Friday, 10 August 2018

National Eisteddfod Bro Myrddin August 9th 1974

Gwynoro's address as President of the Day

The reel tape recording has only very recently been discovered when clearing my late step mother’s house in Cefneithin who passed away unexpectedly on June 11th this year. My father had kept the recording in his bureau since way back then and he had died in 2004. But the tape remained undiscovered. 

Now it has come to light - 44 years on. Upon seeing it I immediately remembered that such a reel tape was sent to me soon after the event but in the hurly burly of that autumn and the October 1974 general election it was all forgotten about.

Tim Hamill of sonic-one studio ( ) in Llangennech has turned it into a CD and also this video. He has first class facilities and will certainly use them fairly frequently in the coming year.

In a few days I will post another account of the event. Plaid Cymru created quite a fuss over the fact that I had been chosen to preside at the Eisteddfod and deliver a speech. Also there was good description in the Western Mail of the occasion.

For now, here is the video. 

Saturday, 26 May 2018

'One million Labour voters who backed Brexit two years ago are having second thoughts'

Survey shows that  public opinion is stirring.

The message to Jeremy Corbyn and the Labour Party is clear

I repeat and represent in this post extracts from Peter Kellner's article in Prospect Magazine where he analysis YouGov polling involving voting data from over 23,000 respondents which gathered at the time of the 2016 EU referendum and 2017 General Election.

The data on the shifts in public attitudes comes from  voters that YouGov has questioned since the start of the year. Respondents are asked whether Britain was right or wrong to vote for Brexit in 2016. Thirteen of 14 polls this year show slightly more people saying “wrong” than “right.” - a small but consistent net move away from Brexit.

Significant numbers of younger Leave voters, as well as those supporting Labour in last year’s election, no longer think Brexit is right for Britain.

While movements have indeed been small among many sections, they have been much larger in some politically important groups.

Labour voters.

They divided two-to-one for Remain in the referendum.  However, YouGov’s combined data, which includes 7,671 people who voted Labour at the general election last year, reveals a marked shift.

While only 7 % of Labour-Remain voters are having second thoughts (changing their minds or saying “don’t know”), as many as 28% of Labour-Leave voters no longer back Brexit. Now Labour’s voters divide almost three-to-one in saying Brexit was the wrong choice. 

The table below contrasts the groups where second thoughts are most prevalent with those where voters are overwhelmingly standing firm. Apart from Labour-Leave voters, buyers’ remorse is greatest among voters under 40 who voted Leave, especially women and working-class C2DE voters. (Older women and working-class voters have shifted far less.) Of the major demographic and political groups, only among Conservatives are more than 15% of Remain voters having second thoughts.

Only two really significant groups now favour Brexit more than they did: 

Conservative voters (from 72-28% to 75-25% in favour of Brexit) 


Voters over 65 (from 66-34% to 67-33%).

The effects of older, mainly Leave, voters dying—and younger, mainly Remain, voters are joining the electorate -

Since the referendum around 1.2m electors have died, while 1.4m have joined the electorate. If we extrapolate from YouGov’s data from the youngest and oldest voters, and take account of variations in turnout by age, then

I reckon that around 600,000 Leave voters, and 300,000 Remain voters have died; while 650,000 young Remainers and 150,000 Leave supporters have joined the voting population. 

Combine these figures, and these demographic factors have given us 350,000 extra Remain voters and 450,000 fewer Leave voters.

Present situation 

In the  2016 referendum, the 17.4m Leave voters outnumbered the 16.1m Remain voters by 1.3m.

Demography has already reduced that lead by more than half. At this rate, Remain will take the lead by late next year, even if not one person changes their mind. 

Add in the second thoughts now apparent in some groups who voted Leave two years ago, there is a real prospect that a fresh referendum would reverse the decision that the electorate took last time.

Currently the overall impact of all the shifts outlined above is to convert a narrow pro-Leave majority at the time of the 2016 referendum to a small pro-Remain majority today.

Thursday, 24 May 2018

Elystan Morgan in discussion with Gwynoro on renaming the Severn Bridge, a Royal Residence in Wales and Rod Liddle

Renaming of the Severn Bridge

With some 40,000 having signed a petition against the proposal by Secretary of State for Wales to rename the Severn Bridge - Prince of Wales Bridge - here is Lord Elystan Morgan's take on it all.

Answers questions such as why such a proposal came about and why the Welsh Government acquiesced in the whole episode;

What does it say about political leaders in Wales and of what significance is the proposed renaming of this gateway to Wales, 
and much more including quoting from Shakespeare's Henry 1V and the rebellion of Owain Glyndwr.  

Discusses Gorwel’s study advocating a Royal Residence in Wales.

Elystan considers that such a proposal does not elevate us as a land and nation at all;

Reminds us of the Act of Union, and the effort to subsume the whole life of Wales in the Crown;

Sees it as 'a remnant of imperialism festooned in the cobwebs of our life';

Considers what is Wales, where and why these ideas emerge and from time to time;
Finally what about the claim it will bring tourists to Wales and boost our economy.

This the last video in the latest series regarding Rod Liddle's outburst

Liddle in early April commented on the Welsh people and the issue of the renaming of the Severn Bridge said - 
'The Welsh, or some of them, are moaning that a motorway bridge linking their rain-sodden valleys with the first world is to be renamed. They would prefer it to be called something decipherable with no real vowels, such as Ysgythgymingwchgwch Bryggy. Let the have their way. So long as it allows people to get out of the place pronto'.;

Here is Elystan's response is that he regards Liddle as 'an object of pity and contempt' including advising him to 'learn a little'. Then his memorable phrase on the 'cobwebs of imperialism' and quotes Kipling's words of the Irish 'What know they of England that only England knows' reversing that in relation to Wales.

Wednesday, 2 May 2018

Labour and Lib Dem parties in Scotland support the Holyrood SNP government opposition to the Westminster devolution power grab

It is a huge mistake for the Welsh government and the Welsh Labour Party to have succumbed so meekly at the end.

For too long and too often Welsh Labour and other politicians in Wales have been far too eager to fall into line with the Westminster/Whitehall establishment.

The yoke of subservience and the imperial past endures. A failure of understanding and appreciation of the implications of what it means to be a Land and nation. 


The EU (Withdrawal) Bill’s devolution clauses are substantial. Seemingly, they describe an interim process, but when reviewed alongside the considerable powers given to UK ministers generally, the passages cause discomfort, if not alarm, in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
A successful Brexit settlement cannot be constructed by the UK government alone, demanding a partnership approach in negotiations with the devolved administrations.

The constitutional and political consequences of not doing so would indeed be serious and damaging for future relations. In this context, the Sewel Convention has some part to play, particularly as the UK is not underpinned by a written constitution assigning powers evidently to different tiers of government.  Sewel presumes that Westminster should not legislate on devolved matters without consent,

These aims to my mind are not capable of achievement unless a very specific mechanism is created to serve them. At the moment the government maintains that the Joint Ministerial Committee adequately performs this task. The fact that it meets so seldom, produces no agenda or minutes reveal it to be the empty talking shop that it was intended to be.

Devolution should never be seen as an end in itself. It is true that it is a progressive and ameliorative concept that brings about the reality of the principle of subsidiarity. There is however a dimension beyond devolution and that is Home Rule, namely the recognition of the constitutional and moral right of a Nation community to self determination. Whereas in relation to devolution, its beneficiaries can always say ‘’thank you, bless you carry on with the good work’’ in the context of Home Rule the relevant and seminal question is ‘’what have you withheld’’.

With the ongoing devolution deficit and Brexit negotiations, there is an absolute need for a UK -wide Constitutional Convention, involving all political parties and elements of British society, to discuss the future of the Union within a framework of mutual respect and unanimity, promoting a real partnership of equals across the isles.


The economy of Wales is decidedly reliant on membership of the EU single market, especially the agricultural and manufacturing sectors. Wales is a substantial net beneficiary of EU funding and two-thirds of its exports and over 30% of services sent to Europe annually. Also, the single market has been a key driver of foreign investment for decades. There is a real risk that vital matters concerning Wales could be neglected during the latter stages of the EU withdrawal negotiations.

That is why it is concerning that an agreement has apparently been reached between the Welsh and Westminster governments over the retention by Westminster for seven years of 24 delegated powers that are already devolved, to enable common frameworks across the UK to be developed. Of course there are inherent dangers in such a settlement not the least of which is the potential for the Westminster government to extend the period beyond seven years.

That is why the UK needs statutory intergovernmental frameworks to resolve differences and ensure the opinions of every devolved parliament is heard in areas of common. Such a structured statutory body would be charged with day to day monitoring of Brexit upon the countries concerned. A homogenous approach as advocated by the Prime Minister is a sham and a nonsense which can very well betray the individual needs of the devolved authorities.

Indeed as we further progress over the next few years fundamental reform is essential in ensuring a greater formal role for the devolved administrations within UK decision-making post-Brexit, analogous to that offered by federal or confederal systems of governance.

Thursday, 15 March 2018

Post Feb 1974 a defining period for Gwynoro in the Labour Party and social democracy

Did he ask for trouble? - probably did

From then on throughout the 1970s his fate was sealed within the party

Although he did not realise it until 1978

Not only did Gwynoro have a majority of 3 but after Ted Heath had failed to come to an agreement to form an administration with Jeremy Thorpe and the Liberals, Harold Wilson formed a minority Labour government; Despite Heath's mishandling of the miners' strike Labour failed to break through as it should have.

The issue of the left versus the moderates in the party had been building up ever since the division s within Labour whether to join the European Economic Community;
Sometime in late February or early March the Labour Parliamentary Party called a meeting to examine what went wrong in the General Election; It was at that meeting that he voiced concerns over the leftward drift which was electorally damaging to the party in many parts of the country.

Also at that time he was Roy Jenkins’s Parliamentary Secretary. 

Having made his stand he felt that there was no choice now but to up the anti as it were, so in deliberations with Cledwyn Hughes, a statement was prepared that was released in his name and the ITN news picked it up. So he was asked to come on their one o'clock news programme

The statement went along the lines -

 that 'the captain of the ship (Harold Wilson) in the middle of a hurricane does not attend a meeting called by the first mate (Tony Benn) to discuss the next voyage'.

After that in June 1974 he wrote an open letter to the Labour Party members in the Carmarthen Constituency, extracts included -

' I cannot any longer conceal my acute concern about some developments in the Labour Party which will in my view not enhance the prospects of the party and will also affect the long term unity of the Labour Movement .....I happen to believe strongly in the principles of Social Democracy'.

Although Dick Taverne had made a stand in 1971/72 and indeed argued for the setting up of the SDP then it is considered that this was the first time after that for a sitting Labour MP to have publicly made such a strong reference to principles of social democracy.

Needless to say it caused a stir and there were people in the Labour Party that wanted him disciplined, whip taken from him etc but Michael Foot came to his defence.

He concluded - did he ask for trouble? he probably did and from then on throughout the 1970s his fate was sealed within the party.

Although he did not realise it until late 1979, but more about that in an upcoming video.

Tuesday, 13 March 2018

Podcast - Martin Shipton in wide ranging discussion talks with Gwynoro

The three epic elections in Carmarthen

Two parties were literally at war with each other

Divisions within the Labour party, formation of the SDP and Lib Dems

How Brexit has made me open to an independent Wales 

Podcast link - 

Link to Western Mail article - highlight and right click

Monday, 26 February 2018

I remember a much more terrifying ‘Beast from the East’

The winter of 1946/47 when I was just four and a half years old

Snow on the ground for three months from mid January 1947

Throughout the last 30 years I have become increasingly intrigued by how wintry weather, ‘storm winds’ and especially prospect of a cold spell, snow and freezing conditions take over the tabloid media with sensational headlines and weather forecasters go into overdrive.

So it has been last 48 hours with newspaper headlines and media warnings about the 'Beast from the East'

In the UK we don’t really understand or experience seriously severe weather conditions be they storms, floods, snow or freezing really entails. Yet in vast areas of the world people exist day to day, travel to work and have to just get on with it. I often watch programmes on the Discovery and other factual channels for example ones about Alaska, the last frontier and the Dalton Highway for example.

The only very cold weather I have experienced was two or three times whilst on work visits to Sweden where at December time the temperature was -25 degrees.

Anyway freezing weather is upon us and maybe a few inches of snow – I bet it will be reason enough to disrupt travel, intention of turning up for work, school closures and the like. I won’t comment further on all that here.

The intention of this post is to remind everyone of a much more severe, damaging and considerably longer lasting ‘Beast’ that hit the UK in early 1947.

Seventy years ago, from late January until mid March, easterly winds drove a succession of snowstorms across the UK resulting in what was believed to have been the snowiest winter since the mid-nineteenth century. Six weeks of snow, which began on January 23, led to thousands of people being cut off by snowdrifts. As the UK was recovering from the effects of the Second World War, the armed forces were called upon to clear roads and railways of snowdrifts that were up to seven meters deep in places.
According to records, snow fell every day somewhere in the UK for 55 days and because the temperature on most days barely exceeded freezing, much of the snow settled. Indeed I have a childhood recollection that it remained on the ground in the surrounding villages into April.
The winter had severe effects on British industries, causing the loss of around 10% of the year's industrial production, 10 - 20% of cereal and potato crops, and 25% of sheep stocks.
Like the Carmarthenshire historian Arwyn Thomas who has written about experiencing the great snow of 1947 I describe in this video from my YouTube channel recollections of those days.

Monday, 19 February 2018

Pamphlet—Brexit, Devolution and the Changing Union: 2018

A series of short articles by Lord David Owen, Gwynoro Jones, Lord Elystan Morgan and Glyndwr Cennydd Jones with an afterword by Martin Shipton.

The pamphlet explores the need for a UK-wide Constitutional Convention—with involvement of all political parties and elements of British society—to discuss the future of the Union, particularly in the context of Brexit…

‘The UK Government’s approach to Brexit negotiations with the EU has been characterised by a lack of engagement with political reality, overlaid by a mentality of seeking to have one’s cake and eat it…'

'Such an approach, when replicated domestically, poses a huge threat to devolution, as well, of course, to the economic well-being of the UK as a whole. It demonstrates perfectly why the kind of constitutional debate advocated in this pamphlet is so vital.’

Martin Shipton: Political Author and Chief Reporter of Media Wales.

By the authors of the booklet ‘Towards Federalism and Beyond…’ which explores  the future of the UK Union generally and Wales’s status within it specifically, including a preface written by Martin Shipton. The booklet was released in September 2017 to coincide with the 20th anniversary of the vote to establish the National Assembly of Wales. 

Wednesday, 14 February 2018

The historic Carmarthen election of February 1974

Couldn't recall the exact number of recounts thinks it was four!

Describes that historic election and the two days of the count 

The count commenced 10.00 p.m.Thursday night. was held over at about 4 p.m Friday morning and recommenced on the Friday with a final result late Friday evening;

Refers how the fact Huw Thomas ( of ITN News fame ) the Liberal candidate in 1970 did not stand this time - made a difference to the outcome;
The checking of spoilt and unperforated ballot papers some 100 of them;
Describes the final moments when Gwynfor's majority of one became his majority of three;
In hindsight reckons he should have conceded defeat when Gwynfor was ahead by one - and explains his reasoning;
Found himself on the Council of Europe and in addition to Parliamentary duties took him away from the constituency during a crucial 6 months.

Friday, 26 January 2018

Gwynoro returns to videoing 2018 - Here discusses the Brexit ongoings

Reviews the first 3 weeks of the year, mainly in relation to Brexit.

Begins with David Davis in his letter advising Mrs May that the EU is preparing papers about the consequences of a 'No Deal' scenario. Well little wonder, who after all have been saying that a 'No Deal is better than a Bad Deal'.  Mrs May even threatening to appoint a 'No Deal' Minister to prepare for such an eventuality. Of course that was always just a gimmick by Mrs May to keep her right wing EuroSceptics happy. The appointed never happened.

Then Hammond and Davis went to Germany and told businessmen there that the problem with these Brexit negotiations is the EU is not telling the UK what it wants. What? - who is leaving? Its the government's place to decide what it wants. But of course on that they are hopelessly divided.

But it was not over yet. President Macron 'came to town' and laid it on the  line to Mrs May that you cannot have the benefits like they are now and be outside the Single Market. Obvious really but the Tory Cabinet for party political reasons have been saying such things will be possible.

The video mentions other matters including Corbyn and Trump.

Sunday, 21 January 2018

Would Boris’s Bridge to Calais work

''Hello, Hello is that the AA''?

'' I am on the bridge some eleven miles from Calais''.

In my days as Research and Public Relations officer for the Labour Party in Wales 1969-70 whilst on training days at Transport House, London I was always reminded that very often a picture is worth much more than a thousand words.

Well how about this?

The panicky motorist received this message back  -[

"We're very sorry, our sensors are detecting that your signal is coming from just past the half-way point. Since Brexit we do not provide any services in continental Europe. You will have to contact a French breakdown service. Good luck..."

Friday, 19 January 2018

Brexit, Wales Act 2017 and the Changing Union

This article first appeared on the Institute of Welsh Affairs' website on 18th January 2018.

Lord David Owen, Gwynoro Jones, Lord Elystan Morgan and Glyndwr Cennydd Jones discuss the need for a constitutional convention to run alongside the EU withdrawal discussions…

Opening, Lord Elystan Morgan states: ‘Despite the devolution of the last two decades, the UK today remains one of the most concentrated systems of parliamentary government in the democratic world. There is a desperate need for a UK-wide constitutional convention, with involvement of all political parties and elements of British society to discuss the future of the Union, particularly in the context of Brexit.’

Lord David Owen elaborates: ‘In light of the Brexit vote, Theresa May has convened talks involving the leaders of the devolved administrations. The Prime Minister could call together this same forum to start an initial dialogue on the UK constitution, confirming terms of reference, participants and timelines for reporting back from a convention.’

Gwynoro Jones asks: ‘At the heart of this debate is the question of what will Labour do? Any major constitutional reform cannot happen without its serious involvement and active participation.’

Lord David Owen responds: ‘If the Prime Minister does not embrace an all-party convention then the Labour Party and SNP should forge an initial agreement, with the aim of building a cross-party approach capable of involving others. While it would be unfortunate not to have the assistance of Whitehall, the effects of this can be negated by use of academics, thereby ensuring quality of discussions.’

Gwynoro Jones declares: ‘The EU (Withdrawal) Bill, unless radically amended, will have significant implications for the current devolution settlement. An area of particular concern to Belfast, Cardiff and Edinburgh is what will happen to those powers and responsibilities now delegated from Brussels, through Westminster, to the devolved administrations on matters such as agriculture and rural affairs? Will they be taken back up the chain to London in time, thus completely undermining the arrangements in place?’   

Lord Elystan Morgan asserts: ‘I am rapidly coming to the conclusion that Wales is being short changed in regards to devolution. This assertion firstly rests on the willingness of Her Majesty’s Government to contemplate nearly 200 reservations in the Wales Act 2017, most of which are so trivial as to give the lie to any sincerity concerning a reserved constitution. Secondly, is the willingness to pretend that a long-term settlement on the division of authority between Westminster and Cardiff could even be contemplated, whilst the very substantial proportion of that authority was not in the gift of the UK Government, but was ensconced in Brussels.’
‘The Secretary of State for Scotland, David Mundell MP has announced that the UK government will publish changes to clause 11 of the EU (Withdrawal) Bill affecting Scotland when the measure reaches the House of Lords, indicating that in some areas common frameworks will be established.  Such an approach must inevitably be mirrored in Wales.’

Lord David Owen recalls: ‘I have previously proposed that an all-party convention should be held on the establishment of a Federal UK Council, modelled on the German Bundesrat. Running our exit from the EU in tandem with the creation of a federal UK is both feasible and proper. Postponing this discussion risks missing a moment in history when the British people are well aware that our unity is in jeopardy and yet most want it to be maintained.’

Glyndwr Cennydd Jones reinforces: ‘The UK’s Changing Union report (Cardiff University’s Wales Governance Centre and the Institute of Welsh Affairs: 2015) indeed proposes a union state not a unitary state which: ‘consists of four national entities sharing sovereignty…and freely assenting to cooperate in a Union for their common good.’ This signals the end of devolution and a move to a more overtly federal or quasi-federal framework.

Lord David Owen explains: ‘A Federal UK Council could involve not only Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland but also London and the new city regions with constitutional powers. Provision could also be made separately for those who live in areas covered by county councils and unitary authorities. No doubt some of these may wish to develop a regional identity which could lead to separate representation.’

Glyndwr Cennydd Jones highlights: ‘Professor Jim Gallagher goes further, stating:  ‘people often talk about federalism as if it were a solution for the UK. In truth the UK is already moving beyond it, to a more confederal solution.’ Reflecting on his Britain after Brexit report (2016), Gallagher envisages: ‘a confederation of nations of radically different sizes, sharing things that matter hugely, like economic management, access to welfare services and defence.’’
Glyndwr clarifies: ‘In a federation, sovereignty is shared between central and constituent nation governments. Each level has clearly articulated functions, with some powers pooled between them, but none has absolute authority over the others. Agreed practices and rules are confirmed through a written constitution with compliance enforced by a Supreme Court. In contrast, a confederation is a union of sovereign member nations that for reasons of efficiency and common security assign a portfolio of functions and powers by treaty to a central body.’

Gwynoro Jones affirms: ‘With the Brexit result, I am convinced that the future lies in a self-governing Wales within a federal UK, but I also increasingly accept that an argument can be made for going further. Wales is near to bottom of the league on several UK socio-economic indicators.’

Glyndwr Cennydd Jones maintains: ‘The constitutional choice may not be purely binary in nature. Professor John Kincaid, in his article on Confederal Federalism (Western European Politics, 1999) explains: ‘what seems to have developed in the EU is…a confederal order of government that operates in a significantly federal mode within its spheres of competence.’ Member nations have delegated, in effect, parts of their sovereignty over time to central bodies which agree laws on their behalf.’
‘Potential collective functions might encompass to varying degrees: the armed and security forces; border, diplomatic and international affairs; cross-recognition of legal jurisdictions; currency and monetary policies; a single market; any shared public services; and select taxation, as appropriate.’

Gwynoro Jones insists: ‘In the modern financial, service and technological age, as opposed to the era of heavy industries and large scale manufacturing, the question of a country’s size is no longer a deciding factor in terms of deliberating governance models. Indeed, seven member countries of the EU have populations either smaller or similar to that of Wales.’
‘For decades, too many politicians have argued that Wales cannot afford to have greater powers, markedly because it would run a significant budget deficit, but so does the UK with a deficit of some £50 billion annually, carrying a debt of £1.83 trillion. Indeed, a proportion of the £14 billion claimed to be Wales’s presently projected deficit is our share of the money spent on large UK projects such as HS2 and defence (e.g. Trident). What is more, revealingly, only about 50 of the world’s 235 nation-states actually run a budget surplus.’

Lord Elystan Morgan concludes: ‘Casting aside the limitations of devolution, it is now highly necessary that we should raise our expectations to be worthy of our position as a mature national entity. As the Brexit date of 29th March 2019 approaches, there is a clear need for a formal constitutional debate to run alongside the EU withdrawal discussions.’

Lord David Owen, Gwynoro Jones, Lord Elystan Morgan and Glyndwr Cennydd Jones are the authors of the booklet ‘Towards Federalism and Beyond…’ which explores  the future of the UK Union generally and Wales’s status within it specifically, including a preface written by Martin Shipton. The booklet was released in September 2017 to coincide with the 20th anniversary of the vote to establish the National Assembly of Wales. 

Thursday, 4 January 2018

Tony Blair : ‘What We Now Know’, what we have learnt about Brexit since 23rd June 2016.

I reproduce in this post Tony Blair’s commentary on the excellent report his Global Institute has published. The link to the full report is at the end.

No one disputes the 2016 vote. And no one disputes that if it stands as the expression of British opinion, we will leave.

The issue is whether as facts emerge, as the negotiation proceeds and we have clarity over the alternative to present membership of the EU, we have the right to change our mind

I would like the Labour Party to be on the high ground of progressive politics, explaining why membership of the European Union is right as a matter of principle, for profound political as well as economic reasons. 

If we do leave Europe, the governing mind will have been that of the Tory right. But, if Labour continues to go along with Brexit and insists on leaving the Single Market, the handmaiden of Brexit will have been the timidity of Labour. 

Make Brexit the Tory Brexit. Make them own it 100%.

Image result for Tony Blair Images2018 will be the year when the fate of Brexit and thus of Britain will be decided. 2017 was too early in the negotiation. By 2019, it will be too late.

Realistically, 2018 will be the last chance to secure a say on whether the new relationship proposed with Europe is better than the existing one. And to insist that the ‘deal’ contains the necessary detail to make the say meaningful.

I make no secret of my desire that Britain stays in the European Union.

This is the most important decision we have taken as a nation since the Second World War. It decides the destiny and fortunes of our children for years to come. And I believe passionately that by exiting the powerful regional bloc of countries on our doorstep, to whom we are linked physically by the Channel Tunnel, commercially by the Single Market, historically by myriad ancient ties of culture and civilisation, and politically by the necessity of alliance in an era which will be dominated by the USA in the West and China and India in the East, we are making an error the contemporary world cannot understand and the generations of the future will not forgive.

But the campaign in the first instance is not to reverse the decision; but to claim the right to change our minds once we see the terms of the new relationship.

No one disputes the 2016 vote. And no one disputes that if it stands as the expression of British opinion, we will leave.

The issue is whether as facts emerge, as the negotiation proceeds and we have clarity over the alternative to present membership of the EU, we have the right to change our mind; whether the ‘will of the people’ – this much abused phrase - is deemed immutable or is permitted to mutate as our perception of reality becomes better informed. 

When we voted in 2016, we knew we were voting against our present membership of the European Union, but not what the future relationship with Europe would be.

It was like having a General Election in which the question is ‘Do You Like the Government’? If that were the question, few incumbent Governments would be re-elected.

Once we know the alternative, we should be entitled to think again, either through Parliament or an election or through a fresh referendum, which will, of course, not be a re-run of the first because it will involve this time a choice based on knowledge of the alternative to existing EU membership.

Over the past months the Brexit landscape – hitherto obscured in the fog of claim and counter claim – is being illuminated.

We have now had the Budget prediction that, due to Brexit, economic growth is going to be below expectation not just this year but averaging 1.5% for the next 5 years in a row. This has not happened for over 30 years. This is in addition to the fall in our currency, fall in living standards and now the first falls in employment.

Concomitant with that was the admission that we would have less and not more to spend on the NHS and that, for the next years at least, we will not be getting money back from Europe but, rather, giving a large sum to it.

Then there was the Northern Ireland negotiation. The claim the issue is now ‘resolved’ is risible. It is merely postponed. Instead, the negotiation revealed the nature of the real choices we face and the tension at the heart of the Government’s negotiating position.

In essence, there are 4 options in approaching the Brexit negotiation:

1.    To re-think and stay, best done in a reformed Europe, where we use the Brexit vote as leverage to achieve reform.
2.    To exit the political structures of the EU, but stay in the economic structures ie the Single Market and Customs Union.
3.    To exit both the political and the economic structures of Europe but try to negotiate a bespoke deal which recreates the existing economic benefits and keeps us close to Europe politically.
4.    To exit both structures, to make a virtue of leaving, to negotiate a basic Free Trade Agreement and market ourselves as ‘Not Europe’.

Here is the rub: all the last three options are Brexit. But they have vastly different impacts and outcomes.

The Government has ruled out option 2, is seeking to negotiate option 3, but a substantial part of the Tory Party is prepared to go for option 4.
The problem with option 3 is that this is simply not negotiable without major concessions which make a mockery of the case for leaving.
The problem with option 4 is that it would involve significant economic pain as we adjust our economy to the new terms of trade.

It is absurd to say that it is undemocratic to demand that the people be free to have a say on what the final deal is, given the wide disparity in the forms of Brexit and their consequences.

How can we assess the true ‘will of the people’ before we know what the alternative to present EU membership looks like given that the alternatives have such different effects?

Northern Ireland is a metaphor for the central Dilemma of this negotiation: we are either in the Single Market and Customs Union; or we will have a Hard Border and Hard Brexit.

It is the difference between the status of Norway and that of Canada. In the Norway case, there is full access to the Single Market but with its obligations, including freedom of movement.

In the case of Canada, there is a standard Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with considerable easing of trade in goods but with border checks and without anything like the services access of the Single Market.

This really is a zero sum game: the nearer the Norway option, the more the obligations; the nearer the Canada option, the less the access.
It is not a matter of who is the toughest negotiator. The Dilemma flows naturally from the way the Single Market was created. It is a unique trading area with a single system of regulation and a single system of arbitration namely the ECJ.

The whole point of it is that it is not a FTA. It is qualitatively different.
So there is no way you can say I want to be out of its rules, but in its advantages.

The Single Market is one game; a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) is another.

Think of it in this way. Suppose the English FA wants to arrange a football match with France.  There are many things to negotiate about: the venue, the timing, the price of the tickets etc. But suppose the FA then said to their French counterparts, we also want to negotiate whether we have 15 players on our team not 11. The French would say sorry but you have the wrong address, talk to the Rugby Federation.

Yet this seems to be the negotiating position of the Government.

David Davis asserts we will leave the Single Market and Customs Union but replicate ‘the exact same benefits’ in a new FTA.

Boris Johnson talks of diverging from Europe’s regulation but having frictionless border trade and full access to Europe’s services market.

The PM insists we will have the most comprehensive trade deal ever, weirdly forgetting we already have it.

Philip Hammond is arguing for close alignment to Europe after Brexit.

Meanwhile Liam Fox is cheerfully talking up the trade deals we will make once we are out of the Customs Union and away from that alignment.

Of course the FTA can be far reaching, though the more it covers the more complicated the negotiation and the greater the regulatory alignment. But it can never replicate the ‘exact same benefits’ of the Single Market; not without obedience to its obligations and regulation.

The concessions we were rightly forced to make in respect of Northern Ireland express and expose the Dilemma.

If we want freedom of movement of people across the border on the island of Ireland, we can do it but only by effectively abandoning border controls on migration. So someone could move from mainland Europe to Dublin to Belfast to Liverpool without any check.

It is often said by Brexiteers that Norway and Sweden don't have a hard border for the movement of people. It is true. But that is because Norway is part of the Single Market; and so accepts freedom of movement.

In any event, it is now virtually conceded that Britain needs the majority of the European migrant workers and as our study shows, Brexit is already seriously harming recruitment in vital sectors, including the NHS.

If we want free movement of goods, then Northern Ireland will have to be in a relationship with the EU where the rules of the Customs Union still apply.

But if we do that, then how can the UK be out of it?

This is the conundrum we will face across the board. How will financial services and other sectors be able to trade freely in Europe without regulatory alignment?
Suppose Europe even agrees to do this on a ‘pick and choose’ basis, the ‘alignment’ they will demand will be alignment with Europe’s rules.
And how will disputes in these circumstances be arbitrated other than through the involvement of the ECJ?

Once this central Dilemma becomes manifest during the negotiation, the split in the Government will re-emerge.

The PM will still be in favour of Option 3, making the concessions and trying to present them as consistent with ‘taking back control’. The true-believer Leavers will recognise the concessions contradict the essential reasons for leaving and will be in favour of then moving to option 4.

The British Civil Service is – or at least was in my time- probably the best in Europe. The problem isn't with the negotiators but with the negotiation.

The risk is that we end up with the worst of all worlds. We muddle along, alternating between options 3 and 4, depending on what part of the Tory Party is in the ascendency, try to ‘leave’ without really leaving, with a patchwork of arrangements which allows the Government to claim Brexit has been done; but which in reality only mean we have lost our seat at the table of rule-making.

This would be a grim outcome for the country.

And it is where the Labour Party faces its own challenge.

I would like the Labour Party to be on the high ground of progressive politics, explaining why membership of the European Union is right as a matter of principle, for profound political as well as economic reasons.

I disagree with our present position strategically.

But even tactically, it is mistaken.

First, because the Labour Party is saying that we too would do Brexit, we cannot attack its vast distractive impact. Labour could mount such a powerful assault on the Government’s record from the appalling state of the NHS to crime, which through neglect and failure to support the police is on the rise again, if we were saying to the country: here's the agenda which could be delivered for the people were not for the fact that all the energies of Government and substantial amounts of cash are devoted to Brexit.

And, second, it puts us in a vulnerable position when the Government concludes ‘the deal’ some time in 2018.

My bet is that the Government will try to negotiate an agreement which leaves much detail still to negotiate, because there is no way round the Dilemma. They will bank some low hanging fruit possibly e.g. tariff free access for goods (leaving for later non tariff issues). For Europe since they have a whacking great surplus with Britain on goods, this is a no-brainer.

But on access for services, which have driven most of our export growth over the last 20 years, are 70% of our economy, and where we have the surplus, we will be blocked without major concessions. Unless the Government has found some miraculous way round the Dilemma, they will probably try to emulate the December Northern Ireland ‘agreement’ and have some general headings – more aspiration than detail - with a lot to negotiate after March 2019 during the transitional period where Britain will continue to abide by the rules of the Single Market.

The Government will then say it is this deal or no deal and Labour will be left arguing that they would be better negotiators. This isn't credible.

And here Labour has its own ‘cake and eat it’ phrases. The Shadow Chancellor says we will not be in ‘the’ Single Market but ‘a’ Single Market. The Shadow Industry Minister talks of keeping the benefits of the Customs Union agreements but still being free to negotiate our own trade deals.

This is confusing terrain on which to fight.

Far better to fight for the right for the country to re-think, demand that we know the full details of the new relationship before we quit the old one, go to the high ground on opposing Brexit and go after the Tories for their failures to tackle the country’s real challenges.

Make Brexit the Tory Brexit.

Make them own it 100%.

Show people why Brexit isn't and never was the answer.

Open up the dialogue with European leaders about reforming Europe, a dialogue they're more than willing to have now because they realise Brexit also damages Europe economically and politically.

At every PMQs nail each myth of the Brexit campaign, say why the Tory divisions are weakening our country - something only credible if we are opposed to Brexit not advocating a different Brexit, and challenge the whole farce head on of a Prime Minister leading our nation in a direction which even today she can't bring herself to say she would vote for.

If we do leave Europe, the governing mind will have been that of the Tory right. But, if Labour continues to go along with Brexit and insists on leaving the Single Market, the handmaiden of Brexit will have been the timidity of Labour.

This is the link to the full document