Gavin Esler, Chancellor of the University of Kent, has launched a scathing attack on the “incompetent Brexit bunch” demanding that the public should be given a vote on the divorce deal for leaving the European Union.
In frustration over the way that Brexit negotiations are been handled, the former BBC journalist accused those pushing for Brexit of deceiving the public.
Esler appeared as a keynote speaker at the ‘Peoples’ Vote’ rally in Edinburgh in August alongside actress Emma Currie. He insisted that a people’s vote on the final deal would “expose the hypocrisy” of Brexiteers.
He told the crowd: “Truth decay is a rottenness which is undermining our democracy. It has many sources, but one stands out—the Brexit bunch.
“Like most people in this country, whatever we thought of the vote, I accepted it at first—that’s how democracy works. But I’ve changed my mind completely over the last two years of lies and incompetence.”
He added: “We can argue against lies and cheating, we can argue for real democracy, we can argue for a truly fair and free and informed vote.”
The author and broadcaster also appeared on Channel 4 News shortly after his public appearance in Scotland. Debating with Lucy Harris, Founder of ‘Leavers of London’, Esler told Presenter Alex Thomson that Britons were living “in the Br-excrement” whilst also reiterating the ‘People’s Vote’ campaign’s view of “one vote, one time is Robert Mugabe territory.”
Esler has also written for the Euro-centred New European with an article titled ‘Why I’ve Changed My Mind on Brexit’, which gives a personal account as to why he changed his position on the issue, whilst also delivering an excoriating blast against broadcasters and Leavers such as Boris Johnson and Nigel Farage.
“The shambles of the government’s response, the predicted chaos of a hard Brexit or no deal, and the background of lies and cheating have made me think again. Above all, the facts about how we are receiving information about Brexit have also changed.”
He went on to say: “I have never joined any political party or any political campaign. But this is different. If, or when, Project Fantasy finally falls apart, the sour atmosphere of the Brexit mess threatens to make this great country of ours an even more divided and poorer place.”
Recent figures show a growth in public support for a second referendum on Brexit. A recent poll conducted by Survation showed 48% of Brits support a vote on the final Brexit deal, while 25% do not. The poll also found that Britain would vote to stay in the EU in a re-run of the 2016 referendum.
The possibility of a second referendum, however, seems to be becoming increasingly unlikely. Writing in the Sunday Telegraph, the Prime Minister, Theresa May, dismissed claims that a second vote would ever happen. She said that the procedure would act as a “great betrayal” on the 17.4 million voters that voted for Britain to leave the EU back in 2016. It would also seek to undermine the negotiations currently being set out by the Conservative government.
Matthew Goodwin, a Lecturer in Politics and International Relations at Kent wrote on the Canadian International Council’s website that the event of another referendum on the issue happening is very unlikely and he could not see “Brexiteers in the Conservative Party sanctioning such a gamble.”
“What would happen were the people to reject the terms is anybody’s guess?” writes Goodwin.
“Those on the Remain side would likely argue that it validates the case for overturning Brexit. Those on the Leave side might argue that it underlines the case for further negotiations”
An alumnus of the University of Kent, Esler gained a BA in English and American Literature in 1974.
From there, he progressed into the world journalism, beginning his career as a Northern Ireland reporter in 1977 with the BBC, and later becoming the corporation’s Washington Correspondent in 1989.
His next 14 years would be spent as an anchor for the company’s flagship current affairs program Newsnight.
In 2014, Esler replaced Dame Julia Goodfellow as Chancellor of the University of Kent.