Brexit is reversible

Jon Danzig |

Every day Brexiters tell us Remainers that we are undermining democracy by campaigning to reverse Brexit.

‘Are you going to campaign until you get the result you want?’ they ask us, with disdain.

‘Yes,’ is our answer. ‘That’s how democracy works.’

Our aim is not to undermine democracy, but to use the democratic process to achieve the change we seek, which is a reversal of Brexit.

What many don’t seem to understand is that any vote in a democracy can be undone by a new vote.

That’s always how our democracy has worked.

In a democracy, no result is permanently binding, as any democratic decision can be undone by a new democratic decision. If that were not the case, it would not be a democracy.

In a democracy, we can campaign for whatever we believe in, even after losing a vote.

That’s always how our democracy has worked.

But we can only ever win if the majority agrees with us at the next democratic opportunity to cast a vote.

That’s always how our democracy has worked.

So, we are campaigning for a new and legitimate democratic opportunity to reconsider our membership of the European Union.

After all, that’s exactly what ardent Eurosceptics campaigned for immediately after the first referendum in 1975, which voted for Britain to remain a member of the European Community.

Eurosceptics didn’t like that result, and wanted to reverse it in a new referendum.

If they could campaign for a new referendum, why can’t we?

It took Eurosceptics 40 years to win their ‘next referendum’. So, some Brexiters say, Remainers will have to wait just as long to get our ‘next referendum’. But that’s not comparing like with like.

The 1975 referendum resulted in an enormous margin of 34.5% for remaining a member of the European Community – a truly decisive result. There was no mass campaign or mainstream call for another referendum for most of the next 40 years of our membership that followed.

But that hasn’t been the same for the 2016 referendum, when the margin for leaving the European Community was a meagre 3.8% – a truly divisive result.

Two years later, we still haven’t left the EU, and voters across the country increasingly believe that Brexit is a mistake. Polls show that around 2,500 Leave voters are changing their minds every day.

And unlike after the 1975 referendum, there is now a mass campaign and mainstream call for another referendum on Brexit, to take place before it actually happens.

A recent poll by Survation showed that 48 per cent of voters want a new referendum on the final Brexit deal, compared with just 25% who disagree.

The poll also indicated that over a third of Leave voters now want another referendum.

There is nothing undemocratic about having a new vote on Brexit when we know the actual details of Brexit. Another vote on Brexit means more democracy, not less.

Why are so many Brexiters apparently wary of a new vote on Brexit? For how long can they rely on a vote that took place over two years ago, and which poll after poll now indicates no longer represents today’s ‘will of the people’?

If the final details of Brexit are so good, and better than our continued membership of the EU, then Britain will surely vote for it. What have Brexiters got to worry about?

But if Brexiters have so little confidence in Brexit that they dare not let ‘the people’ have any further say about it, we should all be suspicious.

Then, we can say, it’s not us, but them, who are undermining democracy.

Nobody knew what Brexit meant in the referendum, and we still don’t know. Not even our government can agree what Brexit means, and this week several Cabinet members resigned because they disagree with the latest proposals for Brexit.

Brexit is not yet agreed. And nothing is agreed until everything is agreed. So, nothing is agreed. Brexit is not yet a done deal.

When we know the full and final details of Brexit, let’s have a vote on that, for the very first time.

Only those who are against democracy disagree. And only those who are against the democratic process want us to stop campaigning for what we believe in.



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