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I’ve just had an idea

As I was waking from my slumbers overnight I heard a mention on Up All Night – Radio Five Live’s ‘through the night’ programme on this occasion hosted by Dotun Adebayo – (or indeed it may just have been during a news bulletin being reader by a male person just before said programme began) that some 1,400 UK lawyers – I repeat, 1,400 lawyers–  have written and had published a letter stating calling for a second EU Referendum, apparently on the basis that one of the essential tenets of Western (British) democracy is that ‘the people’ are entitled to change their minds/opinions.

[I should add the disclaimer here that, even though I’ve just googled ‘1,400 UK lawyers write a letter on second EU Referendum’ I can find no corroborative supporting evidence whatsoever for the contents of my opening paragraph. This leaves open the possibility that – affected by drink, a hangover, delusion, or even simply the fact I might have been dreaming when I supposedly ‘heard’ the above – it is ostensibly ‘fake news’, i.e. it never actually happened … and in fact I made it up. In which case I hope Rusters will accept both my apologies and this assurance that that it was inadvertent – in other words, as ‘innocent’ (in that sense) as it is possible for any fake news ever to be.]

Please also note that here I’m parking and leaving to one side all aspects of whether I – or anyone else – voted Leave (or alternatively, Remain) in 2016. I’d argue that, in the current circumstances and for these purposes, it is irrelevant.

Apart from anything else, the entire Brexit dilemma/conundrum/mess/disaster/call-it-what-you-will is not about the fundamentals of referenda generally at all.

It’s all about the outcome of the 2016 EU Referendum.

It certainly not about the closeness of the end result (which I believe was roughly 52% versus 48%), or indeed the proposition some have raised that – for something so far-reaching as leaving the EU and the implications of doing so – a requirement for a 75% majority ought to have been imposed.

It’s all about those factors that can be grouped together to convince those on the ‘losing’ side of the referendum debate that they’re absolutely right in their reasons for voting the way they did … and those who voted the other way were either just ‘wrong’, conned, too thick to know any better, swayed by illegal or unfair tactics or else went to the voting booths with as stupid and vacuous a motivation in their heads as “I’m fed up with the political class and just want to register a protest vote because (1) technically I can and anyway (2) whichever way I vote isn’t going to change the result … which is a foregone conclusion (i.e. Remain) … and so what does it matter?”

Can you imagine – had the result of the EU Referendum had been the other way (i.e. 52% for Remain, 48% for Leave) – any situation at all in which anyone in the political (Establishment) class, or the UK intelligentsia, or in the Civil Service, or indeed the media, would have subsequently had any truck at all with any ‘rump’ of protest from those who voted ‘Leave’ after its result became known, still less two years and more later?

Of course not.

The stock line “Sorry, the 2016 Referendum was ordered by Parliament and it was stated to be on a ‘once in a generation’ basis. An assurance was also given that, whatever the result was, the Government would them implement it … so what’s your problem?” would have been trotted out, the matter buried … and now, nearly two and a half years on, the whole issue would have been long forgotten.

This might, of course, have left arch-Leavers like Nigel Farage and the Brexiteer Tories bleating away in a corner of the pub over their pints of bitter every time some new ludicrous EU directive came out that disadvantaged the UK but, of course, simultaneously favoured the ‘economic basket-case’ EU countries (rather than the net ‘payers-in’) and/or further  feathered-bedded the salaries, expenses and pension gravy-trains of the ‘fat cat’ EU Commission and its attendant bureaucratic elite … but so what?

They’d be ignored, given no oxygen of publicity at all, told to “Grow up and face reality” – and generally dismissed as die-hard loonies. And we’d all be laughing at snide, pitying, references to them on Have I Got News For You.

Funny that.

Somehow, strangely but obviously, the Remain cause is different.

I’m taking pot shots here, but if even half the amount of brainpower that has been deployed upon coming up with reasons as to why the result of the 2016 EU Referendum should be overturned, or alternatively revisited – or even run again [i.e. other than the plainly illogical and therefore publicly unacceptable but strictly honest “We ‘who know better’ refuse to accept it”] then almost certainly the human race would by now have beaten cancer, hunger, poverty, homelessness, war, famine and indeed every other conceivable hindrance to the human race’s quiet enjoyment of the planet.

This letter by 140 UK lawyers is simply the latest illustration of my point.

Let’s take their main thrust (“In a democracy the people are always entitled change their mind, so let’s give them the opportunity”).

Okay, for these purposes, let’s run with that.

Hmmnn, so let’s get this right. These plainly superior-intellect-to me, undoubtedly worthy of respect, lawyers are championing the right of the electorate to change its mind? So then they won’t mind if – after every future General Election and/or Referendum – the losing side has an absolute right to demand … what shall we say, every two years? … to challenge the result and demand a re-run … just to see if the electorate has changed its mind.

Well, yes – why not? I suppose that’s fair enough.

On the other hand, can you imagine the chaos that would blight the way the UK carries on … well, everything … if that notion was ever enshrined in UK law?

Of course not – and indeed nobody would ever want to.

Let’s be honest about it. Remainers won’t ever accept the result of the 2016 EU Referendum. And cannot or will not see the illogicality and hypocrisy of their arguments seeking to overturn it.

POSTSCRIPT

Over the weekend we were all able to read reports of Tony Blair’s latest initiative – also seeking to promote the cause of a second EU Referendum.

See here for a link to a report by Toby Helm, political editor, on Blair’s argument as appears today upon the website of – THE GUARDIAN

Need I say more?

My humble suggestion is that a wheeled cage, complete with a set of double-stocks be made up in which Blair and the equally discredited David Cameron (now apparently offering himself back for UK public service, preferably as Foreign Secretary!) should be put on permanent display in the middle of Parliament Square and then – once a day, setting off at 3.00pm – should be walked up Whitehall for a circumnavigation of Trafalgar Square and then back again – so that punters from all over the land have the opportunity to chuck cabbages and curly kale at them.

 

About Simon Campion-Brown

A former lecturer in politics at Keele University, Simon now lives in Oxfordshire. Married with two children, in 2007 he decided to monitor the Westminster village via newspaper and television and has never looked back. More Posts

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