The Referendum-One Year On
A year ago at my birthday party on the 23rd June , Referendum Day, 50 sat down. Only two had voted to Leave. As I wrote then “Who knows England, who only London knows?” So very much yesterday. Yet it was good to hear a debate between two of the main organisers-and brightest back room boys in UK politics- Will Straw(Remain) and Mathew Elliot(Leave).
Straw felt by the vote the electorate had became bored with the economy, he hadn’t been helped Cameron’s refusal(for long term good of the Tory Party!) to go for the Leave’s strikers Gove and Johnston and the murder of Jo Cox had stalled momentum. Elliot felt the negative effect that Obama had on supporting Remain and bumper immigration figures coming out near the end were match winners. One point made was that Leavers accepted more national control not least on immigration would come at an economic cost.
Later when bright young things got up and asked why the older generation sold their grand children short I remember George’s words “The trouble today is that no one talks to each other and when they do its in another language”. George is 95,was brought up on a farm in the now London suburb of Mitcham and feels his roses this year “are the worst.”
Coming to the present typically the two sides took different views. Straw felt a year that could have been spent in having a national discussion on , what kind of Brexit, was wasted. And every day that May hangs on doesn’t help. Elliot felt May had played a good long game.
On the recent election the point was made that Labour accepting(however vaguely) Brexit took that subject out of the debate. That meant the concentration of dementia tax versus student loans, Father Xmas versus Old Mother Hubbard became the issue. But as some pointed out the Tory vote went up 5% which is not exactly a rejection of the Maybot. Those that proposed an uncompromising pro Euro position Libdems, SNP and Greens all saw their votes go down.
The debate was hosted by The UK in a Changing Europe.