Richer in or Richer out? Is Brexit Ref 2.0 realistic?

I understand the arguments made by Justine Greening for a second Brexit referendum; it is trying to ask the question that should have been asked in the first one: list what would you prefer?

The first referendum was based on unproven arguments of richer in or richer out. There was nothing about how we would do this.

As the political interviewer Andrew Neil and other commentators have pointed out (time and time again), there were plenty of mentions of leaving the Customs Union and Single Market during the campaign, but in the deluge of guesswork about what it all meant from both campaigns, well I think it left most people’s heads spinning. And no one said HOW we would extricate ourselves from those bits. It is not surprising therefore that some (many?) missed some of these points of precision unless they were regular viewers of the BBC’s Daily Politics.

I voted to stay in, not for financial reasons but for the reason the European project was put together in the first place; becoming politically close with European friends and former foes using trade as the excuse to do so. Basically, to prevent a resurgence of nationalism; the kind of nationalism my parents fought a war against. (You can argue whether with populist parties on the rise, that fight is being lost again anyway).

But, the problem with a second referendum is that though now the voters can see truly how complicated this all is, and have witnessed the complications ignored during the first referendum, it has become such a ridiculous mess on both sides of the argument that for us voters it is like wading through treacle.

People are understandably more confused than ever!

I don’t even blame Prime Minister Theresa May for this mess. It is such a quagmire that I think whichever leader from whichever party had tried to get through this would have ended up exactly where she is; up “la Manche” without a paddle.

Labour politicians are vaguely pretending they agree with each other, but they don’t really. Keir Starmer talks a good talk, but is light on detail; the kind of detail that is tripping up the Tory negotiators. (I know they say they have lots of detail, but it is all the fluffy stuff, not the impossibility of what the negotiators are trying to wade through behind closed doors.)

The SNP are fairly secure on their argument that we should not be leaving, but with the polls on Scottish Independence looking little different to the result of that referendum in 2014, they are stuck with blowing Eurozone-coloured smoke rings.

UKIP has seen a small rise in its popularity in the last few days, but the party is in such a mess that it is probably meaningless for the moment. (It might chang; who knows?)

The Lib Dems are suffering from the leadership of Vince Cable. I am not sure whether he is really out of touch with the mood of the country or not, but he SOUNDS like he is, and that is important. However much they argue their case, they come across as having no authority; not just because of a shortage of MPs but because they lack the charisma to sell the message, good or bad.

So could anyone do a better job than May?

I doubt it. Not from the Tories or from Labour, and the rest don’t count. The problem is not the abilities of the politicians or even those doing the real work behind the scenes; the problem is the problem itself. No country has ever left the EU. No country with the UK’s GDP has tried to make this kind of arrangement with the EU having left. There is no system in place to facilitate such a move simply because it is impossible to plan for. The UK is not Canada or Norway or Switzerland. Every country is different and has different needs, and we are starting from a different place anyway.

And you cannot just up and leave the EU — there are a ton of practical things that have to be untangled, some of which are important like scientific, medical and security cooperation.

Let alone the problem of the Northern Ireland border with the Republic of Ireland. Did that get mentioned last time around? Probably, but I don’t remember it now. It was all too England based.

So any politician who tries to sell me on the idea that their leader would have done a better job, well, they are either lying or are delusional.

If we end up with a second referendum or a general election, the voters might want to ponder that problem, because they may not find themselves in any less of a mess than we are in already.


Author, poet, musician and writer of the huge fantasy Saga Dirt. Find out more at my blog:

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store
CC Hogan, Author

Author, poet, musician and writer of the huge fantasy Saga Dirt. Find out more at my blog: