Friday 13 July 2018

Brexitwatch: People's Vote NOW

Many people are demanding a 'People's Vote' at some point in the future - a referendum on any final terms negotiated with the EU for Brexit, but I am going to argue that we need a referendum now.

There is, apparently, no Parliamentary majority for the approach to Brexit set out in Theresa May's White Paper, nor for the 'no deal' approach supported by the Brexit fanatics, nor for dropping Brexit even though the Leave campaign broke the law and so invalidated the referendum result. 

The problem we have is that in the referendum, people voted to 'leave the EU'. That is all. But many Brexiters, including Theresa May, claim falsely that they have some mystical knowledge that people also voted to leave the Customs Union and the Single Market.

MPs appear to have no strategy, and certainly no resolve, for dealing with the present impasse. So I propose we go back to the people, and find out what they want, asking: do you wish to

1) Leave the EU, the Customs Union and the Single Market
2) Leave the EU and the Customs Union
3) Leave the EU and the Single Market
4) Leave the EU but remain in the Customs Union and the Single Market
5) Remain in the EU.

It would be made clear that, unlike the 2016 referendum, this one would be BINDING, with MPs guaranteeing they would implement the result however damaging they believed it would be. (This would also mean that key groups such as 16-18 year olds, UK citizens living abroad, etc could not be prevented from voting as they were in 2016.)

If any of the five options won more than 50% of the vote, then parliament would implement it. If none achieved this, then the bottom three would be eliminated, and the top two would go forward to a second, final round of voting.

There would obviously need to be better safeguards against cheating than there were in 2016, and newspapers would have to be required to observe the same standards of fairness and accuracy as broadcasters.

Some might complain that having to choose between one of five options is too complicated, but leaving the EU is a highly complicated business, and those who cannot be bothered to understand the detail should not really be voting.

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