Our Government is at sixes and sevens trying to appease rifts within parties while insisting that the ‘will of the people’ must be adhered to.
A referendum two years ago, with a turnout of 72.2 per cent, gave 37.5 per cent of the whole electorate voting to leave and 34.8 per cent voting to stay. The rest did not vote.
There is talk about respecting that vote, but little respect for the 62.5 per cent who did not vote to leave.
Even using the figures of those who did vote (a 52 to 48 per cent split), we are dealing with a result that is statistically not significant.
As we move forward into the present difficulties we should remember that already there will be over a million voters who can now ‘have their say’, and it is they who will have a lifetime in front of them as a result. Similar numbers will have passed on.
These changes in the voting population will be even greater in two years’ time at the ‘end’ of a transition period.
So the ‘voice of the people’ is constantly changing and cannot be fixed to a single date.
If a student had come to me with a thesis based on a single sample that was not statically significant, they would have immediately failed. In this case the Government has failed.
Because of the changing population there is only one democratic solution – a new ‘people’s vote’. But this time let us ensure that for any change from our present constitution as a member of the EU, it is significant – with a two-thirds majority.
What is interesting is that an insignificant ‘voice of the people’ can be used as a reason when it suits our political masters, but at local level a 95 per cent vote for a Neighbourhood Plan in Alnwick can be brushed aside by developers as not significant.
Brexit is a false premise. We are not responding to what the people want now or for their future.
It is time we faced reality and stopped the hard brexitiers taking us to the brink of disaster.
Prof John Hobrough,