by Iain Donaldson on 9 July, 2016
The outcome of negotiations for a British exit from the European Union are not, and can not yet, be known and so the Referendum was held on an entirely false premise that we would be better off out than in. For this reason it is logical that when the options are known we should ask the British people again whether they prefer what we had or what we will replace it with.
That would require a second referendum this time on the terms and conditions laid down in fact, not some fiction of the future based on ‘what ifs’ and ‘maybes’.
No busses sporting false promises of £350 million extra funding a day to the NHS; no false claims one way or the other on control of our borders; no claims and counter claims that the British economy will thrive or crash outside the EU. The scenario in which we were asked to vote was not dissimilar to the ultimate question of life, the universe and everything in the Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy; the answer is not as everyone thinks 42, but 46 because the question asked was the wrong question.
Her Majesty’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office has written to the millions of people who signed a petition calling for a second referendum to tell them that
The Prime Minister made clear in his statement to the House of Commons on 27 June, the referendum was one of the biggest democratic exercises in British history with over 33 million people having their say. The Prime Minister and Government have been clear that this was a once in a generation vote and, as the Prime Minister has said, the decision must be respected. We must now prepare for the process to exit the EU and the Government is committed to ensuring the best possible outcome for the British people in the negotiations.
What this response seems to forget is that the Prime Minister also effectively said ‘so long and thanks for all the fish’ and he led a Parliament that had no popular mandate to hold the referendum in the first place. 37% of the popular vote (less than 25% of the electorate) is not a mandate for Government it is a call for humility.
What came after the referendum vote seemed pretty much like someone had activated the infinite improbability drive, what with the PM going, then the heir apparent going, then the opposition tearing itself apart, then the man who started the whole thing in the first place going. All that was missing was a sperm whale and a bowl of petunias (though for one brief moment I could have sworn I heard someone muttering ‘oh no, not again’).
The simple truth is Britain has now placed itself in the peculiar position of being out on her own in a Universe she doesn’t understand with nothing but a comfort blanket and a big book, emblazoned across the front of which, in big letters, are the words ‘Don’t Panic’.
What a way to run a country, you just couldn’t make it up (or maybe someone did).