The UK has voted. The decision: to leave the European Union. However, over three million people have already signed a petition calling for a second referendum. In fact, so many tried to sign it that the government petition website crashed!
Now, I don’t believe this petition will come to anything. For a start, it calls for another referendum if the turnout was less than 75%. The turnout was “only” 72%. Yet you can’t retroactively apply this and say we now need another referendum because of the lower turnout. Shifting the goalposts at this stage would just further divide the nation.
However, I always worried, as did many other Brexiteers, that should LEAVE win, a second referendum would be called. Perhaps after the exit negotiation had finished. Y’know, to see if people were still happy with the deal.
This isn’t just conspiracy theorist Brexiteers talking nonsense again (even though David Icke is genuinely on our LEAVE side). Every time a nation is given a vote and says “No” to the EU, there is invariably another vote.
- Denmark 1992 NO to the Maastricht Treaty 50.7%. Denmark negotiated, got some concessions, staged a second referendum in 1993. The result: 56.8% YES.
- Ireland 2001 NO to the Treaty of Nice 53.9%. An improved proposal was put to voters in a second referendum in 2002. The result: 62.9 YES.
- France and Holland 2005 NO to a Treaty establishing a European Constitution 54.9% and 61.5%. The EU simply put almost all of the same provisions in another treaty, The Treaty of Lisbon, which France and Holland did not have a referendum on.
- Ireland 2008 NO to Treaty of Lisbon 53.2%. Some reassurances were given by the EU, and a second referendum was held in 2009. The result: 67.1% YES.
Seeing a pattern here? Yet whenever a nation says YES the first time of asking, there is peculiarly no second vote(!) For example:
- Croatia 2012 to join the EU.
- Malta, Slovenia, Hungary, Lithuania, Slovakia, Poland, Czech Republic, Estonia, Latvia 2003 to join the EU.
- Ireland and Denmark 1998 Treaty of Amsterdam.
- Austria, Finland, Sweden 1994 to join the EU.
- Ireland and France 1992 Maastricht Treaty.
- Denmark 1986 Single European Act.
- Ireland 1987 Single European Act.
- Ireland and Denmark 1972 to join the European Communities.
- And of course all the aforesaid times where the nation voted YES on the second referendum, after saying NO in the first, a further third one was not held.
There’s a reason we always had the double jeopardy rule in English law. It simply isn’t fair to keep putting the same person on trial until you get the “right” result. This ancient protection against tyranny was effectively repealed on the reasonable-sounding grounds that should new evidence come to light, it is only just to try the person again. Likewise, it seems so reasonable to ask the people to vote again when new conditions come to light. And literally millions of people petitioning for a second vote, plus the upcoming withdrawal negotiation conditions, are indeed “new conditions”. Yet in reality, this would be nothing but a try at barracking and wearing people down emotionally and mentally to not vote NO again, to either abstain or switch to YES.
If we were always offered a second bite, or a best of three, then I wouldn’t be so vexed. But that isn’t how the EU works. When supporters of “The Project” can avoid it, they don’t ask the question. And when they do ask the question, only the “right” answer will do.
And that is why I am not dancing in the streets. And that is why I haven’t cried with joy yet. For I know all too well that this isn’t over till the fat lady sings. I will shed tears of joy when we have actually left the EU. Till then, us supporters of a free UK must stay wakeful and watchful of what our overlords do.
© 2016 Bryan A. J. Parry
featured image from https://petition.parliament.uk