Averting the Brexit Disaster – A People’s Referendum when Terms of Departure are Known

Brexit, if it happens, will be a disaster – the only question is just how much of a disaster. The siren voices of the Bank of England, every living ex-Prime Minister, “experts” and the vast majority of MP’s have been forgotten, dubbed fearmongers, or worse.

The process of extrication with its’ inexplicable twists and turns has been less of a rollercoaster, more a downward spiral – pity the farmers of Kent trying to bring in their harvest of strawberries with no Bulgarian pickers to help them, or their long-suffering neighbours towards Dover, who may face congestion caused by trading restraints and problems collecting duties, the likes of which they’ve never experienced before – a recurring nightmare which should, at least, keep psycho-analysts in business for a while.

The biggest problem will not be shortages of doctors and nurses for the NHS, we can recruit them from outside the EU, which might not please every former UKIP voter with an ingrown toenail; the major risk is not even the border in Ireland – it’s quite possible a fudged solution can be found  – though to risk the Good Friday Agreement in any way is so irrational, future historians will have to grapple with it, should any universities have the funds to employ them. The biggest risk is to the economy; it could, literally, collapse. We have an enormous national debt and public sector borrowing requirement, our economic insulation is about as good as a tarpaulin during a hurricane.

I estimate there’s a 30% chance of catastrophe – house prices in London and the South East collapsing by about 50%, parity between the pound and dollar, food prices doubling, car manufacturers moving to more fertile shores and interest rates rocketing. Of course, that is the worst-case scenario, but what major company fails to carry out a risk assessment, before taking the risk? The best-case scenario would be if our invisible earnings hold up, tourism flourishes, or we find a niche market as an offshore tax haven, something that’s anathema to most of us, but could appeal to a few Russian oligarchs.

When the referendum was held in 2016, there was little talk of the customs union, European Free Trade Association, even the Irish border was hardly mentioned; all we saw was that famous battle bus with its’ promise of a huge NHS dividend if we left, like going into a restaurant without looking at the menu, we then discovered as we sat down, there was nothing palatable, in fact, the menu was blank and hadn’t even been written.

We all have a much better idea now, we understand some of the options more clearly. The vitriolic anti-immigrant vote has crumbled, UKIP has been through so many new leaders, they’re starting to advertise the position at the local Job Centre as a regular vacancy. Sadly, those being made redundant by the swathe of high street redundancies as numerous retailers go bust, may not think it’s much of a job.

Moderate Tories who supported Remain must show some backbone, standing up to their whips office, making clear their concerns,  rather than quibbling over trifles. Donald Trump is hardly angling for custom from us should we leave, rather, he’s put up barriers and promoted protectionism. So much for our great hope of more world trade outside the EU. When circumstances change, politicians should take note and learn from them, rather than burying their heads in the sand.

Once the terms of our potential departure are known, we need a People’s Referendum to make a final decision, let those who were too young to vote before, but whose lives will be more affected than anyone’s, have their say, even those 16 plus should have a vote – they did in the Scottish Referendum.

Its not too late to make our voices known, now we have an idea of the song we’re singing, nothing in a democracy is set in stone – apart from the perceptions of those Little Englanders David Cameron kowtowed to, that got us in this mess in the first place.

Surely, with apologies to Laurel and Hardy, it’s one fine mess we need a chance to get out of: the clock is ticking; we need another vote soon.

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