So there’s going to be a vote on whether or not to have another referendum. And that means Brexit’s dead, right? Well, no. Sadly not.
For a start, the referendum bill is quite unlikely to pass in the House of Commons even if Labour do come out in support of it, which is by no means certain.
But let’s ignore that and assume it does, and that we have another referendum on EU membership – a “People’s Vote”.
The big problem with this, as all of us who said Brexit was a totally insane idea right from the start know only too well, is that The People are politically illiterate and couldn’t rub two genuine EU policies together if their lives depended on it.
Many polls (yeah, bias, inaccuracy, whatever, not going to discuss that now) show that a vote might not actually produce a result much different from last time.
So let’s say it’s the same – 52% Leave, 48% Remain. Does that represent more of a mandate to leave than the first time around? Does it, in fact, represent a mandate to leave with no deal – currently the only option on the table?
Clearly not. No more would a 52/48 split the other way represent a clear mandate to remain, after all this time and a second vote.
In fact, I’ll go even further. I don’t think even a 60/40 split – either way – would be sufficiently clear at this stage for the other side to just go “It’s a fair cop” and stop being furious about the result. And can we realistically expect even that level of clarity from our fellow Brits? I strongly doubt it.
So even if we have a second referendum, with all that entails in terms of vitriol and – above all – even more delay and concomittant cost to the nation in both money and stress, we still won’t be able to achieve a ceasefire.
Because although it’s never been declared, we’ve been enmeshed in civil war for two and a half years now. The Brexit Civil War.
With rare exceptions it may not be being fought physically, but it’s certainly being fought every day across the mental landscape of Britons and anyone else unfortunate enough to live in the war zone. And it’s having consequences just as serious as any physical conflict.
And given that, perhaps… just perhaps… it’s time for all of our politicians to stop trying to score points off each other and actually come together and do something practical to get us out of this situation?*
By all accounts, this is the position the UK was in at the start of the Second World War, with politicians unable to agree as to what stance to take on a whole range of issues. Then we were lucky enough to have someone like Churchill who could unite everyone behind him.
So with just 71 days to go until Britain crashes out of the EU, who’s going to step up and put the country ahead of their career this time? Because it’s certainly not going to be control freak Theresa May** or her enabler Jeremy Corbyn.
*My own preferred option would now be EEA membership, with a plan to review that on, say, a rolling five year basis. No, it’s not perfect, particularly in terms of the gammon-relevant immigration issue, but it’s a whole lot better than anything we’re currently being offered.
**I have much to say about Theresa May, none of it polite, but that’s a subject for another post. As for JC – as a leftie Europhile I can’t remotely begin to express the depths of my disappointment in that man, so I shan’t even try.
8 thoughts on “A People’s Vote! Yay….?”
I get the impression that many politicians are just going through the motions to appease leave voters, respect the referendum result and ‘save’ democracy. There probably won’t be a people’s vote until we arrive at a total impasse, and with Corbyn calling for us to remain in the customs union, which May might now be forced to consider, Brexit might actually happen without us being given another say.
Totally share your views about May and JC.
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You may be right about the “going through the motions” thing. Why they think *this* in any way represents a proper democratic process, I can’t imagine!
In any case, I’ve come to believe in recent weeks that we don’t really need another say on the process – simply a less ludicrous set of options that will allow both sides to save face and move on (hence my preference for the EEA). But who can say what’s going to happen next?
[And apologies for the deleted comment – WordPress had decided you were spam!]
Politicians certainly seem to respect some promises made rather than others. It’s all because the people were promised a once-in-a-lifetime vote and some MPS (like mine, who’s explained this many times in his responses to my emails) feel they have to toe May’s line of delivering the referendum result to avoid trouble.
I haven’t explored the implications of being in the EEA as I’m still hoping for a people’s vote and the scrapping of Brexit. Slim though that hope may be.
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Spot on, Jane, esp. re. political illiteracy. Someone tried to tell my husband yesterday that another vote would be undemocratic. Lady, can you hear yourself? You literally just tried to argue that voting is undemocratic.
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Yeah, the whole thing is just mad. I’m beginning to believe the theory that a virus is affecting politicians and making them all even more barking than before!
I listen a lot to LBc radio, a phone-in. They call themselves ‘Leading Britain’s Conversation’. The conversation these days is mainly about Brexit. Brexiters phone in and spout the same old mantras about democracy, we had a vote in 2016. Out means out, we will be fine under WTO rules, we managed in the war and the same old stuff spouted in the right wing press. So I agree with you about the politically illiterate.
Day after day there are.more and more stories of companies pulling out of Britain. Today Hitachi, last week Jaguar Landrover. Hundreds are relocating and these illiterates are losing their jobs. And yet still they don’t see it. It’s a complete farce. Yet but nothing seems to change their blinkered vision. So yes, I also fear that a second referendum won’t solve things. BUT. If they allow EU citizens to vote this time, and if we add all the 16 year olds who are now 18 and a fair few leavers who have genuinely changed their minds, then maybe it might go our way with a big swing.
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Well obviously I hope that would happen – but given Britain’s history with the EU I can’t see that it would put the matter to rest even if there was a reasonably large majority for Remain this time around. Because UKIP would simply keep bringing it back up again. So maybe it’s better if the country actually *does* leave? But on a better, less extreme basis than what’s currently on offer…
I don’t seem to be able to reply to your comment with a nested thread, Nikki – but my worry with scrapping Brexit completely now following a second referendum is that it’ll just keep popping back up again. I now think that, given the UK’s historic reluctance to really play a full part in the EU, both sides would be better off with it out! (Obviously what I *really* think is that the UK should enter wholeheartedly into becoming European, working to move the EU to a more stable position for all of us – but that’s clearly not going to happen.)
Also, Brexit has masked many problems, both inside and outside the country, and it’s not entirely impossible that the Euro will collapse in the not too distant future, in which case the UK really *will* be in a better position if it’s not too closely linked to the EU!