Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn’s has publicly pledged support for a second referendum and Theresa May has again delayed a definitive resolution to the Brexit-deal-debacle in the Commons. The possibility of a second referendum looks more likely than at any point since 2016. Frankly speaking, another referendum is that last thing we need. Of course, the initial vote was based on imperfect information and manipulation of the electorate; the ECC and 89Up investigations have proven as much, but what vote isn’t? We are constantly making decisions based on imperfect information. You simply do the best with what you have. If you seek greater truth and clarity, you go out and attain it, if you are apathetic towards the process you cannot then blame imperfect information when the outcome is unsatisfactory. The democratic processes in this country have been butchered enough. The complete disinterest that follows the faintest mention of Brexit is indicative of the damage done. A second referendum will only serve to exacerbate the problem.
History tells us against the plebiscitary referendum, its manipulative character, and the methods of the government directed against genuine control of citizen involvement in public life. Its frequent deployment can be damaging to the legitimation of representative forms of government and democratic electoral systems- we in the UK are no exception. To call for a second referendum based on imperfect information, in fact, to call for a second referendum at all, is undemocratic. It circumvents the first vote. Practising direct democracy of this sort over highly contentious issues for the sole purpose of furthering your mandate sets a dangerous precedent. This is not to mention the impracticalities of organising an adequate referendum; what to put on the ballot or how many rounds of polling to have. That fact of the matter is, those backing a second referendum are those whom the result was not favourable to. There is a naiveté in that they believe we will be able to rewind the past two years and pretend as if nothing happened. In reality, what they will find is that the relationship with the EU has been tarnished beyond repair, a significant portion of the population who voiced their grievances the first time will have been completely alienated, and the second referendum will have rendered the whole process of referenda utterly meaningless. To me, that anarchic point in time when we have lost faith in our own democratic system and alienated half the population to the point of mobilisation looks a lot worse than a no-deal Brexit. We must honour the system we live in, and change it if it is no longer fit for purpose. The first step, however, begins with respecting the democratic vote, this will enable us to move on and go about fixing our fractured society, without undermining the foundations which it is built on.