Just Vote Again

JACOB DENNINGER: In January, British Prime Minister Theresa May faced a historic defeat in the parliamentary vote on her Brexit deal that would have set the terms for the U.K.’s withdrawal from the E.U.  The deal was terribly unpopular, including among both hardline “Brexiteers” in May’s own party and those who want to stay in the E.U., and was doomed to be voted down by Parliament. 

While May’s government survived the no confidence vote the next day, her Brexit challenges remain. Clearly there is major opposition to leaving the E.U. under terms that the U.K. can reasonably obtain. And Europe’s high court ruled that the U.K. could stop the Brexit process if it wants to. That’s why I believe the U.K. should vote again to see if its citizens still want to go through with Brexit. I will explain using the best analogy I can think of: marijuana in Massachusetts. 

In 2016, Massachusetts voters passed a ballot initiative to legalize recreational marijuana. My home town of Newton voted in favor of legalization as well. 

The ballot initiative would have required Newton to allow up to 8 recreational marijuana shops if the city took no further action. However, since the ballot initiative also allowed municipalities to ban or limit the number recreational marijuana shops within their borders, people who didn’t want marijuana shops in Newton placed two ballot questions on the ballot in 2018: one would have limited the number of marijuana shops in the city to between 2 and 4 shops as set by the city council, and the other would have banned the shops altogether. 

Neither question passed, so Newton will still have to allow up to 8 recreational marijuana shops. But the point is we voted again to ensure that the will of the majority still favored allowing recreational pot shops. 

The U.K. should do the same thing with Brexit. It’s clear that many people who liked the idea of Brexit when it was unlikely, abstract idea do not like it as much when a deal is actually worked out and the terms are terrible. It is clear many people who liked the idea that Brexit would mean the U.K. wouldn’t have to send money to the E.U. do not like news forecasting British economic growth as ten percent lower over the next 15 years than it would have been without Brexit. 

If the U.K. votes on Brexit again, they can see whether or not people support the process after they’ve seen how it’s turned out. Maybe, like with Newton’s marijuana ballot questions, a second vote will say that a majority of the people still support Brexit. Or maybe a second vote will say that last time the U.K. made a mistake, and the people actually want to stay in the E.U. 

Max Magid