Bremain versus Brexit – or How the Lion lay down with the Lamb

Following a Blog Posters’ Executive Committee minutes to-do list, we have decided to take on major issues of the day. Again, witnessing to the truth of our own experience, we thought we might try Brexit for a start; but renamed it in the interests of fair play – Bremain versus Brexit. We hope others will join in.


HMG You’re receiving this email because you signed this petition: “Revoke Article 50 and remain in the EU.”.

Dear John Long,
The Government has responded to the petition you signed – “Revoke Article 50 and remain in the EU.”.
Government responded:
This Government will not revoke Article 50. We will honour the result of the 2016 referendum and work with Parliament to deliver a deal that ensures we leave the European Union.

JL How do you honour a 52/48% split vote for a referendum, set up without a threshold and so only advisory and not mandatory, when all the Brexiteers continue to talk blithely of the ‘will of the people’ and of the absolute numbers voting, rather than the percentage? Bad faith of the highest order or at best self-serving argumentation. Surely, not the standard we should expect of a Government (of the people, for the people by then people).

HMG It remains the Government’s firm policy not to revoke Article 50. We will honour the outcome of the 2016 referendum and work to deliver an exit which benefits everyone, whether they voted to Leave or to Remain.

JL Well said. But how will you operationalise this intent? You need first to make clear how you will benefit anyone, never-mind about everyone. Working to deliver is not the same as delivering. The case needs to be made and much better than this. It’s feeble.

HMG Revoking Article 50, and thereby remaining in the European Union, would undermine both our democracy and the trust that millions of voters have placed in Government.

JL Both are currently undermined. The millions go two ways (see above). The question is more how to make good the democratic and trust deficits. Democracy is undermined by the increasing gap between rich and poor. Trust is undermined by the selective effects of austerity. The two are related.

HMG The Government acknowledges the considerable number of people who have signed this petition. However, close to three quarters of the electorate took part in the 2016 referendum, trusting that the result would be respected.

JL But failed to indicate a necessary threshold majority, unlike that required for going on strike, for example. The Government acts as if the vote were mandatory; but it is only advisory. Another example of specious reasoning. How can this be justified?

HMG This Government wrote to every household prior to the referendum, promising that the outcome of the referendum would be implemented. 

JL No threshold majority was specified. In such cases, referendum outcomes are advisory and not mandatory. Lastly, no withdrawal consequences were specified. These should have appeared in the letter, along with the implementation promise, not to mention a better phrased question.

HMG 17.4 million people then voted to leave the European Union, providing the biggest democratic mandate for any course of action ever directed at UK Government.

JL And the 48%? Sauce for the goose? See also above. Again, specious beyond measure.

HMG British people cast their votes once again in the 2017 General Election where over 80% of those who voted, voted for parties, including the Opposition, who committed in their manifestos to upholding the result of the referendum.

JL Correct. However, earlier points hold for the political parties, as well as the Government. Those points have not been addressed.

HMG This Government stands by this commitment.
Revoking Article 50 would break the promises made by Government to the British people, disrespect the clear instruction from a democratic vote, and in turn, reduce confidence in our democracy. As the Prime Minister has said, failing to deliver Brexit would cause “potentially irreparable damage to public trust”, and it is imperative that people can trust their Government to respect their votes and deliver the best outcome for them.

JL This is at best special pleading and at worst obfuscation. Again, ‘instruction’ is misused. Confidence in democracy misconstrued. Public trust iOS not rationalised.

JL Conclusion: For a Government statement this is pathetic. It just illustrates what a mess we are in and the absence of a way out. The Government should witness to the truth of its own, the country’s and the people’s position.

DR Brexit continues along the lines of office politics within, and without, the Conservative party. If the majority of the electorate can be conned with ‘fake news’ and electoral irregularities then too bad for ‘evidenced based policies’ and more so for a good quality of life and opportunities for the young. Have enough old Brexit codgers become ex-voters for the professed mandate for Brexit to no longer apply.

CP Every time I’m
tempted to think that our MPs are a bunch of useless wankers, I have to consider that with Brexit every step they take is a step in the dark. But there are certainly some of the above, including the hubristic David Cameron, whose reaction to losing his unloseable referendum was to leave the mess to others and join the money-hoovering lecture set. Theresa May is clearly totally unsuited to her task: asocial, somehow at once stubborn and indecisive, and either making a succession of poor choices or being consistently badly advised, starting with the 2017 General Election. Jeremy Corbyn aside (the jury’s out), she is surely the worst party leader since…..Ed Miliband. What has poisoned modern British politics is a refusal of the two main parties to admit in the House that they have much in common, a dogged tribalism that demands a kneejerk opposition to almost anything the other party proposes. If that admission had guided the House in 2016, the public might have listened and Brexit might never have happened. It may be that a General Election looms: I think that Labour could win it, but maybe not with the current leader. But who else is there? Hilary Benn is serious and steady, Keir Starmer serious but prolix………Who will replace Ms May? Michael Gove is able but slippery, Boris too wayward, the others mainly turgid and unimaginative…..

BF I finally posted my application for an Irish passport and hope to receive it before BREXIT Day.

JL Is your application prompted by Brexit or?

BF Of course! I am fortunate to have a Mother born in County Antrim in 1901 so am by birth already an Irish citizen so can remain a citizen of the EU with a bright red passport to flaunt everytime I leave the country after BREXIT Day. My way of saying “Bugger Boris”! Of course, I quite sincerely hope that everything will turn out fine and Britain will be better off for leaving the EU. But the omens could not be worse. I shall join the last big march through London on 12 October. Will you be there?

LW someone needs to explain to the confused elderly gentleman that his Irish passport is not for leaving the UK but for entering the EU. Correspondingly, his UK passport is for entering the UK, unless he wants to make a gesture of solidarity with EU nationals.

31 January, 2020

JL Ce soir, comme d’habitude, je bois un tout petit apéritif – du Pastis (45% acheté a Leaderprice). Je bois avec beaucoup d’affection a la bonne santé de mon voisin Alain, d’Auzon, de la France (et son République) et de l’Europe. Brexit- c’est une connerie, point a la ligne. Je continuerai a boire mon apéritif , demain, et après-demain et ainsi de suite! A plus!
PS En plus, je vais demander a la Mairie de changer le nom de mon adresse de Rue des Anglais en Rue du Cochon.

1 February, 2020
BF & RB We returned home from Venice a few hours before the UK left the European Union, a sad day for us. Our fathers fought in the war on different sides and we met in 1987 through an EU funded staff exchange programme between the University of Hertfordshire and the University of Bremen in Germany and have lived together for 30 years. The EU brought us peace and happiness. We have friends and family in Britain and Germany and that will not change. But we are worried about the future of the next generation.

 CJ & Paola

At the end of this year of the plague
The hopes for the future are vague.
To stay out of harm
Have a shot in the arm
And a slug from a bottle of Hague.

CP x