Remainers overwhelmed at local support as nearly 250 turn up on Saturday 21st April to hear Professor A C Grayling say Brexit is not a done deal.
Prof Grayling was supported by Madeleina Kay, Young European of the Year 2018, Hugh Mercer QC, Dr Carlo Berti of Kent BMA and Dick Dunmore, Trade expert.
Prof Grayling used the analogy of space invaders attacking an alien as a model for the Remain movement to overwhelm Brexit bit by bit as the process goes through parliament in the next few months.
Professor Grayling gave the talk on April 21st to a packed hall at The New Beacon School, Sevenoaks. His subject was Brexit: The Next Steps in the Fight Against it. He stressed that the process had not been enacted yet, and with consolidated action, the withdrawal from Europe can be stopped.
He started by suggesting that the public had voted for Brexit for quite different reasons than dissatisfaction with the EU – as a protest against large scale immigration, or the austerity of the last eight years, or the feeling that the structure of the EU was imposed. Then the campaigns, both for and against had not done anything to clarify these points. Important factors in drawing up a referendum had been ignored: large sections of the public who were directly affected had not been given a vote; no threshold had been set for a valid result, as would normally be required with a major constitutional change; and the Parliamentary briefing papers stressed that the outcome would be advisory only. Other negative factors were that no costing was carried out on the economic consequences, or debate of any kind, while the votes might have been interfered with by computer networks through ‘Nudging’ responses in the different social or political groupings. These are facts that are only emerging now.
Professor Grayling asked if this was acceptable in our democracy? Transparency had gone, and in the Commons, MPs in both main parties were whipped in spite of some strongly held views. However, there were signs of a shift in public opinion. More and more problems are surfacing to weaken any Brexit settlement, and several legal challenges are pending while the Customs Union and the Northern Ireland Border are still contentious issues. What is essential is anger; dedicated Remainers must become more vocal and combine the many small protest groups in to a larger one.
Locally, the best step is to join Sevenoaks and Swanley Together in Europe (SSTIE) and help to create the groundswell for a Second Opinion.
Report – Magda Sweetland
Thanks to Rindy Bakker for the photo of Professor A C Grayling speaking to SSTIE, April 2018.