The referendum question was unbalanced because it pitched a known outcome with an entirely unknown outcome.
The referendum question asked if the United Kingdom should remain a member of the European Union or leave the European Union?
▪ REMAIN A MEMBER OF THE EUROPEAN UNION □
▪ LEAVE THE EUROPEAN UNION □
We all knew what remaining in the EU meant; we’d had it for over 40 years.
But nobody knew what leaving the EU would mean. It wasn’t defined or explained in the referendum.
Even leading Brexiters couldn’t agree with each other. We still don’t know.
We may as well have had a referendum with the question:
▪ DO YOU WANT TO STAY WHERE YOU ARE? □
▪ DO YOU WANT TO GO SOMEWHERE ELSE? □
If you ticked to ‘stay where you are’, you knew what you’d be getting.
But if you ticked to ‘go somewhere else’, you’d have no idea where you’d be going.
If you voted to go somewhere else, wouldn’t you then expect another vote on where precisely you’d be going?
That would make logical sense, wouldn’t it?
But no. That’s not what’s happened.
Slightly more people ticked the box to ‘go somewhere else’, but the government has refused to give us any say on where we’re going.
The government is making the decision, without any referral back to us.
What if we don’t like where we’re going? Too bad.
Some years before the referendum, arch Tory Brexiter MP, Jacob Rees-Mogg explained that it was important to:
“work out how to phrase a referendum – or a series of referendums if necessary – that will be understandable.”
Well, the referendum phrase was NOT understandable.
How could a referendum be understood when one of the options had not been explained?
Mr Rees-Mogg also said then that we could have two referendums. He told Parliament in 2012:
“As it happens, it may be more sense to have the second referendum after the renegotiation is completed.”
Yes, that would make sense.
It would mean that we could then have a more balanced, second referendum; one that compared, for the first time, a fully defined Leave with the already-known status quo of Remain.
But it wasn’t to be. Mr Rees-Mogg has now disowned what he said in 2011.
Despite the pre-election promises by Boris Johnson of an ‘oven-ready deal’, we are now heading towards a no-deal, cliff-edge Brexit, even though nobody voted for that.
Indeed, polls consistently show that Britain most definitely does NOT want a no-deal Brexit.
Tough. We are not being given any choice.
Back in the day, before the referendum campaign, when the then Conservative government was pro-Remain, they presented the three main Brexit alternatives.
All of them, said David Cameron’s government, would cause damage to Britain. If you’re a Brexiter, which one did you vote for?
① THE NORWAY OPTION – meaning Britain would leave the EU but still have free and frictionless access to the EU Single Market, by far Britain’s most important and lucrative export and import market.
But this option would mean Britain continuing to pay the EU and obey its rules – including free movement of people – without any say in them.
② THE CANADA OPTION – meaning Britain would have tariff free trade with the EU, but not the highly cherished and valuable frictionless trade.
And there would only be limited access for our services sector, which makes up almost 80% of our economy.
③ THE WTO OPTION – (often referred to as ‘no-deal’ and now ridiculously described by Boris Johnson as the ‘Australia Deal’) meaning relying on World Trade Organisation rules.
But that would mean new tariffs and complicated, costly procedures on UK trade with the EU, hurting British consumers, businesses and employment. It would also suddenly and catastrophically end all EU membership benefits, affecting all our daily lives.
▪ NONE OF THESE OPTIONS were presented as choices in the referendum that voters could opt for. The only choice was for Remain, or a meaningless and undefined Leave.
The Leave campaign would have struggled to win if they’d had to specifically define the version of Leave they were selling.
▪ WHICH IS WHY the Leave win was such a con.
It was much easier to sell to the nation a vague and idealistic idea of Brexit, rather than the realistic, down-to-earth details.
The only way to find out what ‘the people’ now want is to have a new referendum comparing the new-deal Boris Johnson negotiates with the EU, with the option of being an EU member.
The government won’t offer that choice because they are not really interested in what ‘the people’ want. They only want what they want.
- Watch this 25-second video of what Jacob Rees-Mogg said about referendums: