Democracy, or mob rule as elitists like to call it


A letter a day to number 10. No 1,481

Saturday 02 July 2016.

Dear Mr Cameron,

If the referendum has taught me anything it’s that it’s extraordinary how many people know everything after the event and aren’t afraid to rip apart those who they think didn’t know better before the event. As a political writer I am blown away by how many political pundits have been lurking away in the background waiting for their big hindsight moment.

Over 4 million people have signed a petition calling for a 2nd EU Referendum. The petition was set up on 23 May 2016 by someone apparently fearful of the Remain vote winning the referendum. The poor chap is seemingly not very happy that the petition has since been dominated by Remain voters and those terrified that they made a mistake in voting for Brexit. Therein lies the issue at the heart of democracy, you never know which way it’s going to go, although vast amounts of money are spent trying to predict outcomes, or even manipulate them if one is criminally inclined.

Writing in the Guardian, Geoffrey Robertson has an interesting take on democracy, he writes, “Our democracy does not allow, much less require, decision-making by referendum. That role belongs to the representatives of the people and not to the people themselves. Democracy has never meant the tyranny of the simple majority, much less the tyranny of the mob…”

Given that the 2015 General Election was won by 24% of those eligible to vote, giving you an unrepresentative majority in government, that hardly represents the tyranny of the mob, rather the tyranny of the few, a tyranny you have exploited ever since. And if we really want to talk about the tyranny of the few, let’s talk about a government that is privatising our NHS with no mandate to do any such thing.

The turnout for the 2015 General Election was 66.1% and you secured a majority from just 37% of those who bothered to turn out. The turnout for the EU referendum was 71.8% of which 52% voted to leave the EU. I’ll leave it to you to work out which was the more representative vote of the will of the people.

Calling democracy or even representative democracy mob rule, Geoffrey Robertson doesn’t really have anything to say about democracy, but rather the sneering disdain and contempt that elitists have for ordinary people. Robertson writes, “Democracy entails an elected government, subject to certain checks and balances such as the common law and the courts, and an executive ultimately responsible to parliament, whose members are entitled to vote according to conscience and common sense.” None of which applies to you and your government, so he’s really not paying attention to reality at all.

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