On Thursday, a majority of the people in Britain who were both eligible to vote and voted took the decision that the UK should leave the European Union. We live in a democracy, which is a beautiful thing, and enjoy (almost) universal suffrage, which I certainly don’t take for granted. So normally, that would be that. Decision made, let’s get on and make the best of it. Why, then, am I one of the millions of Britains seeking to challenge the outcome of that referendum? Why do I think that the ballot should be re-run? And how, perhaps most crucially, do I believe that can possibly be justified in a democratic society.
A Fraudulent Campaign.
For a long time in the campaign leading up to the referendum, the remain campaign pointed out that many of the leave campaigns claims were either based on questionable evidence or simply untrue. We now know this to be true.
We have seen the economic impacts just in these first few hours and days. Leading leave campaigners have themselves admitted that they lied about funding for the NHS and about being able to reduce immigration. They are also now desperately trying to delay leaving the EU to give them time to sort out their own mess.
This brings me to these points:
1. Voters were lied to. This, I believe, is fraud and it is my firm opinion that members of the leave campaign should face criminal charges for it.
2. A significant number of people who voted leave are not going to get in reality what they thought they were voting for.
What do you mean my vote actually counts?
I can honestly scarcely believe I’m having to say this, but it seems that many people didn’t understand that in a referendum votes are simply added up and counted. What this means is that, unlike in many areas of the UK in a general election, your vote actually counts equally with everyone else’s.
Shocking I know.
Well, not really. But apparently many people were.
Before I take this point any further, if you voted to leave the EU and now wish you could change your mind; I have no sympathy for you at all. You should have taken the time to understand what you were doing.
That said, now that you do realise quite how important this is and how our system of democracy actually works, I think it’s only fair that you should be given another chance if you want one.
And finally, the impact.
I think we can tell, just take a look at social media or the TV news, that this issue has completely divided public opinion. That’s fantastic. For once, people of all ages are interested in and talking about the political and democratic process.
The impact of a decision – whatever it is – about the future place of our country in Europe and in the world is immense. We’ve experienced a taste of that over the last 48 hours.
The British public has finally, albeit not in the way anyone would have wanted, woken up to the facts of this situation, I believe that the best, safest, fairest and most democratic option we can take as a country right now is to use this opportunity. We can give everyone the chance to have a free, open and honest public debate about all of the issues.
Then, in a few weeks, have one more vote to decide the issue finally once and for all. A vote where everyone understands the issues, and the potential impacts and effects. A ballot where everyone realises that their vote really will count.
And a referendum after which everyone, for those very reasons, will be able to accept the final result. Whatever it might turn out to be.
Sign the Petition
If you live in the UK, you can sign a petition to ask the UK Government to hold a 2nd Referendum by clicking on this link: https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/131215.