Just Re-Vote Already

As Brexit crashes towards a no deal hard exit, poles are showing a majority of Britons would like a second “people’s vote” to settle the matter.

I am perplexed by the argument that a second vote would be ignoring the will of the people. If you vote twice, then you will just keep re-voting and the matter will never be settled. This doesn’t sound like a counter argument, this sounds a description of good government. Let me tell you a story.

I had a friend who met the perfect guy. He had a good job, owned a nice home, and said he was ready to be a family man. He proposed and she accepted. A couple of months into their engagement, she found out he didn’t have a good job. He had been “between jobs” since he didn’t graduate from college. His home was actually his parents’, where he lived in their basement.

Should she just carry on with the wedding? If she walked away, would she ever find another guy to marry? She had made a decision when she accepted his proposal; would she look weak if she changed her mind?

In our daily lives, it is obvious that decisions should change with new information. It is the same with business and government. 

There are historical precedents for “will of the people” changing with new information. Most famously, the USA prohibited alcohol in 1920. Thirteen years later, the facts showed Prohibition to be a costly failure. In thirteen years, half a generation had grown up and entered the voting public and thirteen years of deaths had removed another block of voters. The will of the people changed and prohibition was repealed in 1933.

If we were to follow the Brexit logic, there could be no re-vote on the issue. It had been settled in 1920 and the US could just carry on with bootleggers, crime, and no taxes — like they currently are with marijuana. 

When my friend accepted the marriage proposal, it came with a lot of promises that she also accepted. When those promises were not viable, she was right to question her original decision. 

I am not arguing for or against Brexit. I am arguing that the Leave campaign made and have since broke a proposal for leaving. People were asked if they wanted to keep the status quo, or have a Brexit that would:

  • not crash out of the EU
  • renegotiate even better trade deals
  • restore sovereignty of being able to make UK laws that did not have to align with EU laws
  • prevent the influx of refugees
  • and most famously, provide the NHS with £350M a week

Honestly, that version of Leave seemed pretty compelling versus the status quo. However, none of these promises are on the table anymore. Leave dropped the NHS money the day after the vote. Refugees were never more than a scare tactic. The UK always had the right to control its borders against non-EU citizen, not matter what the EU said.

Any trade deals we negotiate bind us back to EU regulations. They won’t accept goods or services that don’t meet their standards, just as the UK hold their other trading partners to UK standards.

The simple fact is, there doesn’t need to be (and shouldn’t have to be) a second people’s vote. The referendum was non-binding. The government is free to do as they see fit. They have failed to secure a viable Brexit that matches the original promises. They should now do what is necessary to secure the safety and prosperity of the nation. The real reason for a re-vote is that it would provide weak politicians with a political smoke screen for their failure. A change in the “will of the people,” would let them off the hook. They would rather march the UK into a hard Brexit and secure their personal careers than to risk standing up and risking the wrath of their voters.

But remember, in every major crisis: great depression, banking collapse, BP oil spills; it is rarely the rich or powerful who suffer. It is the common public who bear the brunt of austerity, debt, poor environment, and catastrophe. The rich can afford to shield themselves from their own bad decisions — so be weary of their “leadership.”

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