The EU Referendum brought about a close call: 52 / 48 in favour of Leave.
On 23rd June 2016, Nigel Farage, Leader of UKIP and primary advocate for the Leave campaign, clearly stated that:
“In a 52-48 referendum this would be unfinished business by a long way.
If the [other side] win two-thirds to one-third that ends it”.
In the event, the result was as predicted by Nigel Farage: a 52/ 48 split, albeit the other way around.
Much has been made of the “protest” vote by the so-called unheard and downtrodden “working classes”. And yet, the 52/48 divide does not represent such a conclusion. A balance tipped – perhaps. But an overwhelming public majority – most definitely not.
In reality, the divide is too close to make such as assumption. Rather, it couples with Nigel Farage’s predicted close call – the “52 / 48” divide, a result worthy of question.
More disturbingly, Nigel Farage refers to this as a victory for “ordinary” and “decent” people. In reality, the decency referred to reflects an undercurrent of xenophobia, alongside a culture of misplaced Euroscepticism arising from misinformation, and of a blaming of the European Union for faults which firmly lie on our own backyard.
It is the case that conventionally – across the world – constitutional reforms, such as the leaving of the EU, expect a “supermajority” of two thirds. No such majority was secured.
Prime Minister, David Cameron’s assertion that this is a “referendum not a neverendum” is an inadequate substitute for democracy. Rather, democracy must recognise that any major constitutional reform, such as Leaving the EU, requires a recognisable majority.
“Bear in mind this sacred principle, that though the will of the majority is in all cases to prevail, that will, to be rightful, must be reasonable.”
Thomas Jefferson, 1801
It is fully accepted that Britain is divided – that much needs to be done to address the inequalities within our society; that it is insufficient for the Government to claim that Europe is of benefit to us, whilst the poorest in our society receive none of that benefit.
There is much work to be done. Point made!
However- to the “wealthy, liberal elite” – now pouring over themselves to recognise the plight of the poor – it is not sufficient to abandon the EU in the full knowledge that this will worsen the conditions of the very poor they claim to now belatedly recognise.
By all means, ‘wake up and smell the flowers’. But do not pretend that accepting the advisory EU referendum result equates to recognition of the poor.
Further, it ought to be remembered that some of Britain’s downtrodden poor, actually voted FOR Remain, in the belief that doing so best served their long-term interests. Are these poor not also ordinary, decent people whose voices equally deserve to be heard?
The poor in this country need the British government to take a lead – to act in their genuine best interest. And if that best interest is not leaving Europe – then so be it: do not leave Europe. Rather, make Europe WORK for the poor. Share the wealth of Europe WITH the poor. USE Europe to protect the most vulnerable in our society.
Thus far, Europe has indeed benefitted the “wealthy, liberal elite” – be it unscrupulous employers who pro-actively seek low-paid European employees to the active exclusion of British workers – or the use of migrants to fill posts where Britain is unwilling to fund training for our own workers – or a Britain who supports fat cat bonuses whilst the working classes choose between gas and food.
Indeed, the time has come for Britain to take stock of inequality.
But do not confuse inequality with irreparable harm. The protest is made. The British Government must accept it as such. But the Government must also accept that the intention was one of protest and not result. A “protest” vote is not a decisive intention to leave Europe.
David Lammy, MP today stated:
“The referendum was an advisory, non-binding referendum. The Leave campaign’s platform has already unravelled and some people wish they hadn’t voted to Leave. Parliament now needs to decide whether we should go forward with Brexit, and there should be a vote in Parliament next week. Let us not destroy our economy on the basis of lies and the hubris of Boris Johnson.”
One online petition calling for a second referendum has received over 2.5 million signatures at time of writing – and rising every second.
In short, over 2.5 million (or 5% and counting of those who voted in the referendum) have called for the UK Government to STOP and THINK!
The British Government should – and must – reject the advisory opinion of the people as contained within the EU Referendum on the grounds that the result is insufficiently decisive; that leaving Europe was NOT the “resolved will of the people”.
But the one thing the Government cannot do is to accept a partial “protest” vote of a majority of no more than 52 / 48 majority as a definitive answer to the question of European membership.
The Government MUST do what it is entrusted by the British people to do:
ACT IN THE BEST INTERESTS OF BRITAIN!
In the meantime, it is imperative that the British public should not over-react to the current climate; to allow a protest vote majority to dominate our politics. It is imperative that we make a calm and rational decision as regards the best interests of Britain
Further, that we should also heed the voice of said protest – that we should accept this as a ‘wake up call’ – that the inequality in Britain is simply not acceptable.
This is Britain! We are inventors, innovators, workers, and inspirators. We have the good and the glory to make Europe work for “We, the people!”
The EU referendum demonstrates the current unfairness. It does not – in any way – demonstrate what we are capable of over the coming years – addressing poverty, failing services, and immigration – and what we are capable of to this end within Europe.
Britain has the power and the innovation to lead the world with Europe. It is time that we did so, and that any and all benefits from Europe are shared equally and fairly.
REFERENCES & IMAGES:
Images: Slum Britain, the Independant, 2013
Images: Nigel Farage, EU Referendum
Petition: EU Referendum Rules triggering a 2nd EU Referendum, 25 June 2016
Images*: Animal Farm, by George Orwell
Images: The factory of the future, Rolls Royce 2013
*Images may be subject to copyright