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The Case for a Second Brexit Referendum Revisited: A Response to Madeline Grant

In her article “The Case Against a Second Referendum,” Madeline Grant has written an extensive critique of my “The Case For a Second Referendum.” Restrictions of space preclude a detailed consideration of the numerous objections she raises. I ignore altogether the personal comments she makes in the section portentiously titled “Bias,” and elsewhere, on the basis that they are irrelevant.

It is worth standing back and re-iterating the basic, and quite simple, position set out in my article—that the best argument for a second referendum is that the “Leave” proposition in the first referendum in 2016 was, necessarily, extremely general, and that the terms of Theresa May’s proposed Withdrawal Agreement are, by contrast, very specific. The Withdrawal Agreement provides a glide-path to a future which many Leave voters did not and indeed could not have anticipated in 2016.

The two most prominent advocates for the Leave proposition, Nigel Farage and Boris Johnson, have both said in terms that the Withdrawal Agreement is worse than staying in the EU. They also insist that the electorate not be permitted to express its agreement with them at the ballot box, by way of a referendum, an insistence putatively grounded on reverence for democratic values.

Kierkegaard said that purity of heart is to will one thing. In the political arena, the totalitarian notion that the populace as a whole does, or should, “will one thing” is best captured in Soviet propaganda posters, in which members of the proletariat all stare intently in one direction.

The critical question for those opposed to a second referendum (a category which includes Remainers as well as Brexiters) is whether or not they see the 2016 referendum as a democratic expression of approval for a particular position.

If they do, they need to identify the “one thing” which the electorate willed in 2016. And this is where they run into difficulties, simply as a result of the number of radically different variants of Leave. First, there is the government policy of remaining in the single market for goods but leaving it for services (the so-called Chequers proposal), which was unpopular when announced. It suffers from the problems that it has been rejected by the EU, that the UK is predominantly a services economy, and that the separation of goods and services is artificial. Second, the so-called Norway option, under which the UK remains part of the single market, is not popular, as it demotes the UK to “rule-taker” status. Third, the Labour Party proposal that the UK remain in a customs union but leave the single market (in unspecified ways), is also riddled with insuperable problems, many of which were pointed out by the Labour MP Barry Gardiner before his party adopted the policy of remaining in a Customs Union. Fourth, departing with no deal and trading on the terms of the World Trade Organization (WTO)—an organisation described by Deidre Brock MP in her excellent speech in the parliamentary debate about the Withdrawal Agreement as “a bear pit of contrasting interests and competing economies” in which “the sacred rules are little more than guidelines”—is also only the preference of a minority. This is not surprising. In comparison with the WTO, the rationality, clarity and enforceability of the rights conferred under EU law, and the democratic accountability of EU institutions, are nothing short of utopian.

So it is clear that as a matter of fact the 52 percent who voted Leave did not will any one of the different versions of Brexit. It would be quite remarkable if they had.  

The next question is whether the democratic process is such that the electorate must be deemed to have willed one thing, such as the particular version of the Withdrawal Agreement (if any) that is eventually approved by Parliament, irrespective of whether a majority supported it. It might be said that in a general election the electorate is deemed to consent to the entire contents of the manifesto of the party which wins a majority of seats in parliament, whether or not voters for the majority party did in fact approve all of those contents. Those are the rules of that particular game. But those were not the rules of the 2016 referendum, which did not contain a manifesto but simply a question.

The implied rules of general elections do not assist Madeline Grant in relation to the 2017 election. The Tory and Labour manifestos contained contrasting versions of Brexit, the Labour one in particular advancing its version in exceptionally woolly terms, even by the standards of the genre. The Labour manifesto did insist on a “meaningful vote on the final Brexit deal”—by which it meant a vote in Parliament, not a second referendum—which had already been conceded by the government. This agreement between both parties on a meaningful vote on the Withdrawal Agreement means that any attempt to retrospectively read into the 2017 election some sort of electoral approval of the precise terms of the deal agreed 18 months later (or of no deal in the event of the Agreement being rejected by Parliament) is—quite apart from its inherent absurdity—doomed to failure.

The “one thing” school of thought leads nowhere. The only alternative is to accept that the Leave vote was always splintered into irreconcilable strands, and that there is nothing in our democratic system which compels us to overlook that fact. Furthermore, one or more of those strands can legitimately be tested in a second referendum.

Madeline Grant considers this splintering unfair because it would render the various Leave options less popular than Remain. But this argument presupposes that the Leave vote was a vote for a unitary position, which is the very point at issue.

My point with regard to the “betrayal” argument is that it is only possible for the Government to have betrayed the electorate if it had the power to implement Brexit, which the Gina Miller case showed that it does not. The fact that neither the electorate nor the Government could have predicted the outcome of the Supreme Court decision does not undermine but rather reinforces that point.

Ignoring, then, the Government’s promises, one must consider instead the intentions of Parliament. The only way to find out what Parliament intended when it passed the 2015 Referendum Act is by reading it, but if one does that one finds that it did not promise anything specific in the event of a Leave win. The advisory nature of the 2016 referendum is important because it underlies the open-ended nature of the process which Parliament initiated through the 2015 Act. 

Furthermore, the decision of Parliament to trigger Article 50 in the EU (Notification of Withdrawal) Act 2017 did not amount to an expression of parliamentary approval for the future Withdrawal Agreement (or a no deal alternative). In the 2017 Act, Parliament simply gave permission to the Government to make the notification under Article 50, and negotiate a Withdrawal Agreement. The fact that no deal then became the default option, whereby the U.K. would leave the EU on March 29, 2019 regardless of whether or not a Withdrawal Agreement had been approved by Parliament, does not entail that Parliament has consented to a no deal Brexit, any more than it entails that Parliament consented to any specific form the Withdrawal Agreement might take.

I should stress that my case for a second referendum is not legalistic. The terms of the 2015 and 2017 Acts do not provide decisive arguments in favor of it. My argument is based on broader notions of political justice and legitimacy. The political argument must however be compatible with the legal backcloth, and in this instance it clearly is.

Madeline Grant makes the point that a vote for Scottish independence in the 2014 referendum would have left certain questions unanswered. This is true, but most people have a clear idea of what a nation state looks like. And that referendum was not about the many things the new Scottish state would do once it started to exist. By contrast, so far as Brexit is concerned, the sliding scale from no deal to a Norway-style agreement leaves open a vast range of possibilities.

She also argues that a second referendum would lead to a “huge loss of faith in the democratic process.” She does not address the question of why parliamentary approval of the Withdrawal Agreement would not also lead to such a loss of faith, given how little support it has among the electorate, including among Brexiters. This is particularly so given the extreme seriousness of a departure from the EU, and the fact that it would be very difficult for the U.K. to rejoin the EU after such a departure. By contrast, those advocating a “people’s vote” are not asking for Parliament to revoke Article 50 outright; merely that that option be put to the electorate to consider as an alternative to the Withdrawal Agreement.

Interestingly, Grant does not express a view one way or the other as to whether Parliament ought to approve the Withdrawal Agreement, a surprising omission in view of her criticisms of the absence of practical detail in my article. Nor does she address the legitimacy of a parliamentary decision to approve the Withdrawal Agreement, quite apart from its consequences. It would entail the implementation of a Brexit that, at present, is only approved by a small minority of the population. Democratic processes are one thing; entrapment is, or should be, another. The point was best made by Dr. Philip Lee MP in a recent parliamentary debate: “It would be a supreme act of political fraud to proceed with any practical or legally deliverable form of Brexit without getting the legitimacy of public consent.”


Oliver Conolly is a barrister in London. You can follow him on Twitter 
@OliverConolly
.

Feature photo by Alexandros Michailidis / Shutterstock.

41 Comments

  1. I didn’t read anything but the title but I am willing to bet everything I own that you are against Brexit and were against it.

    Am I right?

    Read some more. I nailed it!!! I am so amazingly smart to be able to guess that.

    • David says

      I respect your feeling the need to confirm and mean no offense by saying (and suspect the same is true for you) that I didn’t have to read any of it to know. In fact, I haven’t wasted a moment reading any of it. Rather, I came here to post, after seeing the headline, that elections have consequences and you can’t simply hold elections on the same issue until you get the result you are convinced is correct. The writer needs to disabuse himself of the notion that his understanding is superior to the millions of people who have been damaged by the bureaucratic bumbling of people who mistakenly share his same view of believing they know what is best for others when in fact they don’t.

  2. E. Olson says

    The EU seems to be like the Hotel California:

    “Relax,” said the night man “We are programmed to receive
    You can check out any time you like
    But you can never leave!”

    Any Brexit specific proposal that might be approved by voters will never be acceptable to the EU or remain side people such as the author, and hence leaving the EU becomes an impossibility.

    • The EU will never agree to an exit deal which is better than being inside the EU. That is and always was obvious. If such a deal was agreed the EU would disintegrate as all its members sought the same deal.

      The only real option therefore is to leave with no deal but that would, at least in the short term, be catastrophically bad with a huge number of regulatory and administrative issues and the abrupt transition from trading under the world’s most favourable set of trade agreements and tariffs to the worst.

      None of this is the EU fault or responsibility but the inevitable outcome of seeking to leave an arrangement of close mutual cooperation. My acquitances who voted to leave seem constantly surprised by what they learn about what that actually means. The odd thing is the reaction to that information. Roughly half are angry at the EU for the consequences of leaving. An illogical reaction but a human one. The other half are angry and feel betrayed by the leave campaign particularly Nigel Farage. It is a frequent observation that he knew what coming so got out before the shit hit the fan.

      We certainly live in interesting times. If we don’t leave there will be an angry core of voters who feel betrayed. If we leave with no deal which seems very likely there will more than half the electorate who feel lied to and betrayed. Either way the current political party system may not survive the process.

      • Defenstrator says

        To be fair, they do have a point. There is nothing stopping the EU from putting their big boy pmts on and doing a trade deal with the UK much like NAFTA. They are artificially making things more difficult because the cult of European Nationalismis opposed to mutually beneficial arrangements between free countries. It’s their hegemonic highway or nothing.

        • E. Olson says

          The problem for the EU is that the PIGS and former Soviet block members need subsidies that are funded in large part by the UK.

  3. The Elites should be very careful with this tactic. A polity that has been informed that they do not actually have a choice in the matters of their governance because they will are forced to vote until they “come to the right conclusion” will eventually conclude that voting is no longer required anymore, but that pitchforks and torches are.

    I would prefer to say the ammo box is now required, per the four boxes of liberty, but the idiots in Britain gave theirs away to the government.

    • Stephanie says

      WW, that was a point Grant made in her article that Connelly doesn’t address. People who want to be Europeans can simply move to Europe, but those who want to stay British only have that one country. Watching it being radically transformed by globalists and being told in no uncertain terms that their dismay is ignorant and therefore will be overruled is a recipe for insurrection.

  4. Farris says

    I do not have a dog in the Brexit fight but that does not mean I care to witness democracy subverted.

    The notion that the electorate failed grasp exact details for which it was voting appears very disingenuous. What election could survive scrutiny if one group could demand a re-vote using the premise I voted for X but I didn’t know it entailed Y? Were the Remain voters properly apprised of all the potential consequences of their vote? The above proposition is nothing more than questioning the intelligence of the Leave voters, finding it lacking and as a result insisting upon a second vote.

    Regarding Brexit the devil appears to be in the details. However when one group wishes to maintain the status quo it behooves said group to bedevil the details of change. Meaning that inserting poison pills into the Brexit details appears to be the strategy of the Remainders. After the poison pills are politicized and rejected, a new vote is then proposed as the solution. This is politics at its worst and one of the leading causes perpetuating a lack of faith in democracy.

    • TarsTarkas says

      Yea, the old ‘elections have consequences’ except when elections don’t go your way thing, in which case you just ignore the voters and keep on doing it your way. That always works out well.

  5. david of Kirkland says

    Asking people to vote on a concept rather than a policy/law is where democracy never exists in the modern world and we’re instead only allowed to vote for hopes and dreams while remaining fully under the control of a small group who make decisions for everyone.

  6. sarraqum says

    You guys just don’t give up do you?

    “The two most prominent advocates for the Leave proposition, Nigel Farage and Boris Johnson” – Wrong. There is Jacob, Rees-Mogg, Priti Patel, Ian Duncan Smith to name a few. Outside the government there are a lot of players

    “both said in terms that the Withdrawal Agreement is worse than staying in the EU” – Correct. If no acceptable deal; can be reached we have no deal by default.

    “They also insist that the electorate not be permitted to express its agreement with them” – two general elections and a referendum is still not enough

    “The critical question for those opposed to a second referendum (a category which includes Remainers as well as Brexiters) is whether or not they see the 2016 referendum as a democratic expression of approval for a particular position.” – Yes

    “If they do, they need to identify the “one thing” which the electorate willed in 2016” – Leave EU

    “Furthermore, the decision of Parliament to trigger Article 50 in the EU (Notification of Withdrawal) Act 2017 did not amount to an expression of parliamentary approval for the future Withdrawal Agreement” – No, it amounted to the Parliament, triggering article 50, which starts UK’s wirthdrawal process. The Parliament agreed to trigger it. It has absolutely nothing to do with the deal. Two subjects are seperate.

    “I should stress that my case for a second referendum is not legalistic.” – you bet it’s not. There is no case for a second referendum, legalistic or ortherwise. Had remainers not spent the last two years actively trying to derail the Brexit process and instead concentrated on working together with the government in delivering on what referendum has asked for, leaving the European Union, perhaps things would have been different. Instead they screeched and squealed like piglets because they lost. And now they are calling for Loser’s Vote. Get over it, you lost.

    ” it would be very difficult for the U.K. to rejoin the EU” – dream on.

    ” those advocating a “people’s vote” are not asking for Parliament to revoke Article 50 outright; merely that that option be put to the electorate to consider as an alternative to the Withdrawal Agreement” – come on then, let’s hear those alternatives, what are they? Haven’t heard many of them over the last two years. Do you have any? Maybe you should have some before you call for a vote on them.

    We are leaving the EU, what sort of deal we managed to hammer out is dependent on our elected goverment. We’ve picked who we’ve picked to run the show and now we are reaping the fruits of our labour. Neither party performed well though the result of the referendum must be repsected and the only possible ‘People’s Vote’ that can be held is whether we go with May’s deal or go for no deal. The rest is waffle.

  7. Stoic Realist says

    I come this article under the title of ‘a poor loser wants a do over’ and a subtitle of ‘with the rules changed to slant the new outcome in his favor.’

    I don’t have a dog in this fight. However I would probably have more sympathy for the remain side of they had made a good faith attempt to follow the will of the first vote. Instead of that they have spent the time whinging, crying, and doing everything they could to subvert the result.

    I am sorry if you only like democracy when you very your way but that isn’t the way it works. Deal with it. Neither side was honest in their sales pitches before the last vote and both sides have people that voted that way for less than rational reasons. Welcome to the way voting works. Most people learned that before reaching the age of majority.

  8. markbul says

    The Remainers never called for a second referendum BEFORE they lost, did they. There is a fundamental dishonesty at work here. Of course, that never stopped anyone in politics, did it?

    • Rupert Stubbs says

      Well, several prominent Leavers did so – Darage and Rees-Mogg, for starters.

  9. Brian Villanueva says

    No parent would let a child run into a busy road, so we elites must protect those voters from the consequences of their vote. They voted to leave the EU — but surely they didn’t mean really leave the EU!

    We elites are smarter and more educated, so we should do what we know is right even though less qualified voters and voices oppose us. After all, the only reason to vote Leave was ignorance or racism. And we can’t let those malignant forces win.

  10. Dan Love says

    Oh god, another one of these.

    It’s like a criminal trying for his 7th appeal. The arguments become increasingly exotic and entertaining.

  11. Again, you make the argument that there are many different types of leave: this is false. The EU is a single market that is created by a customs union: staying in the single market, or the customs union isn’t leaving.

    All the arguments over the type of Brexit are really arguments over the type of trading relationship to be had after the UK has left.

    And, as a side note, No Deal is the most popular option when people are polled if the choices are May’s deal, No Deal or remain.

  12. Darwin T of BC Humanists says

    Oliver – “Please sir, may I have some more?”

    A second referendum. No, you are asking for a 3rd referendum! The first was in 1975 for a purely economic joint venture not a political union. You want a 3rd, fine, wait 41 years like before!!!

    41 years is a long enough time to see the experiment in action and decide on the experience as a whole, on balance and in total if it is good enough or not.

    Switzerland is not in the EU but is part of Europe. Anyone see signs of mass famine, rampant unemployment, diseases ravaging the populace? How can that be, zut alors? Don’t the Swiss know they would be better off inside a club that clubs all dissent?

    Chancellor Frau Merkel herself put the NO vote over the 50% mark when she let in well over a million migrants in a fell swoop. German and Swedish WWII guilt made them the most poised to assuage their sins. In the Swedish case it is due to the fact that they did nothing to help the Finns who were mauled by Uncle Joe Stalin and his merry band of Soviet serfs.

    The Monty Python troupe invited to Munich to write a comedy show by German television producers in their heyday were first driven to Dauchau concentration camp, although they could not find it at first and the locals said when asked for directions feigned all knowledge of the Nazi era death camp. Arriving at the entry they were told it was closing time and said rules must be obeyed, so no entry would be permitted. Graham Chapman chimed in that they were all Jewish and voila the doors flew open. GUILT works wonders!!! And it will thus be ever so for Germany to the point of abnegation.

  13. ga gamba says

    … the best argument for a second referendum is that the “Leave” proposition in the first referendum in 2016 was, necessarily, extremely general…

    This is also the best argument against it. Being “extremely general” meant voters decided in or out. Not leave under these conditions, or these others ones, or stay under other conditions. It couldn’t be more clear: stay or leave. Fifty-two per cent voted leave. Dem da breaks.

    Further, those who were dissatisfied by it being “extremely general” certainly could have, and should have imo, voted remain. If a contract, agreement, or referendum is unclear, you don’t agree to it. Has any polling agency attempted to capture this demographic? Not to knowledge.

    Barring a negotiated settlement, I knew at the very worst (or best, depending on how one views such things) we’d have the WTO’s trade rules to fall back on provide a framework for trade. These are the same rules that govern trade between the EU and the USA, China, and many other nations with which the bloc has not negotiated and ratified ‘free’ trade agreements. The EU could’ve also said, “Let’s use one of the trade deals we gave South Korea (or Japan, Canada, etc) as a template. The sticky issue is Ireland and the future of EU citizens in the UK and UK citizens in the EU, so let’s sort that.” Instead, it panicked over the potential of others leaving, became vengeful like a scorned lover, and made unconscionable demands.

    Really, the EU should be jumping for joy. Britain was always a headache by thwarting many of Europe’s ambitions, and for a long time many suspected it acted as America’s proxy to this end. Now Berlin and Paris have a free hand. That EU military is going to cost a bundle though. And good luck getting France to relinquish its nuclear monopoly to all the other members.

  14. Jay Salhi says

    How would the author feel about a second referendum containing 2 choices: May’s deal or no deal?

    He would oppose it because his real intention to stack the deck by structuring referendum no. 2 in such a way as to divide the Brexit vote and ensure a remain victory. The author is not interested in another vote, his goal is to rig the outcome in advance.

    • PrimaVista says

      May’s deal or no deal – I think a lot of people would get behind such a referendum

      • Jay Salhi says

        Brexiters would support it, Remainers would not. Both sides know that no deal would win by a large margin.

        • PrimaVista says

          Jay Salhi, indeed. Majority of voters would support it, that’s all that matters. Luckily, we still live in a society where majority rules, not minority. Although the minority is doing it’s darnest to try and be in charge with it’s incessantt calls for Loser’s Vote. 50 days to go, stand firm!

  15. A C Harper says

    I expected that the original article and counter-article had covered all the main points. A second bite at the ‘second referendum’ proposal in the absence of startling new data seems… obsessive.

  16. I do hope that the UK leaves without a deal and that idiots who voted leave will suffer because let’s face it – you have to be an idiot to hope you can escape globalism. My friends and I will be okay and I will be watching this shit show from my five bedroom house and drive my kid to the private school in my beamer.

    And to all these morons who mumble “but they are stealing our jobs” – wait until you face automation and all your useless jobs will disappear. Who are you going to blame then?

      • It will be all the “nobodies” who will suddenly care when they won’t be able to afford basic necessities.

        • Bacchus says

          Go on then, name some basic necessities we won’t be able to afford. I’m all ears

    • You had better hope it doesn’t come to that. The U.K. already has almost no enforcement of law against property theft crime, and it is all but illegal to defend yourself against criminals IN YOUR HOME intent on things like armed robbery and rape. Let’s see how well you fare when your “five bedroom house” gets broken into as often as Tony Martin’s farm did, and your “beamer” gets its windows shattered several times before it finally gets stolen. Think your insurance rates will remain the same?

      You and your friends HOPE you’ll be OK in a much poorer country with many more poor people. You might want to check with some Brazilians to see just how logical your hope is and its likelihood of being realized. As it stands now, Britain has double the crime rates of the U.S. for every criminal offense other than murder. Do you really think having more people in desperate economic circumstances is going to improve your already horrendous crime statistics?

      If you’re not willing to help the country, Lulu, you had best start making some very rapid moves toward emigrating. If the majority of the people of the UK have hard times because of this, you and your friends most certainly will not be immune from the consequences.

      Incidentally, your last question is, “Who are you going to blame then?” I suggest you will find your answer by looking in the mirror. You may not think so, but all those poor and angry people watching your affluence from their council houses probably will.

    • Alexander Allan says

      In the long term the only people who will suffer are the global elites who are only concerned about their material wealth – five bedroom houses and beamers. The Leave voters don’t have a narrow minded love for money; they value other thing, greater things like nation, the sense of belonging which transcends your shallow materialistic values.

  17. Constantin says

    How about we had just enough of this propaganda? Right to reply (particularly when the integrity of the author has been done) I understand. But let’s not give him yet more space for reiterating the same fallacious argument again and again. We really do not care whether you understood or not what you were asked to vote on during the referendum, Mr. Conolly. Please, please stop complaining. There will be no second referendum! And that’s that, no matter how much sophistry spin masters like yourself throw in the argument. Simple people understand easily that a second referendum on any issue is a subversion of the first and a personal insult (as in “you had no clue what you voted for”). You can spin this until the cows come home, and nothing will change. Your argument is fallacious (as noted astutely by other commenters – see for example GaGamba above), likely disingenuous (and I consider that a compliment to your intellect rather than an attack on your moral code – although the distinction is rather hard to make), and insulting. This is why we had enough of your demagoguery and ask you kindly to return to your normal function and spin the facts in favor of actual human beings.

  18. Rupert Stubbs says

    The argument for a second referendum is not a positive one. But it is a compelling one, on the principle of the “least worst” course of action.

    Brexit is proving intractable. Not because it is impossible for the UK to leave the EU. But because our parliament is unable to agree how to do this in a way that doesn’t either cause irreparable harm to our country or that will cause irreparable harm to their political parties.

    Since the point of Brexit was to restore parliamentary sovereignty, this is somewhat embarrassing.

    Since neither party (nor factions within both parties) is able to present a way forward that is both credible and practical, the future of our country is being kicked down the road still further. And we are running out of road.

    Teresa May seems set on playing a simultaneous game of chicken with the EU, her own party, parliament, and the British people. Unless something dramatically changes, it’s likely we will end up in a place that few of us want to be, and far fewer advocated at the time of the referendum.

    This does not feel like taking back control.

    If parliament is in zugzwang, the least worst option is to take the decision about how we proceed back to the people.

    • A C Harper says

      First you have to show that leaving the EU with ‘no deal’ will cause more harm than stringing things along for another year while the terms of a ‘second referendum’ are debated and passed into law. And then you have to explain why the results of the ‘second referendum’ are less harmful than leaving earlier – even if the outcome was to ‘really remain’ in an EU pressing forward to ‘ever closer union’.

      I think that’s a tall order. Especially when ‘no deal’ is already the default option, enshrined in law, and thus an expression of parliamentary sovereignty. It’s the parties trying to nobble the ‘no deal’ default that are challenging parliamentary sovereignty.

    • Squall says

      Fully agree, Rupert. Our Parliament has forgotten how to Parliament after decades of subordination. Special interest groups, oversea financiers and Globalist interventions have rendered a lot of our MPs unable to carry out their duties and now we are the result, squabbling squealing children throwing tantrums. It is indeed time to leave that mess behind us and re-learn how to govern and run a country on a local level

    • Constantin says

      Wait a minute! You suggest that the British parliament is thorn between destroying the country (where did I hear that before) or destroying their parties. You describe a sort of crisis of democracy in the birth-place of democracy that should scare the people enough to reconsider whether they want to be ruled by inflexible and unelected bureaucrat in Bruxelles. How cute is that? What happens if they place their trust again in the British state and way of life and its long standing democratic tradition? I guess we’ll be back to square one and will need a third referendum – because nothing would have changed and the politicians you have described would have not improved overnight. You are in effect describing a classic no-exit situation in which the only way out is to get Britons to vote, again, and again, and yet again – until they get it right. I am getting desperate that that I have to suffer two more months of this nonsense before Britain says “enough of this” and dumps Bruxelles like a sack. And if the IRA makes a scene of it and starts killing innocents, you simply did not take them all out in due time and have some catching up to do. The only compelling argument here is to defy and then sack a political class that simply refuses to do what the electorate instructed them to do,

  19. Alexander Allan says

    Mr Connelly conveniently forgets to mention that Nigel Farage, at the time of the referendum, was the party leader of UKIP which clearly articulated what it meant by leaving. He conveniently fails to mention that the only reason why David Cameron felt compelled to promise a referendum was because of the gains UKIP were making at the expense of the Conservative Party. He also conveniently forgets to mention that Cameron went to the EU to get a New Deal for Britain, and these proposals were rejected by the majority in the EU Referendum.

    Finally Remain do not articulate what they mean by Remain. Do they wish Britain to remain in the EU under the same conditions as before the EU Referendum?. Are they wishing the UK to join the EU? Do they want a European Army, where the British element is under the control of technocrats in Brussels and the UK has no say? Do they want to get rid of the British veto? Do they want the UK to sign up to the Schengen Agreement?

  20. As an English man who now lives and works in the Netherlands Brexit has been a thorn in my side for the last two years.

    When the vote was cast I knew then why England chose to do it, independance, distrust and anger, at a failing political construct. I believed then; as I still do that it was needed for the people of England to feel like they would be listened to by their political class. With the hope that in a few decades perhaps the UK could then rejoin with a bit more passion.

    Unfortunately What I now see is a political establishment at odds with itself, their voters, and the continent.

    My biggest concern is if a new referendum is called and if either side loses, there will be riots by the losing side. Passions have been built up repeatedly over the last two years, desperation to stay and desperation to have their voice be heard.

    I can’t see this ending well under any circumstances.

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