A second referendum would undermine the real ‘People’s Vote’

May 20, 2019

The views and opinions expressed in the article are the author's and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of InQuire Media

 

Having already voted to leave the European Union, holding a second referendum would only cause further disarray to current politics. The main argument behind changing public opinion regarding Brexit boils down to its poor handling so far. If a deal had been made in a smoother transition, would people’s opinions be the same?

 

Theresa May is constantly opposed and criticised no matter the decision she comes to, having already had two drafts refused by government. It is clear to see that the government is a mess. But had the vote gone the other way, would politicians still have acted in the same child-like manner? As much criticism as the PM receives, there does not appear to be any better ideas coming from Parliament. The way the government has handled Brexit is shameful – politicians should have offered guidance and support to the Prime Minister as she tried to establish the best deal possible. Must we be reminded that May herself did not want Brexit in the first place, so taking on the role to lead the country through the exit is admirable.

 

Having a another vote would further undermine both May’s efforts and the original ‘People’s Vote’ held in 2016. Yes, it would allow another year of the younger generation to vote, but when looking at the turn out statistics for the first vote it is hard to see whether this would really make a difference. Statistics from the Independent show that of the 64% of young people registered to vote, only 8% used their right, compared to 65% of 25-39-year-olds. For reference, based on population data from the Office of National Statistics, it would have required 73% of young voters for the UK to have voted to remain.

 

This debate will always come down to the argument between the younger generation versus the older. Scotland, for instance, let 16-year-olds vote for national independence and found that it was the younger generation that held the more liberal views. The older generation have wider life experiences and awareness of political issues; however, it is the younger generation that will have to live with what the vote concludes. Allowing 16 and 17-year-olds to vote would have added an extra 1.6 million members to the electorate, meaning it would have reduced leave numbers to a point where the concept of a majority would have been highly controversial. However, it cannot be counterfactually certain as to whether this would have changed the outcome.

 

Even government is split over whether we should have a second referendum. The Labour party are currently refusing to back the call for a confirmatory vote. Is this Corbyn yet again backing away from any proper sense of responsibility as leader? He is always the first to criticise any of May’s actions, but has failed to come up with any proper solutions to the issues he condemns.

 

Sure, lies were told by many politicians during their campaigns in the lead up to the 2016 vote, but voters knew what they were voting for. If a second referendum is held, would it really be worth the hassle? When Brexit is voted through once more, we would be back to square one and if it were retracted, then we would have to sheepishly back into a corner and apologise to the governing body of the EU, and indeed the world, for the debacle caused.

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First published in 1965, InQuire is the University of Kent student newspaper.

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