I feel like I should support a People’s Vote. But I don’t. I feel like I should be joining my fellow Londoners on 20 October to march on Parliament. But I won’t be there. I feel like most of the demonstrators hold views with which I am in sympathy: I voted to Remain; I think most of the People’s Vote supporters are Remainers. But I also believe their current thinking is muddled.
How Did We Get Here?
Some context, although it is hardly needed. On 23 June 2016, Britain voted to leave the EU. The date of departure is 29 March 2019. Theresa May and her Conservative government have spent the last two years––or three months, if you discount the wasted time when David Davis was in charge of proceedings––attempting to negotiate a Brexit deal with the EU. With no deal yet on the table, there is a groundswell of public opinion demanding a People’s Vote on the outcome of the negotiations.
All very democratic. And, like most things that are democratic, worthy, but ultimately pointless.
It requires the negotiation of a series of AND, OR, XOR, NOT, NAND, NOR and XNOR logic gates to explain the futility of the proposal.
In the Event of a No Deal
If we fail to secure a deal with the EU, the People’s Vote becomes a simple choice between Remain and a No Deal Brexit. This is fundamentally just a rerun of the original referendum. Never gonna happen. You can’t keep running referendums until you get the result you want, even if the result you get is patently stupid. Two wrong referendums don’t make a right.
In the Event of a Deal
If we secure a deal with the EU, something vaguely along the lines of Theresa May’s current Chequers Plan, there are two scenarios. We have a People’s Vote, which either considers three options: remain; support the deal; or no deal. Or we have a People’s Vote, which considers two options: support the deal; or no deal.
The first scenario can’t happen because it is a biased proposal. Previous Remain supports will all vote for the Remain option, whilst previous Leave supporters will have their vote split between Deal or No Deal, guaranteeing a Remain victory. While I would like to see this happen, even I can see that this is unfair.
The second scenario is a simple choice between a soft and a hard Brexit. Support the deal or not. If a deal happens and the only other alternative is a No Deal Brexit, why, as a Remain supporter, would you propose a People’s Vote, which might tacitly permit an entrée for that Backdoor-Boris bleakest of proposals, a No Deal? It is democracy operating at its maddest. Better just to let the deal go through unchallenged.
The Deciding Factor
I admit it. It is confusing. And, when a decision is confusing, I fall back upon a tried and tested system to navigate my way through the complicated choices.
I look at what Nicola Sturgeon is thinking.
And then I do the complete opposite.
© The Mudskipper