We hear often these days that to have another referendum would be to ‘deny the will of the people’. Yet, in democracies, it is of the greatest importance that elections take place at regular intervals. In the UK we have elections every 5 years or sooner. Nobody ever says that the next election will ‘deny the will of the people’ as expressed 5 years ago! The constituency where I currently live voted Conservative at the last election. That cannot mean that the electorate has chosen a Conservative MP for life! Many would say that if that representative, having seen what the government proposes now resigns from the government (as has indeed happened) he should resign as an MP because he is no longer loyal to the manifesto! So even some opposing another vote admit that, if there is a change between what the electorate voted for and the policy that is actually pursued, that is enough reason for a new election. It is true that the last referendum only took place 2.5 years ago. But by the time the next one is held, it is probably that 3 years would have passed. There will be new voters, new ideas and clearer proposals. How can another referendum be undemocratic? How can it deny the will of the people? If the Brexiteers wanted another referendum in 3 years time would that be so bad? Well, by then, we would have had another election and, hopefully, the parties would have clearly achievable policies on the EU in their manifestoes. If a manifesto pledge proves to be unachievable are we condemned to stick with it regardless?
The “will of the people” – which people?
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