My article for the Edinburgh Evening News on the People’s Vote campaign. You can also read the article on the Evening News’s website here.
It’s that time of the year when, as a resident of Edinburgh, you have to suspend your ability to get anywhere quickly and await the incoming arrival of dozens of guests who want to make the most of the festivals season.
It is, in my opinion, the best month of the year in Edinburgh. It is not unusual to see the formation of large crowds in the centre of Edinburgh. It may be a juggler, fire eater or comedy act. They are everywhere.
But by next year’s Festival we are expected to be out of the European Union. Unless something happens to prevent this national act of self-harm.
In my view, the most important crowd of the Festival so far was the large number that assembled on Festival Square last Saturday at the rally for a People’s Vote on the final Brexit deal. Whatever you think about Brexit, I think we can all agree it’s a really big deal and much more complicated than anyone could ever have imagined.
The question is, are we all ready to face the consequences or should the Government put their trust in the people of this country and ask if this is what we expected from Brexit?
I’m really worried about the impact Brexit will have on jobs and living standards in Edinburgh and the country, and on the opportunities there will be in the future.
It is crystal clear that promises made by politicians are not going to be kept, like extra money for our NHS or a deal with the EU being the “easiest in history”. The Brexit that was promised to the people of Edinburgh is not the one that we are going to get. And let us not forget the Leave campaign broke the electoral law.
Many say we should just get on with it, but I think it is too important to be left in the hands of 650 MPs in parliament. There is no majority for any type of Brexit and you can’t trust the people who are currently in charge to make the decisions that are in the country’s best interests. They have all fled.
So, I think it should be a decision for everybody in our country, because Brexit will affect everyone.
I’ve written to Nicola Sturgeon and Ruth Davidson in recent weeks to ask them to support a People’s Vote and they have both declined. The First Minister doesn’t want to set a precedent, in the event of a successful independence vote, to have to ask Scottish voters if the disastrous consequences are what they expected from independence. Ruth Davidson has repeatedly refused to demand her Scottish Conservative MPs stand up to the right-wing fanatics in the Conservative Party, as she promised.
We live in a democracy and that didn’t stop on June 26, 2016. Voters have a right to change their minds when all the facts and the consequences are laid bare in front of them.
We already see the UK economy has gone from the fastest growing to the slowest, interest rates are rising due to increases in prices and the weakness of the pound and our key Edinburgh sectors like financial services, higher education, research and development and food and drink are all warning of dire consequences.
The People’s Vote campaign is absolutely NOT for a re-run of the 2016 referendum. Then, people voted to instruct the Government to negotiate a Brexit deal. A People’s Vote will be on that deal and whether it matches up to the promises made in 2016.
That is what the People’s Vote is all about.
Let the people take back control.