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Letters: Only another Brexit vote can heal wounds of the first

A 'Stop Brexit' protest in Manchester in 2017. Photo by Jonathan Nicholson/NurPhoto/Sipa USA. - Credit: SIPA USA/PA Images

Is it time for another referendum on Brexit? Our readers have filled our mailbag with their own perspectives on what happens next.

I agree that referendums are a tool of demagogues and dictators, unsuited to a representative democracy, but now that we’ve gone down that road, it will take one to cure one.

Matt Kelly’s fears that a second referendum would leave the country just as divided are probably unjustified.

What Nigel Farage is now admitting is that the Leave arguments have run out of steam, and he doesn’t want to be the one to go down in history as wrecking Britain. So he wants the people to let him off the hook.

The fact is that Brexit is now as dead as one of last year’s fashions, and it just needs another vote to bury it. Then, instead of the armies of Brexiters, there will be just normal people again, like before Cameron’s ill- advised referendum.

When the Second World War put the final nail in fascism, an improbable number of French people claimed they had been fighters in the resistance. And when Brexit is finally nailed, a lot of soft Leavers will discover they had been Remainers all along, because everyone likes to be on the winning side.

John King, Stratford-upon-Avon

In stating that parliament should overturn Brexit rather than a second referendum, Matt Kelly gives far too much credit to our MPs. Tory Remainers in Leave-voting areas have already shown they will vote in their own interests rather than with their consciences in the interests of Britain; those in Labour’s Corbyn cult will continue to abstain or vote with the Tories in order to please the Dear Leader.

Without sounding like Project Fear 2.0, I also believe that stopping Brexit via parliament rather than the people would have potentially disastrous consequences: not just a bully pulpit for Farage and his ilk but ammunition for non-parliamentary extremists like the dreadful Britain First.

I do not like referendums but in this case it will take two wrongs to make a right.

Carl Armstrong, Nottingham

A second referendum, more than we think, could be a close shave. Even though polls are currently trending in the right direction, we underestimate at our peril the resource available to the Leave camp, to spread yet more lies, should they see Brexit in danger.

I believe that a £10million national publicity campaign could be key to accelerating the shift in public opinion away from Brexit. And logically, it makes no sense for this not to be tried, because £10million really is peanuts compared to the cost to us all of leaving the EU.

I propose a popular appeal to raise this money – say 10,000 ordinary citizens each putting up £1,000. This could be underwritten by wealthy Remain-supporting benefactors agreeing to de-risk failure in a second referendum.

In what could be a razoe-thin vote, we could unlock popular funding for a massive campaign by being able to say to ordinary people, as Victor Kiam would have said, ‘I guarantee to stop Brexit… or your money back!’

Geoff Harvey, Cambridge

Let’s have no more referendums – ever! We had ‘the war to end all wars’ and look what happened!

Referendums are not compatible with representative democracy. Cameron did not understand our constitution; having won two, he was intoxicated with them and gambled on a third. His failure should be lesson enough; it is up to parliament to draw the conclusion.

P J Stewart, Oxford

No to a second referendum – I’d far rather the MPs ‘take back control’ and vote it all down, and as soon as possible.

Even a free vote would show how our representatives understand reality more than a largely ill-informed electorate.

Current events show action is needed: the implosion of UKIP is evidence that David Cameron was wholly wrong to fear them. Now our once proud Jaguar Land Rover is cutting back production.

MPs should heed Edmund Burke, and fulfil their role – then the electorate can really trust them.

Mark J. Philpot, Mold

Mike Hind’s PR guidance on winning a second referendum has been noted and inwardly digested, with thanks. But if we are to be discouraged from shouting ‘Remain’, as he says in point 8, what does he recommend we shout for?

Making Cambridge marketplace echo to ‘No Brexit’ last autumn felt good (at the time). Alastair Campbell’s ‘First Referendum on the Final Deal’ is now also good, but could be snappier?

Simon Flett, Norwich

In terms of how to win a second referendum, how about:

Explain the benefits we’ve gained from the EU. Clean air, clean rivers and beaches. Consumer and workers’ protection.

Explain that the EU will soon make multinationals pay fair tax and explain that billionaires like Murdoch don’t want to pay tax.

Extol the positives for young (and not so young) people to live, work and study in Europe.

And finally admit that we can expel EU citizens after three months if they’re not working and cannot support themselves. It’s our government that chooses not to, nothing to do with EU rules.

Expose the lies about being ‘undemocratic’ etc and explain how elected MEPs vote democratically.

In other words forget negative campaigning and accentuate the positives.

Henry Partridge, York

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