Skip to main content

The only certainty about Brexit is its uncertainty.

Brexit has become a major issue in the Labour leadership election.  It is one of the defining differences of position between the two candidates. Owen Smith has pledged to fight Brexit, and to campaign for a fresh referendum when the terms of Britain's divorce from the EU are known.  It is a valid position.

Jeremy Corbyn simply rejects the idea of another referendum. The voters have decided, he says. He says it is 'democracy at work'. It is a puzzling position for the leader of the opposition.

Democracy does not end once a vote is taken. A vote is only a part of the process. Just imagine where we would be had everyone accepted the vote to stay in the EEC in 1975.  Referendums should be advisory not definitive.  This does not mean the vote should be ignored. It means that we should decide what it means. Whatever the results of the referendum, government still needs to be held accountable. They need to be challenged on the terms of Brexit.

We do not yet know what Brexit means. Of course it would mean we would leave the EU. We would no longer be a member. But we do not know the nature of our disengagement, or more importantly we do not know the terms of our post-Brexit engagement with the EU - and there is likely to be such an engagement because it is our biggest market.  The nature of that relationship must now be decided.

According to the Institute for Government there are more than four possible scenarios for UK's negotiated exit from the EU. Jeremy Corbyn it seems is happy to leave it to the Tory government to decide which of these we get.Yet it is the duty of the leader of the opposition to hold the government to account.

He says the voters have decided. So my question is, what did the voters decide? Which scenario does Jeremy Corbyn think the British people voted for? He can't say. Nor can the government.

The government do not know what Brexit will look like - or if they do, they are keeping it close to their chests. But we should not give the Tories a blank cheque.

We might, for example, end up having to conform to EU laws but without full membership. Would those who voted out be happy with that? Most probably not, yet it is one possibility. We might end up with Norway's option of paying he EU for access to the EU market. But how much would we agree to pay for this privilege, and would it be acceptable to those who voted out. Many argued we pay too much to Brussels. It was one reason they voted to leave.

Then there is the vexed question of migration. Some kind of free movement of people may be part of the Brexit terms, to protect interests of British citizens in the EU, and to meet the needs of British businesses. Did the British people vote for this? Some might accept it, but so many voted specifically so that the UK could 'take control' of such movement.

Another possible outcome is that we adopt  Canada's position of negotiating bilaterally with the EU.  This has no guarantee of success. Did the British people vote for this? We don't know because this wan't on the ballot sheet.

The only certainty about Brexit is its uncertainty. Yet Jeremy Corbyn appears to want to leave it all to the Tories to decide! Some leader of the opposition!

    Comments

    Popular posts from this blog

    Palm Oil production killing the planet

    Bad trade and bad products are killing our planet. We have said this before on The Thin End. There is no better example than that of palm oil. It is used ubiquitously in so many products, and its production is a major factor destroying rainforests and threatening precious species.

    Demand for palm oil is 'skyrocketing worldwide'. It is used in packaging and in so much of our snack foods, cookies, crackers, chocolate products, instant noodles, cereals, and doughnuts, and the list goes on.
    Bad for the planet So, why is this so bad for the planet?

    The oil is extracted from the fruit of the oil palms native to Africa. It is now grown primarily in Indonesia and Malaysia, but is also expanding across Central and West Africa and Latin America.

    Palm oil production is now one of the world's leading causes of rainforest destruction, and this is impacting adversely some of the world's most culturally and biologically diverse ecosystems. Irreplaceable wildlife species like t…

    Nicotine exposure in pregnancy linked to cot death

    Nicotine exposure during pregnancy, whether from smoking cigarettes, or nicotine patches and e-cigarettes, increases risk of sudden infant death syndrome – sometimes known as “cot death” – according to new research published in The Journal of Physiology.

    Sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) is the sudden and unexpected death of an infant under 12 months of age occuring typically while sleeping. Failure of auto resuscitation, the ability to recover normal heart rate and breathing following gasping caused by lack of oxygen in the brain, has been recorded in human SIDS cases.



    Smoking increases risk for SIDS Over the last decade, use of cigarettes has declined significantly, however, over 10% of pregnant women still smoke during pregnancy. Over recent years nicotine replacement therapies, such as nicotine patches or e-cigarettes, have been prescribed to women who wish to quit smoking during their pregnancy. However, nicotine replacement therapies may not protect infants from SIDS. 
    With inc…

    Maternal depression can impact child mental and physical health

    Maternal depression has been repeatedly linked with negative childhood outcomes, including increased psychopathology.  Now, a new study shows that depression in mothers may impact on their children's stress levels,  as well as their physical and mental well-being throughout life.

    In the study, published in the journal  Depression & Anxiety,  the researchers followed 125 children from birth to 10 years.

    At 10 years old, the mothers’ and children’s cortisol (CT) and secretory immunoglobulin (s-IgA)—markers of stress and the immune system (see below)—were measured, and mother-child interaction were observed.
    Psychiatric assessment  The mothers and children also had psychiatric diagnoses, and the children's externalising and internalising symptoms were reported.



    Internalising disorders include depression, withdrawal, anxiety, and loneliness. They are often how we 'feel inside', such as  anger, pain, fear or hurt, but may not show it.  In contrast, externalising symptom…