We are reproducing this important Twitter thread with the kind permission of Dominic Minghella in order to reach beyond the Twitter bubble.
A non-binding referendum turned out to be absolutely binding.
A non-binding referendum turned out to be absolutely binding, and set in a tablet of stone – and to question it became traitorous heresy.
A non-binding referendum offering dramatic constitutional change – and disruption to a total population of half a billion people – was authorised without any requirement for a supermajority, and nevertheless turned out to be absolutely binding.
A non-binding referendum, which, if it had been binding, would have been ruled legally void by the Electoral Commission, turned out to be absolutely binding.
A non-binding referendum, which excluded many British citizens living abroad, and EU citizens resident in the UK, turned out to be absolutely binding.
A non-binding referendum, which, with a swing of 1.9% even among its gerrymandered franchise,
would have produced a different result, turned out to be absolutely binding and deemed unequivocally to represent "the will of the people" of the UK.
A non-binding referendum was held unequivocally to represent "the will of the people" of the UK, but the people of the UK were allowed no further say on what (if anything, given its non-binding status) it meant, on the basis that they might in fact disagree with their own will.
A non-binding referendum, on a subject which had been the major issue worrying just ONE PERCENT of Brits in December 2015, turned out to be absolutely binding.
A non-binding referendum, which provoked a massive number of people THE DAY AFTER to go on Google and search "what is the EU?" turned out to be absolutely binding, because everybody "knew what they were voting for".
A non-binding referendum, something about which everybody "knew what they were voting for" in 2016 and was therefore absolutely binding, turned out to have legal, social and political repercussions which have still to be understood, and negotiated, in 2021.
A non-binding referendum, fought on the promise of "exact same benefits", removed all of the benefits and turned out to be absolutely binding.
A non-binding referendum, fought on the promise of "£350m a week for the NHS", instead produced costs exceeding the value of all of the UK's previous contributions – not just for one year, but for the entire 47 years of membership.
A non-binding referendum, offering a control of borders the UK already enjoyed, introduced at least one new border which the UK now cannot control, and bitterly resents.
A non-binding referendum, promising domestic sovereignty, got over the line with money almost certainly derived from a foreign power – the Russian state.
A non-binding referendum, promising better control of sovereignty and laws, got over the line with dodgy, if not downright criminal, access to millions of UK citizens' activities, profiles and preferences on an American-owned social network.
A non-binding referendum, fought on assertions which were wholly untrue, and sometimes directly contradicting each other, turned out not just to be absolutely binding, but also immune to legal redress, on the grounds that it was technically non-binding.
A non-binding referendum, fought by elites unlikely to be constrained by loss of rights and freedoms, took away the rights and freedoms of ordinary people, while claiming to challenge elites.
A non-binding referendum, fought by elites probably able to afford to lose thousands, turned out to cost, and to continue to cost, every single person in the UK – young, old, poor, infirm – thousands, calculated at more than twice the cost of Covid.
A non-binding referendum, fought by people able to escape the loss of rights and freedoms by taking up foreign citizenships for themselves and their families, turned out to be binding but only for those suckers without the capacity to take up alternative citizenships.
A non-binding referendum, which promised, as one of its central tenets, improved control over the UK fishing industry, virtually destroyed that industry overnight on 1st January, 2021.
A non-binding referendum which promised cheaper food has resulted in more expensive food, less choice, empty shelves and a logistical nightmare for supermarkets.
A non-binding referendum, which promised higher standards in areas like food, may now provide a gateway into the UK for chicken so literally shitty that it has to be bathed in chlorine before it is fit for human consumption.
A non-binding referendum, which promised UK citizens resident abroad a full and unequivocal continuation of their rights, has resulted in many of them finding themselves faced with deportation, having to abandon their homes and return to the UK.
A non-binding referendum, which promised more and better trade has made exporting and importing a red-tape and cost-laden nightmare, forcing many small businesses to close altogether, and larger businesses to set up abroad.
A non-binding referendum, which promised to take back control has required lorry parks, thousands of customs officers, and a border down the Irish Sea.
A non-binding referendum, which promised the freedom to make exciting deals across the world, has resulted in no exciting new deals across the world (but there is always the possibility of that shitty chicken in the future).
A non-binding referendum has alienated an entire nation of the UK, and given Scottish nationalism a compelling case to separate.
A non-binding referendum, which was allegedly never going to affect peace in Northern Ireland, has brought about a return to violence in Northern Ireland.
A non-binding referendum, which promised taking back control, is taking us back – to the 1970s, when Britain was the ‘sick man of Europe’, mired in bureaucracy, joblessness, political discord, sectarian violence, xenophobia and racism; it's the taking back, without the control.
A non-binding referendum took a united kingdom, and, in its own purely advisory and hideously inexorable way, unbound it.
Originally tweeted by Dominic Minghella (@DMinghella) on 25/04/2021.