Have we missed the point regarding the EU referendum?

Due solely to the referendum being called for party political purposes, neither as a result of true public demand nor resulting from any specific event that merited such a vote, the people of the UK should unite in demanding the current government stand down and call a General Election.

Regardless of your own personal opinion on the EU matter, the fact that our political system was manipulated by the governing political party, strikes at the heart of our democracy. Overturning the result of the referendum should not be pursued, the entire referendum should simply be deemed invalid. If, following this point, a validly prepared and communicated proposal is prepared for the people of the UK, we can still make a choice. A choice based on valid and clear reasons that holds a demonstrable plan for each eventuality.

Even whilst the Second World War was still underway and Winston Churchill requested a referendum to maintain the coalition government, it was successfully opposed by Clement Atlee. If, even at such times of dire emergency, our government was prepared to stand by the principles of parliamentary process, why is it that the government of the UK in 2016 felt justified in calling a referendum for no apparent reason?

Whether we trust individual MPs, they should still hold the responsibility of maintaining the probity and value of our political system. Skim some money off the top, have as many bizarre trysts in dungeons of your choosing, just do not abuse our parliamentary processes for personal and political party benefit.

Clement Atlee’s words on this matter and Margaret Thatcher’s referencing of the quote have been used by both sides in this argument to validate or denigrate the principle of referendum’s. What was not focused on was, as it appears to me, the point he was trying to make. His view focused on it being wrong to use processes that could undermine parliament, as it paves the way toward the state being controlled rather than being in control. Hitler held four referendums in order to manipulate the German people and to entrench his position. In the UK we have had two referendums (EU/Scottish) in quick succession that have only sowed the seeds of division and put us in no better situation than if the referendums hadn’t been held.

Think of the UK as two children. One wants one thing, one wants another. Neither will agree to meet in the middle. Doesn’t it sound similar to something that has been promoted by the two recent referendums? What happens if a parent does not resolve the situation? Nothing, stalemate. So this is where we are now, deadlocked and disputing whilst the important work of improving our country lays by the wayside, again.

Stop demanding every one of your own personal requirements be met entirely by your government. Start demanding your government acts in a way that earns your respect and support. Be mature enough to understand this may not always be exactly what you want. We have lived under a system that has worked for hundreds of years, if you personally have not taken the time to learn the rules laid out to run the system, how can you vote or dispute a vote with confidence?

A simple solution to any future referendum would be to institute a process for a preparatory referendum asking “Do the people of the UK wish to vote specifically on … ?” In that way, true public opinion and thus the validity of holding a referendum is readily apparent. It also undermines any dispute of the result.

Properly managed referendums can support our democracy. Improperly managed referendums undermine parliamentary process and potentially eventually our entire democratic system.

We have had a grand total of three national referendums; 1974, 2011 and 2016. All were held for party political purposes, none benefited our nation.

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