Legitimacy somersaults

Have a look at this Tweet by Paul Embery.

Screen Shot 2018-12-15 at 17.33.41

It’s fascinating. It’s not the only one.  Dan Hannan has sent roughly the same message.

1.  The 2016 Referendum result was legitimate.

2.  Any further referendum would not be legitimate, but instead an act of the establishment trying to get its way because it didn’t like the result of the first.  [Notice, no ill intentions of the establishment intended in the first round].

3.  Despite the second referendum – this is hypothetical at present, of course – being organised through regular constitutional processes, it would be legitimate to simply decide to do stuff via social media, to boycott said referendum, in a way that would leave its mark on the trajectory of the nation for all of us.

4.  Although a second referendum is prima facie evidence of an establishment/elite simply ignoring the will of the people and doing what it wants to get its own way, Paul Embery, holder of high Trades Union office, and a considerable social media following [this could be considered to satisfy a working definition of establishment/elite], is acting in good faith and in no way inciting thwarting a constitutional process simply because he does not like the way the debate on EU membership is panning out.

Paul’s timeline, if you hold democracy and enlightened policy making in any regard at all, is one of the darkest and most miserable objects on the internet.  But you have to admire the effortless genius that produces these texts.  So much contradiction and poison packed into so few words.


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5 Responses to Legitimacy somersaults

  1. Thank you for this posting. In a sense I would rather not know that there are such awful arguments out there, though I guess it is important to know the lengths that Brexiteers will go to do anything to further their cause. To me, the argument that having a second referendum, now that we now much more than we knew before, is undemocratic is such arrant nonsense that I cannot take seriously anyone who argues that. Why should we not have a second referendum, believing that it will confirm support for leave, to establish the legitimacy of the decision, and to minimize recriminations afterwards from remainers.

    I sometimes think that the only way to settle the issue is to leave with no deal, have all flights stopped, shops running out of supplies, the car industry closing down and mass unemployment, whatever the worst case scenario is … so everyone knows economists were right. Then we could have another referendum to rejoin, and that happens a few years later, with joining Schengen and the Euro the price of being lifted out of disaster. But then I realise it would be crazy.

    One argument I have not seen concerns having “No Deal” on a referendum ballot. If it were, would it mean “Negotiate with the EU only after March 29 and then get the best deal you can” or would it mean “No deal, ever”? Would it mean that any time the government tried to reach a deal with the EU, on medicines, flights, whatever, people would then say, but “no deal means no deal.” It would be just like the 2016 referendum all over again. I conclude that No deal cannot be on the ballot. Or is there an answer to this argument?

    Or is the remedy emigration?

    Best wishes


    • Dipper says:

      A second referendum is toxic because the promise made on the first referendum has not been delivered, and a second referendum is being used justify not delivering on the first one.

      “To me, the argument that having a second referendum, now that we now much more than we knew before”.

      Well, we certainly do. And did anyone say during the 2016 referendum that of course this is just a preliminary referendum and once we have more information we will hold a second referendum? No, of course not.

      And lets just say that the referendum comes out 60/40 to Remain. That gives you 40% of the population who believe that a promise that was made to them by government has been deliberately broken, and we now have a system of government and authority over us that they do not accept as legitimate. That has very serious implications for the health of UK politics for decades to come.

      Parliament has to sort this out and then stand and fall at a GE on the basis of their own actions.

  2. Lyn Eynon says:

    Like it or not, an abstention campaign is very likely, and even more so if the question is seen to exclude options (e.g. no deal) that many electors might choose. As a 2016 Remain voter, I’d still like to find a way to stay in but it needs democratic legitimacy, otherwise we risk tearing the country apart. I’m still wary of a second referendum (I’d prefer an election) but if we have one, then Remain needs to win more votes this time round than the 17.4 million Leave won in 2016. If we don’t think that we can do that, then we shouldn’t have one.

  3. Dipper says:

    … and just to add that a second referendum will feed the notion that Parliament never intended to honour the result of the first referendum, and deliberately set out to screw leaving up so that they could get the result overturned in a second referendum.

    Peter Hitchens got the measure of things a few months before the referendum: https://hitchensblog.mailonsunday.co.uk/2016/02/why-i-wont-be-voting-on-referendum-day.html?fbclid=IwAR2xcKYwNdwbs_wOnKk_PsFK4oK6OZVmRHUwmFQwc_gnTeZcL-mOl1gqeBM

    • am says:

      Feed the notion that Parliament never intended to honour the result. Do you mean some are just getting round to realising that may be true. Also, every day watching Parliament shows it is not only Washington that is a swamp, Westminster is the same.

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