Lead book review

Comment on Brexit means sovereignty by Rob2000

11 August 2016

8:15 AM

11 August 2016

8:15 AM

No, and this is crucial, the best interests of the nation and the best interests of the majority are not necessarily the same thing.

9 boys in the school playground have a vote on whether the 5 biggest boys can bully the 4 small boys and make them do their bidding. The vote is passed 5 to 4 and the four smallest boys start getting bullied and have to do the bidding of the 5 big boys. They complain that it isn’t fair. Nonsense, say the 5 big boys, it was a democratic vote, the vote was passed, you were able to cast your vote the same as every one else, but you lost, it was completely fair. The outcome was definitely in the best interests of the majority who got 4 slaves to run around doing as they were told, but was it in the best interests of the playground as a whole and everyone in it? Absolutely not. The school lunch monitor sees what is going on, clips the 5 big boys around the ear and tells them to stop their nonsense. She’s unelected, she can’t be removed by the boys. Her job is to stop situations like this happening.


Now, this is a simplistic example, but it doesn’t take too much imagination to see how a similar situation might apply to a minority group. A majority might be in favour of excluding black people from certain areas. A majority might be in favour of barring homosexuals from certain jobs. A majority view, sure, but the right thing for a government to implement? Absolutely not.

And that’s why we (usually) don’t have plebiscite democracy in the UK. Plebiscite democracy can also be referred to as ‘mob rule’. It cannot be right.

We have representative democracy in the UK (not a true form of representative democracy, since we build in an undemocratic check – the school lunch monitor). Constituencies elect MPs who are representatives, they are not delegates. MPs are explicitly asked to not only consider the views and wishes of their constituents in any actions they take, but to act in the best interests of the nation. The best interests of the nation can be different to their constituents’ best interests and the outcome of the MPs’ actions can be different from that wished by a majority in the nation.

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