The fantasy of a second referendum threatens our freedom to say 'no'

By all means, I would suggest that a second referendum could be permitted – in 40 years’ time

Lucy Harris
Sunday 17 December 2017 08:10
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Even the utterance of a second referendum insults the very concept of our precious democratic system, and its undermining should outrage us all
Even the utterance of a second referendum insults the very concept of our precious democratic system, and its undermining should outrage us all

I voted Leave to call the establishment’s bluff. To test that we are, indeed, a free and democratic country. To confirm that I was able to say no to the European Union. After all, as Salman Rushdie once wrote, the freedom to reject is the only freedom.

We know that the majority of Brexiteers voted to retain and reinstate the UK as a sovereign state, whether it be for control over our laws or our borders. In fact most of the reasons why people voted to Leave, as cited in the the Lord Ashcroft polls at the time, were summarised in points that contained words like “decisions”, “control” and “choice”. People voted for the freedom to have the ability to say no.

Despite this, the British people’s decision to put the EU behind us and to take responsibility for the future of our country is met by continuing doubt and harassment from those urging for a second referendum. Even the utterance of a second referendum insults the very concept of our precious democratic system, and its undermining should outrage us all. It is an open attack on our individual freedoms – to say no, and have the establishment take us seriously.

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The call for a second referendum harkens back to the Lisbon Treaty shambles in 2008-9, where the Irish were forced to consecutively vote until the establishment got the answer they had intended. This democratic charade didn’t happen the once, but another two times in fact. Denmark was ordered to vote again on the Maastricht Treaty, and Ireland again on the Nice Treaty. In all cases, the will of the people was ignored to favour our technocratic masters. The EU, in this case, is like a sore loser refusing to accept its loss.

Curiously, it wasn’t just Eurosceptics that have jumped at the idea of a second vote – our very own Nick Clegg has called for a referendum on Britain’s membership of the EU to end this “crazy” debate. Quite amusingly, Clegg also exploited the language of a democrat in his 2009 campaign flyers “Give the people a say” and “It is VITAL that you, and the British people have a say in a REAL referendum”. No mention of a series of referendums then… the hypocrisy of it all!

Clegg was happy to adorn himself in the borrowed robes of democracy then. Today, when tested, they’re slipping from the heavy burden of their meaning, as he weakly squalls: “A second referendum”.

Not only is the second referendum nag a slight annoyance to ordinary voting folk, who by now are fed up of ballot posting, but the “democrats” incessant tugging at the dress of the demos to change their minds is highlighting them as people who do not trust the demos. It demonstrates a complete disobedience to their rightful masters – the people. I suppose it must be tempting for a passionate Remainer to call for a second referendum, but I ask anyone who feels this way to think carefully about what you are endorsing.

This week’s vote on Amendment seven showed that certain MPs are determined to betray their constituents. By doing so, they are denying us our right to choose, to favour their own personal preferences. The truth is, if they can’t have it their way and remain, they will attempt to make Brexit a messy conflict for the rest of us – and that is something we must not abide.

The dismemberment of democracy, triggered by the picking and choosing of election results, starts a dangerous precedent that will permit your own demise if your desires fall foul of the EU’s plans. You are endorsing, without sounding too dramatic, the dismantling of the very basis of our Western civilisation. Your decision lies before you: it is either democracy, the power of the people, or technocracy, control by a few. Unless you are lucky enough to be included in that privileged minority, your consultation will not be sought by the latter. Bearing that in mind, would you risk losing your ability to refuse, in favour of the mercy of the few? I wouldn’t.

By all means, I would suggest that a second referendum could be permitted – in 40 years’ time, the same length of time it took for the 2016 referendum to occur. But as a nation, we have voted Leave. And we must persevere on the decision of the Leave vote, to uphold the very notion of our freedom to say no. It is our civic duty as a free and democratic people to do so. Democrats, grasp your vote. It is the last defence that we as citizens of democratic states possess to protect ourselves from those who would wish to go against our interests. Value it, or we will surrender ourselves to the tyranny of mercy and servitude.

Lucy Harris is the coordinator of Leavers of London

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