Brexit – another referendum?


Sir, – To nobody’s surprise, The Irish Times supports a second referendum on Brexit. “A second referendum would not affront democracy; it would shore it up”,concludes Tuesday’s editorial. The Jesuitical logic here is that you can never get enough of a good thing and democracy is a great thing. Therefore, the more of it, the better. And besides, Brexit is proving rather complicated, so it would be best to call the whole thing off.

The idea of reversing a referendum before the result of that referendum has even been enacted because you did not like the result of said referendum is, in fact, antithetical to the concept of democracy. It would be like having a second divorce referendum in 1995 because the result was close (far finer than the margin of victory in the Brexit vote).

By all means advocate for a second referendum and do all in your power (as your columnists do daily) to reverse the result but don’t dress it up as some exercise in democratic fidelity.

In Ireland, we’ve been here before, of course. Following our rejection of both the Nice and Lisbon treaties, we were patronisingly made to vote again with the acquiescence of our weak, Europhile governments. The Danes had a similar experience when they voted the “wrong” way on the Maastricht Treaty – a treaty which the British weren’t even allowed a vote on by John Major, now another advocate of a “People’s Vote”.

Isn’t it strange though, that democracy only ever needs to be “shored up” in referendums that do not achieve the result desired by Brussels? Like upward-only rent increases, democracy EU-style only works in one direction. – Yours, etc,


Dublin 3.

Sir, – In “Historians will not believe the sheer ignorance of Brexit supporters” (Opinion & Analysis, November 13th), Fintan O’Toole hits the nail on the head. Your newspaper should offer a free subscription to all MPs. – Yours, etc,



Co Wexford.