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26 Jun 2016   01:38:47 AM   Sunday BdST A- A A+ Print this E-mail this

A reversal of referendum can redeem Britons

Moslem Uddin Ahmed
 A reversal of referendum can redeem Britons

A reversal of the referendum on Britain`s exit from the European Union that eventually threatens disintegration of the United Kingdom itself is seen as the only means of redemption of the Britons from getting relegated to a dwarfed kingdom.

This exactly happens to be the realisation that has prompted many to make a beeline to an online petition calling for a second `leave` and `remain` vote on the destiny of UK`s union with the continental Europe.  More than 1.5 million Britons and UK residents signed the petition, which would force MPs to at least consider a debate on the issue in the British Parliament as per rules.

The petition on the parliament website was posted before the June 23 referendum, saying the government should hold another plebiscite on EU membership if the support for Leave or Remain in a referendum was less than 60 percent based on a turnout of under 75 percent of electors.

The result of Thursday`s balloting saw 52 percent of voters back a British exit on a turnout of 72 percent of eligible voters.

Since then, the petition -- which only British citizens or UK residents have the right to sign -- was proving so popular that by 1417 GMT on Saturday, 1,580,220 people had signed it with the number rising fast.

Most of those who signed were based in areas where support for staying in the EU was strongest such as London, the website indicated.

Parliament has to consider a debate on any petition which attracts more than 100,000 signatures.

As the crucial gamble of democracy sent in shockwaves through the globe--in so certain terms as instant market topsy-turvy--professional economists spoke with an unprecedented unanimity that this would make the UK substantially poorer. And 196 of them, including 12 Nobel Laureates, signed a letter on their stance. US President Barack Obama has warned that Brexit would reduce the UK`s clout in global affairs.

Also, British prime ministers, past and present, from across the divide, including David Cameron, Gordon Brown, Tony Blair and John Major, have all passionately argued for the Kingdom to `remain`. Would this collective voice of conscience all go up in the dust under the weight of the inanimate verdict of the averages?      

Prime Minister David Cameron, who said on June 24 he would resign after leading the failed campaign to keep Britain in the EU, had previously said there would be no second referendum. Then is it fait accompli, even if a nation replete in eventful history and tradition should split like a house of cards? 

Democracy is dear to Great Britain and the nations that follow the Westminster system as well as the American presidential system of democracy. But the verdict of the multitude may be miscarried in the event of inadequate and improper motivation campaigns. The June 23 plebiscite is, thus, foredoomed to be a precious historic blunder in British history, nay, in the history of humanity.         

Maybe, I am not so sure, there would be needed another Restoration in the new millennium to right the wrong of splitting a union of the Europeans that has been tried and tested over four decades and that functions like a single state with its own currency, the euro, parliament and governing body. The EU stands out as a perfect embodiment of the concept of `global village` or an ultimate stateless society of mankind in Marxist theory.                  

So, in my presumption, it is not going to be final in the politics that concerns the very fate of unity of the Kingdom composed of four princely states--England, Wales, Scotland and North Ireland.

The stunning outcome of the vote has created a vortex within the sheer exitence of the United Kingdom, its polity and economics. In an instant reaction, the British pound sterling got beggared by shedding much of its value against the US dollar while world markets plummeted. The government is virtually going haywire with the PM deciding to step down. And, all the more important, is the fact that Scotland and North Ireland, which voted overwhelmingly to `remain` with the EU, may seek cessation.              

Scotland`s First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, has already announced that it is `democratically unacceptable` that Scotland, which voted overwhelmingly to `remain`, will be taken out of the EU. She describes the prospect of another referendum on Scottish independence as “highly likely”.

The last plebiscite on Scottish partition was voted down marginally, but this time around, the cause and call would be so poignant that a possible referendum on this score may be swept by the separatists who plead for staying in a greater unity with Europe as a whole rather than sinking into a xenophobic ivory tower.              

June 26, 2016





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