Richard Dawkins calls for second EU referendum due to ‘irresponsible’ Brexit voters

Richard Dawkins
Richard Dawkins at the 34th American Atheists Conference. Photo by Mike Cornwell.

Nairobi born British academic, Richard Dawkins, has claimed a second referendum to “unite the country” is needed as “irresponsible” voters are not qualified to vote on the issue.

He also claimed that the British public didn’t want Britain to leave the European Union and the Brexit vote was a protest against David Cameron’s premiership.

The atheist author of The God Delusion, who announced his separation from Doctor Who actress wife Lalla Ward over the weekend, suggested the referendum was invalid and that Britons should be forced to head to the polls again.

If any second vote returned another vote to leave the EU, the Oxford fellow also alleged Remain voters would accept it and be seen as “good losers”.

As well as calling Leave voters “irresponsible” who just “wanted to give Cameron a kicking”, Dawkins said he preferred MPs to make decisions on behalf of their voters, rather than in expressions of direct democracy such as referendums.

“The people of Britain have spoken. Now we must all bury our differences, rally round and pull together with good grace.

“Fat chance! It sounds good. Yet the problem is that too many of us don’t believe the people of Britain really have spoken.

“Some of us don’t believe the people of Britain were ever qualified to speak on such a complex and sophisticated question in the first place.

” … We are those who believe not in [direct democracy] but in parliamentary democracy, where the people elect representatives qualified – and paid – to deliberate on complex issues and take decisions after due diligence and careful examination of all the repercussions.

“Our misgivings about [direct democracy] were alarmingly confirmed by the number of people in Britain who googled ‘What is the EU?’ the day after voting to leave it.

“Also by the many irresponsible Leave voters who have belatedly voiced their regret: ‘I didn’t think my vote mattered. I only wanted to give Cameron a kicking. I never thought Leave would win.” – Richard Dawkins

Even though support for Leave grew gradually before overtaking the Remain campaign, the academic described the result as a “flash-in-the-pan spike” and that the best way to guard against such “spikes” is “to specify that there shall be a second vote after a cooling off period: two weeks, say, of sober reflection on the consequence if the first vote for radical change were to be upheld.”

However, Dawkins did say that countries should not hold second referendums simply in order to get a different result, arguing “the justification for [it] is much stronger than that”.

“You cannot hold a second vote simply in the hope of getting a different result. That’s no way to run a democracy.

” … No, the justification for a second referendum is much stronger than that. It is that, if the result were to go the same way twice, we would all have good grounds for accepting that the people really have spoken their mind and truly favour the huge upheaval that is Brexit.

“Even we staunch EU loyalists would then swallow our misgivings and unite behind a Brexited Britain. We would become good losers, prepared to pull our weight and loyally make the best of it.” – Richard Dawkins