Democracy, referenda and the right to oppose Brexit.

February 3, 2017

A referendum was irresponsibly called by a majority who (in both parties) believed that the issue of the EU could be cynically ‘kicked into the grass’. But since it was never clear whether it was advisory or binding, the vote did not legitimate any decision. The vast majority of MPs didn’t support leaving – nor expected ‘Leave’ to win (albeit by a narrow margin).

The Brexit vote on lst February, in the Commons was a self-serving and rear-covering  act of trimming, obeisance to the 52% who might still vote for them at a forthcoming election. But populist politics isn’t predictable – and might well kick them all out, left and right, just for being two-faced! The sight of Labour MPs voting for an exit that, as they know, will hurt most of the underprivileged and low income in the community, was sickening. The fact that turkeys vote for Christmas does not suggest wisdom, but an impoverished education system.

Of course we should try to understand the strong fears of many people, but if they are ignorant and ill-founded, it is patronizing not to speak truth. Majorities have been wrong on numerous occasions, and tyrants have come to power through the ballot box (let alone referenda). I salute the ll4 and those who abstained. As in the case of the Iraq war,  principle may provide basis for renewal and wisdom in the future.

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