I received several emails last week from constituents sending me a paper entitled 15 reasons to vote against the Withdrawal Agreement. It went on to describe the WA as an abomination. Whenever you see the word abomination you know you are dealing with a certain type of person. An abomination is what Hitler did to the Jews, Stalin to Russian dissidents. It is not the right word to use of you happen to disagree with a complex, carefully negotiated legal treaty.
I started to read these 15 points. I was intrigued: I had spent 5 and ½ hours reading the WA back in November – I don’t remember anything in it that remotely warranted such language.
I read through one by one with growing incredulity. I paused at number five and realised that this is all appalling nonsense. None of it was true. Not a word. Fiction from beginning to end. If you have the misfortune to receive it – please ignore it.
I shaped my reply accordingly. But the document kept on coming – more and more passionate constituents sending it to me. They believe every word. They do not believe my rebuttal. The dialogue of the deaf. Stalemate.
That is one reason why I do not support a second referendum on leaving the EU. Some people think the debate would be different this time – that it would be an intelligent, civilised discussion based on the “facts”. Sadly that would not happen. There would be ill-informed claim and counter claims about the supposed facts.
What would the question be? We cannot ask the same question as last time. That really would undermine our democracy – to promise the people the final say and then keep asking them until they gave the “right answer”.
The only realistic question in a second referendum would be: do you support the Deal or wish to Remain.
Having received the 15 reasons document from so many constituents, it is obvious what the second referendum would be like. Horrible! It would be fuelled by outrageous misrepresentations and mistruths on either side. Just as divisive and ugly as the first.
If the question is Deal or Remain, how would those who want to leave the EU on the basis of no-deal be able to vote? They might be a small minority, but they would rightly feel disenfranchised.
We have had a people’s vote – what we need to do is find a way of implementing it!