I’m warming to the idea of a second referendum

Another vote for Brexit could finish off the technocratic elite once and for all.

Brendan O'Neill

Brendan O'Neill
chief political writer

Topics Brexit Politics UK

We shouldn’t have to vote again. It is an outrage that some in the establishment are even considering making us vote again before they have enacted the thing we voted for first time round. In fact these second-referendum whisperings represent a ripping-up of the social contract of the modern democratic era, which says the public’s view must be taken seriously rather than casually written off by elites who think they know better. And yet I am warming to the idea of a second referendum. Or rather, if they make us do it I will relish it. Why? Because a second vote for Brexit might finish off the EU and its elitist backers once and for all.

The Remainer section of the UK’s political class – which of course is the vast bulk of the UK’s political class – are right about one thing: we know so much more now than we did in the run-up to the referendum. This is their rallying cry for another vote. ‘The public is more informed now. It has greater knowledge. And so it should be asked to vote again.’ They’re right, but not in the way they think they are. We do know more now – we know just how anti-democratic and ruthless the EU is; we know just how duplicitous our own political class is; we know the depths of the contempt that they hold us in; and we know that voting for Brexit was the most sensible, rational and important thing most of us have ever voted for in our lives.

The past two-and-a-half years have been wonderfully clarifying. Not in the way Remainers think. Not because us moronic plebs have now realised that the NHS promise plastered on the side of a bus was misleading (I haven’t met a single person who voted Brexit because of that bus). Not because we have learned just how damaging and destructive leaving the EU will be – most of us know this is the politics of fear designed to terrify us out of our principled opposition to the EU. No, the past two years have been clarifying because they have proven the truth of all the things that us Brexit supporters believed or at least suspected: that the EU railroads over national democracy, that the British political establishment is cloth-eared to our concerns, and that democracy is not held in very high esteem by our rulers.

The foul treatment of the UK’s elected political leaders by the unelected oligarchs of the European Commission; the obstinacy and mendaciousness of the EU negotiators; the EU’s efforts to make an example of disobedient Britain in order to terrify other EU member states away from the idea of ever trying to leave; the way the supposedly liberal establishment in the UK has talked about voters as ‘low information’, visceral, self-destructive and clueless; the post-Brexit calling into question of the very idea of democracy by Britain’s bruised and bitter technocratic class; the House of Lords’ rediscovery of its medieval-style agitation with democracy and with the plebs who make up a democracy; the fact that we were told that our decision on EU membership would be final and would be acted upon when neither of those things turned out to be true… all of these events of the past two-and-a-half years have clarified 21st-century politics in a way even those of us who were never big fans of the EU or the UK political establishment could only have dreamt of.

So yes, we know more now. We know how much you distrust us. We know how much you fear and loathe us. And we know how little respect you have for our fundamental democratic right to steer the fate of the nation. More importantly, we know how much Brexit wounded your political authority. You want to make us vote again now that we are armed with such a wealth of information about the EU establishment, our establishment, and their joint contempt for the rights and dignity of British voters? Do it. We dare you.

Brendan O’Neill is editor of spiked and host of the spiked podcast, The Brendan O’Neill Show. Subscribe to the podcast here. And find Brendan on Instagram: @burntoakboy

Picture by: Getty.

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Topics Brexit Politics UK


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