I constantly see in news and social media feeds the claim that the UK does not need a second Brexit referendum — a People’s Vote — because the people have already voted. They made a decision, get over it, get on with it. We shouldn’t revisit decisions over and over again until we get what the losers think is the right answer.
I’m tired of all the analyses of, and the leaden responses to, this claim. Instead, may I suggest that those on the receiving end of something similar respond with a very simple question?
It’s this: why hold elections every five years? Why not just pick a party and let them do what they promised? For ever?
If your dear friend and sparring partner says something like, “Yeah, enough of this faffing around with elections,” then you know they just think democracy sucks, and their appeal to “democracy, will of the people” is utterly hollow.
If they say, “Well, things change and we have to keep the bastards honest”, you can heartily agree with them and thank them for their perceptiveness.
Things change; our understanding of events change; and we need to keep the powerful accountable, especially when we find out they lied to us. If you don’t think that, then you’re basically saying we should pick an election and stick with that government, no matter what happens. You’re saying you want to live in a dictatorship.
If so, be honest about it. But pick an election. My recommendation would be to pick one that followed one of the Representation of the People Acts — perhaps 1968 after the voting age went to 18, and well after the removal of special votes for universities, etc. The next election was 1970, and in would come, in perpetuity, Edward Heath’s Tories. What a proud day for Britain that would have been.
Oh yes, that Edward Heath. The Edward Heath who led Britain into the EC in 1973.
If you don’t like that one, pick another. But choose carefully. It’s forever, you know.