Letters: This is why we need a People’s Vote
PUBLISHED: 09:33 15 June 2018 | UPDATED: 10:17 15 June 2018
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Your editorials advocating a People’s Vote on whatever terms Theresa May may negotiate in Brussels are welcome but do not explain the democratic necessity for such a ballot. So here it is.
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The UK entered the common market in 1973. Heath pushed the decision through parliament. There was no national debate ahead of accession on which terms the electorate might want.
Instead Wilson had a post-hoc referendum AFTER the terms were already enacted and set in stone.
In 2016, Cameron held a referendum on leaving. But the actual terms for leaving were completely unknown.
We the people voted without knowing the terms. We did not know what we were voting for or against.
The 2016 referendum was therefore undemocratic: the voters were kept in the dark.
Now, in 2018, Mrs May is negotiating precise terms for leaving. This time around we shall know the terms BEFORE any action is taken.
So for the first time in nearly half a century, an opportunity exists for the British people to make an informed decision.
Not in the dark. Not after the event.
Mrs May’s terms (if they materialise) offer for the first time ever the chance for a genuine informed democratic vote on the UK’s relationship to the EU. We the people have never ever before had that chance.
That’s why we demand a People’s Vote. It is a democratic necessity. It is either ignorant or arrogant of MPs to stand in the way of the informed will of the people.
The call for a new popular vote on Brexit ignores one painful fact: if it happens, the terms will be decided by the government, with the assent of a supine parliament.
The electorate will be restricted, as in 2016, and the question will be framed by the May junta: we’ll be asked to choose between May’s deal and no deal. Cancellation of the whole disastrous process will not be on offer.
Matt Kelly implores a second referendum to let us “get on with the rest of our lives”. I hope that, if secured, it does not come at the price of the loss of his excellent newspaper.
Matt Kelly is too easy on the Brexiteers in his column advocating a People’s Vote. “The enormous complexities of Brexit were in part unforeseeable.” Really? Just because David Davis has said, “Oh, I never realised it would be as complicated as this,” doesn’t mean everybody else has to be equally gormless.
I’m no insider, but I think I can honestly say that the only thing that has occasioned a mildly raised eyebrow has been the EU’s hard line over Galileo, and perhaps Euratom. Everything else has been an inescapable corollary of the agreements we have signed up to.
The fudges that have been signed off so far have only scratched the surface. These were the easy bits, and they are at best only half-resolved.
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Almost four years after its creation The New European goes from strength to strength across print and online, offering a pro-European perspective on Brexit and reporting on the political response to the coronavirus outbreak, climate change and international politics. But we can only rebalance the right wing extremes of much of the UK national press with your support. If you value what we are doing, you can help us by making a contribution to the cost of our journalism.Become a supporter