Short articles, pithy one-liners and cartoons...

Don't let anyone tell you we'll be better off for at least the next 15 years. The original study is a long read but well worth it. 

You generally don't have to spend billions of pounds, suspend laws & stockpile essentials to mitigate the impact of *good* ideas.

James O'Brien

(6,085,757  vs  5,248,533)

I just love the in-depth reporting the BBC gives...

Well done that man!

We're just wondering how many people will get all righteous over this.

There's an interesting video from the Leave means Leave gang doing the rounds of some of our friends on Facebook. Five people declare that they voted remain but would now switch to voting leave. The right to change one's mind is defended with great vigour but we're afraid the video doesn't impress very much.

Points range from: debunking original predictions of job losses with the latest employment figures; decrying the unelected bureaucrats in the EU; blind outrage at politicians denying the will go the people; through to accusations of "sovereignty sucking" (whatever that is) towards the EU. The video climaxes with the expected trumpeting of Britain [sic] being globally minded and a tolerant democracy. Hurrah!

We here at Second-Referendum would point out the following

  • The selection of the actors is a bit suspect for a start: all white, 5 male, 5 young. One in six UK nationals is BME so we understand the video being limited to five people.
  • Their defence of the right of an individual to have a change of mind is touching - we just wonder why the electorate can't enjoy the same privilege.
  • Yes, "employment" is at an all time high - but we think that most likely because the government now includes those doing just one hour a week as well as those doing unpaid family work as employed. See A guide to labour market statistics 
  • The referendum was simply a glorified opinion poll and was gerrymandered to exclude UK citizens living in Europe. It was not constitutionally binding on any government (see Briefing Paper). Democracy requires informed decision-making and the ability to change one's mind. The latest YouGov poll puts the remain/leave ratio at 56% / 44% 
  • The UK has unelected bureaucrats, too - the civil service. If they're talking about the commissioners: they are elected and can be dismissed.
  • "Parliament has remained sovereign throughout our membership of the EU", Theresa May (see para 2.1 of The United Kingdom’s exit from and new partnership with the European Union)

All the best.

The comments followed this and fast but the following three are my favourite...

  • Aye because we have a f***ing conveyor belt all the way to America to bring in the goods.
  • Honestly we have a fair amount of wallopers living amongst us.
  • 52%

We have decided that it's my turn to play with the gun today. I have decided to shoot you: in the head or in the foot. The only way to avoid being shot in the head is to be shot in the foot.

In true football thug fashion, The Daily Express wants to stop a second referendum and threatens violence if it doesn't get its own way.

This notion of demanding action with threats of violence has been explored on Facebook and here in Pandering to the nationalists but it's worth explaining it will be violence from a losing minority.

Spelling it out again...

By a slim margin 52% wanted Brexit. The Brexit mob see a second referendum as thwarting the "will of the people" but in reality the 52% was a snapshot in time and certainly does not represent the wishes of the people now.

A second referendum can go one of two ways. If the outcome is a vote for Brexit in whatever form, our prediction is that the remain camp would  be disappointed but would certainly accept the now informed will of the people. Maybe some stiff letters will be written to The Times but by recent demonstrations of behaviour, the remain camp is not prone to acts of intimidation or violence.

More likely the remain camp will win and the original 52% (less any who have seen reason) will feel frustrated. There will be no logical reason to reject an informed will of the people and so faced with no outlet for expression and , thus legitimised by the headlines of The Daily Express, violence will ensue

It is irresponsible of the press to sow the seeds of civil unrest.

David Cameron made a promise he didn't think he'd have to keep to have a referendum he didn't think he would lose. Boris Johnson decided to back the side he didn't believe in because he didn't think it would win. Then Gove, who said he wouldn't run, did, and Boris who said he would run, said he wouldn't, and Theresa May who didn't vote for Brexit got the job of making it happen.

Theresa May called the election she said she wouldn't and lost the majority David Cameron hadn't expected to win in the first place. She triggered Article 50 when we didn't need to and said we would talk about trade at the same time as the divorce deal and the EU said they wouldn't so we didn't.

People thought she wouldn't get the divorce settled but she did, but only by agreeing to separate arrangements for Northern Ireland when she had promised the DUP she wouldn't. Then the Cabinet agreed a deal but they hadn't, and David Davis who was Brexit Secretary but wasn't said it wasn't what people had voted for and he couldn't support what he had just supported and left. Boris Johnson who hadn't left then wished that he had and did, but it was a bit late for that. Dominic Raab become the new Brexit secretary.

People thought Theresa May wouldn't get a withdrawal agreement negotiated, but once she had they wished that she hadn't, because hardly anybody liked it whether they wanted to leave or not. Jacob Rees-Mogg kept threatening a vote of no confidence in her but not enough people were confident enough people would not have confidence in her to confidently call a no confidence vote. Dominic Raab said he hadn't really been Brexit Secretary either and resigned, and somebody else took the job but it probably isn't worth remembering who they are as they're not really doing the job either as Olly Robbins is.

Theresa May she said she would call a vote and didn't, that she wouldn't release some legal advice but had to, that she would get some concessions but didn't, and got cross that Juncker was calling her nebulous when he wasn't but probably should have been.

At some point Jacob Rees Mogg and others called a vote of no confidence in her, which she won by promising to leave, so she can stay. But they said she had really lost it and should go, at the same time as saying that people who voted Leave knew what they were voting for which they couldn't possibly have because we still don't know now, and that we should leave the vote to Leave vote alone but have no confidence in the no confidence vote which won by more.

The government also argued in court against us being able to say we didn't want to leave after all but it turned out we could. She named a date for the vote on her agreement which nobody expected to pass, while pretending that no deal which nobody wants is still possible (even though we know we can just say we are not leaving), and that we can't have a second referendum because having a democratic vote is undemocratic. And of course as expected she loses.

Some people are talking about a managed no-deal which is not a deal but is not no-deal either.

Thank goodness for strong and stable government.

Tories are all upset because John Bercow allowed a vote on whether to allow Theresa May to run the Brexit clock down.

Allowing a vote was no big issue: if forcing the government to respond in a timely fashion was not appropriate, it could have been voted down. Mind you the government has had long enough to come up with a plan B; don't tell me the real options are a) accept my agreement or b) Oops!

No, holding a vote was not the problem. I expect what riles some factions is losing 51% to 49%. It's close but in this case the rules are understood: it's a simple majority wins and it's a binding vote - not an advisory, government run opinion poll like in 2016!

Do you think she looks tired?

Another graphic from Facebook...

This time Ben Clay wonders: how long should a "will of the people" last? There is a range of values: at least 12 months if you are considering your confidence in the Con. party leader, no more than 60 months of you are electing a government and at least 31 months if you are expressing your opinion in an *advisory* referendum based on incomplete and inaccurate information.

Many thanks to Sophie Weston for finding this...

Click the image! Yes, just 0.37% to the EU

On the loss of Sam Gyimah from the cabinet:

To lose one minister may be regarded as a misfortune; to lose ten looks like carelessness downright stupidity flying in the face of all that's sensible and good for the country simply because of a misguided belief that a flawed, glorified opinion poll reflected the informed will of the people.

When will this madness stop?!

May to warn MPs that rejecting her Brexit deal would put UK 'back to square one'.

Would that be the square one before that stupid, ill-considered, meaningless blurt "Brexit means Brexit"? Hurrah!!

Here at second referendum we think it's a little odd that the end of austerity has to be announced. Deeds not words should signify the change in the fiscal tide; the end to years of cuts to services, "efficiency" savings and effective pay cuts should be obvious to all.

We are being promised jam tomorrow. That is not an uncommon trick in the party political game. Get into power, turn the screw on spending and then shortly before an election declare the magic has worked and release a few billions and a few promises to buy enough votes to win again. But for this budget something more sinister is at play.

As usual, many budget promises are being leaked - and by the time you read this the budget might have been presented to parliament - and all the good news of the end to austerity lauded but here's the twist. The whole budget comes with a get out of jail disclaimer. We are told that if there is no deal on Brexit the budget will have to be rewritten. Naturally, there is no talk of the unspeakable, a vote to remain. Are we being warned to back Brexit or face the financial consequences?

It strikes us the (ahem) once strong and stable is now planning to either crash out of the EU with no deal or remain in the EU after a peoples vote is forced on them and the now informed electorate do the sensible thing. This gives the Conservatives the ultimate "we told you so" when the financially green grass on the other side of March 2019 turns to be a figment of the Brexit gang's minds.

Yes, it's the end to austerity but only in one version of the future that will most likely not happen.

Something project managers know:

95% of projects are 95% complete for 95% of the time.



We want a rebate on the fees.


We don't want to be in the Euro.


We don't want to be in Shengen.


We want a restriction on benefits until people have worked here for some time.


We want to stop child benefit being paid for children who aren't in the UK.


We want to kick out people who come here but don't work and can't afford to support themselves.

That's fine, you already can.

We want loads of preferential treatment that other countries don't get.

Errr, can't really give that without everyone agreeing.

Don't give us what we want and we'll leave.

That's a bit of an over reaction, but your choice.

OK were leaving.

Bye then.

Now were leaving, we want all the things we had before.

Errr, no, it doesn't work like that.

Don't give us what we want and we'll leave with nothing.

(Scratches head)

OK, umm, well, yeah.

We're serious, well walk away with nothing to teach you a lesson.

Bye (again).

We must give voters a chance to deliver their verdict on Brexit terms

Britain stands on the brink of a momentous decision. Under what terms should we leave the EU, to which we have been intimately bound – economically, culturally, socially – for the past 45 years? Yet, extraordinarily, our politicians are no closer to reaching a consensus on a satisfactory form of leaving the EU than they were in 2016, when we voted for Brexit in that fateful referendum. Fearful of the electoral consequences, neither party has been prepared to present us with the painful dimensions of that decision, preferring, instead, to pretend that Brexit requires no hard choices.

This leaves the country in a dangerous political vacuum. Two years on, it will only be resolved by putting a concrete proposal to leave the EU to a popular vote, as the Observer argued 18 months ago. But both parties have failed to back a referendum, claiming that leaving the EU – however we do it and regardless of the cost – represents the unchallengeable will of the people.

Read the full leader in The Observer.

Nicely put


76% of net immigration, since 1990, has been from countries outside the EU. In 2013/14, EU migrants paid £14.7 billion in taxes but only claimed £2.6 billion in benefits. Any EU immigrant seeking work in the UK can be asked to leave if they haven't found work withing 3 months.


For every £1 we pay into the EU, we get almost £10 back through increased trade, investment, jobs, growth and lower prices. The EU's accounts have been given a clean bill of health by the auditors every year since 2007.


UK laws are made by our UK Parliament, but sometimes Parliament decides to make laws jointly with our EU neighbours. The European Select Committee of MPs and Lords debates every draft that comes from the EU and votes to accept or reject the draft proposals.


The UK sends 40% of its goods to the EU but only 13 EU countries send more than 5% of their exports to the UK. The UK already has trade deals with countries around the globe, negotiated on our behalf by the EU.


or "Gove is an Idiot"

How can Michael Gove assert simultaneously that he is certain Brexit will be economically beneficial and sneer that he is tired of 'expert' economic forecasting?

The Change Britain report — or any other economic assessment of Brexit —necessarily involves making some hypothetical assumptions. The alleged 'savings' from red tape reduction and new trade deals both rely on such assumptions. So Gove is in effect taking the effect of Brexit on faith, assuming without evidence (since he won't debate the issue in detail) that the 'experts' he agrees with must be right about the future, and the 'experts' he disagrees with are wrong about it. That's not an argument against experts; it's just confirmation bias.

To be fair, though, the number on the side of the bus wasn't confirmation bias. Rather, it was a lie.

FYI: Gove is married to journalist Sarah Vine who is a Daily Mail columnist

Just so we can be clear about this I include a screen shot of page 13 from the white paper "The United Kingdom’s exit from and new partnership with the European Union" presented to Parliament by the Prime Minister in February 2017.

Click to view the White Paper

The key part is paragraph 2.1, which begins: "The sovereignty of Parliament is a fundamental principle of the UK constitution. Whilst Parliament has remained sovereign throughout our membership of the EU, it has not always felt like that"; my emphasis.

click the image

I'm just wondering how long it lasts.

  • 1 day?
  • 1 week?
  • 1 month?
  • 1 year?
  • 5 years?
  • a decade?
  • eternity?

When do we get a chance to revisit our opinion because it seems more and more necessary?

click to view

This relates to the final amendments to the EU withdrawal bill being debated in the week starting 15th January 2017.

If the government is so convinced that leaving the EU will be a good thing for the country, how on earth would they object to an amendment that would ensure the following?

  • The Government assess the impact of either an agreement or 'no deal' on the UK economy and the regions and publish the assessment before a vote in Parliament.
  • If Parliament rejects the agreement or the ‘no deal’ option, the Government must revoke Article 50 and exit from Brexit or seek an extension to Article 50 to enable further negotiations with the EU to take place.

Why not contact your MP and ask her/him to back the amendments - or at least explain why they can't do so.

Here's a image/link to an Excel spreadsheet I created shortly after the referendum...

It's fairly very simple but demonstrated the point that after just one year the country will have gone from 48/52 to 50/50.

The conventions are

  • black text - fixed
  • blue text - formula
  • yellow squares - question & answer

Here's a clue on how to answer.

(feel free to share)

It just strikes me as a little odd that May thinks she's a good negotiator.

First Negotiations - come to an agreement with 10 people, all in the same party who most likely all want the same thing.

Second negotiations - come to an agreement with 26 separate countries of different political inclinations while putting on the face of a "bloody difficult woman" who is prepared to walk away in a stroppy fit. 

Just so we are sure about this...

"We didn't choose Brexit. We're not the culprits of Brexit. We'll not be the victims of Brexit" Fibian Picardo, Chief Minister of Gibraltar.

Yea, right - tell that to the Scottish people!!

Here's a very sad list of reasons why people voted leave. It begins

  1. "Because of all the EU laws that we have no say in."
    "Name one."
    "There’s loads. Too many to list."
    "Name one."
    "…" (Caller to LBC radio station)
  2. "As a protest vote."
  3. "Because I want it to be a close result."

...and goes downhill from there.

...unless it doesn't

Update: further research shows this quote was from The Daily Telegraph in May 2013, not later as identified in the graphic.

At the Autumn Statement, Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond conceded that Brexit will blow a £59 billion black hole in public finances.

A well-written piece by Isobel Moore explaining her thoughts on why the referendum went so badly wrong.

We have a theory in this household. The Leavers are people who accept, and don't generally question. They "believe"... [read more].

Buckingham Palace need a refurbishment that will cost £369m over 10 years. Theresa May has agreed the deal but has to go to parliament for approval. So what's wrong with using the Royal Prerogative that seems so useful for other matters?

Just a thought...

The referendum vote for Brexit was clear: the electorate was 46,501,241, Leave was 17,410,742 and Remain was 16,141,241. The UK public actually did not, does not and will not want a Brexit in the foreseeable future. Adrian Low from the LSE makes this argument by analysing the post-referendum polls and demographic trends. what you can to change it! A message for all that seems to be borne out here: The government is appealing against Thursday's ruling to the Supreme Court.