I was an early supporter of the idea of a second referendum; but it can only be done if the terms of exit are negotiated in good faith, which means by the Tories, and more specifically by the Outers. When initially planned as an article I proposed to enumerate the key leave campaigners revoking their promises, as I did in my storify, “Referendum Reprise”. Farage on the NHS, Hannam on Immigraton and Johnson proposing EEA membership. My feeling was that May won’t let them, which is why she has appointed Johnson, Davies and Fox to negotiate the departure, a policy of “you broke it, you fix it.”. We should all recognise that the Leave camapign was led by Liars and nly posed a question of relevance to the Tory Party.
It’s clear that the choices between the single market and free movement of people, is not one that the referendum settled. The issue of rights of European residents has also not been settled. I am absolutely of the view that a second mandate is required once the terms of exit and the likely alternative known. I would include those European residents impacted by the decision and those British ex-pats living in Europe and denied a vote last time.
The 2nd referendum became an attack vector against Owen Smith in his leadership campaign with many within the Labour Party claiming that it is the negation of democracy, which it isn’t and a signpost to UKIP for those Labour leavers who voted primarily over the issue of identity and community, or whatever code words we are using these days. I reject this argument. Labour voters, voted to remain, we should not give up on them but any second referendum needs to occur after the Article 50 terms are known. It’s more a question of “is this what you meant?”, rather than “think again!”.
The final point to make is that Labour has the opportunity to talk to the Social Democratic governments in the EU and argue for changes in the Stabilisation Treaty which is what embeds austerity, to build a coalition for “a better European Union”. It wouldn’t be easy, but it’s a necessary part of saving the EU, and a necessary part of defeating the Eastern European Ultra-right.