Brexit regret is growing and the campaign to rejoin the EU will come, but not quite yet – Scotsman comment
The sense of regret over Brexit is growing. According to a new survey by BMG Research for the i newspaper, 14 per cent of people who voted to leave the European Union would vote to stay if they could turn back time, while just four per cent of Remainers would change their minds.
The pollsters also found many people thought Brexit has had a negative rather than a positive effect on the economy, with a net score of minus 42 per cent, the NHS (minus 23 per cent) and the UK’s standing in the world (minus 27). Furthermore, nearly two-thirds believed leaving the EU has made the cost-of-living crisis worse.
Given figures like these, some EU supporters will be infuriated with opposition politicians like Keir Starmer who refuse to countenance rejoining and instead talk about how they want to “make Brexit work”. Writing in the Daily Express, the Labour leader said: “Britain’s future is outside the EU. Not in the single market, not in the customs union, not with a return to freedom of movement. Those arguments are in the past, where they belong.”
However, it is simply too early to start plotting another referendum. Brexit is still an article of faith for many voters and the EU will be wary about welcoming back a UK that remains divided on the issue. There needs to be a clear and persistent majority in favour, a clamour that cannot be ignored, before it should be contemplated. This is not about a failure of political courage, but a pragmatic assessment of our current situation.
That said, there will almost certainly come a time, in perhaps five to ten years, when still-sore divisions have healed, passions have subsided and hard reality has set in. That will be the moment to have a serious national conversation about a return to the EU fold – whether Starmer likes it or not.
Until then, voters should back politicians who are willing to work constructively with our allies in Brussels, on issues like security, trade and migration, and beware those who paint dubious visions of a promised land.
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