THE BLOG
07/08/2018 07:46 BST | Updated 07/08/2018 08:45 BST

The People Should Be Given A Say Over Brexit - Oh, Hold On, They Already Have Been

One can’t help wondering how much better everything would have been had the whole referendum never occurred

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With their relentless line of questioning, most of us have watched enough domestic dramas, cop shows and political interviews to realise that if you continually ask someone the same thing, or at least a variation of it, you’ll invariably end up getting the answer you want.

Naturally, there’s always the exception. When Jeremy Paxman, famously asked Michael Howard a dozen times whether he’d overruled Derek Lewis, the then Head of the Prison Service, he still didn’t get the reply his notoriously abrasive interviewing style would have hoped to elicit.

In the main though; maybe out of boredom, perhaps out of frustration, possibly out of complete despair and a desire for a quiet life, people will in the end give the response they see fit. Before we know it, we’ll have admitted to the affair we never had, confessed to the crime we didn’t commit and completely reversed the EU referendum decision we made all that time ago. Anything in fact to get the powers that be to shut the hell up and get off our back.

Therefore, by the time we reach #IndyRef9 (don’t worry, a bit like the Fast and Furious movie franchise, you won’t have missed a lot with two thru to eight) we can all fully expect to be Remainers, having at last run out of reasons to leave or the energy to do so. Eventually membership will be nothing more than an unhappy marriage neither side can quite be bothered to walk away from.

Of course, this is purely academic since way before then, the institution will undoubtably have collapsed under the weight of its own bureaucracy and its few existing proponents will have moved on or passed on.

For those of us who decided to extricate ourselves from the control of Brussels, the prospect of another referendum of any type now seems a complete anathema, not to mention a total abandonment of the democratic process that brought it about in the first place.

What next? Are we to have Government entirely based on referenda? Not merely on the big - once in a lifetime - issues, but the second tier decisions, the third and fourth level debates; all the way down to the little things which affect us at a local level. Could we soon be having a referendum on how often village buses run and whether hedgerows should be trimmed less regularly to preserve the dwindling bee population? Actually, I reckon I may find myself voting in the latter one.

A number of our elected representatives, particularly those presently wailing for an additional referendum, will have us believe that the people know what’s right. They stress that collectively we have the reason of thought, the wherewithal, the level of common sense and understanding to once more determine the country’s future.

Well, hop into a taxi and chat to the driver, sit in your local pub for an hour or two while joining in the odd conversation or read the average person’s social media feed and you’ll quickly come to the conclusion that despite “government of the people, by the people, for the people” being a jolly noble idea, “government left entirely to the people” is a very bad idea indeed. Come to think of it, anything left entirely to the people is probably an idea best avoided altogether.

Fair-minded liberals might like to kid themselves that others share their outlook on life, but they don’t. The vast majority of us have opinions and views which aren’t especially fair or liberal, frequently leading us to make disastrous choices. This presumably is why we prefer to go to the polls and vote for politicians, who we in turn rely on to make slightly less disastrous choices on our behalf. That way, we always have someone else to blame when everything turns to s**t.

The problem is that as soon as said politicians start behaving as if referendums are the norm, as if they’re somehow a good thing; a weird roundabout way for MPs and Ministers to get what they want, then we’re really on a slippery slope.

There’s a reason America doesn’t have referendums and it isn’t simply down to the nation’s constitution. Imagine the same system that made Donald Trump President of the United States paving the way for tens of millions of men and women who share his views to start having a direct impact on policy. The outcome could be cataclysmic.

Looking at the mess Brexit has resulted in, one can’t help wondering how much better everything would have been had the whole referendum never occurred.

Furthermore, it doesn’t exactly take a genius to see how having another one would only add fuel to the fire. And rest assured no ballot paper is ever to put out that raging inferno.