A general election would be a proxy vote on Brexit – but it still will not resolve Brexit. Readers call for a People’s Vote.
Judging by the three little words flung at journalists recently by Dominic Cummings as he left the basement of his flat, “trust the people” looks likely to be a central theme of Johnson’s election campaign. But who are “the people”, exactly?
Presumably not the 48% who voted to remain, a proportion that has steadily grown into a clear majority. Presumably not the people of Scotland (lost to the SNP), the people of the south west (lost to the Lib Dems), the people of London (lost to Labour) or the people of Northern Ireland (lost to the men of violence if we leave without a deal).
Could they mean the third of the electorate who voted to leave under the heavy influence of being promised the “exact same benefits” (patently unachievable) with none of the “vast sums” (in reality just over 1% of government expenditure)?
Or do they mean (as is obviously intended to be the case) “the people”, as opposed to MPs who are presented as conspiring to betray and thwart them at every turn?
The glaring fault with the proposition is that it will be made at the very time that the electorate is free to vote for who they want to represent them – i.e. when the democratic process is actually taking place. It would be laughable if it wasn’t so dangerous.
But the Cummings team will target some cynical and disingenuous form of this “trust the people” message at the heartland constituencies they think they can win.
On our side of the argument, we need to think and act quickly to be ready to expose this nonsense for the sham and lie that it is before it gains any traction.
And this should be our challenge to them: If you’re as serious about trusting the people as you say you are, why not give them a final say referendum with the option to Remain?
Malcolm Brown, Lochwinnoch
A general election is not a referendum on a single issue. Brexit has adversely pervaded the entire party political spectrum and the issue has to be sorted out first, otherwise the mainstream political parties will be incapable of devising distinctive manifestos on a whole range of issues, many of which will inevitably be patterned by the UK’s relationship with the EU.
If Boris Johnson can call Jeremy Corbyn a coward for not contesting a third general election in four years as a referendum on Brexit then wouldn’t it
be far braver of his government and logical to grant instead an actual referendum on Brexit? Particularly after three years of failed negotiations due to there being no Leave plan or manifesto in 2016, which of course is the cause of this debacle?
Nick Vinehill, Snettisham
What is the point of a general election in which the Tories have a non-aggression pact with Farage and Labour have a non-aggression pact with the Remain parties? If a general election is to be a surrogate referendum, why not go straight to a referendum?
A referendum which offers voters the choice of various scenarios with transferable votes is the only thing which will solve our national stasis. Not a general election with loose affiliations of existing parties which is likely to end up in another hung parliament, with Professor John Curtice having to explain to us all the next morning whether Leave or Remain has won.
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