On the evening of referendum day I stayed up till midnight my time to hear the result of the opinion poll carried out during polling day itself. A couple of minutes after midnight the figures came in: Remain had won by 52% to 48%. I turned to the Daily Telegraph and an article on how the news was being received in Brussels. Apparently, it was being received with great joy and many libations in the bars. The Eurocrats considered a 52% victory (one was quoted as saying) as 'a ringing endorsement of the European project'.
My question is this. Why is 52% for Remain a ringing endorsement and 52% for Leave is not?
A 4% margin sounds close but it might not be as close as it sounds. Had the referendum been a general election and Leave and Remain been the two parties, Leave would have won 421 seats, Remain just 229, according to this news report. That's a very impressive victory, especially considering the threats of disaster that were issued and the whole might of the British state and international community being put at the disposal of Remain.
Here is a woman called Dr.Isabel DiVanna, FRSA, FCMI, Managing Director of a body called the International Institute for Strategic Studies, who commented on this blog post elsewhere. Just one example of the countless people who don't very much like democracy or the opinions of the masses.
I think your question would be best asked not as whether 52% for either side is a "ringing endorsement", but rather if something which sets the UK on a course possibly irreversible regarding the economy, politics, social and cultural fabric, is legitimate when a narrow majority has been achieved. I am not convinced that even 60% one way or another should suffice. If our political leaders had thought of this matter, they might have called for a EU referendum with a specific target/percentage for in or out to be achieved in order to effect such a change. But campaign promises are often, as we have just seen, not all that committed to truth. Given that our politicians did not think this through, neither a second referendum will in effect correct this situation where our parliamentary democracy abdicated its duties by delegating an important decision to a plebiscite. We may as well not have elected parliamentarians if everyone feels this is a better way to conduct political affairs.