Danny Finkelstein enumerates some reasons why not in his Times column today, and they are pretty convincing. But I think he misses some factors out, so I list them here, repeating Tweets sent earlier.
- Leave were able to unite – sort of – around the ‘Leave’ box on the Referendum ballot paper because the ambiguity about the end state cast a wide net over their very different views of what that end state should be. In a second referendum, the ambiguity disappears, and not only does this potentially send voters who were in favour of Leave towards Remain [and perhaps vice versa] but it also pits the elements of the campaigning establishment against one another, which could make the campaign itself run very un-smoothly.
- One might predict that Labour would opportunistically choose Remain over whatever deal is voted on in order to turn the referendum into one on the government and Toryism [‘Tory Brexit’], in order to destabilise it. This would recruit some of the ‘kick the incumbent’ Referendum votes to the side of Remain, when they were trying to kick Cameron, and by association Remain, before.
- Polls seem to have shifted in favour of Remain, albeit by not much.
- Unless the deal offered was a very soft Brexit, and assuming that a fair amount of the shift in favour of Labour at GE17 was a tactical switch towards Remain, and with Corbyn this time onside in the 2nd Referendum [a lot of ifs there], one might predict a repeat of the ‘youthquake’, or perhaps better named ‘notthatyoungquake’ swelling turnout in favour of Remain.
- The grisly march of time will have replaced old eligible voters with new young ones, tilting towards Remain.
- Against all these factors, there is now no large English party in favour of Remain as there were before. Even if Labour were to campaign against a proposed Brexit deal and therefore in favour of Remain, Labour have said a lot of things about the costs of Remaining [eg concerning freedom of movement, industrial policy] that could be used against them.
- Danny notes how the relative certainty of the end state for Remain in the first Referendum would not play so effectively the second time around. One could add to this a forecast that 1) even the Cameron modifications negotiated last time would not be on the table 2) noises made in favour of deeper fiscal integration in the Euro area, and on EU defence, both of which will be off-putting for many of those who voted Leave last time.
- Turkey is clearly not joining the EU now, so some of those old posters can be shown to have been false.
- Imagine if all journalism were re-written in numbered note form. It would not be a great read, would it?