Brexit should be stopped, but I’m not convinced that the way to do it is by a second referendum.

Brexit should be stopped.  We can debate what the duties of a government are, but I’m fairly sure that it doesn’t include a direction to drive the bus over the edge of a cliff.

However, I’m not convinced that the way to do this is by another referendum.  That would imply that if the referendum was to confirm the original decision, we should abide by the majority’s decision, and I do not accept that we should.

There were three obvious problems with the referendum in 2016, and all of those problems are still there.  The first problem was that several million people were directly and immediately barred from voting.   Those people included British citizens living in Europe, and European citizens living in Britain. There is no possible revision to the electorate which will not lead to one side or another crying ‘foul’.

The second problem was, as we now know, the combination of illegality and downright lies that characterised the campaign to Leave.  There is no reason to suppose that the next campaign would be any cleaner.

The third problem would be true of any referendum.  It is democratic to encourage people to express their views, and we have a convention that decisions are decided by majority rule.  However, it is not democratic for any majority, ever, to deny rights to minorities.  We should not tolerate a situation where half the population votes to extinguish the rights of the other half – and that, in effect, is what has happened.

When the government accepted the brief to negotiate exit from the European Union, their first responsibility – and the first responsibility of EU authorities on the other side – was to defend the fundamental rights of citizens.  Both sides have a clear, unequivocal, treaty-based legal obligation to safeguard individual rights.  Both sides have failed to do so.

5 comments

  1. Alan Parker

    I have to disagree vehemently, firstly the high turnout makes your first point spurious to say the least , it should be right that only British citizens living in the UK at the time should get a vote, secondly Lib Dems and others on remain side overspent and or downright lied to us and boy did remain spend including a £9 million pound document sent to every home in the UK which was a remain propaganda document and yet the UK still voted leave, equating those that lost the vote as minorities is an insult to real minorities in the UK, were those who lost the vote to go into the common market at the time minorities ?

    No ones rights are being denied they will fall back to our own parliament.

    Regardless of how much i may not like how the country voted , that vote needs respected and from the cries of those who say they have had their future stolen whilst ignoring the fact many younger adults never got a vote either to go into the then common market, to those doom mongers who had predicted a disaster from day one of the vote, to the ignorant cries from remain politicians and others within the establishment bubble, of the people never knew what they voted for , which has been utterly disgraceful.

    Time to man up in Britain and fight for democracy no matter how much the result is anathema to the losers and very sore losers at that.

    • Paul Spicker

      I know this subject raises passions, but I’m puzzled by your response. You write that “No ones rights are being denied”. Yes, they are. They include the right to travel without a visa, to work, and to bring spouses and family from Europe. I know that some people won’t ever use those rights, some don’t care about them, and some think it’s worth the price, but we are certainly losing them. I do care about them – I exercised some of them earlier this year, when I went to work in Poland – and I will do whatever I can to maintain them.

      More puzzling still is your contention that the high rate of participation justifies excluding large numbers of people from the vote – many of the people most closely and personally affected by the decision. That doesn’t follow at all.

      • Alan Parker

        With the greatest respect , given what has happened in this great nation over the last decade and more visa free travel is very low on the list of concerns. Although Great Britain has one of the highest rates of Visa agreements worldwide.

        I can also add born in Britain and living in Britain get the vote.

        Nothing puzzling about it at all , leave means no single market no customs union, people knew what they voted for we were told by all party leaders at the time we would be out of both after all.

  2. Paul Spicker

    I was under the impression that I was writing about the fundamental rights of European citizens. It may be low on your list of concerns, but it’s not on mine.

    If people did know that they were voting to leave the customs union and the single market, they could only have arrived at that conclusion by ignoring arguments and public statements coming from the likes of Farrage, Banks, Hannan and Vote.Leave. See https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0xGt3QmRSZY . The Bruges Group, fronted by Norma Tebbitt, also argued for the Norwegian option: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TeNjHFzrxD4 . You may well have heard different arguments from other quarters, but those videos show that some of the most prominent Brexiteers were declaring that there was no intention to leave the single market or the customs union. That doesn’t prove that no-one could have thought otherwise, but the suggestion that there was a clear and unambiguous reason to vote to leave is just plain false.

  3. Ian Davidson

    I would suggest the following way forward: 1. A UK General Election with all parties required to produce detailed manifesto statements covering the following: a. What they propose to do about Brexit including whether they would offer a second ref and what the questions would be; b. What their position is in relation to any future request from the Scottish Parliament for a second Scottish indy referendum; c. What they will do on the above issues and generally if, as per 2010, we end up with a “hung” parliament at Westminster. d. All the other stuff, not least of which is the economy, public services, welfare etc. If we held a GE on that basis then hopefully there would emerge “a government” (majority or coalition) which would have some clear and current mandates on which to proceed. At the moment, we don’t have an effective UK working government (nor an effective official opposition offering clear alternatives) so I don’t see how we can move forward until we do?

Leave a Reply