Change of mind in a democracy does happen…but

The range of opinion on the EU referendum outcome of 23 June 2016 is as varied as there are trees in the amazon.

One of the key debating points being broached by those against the referendum outcome is for a rerun or second referendum. They are adamant that for several reasons, there should be a second referendum as – according to them, several public opinion polls indicate more people would now vote for Britain to remain in the EU (ironically, there was a time when British public opinion was in favour of the Iraq war¬†and death penalty). Additionally, the say – now that the people ‘know’ that they have been “duped”, “lied to and misled” – the referendum outcome should not stand at worst, and at best – rerun the referendum.

While all these are somewhat amusing to someone like me who voted to remain in the EU, I couldn’t disagree with such nonsensical calls any more than I do now. You see, according to such standards, virtually all elections would be annulled or rerun should exactness of election campaign information be the standard for measuring their efficacy anywhere.

In democracies, quite rightly, people do change their minds. If they don’t like a government, Prime Minister etc – they can get rid of them (which cannot be said for the EU President and Commissioners etc). There is a subtle difference here which those advocating a second referendum overlook. The outcomes of an election are implemented BEFORE they can be changed at a later time by voters (unless clear irregularities occurred). Doing things the other way round is what happens in dictatorships.

Despite the surprising performance of the Labour Party at the 2017 General Election, there was no serious call for a rerun. The winning party formed a government while the electorate get an opportunity to express their wish again at a future time. Consequently, in a democratic dispensation, election results are accepted and implemented first.

It is my view that if British voters are to get another vote on our relationship with the European Union as is our democratic right, the outcome of the 23 June 2016 referendum must first be put in place for a time. How this unfolds is another matter entirely for a future parliament to contend with.


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