I’m the last person to want to give the United Kingdom any advice regarding its own particular form of self-immolation, but there are wider considerations at play.
From where I sit, it seems clear that the British publish were given false and misleading information about the implications of a Brexit, and are now paying the price.
And it seems pretty clear to me that external influence on the vote was a large factor in the outcome.
The current mess is casting doubt on the democratic process. Voices like this questioning the efficacy of referenda have been rising as the confusion grows greater day by day.
But I think – Theresa May notwithstanding – that democracy is the clearest path forward for the British people. And that a second referendum is the obvious step back from the brink that the U.K. needs.
May argues that a second referendum would create a precedent for a second Scottish vote. Well it might – we in Canada had two referenda on separation, so it can happen. Newfoundland had two referenda on whether to join Canada in 1948, so it can happen in the other direction as well.
But refusal to hold a second vote will not stop the Scottish people from pointing out that there’s a very big different between voting to remain in a U.K. that is in the European Union and a U.K. that is out. It is Brexit that makes a second Scottish referendum more likely, not a second vote on the question.
But in the end, it doesn’t really matter whether Britain remains in the European Union, or whether it leaves. That really is up to the British to decide (and (dare I say) the British expats living in Europe should also be counted).
What does matter is that they get the vote right. Run it cleanly. Ensure there isn’t a nest of Russian trolls, or an Australian media troll, with a thumb on the scales. Make a vote with open eyes and a fair count.