Jonathan Fryer

Writer, Lecturer, Broadcaster and Liberal Democrat Politician

Posts Tagged ‘New year’s Resolution’

My New Year’s Resolution

Posted by jonathanfryer on Sunday, 31st December, 2017

75D3F4DB-40AC-4E69-931C-71CE29A3729CUsually I do not make serious New Year’s resolutions — or even frivolous ones. But this year it’s different. The reason is that, in my opinion, 2018 will be the make-or-break year for Brexit. And my resolution is to work as hard as I can with all Remainers to break it, before Brexit breaks Britain. With the May government ruling out continued membership of the European single market and Customs Union the likely economic damage to Britain will be even worse than was highlighted during last year’s EU Referendum campaign. Already devaluation and inflation have taken their toll on people’s living standards but that is only the beginning, as the prospects of tariffs or other trading restrictions loom as we drift away from our major trading partner. But it’s not all about economics. The EU has led to higher standards across all member states, including the UK, in such matters as consumer safety and the cleanliness of beaches. EU collaboration and funds have boosted research, for the benefit of all. EU citizenship gives us freedom of movement throughout the Union, but Mrs May and her rabid Brexiteers are prepared to throw that away in their defence of an outdated nationalism. That nationalism is itself a paradox, as Brexit presents the greatest threat to the integrity of the United Kingdom since the 1920s. Will it be Northern Ireland that decides to bolt first, or Scotland? Both voted heavily for Remain last year. Meanwhile it is clear that sufficient people have changed their minds about Brexit as the realities become clearer, added to more younger people coming onto the electoral roll, for a new vote on Brexit to deliver a different result, which is why the hardline Brexiteers reject the idea of having one, even on the details of the final “deal” that the Government may or may not come up with. But in the meantime, Brexit may well destroy itself, through the sincere complexity of disentangling Britain from four decades of harmonisation with our European partners. The whole Brexit project may prove impossible and the May government might fall. I hope that happens. But tonight I shall hold aloft a glass at midnight, I hope in harmony with countless others, to toast my New Year’s Resolution: Stop Brexit!

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My New Year’s Resolution: Stop Brexit!

Posted by jonathanfryer on Saturday, 31st December, 2016

stop-brexit-smallI don’t make a New Year’s Resolution every year; the last was two years ago, in Surinam, when I vowed to write and publish my childhood memoir, Eccles Cakes, which I successfully achieved this summer. But the Resolution I am making this time as I see 2016 out in Brazil is far more ambitious and is not something I can do alone: Stop Brexit! In June, the British electorate (or that part of it included in this particular franchise) voted narrowly in an advisory referendum that it would prefer to leave the European Union, and the Conservative government now presided over by Theresa May is pressing ahead with the Brexit process, despite warnings that this will cause a decade of disruption and billions of pounds worth of economic loss. She still has not made her “plan” public, which rather makes me doubt that she has one. But in principle she is sticking to her timetable of triggering Article 50 by the end of March, after which there would be two years of negotiations with our 27 EU partners. There is a difference of opinion over whether Article 50 could be reversed, once triggered, but clearly the chances of stopping Brexit would be greater if Article 50 is never triggered. So it is crucial that over the next three months the realities of Brexit, rather than the fantasies of much of the EU Referendum campaign, are set out and that the British electorate is then given the chance to answer the question: is that really what you want? That is essentially the position outlined by LibDem leader, Tim Farron, though in a longer time-frame. His Labour counterpart, Jeremy Corbyn, has alas sold the pass, by pledging to champion a “people’s Brexit”, whatever that might be. Of course, the LibDems can’t bring about such a Brexit reversal on their own. Everyone who understands that Brexit would damage both Britain and the EU can be part of a campaign, for which the European Movement is one of the cheerleaders. Nigel Farage notably argued that a 52:48 vote in June’s Referendum would be “unfinished business”, and for once I believe he was right. As nation we should have a second chance to set the course for the future. By my reckoning, that’s a fine New Year’s Resolution.

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