I happen to believe that David Cameron will go down as one of the worst Prime Ministers in British history. His decision to hold an EU referendum would have been fine if he had a plan for afterwards. He didn’t. He just scarpered and “put his trotters up in Cannes” – to use the immortal words of Danny Dyer.
Andres Allemand in the Independent describes the Swiss referendum model:
…it is not uncommon to vote again and again on the same issue. The most dramatic example is maternity leave. It took six votes and 60 years for the country to agree on its position.
The British do not have a history of referendums. We have only actually had three national referendums ever: The Common Market one in 1975, AV in 2011 and EU in 2016. Yes, just three (all the others you might remember were regional polls).
The problem is that once we start doing referendums, then we need to go the whole hog and do it like the Swiss.
As the above quote suggests, it would be very usual for the Swiss to have a referendum on the deal to leave the EU, even after having voted initially to leave the EU. It is part of the Swiss process.
What is maddening about the current situation is that there are still people who think that democracy started and ended on June 23rd 2016. But that was only the start of the process.
You either have a representative parliamentary system or you go the full hog and have a referendum system. But if you have a referendum system you have to have lots of referendums, or at least two in the current Brexit situation.
As it is, we’ve ended up with an outrageous situation. Theresa May boxed herself in with her red lines and then tried to find words to come up with a soft Brexit without actually saying so. “Frictionless border” being the top one. Ridiculous. So she’s painted herself into a corner. Her deal is ludicrous. Her delay on the vote on the deal is ludicrous. She is holding parliament to ransom with the deadline of 29th March 2019.
The whole thing is a disgrace. At the risk of repeating this: there is only one way out of this and that is for the people to decide whether they want May’s deal or whether they want to remain in the EU.
I don’t personally think that “no deal” should be on the ballot paper with a leaving date of 29th March 2019.
As Gina Miller put it, “no deal” is fine, as long as we have ten years to prepare for it!