A week after the original date set for the UK to leave the European Union, there is still no firm plan for how to do so. The Prime Minister has sought a further extension of the Article 50 process, but it remains unclear how the different factions in the House of Commons can be brought together. Jim Gallagher argues that the citizens’ assembly process might offer a way around the current impasse.
With parliament unable to agree away forward on Brexit, the only option other than ‘no deal’ is a long delay for the UK to rethink its approach. Europe is still open to this, but says it needs a ‘strong justification’.
Citizens’ Assemblies offer a new way to resolve the issue and help unite the country during that period.
A no plan Brexit and broken public trust
The Tory party’s search for a quick, simple fix, largely driven by its internal needs, has defined the Europe debate so far. Contrast this with Harold Macmillan’s decision to apply for membership in 1961, based on a deep and comprehensive analysis, or Labour’s 23 volumes on whether to join the euro. Little wonder Westminster and Whitehall failed to secure a workable agreement, and that few members of the public find it possible to support the options now on the table.
This present deadlock is reason enough to bring the public back into the debate. But, more importantly, we have not just a government unable to lead but a public unwilling to be led. 68% of people now feel none of the main political parties speaks for them. ‘Betrayal’ and ‘treason’ are the everyday language of debate. Remain supporters say the referendum was won by lies and stolen data; Leave supporters feel robbed of a clean break with Europe.
A last minute compromise deal, with far-reaching economic and social consequences, conjured up behind closed doors in Westminster, will not get public acceptance from either Remainers or Leavers. People already deeply distrust the Brexit political process. Continue reading