Boris Johnson ramped up general election rhetoric this week, calling for Jeremy Corbyn to “man up” and back his plea to go to the polls before Christmas.
Facing a roadblock in parliament after losing or sacking his majority the Prime Minister is rightly concerned about the prospects of his deal with the European Union.
Even the DUP, who were blackmailed to the tune of £1 billion to prop-up the Conservative government, can’t support the plan, and Johnson now faces shirking on his “do or die” promise to take Britain out of the EU by 31st October.
General election not the answer
But having a general election on a single issue will not resolve anything.
For a start, it has been tried before.
In 2017, buoyed by strong polling numbers, Theresa May took the country to the polls only to have her majority diminished.
The election results returned much the same split as the original referendum with no clear and decisive mandate for any one course of action on Brexit.
And if the by-elections since then have been any indication then a very similar division exists today. If anything, it has shifted to Remain.
A confirmatory referendum, on the other hand, would provide the government with a mandate once and for all.
Unlike the first referendum it would offer a more informed vantage point on the decision for voters with a deal in place and, to an extent, impact assessments to show what the future health of the nation would look like.
What’s more, it wouldn’t drag into the decision all the other aspects a general election entails.
How are people expected to vote when they a pro-Leave but are worried about the state of our public services and the impact of austerity on local communities, for example?
Or how might a pro-Remain voter decide when their chief concern is the impact of higher education fees on a society ravished by inequality?
Disrupted the national psyche
But the problem is that the Conservatives have disrupted the national psyche to the point where most people would see a second confirmatory referendum as a defeat.
Even though the picture today is a world apart from what it was in 2016 they would be more inclined to back a general election, where parties battle it out over many issues even though we all know it is really only about one.
In the end, another referendum is the only way to get the confirmation any Prime Minister should really desire in order to deliver on the “will of the people”.
Dragging Britain through the mire once again is only likely to muddy the water.
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