Tony Blair urges Britons to exit Brexit
17 Feb 2017
Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair has urged `Remain' voters of the Brexit referendum to "rise up" against the government's drive for Brexit, which will cause "real damage" to Britain and the embitterment of future generations.
Delivering a keynote speech at the headquarters of the Bloomberg financial news agency in London where David Cameron first set out his plan for an in/out vote on Britain's EU membership, Blair issued a rallying cry against the referendum vote which, he said, was "based on imperfect knowledge".
Blair also launched a direct attack on Theresa May and senior cabinet ministers, who, he said, were highlighting the demerits of Brexit six months ago, but are now seeing it as an "opportunity".
"The Prime Minister and his Government are not masters of this situation, they are not driving the bus. They are being driven," he said
Before the speech even began, Blair's comments prompted a furious backlash from pro-Brexit MPs. Iain Duncan Smith said his comments were "arrogant" and "out of touch".
"What he really means is that he wants the British people to keep on being asked the same question again and again and again until they get it right. It just shows how arrogant and out of touch he and his friends in the political elite are. It's complete nonsense.
"I suppose he learnt this disregard for democracy over the last few years from the friends he was advising in Kazakhstan."
Brexit supporters are emboldened by the events of the last few weeks and months and are now seeking a hard Brexit that, would only deprive Britain of many areas of European co-operation that have benefited the country.
Theresa May is now threatening to take Britain out of Europe without any deal whatsoever, giving a leg-up to ideological Brexiteers and their cheerleaders who have no clear vision of a post-Brexit Britain.
According to Blair, ''the people voted without knowledge of the true terms of Brexit. As these terms become clear, it is their right to change their mind.''
This is common sense logic. An extreme, destructive Brexit was not on the ballot paper, and the voters should have the right to judge the final deal if that is what is on offer, say `Remainers''.
The government says it will deliver the ''exact same benefits'' outside the single market as it was when within it. But, if they do not deliver and negotiate a trade deal that would cause economic pain, people should be able to judge if that is in their personal interest and the national interest.
Britain needs all options on the table because accepting the referendum result is not the same thing as accepting the outcome of every political choice subsequently made.
The government will now have to move beyond hard Brexit to `Brexit At Any Cost' to keep their pledge that will hurt Britons the most.