Commentary on Jo Johnson Article in the FT after his resignation

I am sure this excellent article will be used in modern history classes in the near future.  But it will also be used in Politics, Philosophy and Economics…..and various other discilplines. My concern is that the Johnson brothers are both too young to remember what the UK was like prior to our  entry into the EEC and the absolute catastrophic economic and social conditions that prevailed in this country at that time. It is also important to underline that it was always the accepted view that UK could not join the EEC without the Republic of Ireland doing so precisely because of the border issue. That was before the Single Market, the Eurozone and the Good Friday Agreement existed! We also tend to forget that the first referendum was held in 1975 and resulted in us remaining in the EEC. To say, as my detractors certainly will, that the EEC was a purely economic construct is to be wilfully blind to the facts. Pro-Europeans at that time were openly proposing a third way between the US and Soviet empires, and one only has to refer to speeches by Churchill and De Gaulle to appreciate some of those arguments.  Indeed, it was some years later that Thatcher and other sceptics tried to dilute the political aspects of the Union by creating the Single Market and by enlargement to the East. Both of those events were, in my opinion (but it is one that is shared by most moderates), outstanding successes that actually increased the political nature of the European Union to the chagrin of many. But that does not mean that the EU was not a primarily political construct before!  So we then come to the second referendum and now the proposal for a third. It is difficult to deny the logic that a third referendum is necessary because the agreement that is now on the table (as opposed to the fantasy presented by the Brexiteers at referendum time) has changed the facts. That would be to try to pretend that the 52% knew that the agreement would end up like this, that they had been informed about the Irish border issue, that they had not been told that billions could be saved and spent on the NHS etcetera. This is all the more logical because of the Brexiteers contention that the 2016 referendum was a recognition that the facts had changed since 1975. The lapse of time might be greater but the facts of the agreement presented are certainly very different to what was presented in the 2016 campaign.

Author: Danny Barrs

Proud to be European, Prison Poet, Humanist, Moderate Vegan, Republican in the UK sense. Music Lover: Schoenberg, Mahler, Boulez, Shostakovich amongst many others Fair weather cyclist, speed walker, amateur mathematician

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