“The people want to decide.”
“So let’s give them a vote, IN or OUT: they’ll vote for IN anyway”
“Oh dear. The people voted for OUT and we can’t do that”
“But we can’t tell them that”
“You’re right. So let’s give them a second vote but take OUT off the ballot and put in HALFWAY OUT”
“But nobody will vote for HALFWAY OUT”
“Exactly. So the people will have voted for IN after all”
To hold a second referendum that excluded what many, or even most people thought they were voting for last time round, namely a clean break with the EU, would be called-out by them and Brexitier politicians as ‘a cheat’. As ‘a fix’ of which any tin-pot oligarchy would be proud. Just the kind of ‘fraud on the people’ that ‘the people’ have come to expect from the liberal elite and the Brussels machine. And as matters stand, the accusation would be undeniable and the increased anger would be unmanageable. However, to put on the ballot a clean break that is undeliverable would be cynical and carry the risk that the majority would vote for it again and we would find ourselves again unable to deliver on the promise and the anger would then be hotter than ever.
In an honest world, it would be time for the politicians to come clean with the public and explain that they have not been able to find a means of exiting the EU that is ‘deliverable’ in the sense of being acceptable to Parliament and that they are therefore revoking Article 50. However, in the fantasy world created by the calling of a referendum, it may be that the most politicians feel able to do is to mislead ‘the people’ once again and justify revoking Article 50 by telling them that there will be a chance to ‘start over’ once we have agreed a Brexit plan that is deliverable. Welcome back to Never Never Land.