A lot words seem to have been thrown about in the past 24 hours, of which many follow along the lines of ‘we’ve left the EU’ or commenting on how such a drastic change (being, actually leaving the European Union) happened overnight, on June 23rd.
The issue with such statements as this are that they’re not actually true; In fact, we haven’t actually left the EU, and there is still no certainty that we will.
Yes, if you are making a statement on social media for awareness, or an emotionally driven post elsewhere, claiming such a thing is a strong opening statement and leads you where you need to go, but the issue is the fact that it happens to not strictly be true.
I, as a strong campaigner for remain, hate the prospect that we are most likely to leave the EU, but the referendum was somewhat legitimate and we live in a democracy, and first and foremost over my own views (though I am consistent and will endlessly campaign for what I believe in), a democratic ruling by the people is necessary.
I don’t know what the reason for such phrasing is; It could be that someone is misinformed, as it is an easy mistake to make, and some facts are not clear, or it could be badly phrased, simply. There’s a multitude of other reasons why people may have claimed this.
I’d like to declare some things about the referendum’s outcome (to leave the EU) and impact it will have:
- Referendums are not binding. This is not a fact that people tend to be made aware of, if they don’t already know, so confusion is understandable. It’s not like a general election, where the electorate votes in Parliament and the result is therefore directly linked. Referendums are a source of legitimation which enables parliament to make a more democratic, representative decision. This leads me to my next point.
- Parliament holds ultimate sovereignty. Parliament is sovereign, and this means that they hold the ultimate source of legislative power. They, therefore, have the power to enable and veto laws. So, Parliament can veto this. If this is the case, then we may not leave. This could theoretically be justified in several ways; Legitimacy in reference to the turnout; Constituent beliefs; Marginality; MP support. Although I believe that the referendum is probably one of the strongest sources of legitimacy we’ve had (the turnout being 14% higher than that of the election, therefore arguably stronger than the mandate held by our elected representatives), this can also be argued. The referendum’s turnout was 75%. This means that 25% of the electorate were not accounted for. This means that with the majority held by leave, a 52% vote taking them to over half, only 39% of the electorate have actually voted in support of leave. This is 39%, and therefore more than 10% less than half, of the nation whom are eligible to vote. Although the remain vote counts for less, is merely 40% of the nation enough to make such a significant constitutional, and essentially binding (as, though we potentially could re-join the European Union, we would nor be able to on the same terms and it would be much more complex) decision. This is emphasised by the fact that it has been suggested, in many investigations, that those whom are not eligible to vote (like myself) and whose future it is (I understand that it is everybody’s future, but many people have grown up in the EU era and we may not get that chance) are favourable of remaining. The marginal result also suggests that each campaign barely had a differing amount of support. Another way in which you could claim to justify this would be if an MP followed the wish of their constituents (e.g., York. Rachael Maskell is a Remain supporter (her Europe statement has been attached) and her constituency, York, majorly, supported remaining in the EU. It would, therefore, be difficult to claim that, if she did not vote in alignment with the referendum’s result, she was being undemocratic). These are many ways that suggest the ‘Leave’ vote may not necessarily be followed, by my main point here is that Parliament is still sovereign.
- Despite Parliament’s ultimate source of sovereignty, the EU does hold some sovereignty. This means that, they, too, could essentially veto the UK’s decision to leave, if parliament democratically followed the referendum’s result. This would be a breach of their own terms, so I am very doubtful that this, especially, would actually happen, but it is still a point to consider.
- Tactics or Lies? The Leave campaign have revealed that they will be unable to stick to many of their main policies and those that likely influenced many, such as NHS funding and many other significant changes. The, since, revelation that the facts presented are not, in fact, a reality, could be highlighted, as people voted for something lacking truth and therefore, what really is their argument?
Whatever the likelihood, these are all standing facts and could influence what is to happen, still. Seeing comments on how we’ve so drastically changed overnight and claims that we left the EU was grating on me, and I just wanted to clarify this. Our future, indeed, now has a different outlook. It is much more likely, following the referendum, that we will leave the European Union, but this is not set in stone and there are many people who are unaware of it, so I just wanted to clarify this.
No, I am not happy with the EU referendum results, but I am happy that they are democratic. I am happy that, if we do decide to go, the choice was legitimised by the people, first.
Keep aware regarding current affairs, my friends. Love always, Lauren xxx