Note the date on the front cover of this House of Commons Library publication . . .
Elise Uberoi of the House of Commons Library evidently prepared this document and it was published on 3rd June 2015 – over a year before the great EU Referendum fiasco. The paper was actually prepared as a guide in advance of the second reading debate on Tuesday 9 June 2015. Presumably (?), hopefully (?) someone somewhere read the thing but it seems not to have fallen into the hands of our fearless investigative free press (in which I include TV and Radio) – or perhaps it did so and was ignored or strangled – because buried in the middle of the legal stuff is a piece of information very relevant to many many debates on Twitter and elsewhere since which materially affects much of what has been said in Parliament since June 2016, and indeed the truth of what has been said.
Note the contents list in the right column and especially item No.5 . . .
If we go to that page this is what we find . . .
Note those important words, “It does not contain any requirement for the UK Government to implement the results of the referendum, nor set a time limit by which a vote to leave the EU should be implemented. Instead, this is a type of referendum known as pre-legislative or consultative, which enables the electorate to voice an opinion which then influences the Government in its policy decisions”.
Why, oh why was this not made clear by the Government in the months before the Referendum ? If this had been known and understood well in advance what a lot of heartache, disappointment, discontent, sense of betrayal might have been avoided ? Did the Government not want this important proviso to be made known ? Did they feel that to keep it way from the public gaze would make their subsequent actions easier – to treat the Referendum as if it was a first past the post win or lose affair, and at all costs avoid thinking ? Why so secretive ?
If the Briefing Notes are correct and authoritative, why has the Government not sat down and mulled over the voiced opinion of the Electorate before rushing to the microphones ? There was by UK voting standards a good turnout. The Leave/Remain voters were evenly divided (ever Mr Farage anticipated that such a result would need some thinking about !) and subsequent, not very reliable, indications were that many people were very ignorant about the EU and its workings, and that the Leave vote was an expression of some form of discontent by those feeling left out and not necessarily an informed opinion (how could it be ?) about the merits or otherwise of EU Membership.
A wise and statesmanlike Government would, I think, have come to the conclusion that the evenly divided opinion expressed in the Referendum was not such as to warrant any immediate change in the staus quo, but that the discontent felt in many parts of the country was such as to require urgent attention and the setting up of some working parties pdq. So the unwise and unstatesmanlike Government now proposes to upset the national applecart of trade and industry with no plan of how to set it on its wheels again. The readily foreseeable result is that the wealthy will not be greatly hurt by this upset (their wealth being safely tucked away far over the seas) whilst the discontented leave voters who feel, are, and have been for many years, forgotten will have to endure another hard time of unknown length with no sure hope that their injuries will ever heal or be attended to. And if the disruption of the Union ends the years of peace and tends towards war, it will be those very forgotten and discontented little people who will be expected to enlist in droves to defend their masters once again.