3 March 2018

Should We Have a Second Referendum?

The idea of a second referendum was mentioned immediately after the first as the losing side were not happy with the Leave side’s bus figure, to name one thing. Since then, it is one of the most discussed topics on television, radio and print. Even the king of Brexit, Nigel Farage, has hinted that a second referendum should happen if certain outcomes were not agreed. So, essentially, what we have is Remainers stating that Leave lied and misled the public during the campaign and Leavers stating that the government are not trying for a hard Brexit. Perhaps there should be a second referendum then, right?

In reality, the general public do not want a second referendum. In reality, we are all Brenda from Bristol. We’ve had enough politics, enough votes, enough campaigning for the next five years. We don’t want to have to debate with our colleagues, shout at the TV screen, receive dozens of leaflets through our doors or go to the local polling station. We have had enough. This is partly why there is a disconnect between the general public and politicians. The latter vote on things almost every day. It’s their job to campaign, to debate and to post leaflets. They don’t see an issue with another vote because, quite frankly, they enjoy it. We the people do not care. In all honesty, most of us are fine with voting in a general election every five years and couldn't give a toss about local elections, European elections, assembly elections, mayoral elections, PCC elections - Parklife.

So, that’s the reality and here’s the issue. We shouldn't be in a position where there are calls for a second referendum because the first should've been done properly. We’re in a position now where the country is bitterly divided. Where Leave won 51.89 per cent and Remain won 48.1 per cent. Rounded, both numbers are 50 and you have a result that doesn't factor out people who didn't care about the result or people who didn't really understand what they were voting for. What should've happened was the winning side should've had to have won 60 per cent of the vote or a supermajority. This would've meant the winning side would've had a clear victory and calls for a second referendum wouldn't be a thing. Yes, people would've moaned that the majority of people voted to leave, but perhaps you shouldn’t change the course of the country with such a small majority, where almost half the population are not wanting that change. 

I also don’t think we’d be in this position now if the campaigning was done properly. What we had were two ‘official’ groups talking for either side. Neither had a plan for Brexit and both sides were saying things that other people within those sides didn't agree with. What we needed was for the main parties to have published Brexit manifestos even if they weren't campaigning to leave. Or, at least, the government should’ve. Then, voters would have had an official argument for both sides instead of lots of lies, manipulations and scaremonger (on both sides). Politicians wonder why the public hates them.

I think it would be very messy to have a second referendum now considering the government have already begun talks with the EU and triggered Article 50. Even having a public vote about the outcome when the government officially announce the plan will be messy because the discussions would have to start all over again. I know, a lot of people on both sides aren't going to be happy with the outcome. Hard Leavers will complain about Brexit being too soft and Remainers will complain about not being given a vote on the outcome. Like I said, we should've never have been in this position. A second referendum now would be messy, annoying and costly. You’d probably see a drop in turnout and I’d predict Remain would win due to the anti-establishment votes not turning up. Then what do you do? Best of three? I think we should just let this Tory government get on with it and wait and see what happens. After all, most of us are simply waiting for one thing…

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