Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Musings about a People's Vote

The Prime Minister is busily trying to keep her deal for the UK to leave the EU on the road as I type this, but it looks increasingly like she will fail. One possibility that seemed unlikely at one time, but is a real possibility now is that there could be a further referendum to ask the people to decide between options that Parliament cannot resolve. 

I've been interested in the fierce reactions such a proposal has produced, and a few thoughts occurs to me:

1. There is no point re-running the 2016 vote. The current mess arises from the fact that the option to leave was left so open to interpretation. Any further vote should be on whether to pursue specific proposals. My own view is that deal / no deal / remain should be those 3 choices with a 1,2 preference vote. 

2. I find it intriguing that brexiteers are so hostile to such a vote, as many of their comments seem to assume that options for leaving the EU would lose. If leaving is the "will of the people", surely that would triumph - in whatever version.

3. The warnings of civil unrest from brexiteers shows that they assume that those who voted leave both fear losing such a vote and this would result in a violent reaction. I think such warnings risk generating the very action they purport to warn about. It also assumes that remain/soft brexit supporters are, by comparison, peaceful should their hopes be thwarted. 

4. A second vote is deemed undemocratic. I've always thought that's a rather odd thing to say about giving people a vote. I agree that re-running the previous vote would look like trying until you get the result you want. However, a fresh public vote to resolve our MPs' impasse in Parliament may end up being the only available solution other than chaotically crashing out of the EU unprepared, and with no functioning government.

My previous posts will leave no-one in any doubt that I still believe that the UK should remain in the EU, but I'm not holding out any hopes that the 2016 result will be reversed. Attitudes have hardened, and although some polls suggest remain might win such a new poll, it would need a clear majority to persuade any government to change course. The question remains as to who will govern us when the House of Commons and the government in power are so divided.

No comments:

Post a Comment