Listen to the clip attached to this article. Pinch yourself. Is it real? Here we have Nigel Farage, the man who friend and foe alike acknowledge played a significant role in securing the historic vote to leave the EU over eighteen months ago, calling for a second referendum.

Yes, I could hardly believe it. The author of the article suspects an ulterior motive – in other words, that Nigel is happier when he has something to snipe about from the sidelines. Nigel himself offers a much more straightforward reason for his “conversion” – winning a second referendum would finally shut up the likes of Blair and Clegg for good. Perhaps – but this argument is flawed for several reasons.

Firstly and most importantly, there is the practical issue of the ongoing Brexit talks. Our team needs the distraction of a second referendum like it needs a hole in the head.  We are less than 15 months away from Brexit day and there is a huge amount which has to be sorted out before then. As for groups like CIB, rather than gearing up for a second referendum, our energies should be devoted instead to campaigning for a change of course from the current plan for a transitional deal which, as we have pointed out, is most unsatisfactory as it stands.

Secondly, a second referendum would undermine the legitimacy of the first one. The question was simple – Should the UK remain a member of the EU or leave the EU? 51.9% of those who voted, in other words, 17,410,742 voters, voted to leave. The vast majority of them knew what they were doing and while a few have changed their minds, most people have accepted the result.  The Government triggered Article 50 and is pushing through the European Union (Withdrawal) Bill on the strength of the result. It was the biggest democratic exercise in our nation’s political history. More people voted to leave the EU than have ever voted for anything else. The result must stand.

Thirdly, who wants to go through that gruelling campaign again?  When I look back to 2016, I will never forget the euphoria of that momentous day when the result was declared, but neither will I forget the preceding months, including taking part in six debates in seven days. Those late nights, the travelling, the thousands of e-mails, the phone calls. It was absolutely incessant. From the day when Cameron announced the date of the referendum until the result was announced, it completely took over my life and the life of thousands of many activists up and down the country. I doubt if there are many people on either side of the  Brexit debate who are keen on a repeat performance.

Fourthly, it would reopen a lot of old wounds. Nigel’s opinions, sadly, come across as the view of someone enclosed in the Westminster bubble. The average man or woman in the street was never that interested in the European Union and I suspect that there are many people who now switch off whenever Brexit is mentioned in the news, especially as it is all getting very technical. Let’s face is – some of us who were active in the campaign are fed up with it all and can’t wait for Brexit to be done and dusted. To repeat a point which was made above, most people, whichever way they voted, have accepted the result and even some remain voters, rather than moping,  are considering the opportunities Brexit will bring. Apart from some of our universities and parts of London and Scotland,  animosity over Brexit has been pretty short-lived. We have moved on.  Who cares about Nick Clegg, let alone Tony Blair?  The reason their bleating is getting more desperate in tone is that every day which passes is a day closer  to the day when we finally leave the EU and everything for which they have stood politically will come crashing to the ground.

One reason why we can be confident that Nigel’s call for a second referendum will fall flat is that the Conservative Party, like the country as a whole, has no desire to reopen old wounds. Last June’s election result was a shock to the system and it has concentrated minds powerfully. Apart from the real headbangers like Ken Clarke and Anna Soubry, most Tory MPs know that their survival depends on standing together and delivering a successful Brexit. A second referendum will do nothing for their party’s cause. Furthermore, considering the bad blood between, in which  Nigel was prominent, on the one hand and Vote.leave, which was the preferred leave campaign of most leave-supporting Conservative MPs, on the other, there will be little enthusiasm among any Tories for Nigel to be calling the shots on Brexit.

So while many of us share his desire to see Clegg, Blair & Co silenced once and for all, a second referendum is not the answer. Thank you for all you did, Nigel, but as Mrs Thatcher would have said, NO, NO, NO!

  Photo by Michael Vadon

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  1. Arlene JohnsonReply

    People in this country may recall that an election was called when Margaret Thatcher was prime minister in which John Major replaced her. That election was called because
    Margaret Thatcher did not want the UK to be in the EU. Mrs. Thatcher was right. Joining the EU was the worst thing that could have happened to the UK, because it violated the constitution and lost Britain’s sovereignty.

    The EU has nothing to do with trade. Great Britain has been trading for centuries. The EU has only to do with the New World Order (One World Government). That is a new Dark Ages; I will fight it until my dying day.


    Arlene Johnson
    To access my work, click on the icon that says Magazine.

  2. Adam HileyReply

    I would expect something like this from someone like the failed former Premier Bliar not Nigel Farage absolutely no way must there be a 2nd referendum it would give the Remoaners ammunition to keep us in the failed EU

  3. StevenReply

    Teresa Maybe says she won’t call another referendum but then she will probably do the next best thing to frustrate Brexit and that is to call yet another general election. As the polls stand, such an election would produce YET ANOTHER ‘hung’ parliament (so much for the ONE alleged ‘strength’ of our hideously undemocratic First Past The Post electoral system!) with this time Labour being the largest party. Such a possibility would be great for the remainers (the MAJORITY opinion in the parliamentary Tory Party never forget) as then they can play their silly games with the electorate, get Brexit watered-down to the point it becomes meaningless or even cancelled entirely by the Jeremy Corbyn-led minority government AND blame it on the Labour Party in opposition whilst being very pleased with the situation in private.

  4. John Petley
    John PetleyReply

    Further to my posting this piece, a couple of things to mention. Firstly, Jeremy Corbyn has refused to rule out supporting a second referendum, although his close ally Emily Thornberry clarified that the party would shift its position only if public opinion turned dramatically against leaving the EU. So far, there has been no indication of this.

    Secondly, This article in the Irish Times says that the uncertainly which would result from a second referendum – including the possibility of our ending up with an even worse deal – has resulted in the Prime Minister firmly ruling it out. Perhaps I should add that Mrs May knows that her legacy will be Brexit – either a successful or a botched/failed Brexit She is obviously keen that it won’t be the latter!

    Finally, We would commend this excellent piece by Gerard Batten in UKIP Daily on the subject of a second referendum. He is firmly of the same persuasion as your author and no doubt many other leave supporters too.

    Although the subject of a second referendum has built up a bit of a head of steam over the weekend, on balance, such calls (from whatever quarters) are likely to fizzle out soon for the reasons suggested in the article above. No one wants “neverendum”

    • Adam HileyReply

      Labour cannot be trusted with Brexit or ever getting into Government again the current Government is awful though May needs to go replace with Davis or Liam Fox

  5. John Petley
    John PetleyReply

    Torquil Dick-Erikson says:-

    In a second referendum – what will the question be?

    In all the furore about Nigel’s apparent volte-face over the second referendum issue, one essential matter appears to have been overlooked.

    Neither Nigel nor anyone else has told us what the second referendum question will be.
    We know now that there will be THREE options on the table, NOT two, and a referendum by its nature can only offer two:
    – Barnier will make us a rotten offer (as he told Nigel himself when they met on Monday) on which to leave;
    – we could remain in the EU, cancelling our art. 50 notice to withdraw;
    – we could “crash out” on WTO terms.

    Now what if our remoaner Parliament passes a bill for a referendum giving these two options:
    – Either Remain as full EU members,
    – Or Leave by accepting Barnier’s (rotten) offer?

    Nigel has given no answer to that. Indeed he seemed dismissive of the possibility of us crashing out on WTO terms – in his last LBC show, he said this Parliament would not accept that.

    However it would be utterly absurd for UKIP and the Leave side to campaign for us to leave on Barnier’s rotten terms.
    If it gets to this point they will have us cornered, in check-mate. It’ll be Heads they win, Tails we lose. Didn’t Nigel think of that?”

  6. Gordon WebsterReply

    Excellent article John, which is currently doing the round of Facebook. Nigel (Emmanuel Goldstein) Farage is a great disappointment. One day he is in getting the belt from Barnier for financial naughties, and the next he is calling for a second referendum, using the spurious excuse that it will shut Blair up. Mr Farage knows as well as I do, a send will justify a third and fourth, until they get the answer they want, which will make his pension safe.
    I hope you are right, that for other reasons it is a non-starter. In Scotland we have two SNP MPs, who won by 21 votes, and the other by 1 vote. There were no demands for a second ballot, or court rulings, the democratic will of the electorate was accepted, and both took their seats.
    If Democracy, and Constitutional Law, is to survive, then the result must be honoured as Cameron said in Parliament, and his £9 million Leaflet, that it would be.
    Common Law and the Rule of Law only survives when politicians uphold the Laws they themselves make. They cannot expect the People to obey the Law, when they publicly flout it for personal gain.
    Anarchy may not be so far off, and the left have always been good at profiting from dissent.

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