Monday 5 August 2019 - People's Vote

Monday 5 August 2019

Morning Briefing: Cynical Johnson's move towards "people versus politicians" election

We may have entered the August holiday season, but there is no let-up in the push towards a destructive No Deal from this Boris Johnson government. Insiders are claiming that his advisor Dominic Cummings believes that the government can simply ignore Parliament to bulldoze through No Deal, a view that is seen as both dangerous and wrong by sensible politicians. These are dangerous times and we call to Let Us Be Heard.

Cynical Johnson move towards "people versus politicians" election

You might think Downing Street was joking but the consequences for our country are just too serious for that. The very same politicians who want to force their destructive Brexit on the people are now, according to the Times, planning to invoke the ‘people’ against ‘politicians’ in an election scheduled for after the UK has left the EU.

Boris Johnson, who spent the 2016 referendum telling everyone how easy it would be to get a Brexit deal, is now ready to inflict No Deal on the country. But he was only elected by Conservative Party members comprising barely 0.1 per cent of the country and he does not have the permission of the rest of us.

He is now announcing money for the NHS, but it is far from clear whether it is new or just a re-hashed announcement. The lack of clarity is precisely the kind of thing that makes people cynical about “politicians”.

People's Vote supporter Ben Bradshaw MP said no-one is "going to be fooled by the sight of this particular politician spraying around spending promises for the NHS today when we all know his Brexit will leave the NHS poorer with fewer resources than before".

Instead, the Brexit crisis has now come down to a simple question about whether we live in a democracy: can we allow Boris Johnson to force No Deal - or another vicious form of Brexit - on all of us, without all of us having our voice heard? The answer should be that we should trust the British people - not politicians like him - to solve the Brexit crisis with a new public vote before any final decision about our future is made.

Having spent the 2016 referendum telling everyone how easy it would be to get a deal that would allow the U.K. to stay in the single market, Johnson knows he does not have a mandate for his vicious Brexit and certainly not for a hugely destructive No Deal.

The People’s Vote campaign is preparing for a snap election too. We are drawing up a hit list of 100 marginal seats where there will be a clear choice between electing an MP who trusts the public to sort this mess out - or one who wants to impose Brexit on is “do or die”.

In these seats we will be calling on supporters to vote tactically and help us secure a majority in Parliament for a final say referendum. Some of this was in the Sunday papers and there will be target constituencies in England, Scotland and Wales where we’ll urge People’s Vote supporters to ditch party loyalties if necessary defeat candidates who oppose giving people a final say.

People’s Vote director James McGrory predicts that “tactical voting will be a bigger factor than in any previous election fought in the UK”. The move comes as the Lib Dems won the Brecon and Radnorshire by-election last week after allying with the Green Party and Plaid Cymru who stood down their candidates.

While deals like that can help in other constituencies too, we’re not waiting on the political parties to sort themselves out. Tactical voting, even on the scale we are planning, only requires people to make it work. And we are, after all, the People’s Vote campaign.

It is the UK that has no mandate for No Deal

There has been a lot of talk about mandates recently, with Boris Johnson’s new government seeking to rewrite history. After foreign secretary Dominic Raab’s extraordinary claim last week that the 2016 referendum provided a mandate for the government to crash the country out of Europe with No Deal, Conservative party chairman James Cleverly then claimed on Friday that Johnson has a huge mandate - provided by the fraction of voters who make up the Conservative Party membership. 

And yesterday, Brexit secretary Stephen Barclay aggressively told EU negotiator Michel Barnier that the EU no longer had a mandate to back the Withdrawal Agreement that was negotiated with Theresa May.” He claimed “political realities have changed” and with 61% of MEPs changing in the last European elections, “such a fundamental change illustrates the need for a change of approach.

But it is the British government that does not have a mandate for a crippling Brexit and certainly not for a disastrous No Deal, which was never discussed during the 2016 referendum by Vote Leave politicians.

Don’t be fooled by the aggressive, undemocratic drive for No Deal. There is no mandate for it and it is important to Let Us Be Heard.

Schools, medicines and poor familes face true costs of destructive No Deal

The true costs of a destructive No Deal continue to emerge. Another leaked government report shows that schools will face an acute crisis: some may have to close, exams could be postponed and fresh food for pupils’ meals could run short because of shortage-driven panic-buying.

The Department of Education report – marked “official sensitive” – was revealed by the Observer and pointed out that the problems are not country-wide, but areas such as Dover would be particularly affected.

The Mirror revealed that vital drugs for asthma, cancer and diabetes could cost up to seven times more under a transatlantic trade deal with President Trump, as the Americans aim to end “foreign freeloading” and bring medicine prices in line with the US.

Academics from the University of Liverpool analysed how drug prices could be forced up if prime minister Johnson does a desperate deal with the US.

Labour’s shadow health secretary Jonathan Ashworth said Mr Johnson was going to go “cap in hand” to Trump after crashing out of the EU and said: “He can’t be trusted with our NHS”.

Another sign of collapsing confidence in the pound is the news that Edinburgh festival performers from abroad want to be paid in dollars or euros.

And low income households are more vulnerable to the tough effects of a recession than they were before the 2008 crash, according to Resolution Foundation.

The think tank said a decade of low wage growth and gradual dismantling of the benefits system has left poor families most at risk from a destructive Brexit.

It's clear that Brexit must be put to the people. Now is a crucial time to get involved with the People's Vote campaign. Sign up to volunteer today. 

Quote of the Day

“This document lays bare the potential consequences of a disastrous no-deal Brexit for our schools and nurseries, and the parents and children who rely on them. By the government’s own admission, head teachers may be left unable to feed their pupils or forced to close their doors entirely.

“Boris Johnson must abandon his irresponsible and expensive obsession with no deal."

Shadow education secretary Angela Rayner comments on the Department of Education's confidential report into the disastrous effects of No Deal.

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More Brexit news...

Johnson lays ground for "people v politicians" general election (The Times £)

This is how No Deal can be avoided (HuffPost)

People's Vote campaign targets 100 marginal in case of snap election (Guardian)

Barclay urges Barnier to get new Brexit mandate (PoliticsHome)

Drugs could cost 7x in Trump deal (Mirror)


More Brexit comment...

Matthew d'Ancona: A no deal Brexit even after a no confidence vote: How could it happen? (The Observer)

Paul Goodman: Is Johnson aiming for a snap election? (ConservativeHome)

Lloyd Russell-Moyle: Unless we're clear on Brexit, Johnson will win the next election (LabourList)