I’m due to debate the philosopher A.C. Grayling on Saturday about whether there should be a second EU referendum on the terms of the Brexit deal. It is part of a two-day event being held at Central Hall, Westminster, on ‘Brexit and the political crash’. It is billed as a ‘convention’, an opportunity for all sides in this debate to discuss Britain’s future, but the reference to the ‘political crash’ is a giveaway. Brexit isn’t a revolt against out-of-touch elites or even a new departure that may or may not be good for the country. No, it is a ‘crash’, as in ‘car crash’ or ‘economic crash’. In reality, the ‘convention’ will be a viper’s nest of die-hard Remainiacs. The roster of speakers includes Alastair Campbell, Gina Miller, Nick Clegg, Alan Rusbridger and Ian McEwan.
I will set out the arguments against a second referendum as best as I can, but my heart won’t really be in it. By that, I don’t mean it’s something I’m on the fence about. Rather, it’s so preposterous that it’s beneath contempt. Does A.C. Grayling really think there will be enough time for Britain to agree a draft deal with the rest of the EU, organise a second referendum and, if the deal’s rejected, negotiate another deal before the two-year, Article 50 clock runs out? Or is the idea that if the deal is rejected, the clock will stop ticking and Britain will simply remain in the EU on exactly the same terms as before, with the results of the first referendum being completely disregarded? That’s not a serious political position. That’s magical thinking. (To read more, click here.)