‘Truth decay is a rottenness undermining our democracy’ – Gavin Esler at People’s Vote rally

PUBLISHED: 10:23 20 August 2018 | UPDATED: 10:35 20 August 2018

Gavin Esler at the People's Vote rally in Edinburgh. Photograph: Hilary Duncanson/PA Wire

Gavin Esler at the People's Vote rally in Edinburgh. Photograph: Hilary Duncanson/PA Wire

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Former BBC journalist Gavin Esler has told People’s Vote campaigners in Edinburgh that Brexit is in trouble because of the “most incompetent bunch of politicians”.

The People's Vote rally in Edinburgh. Photograph: People's Vote/TwitterThe People's Vote rally in Edinburgh. Photograph: People's Vote/Twitter

He was speaking as the People’s Vote regional rallies arrived in Scotland. He was joined by The New European contributors Mitch Benn and Steve Richards, comedian and impressionist Rory Bremner, and the former Lib Dem leader Sir Menzies Campbell.

The former Newsnight presenter told the crowds: “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 change my mind completely over the last two years of lies and incompetence.”

Steve Richards at the People's Vote rally in Edinburgh. Photograph: People's Vote/TwitterSteve Richards at the People's Vote rally in Edinburgh. Photograph: People's Vote/Twitter

He went on: “The Brexit bunch are the most incompetent bunch of politicians in my lifetime and Brexit is in deep trouble, not because of those of us who thought it was a bad idea, but because those who told us it was a good idea are so incompetent, they don’t know what it is.”

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.

“We can continue to expose the hypocrisy of the Brexit bunch, we can argue for a people’s vote.”

Placards and banners held at the event included the messages “Who needs medicine when you have blue passports?”, “Whose deal is it? Let the people choose” and “we demand a people’s vote on the Brexit deal”.

People's Vote rally in Edinburgh. Photograph: Hilary Duncanson/PA WirePeople's Vote rally in Edinburgh. Photograph: Hilary Duncanson/PA Wire

Vanessa Glynn, chair of the European Movement in Scotland, told the crowd: “There is no good Brexit. There is rightly wide-spread pessimism about the impact of Brexit on Scottish jobs, businesses, farmers and public services.

“Scots believe that Brexit will make our nation’s economy weaker, Scotland’s NHS worse and our own families significantly poorer ... Let’s stop talking about Brexit and start talking about what we want for our future.”

Mary Ross-Davie, director of the Royal College of Midwives in Scotland, said the loss of midwives from the EU would be a “disaster” for the NHS.

“We’re already 3,500 midwives short across the UK and if we lose our hard-working, fantastic midwife colleagues from the EU, it will be a disaster,” she told supporters.

People's Vote rally in Edinburgh. Photograph: Hilary Duncanson/PA WirePeople's Vote rally in Edinburgh. Photograph: Hilary Duncanson/PA Wire

She argued that the decision on the final Brexit deal must not rest with a few hundred politicians in Westminster.

“It has to be a decision taken by the tens of millions of us, right across Scotland, England, Wales and Northern Ireland, whose lives will be changed forever by it,” she said.

“It is far too big a decision to be left to the politicians alone. We, the people, must decide in a people’s vote on the final Brexit deal.”

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