This is a guest post by Mike Galsworthy of Scientists for EU
For those of us that care deeply about British science, our NHS and the environment, there’s an absolute imperative to fight the narrow vision of Britain’s future that a landslide for May would usher in. With science; the absurd immigration target combined with being ripped from our collaborative frameworks of policy, regulation, infrastructure and talent would gut UK science & tech from its fertile bedding. With the NHS, our already strained staffing and finances have become more perilous thanks to Brexit, with losses in innovative medicines and cross-border healthcare following close behind.
A looming US-UK trade deal would likely be led by healthcare companies keen to exploit NHS weaknesses and permanently lock into our national health system. With our environmental standards, the vultures of deregulation are already circling.
Democracy is about more than ticking a box within a limited set of options, then shutting up until you are allowed to tick another box, years later. Democracy is about constant education, conversation, challenge and mobilisation across society. People speaking for themselves.
Since the referendum vote, with the top-down layer peeled away, many groups have continued to emerge and grow on their own terms – determined to have their say. Alongside our own Scientists for EU there are the campaigns Best for Britain, European Movement, Britain for Europe, Open Britain, and countless regional groups. Many of them care little for party politics and are openly driving the tactical vote. There’s a huge appetite to oust the most dangerous Hard Brexiteers and, absent proportional representation, attain balance by coordinated effort.
This is no Remoaner sulk; it is a drive of engagement. Brexit is the Pandora’s Box of our time. It is hard to know at this stage how the volatile landscape will unfold. Remain must be kept on the table, but only to be used as a get-out-of-jail card if the populace clearly wants it. Anything else would indeed be a betrayal.
But let us not forget that things change over time, including economics and even the EU. Macron and Merkel are now discussing previously unthinkable treaty-change. Is there a new European framework to be had?
Ultimately, the position is this; pragmatics must trump wild ideology. The breadth of the British population must have fair representation in deciding our future. We cannot trash our decades of teamwork in science, health, and environment because the tabloid press bellows intimidation. Real solutions that serve the country come from creative compromises, not from rabid ideology head-butting a brick wall. The referendum was a 48-52 divide. That’s Britain. We need a parliament to represent its healthy diversity as we tackle the complexities ahead.