Sunday 4 December 2016

10 ways to stop Brexit

It’s impossible to explain pain to someone else. If you’re in pain, someone else might empathise, but if they can’t feel it, they won’t understand it, and they will not have a personal interest in stopping it. It's the same with Brexit.

The warnings about the pain of Brexit didn’t touch people because they didn’t feel it, and so they didn’t believe it. Much better was the rosy, albeit entirely false, vision of Britain after Brexit.

Those of us who believe that Britain’s future will be rosier in the EU than out of it could imagine the pain of Brexit. We believed the overwhelming consensus of expert opinion that Brexit would cause severe damage - and pain - to Britain and Britons. 

But this was all abstract. Imagining pain is nowhere near the same as feeling it for real.

The Brexit vote is now beginning to hurt. People can see, and more importantly, to feel the pain, and this is just the start. The dramatic drop in the value of the pound, as a direct result of the Brexit vote, has hit many British businesses hard. It means the cost of living is going up for everyone, and that hurts. 

There is more Brexit pain ahead, even before Britain has left the EU.

Leave politicians and protagonists are trying to dismiss the pain of Brexit. But just as Remain campaigners found it near-impossible to persuade people to believe in pain they couldn't feel, it’s going to be near-impossible for Leave campaigners to persuade people to dismiss the pain of Brexit that they can feel for real.

The pain of Brexit is the key to stopping Brexit. So long as Britons can directly associate the pain with Brexit, then there is a chance that most Britons will change their minds about Brexit and say: STOP! 

Stopping Brexit will not be easy, and such a campaign is more likely to fail than succeed. But there is a chance, and the prize is immense and worthwhile. 

It will not be enough to change the mind of the country, however. Alongside needs to be a new, serious and determined alliance of anti-Brexit parties and politicians, prepared to cast aside partisan prejudices and lead the nation for the sake of the nation. 

In addition, none of this will count for anything unless there is also a new democratic opportunity for Britain to reconsider Brexit. 

Although beating Brexit may be a tough and almost impossible call, it is achievable. Brexit was not an Act of God. It was the result of a democratic decision. But people can and do change their minds; it’s the entire point of democracy to give voters opportunities to do so. 

For those who want to stop Brexit, the goal now is to change the mood of the nation, and to win an opportunity for Brexit to be reconsidered and possibly stopped, if that is the will of the nation, and before it’s too late.

10 ways to stop Brexit

1. Brexit can be stopped if enough British people decide it should be stopped.

2. Changing minds is the key to stopping Brexit.

3. Britons may say ‘stop’ if Brexit causes pain. (It does; it will.)

4. Explaining Brexit as the direct cause of pain is essential to any new campaign.

5. Britons need to be persuaded that the pain will stop if Brexit is stopped.

6. Britons need a better vision of hope than the one Brexit (falsely) offered them.

7. A new campaign needs to reach out to moderate, fair-minded, middle-of-the-road Britons (the majority).

8. Brexit won’t be stopped by trying to persuade the unpersuadable -  hardened Eurosceptics, racists and xenophobes (the minority).

9. There needs to be a new, serious and determined alliance of anti-Brexit parties and politicians.

10. A campaign needs to win a new democratic opportunity for Britons to reconsider Brexit.

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