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I could not agree with that because, if the Prime Minister is to be able to negotiate, he needs to know that his Parliament and this country are behind him. It is the only way to negotiate—if you play poker and you show your trump card in advance, how can you negotiate?
What is behind this Westminster scheming to get another extension of Article 50? We are told that it is to avoid a no-deal Brexit, however that may be defined. In reality, no deal covers several outcomes, none of which can be described as “crashing out”. The plain truth is that we cannot predict with any certainty the economic outcome of Brexit—whichever form it takes—for this country or for the European Union, because this has never been done before. There have been scores, maybe hundreds, of predictions and analyses. For some, no deal is the deepest pit of hell, for others the promised land. Not for nothing did Thomas Carlyle call economics the “dismal science”. I experienced that personally when I worked in financial services. Today, our crystal balls are cloudier than ever.
Some will say that the delay should be used for a second referendum—I am beyond my time, I speak too slowly. This is often wrapped in the pious hypocrisy of a “people’s vote”. But can we do this again? Does anybody in their right mind want to go through that again? I need to finish, because my time is up.
There are other people trying to revoke Article 50. I never thought I would say it, but we must be grateful to the Liberal Democrats. Their leader has given the game away by saying that if we were to vote leave in a second referendum, she would refuse to implement it. At least she has had the decency to come clean and persuade her party to support revoke. We need to move on; we need to try to come together and support the Prime Minister, who is trying to get a deal.