Richard Dawkins: Hold Second Referendum Because of ‘Irresponsible’ Leave Voters

Despite the majority of Britons voting for Brexit, Britain must hold a second referendum to “unite the country” as “irresponsible” voters are not qualified to vote on the issue, Richard Dawkins has claimed. The famous atheist also claimed Brits did not want Britain to leave the European Union (EU) and that they only voted for Brexit to protest against David Cameron.

The author of The Selfish Gene stated, in the New Statesman, that the only way Britain’s leaders can know that Brexit is what people want is by holding a second vote.

Mr. Dawkins said Britons should be forced to head to the polls again, suggesting that the referendum was invalid.  The Oxford fellow also alleged that should Brexit be the result of the proposed second referendum Remain voters would accept it and be seen as “good losers”.

Furthermore, Mr. Dawkins said he preferred MPs to make decisions on behalf of their voters, rather than in expressions of direct democracy such as referendums. He then called Leave voters “irresponsible” and said they just “wanted to give Cameron a kicking”.

The academic said: “’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.”

The evolutionary biologist said: “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.’”

Despite the fact that, before the referendum, Leave gradually crept up on and then overtook Remain, Mr. Dawkins called the public’s desire for Brexit a “flash-in-the-pan spike”.

The Kenyan-born biologist said the 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”.

While Mr. Dawkins posited that countries should not hold second referendums in order to get a different result, he argued “the justification for [it] is much stronger than that”.

The popular author wrote: “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.”


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