An online petition for a second referendum? FFS! It’s pick n mix democracy…

by Pseud O'Nym

One of the most depressingly childlike aspects of the E.U referendum has been how some of those on the losing side – those who wanted to remain – have behaved. Resembling nothing less than truculent children who’s been told that they can’t get their own way, they’ve thrown their toys out of the pram, in the hope that if they crate enough of a rumpus, they’ll eventually get their own way. They were on the losing side and they’re not happy. Which is fine. I too voted for the side that ended up losing side and I too am not happy. But I accept it. Which is as it should be.

What is not fine, nor a dignified or mature response to a defeat, is to demand the game be played again, in this instance taking the form of an online petition signed by over two million people, demanding that there be another referendum.

What the people signing the petition calling for the referendum to be run again are forgetting is the following. Firstly, and most importantly, it was the settled will of the majority, democratically expressed. In a referendum there’s a simple yes or no question and inherent in that is the very real possibility that the answer might not be the one you want. But that’s life. Sometimes it sucks. Secondly, the misguided belief that signing an online petition serves any useful purpose whatsoever. The power of social media to effect any meaningful change, is, I would contend, exaggerated, especially by those who use social media. (If you disagree with my assertion, leave me a comment below giving examples of social media effecting social meaningful change.)

The largest demonstration in British history was when two million of us – I was one of them – took to the streets of London to protest about the impending war in Iraq.

It was also a global protest – there were three million on the streets of Rome and anything between 10 and 30 million in cities around the world – and it completely failed. The British march, and public opinion (a poll that weekend put opposition to a war at 52% with only 29% in favour) was dismissed by most MPs and Blair’s government: 29 days later, the invasion of Iraq began.

And what did that achieve? Aside from proving that some people demonstrate in a way that doesn’t contravene the Highway Code, nothing. And my third point is that simply by virtue of enough people sharing your point of view, that doesn’t in itself make it any the less facile. Religion? Santa Claus? Homoeopathy? Just because you think you’re right doesn’t make it so.

And when more people disagree with you than agree with you, one should accept it. It would take a miracle to convince me that religion is anything than other than fairy tales for grown-ups, but many others believe in it and I accept that. They’re wrong, but I accept that they’re wrong. That kind of mature thinking is sadly lacking in those that have signed the petition. They do however have an example, one where a referendum on Europe resulted in an outcome some didn’t want and therefore it was held again;

Irish voters rejected the Nice Treaty in a June 2001 referendum. A second referendum on the Treaty is planned for end of October or beginning of November.

And whilst I’m about it, the news that;

Nicola Sturgeon is to lobby EU member states directly for support in ensuring that Scotland can remain part of the bloc, after Scots voted emphatically against Brexit on Thursday.

After Scotland voted 62% to 38% to stay in the EU, she said she planned to begin immediate discussions with the European commission to “protect Scotland’s relationship with the EU and our place in the single market”.

The first minister made the announcement after an emergency cabinet meeting on Saturday morning. She also said she would establish an advisory body of financial, legal and diplomatic experts who can advise her government on its options for retaining EU membership after Thursday’s UK-wide vote, by 52% to 48%, to leave the EU.

Overlooks the fact Scotland isn’t an independent country. They had their own referendum and voted to stay part of the United Kingdom. That’ s a fact. People may not like it, but then many people don’t like many things. And because it was the will of the majority of Scottish people opted to remain part of the United Kingdom, it therefore follows that any decision made by all the peoples of the United Kingdom is binding. Otherwise it becomes a bit of a pick n mix democracy.

And we don’t want our democracy to go the same way as Woolworths, do we?