Yesterday, I put my name to a petition that called for a second referendum on the UK’s membership of the European Union.
At the time, it had around 600,000 signatures. Now, it has over two million. It has also gained a lot of media attention and seems to be interpreted as a “protest” petition, and in a way, it is.
I believe the premise behind it is sound, and not many people have realised that it was actually created before the referendum. All petitions created on the parliament.uk website are live for 6 months. This particular petition expires in November, and was therefore created in May. So, while it may seem like the petition has been created as a protest against the referendum result, it hasn’t.
If you apply the referendum’s winning margin of 52% to 48% to a general election, the winning government may not be guaranteed a majority in parliamentary seats, so it’s logical to say that such a small margin isn’t necessarily a fair democratic result, regardless of which side wins.
If all politics are removed from the equation, the logic is there for either side to take advantage of, and had the Remain camp won by the same margin, I can pretty much guarantee the reaction from Leave supporters would have been exactly the same.
Personally, I agree that there needs to be a concerted effort by Remain voters to deal with the result of a vote that has been made democratically and fairly.
However, that vote has been subject to lies and deception (from both sides), and can hardly be considered fair. I absolutely accept that voters who chose to vote Leave did so for a wide variety of different reasons, but among those reasons was an anti-establishment protest and “sticking it to the politicians”, rather than any genuine desire to leave the European Union.
That, in my mind at least, gives solid logical cause for a second referendum – one that not capitalise on fear and xenophobia, or engage in bullying tactics and lies.