The Observer view on giving voters a chance to deliver their verdict on Brexit terms | Observer editorial
News | 16.09.2018
Politicians of both major parties have led us to the brink of disaster. The people must be given a voice
Britain stands on the brink of a momentous decision. Under what terms should we leave the EU, to which we have been intimately bound – economically, culturally, socially – for the past 45 years? Yet, extraordinarily, our politicians are no closer to reaching a consensus on a satisfactory form of leaving the EU than they were in 2016, when we voted for Brexit in that fateful referendum. Fearful of the electoral consequences, neither party has been prepared to present us with the painful dimensions of that decision, preferring, instead, to pretend that Brexit requires no hard choices.
This leaves the country in a dangerous political vacuum. Two years on, it will only be resolved by putting a concrete proposal to leave the EU to a popular vote, as the Observer argued 18 months ago. But both parties have failed to back a referendum, claiming that leaving the EU – however we do it and regardless of the cost – represents the unchallengeable will of the people.