The Brexit vote on Friday scared the pants out of the entire country, whether or not those fears are well founded remains to be seen.
In the aftermath of vote Leave there has been a petition going around, that was created in May, and which has been signed by over 3 million people. It has become the spur for a second referendum. There are two particular clauses to this petition that would need to be met in any subsequent referendum for that result to be valid: i) there is a 75% turnout and ii) a 60% majority is required for either side to win. The argument is that because these two clauses were not met in the first referendum we should have another referendum.
The irony of this petition seeking a second vote is it anti-democratic. Re-running a referendum until you get the result you want is not something done in a free society, you cannot retrospectively change the rules of a referendum thereby fixing the result in your favour.
How is the petition for a second referendum based on the recommended guidelines a fix you might ask?
Firstly if the vote falls short of a 75% turnout then the referendum result would not stand even should Leave win again. In the event of a 75% turnout a 60% majority for either side would be required to claim victory. The most important point is that in each scenario, a failure to achieve a 75% turnout, or a failure for Leave to garner a 60% majority, the Remain vote would win through default because we would remain in the EU.
In other words technically there are now three ways which the Remain vote could win compared to only one way a Leave vote could win. The reality however, is that Leave could never win under these conditions as we already know that Leave’s victory was too small and the turnout of the referendum too low.
This kind of retrospective re-run is the stuff of tyrants, you either believe in democracy, and liberty, or you do not. Unfortunately there is no in between, you cannot actively choose which referendum results to enact and those to ignore.
Hopefully common sense prevails and this petition gets chucked out.
On a side note. There are many politicians who said that referendum should not have been run in the first place (cough… Tim Farron), in effect saying that people should not be given a choice on how they are governed. Those politicians who promote that view do not believe in self determination. Politicians should remember they are to be instructed by we the people, not the other way around.