Nothing new in this topic but hopefully this explanation will reduce the problem to easy to digest essentials.
The UK Independence Party was having little success electing MPs to parliament so why did David Cameron grant a referendum asking if Britain should stay or leave in the EU? The reason was that UKIP took more votes away from the Conservatives than Labour. In a first past the post voting system the loss of 10-20% of the vote can have a disproportionate effect. If UKIP had taken away the votes equally from Labour and the Conservatives, they could have been safely ignored. With the Conservatives offering a referendum there was then no point in voting for UKIP.
The referendum asked, “Should the United Kingdom remain a member of the European Union or leave the European Union?”. This question was simple and commendably unbiased. If the Remain side had won, as David Cameron and most people expected there would have been no problem with this question, but the Leave side won 52%/48%. Now the very simplicity of the question is a problem since it defines in no way at all ANY other condition. Did the leavers expect to be better off? We don’t know. Did they want to restrict immigration? Probably but its only a guess. From the question no other condition is specified for or against.
As an aside to the main story the Europeans were especially unhelpful giving David Cameron virtually no concessions because they expected the Remain side to win easily so felt no need. Especially unhelpful Angela Merkel suggested a German immigration policy which encouraged a million migrants to flood into Europe over several months in 2015. For months the BBC gave all round coverage of long migrant columns entering Europe. Presumably the BBC thought this would create sympathy, but it had an opposite effect and was within easy memory of the referendum in June 2016. As the vote was close at 52%/48% this unnecessary policy I think was a decisive factor in swinging the vote to Leave. I had been an enthusiastic European, buying EU stickers for my car, but I thought that if the EU lacks the will to defend its own borders then its not safe to stay in. Since the Brexit vote much of Europe has swung to the Right. Angela Merkel’s immigration policy has done more to undermine Europe than any other.
Back to the main story. So, after the Brexit vote David Cameron resigned and Teresa May promised to implement Brexit which she did slowly from June 2016 to March 2017 when Article 50 was triggered to leave Europe. In June 2017 with a massive poll lead over Labour, Teresa May called an election. Its looked like a sure thing. It should have been a sure thing but Teresa May decided that now was the time to unveil an elderly care policy which would deprive many elderly people of their savings. Whatever the virtue or necessity of this policy it went down like a lead balloon with Conservative voters who tend to be older. Labour had smartly offered to abolish university tuition fees for its younger voters. So Teresa May managed to turn a small but absolute conservative majority to an even smaller majority which could only be maintained with the DUP.
The Labour party were helpful in voting for Article 50 but have now adopted 6 tests for Brexit (Ref www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics…). Now 5 of the tests are fairly vague (see the Ref) but “Ensuring same benefits currently enjoyed within single market” is impossible to achieve as can only be granted by the EU. Effectively it gives the EU a veto on the Brexit process. The main benefit to the Labour party is that this ensures that they can always vote against any actual Brexit proposal. I don’t think this is because Labour is against Brexit. Its split on the issue as are the Conservatives but gaining power is more important that honouring the democratically expressed referendum result.
The main difficulty of the Brexit process is that 477 out of 650 MPs are remainers. (Ref www.ibtimes.co.uk/full-list-re…). Although they have said they will respect the decision to leave it is easy for them to sabotage the process BY VOTING DOWN ANY PARTICULAR SOLUTION OFFERED TO THEM. Bit like agreeing to get married in principle but objecting to any real person offered.
Teresa May would like to have been Margaret Thatcher but faced with a very slim majority (of her own making) and an uncooperative parliament with a remain majority she has very limited options. I am hoping that the Conservative party will still vote through some kind of Brexit, even if it’s a Brexit for the 48% instead of the 52% who actually voted for it. We will then have to take years to fix things.
Any Brexit deal is bound to be bad because the majority remainer MPs want it to be bad and the EU with the weak UK position will find it easy to make it bad. Faced with a bad deal or no deal the remainer MPs are talking about a second referendum. This would have the attraction of putting to the British people a bad deal, negotiated not by people who believed in Brexit, but by those who did not. This device would get the MPs off the hook of claiming they would respect a democratic decision but not actually in the event.
It seems clear to me now that Brexit will unravel with the remain MPs and House of Lords not respecting the democratic decision although they won’t mind this as long as they can blame somebody else. Truth is you will not get a decent Brexit until you replace the MPs. This should be quite easy because as stated at the beginning of this essay 10 to 20% of the voters can have a disproportionate effect on a first past the post election system. So if you can replace your local remain MP by joining the local party, do so. If not you will have to vote UKIP. Even if UKIP don’t win if they ensure the other party wins it will be enough to encourage the loser to change their minds.