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Brexit: time for another vote?

October 24th, 2018 | by Edward Ingram
Brexit: time for another vote?
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Nicola Sturgeon, leader of the SNP, has become the latest public figure to come out in support of a ‘People’s Vote’, the movement that is campaigning for a second Referendum on the final Brexit deal. It is probably the most entitled, neo-liberal movement you’ll come across and was justly labelled as ‘a very elite uprising’ by The Spectator.

Just take a look at its lead advocates: Tony Blair, Gina Miller, Richard Branson, the Liberal Democrats and Andrew Adonis. The list reads like a who’s who of notorious public figures, out of touch millionaires and narcissists.

Rather than accept the referendum result and act constructively, or with some humility at least, the arch Remoaners began criticising and frustrating the Brexit process almost immediately. The Liberal Democrats, for example, supported a second vote almost immediately after the first one. This has ultimately created the impression that the People’s Vote campaign are happy to respect democracy, just only when they’re on the winning side. ‘52% voted to Leave? Doesn’t matter, we know best.

The divisions exposed during the first campaign could widen and intensify

Aside from the campaign’s casual dismissal of democracy, it’s concerning that they aren’t considering the implications a second vote could have. Firstly, there is no evidence to suggest that Remain would win a second vote. The key factors that led to the Brexit vote remain unchanged: the disastrous impact of globalisation upon the lives of ordinary people, the shrinking of the state after eight years of austerity, and dissatisfaction at the lack of accountability of the EU. This all contributed to the first result, and all remain unchanged. Far from securing continued membership of the EU, a second referendum would most likely produce a second leave vote, killing off the debate for a generation. Secondly, the divisions exposed during the first campaign could widen and intensify, further poisoning our society and political culture. Given the current toxicity of the political climate, this could be a terrifying prospect. Most importantly, however, is the fact that a second referendum would almost certainly undermine the public’s faith in the democratic process. It simply broadcasts the message that the people’s opinion doesn’t matter unless it’s the right one.

Democracies thrive when their citizens have faith that elections will produce results that reflect public opinion. Re-running the referendum will surely erode this faith and could trigger a democratic crisis.

If that is the price the People’s Vote is willing to pay, then I underestimated their arrogance.

Edward Ingram

Nicola Sturgeon has become the latest politician to feel the wrath of Brexiteers. Sturgeon, Scotland’s First Minister, announced that she would back a second Referendum on Brexit. Many Brexiteers, enraged by the very real possibility of their vote being overturned, have reacted in blind fury, ignoring Sturgeon’s pragmatic reasons for the vote.

It must be remembered that Scotland did not vote to leave the EU. 62% of Scots actually voted to remain in the EU, compared to just 38% wanting to leave. The Brexiteers who are determined to crash out of the EU, dragging Scotland along with them, are doing what they so often accuse Remainers of. Branded ‘Remoaners’, the Leave campaign has often accused Remainers of being selfish, petulant children who are stroppy and disregard democracy. By denying Scotland the chance to stay in the EU, Brexiteers are also ignoring the Scottish people’s democratic choice to remain. Yes, Leave may have won overall, but to ignore the will of an entire nation shows just what the English establishment thinks of their fellow countrymen. They may as well just say it: as long as the English get what they want, it doesn’t matter what their Scottish and Northern Irish counterparts think. This sense of English superiority perpetuated by the Leave campaign only reinforces the damaging historical hierarchy of the UK.

People could choose based on fact, rather than alarmist fiction

Brexiteers also claim that a second vote will only fracture the country further. This is hollow talk. Nothing says united more than completely disregarding the will of an entire nation! Why shouldn’t Scotland be able to stay in the customs union and single market? It’s what they voted for, after all. Even now, 79% of Scottish National Party MPs would back a second Brexit referendum. This is an astonishing majority, and it should be taken into account.

Let’s also not forget that the Brexit campaign cheated. Brexiteers seem to idolise democracy, but can the vote really be called democratic when the Electoral Commission fined Vote Leave and reported the campaign group to the police? Even Shahmir Sanni, the Brexiteer who blew the whistle on Vote Leave’s misdoings, is advocating for a second vote.

Brexit, if it must be done, should not be done as a result of a scaremongering, hate-fuelled campaign. Maybe a second vote would allow people to choose based on fact, rather than alarmist fiction.

There’s one reason Brexiteers are causing such a fuss about a second Referendum. It is because they are scared. They are scared that, when the facts are presented fairly and truthfully, they will lose. If they love democracy so much, then this should be a risk they’re willing to take.

Caitlin Disken

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