Unlike Brenda of Bristol – Not another one! – and whilst sympathising with her, I love referenda and elections. For a long moment there is the illusion of a conclusion; numbers and charts and comparisons seem to say, look, we’re here now. The reality of human discourse is that it is endless turbulence and arguing; no two human beings think the same and we have this wonderful, slippery and imprecise tool called language by which we set about trying to explain ourselves to each other, and some of us even expend energy in listening and trying to understand a few other points of view. Then every so often the populace is posed with a question, usually the question of who would you like to see in charge right now but deliciously and rarely something bigger and harder, and the electorate – important to remember who’s excluded from this category - get to answer with their mark and everything’s counted up and we all show more or less of an interest and the results are announced until there’s one, big, overall and overwhelming RESULT!
Unlike my partner, John – and in all likelihood Brenda – who’s happy to sleep as normal and have the changed world revealed over breakfast, I stay up all night for elections, TV on, duvet on the sofa, quite possibly a late night whisky and ginger wine (winter) or gin and tonic (summer) and a three a.m. morale boosting snack. Dozing through some bits, surfing other channels during others, but always returning to the mounting hysteria that is the media’s reporting on the process and the RESULT!
I am in agreement with those who say that another referendum will not put the matter to rest. But my answer to that is; who would expect it to? Is anything ever put to rest? Was it ever at rest before the referendum, with UKIP and Nigel F and the Eurosceptics grumbling away? Of course not. So the fact that a referendum will not put the matter to rest is not an argument against having one. But I tell you this; IF we have another referendum (and I hope – unlike Brenda – that we do) and IF Remain wins it conclusively as I begin to tentatively think we might, I am now old enough and clever enough to think that post-ref, as we re-engage our membership of the EU, whenever I hear those grumbling sceptics I’ll have more understanding and capacity to muster the arguments than I had before June 2016.
If there is a second referendum the country will hold its collective breath; if a general election hoves into view in the next few weeks, hardly less so, although the latter will not settle Brexit, whatever the RESULT.
Right now, if Mr Corbyn could sufficiently gird his loins to table a motion of no confidence in the government, rather than in Mrs May, we might begin to hope for some shift in the log jam, and a referendum or an election soon, before March 29th or with Article 50 put on hold, not too long after.
Which would be preferable? Which would give the greatest chance of my precious EU citizenship not being taken from me? For me, that alone would be a RESULT. Sorry Brenda.