It is a nonsense of those — on both sides of the debate — who say that today’s Referendum is a once-in-a-lifetime chance of voting whether to stay in the EU or leave it. That we last voted when we joined it 43 years ago is pure happenstance and doesn’t set a precedent.
If something significant enough happens in the next few years, then we could quite easily be voting in another one. What with all the bad blood spilled in this one, most of the electorate won’t be eager to have another referendum any time soon. But referendums are not difficult to organise and are relatively cheap aspects of government. There’s no reason why we shouldn’t have them quite frequently as new difficult issues arise. Switzerland, for example, has many of them as a matter of course and we rate that country as being among the best-run in the world.
Today’s Referendum, with both the winning and losing votes likely to lie between 45% and 55%, is hardly going to justify itself as decisive, or even a popular result. We’ll be having another one fairly soon I judge, or else — more than likely — the EU will itself start to crumble when Italy and France start to expect the same sort of subsidies from Germany as have been available to Greece so far.