There’s been lots of talk recently about a “People’s vote” or, as I’ve heard it more accurately described, a “Losers’ Vote”. The arguments are as follows:
More information has come to light since the referendum.
People should be able to change their minds in a democracy.
The first point shouldn’t really need arguing against, but I will. Of course more information has come to light! New information is known every day! Are we supposed to wait until every registered voter knows every single thing about the EU (and can prove it by passing a test) before we vote? The EU is so overwhelmingly large that no single person could ever know how it all works, so this is a problem that can never be solved.
In any referendum, you draw a line in the sand and say “We’re making a decision, now.”. This is what happened in 2016 and we should stick by it. If we have a “People’s Vote”, more information will be known the day after. Should we organise another referendum when that happens? No.
The second point is a sneaky trick Remainers use to try and con Leavers. They use weasel words and will tell you that they love democracy, which is why they want more of it. They’ll probably ask you if you’re afraid of more democracy and ask you why you don’t trust the people. Where were these people for the 41 years prior to 2016? I don’t remember any of them calling for more democracy then.
And how much more democracy do we need? How often should we have another referendum? We haven’t even had time to implement this first one. Should we have one a year? A month? How about every 5 minutes? This is another reason why democracy is a bad thing. It’s far too easy to have too much. Don’t know what I mean? Should we use democracy to decide which car we all drive? How about what clothes we all wear? And for those who don’t know my views on this, I’m not talking about replacing it with authoritarianism, but freedom. Which would of course mean leaving the EU without even needing a referendum.
SO this brings me to my main point about the referendum. If we’re going to use democracy to decide these things, then we shouldn’t have another vote until we’ve given this one a good go. I would suggest at least ten years after we’ve actually left, as that’s enough for another two terms in government.
Currently, the government is massively pro-remain, as is parliament in general. If we have referendums too often, it gives the government (and the wider parliament) the ability to screw up the implementation and ask for another vote, which is exactly what Remainers are trying to do right now.
I don’t believe that Brexit was a vote purely to stick two fingers up at politicians. Of course it’s quite nice to do that, but I genuinely think that the British People wanted to leave the European Union for perfectly rational reasons. A consequence of that was voting against the establishment. Can you imagine the precedent it would set if we let them screw up every decision we made that they didn’t like? What would it say for future referendums? You can vote any way you like, but we’ll mess things up in a such a catastrophic way that you’ll want to go back to the way things were every time.
We need at least ten years after we leave before we even think about asking the British People for another say. We need whoever is in government now , whoever is in government when we leave and whoever is in government in the term after that to make a good go of Brexit. The only ballot a politician fears more than a referendum is a general election. Politicians should fear being voted out more than they fear another Brexit referendum. The only way to do that is not to have one for a sufficient amount of time.