Reply to post: Re: Wow, it's almost...

Attention all British .eu owners: Buy dotcom domains and prepare to sue, says UK govt

Loyal Commenter Silver badge

Re: Wow, it's almost...

When a Government writes to your house to say they will hold a referendum and will implement the result I would expect them to do so.

You might expect that. Given who the government was at the time (In case you had forgotten it was a government formed by a Tory majority with David Cameron in charge), you'd be naive to belive anything they said.

This is, however, beside the point. Ther are a couple of things to note here:

- A government can promise whatever they like, unless it is backed by a act of parliament it is nothing more than hot air. In this case, it was backed by an act of parliament that explicitly stated the opposite - that is that the referendum would be non-binding. That act of parliament trumps rhetoric, sorry about that.

- By convention a political party sets out promises in their manifesto and carries them out. Cameron promised that they would hold a referendum and carry out the result. Again, manifesto promises are nothing more than hot air. See the current government for multiple exaples of broken manifesto promises.

- A government has no power to set the policy or constrain any future government. Parliament is sovereign (yes, there's that word, this time used properly).

- In case you hadn't noticed, the guy who made these promises promptly resigned. As Danny Dyer put it, "he's off in Nice with his trotters up".

- The person who took over then went and promised to implement the result, said she wouldn't hold an election, then held an election in order to try and strengthen her position against manifesto promises to implement the result of the referendum. She lost her majority, so in effect got no mandate to do so. She is now in the position where only her (arguably misguided) self belief and stubbornness is carrying her forward.

Meanwhile, polling shows that most of the country wants a re-do, having found out about the electoral fraud and dodgy campaigning techniques used by the leave campaigns, and having now seen that what was promised isn't what they're going to get, because that magical land of "exact same benefits" rainbow-shitting unicorns not only doesn't exist, but isn't internally logically consistent or possible in any way.

The fundamental problem with referenda, especially ones that boil down a complex issue to a binary choice, is that they are incompatible with a representative democracy. One is basically a coin-flip biased towards whoever can shout the loudest; the other is a group of elected representatives who are supposed to weigh up all the complex issues and make decisions based on the best interests of their constituents, and the country as a whole. In case you have forgotten your history, the former were used to great effect in Germany in the 1930s to deconstruct a democratic state and put a fascist dictatorship in power, which is why refrenda are now nmot only not used, but actually illegal there. Maybe it's time to take a page from Germany's book and have a bit of electoral reform - ban referenda, ditch teh result from this obviously bent one, and reform the FPTP system so that parliament is more representative, then if people still want to leave the EU, they can vote in a UKIP government. Because that would more accurately reflect the "will of the people". My prediction, however, is that if this were to happen, we would end up with a parliament with MPs from many more parties, no overall majority for any party, and a House where the Government is formed from a coalition that approximates the population as a whole, rather than a bunch of Eton old boys who studied PPE at Oxford.

POST COMMENT House rules

Not a member of The Register? Create a new account here.

  • Enter your comment

  • Add an icon

Anonymous cowards cannot choose their icon

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2019