You can’t say the ‘People’s Vote’ is good unless you can say what it is. And if you can’t say what it is then how do you know it’s good? Here are some practical questions it would be nice to have answers to:
1, What’s the question? A three-way choice? A two-way choice? A two-stage questionnaire? Why don’t The People’s Vote clear this up so we can decide whether we agree with it? This shouldn’t be too much trouble, after all the last referendum question was just 16 words. Why not tell us straight?
Incidentally. The European Commission for Democracy Through Law (Venice Commission) has issued a Code of Good Practice on Referendums. These rules apply to all 47 member states of the Council of Europe which includes the UK. Section 3.1.C states that the question must be binary. So most of the options being floated actually contravene the European code.
2, Should the result of the ‘People’s Vote’ be implemented? Or should it just be ignored? And why? The result of the last referendum has not been implemented so why should the next one? Or the one after? Is democracy only legitimate when it confirms their prejudices?
3, How would the votes be counted? When a ‘second referendum‘ was first proposed in 2016 it stated: “We the undersigned call upon HM Government to implement a rule that if the remain or leave vote is less than 60% based on a turnout of less than 75% then there should be another referendum“. But that also contravenes the European Commission Code on Referendums. Section 7.A says there should be no minimum threshold and 7.B says that it should be settled by a simple majority.
Incidentally Britain’s electorate is 46.8 million so a 75% turnout would be 35.1 million. 60% of 35.1 is 21.06 million. So according to their formula Leave could amass a record-smashing 21 million votes, but Remain would only require 14 million votes to keep their system in place! Or to put it another way – Leave could ‘win‘ by over 6.9 million votes and we still would not actually leave!
4, Do advocates of the ‘People’s Vote’ accept The European Commission’s for Code of Good Practice for Referendums? If so they should note it also prohibits the use of public funds for campaigning. (3.1.B). The Remain side were clearly in breach of this rule in the 2016 referendum when Cameron sent his £9,500,000 propaganda booklet to every home in the country. Additionally the EU bypassed funding rules to influence the result by funding proxies who then campaigned for a Remain vote. (IMF, OECD, CBI, NFU, IFS, PwC, LSE, S&P, RSPB, WWF, FotE, TUC, NUS, UNITE, CWU, GMB, UNISON, NIESR, BBC etc…)
5, Do they also accept section 3.1.D of The Code that news broadcasts should be balanced and unbiased?
6, Who would be allowed to vote? 16 year olds? UK citizens living in the EU? The spouses of UK citizens living in the EU? EU citizens living in the UK? The four million postal voters in Tower Hamlets? And would over 75s be excluded?
7, When would the ‘People’s Vote’ happen? If Parliament was wildly enthusiastic about it (which it isn’t) the necessary legislation could be rushed through in seven months, but that would take us past the March 29th deadline, so when do they have in mind?
8, What is their proposal for the intervening period? That the EU and UK laws regarding Article 50 be suspended until a question (which they can’t tell us) is answered sometime in the future?
9, And what if we don’t suspend Article 50? Then the question would be whether to rejoin or to remain independent, and any country applying to join the EU must in principal accept the Euro. So is the ‘People’s Vote’ about membership of the EU or the Eurozone?
10, Would a vote to Remain also constitute an vote for our armed forces to be placed under EU command?
11, When would the result be implemented? Immediately if we vote the right way and over a ten year period if we don’t?
12, Why is it that those who advocate the ‘People’s Vote’ tend to be those who were against referenda on the Lisbon treaty, the Maastricht treaty and the Single European Act? It’s hard not to conclude that they only like referenda when there is no other way of advancing their beloved authoritarian system.
EU supporters did everything they could to stop us from having a referendum in 2016. When they failed to prevent it they complained it was ‘destabilising‘. EU supporters then designed every aspect of the 2016 referendum. They negotiated the deal that was put to the people. They worded the question. They picked the day. They vastly out spent the Leave side (see 4 above). They tried to intimidate us into silence with ludicrous accusations of thought crimes. And when they lost they marched through the streets calling for the result to be ignored, and went into collective denial that all was not rosy in their precious EU garden. Apparently they didn’t lose because they lost the argument. Oh no. Apparently it was all because of lies and racism and cheating and pantomime villains and Vladimir Putin and some red bus and gammon. Their failure was it seems, the fault of absolutely everything except their failure to present a positive case for EU membership. And now they want to indefinitely postpone the result of a legitimate vote while they concoct a stitch up?
So we see a consistent pattern of behaviour: At every juncture EU supporters chose the path of least democracy to advance a system that crushes democracy at every turn. Their ‘People’s Vote’ is nothing but an attempt to overturn a democratic decision with an undemocratic decision.