There is a lot to support in Justine Greening’s idea for a three-option People’s Vote but, as Christopher Wylie so memorably put it, Brexit is a crime scene.
The side which won by 4% overspent by 10%. Three senior people in the Vote Leave, Leave.EU and BeLeave campaigns have been referred to the police.
There are questions about the conduct of both main Leave campaigns which are only likely to be answered by criminal investigations.
What makes us think we should have another referendum when we so obviously failed to police the first one correctly, and shouldn’t legal matters run their course before we start thinking about another vote? Where would we be as a nation if the side which won the second referendum was found to have cheated in the first?
Gove says that he would have approached the Leave campaign in a different way and not lied about Turkey. Dominic Cummings, the main man behind the Leave campaign, says Brexit is a car crash. Vote Leave have been fined and are now liable for prosecution.
And yet we’re still going along this road. Isn’t it about time that we had a fair referendum if for no other reason that we now know the implications of what we’re voting for?
I was making the case for a People’s Vote on behalf of Cheltenham In Europe in our High Street yesterday.
Me to lady: ‘How do you think Brexit is going?’
Lady: ‘It’s a mess but then we voted for it and we can’t change our minds, can we?’
Me: ‘Look at this way. If two years ago you got engaged to a guy and fixed the wedding for March 2019, but recently you began to have serious doubts about him and thought he was nothing like as reliable and sensible as you had once thought, would you still go ahead with the wedding?’
Lady: ‘You know, I have never thought of it like that. Maybe you’re right!’
Instead of throwing good money after bad on a lost cause, we must accept reality. Don’t waste even more money on a People’s Vote.
The reality is that after 40 years Britain has become an integral part of Europe and has no more chance of being separated from it than does Colorado from the United States. People from places like Sunderland may not feel it, nor like the idea, but they are now as much a part of Europe as someone from Heidelberg or Cadiz.
Leavers still insist that the 37% of the population who voted for Brexit are democratically entitled to their prize. Over the past two years May and her team have made a fair crack at grabbing it but have now confirmed that the economics and sociology of separation do not work.
Let’s just admit that we tried for Brexit but failed and then get back to the business of tackling Britain’s many problems and restoring its place in the world.
Referendums are always the worst answer to any political question. They do not get better just because all sides are sick of trying to make Brexit work.
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