Grantham Journal letter: ‘Leave’ voters were misinformed
Before we’re forced to make the best of a terrible situation, we should consider another possibility - having a second referendum.
Recent precedent exists where referendums were repeated on three different occasions, twice in Ireland, on the Lisbon Treaty and again on the Nice Treaty, and once in Denmark, on the Maastricht Treaty. There’s also new and important information about Brexit to consider.
I don’t blame anyone who voted leave in the last referendum.
Since the referendum I’ve spoken to some leave voters who are already saying they’re not sure they did the right thing.
The surest sign that the leave vote was a major disaster was the fact that its two loudest promoters Johnson and Farage, both bailed out of taking any future responsibility for the mess they made within days of the result, like the proverbial rats leaving the sinking ship. Seeing Farage smugly announcing that he’d done what he set out to achieve and was now stepping down reminded me of George W Bush, when he spoke from the deck of USS Abraham Lincoln, announcing “mission accomplished” on May 1, 2003.
Seeing Farage and Johnson running for cover is proof positive that quitting the EU would be disastrous, and that even they probably know it. Other leaders of the leave campaign were back-pedaling within hours of the referendum result. No, they never meant immigration would be more rigorous, no, they never meant that money saved from EU contributions would be spent on new hospitals and yes, maybe the economy would be worse.
Yet we remainers predicted economic disaster from day one. It’s scaremongering, the leavers replied, but our fears became real immediately after the referendum result when the pound crashed to a 35 year low, and is now roughly par with the Argentinian peso.
Britain’s credit rating, which determines how expensive it is for Britain to borrow money, to buy essential imports like oil and gas and most of what we eat, went the same way, meaning big price rises for essentials are imminent.
If the leavers had been right, and remainers wrong, those events would not have happened. If anything, the pound would have grown stronger and Britain would have been seen as an even safer credit risk, not a far worse one.
Just over a third of eligible voters voted to leave the EU but almost two thirds did not.
Something as important as quitting the EU should require a mandate from more than half of eligible voters, not a mere third. An online petition to hold a second Brexit referendum reached four million signatures within days of the first referendum result. We must do this thing again. It’s not yet too late.