council elections, I do not mention the word 'Brexit' once (although there are vague references to the 'uncertain world' now facing our children!) That's primarily because it's a local election and I want to focus on the local issues where I think we can make a difference to people's lives. But it's also because I reason that Remainers already know where we stand, & I want us to be known for other things apart from just Brexit. Am I right to have taken that approach? I've no idea… but time will tell, I guess!

Take care, and speak soon


PS: If you are interested in any of my previous Postcards, you can find them here:

Membership Development
South Lincs Liberal Democrats
Tel: 07410 709338 / @AnitadayA / FB: Anita.Day.LD