Tuesday, 25 September 2018

The New Referendum Question

A Second Referendum is Not Undemocratic

(But what is the Question?)

To resist a second referendum shows a Brexit-inclined insecurity and a willingness to exit the European Union AGAINST the will of the majority. 

"Respecting" the result of the June 2016 referendum does not rule out a second referendum. Were it indeed the current will of the majority to exit the European Union, a second referendum would surely confirm that. But there are many reasons why people could have changed their mind. And this new, better informed, opinion has as much right to be "respected" as the first opinion.

However, there are problems about holding a second referendum, in addition to the cost. One problem, raised by Paul Embery (twitter @PaulEmbery) arises if the second result is 'Remain' but on a smaller turnout than the first. 

Another is the question of the validity of Government by Referenda. Are referenda more than merely advisory; a straw poll for the government? Should we not revert to Parliamentary Democracy?

If we do have a second referendum on Brexit, should it be before or after a General Election? And what should be the question? Perhaps it needs to be in two parts. E.g.:
1. Knowing what you do today, should Britain LEAVE the European Union or REMAIN? (Indicate your preference with a cross X in the appropriate box.)

2. In the event of a clear (5%) majority of leave votes over remain votes in this referendum, would you ACCEPT the government's proposal or REJECT it, and thus force a General Election.  (Indicate your preference with a cross X in the appropriate box.) 


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