The EU Referendum : An Act of Gross Negligence (June 17, 2016)
Governing a nation is hard. It is the art of hearing a cacophony of voices and reducing them to the melody that best fits. It isn’t about asking the people themselves to write the laws, to make the decisions; because in each choice a government makes there an infinite number details on which it would be impossible to reach consensus.
And so we elect a government to make decisions for us, to lead us when we don’t know the way.
Some may argue that this only applies to everyday issues; and that on the Big Issues we should be asked our views. I don’t agree. I don’t agree because the Big Issues are typically the hardest, the most complex, the ones where we just don’t know enough to decide. Establishing national healthcare, abolishing capital punishment, ending slavery — these are things we weren’t asked about, and in some cases the majority would have voted against, but we now cannot imagine a world without them.
Maybe some will claim that our sovereignty is different. That ceding control to the EU outside of the scope of the initial treaty requires a public vote. Again, I’d disagree. The House of Lords was neutered last century without a public vote, we entered into the ECHR without a public vote, we joined the UN without a public vote. Each of these decisions fundamentally changed the nature of sovereignty in the UK and (with the exception of the ECHR — the strongest body for the protection of human rights in the world) we do not ask for votes on them.
Instead, the way we decide how we are ruled is at the ballot box, when we elect those people to lead our country. And when elected they must lead, not turn to us for direction. For to do that, when we are faced with one of the biggest questions we have ever faced as a nation is an exercise in gross negligence.
Leaving the EU is presented to us as a binary choice but there is not a single issue in the world of government that can be reduced to a yes or no, let alone a decision involving agriculture, trade, defense, employment, international relations and, most importantly of all, the European Championships.
For that reason, I’d recommend people vote to remain. Not because I’m saying remain are right, or leave or right.
Rather, i’m saying let’s do this at the ballot box. Elect people you trust to make the decision and let them get on with it. If you think they are getting it wrong, exercise your rights to protest, write, debate.
That is how we govern our nation, not through XFactor style voting.
Vote remain, because the vote is wrong.