Extracts from “Defining democracy” (first published Sept 9, 2018)
It is said that actions speak louder than words …. In the event, democracy is legitimated by the idea of it, which doesn’t necessarily translate into bowing to the voter’s express wishes. ….Voters in ‘proper’ elections are …. required to assent to a raft of issues loosely held together by manifesto pledges that ‘their’ elected government will deliver on its promises. But governments are subject to their own internal politics …. The occasional referendum appears to give voters exactly what they vote for. The UK’s ‘Brexit’ referendum asked people if they wanted to ‘remain’ in the European Union, or ‘leave’. The choice was clear cut, but …. issues were shrouded in dubious delineations from the start …. The ‘apple cart’ was really upset when the unprecedented skirmishing continued after the vote …. it was rumoured that Brexit could become Brino (Brexit-in-name-only). …. Throughout this political wrangling the electorate had been assured that ‘Brexit means Brexit’. Of course the word was absent from the dictionary, but then the dictionary has yet to be written in which every word simply means itself. Meanwhile …. ‘the right thing to do’ is, by definition, the right thing to do – implying they don’t need to be asked to vote on it.