by Dominic Ager
|Nigel Farage and Boris Johnson|
On the 21st June, 2016, Britain voted to leave the European Union, resulting in one of the most catastrophic decisions in the history of our nation. The British electorate was misinformed by the Leave campaign, led by populists like the brash Boris Johnson, and the bigoted Nigel Farage. These “men of the people” who spearheaded the campaign appealed to those living in the poorest areas of our country, through anti-immigration rhetoric and spewing hate speech. They deceived those living in these relatively deprived regions by making them vote for something which would hit them harder than the wealthiest and most prosperous areas of the UK. Can we allow our nation to make a huge mistake based on the deception and lies of leave? I believe we should have a second referendum based on the final deal, to truly represent the people, and ensure that the populace believes we really should leave the EU.
Many members of the Leave campaign, and now the European Research Group, vehemently oppose a second referendum. They believe it is going against the will of the people and undemocratic to have a final say on the Brexit process. The two options the Eurosceptic wing of the Tories are offering us are the negotiated deal, or no deal. The first, at the rate things are going, could continue a lack of confidence in Britain, and continue the poor economic performance of our country that has occurred since the referendum. The latter could lead to a stalling of trade with the EU, our largest trading partner, and have dire economic consequences for our country, including reduced investment, and potentially businesses leaving the UK, particularly London, and worst of all a potential recession. Yet they refuse us the option to rejoin and remain one of the richest countries in the world. Is that something that we can accept? The most astonishing fact is that Jacob Rees Mogg, one of the most prominent Brexiteers, suggested 2 referendums in Parliament when he was advocating Brexit back in 2011.
Recently, after the Cambridge Analytica scandal (uncovered by Channel 4 News), and it being discovered that Vote Leave broke electoral law by overspending, the case for a second referendum has increased massively. Some have even claimed the result should be declared null and void due to this breach of electoral law, and the breach of people’s privacy by Cambridge Analytica. These weren’t the only problems with the Leave campaign. They blatantly lied to the electorate, like the battle bus touring the country, with “we send the EU £350 million a week; let’s fund our NHS instead”. This myth of the Brexit dividend was preached over and over and over again to the electorate, misinforming them, and effectively meaning the British public didn’t vote for the Brexit we will get, one creating dramatic economic consequences. We should not go ahead with a potentially disastrous process that was voted on be a misinformed electorate. That is not democratic. The kind of demagoguery used by the populists running the Leave campaign, is what led to the rise of fascism in Italy and Germany during the 20s and 30s respectively. The vague promises and false truths used by the Leave campaign are techniques reminiscent of Hitler during his election campaign, promising to end unemployment and sort out the Depression without giving a single how. It’s how we end up with Big Brother and Room 101.
There is one other reason for a second referendum, Brexit could deliver terrible economic consequences, and we should give the British people another chance to decide if they want to go ahead with this. We know a lot more about Brexit now than in 2016; we know it has caused our economic growth to slow dramatically, before we have even left the EU and we know it will be worse when we leave. No matter what deal we get, there will be consequences to the vote: we will be poorer, our economy will shrink, there will be no "Brexit dividend". Hence, we should once again allow the people to vote on our future relationship with EU. Allow them to decide: whether they made the right choice; whether they’re willing to accept a lower standard of living to avoid ever closer political ties to Europe; whether they wish the UK to become a pawn of America or China as we look for new nations to trade with; whether they wish to go back to an old-fashioned, imperialistic view of the world, when Britain didn’t need Europe and was the world’s uncontested superpower; whether they wish to abandon the small bit of influence we have left on the world, and diminish our credit on the world stage.
A vote can be given to the people, to decide to leave the EU or remain, once the final deal is agreed upon by the EU and the UK government. The Independent has already launched a petition for a people’s vote, which is close to its target of 1 million, and major parties like the SNP and the Lib Dems have denounced Brexit and support a second referendum. There is already a large movement in Britain for a second vote, and it would be frankly undemocratic to deny us this right.