This piece from Bridget Phillipson MP makes a strong case that a hypothetical second referendum campaign would need to be much more unashamedly European and come in from a more marked left-wing direction. Relatedly, Aditya Chakrabortty says that:
I can’t see any way for remain to secure a convincing victory, apart from to present itself as not the incumbent but the insurgent, not the status quo but the radicals
Neither of them follow this logic through to the end, though. What both of them are saying is that the best way to win would be to present it as the quickest way to sack the government, to throw the bums out. Rather than “Stop Brexit by getting the Tories out”, this is “Get the Tories out by stopping Brexit”. This might well be true, but it is only an option if the government is supporting the other option on the ballot. I can’t think of a way in which the government would be enfeebled by winning a referendum. How does that work?
The referendum they want would be one in which the Government was supporting “Brexit”, defined in some way not specified, and Labour was supporting “Remain”. There is no particular reason to think it would turn out that way. What if the referendum turned out to be the government’s terms, or crash-out Brexit? Or something else? If we stipulate that there must be only two choices, that gives us:
Deal or No Deal
Revoke A50 or Deal
Revoke A50 or No Deal
Deal or EEA/EFTA/Something Else
Something Else or No Deal
Something Else or Revoke A50
It’s possible for the government to be on either side, so that gives us 12 possible combinations, all of which would require a different strategy. Given that the conditional probability of each option is therefore rather low, it’s arguable we are spending far too much effort arguing about it.
Also, and really nobody wants to talk about this because it doesn’t suit anyone to admit it, the soft-Brexit options all entail actually passing the withdrawal agreement first. The only option that doesn’t need this is outright revocation, or alternatively, blowing up everything.