There has been endless discussion on how bad this might be for Britain, where the
campaign to remain in the EU went wrong, and what this means for the Union's
future (both of them actually). What has received less attention is the fatal flaw that
resulted in this referendum being the most divisive in Britain's history.
~52%. I can't be the only one who finds determining national policy on the basis of a 50/50 split to be moronic. Back in
the 1970s Britain held a referendum on its joining the EU which the Join side won with 67% of the vote. Hindsight being
20/20 one of two things should have occurred. 1. 67% should have been set as the percentage needed to leave the EU.
2. A 'clear majority' should have been set as necessary for any referendum question to change the status quo. Had they
done so both the Scottish sovereignty movement and the Leave campaign would now be on thin ice.
National votes are almost always divisive. It is one of the reasons I don't support having an elected head of state and why
I'm somewhat cool to the idea of having a vote on electoral reform. Canada almost went through a Quexit in the 1990s.
We learned from it though. We set the bar as being a 'clear majority' being needed for a province to separate. We never
defined a 'clear majority' but it was something. And you know what? It has brought a bit of peace to federal-provincial
Unfortunately, Britain can't do this right now. In Canada's case the Quebec separatists had been given two kicks at the
can and lost. We gave them a fair shot and then put some guidelines in place. If Britain tried that now the Scottish
(probably the Irish too) would be livid. There would be no way of portraying it as anything other than an attempt to keep
Scotland in the UK. So Britain would probably still lose a rematch anyways.
Lesson of the day: If you are going to embrace vox populi, vox dei make sure you have some clear guidelines in place first.