Can People's Vote fix Brexit referendum?

From: Joseph Mullen Darley Road

Friday, 26th October 2018, 9:03 am
Updated Friday, 26th October 2018, 10:05 am

The outcome of the EU June 2016 referendum has led to confusion, social divisions and parliamentary impasses on what the result entails.

The Government is divided in at least three ways; the opposition is purely reactive and is like a rabbit caught in the headlights while the EU itself is perplexed on how to respond to mixed signals.

All of the impact studies articulated by reputable economic institutions, such as the Bank of England, IMF, Office for Budget Responsibility and including the impact studies by the Government itself; all point southwards towards to a deepening of national impoverishment.

Are the people who voted to leave responsible for this mess? Certainly not. The design and organization of the referendum demonstrated a systemic failure of governance and epic incompetence by the Cameron government of the day, accompanied by a lack of critical analysis by the Opposition.

The White Paper which was intended to spell out the powers and competencies of the referendum and its advisory character to Parliament, was ignored during the campaign.

Instead a war cry went up for increased NHS funding, a call for vague sovereignty and a reduction in immigration; coordinated by a group of people who had zero power to deliver and a perjorative attitude to the EU.

Generally in referenda, a threshold percentage participation of the electorate is usually required in the case of constitutional change, for example 40% in the case of Scottish devolution; only 37% voted in the Brexit referendum. Key stakeholders were excluded such as : EU citizen/taxpayers/residents in the UK, settled UK citizens resident in other EU countries and all 16 and 17 year-olds who had a vested interest in the future political arrangement.

This overall group alone is likely to overturn the narrow result achieved by the leave campaign where 17 million voted Leave, 16 million voted remain and 32 million did not vote at all.

It has also since emerged that funding levels of the Leave campaign breached the legal limit and data manipulation by Cambridge Analytica and its affiliate organisations, together with a borderline intervention by the DUP supporting a Leave media campaign on the mainland.

Northern Ireland, despite a 56% remain vote, was hardly mentioned in the campaign and was subsequently hijacked by the Leave campaign in the form of the DUP who advocate a binary solution to Ireland while ignoring its actual unitary character.

The French newspaper Le Monde reported on 1st August that in order to integrate Ireland more into Europe, new shipping hubs will be developed in The Netherlands and Belgium, with investments bypassing the French ports that have a direct connection to the South of England such as Dieppe, Le Havre, and even Calais.

The leave vote is likely to have unintended economic consequences for many of the areas that have so readily endorsed it.

The port of Newhaven comes immediately to mind.

Politicians of all sides have failed to achieve any workable consensus.

Only two paths remain: a People’s Vote on the terms negotiated by the Government or a National multi-party approach. A Peoples Vote is the only viable option in the face of divided and incompetent political parties.