The People Have Spoken, the Bastards
ian leslie

The thing is, not holding a referendum is about as democratic as holding it. The treaty was approved, just 8 years ago, by a great majority in Parliament, House of Lords and all the rest. The rest of the 27 countries are not asking every generation, or every other parliamentary season, “Should we stay or should we go”. They are not voting for new Constitution, not voting to change every single law or Treaty that the country abides by. Reducing democracy to “let’s cast a vote on this” is, indeed, a very narrow-minded view of democracy, which is about the rule of law first and foremost.

That said, it’s true that, on average, democracy proves right. But averages are made of high and lows. And while there’s greatness in many democratic decisions, statistically there must be low, and the lowest of lows, so that, on average, it is right. Questioning a democratic decision is not questioning democracy. Questioning a particular vote is not questioning democracy. And decision making by a democratic parliament is, as I said, at least as democratic as the opposite.

Besides, the real attack on democracy is irresponsible voting. The right to vote is one of the greatest rights. Places on your very hands decisions that will affect you, your folks, their sons, and, in some cases, the whole wide world. It’s a right, but it’s a great responsibility. It’s deeply anti-democratic to cast a vote that, in some cases, might be so crucial to the future of, well, everything, on the fact that you don’t like Cameron’s hair or that the kebab shop in your neighbourhood looks a bit dodgy. You really have to think whether your “leave” or “remain” vote will change things, and how it will change them, based on facts. It’s a responsibility, and the true attack on democracy is googling “What is the EU” or “What happens if UK leaves the EU” after the votes have been cast, the stock exchanges have tumbled, or the pound is so low that 10% of the wealth of the country has been wiped overnight. Voting is a right. Nobody can take it from you. But if you vote irresponsibly, that is the truest attack on democracy, because many other rights (the right to travel freely, the right to work, the right to receive subsidies) of a bunch of persons you don’t know and might not even be born will vanish in the air as if they had never existed.

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