It has now been eighteen months since the United Kingdom took to the polls and voted in favour of an historic, nation changing decision to remove the country from the European Union. After a total of 72.2% of the eligible electorate voted, the result in favour of leaving the EU was a slender majority of 51.9% of the overall vote. Though the United Kingdom is due to remove themselves from the European Union on the 29th of March 2019, the aftermath of what was a bruising, controversial, divisive campaign for both sides is still ringing loud and clear in the hearts and minds of all those invested in the future of the United Kingdom and its relationship with the rest of Europe. Among the loudest voices since the referendum result have been those who are firmly against leaving the EU, with several marches and rallies taking place across the country to display protest over what they believe is a result that was reached through misinformation on the part of the pro-Leave campaign. This begs the question, does the United Kingdom need a second referendum?
Let us examine the accusation of misinformation on behalf of the pro-Leave campaign. In the months and week leading up to the referendum, the Leave campaign, backed by the likes of Nigel Farage and Boris Johnson, promise immediate falls in immigration levels, an extra £100 million pounds per week being spent on the NHS, a guarantee of the UK staying in the single market, an overall saving for the country of £350 million pounds per week, the guarantee of remaining a world leader in research and development, and a boost in the economy to make an even ‘greater’ Great Britain. Merely days, even hours after the leave vote was confirmed, leading figures of the winning side began to back track on these promises, admitting to slight exaggerations and a dressing up of certain figures to appeal to a susceptible votership.
These revelations lead to a key matter of concern, following on from this information, and that is perceived changing public opinion. Many voters who chose to select the Leave option on behalf of institutions like the NHS now appear to feel deceived by the leaders of the campaign, with a 2017 poll suggesting that 53% of eligible voters would now be in favour of a second referendum, one that was free of misleading facts and figures that made the Leave option much more appealing than it has turned out to be.
Overall, though a second referendum on the United Kingdom removing itself from the European Union looks extremely unlikely, there is no doubting, in my mind, that the way in which the Leave campaign operated culminated in a mixture of deceit and trimming facts and figures in such a way that benefited them, rather displaying the true fact of the matters at hand. In an ideal world, a second referendum would be able to put this issue to bed once and for all, but one fears that the government, whether they have wanted to or not, have come far too far to turn back now.