Tony Blair – for once in his life – speaks sense
On Monday, Tony Blair took to Facebook and posted his views on the fallout of Brexit.
In a lengthy wall post, the former Prime Minister remarked:
Not since I became politically active four decades ago, has clarity of thinking been in such urgent demand or such short supply. Britain hurtles towards a triggering of Article 50, meaning that, next March, we enter a time-limited negotiation to go out of the EU, yielding up a significant part of our freedom of manoeuvre to a process governed by the necessity of a Europe wide agreement.
We propose doing this with no clear idea of what life outside of the EU and especially outside of the European Single Market really looks like. Nonetheless, any hint of braking or slowing down is condemned in some quarters as a treasonous denial of the will of the people.
The British people ‘have spoken’ we are reminded. That is true but no reason for us now to shut up and go along with whatever version of Brexit we end up negotiating, good or bad. We can carry on speaking and debating. This is democracy.
I am not suggesting: either that we disregard the vote, or base a case on saying the people were misled, or didn’t know what they were voting for, or that we can just stay in the EU and override the will of the people.
I am suggesting something very simple. It goes to the heart of the nature of the referendum vote. We knew we were voting to leave the EU. We did not know and could not know what the alternative to EU membership looks like. What we’re about to witness, is reality replacing conjecture.
In these circumstances, it is odd to say that, having made our decision, we now can’t amend it or change it even if we want to. The issue is not whether we ignore the will of the people; but whether, as information becomes available, and facts take the place of claims, the ‘will’ of the people shifts.
Right now there is one point and one point only to win: we should keep every option open. We’re a sovereign people. We can make up our mind; and we can change our mind. And whether we do, is up to us.
Mr Blair, like or loathe him (and I know many of our readers fall into the latter camp), is right. It is time for sense to prevail.