Herald letter: Brexit (Beat £wall)

NO-ONE can be more shocked than myself at the outcome of the Brexit referendum, nor regret it more.

Moreover, I have recorded on these pages before my objection to referendums as a method of decision-making for matters of great national importance. I have also agreed with Nicola Sturgeon on the desirability for “double-majority” arrangements to ensure as far as possible that such outcomes truly reflect the collective will of the electorate.

However, those of your correspondents (Letters, June 25) who seek to stoke their own nationalist grievance with the Leave result are barking up the wrong tree when they claim that Scots have been somehow not been treated as equals in the process. In fact, nothing could be further from the truth: the franchise was one person, one vote, throughout the UK. Likewise, those complaining that the No vote in September, 2014 was somehow duplicitous on this issue must accept that the ballot paper on that occasion did not offer a caveat for foreign policy decisions; and the one on Thursday offered a choice of keeping the United Kingdom (not Scotland) in the EU.

So what is to be done? For my own part, it would acceptable if the pro-EU majority in Westminster took its courage in its hands and asserted its sovereignty in a representative democracy to vote down the legislation required to enact the referendum decision.

However, if that is not acceptable to others, there is another way forward. This is for those same pro-EU MPs of all parties to insert into the legislation an amendment requiring a further referendum on the proposed terms of the UK leaving the EU, once these are decided.

It would be entirely logical and fair to allow the voters to choose between the status quo in the EU and a new arrangement outside, in other words, between two known alternatives. This second ballot would also provide the most literal form of a requirement for a double majority.

Peter A Russell


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