I’ve been thinking about the upcoming elections for the European Parliament. This really a vote about Brexit.
I didn’t want the Brexit referendum in 2016and I voted to remain. I regarded the outcome we got as as disastrous if predictable, both because it seemed to reflect a narrow isolationist view of our place in the world and because it was mostly older voters who took this position whereas it’s the younger ones who will have to live with the consequences. I also thought the leaving process would be very difficult although not as difficult as it is turning out to be.
A lot of those who voted to remain now want a second referendum but I doubt the wisdom of this. I haven’t changed my mind about Brexit itself but I don’t think a new referendum would be decisive and it might well make matters worse if there were a narrow margin in favour of remain. It would be widely seen by leavers as a betrayal of our democracy.
All this makes the decision on how to vote in the forthcoming European Parliament election very difficult. Yesterday I heard my namesake Alistair Campbell (Tony Blair’s former political aide) say that he didn’t know how to vote. I’m in the same situation. I hope I’ll have worked it out by next week.
Note added 23 May 2019
Well, I finally decided to vote for Brexit. What helped me to make up my mind was a remark on Newsnight last night by Lord Sacks, the former Chief Rabbi. He spoke of the need to sustain democracy, using the analogy of a parent whose children have taken what one thinks is a wrong decision which one nevertnheless should nevertheless support. A bit patronising,perhaps, but it’s what I’ve been feeling myself. Our demonracy is shaky just now and I don’t think it will stand the shock of the 2016 vote being ignored.