THE BLOG
21/01/2019 12:06 GMT | Updated 21/01/2019 12:06 GMT

The 'People's Vote' We Need Is Another General Election

Leon Neal via Getty Images

Heaven only knows how we’ve let it get to this stage. Then again, isn’t that typical of the human condition? We always leave everything to the last minute, somehow keeping our fingers crossed that it will all turn out fine, while realising in the back of our minds that it actually won’t.

Whether it’s our health (“I thought it was merely a spot of trapped wind.”) mounting piles of debt (”What do you mean that card’s been declined too?”) or crumbling personal relationships (”When precisely did you become so friendly with my boss?”), we prefer to bury our heads in the sand, disregard the bleedin’ obvious and stick our fingers in our ears, refusing to hear what others are telling us. But an ignored pot will always boil over and that is precisely what is about to happen with the bubbling cauldron of consternation, confusion and cack-handedness that Brexit’s turned into.

Although it’s unbelievably been a part of our lives for almost 3 years, those handling our European departure have largely chosen to pay no heed to the ultimate consequences of failing to come to an agreement until it’s practically too late. So much so that unless they or someone else acts pretty damn quickly, we risk crashing out of the EU with no deal whatsoever. Of course, there are a dwindling few who continue to insist that this wouldn’t be nearly as bad as many are prophesying. And who knows? Maybe it wouldn’t be. It just comes down to the fact that we don’t seem brave enough to want to find out.

Others in a display of outrageous optimism foolishly feel that our continental cousins will back down before such an eventuality has a chance to take place. Considering how splendidly that worked out for appeasers in 1939, it’s doubtful how a similar route can seriously be relied on in 2019. Besides, the dogged entrenchment of those across the channel strongly suggests otherwise. Any movement from the other side is likely to be very minor and strictly on their terms. If this were a military campaign (the sort Britain used to win under great strategic tacticians like Nelson - sadly, Theresa has proved to be no Horatio), we’d have to admit that we’ve been outwitted, out-flanked and outmanoeuvred by our opponents and now they’ve got us exactly where they want us. Fully prepared to wave the white flag of surrender and come crawling back on our knees.

It isn’t any longer a matter of no confidence in the government, it’s a matter of no confidence in any of the political parties to find a resolution they can jointly sign up to. The only answer then must be to go back to the people. What though makes any vaguely sane individual - no disrespect, Vince - think a second referendum is a good idea? Forget those accusations about it going against democracy because it wouldn’t do that. It would simply be a colossal waste of time and money. Ok, we might end up with a different result, but it’d still be as close, perhaps even closer. Then what? Another couple of years of debate, only this time with the boot on the other foot and Leavers no doubt claiming they were the ones who were hoodwinked? In which case, it’s perfectly feasible to see how in the name of British fairness, we’d plump for the best of three. Whereupon, thanks to boredom, the turnout would be so low, the whole sorry mess could be seen as undemocratic anyway.

All things considered, it’s surely much better to have another general election, which in effect will act as another referendum. Like it or not, and whoever wins, we really don’t have a choice. If only the Prime Minister, in her infinite wisdom, hadn’t misguidedly tried to strengthen her position by going to the country in 2017, no one at this point would be batting an eye about the prospect of returning to the ballot box only a year earlier than the Fixed-term Parliaments Act allowed for. Indeed, a majority of MPs would’ve unquestionably already voted for it, seeing it as an entirely reasonable and appropriate way to get us out of the dreadful deadlock we’re in.

Therefore, whatever else Mrs May has got up her sleeve (namely, nothing), she should announce in Parliament that she wants to call a general election.

In as little as 25 days, instead of months and potentially years of prolonged agony, we can then hopefully have a definitive answer on the question of our Brexit policy going forward and with any luck leave the European Union as planned on March 29.

However, politics being politics, none of the above sensibleness will happen and shortly we shall probably find ourselves in an even worse state than ever.