On Saturday, I helped out on a Cornwall for Europe stall in Falmouth’s main shopping street. We were asking people what they felt about Brexit so far, and whether they support the idea of a People’s Vote on the final Brexit deal (or lack of one) that Theresa May presents to Parliament, including the option to keep our membership of the EU

I was aware that national opinion polls have been showing a significant shift in public opinion, and that since September 2017 a clear majority of people nationally have been saying that they now think Brexit is a mistake. However, I was still surprised at the strength of feeling shown by the many people we talked to in Falmouth. We asked them to show their feelings on a ‘Brexitometer’ chart (see attached photo).

It was especially interesting to talk to several people who now feel that they were lied to about Brexit and had voted on the basis of false information. It takes considerable courage to admit publicly that you have changed your mind on such a contentious issue – this is a psychological trait well known to confidence tricksters, and the same natural reluctance to admit that you have been fooled is one reason why many people are unwilling to report having fallen victim to such conmen, even when this has become obvious.

More and more people nationally have realised that we are in danger of sleepwalking into an economic and social catastrophe, and that the Brexit that is emerging looks nothing like what was promised in 2016. The £350 million a week for the NHS is not going to materialise, and nor is a favourable trade deal with Donald Trump. In fact, any trade deal with Trump is likely to mean the selling off of large parts of the NHS to US private healthcare companies and the destruction of a large swathe of British farming.

The promise that EU funding for Cornwall would be replaced by Westminster is also proving hollow, with the government refusing to give any detail on the so-called “UK Shared Prosperity Fund”. It seems certain, however, that any such funding for jobs and investment in Cornwall will be severely curtailed by the many other pressing demands on the Treasury in an economy impacted on many different levels by Brexit.

The campaign for a People’s Vote on the final Brexit deal is not asking for a rerun of the referendum of 2016, which was based on a fantasy Brexit that promised all things to all people. We are calling for people to be given a final say on the Brexit deal that is actually achieved. Was this really what people thought they were voting for in 2016, or – with the meaning of Brexit clear – would they prefer to remain as members of the EU?

As Brexit Secretary David Davis observed in 2012: “If a democracy cannot change its mind, it ceases to be a democracy.”

Tom Scott

Green Party spokesperson for Truro & Falmouth