Should we have a second referendum?

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This whole topic has come from the referendum that we held over two years ago. However, in this post I don’t want to talk about just that referendum, but whether we should have another referendum, a second referendum to decide whether the general public still want to leave the European Union.

According to the Cambridge dictionary, a referendum is defined as: ‘a vote in which all the people in a country or an area are asked to give their opinion about or decide an important political or social question’.

On Thursday 23 June, 2016 the UK public voted on whether to remain or stay in the EU (the European Union). The result was 51.9% to 48.1%, in favour of leaving. Ever since we voted to leave there have been many people campaigning for a second referendum.

My belief is that we should have a second referendum. I think we should have a second vote for the simple reason of it just shows the British people’s opinions, and if we have one and it turns out we still want to leave, so be it, that is the public’s decision.

First of all, I think we should have a second referendum because it shows a more informed, accurate and realistic public opinion and

During the Brexit campaign, there was a lot of bias, downright lies and politicains from both sides making outlandish claims which they had no evidence behind. This was on both sides, and did not give the public an accurate picture of what advantages and disadvantages of leaving or remaining in the European Union. For example, on the side of the leave campaign bus the claim, ‘that leaving would provide a £350m-a-week bonus for the NHS from the UK’s contribution to EU coffers.' was written. There is no solid evidence for this claim and it could have influenced people to vote to leave, especially considering the stress the National Health Service was and still is under. A £350 million pound bonus every week given to the NHS would have be great and incredibly useful but there is seemingly no evidence of this absurd and unlikely claim. Another (of many) examples in, is when Alan Johnson said ‘Two thirds of British jobs in manufacturing are dependent on demand from Europe’, a figure, according to the independent ‘based on outdated data by the Centre of Economics and Business Research (CEBR). The consultancy has since revised the figures: it says the figure is more likely to be around 17 per cent’. These are only two of many examples I could have mentioned. These claims, which were simply inaccurate could and must of influenced the results of the referendum, if people had accurate information many, maybe even enough to actually give a remain outcome may well change what they voted whether in favour of remain or leave. It wasn’t even normal members of the public or small politicians making these claims, these were influential people with influential campaigns that reached a vast number of the public and so I think those who made these claims need to be held accountable and take responsibilties for them.

The thing is our opinions are based on the facts we learn, what we think will likely happen in the future and what we want to happen in the future. All of our opinions stem from facts, we make opinions on subjects because of what we know about it and that is why before I make a big decision I want to know a the whole, accurate picture; if I’m going to get a pet I want to know what they eat, how hard they are to take care of, what they are typically like, if they are prone to illness or aggressiveness, I want to know all the facts in order to reach a sensible, good conclusion. In relation to the Brexit vote, back in 2016, it was crucial that in order to make the right decision for their situation, people needed to know all the facts, all the correct information: how it would affect them, what it is going to cost, what they are going to gain, what they might lose etc. However this wasn’t the case, instead, people were given a clouded, inaccurate view of the situation, many might have been misled by some outrageous claim or found a huge gap in their knowledge, meaning their opinion, since over the past two years the difficulty, realities and technicalities of leaving Brexit have truly been exposed, may well have changed now they actually have the accurate and reliable information, now they have the full picture.

Because of how awfully wrong and inaccurate the campaigns were, I believe that parliament should create a new referendum and a new, more truthfull campaign should be launched now that people have actually seen more into the realities or leaving/ staying, and this time, the spreading of false information, especially on some of the large scales that they were should be banned and punished, so that the UK public can vote with an accurate picture of what leaving, and remaining really means.

Secondly, many people didn’t vote, many people's voicew were not heard. In fact, according to the independent, ‘Just less than 28% of registered Brits did not vote in the June EU referendum -- that is about 13 million people.’ Many people may say that those who didnt vote were lazy and should have voted in the first place and maybe they are right. However, many, seeing the extremes leaving could result in may vote and exercise their right to democracy. Considering that leave only won by a margin of 1,269,501 votes, which is, if you consider the whole population, a very small margin, enough people this time could vote this time to change the outcome. Also, considering the amount of new voters that have turned over 18 in the past two years that is again, a considerable amount of people who didn’t, and couldn’t vote, who can now have their voices heard in a second referendum, and the generation that is going to have to deal with the outcome for the rest of their lives.

Also, although I recognise that the UK public voting on everything is impractical because of time and expenses (after all that’s why we elect MPs, to make decisions on behalf of us), I think on such a huge decision like Brexit the public should be able to decide what happens. Even though we did decide to leave 2 years ago, we should be given the opportunity to reconsider our decision, with all this new information and so really take control of the future of our country.

Theresa may said in a speech in Stoke-on-Trent ‘We all have a duty to implement the result of the referendum.’, and that, in the Brexit campaigns ‘both sides disagreed on many things, but on one thing they were united: what the British people decided, the politicians would implement.’ Indeed, the public were allowed to decide before, relying on politicians to deliver what they decided, expecting them to deliver on their promises. The fact is, the politicians have not delivered on their promises and leaving the EU is not going smoothly at all. They are so focused on delivering the result of the referendum we decided on two years ago, and they are not succeeding. They are saying that they are respecting our views and honouring and implementing our decisions, which is not happening. Surely if we had the right to decide two years ago, why don’t we now?

So, in conclusion I think we have a second referendum because it shows a more informed and representative public opinion and that now we see the realities and difficulties of leaving the EU, the outcome might change. At the moment politicians are saying what they think we want and making decisions for us, surely on such an important issue, we have the right to decide? To be fully transparent, I think we should remain in the EU, and so I accept my opinion on a second referendum might be bias. However, if we DID have a second referendum and the outcome is the same: to leave, I think that shows the real, recent, knowledgeable and empowered decision of the British public and so if that is their decision, then that’s what needs to be implemented. If we had another referendum and we decided to leave again, then so be it, that’s what we should do, but at the moment, I think there is a fair possibility that the decision might change. We want to make sure that what happens, whether leaving or remaining is what the majority of the public wants. For MPs to implement what we 'want' they need to know what we realy want, not an outdated, innacurate, no knowledgeable, not representable version of what we wanted. Maybe just this time we should be given more of a choice, a wider opinion than just to leave or remain...

Sources:

  • https://dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/english/referendum
  • https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-32810887
  • https://www.independent.co.uk/voices/michael-gove-boris-johnson-brexit-eurosceptic-press-theresa-may-a7533806.html
  • https://www.independent.co.uk/infact/brexit-second-referendum-false-claims-eu-referendum-campaign-lies-fake-news-a8113381.html
  • https://www.independent.co.uk/news/business/brits-who-didnt-vote-in-the-eu-referendum-now-wish-they-voted-against-brexit-a7326401.html
  • https://brexitcentral.com/theresa-mays-stoke-speech-duty-implement-result-referendum/

Comments (8)

  • Tiff-Avatar.jpg Tiff @ the BNC
    29 Mar 2019

    You've made some strong arguments for a second referendum! Well done.

    Can you be open-minded and consider what the arguments against a second referendum would be? For example, is it bad for democracy if the first vote is essentially ignored?

    Some people are asking for a referendum to approve whatever deal is agreed on rather than a second referendum about whether to leave or remain. How would you feel about this?

    Reply to this comment
    1. Faringdon-logo-250x250.jpg fantastic_duck | Faringdon Community College
      Tiff @ the BNC's comment 24 Apr 2019

      Firstly thanks for the reply, these questions have certainly made me think!

      I think there are several valid arguments against a second referendum which I suppose would have been valuable to include in my original post. I can respect that many people may think that a second referendum would undermine our values and betray the trust of those who voted, with voters expecting MPs to act on whatever the public decided on. However, although some people may feel betrayed by the mere idea of a second referendum, I think that many more people (from both the remain and leave sides) already feel betrayed by MPs, as they haven't delivered and don't look likely to deliver on what they promised in the referendum campaign. What's the point on delivering on the promise to leave if they don't deliver on all the promises of how we would do it and what we would get from it they made in the run up to the vote? It almost seems to me that many MPs and citizens want to leave just because it was decided on over two years ago and are prepared to take any deal that could negatively affect our country just so they can deliver the leave outcome. Doing this would just be a cheat way out, leaving just so they can say they delivered the public's 'leave' outcome with no consideration of what the voters leave outcome meant for them, what they wanted and what they thought would happen when we left.

      I think this would admittedly have some negative effects for democracy, people would feel betrayed, yet people already feel betrayed by politicians and the government at their apparent inability to deliver what they promised in the time they promised to do it in and I’m sure people feel betrayed at the lies that they were told in the referendum campaigns.
      One thing that I have noticed throughout researching the topic of a second referendum is that people’s opinions on whether this would destroy democracy largely come from their views on Brexit. For instance, remainers want another referendum while people pro-Brexit don’t. This is not always the case but it seems a common theme to me. I don’t think your stance on a second referendum should be based on your Brexit views, because I think it is not a question of whether you think we made a mistake or not but a question of how we give people the best form of democracy, and what way would allow people to show their opinions the best, which way is fairest. This is I think another argument against a second referendum because it might just be remainers wanting it so they can try to change the outcome of the vote.

      I do also recognise problems with a second referendum, if we have a second referendum what stops us campaigning for a third or fourth or even fifth? Well I think if we did have a second referendum we would all have to accept the outcome, whether we like it or not. If we had a clear view of how this would affect us with no lies being fed to us, the decision should be final, as then the decision would be based on facts and realistic ideas, not a load of information seemingly summoned from a politician’s head.

      To conclude my opinion on this: I recognise that some people may feel betrayed by a second referendum but I think that we should still have a second referendum, not because I believe leaving would be a mistake or that I didn’t like the outcome but that in order for good democracy we need to have fairness, honesty, and reality something that was often not present in the Brexit campaign. Because maybe a second referendum isn’t ‘good’ democracy but what is worse is democracy, like over two years ago, when people made their decisions based on dishonesty, lies and unfounded claims, a second referendum would betray the values of democracy and politics less than staying with a decision built on lies and misinformation from both sides. The best democracy, what we should be striving for, is honest, truthful and allows the public to make an informed decision, and if it means we need to try that for a second time to get that then so be it, that is what we need to do.

      To answer your second question, I think I would love a vote on whether to accept the deal but disagree with this, partly just for practical reasons. This is because we are already pressed for time for deciding on Brexit as it is. Making, organising and campaigning for this new referendum would take time, which I believe is something in short supply, considering we have already gone considerably over the two years that the EU originally gave us to sort out leaving. If a deal got through parliament in the first place, that might be the only deal we have a chance to get, considering what margins Theresa May has lost by it seems hard to get a deal through parliament, I’m not sure if she could ever get the public to vote in favour of a deal. And what happens if it goes to a referendum and the public decide to turn a deal down?, do we leave without a deal?, do we stay?, or do we just keep in this seemingly never-ending cycle of negotiations and votes and referendums and negotiations and votes and referendums? This uncertainty is partly why I am not in favour of this proposed idea. In an ideal world we would have a say in every decision in our country, I would love that, but it just isn’t plausible or practical. I think at some point we need to let go and trust our elected officials, who have a broad range of opinions and so would, I hope get our voices heard, manage it for us and do a good job, though I would say that unfortunately this is not always the case.

      Also, I just think this would be a bad alternative to having a second referendum. This is because I think that most remainers would just turn down any deal that comes through with the vague hope that it would result in us deciding to just call the whole thing off.
      The fact is it is worrying that I and everyone else has no idea what their future will look like and how it will be affected. The last thing I and most others want is to leave without a deal. I just feel so doubtful that a deal can get through parliament and I definitely don’t think politicians could get it through a public vote, however hard they tried. I think, however much I dislike saying it, if we want to leave, we are going to have to actually do it otherwise we will be stuck in this awkward position for decades. Fact is, it has been over two years since we voted to leave, and we are still without a deal. I would hope that whatever, if any deal they manage to agree on and get through parliament will be ok, not devastating to our country, at the very least.

      As I said, I find it worrying that I have no idea how the future will look like, and even more worrying that it seems like most MPs don’t either. The thing is that, at this rate, we will be forever in the process of leaving, never feeling fully in or out of the EU. A decision must be made and so if MPs ignore a second referendum and keep trying to push a deal through then it seems the only outcome to be a deal that Theresa May can get through parliament. And however much I occasionally doubt MPs I’m sure if that all of them can make a decision on something, it will likely be the right one. If the prime minister manages to get a deal through it would be huge progress and the last thing I think we need is for that to be flushed down the drain by the British public, because then we would be back to square one with the nasty deadlines and ominous no deal hanging over us, because eventually the EU are bound to get tired of us faffing around and are going to force or pressure us into making a quick decision.

      So to conclude, I disagree with this idea for practicality and because if Theresa May manages to get a deal through parliament it will be the option that assures us certainty, at least we know we are leaving with a deal that the government agreed to on its own terms, not one they feel pressured into because of a lack of time.

      Reply to this comment
  • The-Ruth-Gorse-logo-250x250.jpg creative_sparrow | The Ruth Gorse Academy
    01 Apr 2019

    Fantastic post! I agree entirely on what you say about another referendum, more so now, we would accept whatever the outcome is and move on. So, according to Theresa May, holding another referendum disrespects the first results, yet, there have been suggestions there will be another meaningful vote for the 4th time after it’s been defeated for the whopping 3rd time! And, all the MPs are allowed to change their minds on how to vote each time. How is it, by now, that the nation is disallowed to have another people’s vote over Brexit! The hypocrisy is mind boggling.

    Reply to this comment
  • New-Horizons-logo-250x250.jpg creative_starfruit | New Horizons Children's Academy
    01 Apr 2019

    I agree on what you are saying by we should have a second referendum because it was unfair on what has happened it the past thew months and also think that Theresa May is scared that she will have to do the vote all other agen and it will be to much work so she don’t won’t to have a second vote.

    I agree on all that you have said but I won’t to ask that

    Why don’t we have a second Random on Barnet news club

    Reply to this comment
  • New-Horizons-logo-250x250.jpg harmonious_seahorse | New Horizons Children's Academy
    02 Apr 2019

    I do not think we should have a second referendum:
    I think we should not have a second referendum because a second referendum could cause much more chaos and I personally think that for the greater good of Brexit Mrs May should step down as another politician could help restore the UK and make us a whole not broken into leave or remain. Also, her deals have been defeated so many times that it just gets tiring if MP's keep having to vote, even though Mrs May has been put u der a lot of pressure, I think there should be a new PM.

    Reply to this comment
  • Cowes-logo-250x250.jpg brilliant_guitar | Cowes Enterprise College
    03 Apr 2019

    I do agree with you that we should have a second referendum:
    I think this because when we first voted in 2016, most of the British citizens didn't know what they were getting themselves into or how difficult things would be in terms of traveling and work.A little anecdote for you:
    my dad has now got his own business and has recently been traveling to places like France. now because of Brexit, it will make it alot more difficult for him to travel for work.

    Reply to this comment
  • Foxfield-logo-250x250.jpg extraordinary_king | Foxfield Primary School
    04 Apr 2019

    In our discussion we have considered having a second referendum because it would be a second chance to people who have hesitantly changed their minds.To add to this point, either way one side would disagree.

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