Osborne is right  –  we need an informed Brexit vote

12

Sep

When the former chancellor and a key influencer in the Brexit debate says that the case for a second referendum is getting stronger, we need to take note. George Osborne, editor of the Evening Standard, has written a series of editorials in the newspaper indicating that the public deserve a second say because there is now more information available than the first time around, adding: “Whether there should be a second referendum rests on whether the public are now in possession of materially new information that was not available two years ago. The case is certainly growing.” This from someone who previously said that a second referendum was impossible.

We now know that we have to pay £40 billion to leave the EU compared to £8 billion per year to stay. This equates to almost £2,600 per family per year (based on 16 million families in the UK). With 90% of people in the UK struggling to make ends meet, just imagine how £2,600 could help them.

Osborne also added that leaving the EU ‘has always meant erecting barriers to trade with our largest markets — whether those barriers come about through orderly negotiations or disorderly exit’. This comes as no surprise to me. As a successful entrepreneur, I made my money by operating in large, open markets. I know that the larger the market, the larger the pot of money. So I fail to see how, when we are reducing our available market by such a huge amount, we can benefit.

Brexiteers say that we’ll be better off in the long run. But it would take at least six years to negotiate down WTO tariffs if we have a hard Brexit — some businesses won’t last that long. I can only imagine how many companies will go broke while waiting for this to come to fruition.

It’s important that we shouldn’t look at the prospect of a public vote on a Brexit deal as a ‘referendum’, because that’s not what it is — it would be a much more informed vote on an urgent issue we know much more about than we did two years ago. And support for such a vote is growing: in July, YouGov found 42% of the public were in favour of a new vote, compared with 40% who were opposed.

From the phoney ‘£350m for the NHS’ claim on the side of a bus, to the complete disregard for the complexity of the process, voters queued for the ballot boxes in June 2016 to vote based on lies. This time, there would be a clear decision to make.


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