A Second Referendum?

 

James Proclaims (4)

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Since the UK voted to leave the European Union in June 2016, it’s barely been out of the media. The election of a racist misogynist billionaire to the White House has provided some light relief on occasion, but you can’t turn on a TV, listen to the radio or open a newspaper in the UK without encountering some kind of Brexit debate.

Ok, that isn’t strictly true, obviously there are myriad TV channels which don’t feature any kind of political debate, I can’t recall ‘Heart Radio’ featuring too much in the way of topical news shows, and who on Earth reads newspapers anymore?

But my point is that Brexit is kind of a big deal.

It’s a big deal because, it actually is, legitimately, quite a big deal – the economic, legal and security ramifications of Britain leaving the EU are confusing and will almost certainly mean significant change and long periods of uncertainty.

It’s also a big deal because not everyone voted for it. It was a pretty good turn out at the polls and 52% of voters were in favour of Brexit, meaning that 48% were not. That’s a pretty close call, and those of us who voted  to remain are rightly irritated by claims that Brexit is ‘the will of the people’. At best it is ‘the will of some people’.

But I’m ok with losing a democratic vote because obviously the proponents of the ‘Vote Leave’ campaign had a plan. I might not want Brexit, but handled correctly I suppose, in the longer term, it might not be that bad. There may even be aspects of it that are quite good. Because they absolutely had a plan.

Except that , apparently, they didn’t.

And this is really why Brexit remains a big deal. Because, just over a year and half on from that fateful vote, no-one has the slightest idea what Brexit actually means.

Our beloved Prime Minister did coin a phrase when she first came to office, which was, if I recall, that ‘Brexit means Brexit.’

And I’m sure that is true but, and maybe I’m missing something obvious, it doesn’t actually tell us what Brexit means at all.

Some ‘Remain’ campaigners (hilariously dubbed ‘Remoaners’ by the right wing press) have suggested that there should be a second referendum.

Others have suggested that a second referendum flies in the face of democracy.

And I can see their point.

Because obviously giving people an opportunity to vote on the future of Britain’s relationship with Europe is all well and good, but giving the public two opportunities is completely undemocratic because…

…er…

…nope can’t see how that is undemocratic actually.

Having said that, I can’t see that a second referendum would go any differently to the first one. Indeed, such is the regular anti-EU fervour stoked by sections of the British media that I wouldn’t even be surprised to see a second referendum produce a result that was more emphatically in favour of leaving the EU than the first vote was.

But the problem remains that we still have no idea what it is that people did actually vote for back in the golden summer of 2016.

So perhaps a second referendum would be useful just to drill down into what it is that the British people actually want. Perhaps a referendum with a range of choices rather than the straight dichotomy of Remain or Leave.

Here are my suggestions:

Option 1: No Brexit – or ‘this all seems a bit too complicated and it’s better just to keep things the same as they are now’.

Option 2: Soft Brexit –  or ‘leave but don’t actually leave. Like say we’ve left so we can stick two fingers up to Europe, but actually stay part of the Single Market and Customs Union because actually leaving properly seems a bit scary.’

Option 3: Hard Brexit – or leave and cut all remaining ties. We’re British and we’re awesome. Even if it looks like economical suicide it definitely won’t be. After all a stiff upper lip and traditional family values will see us through any problems.’

Option 4: War – or ‘this has always been about hating foreigners and we’ve always been pretty good at wars. That’ll definitely show those European bastards who’s boss. Plus war time is brilliant – remember the good old days of the Second World War when everything was black and white and Britain was great? Let’s go to war again!’

There we go, a referendum to reunite Britain.

You’re welcome.

 

A Momentous Day

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If the motto of the Brexiteers
Is ‘All For Us and None For You’
Then today they’ll tone it down
As we begin to say adieu

For though we complain about officials
Who were appointed, not elected
We’ll ignore that our Theresa
Was unopposed when then selected

To move to Number Ten
And be the preeminent figure
To guide us through this mess
And today to pull the trigger

For if all hope now seems lost
And we think things can’t get better
Theresa begs to differ
And today she sent a letter

The letter went to a Donald
But not the one called Trump
(Though he’ll no doubt have his say
As we prepare to make the jump)

To become once more an island
An isolated nation
No longer able to blame
Everything on immigration

We’re told things will improve
But they might be getting bleaker
As the prices all go up
And the pound is getting weaker

But fear not my fellow Brits
In the short-term we’ll be thrifty
But soon we’ll be in ‘dreamland’
Through article number fifty

The Will Of The People

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Who is this ‘Will Of The People’
He that cannot be denied
And must be honoured, revered and obeyed?
I can think of many Wills
But none that strike me
As being ‘Of The People’

Not the Conqueror I’d wager
Or the one who liked Orange
And certainly neither Pitt Junior
Nor indeed Senior
And it really doesn’t seem
Like it was  Wilberforce’s thing

I doubt very much it’s
Shakespeare or Wordsworth
Popular in their own way
But less influential to modern ears
Than perhaps they were in days gone by Continue reading The Will Of The People

Bregrets, I’ve Had A Few

James Proclaims (4)

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Despite recent evidence to the contrary, this blog is not meant to be about political commentary. It’s meant to be a whimsical collection of bad poetry, rants about soup and toilet-based anecdotes.

But the fallout of Brexit continues to dominate the news and as a citizen of the soon-to-be-former EU member state, I feel I should comment on it. Continue reading Bregrets, I’ve Had A Few

James Remains

James Proclaims (4)

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The dust is starting to settle and apparently the apocalypse hasn’t happened.

Yet.

But the post-Brexit UK does feel different and none of us are quite sure what to make of it.

For starters, my blog seems to have gone from random nonsense to political commentary. Perhaps I should rectify that, but then politics did just get very interesting again. It’s not necessarily for the right reasons but it’s hard to deny that the British people are engaged with political debate in a way that they haven’t been for some time.

There was definitely some interest and debate before the referendum took place but since the result was announced it’s all anyone is talking about.

Well that and football. Continue reading James Remains

James Complains About Brexit

The terrible irony is that the vast majority of the people who voted to leave are the ones who will be most adversely affected. The most extreme example of turkeys voting for Christmas I can recall.”

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This morning I was awoken gently by  Mrs Proclaims who broke the news to me of Britain’s collective decision to leave the EU.

It took a few moments to sink in.

We voted for Brexit!

In my wildest dreams I did not see that result coming. Continue reading James Complains About Brexit

James Complains About The Referendum

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Today there is a referendum on whether or not Britain remains part of the European Union. Today we as a nation decide whether to Brexit or not to Brexit. I wrote about it back in February. Back then it seemed like the distant future, but lo and behold, we’re here in the future. Continue reading James Complains About The Referendum

European Disunion

James Proclaims (4)

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Today is apparently a big day for the UK in terms of our relationship with the rest of Europe. Our beloved Prime Minister, and genuine man of the people (you may detect a hint of sarcasm but I offer no comment), is trying to negotiate a better deal for us, with many predicting that the outcome of today’s talks will directly influence the outcome of a future referendum on whether we stay part of the European Union or go it alone in the big bad world.

The trouble with this is that most of us have no idea what a ‘good deal’ actually looks like, and so it seems preposterous to suggest it will directly influence how we vote.

How we vote will instead be decided on how afraid we are of the alternative. Some of us will vote to stay in Europe because we’re afraid of  significant change and others of us will vote to leave Europe because we’re afraid of Europe telling us what to do and disproportionately afraid of mass immigration. None of those fears will be particularly informed by facts. Continue reading European Disunion