It used to be a joke. If a country had a referendum that went against the will of the EU they were asked to do it again to get the “right” answer the second time.
Those who want to Leave the EU have always looked on this overbearing attitude to the electorate with a shudder. Leavers have always been afraid that the same disease would strike our democracy one day.
The disease happens when our representatives no longer represent us but represent their own self interest. When senior politicians see their loyalty being to party and backers, not to the voters.
Brexit has exposed the disease more clearly than any other recent event. Parliament held a Referendum, confident that the electorate would vote to Remain in the EU. When the Referendum returned the “wrong” answer Theresa May promised that “Brexit means Brexit” and Jeremy Corbyn said he would “respect the result of the referendum“.
In 2017 Theresa May inserted paragraphs (the early form of the NI “backstop”) in the draft Withdrawal Agreement that she knew would alienate the DUP. Corbyn now says he will back a second referendum.
The EU Referendum was clear, the English backed leaving the EU by a wide margin and even the local politics of the Scots and Irish could not overwhelm the tide of opinion to Leave the EU. The first Referendum was fought on the basis of Project Fear versus Brexit. Project Fear maintained there was a risk of £120bn loss if we left the EU. So why have May and Corbyn changed their minds? They say that they want to “save” the UK from the risk of £120bn loss due to “No Deal” but what really happened is that they had the power to block the Referendum. They could do as they wished, not as they had been asked to do. They could represent themselves and not the electorate. The electorate had said clearly that they accepted the risks that they were being “saved” from.
When representatives go rogue there is only one response that a sane electorate can take. They must never vote for them again. If we vote for them again they will be much stronger in their conviction that power is theirs and not delegated to them by us. If we vote for them again after they become “EU” in their attitude to democracy our country will never recover.
This post was originally published by the author on his personal blog: http://pol-check.blogspot.com/2019/03/when-representatives-go-rogue.html