Why a second referendum is now not only right but necessary

These last months’ debate on Brexit have established one fact: a portion of the people who have voted leave have done it for the wrong reasons. This is a fact, not an interpretation or an opinion, and it is on facts that decisions must be taken.

Many people of that portion realise that they did not understand Brexit or were simply misled. Many of these, we now know, would vote remain. In fact polls, such as YouGov’s across a significant 10.000 people, show that currently Britain would vote remain 53 to 47, as expressed directly in these terms : ‘Slightly more of the British public think that voting to leave the EU was wrong for Britain than think it was the right decision’.

Yet let us remember that a referendum is a consultation, and indeed a poll is also a consultation. Yet the results of this referendum, it is now apparent, are now seemingly in contradiction with the polls. No doubt MPs or peers, not least Downing Street, have also noticed this – the British people equally.

Henceforth the now supreme question of whether the number of people who voted remain plus the number of those who wish to reconsider their initial vote currently amounts to a majority needs to be elucidated. As otherwise the United Kingdom might, in reality, leave Europe with a majority of British people wishing to remain. This would not only amount to building the future of Britain on a false premise, but result in a failure of our democracy.

If a second referendum were to be held, and the vote be leave, then the original decision will have been validated and the Brexit debate ended. Government and Parliament will have no choice but to implement it as soon as possible, with or without the best deal possible with the European Union.

Should the vote be remain, then Government and Parliament would return to rule the country to the best of its interests, within the European family. It would become in my opinion imperative to bring pressure to bear on the European Union to address its fundamental dysfunction, while ensuring utmost care is taken to protect people such as farmers and fishermen, who are often desperate and consider Brexit to be a salvation process.

As to those who warn of civil unrest – if a second referendum were to take place, one may reply that threats are no political arguments, and that fear should not bear on logic or reason. The British people have respected the results of the first referendum, and will respect that of the second.

Hence for the democrat, a second referendum is right and in fact now logically necessary, whether one is for or against Brexit.

* Christian de Vartavan is an eminent scholar and now CEO of a London blockchain consulting company.

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This entry was posted in Op-eds.


  • John Chandler 3rd Sep '18 - 3:05pm

    Please can we stop calling it a second referendum? It’s incorrect, it plays into the hands of the hard line Leave campaigners, and it alienates and patronises those who voted Leave and are now unhappy with the direction that is being taken (or outright want to reverse their decision).

    The first referendum was in 1975 (which was legally binding and attained a supermajority), the second was in 2016 (and was not legally binding, nor a supermajority). What is being asked for is a vote on the final deal – although what the question of such a vote is going to be will be as controversial and divisive as the referendum itself.

  • Christian de Vartava 3rd Sep '18 - 3:29pm

    Thank you for your comment Mr Chandler but it is a second referendum which I ask for as I have just learnt is asking Sir Simon wh(https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2018/sep/01/conservative-party-donor-calls-for-second-brexit-vote)

  • Peter Martin 3rd Sep '18 - 3:35pm

    @ Christian,

    “It would become in my opinion imperative to bring pressure to bear on the European Union to address its fundamental dysfunction, while ensuring…….”

    It sounds like you are desperate to remain in an EU which you acknowledge is ‘fundamentally dysfunctional’ whereas I would say that this is exactly the reason why we should leave.

    The first problem is that, if we do stay, we won’t have much, if any, input into the decision making process for at least the next decade. We’ll be told in no uncertain terms that we’ve caused enough trouble as it is and it’s now our turn to sit quietly in the corner until we are told by our betters that we can have some limited say again.

    We only had that before the referendum anyway. To be part of the inner circle would have meant being members to the same extent as France and Germany. ie joining the euro and Schengen. Hardly anyone, even amongst the Reamainers, wants us to do that.

    The next problem, and there are others, is that there isn’t any agreement that the EU is dysfunctional. The consensus of opinion in Germany that EU problems are due to the rules being insufficiently vigilantly enforced rather than anything to do with the rules themselves.

    Which just goes to show that a consensus isn’t always correct!

  • It’s highly doubtful that in the unlikely event of a vote on the deal that it would take the form favoured by the Lib Dems. The Conservatives are in power and that is who would set the question. Thus you could end up with binary deal or no deal question which is more rather than less likely to end in the hard Brexit you are trying to avoid because it then becomes an opportunity on the one hand clobber a sitting government and on the other to register disapproval of the EU. The point being support for peoples vote doesn’t dictate the form the question might take.

  • Sean Hyland 3rd Sep '18 - 4:19pm

    No problem with holding a second vote. I voted leave for specific reasons and at the moment see nothing to change my vote. However, do accept that others views and choices may have changed.

  • Sean Hyland 3rd Sep '18 - 4:21pm

    If it does happen i hope there are better campaigns from both sides of the argument.

  • Peter Martin 3rd Sep '18 - 4:25pm

    @ Christian,

    I’ve already indicated that I would support another vote. I can’t really see any other way out of the mire.

    That said, the polls are showing a similar situation to what we saw before the 2016 referendum. So if leave won then why would the result be any different this time?I know from my own experience that its not considered ‘cool’ to support Leave! so if I would have had more sense I might have been better off being a ‘shy leaver’.

    There’s quite a few of them so don’t get too excited about what the polls might say.

  • @John Chandler
    I understand your point John and would have agreed with you until recently. I now think that this approach is too dangerous. The damage being done to the UK economy mounts daily. There may not be a deal to vote on in time. The chance of this government reaching 31/3/19 and muddling through on a fudge is too great. Once we are beyond that date we would never get the same terms as we have now and the accession process would introduce very damaging time delays. Time to stop pussyfooting around. Apart from the real pain inflicted on the many ordinary working families whose futures will be destroyed there is a real chance that this could even lead to the eventual disintegration of the UK itself. How politicians could have allowed this situation to have evolved is beyond me. It is not patronising leave voters to call for a second referendum. We all fell for the B.S. to some extent, some more than others and some flipped one way, others flipped another. Well time and evidence has opened some eyes to the reality of it. Time to have second thoughts and stop this before it is too late. Time for real politicians to grow a spine and call it out for what it is. No ifs, no buts, no whens.

  • John Marriott 3rd Sep '18 - 5:44pm

    Whether or not we step back from the brink, jump over the cliff, or end up with some sort of the deal, the past few years have dealt us as a nation, and particularly our economy, a massive avoidable blow. No matter how many more times we vote, we cannot alter the fact that many of us, perhaps a majority still, appear to be reluctant Europeans, or at least people who either don’t appreciate what membership of the EEC/EU has given us or who just don’t really care.

    Like Lord Hague among others, I know on which side my bread is buttered. Like him, probably, I don’t like the direction of travel the EU in its present form has taken – and I reckon that there are many of my European neighbours who, deep down, probably agree. However, there is no way that you will convince the Fox’s, Duncan Smith’s, Rees Mogg’s, Patel’s, Villiers’s etc. that they are wrong. So, rather than speculate, let the timetable run its course and, failing agreement being reached, let’s see if Great Britain plc does crash and burn. Then, and only then, might some people wake up. The cynic in me, however, reckons that the sun will rise again, we will keep ‘b*****ing on”, to quote Churchill and, knowing the zealotry of those politicians I named, still blame ‘Johnny Foreigner’ for all our ills. What an almighty mess!

  • John Chandler 3rd Sep '18 - 6:23pm

    Don’t get me wrong, a (narrow) vote by the public started this mess and a public vote is probably the only way of stopping this whole fiasco since neither the government nor the alleged opposition seem capable of admitting the destruction it’s causing. Not that Brexit was ever going to be a success anyway.

    I’m in favour of a vote, as are more and people (including Leavers), but calling it a second referendum is not the approach – it gets dismissed by comments like “best of three then?”, or “let’s re-run until the EU gets the result they want shall we?”. A lot of Leavers are deeply unhappy with the whole situation, especially those that believed we would sign up with EFTA. They would be more likely to support a vote on the final deal (with an option to stay), than re-run the 2016 referendum – especially as the outcome of a simple in/out is unlikely to be a supermajority, even with the change in public opinion and improved awareness of what an utter disaster it will be.

    But, as pointed out, we are desperately running out of time and no amount of evidence of the damage seems to be having an effect on those running the process. Maybe I’m just getting hung up on naming, but I feel it’s important and the difference between being seen as “re-running to try and get what the 48% want” and “deciding if the negotiators have presented a good deal for the country”.

    I agree there is a real danger that we won’t be able to run a vote on the final deal because our illustrious negotiating team will probably still be struggling right up to the deadline, when it’ll be too late. The cynic in me suggests this is exactly what groups like the ERG have planned all along. After all, they spent 40 years trying to overthrow a much larger referendum result and won’t give it up easily.

  • John Marriott
    I have a son who feels that – to allow “things to take their course” in the forlorn thought that people may learn their lesson! I just feel that is a counsel of despair – sorry.

    John Chandler
    I see your point about “referendum on the final deal” – which is the official Lib Dem title, but Christian is right – a “second (third?) referendum” is the correct and accurate title, and there are several reasons for a rerun. By the way, why wasn’t 2016 called “the second referendum”?!
    Regarding your suggestion that there were people in 2016 “who expected us to sign up to EFTA”, I think you would be hard put to it to find more than a handful! That was the issue in 1975 – a free trade area vs a political free trade area.

    Christian / Peter Martin
    Surely all democratic institutions are dysfunctional to some extent, being as they are a compromise between various viewpoints. I struggle to understand why the EU seems to be uniquely condemned for its dysfunctionality. And by the way, I would favour being in the Euro, and especially in Schengen. In an ever more interlinked world we need all the tools to work cooperatively. What we do not need is to be split down into small political fragments and be unable to deal democratically with powerful vested interests.

  • Since the referendum was held by a conservative government, then staying in would also be under Tory rules. Joining first the EC and then the EU certainly were. Both occurring without consultation via referendums. The 1975 one was about continued membership rather than joining in the first place. Referendums are rare. On the other hand British voters tend to lend power to the Conservative party more often than to the other parties, making conservative rule anything but a rare occurrence. There hasn’t been a majority Liberal government for about one hundred years. Perhaps we simply live in a country with a conservative bias.

  • @Glen
    Some fact-checking:

    “Referendums are rare. ”

    Not on constitutional issues. However it came about, it is now ALMOST part of Britain’s unwritten constitution.

    I count 7 in the past 20 years – about one every 3 years even if they were not all UK-wide – Good Friday agreement, Welsh devolution, Scottish devolution, law-making powers for the Welsh Assembly, Scottish Independence, AV voting, EU. So we are getting due another one!

    “, making conservative rule anything but a rare occurrence. ”

    Between 1945-2010, Labour by my calculations ruled for 30 years (1945-51, 1964-70, 1974-79 and 1997-2010), Tories 34 years (1951-1964, 1970-1974, 1979-1997) so its about even or may be 60/40. Although Labour were unlikely to loose the 1951 election – getting more votes but fewer MPs.

  • Peter Martin 4th Sep '18 - 8:30am

    “I struggle to understand why the EU seems to be uniquely condemned for its dysfunctionality.”

    It’s mainly down to economics. The idea that 19 countries can share the same currency and at the same time adhere to the rules as are written down in the Stability and Growth Pact just isn’t viable. I’m surprised that it has last as long as it has tbh. Mainly this is because the ECB has done a pretty good job in trying to make the unworkable actually work. But they can only do this by openly breaking the rules of the SGP.

    Conservative Germans aren’t at all happy that the ECB just creates and lends out euros at very low rates of interest. That’s not the way the euro is supposed to work! The end result is that the deficit countries accumulate lots of euro debt that they can never repay and the surplus countries accumulate lots of euro assets they can never realise. Google the term ‘Target2 imbalances’ for more info on that.

    The only way forward is to have a Single Government for the EU, a single taxation system, and as single currency. We end up with a United States of Europe with countries like Germany, France, Italy etc having the same constitutional status as California, New Jersey, Texas etc.

    I just can’t see that happening somehow!

  • Frankie and Michael.
    In the last hundred years there hasn’t been a Liberal one. So not only are their fewer liberals than conservatives, their are more socialists as well! The first nationwide referendum was in 1975. As I have already pointed out we were taken into the EC and the EU without referendums. This had political/constitutional ramification at least as big as devolution. I don’t fear another referendum. I see it more as a chance to watch the pro-EU camp lose again. However, I strongly suspect on losing again, there would be lots of surveys to say Remain won in this or that ward even though electoral wards were simply a way to aid the head count, that it wasn’t fair, that people who didn’t vote should count as remain supporters, that this time the tide really had turned, that toddlers should allowed to vote or something and so on. In short, I don’t really believe another flame out would end it.

  • John Marriott 4th Sep '18 - 9:23am

    I tuned in to ‘Newsnight’ yesterday evening as most of the programme was dedicated to ‘Brexit’. Did I learn anything new? You must be joking! Quite frankly what went for discussions just left me with the impression that nobody had any idea what was going on! There has got to be a comedy series in there for somebody when the dust finally settles – if it ever does!
    “Counsel of despair”? More like “council of despair”!

  • Firstly I agree with the article. I think how we were misled and the lack of detail in the debate were shocking.
    However if I substitute Brexit with “Scottish Independence Referendum” then the arguement also stands.

    The key example being that if you vote YES then you will take Scotland out of the EU.

    I don’t like the double standard of the LibDem position on this.

  • Just to pick up on one strand out the pro-Brexit argument which particularly entertains me. We have a government in the UK which has almost totally ceased to govern the country in favour of indulging in its own internal squabbles. The best that ministers now seem able to deliver is hand wringing, crocodile tears and pie crust promises of better things to come at some unspecified future time, maybe by 2050 if all goes well. The civil service is in disarray, half of the staff of the Brexit department, itself only two years old, have resigned. People are dying as a result of a benefits sanction system that puts Kafka to shame. The NHS is at breaking point. I could go on…

    Meanwhile we have a minority government with a prime minister who can’t command the respect, let alone the loyalty of her own cabinet or MPs and a leader of the opposition who has precisely zero leadership skills and equally little respect or loyalty from his own MPs.

    Amongst all of this the brexiteer’s argument goes that we should leave the EU because *it* is dysfunctional. And this is taken as a serious argument worthy even of a response. Far right wet dream scenario or what?

  • “The only way forward is to have a Single Government for the EU, a single taxation system, and a single currency. …
    I just can’t see that happening somehow!”

    @Peter, I agree, hence why I never really got the Leave delusional paranoia surrounding the “ever closer union”. As you yourself have noted, the single currency won’t happen because of the politicians and their electoral needs; if business leaders were in charge, the necessary horse-trading to establish a central bank etc. would have happened and the issues resolved years ago.

  • Alan Levy,
    Personally, I just don’t support the EU as a political concept. I strongly suspect that pro-EU advocates mostly do support the EU as a political concept. It’s plainly an ideological argument.

  • William Fowler 4th Sep '18 - 11:47am

    The poll margin is still too small to be convincing, blurred by statistical error and the changeable nature of the voters (Nigel Farage has been very quiet, for instance…). If it got to 60/40 then the politicians would possibly wake up or the LibDems suddenly got 20-30 percent of the vote in polls. Logically you should have the polls split 40/40/20 with the smaller number going to Labour rather than LibDems but that seems like fantasy at the moment, although Mrs May managed to go from 65 to 45 percent so who knows?

  • John Marriott 4th Sep '18 - 11:54am

    @ Christian etc.
    “Over half a century of peace”? OK, so France and Germany aren’t knocking five bells out of each other; but what about the Balkans? You need more than the ‘Peace’ argument if you are to sell the idea to generations who have no idea what a World War is. Perhaps some, but by no means all European nations have finally grown up.

  • Peter Martin 4th Sep '18 - 12:12pm

    @ John Marriott,

    I agree re the ‘peace argument’. Whatever their other faults, the countries of Africa, Asia, and South America tend, in the main, to rub along together without invading each other. Yet they still have their separate Governments and Parliaments, separate currencies, and separate National Identities. They trade relatively freely and often speak the same language.

    So if they can do that what’s the problem for us, supposedly, more civilised Europeans?

  • Arthur Bailey 4th Sep '18 - 4:00pm

    I am sorry Christian, but for a true Democrat, the result of ANY LEGAL ELECTION IS RIGHT!
    Just because the Lib Dems do not like the result does not mean that we have to have another one!
    Yes, I voted remain, although I do want us to leave the EU, but right now is not the time to do it But, I am a Democrat, and as much as I dislike the result, I sadly accept it.

    What Vince Cable should be doing is not getting the Party involved constantly with Brexit, rather calling for improvements in things that really matter to the electorate, such as the NHS, The railways, The Roads, Education, Etc Etc . Not just Brexit!!

    Sadly Vince Cable only seems to know about Brexit, this is why we are so low in the polls! Remember, 48% voted Remain, so why do we not have a Poll rating of 48% rather than less than 10% as we have been stuck at for a long time now?

    Because the voters want to hear more from Vince cable that Brexit as we are fast becoming a mirror image of UKIP, and where are they now

  • Peter Hirst 4th Sep '18 - 4:15pm

    Sound reasoning but politics is more complicated than that; political considerations are bound to feature in any decision. Politics is the art of the possible.

  • Frankie’
    Cool story bro, etc.

  • Frankie, I’m not sure about stopping the world exactly. The impression I get is that some Brexiteers want the world to be the way they thought it was when they were about five years old. Similarly, whenever a vote on any eventual deal is proposed the most common responses come over as “we won, no backsies”.

  • Alan,

    Certainly a desire to return to the sepia tinted memory of their youth is a major driver for many of the older Brexiteers (and some younger ones). You can see their mindset on this very forum. “I was able to move freely round Europe in the 1960’s” they proclaim. Yes you probably could as long as you didn’t want to stay anywhere but even so it is now 2018 not 1968 and the world has moved on even if you haven’t. You can’t turn back time, you can’t undo that which has been done and no amount of singing “Turn back Time” will change that. Brexiteers are reactionary by their very nature they wish to return to a time that is gone, the sad thing is Brexit won’t turn back time it will just herald an age of uncertainty and in ages such as that the first to suffer are the old.

  • Sean Hyland 4th Sep '18 - 9:40pm

    Not all of us as leave voters want to turn back time or return to a past that never actually really existed. We just didn’t want to follow the direction of travel the EU was taking for the future.

  • Pray tell Sean and what direction of travel do you wish to go? I’m always interested to know what a Brexiteers own personal Brexit is. They all seem to be different and tend to be mutually exclusive, but perhaps you are the man with the plan. If so please tell us because at the moment all the plan seems to be is we will leave the EU and err, er, err well it will be alright on the night. The sad fact is by voting for Brexit you handed the future to the Tory party (bad enough in itself I’d say) but the really sad fact is they didn’t have a plan either. So plan less we stubble on like Wilkins Micawber hoping “Something will turn up.”. As Micawber said in what could well be the summation of the Brexit case
    “Welcome poverty!..Welcome misery, welcome houselessness, welcome hunger, rags, tempest, and beggary! Mutual confidence will sustain us to the end!”

  • David Allen 5th Sep '18 - 12:02am

    All this depends on whether Theresa May can strike a final deal agreed with the EU and then win a Parliamentary majority for it. If that fairly unlikely event happens, May can refuse a referendum. If it does not, then something drastic must happen urgently before March 31st.

    The four options are a Tory leadership election, a General Election, a referendum of some sort, or – conceivably – drift toward a rapid no-deal Brexit. But that fourth option will only happen if Parliament allows it, and that is highly unlikely. Parliament can pass a no-confidence motion and bring down the Government, if it is given no other way of preventing the disaster of no-deal Brexit.

    So we are left with the first three options. A Tory leadership election is fairly unlikely, because we will just have seen the Parliamentary voting, and that is likely to demonstrate that no other Tory leader and no other Brexit formula would gain Parliamentary approval where May had failed. That takes us down to two options – GE or referendum.

    At that point, expect the EU to jump up and declare that they would only be willling to push back the March 31st deadline if they saw a critical change in the UK’s position. A GE would fit the bill. A vague plan to hold a referendum, with a lengthy organisational timescale and with dispute raging over the question to put, might very well not fit the bill. The EU would fear that if May were given breathing space to hold a referendum, she would filibuster, slow the referendum planning down, and take the breathing space for extended dithering (situation normal!)

    It follows that if we want the referendum, we have to make a better plan and a better case. We should call for a “Brexit reset”, a one-year delay while an independent nonpartisan Commission seeks to plan, negotiate and agree with the EU the best Brexit formula, judged against criteria specified primarily by supporters of Brexit, with a rigid deadline. Then the referendum should offer two options – proceed with the Commission Brexit, or else Remain.

    Crucially, this allows enough time to make a referendum workable. It also eliminates the curse of cakeism. The independent Commission will have to decide between a soft, unexciting Brexit and a hard, exciting and terrifying Brexit. Then the public can vote for a realistic Brexit, if they so choose – but not for the farrago of false expectations peddled by Leave in 2016.

  • Sean Hyland 5th Sep '18 - 3:25am

    No I’m not the man with the plan nor have I ever claimed to be. I don’t have a personal brexit and I am as concerned as everyone else about the future.

    I was asked to vote on a particular question at a particular time based on the the EU at that time. I endured ,as everyone else did, two pretty horrendous campaigns from both sides of the argument. I did a lot of my own research and reading including being on several official EU lists for years. It wasn’t an easy decision but I stand by what I did as it was right for me at that time. I don’t seek to justify it or seek approval or validation from others.

    I never wanted a referendum in the first place. I believe in democracy though and for good or bad i always vote in every election. I always vote for what I believe in.

    Sorry if you are not impressed with my answer but to be honest I am not really bothered either way. I don’t believe in fairy dust or unicorns either. I will keep investing my hard earned money in opportunities in the UK because we will have some kind of future.

  • Christian De Vartava 5th Sep '18 - 6:38am

    Dear All, thank you for your comments.

    Dear Arthur I would never contest any election (actually the referendum was no election but a vote of consultation) but here it is a question of validating or not a vote / choice which incidentally took everybody by surprise and which has since then considerably matured. Now yes the ‘NHS, The railways, The Roads, Education’ is important but how can this be properly planned when the future budget of the state is because of Brexit uncertain. This is also why Sir Vince must address Brexit.

  • Christian De Vartava 5th Sep '18 - 7:12am

    Dear David, thank you for your lengthy contribution and for trying to define all the political options available to us. The following comment of yours is interesting ‘It follows that if we want the referendum, we have to make a better plan and a better case. We should call for a “Brexit reset”, a one-year delay while an independent nonpartisan Commission seeks to plan, negotiate and agree with the EU the best Brexit formula, judged against criteria specified primarily by supporters of Brexit, with a rigid deadline. Then the referendum should offer two options – proceed with the Commission Brexit, or else Remain’. A second referendum clearly appears as a right requirement if we wish to see the country exit the divisive Brexit debate and progress forward.

  • David Allen 5th Sep '18 - 12:41pm

    Thanks Christian.

    I fear that when it comes to the crunch, Theresa will go for the GE. That way, she will be seeking a “verdict of history” which says “May tried her best to square an impossible circle. In the end, Parliament let her down by rejecting all the options. She had to let someone else pick up the Brexit baton.” That, of course, is a much kinder verdict of history than “May led Britain into a disastrous Brexit”!

    Mind you, May’s nightmare might still not be over with a GE. If not instantly deposed as Tory Leader, she would have to find a credible platform. It would be reminiscent of the election in which Ted Heath’s (unsurprisingly unsuccessful) platform amounted to “This miners’ strike is defeating me, so give me your votes, and I’ll carry on battling against these miners who have got me in a stranglehold!” So she’d probably call the GE and then step down from leadership with semblance of honour intact.

    A referendum, sadly, would look much more like an ongoing nightmare to Theresa. Once she called it, she would “own” it, not the People’s Vote campaigners. Whatever question she asked, plenty of people would scream blue murder. The likely outcome, a narrow Remain win, would mean a messy climbdown but a whole lot of unfinished business, with Brexiters clamouring for best-of-three, and May still in charge of the nightmare. One idea that could be relied upon to clarify itself in the national consciousness would be that the Tories had loused up and should be thrown out. Ironically, Corbyn probably wouldn’t stand a chance in GE 2018, but after a messy referendum, Corbyn would probably sail through GE 2022 (or maybe GE 2019-2021, if the Tories in parliament collapsed more quickly).

    My “Brexit reset” proposal aims to make a referendum less chaotic, hence more palatable to all sides – including May. It’s a bit of a leap, but, arguably a less bad idea than its various competitors!

  • Sean Hyland 5th Sep '18 - 12:52pm

    I don’t actually dislike the EU as I think it’s achieved a lot of good. Just didn’t like the way it’s heading with the need to put in place the political/fiscal measures to protect the Euro.

    Do I blame anyone – not in particular. No I’m not vocal outside this blog. I only originally commented to refute the lazy attack that all leavers were ancient, thick racists who believe in a non existent past. That assumption was even hinted at by Vince Cable. Even 30% of voters for the LibDems, a pro- EU, party voted to leave and I wonder how many were paid up members.

    Christian De Vartava as the original author of this piece acknowledged there is dysfunction in the EU. Perhaps if the campaign to stay had acknowledged that the EU isn’t perfect and needs some reform, however, minor it might have convinced more voters.

    Who knows – the future is unwritten.

  • Sean all human undertakings are dysfunctional however it appear the EU is much less dysfunctional than our government ( O the irony). We had long trumpeted the superiority of our political process over the EU’s how ironic it is actually the other way round. As Lord King has just said (you have to appreciate a Brexiteer leader who gets his excuses in early).

    “They must have been really worried that they had 27 countries to try to corral, how could they have a united negotiating position, they were dealing with a country that was one country, made a clear decision, voted to leave, it knew what it wanted to do, how on earth could the EU manage to negotiate against this one decisive group on the other side of the Channel?

    “Well, the reality’s been completely the opposite. The EU has been united, has been clear, has been patient and it’s the UK that’s been divided without any clear strategy at all for how to get to where we want to go.”


    Alas if British exceptionalism exists it seems to be we are exceptionally deluded. Onward march the brave Brexiters foot troops (Sans a few leaders who have said “Sod this for a bunch of soldiers”) happily singing “We believe we can fly” and asking each other if they’ve spotted a fairy or a unicorn yet.

  • Sean Hyland 5th Sep '18 - 3:13pm


    Can you explain please your obsession with fairy dust, unicorns etc. If you have actually fully read what I have posted i have repeatedly said i don’t believe in them. Sorry if that’s the best you have but has no impact with me.

  • Sean,

    I’m merely applying the Duck test.

    “If it looks like a duck, swims like a duck, and quacks like a duck, then it probably is a duck”

    Nearly three-quarters (73 per cent) of those who are worried about immigration voted Leave, compared with 36 per cent of those who did not identify this as a concern, the research found, showing the discrepancy in views about immigration between Remain and Leave voters.

    It also reveals that the longer any given voter felt EU migrants should have lived in the UK before qualifying for welfare benefits, the more likely they were to vote to leave the EU.


    So while I’m happy to accept that “all leavers were ancient, thick racists” is indeed incorrect, but Brexit voters certainly had a large number who fit that criteria. In fact you could claim they may even be the majority. Knock about with Ducks Sean and people tend to think you might be one.

  • Peter Watson 5th Sep '18 - 8:50pm

    @frankie ““all leavers were ancient, thick racists” is indeed incorrect, but Brexit voters certainly had a large number who fit that criteria.”
    On what basis do you make the leap from “worried about immigration” and “the longer … EU migrants should have lived in the UK before qualifying for welfare benefits” to “ancient, thick racists”?

    This article from 2014 (https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/immigration/10566923/Labour-and-Lib-Dems-back-clampdown-on-migrants-benefits.html) suggests that Lib Dems (Nick Clegg, at least) would fit your description!

  • Christian De Vartava 5th Sep '18 - 9:07pm

    Thank you once more all of you for your inputs.

    Dear Sean, I could not agree more when you write ‘Perhaps if the campaign to stay had acknowledged that the EU isn’t perfect and needs some reform, however, minor it might have convinced more voters’. Although I would have said ‘major reforms’ as the European Commission is fraught with abberations (hence the anger of many). Something which should have not only been pointed out by remainers but not underestimated as a Brexit factor. It was and this no doubt contributed to the leave vote.

  • Sean
    It’s just his shtick. But let me tell you that when the chickens come home to the roost and the doo fails to hit the fan some remainers will be left reeling from pillar to post as they are hoisted by a petard of their own making, by which I mean they are going to look like members of a doomsday cult waiting for the end of the world on top of Box Hill with a couple sparklers and bottle of fizzy pop.

  • As I remarked in one of my op-ed articles last year, a people’s vote is actually quite difficult to argue against, once it is on the table as a real possibility. Respect the will of the people! And the people want a vote . Most people are fed up to the back teeth with the whole Brexit business, which is why “Bollox to Brexit” is the most popular sticker handed out by Remainers. Contrary to what people assume however, we will not just get it over and done with if we leave. In that case, Brexit and its aftermath will carry on for years, interminably, we will never ever see the back of it.

  • Sean Hyland 7th Sep '18 - 2:28am

    Sorry for the delay in replying but I don’t get online much at the moment.

    frankie, just because a dysfunction exists doesn’t mean you shouldn’t seek to see if it can be resolved or if a different way is possible. Some may claim it by i don’t think British superiority or exceptionalism exists especially in regard to our political systems. It’s partly why I tend to support the Lib Dems as they are one of the group’s campaigning for political change. Also I’m only part British so never felt the need to claim anything uniquely British.

    Christian, I welcome your comments and the original post. I didn’t want to presume the degree of reform required just a recognition of its need. i think it’s acknowledgment would have changed the result and possibly my vote. I would have no issue with a second vote/ referendum personally as we live in a hopefully evolving democratic system.

    Glenn, I am getting used to frankies comments but somehow the obsession with unicorns etc intrigues me. I do think we are in for an uncertain future post brexit but what that will be remains to be seen. I don’t rule out a further referendum and will respect the result.

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