Dominic Grieve, Conservative MP for Beaconsfield, writes in the Guardian that parliament is in deadlock and therefore decision should go back to the people. On twitter, Grieves’ opinion piece is cheered and retweeted by People’s vote, Best for Britain and many other organisations hoping and working for a second referendum.
In the piece, Grieve makes the following claim: “Thankfully, roads have opened that could lead us out of this Brexit crisis. One obvious solution, which is fast gaining support, is to hand the issue back to the country.”
Let’s look at this claim.
The first part of the claim, “Thankfully, roads have opened that could lead us out of this Brexit crisis”, implies that the idea of second referendum recently emerged. And we should be ‘thankful’ that it emerged at the right time. As far as I understand, many of the organisations and institutions calling for a second referendum now started working soon after the results of the first one. So, to claim that ‘roads have opened’ is untrue because these organisations, people and institutions calling for second vote have existed for last two years.
The second claim is, “One obvious solution, which is fast gaining support, is to hand the issue back to the country.” Perhaps one could argue that ‘roads have opened’ implies that the idea of second vote has gained more support. And here, Grieves implies that the idea of second referendum is “fast gaining support”. Is this implication factually accurate? Have people really changed their minds about Brexit? And if they have, what should be done about it?
In theory, there is a possibility that some people may experience what is called ‘buyers’ remorse’. And based on that, let’s assume they move outside the Leave camp and into the Remain camp. We assume that people leave camp and move into the other camp because another alternative is that the buyers remorse can lead to disillusionment and lack of political participation. But, let's assume that people move away from Leave camp and move into the Remain camp.
Now, what percentage of people need to change their minds to say that something is ‘fast gaining support’. If one hundred percent of the people switch sides, the statement ‘fast gaining support’ would seem underwhelming. And the correct statement would be something has ‘fully gained support’. Now, if half of the people have switched sides, from Leave to Remain, even then the statement would appear to be true. But, what if the people who have switched sides are less than 10 percent? Would you still consider the statement ‘fast gaining support’? What if actual percentage is less than 5%?
Let’s say 5% percent of people have switched sides, would you consider that ‘fast gaining support’? Maybe. Now imagine, that people have been targeted by the media and other institutions about the ill effects of Brexit for the last two years, would you not think that at least 5% of the people would be affected by this non-stop fear mongering? I think it would be credible to suggest that such a number of people would be affected by the news. Those who trust the media will surely change their views to avoid any further damage in their livelihoods.
Dominic Grieve and many supporters of the second vote are playing the same game that many of the Leave campaign leaders played during the 2016 referendum. These groups take advantage of vulnerability of people who are struggling to understand why in the last twenty five years, despite many of them working, their lives have worsened.
Date: 29 Dec 2018