Peter Oborne, the Daily Mail columnist who lives locally, has admitted that he was wrong about Brexit. Peter took part in The Chiswick Calendar’s EU Referendum debate in 2016 and argued that Britain should leave the EU as a matter of democracy, that it was not right for decisions to be made at EU level which should be made by British politicians, and as a matter of principle, for the sake of our sovereignty, we should leave. On Sunday he did a very public volte face, with an article in Open Democray in which he wrote: ‘Today I have to admit that the Brexit project has gone sour. Brexit has paralysed the system. It has turned Britain into a laughing stock. And it is certain to make us poorer and to lead to lower incomes and lost jobs’. There are many who have also changed their minds, according to the polls, but typical of Peter, he is big enough to admit that it and eat humble pie, very publicly for the sake of the national interest.
‘Future generations will damn us’
He told John Humphrys on the Today programme yesterday that he was “still a bit conflicted” but he said in his article that Brexiteers ‘will never be forgiven if and when Brexit goes wrong. Future generations will look back at what we did and damn us’. He argues, as a Brexiteer, that ‘We need to take a long deep breath. We need to swallow our pride, and think again. Maybe it means rethinking the Brexit decision altogether’. When he voted Leave, what he had been looking for was ‘a sensible Brexit’, but he says: ‘There’s zero chance of a sensible Brexit amidst the pandemonium and hysteria at Westminster just now’. Unlike many on in her party, he thinks Theresa May is a ‘hero’. ‘She’s shown immense fortitude and determination which has won her the respect and admiration of decent people. But there comes a moment in life when determination alone turns to madness. When the wisest and best move is to give up and think again’.
‘Barbaric Donald Trump style dystopia’
Looking back to our debate in May of 2016, he said something which I didn’t think at the time was that significant: “There is a school of people who want to leave Europe who want to turn us into something in the mid-Atlantic, you known a sort of barbaric Donald Trump style dystopia, and I don’t want that and I don’t think most sensible people do”. Now it seems chillingly prescient, how much influence this school of thought would have.
How telling that he concludes his article: ‘Finally – and without naming them – I must state that there are many MPs (and not a few journalists) still marching under the Brexit banner who will read this article with a sympathy and support they do not feel able to declare. They too have changed their minds’.
Whether you voted Leave of Remain, his article is well worth reading. I was a strong Brexiteer. Now we must swallow our pride and think again
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See also: Brexit acrimony