Richard Dawkins can be at times a controversial figure. But what he had to say on Brexit and the EU referendum might just be the most common sense anyone’s ever spoken.
In a BBC Newsnight video, the scientist and author says:
Constitutional amendments are – or should be – hard to achieve. In America, it takes a two-thirds majority in both houses of Congress.
It’s easy to see why the bar is set so high. Unlike ordinary lawmaking, constitutional changes are for keeps.
Voters, he says, are “fickle,” and opinions change.
We have no right to condemn future generations to abide, irrevocably, by the transient whim of the present.
If said that if a decision ever needed this two-thirds majority in order to win, it was the referendum last June on whether the UK should leave the EU.
Brexit, he says, is permanent, and has “huge ramifications and complex consequences”.
The costs and benefits will resonate down the decades.
A total of 46.5 million voted in the referendum last year: 17.4 million voted leave and 16 million to remain.
Dawkins said that instead of demanding a two-thirds majority vote, or a second vote after a “cooling off period,” or allowing parliament time to debate the issues in detail with input from experts, David Cameron “ran scared of Ukip”.
He handed over this massively important decision to a simple majority of ill-informed voters.
The fleeting opinion, on just one day, of a slender majority of an ignorant and misled public is now touted as the sacred and unchangeable word of “the British people”.
Not just for the next five years, as in an ordinary election, but long after we are no longer around to reap the consequences.
Watch the video below: