A Second Brexit Referendum Would be NO Failure of Democracy and is the Only Realistic Option Available

Sick of Brexit? Me too! But we are where we are, thanks to David Cameron asking us all a question, that most of us weren’t actually thinking about. If nothing else, the Brexit debacle has shown us that complicated issues cannot be dealt with by simple yes/no answers and our current political system is pretty defunct!

 

It seems the Prime Minister, Theresa May, unlikely to remain in her post for much longer, has

(Photo by Leon Neal/Getty Images)

failed to find a way through the mine field of trying to please all sides. However had she been more collaborative and inclusive in her leadership style, reaching out across the house from the beginning of the negotiations, we might not be in quite such a mess.

 

We are now left with only 2 workable options. Realistically, there is no ‘deal’ that is going to make it through parliament. There is too much resistance from one faction or another to make that possible. Therefore, we EITHER leave the EU with no deal – something which would be potentially catastrophic for the people of Ireland (north and south) and indeed for the economy, at least in the short term, (which when you work in public services, including the NHS, after years of austerity, would be completely unacceptable ) OR we remain in the EU.

 

We certainly know far more now than we did when we voted a couple of years ago. When we voted last time, there were hyperbole and deception on both sides. We have proven that it is impossible to have a soft Brexit – it’s simply unworkable, due to the complexities and factions involved, and it basically means remaining in the EU but with far less influence. We are now much more clear about what the question actually is. So, we either leave with no deal and face the consequences, or we remain. The negotiations have failed, the options are now in front of us and there is no other way forward but to ask the people again.  We have now heard the arguments, we’ve participated in a much more detailed debate and so it is time to make sure that the British people really want to leave the EU, now that the terms are more clear. A General Election will offer us very little, especially as people seem overwhelmingly unsure of who to vote for! In my opinion, a 2nd referendum is now the only way we can clear up this mess. This is not a betrayal of democracy – it is democracy in action!

 

 

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Heathrow and Health

If MPs are serious about the health of the population (and it seems they are, given recent promises of increased funding for the NHS), then when they vote later today about whether or not Heathrow airport should get a third runway and therefore a programme of expansion, they should ask them selves the following questions:

 

  1. Are we taking seriously the Public Health England, World Health Organisation and World Health Innovation Summit advice seriously to write health into ALL policies? If so, will the expansion of Heathrow improve or worsen health outcomes, given that air pollution is the second biggest attributal cause to early death in England? How much consideration is given to health outcomes currently when it comes to transport, energy or business policies?
  2. Will the expansion of Heathrow prevent exposures to hazards that cause disease or injury? We know that pollution is worse in our more deprived, urban populations. We know that people in these areas are more likely to suffer with respiratory conditions, such as asthma and COPD. Therefore we must ask, is the expansion of Heathrow likely to improve respiratory conditions in London or worsen them?
  3. Will the expansion of Heathrow help to tackle the underlying social determinants of health? No, as Kate Raworth (Doughnut Economics) and Greg Fell (DPH for Sheffield) have demonstrated, sadly it won’t. It may help certain businesses to thrive, and may help stave off some of the economic downturn post Brexit, but the premise is still built on the idea that trickle down economics works and helps to tackle inequality (and therefore health inequality), which it does not.

 

It seems very odd to be making a promise to invest more money in the NHS, whilst acting through other policies to actually make health worse. Some very clear thought is needed ahead of this vote.

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Lessons From Helsinkii

Tweet I’m just returning from 36 hours with the Coalition of Partners for Europe, as part of the World Health Organisation. There were a further 2 days of conversations to occur, but I needed to get back to Morecambe Bay. I have learned so much during my short time with this amazing group of people, [Continue Reading …]

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Understanding Brexit (and Trump)

Tweet I’ve been doing a bit of thinking about how the Brexit and Trump campaigns were so successful. (I owe most of ths thought process to a very inspiring session about our shadow selves from Paul and Angie Woods, during a weekend focussed on the Enneagram). What was it, apart from the arguments made and [Continue Reading …]

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