An open letter to all who support a second referendum


Dear fellow citizen


This will be a virtually impossible challenge but I thought I would give it a go. I would like to try to persuade you not to support holding a second referendum on the issue of leaving the European Union.


You clearly believe that leaving the EU will be damaging for our country. I fully accept that this is a sincere belief which in a democratic, tolerant society you must always be allowed to hold. I happen to take a different view which is equally sincere and equally permitted to be held. I take a different view because I believe we should be much more outward looking and have a global, rather than European, perspective on the world. I understand and respect your view and I am sure you understand and respect mine.


In an unusual act of direct democracy, something I would like to become an integral part of our political system, my side of the argument narrowly won. No doubt people on both sides had different reasons for voting the way they did but generally speaking they knew why they voted in a particular way.


Before the referendum the government had stated in parliament and in a leaflet circulated to every household that the result would be honoured.1 Since there was a majority of votes cast in favour of leaving the EU this is the decision that must therefore be implemented. I know many people were disappointed with the result but this is not a reason for politicians or anyone else to obstruct the process of leaving. They can, and should, continue to express their views but should certainly not attempt to sabotage the implementation of the democratic decision of the majority of those who voted.


Unfortunately it seems this is what they, and you, are attempting to do by calling for a second referendum in the hope that the result will be different. I am not persuaded by the spurious argument put forward by some of our politicians that because they cannot reach an agreement the only course of action is to let the “people” decide. There is nothing difficult or complicated about agreeing a deal to leave the EU despite what looks like an obstructionist strategy from Brussels. It simply requires some firmness of purpose in our negotiations with Europe plus a willingness by all MPs to reach a compromise.


The “people” have already decided and if their decision is not implemented their votes will have been discarded. On a personal level this means my own vote will have been discarded. In effect it will have been stolen, and stealing is dishonest.


As someone who thinks about political issues I know you will be aware of how important it is in any discussion to be open to understanding the other person’s point of view. In the context of this discussion this requires you to reflect on how you would feel and react if the referendum result had gone the other way and you were now being asked to give up your remain vote.


I therefore urge you to reject what seems to be an unworthy position and choose a different path. This would be to support the prime minister’s deal which is a sensible compromise accommodating the views of both leavers and remainers, and thus in the interests of the whole country.


I have heard the comment that that those of you who have taken part in marches have been marching for your children’s future. We all want the best for our children’s future and, indeed, for our grandchilden’s future. This will inevitably be a global, not a European future. It is one we must shape to be the best it can be for our own children and grandchildren, but also for everyone else’s children and grandchildren throughout the world.


If you can spare the time you might be interested in looking at some of my thoughts about the sort of global vision we need for the future. (see below) They are thoughts that are rather different from the current orthodoxies of economic globalisation.


I hope you will perhaps be able to find a moment to think about your position with regard to this issue and perhaps also be open to changing it.


With best wishes


Yours hopefully


Alan Kerr



PS   In case you’re wondering, I’m not of the same political persuasion as the prime minister – I voted Corbyn at the last election.


1  "If the British people vote to leave, there is only one way to bring that about, namely to trigger article 50 of the treaties and begin the process of exit, and the British people would rightly expect that to start straight away." (David Cameron, Hansard, 22/2/16)                                                      "This is your decision. The Government will implement what you decide." (Government leaflet)


For posts on Brexit which put the argument for a gobal future please visit:


The EU referendum and a global vision


Brexit – a global, good news story


and for the latest offering:


Brexit in perspective but three big deals


Plus, if you still want more try this