“The people have spoken, and their wishes must be respected.” We have been hearing a lot of this recently, and not only from the majority who want to see what they voted for realised. There seems to be a broad acceptance of the proposition by the minority also.
I do not want to question democracy itself – as Churchill once famously observed,
No one pretends that democracy is perfect or all-wise. Indeed it has been said that democracy is the worst form of Government except for all those other forms that have been tried from time to time.…
But I do want to cast the spotlight on this curious understanding of what democracy means: that a bare majority of those voted on a particular day must prevail in the argument.
As an understanding of democracy, I think this is both reductive and insular. Reductive, because it is just not as simple as that in a modern social democracy. Insular, because it is not like that in many other modern social democracies. Somehow, it seems that winners and losers alike have caught onto a notion that the bare majority of those who voted on a particular day must prevail; seemingly unaware of the counter-arguments that regularly prevail elsewhere. Continue reading Brexit and the misunderstanding of Democracy