What passes for democracy in the post-truth world

There are reports of parliamentarians, terrified of the consequences of a hard brexit, finally growing a pair and threatening to challenge it. A cross party group of MP’s ,which includes several Tories is now prepared to challenge the government on brexit and demand either a vote to verify the referendum result, or on the terms of brexit.

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About time too. Let us summarise. Yes the UK did vote to leave the UK. However only 37% of the electorate backed this motion (turnout of 72% times 52%). Now I don’t know what kind of maths they taught at that fancy Grammar school of hers (obviously it wasn’t very good!), but that’s less than 50%. In most “democracies” (google that some time brexiters) you need a majority of the electorate (+50% of the electorate) to implement such a radical change in policy. Consider a recent referendum in Hungary on EU migration quotas. 95% of voters backed the motion, but that wasn’t enough. The majority of Hungarians, reluctant to be pawns of a racist government boycotted the poll, it failed to achieve a majority (i.e. less than 50%) and hence it doesn’t go through. That’s how its supposed to work.

And the outcome of the referendum could have been very different if millions of British living in the EU, or EU citizens living in the UK were allowed to vote on it. However, now that brexit has been safely achieved, there’s talk of giving them the right to vote, presumably so that they can be the UK’s pawns within the EU. Indeed the same lobby groups have also just launched legal action against John Claude Junker for blocking brexit talks, suggesting some sort of horse trade has gone on. So in Theresa May’s UK democracy isn’t a right, but a reward to be handed out for good behaviour, or when it is politically expedient to do so.

So the EU referendum in the UK fell well short of anything we’d consider the minimum standards. The was clear manipulation of the vote, quite apart from the lies told by the leave camp. Furthermore, it was a non-legally binding referendum and I don’t recall anything about hard brexit or leaving the single market on that ballot paper. Nor do I recall anything about it in the Tory manifesto. And speaking of which I don’t recall anything in the Tory conference speech as being in their manifesto either (i.e. the one they were elected on). Such as sending Tory brownshirts around to count the number of migrants UK businesses were employing.

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And when was Theresa May elected? I don’t remember us having that election? Not a single vote has been cast in her name, not a single vote in parliament in favour of her policies on brexit. Yet she’s pushing ahead with a hard brexit plan that will overturn decades of UK law and effectively goes against many of the basic principles upon which the UK is founded. When did we become North Korea? If there is no brexit vote in parliament, my advice to the EU is don’t bother negotiating with the UK, the country should be expelled from the EU for gross violations of basic democratic principles.

As an absolute minimum there should be vote in parliament. And given the lies during the referendum campaign, it should really be re-rerun under proper democratic conditions, i.e. explain what the terms of leaving we are voting for are. Everyone with a vested interest in the UK (overseas UK citizens and EU citizens in the UK) should be allowed to vote in it. And they have to get +50% of the electorate to make it legally binding.

And over the pond in the US we have of course Trump. His supporters say we’re being unfair to him. If Hilary so much as coughs at a debate, she’s going to be out of the race. All Trump has to do is not grope some woman live on air or rip off his wig and go into a full scale meltdown. We are being way too kind to him. He’s right about one thing, when your a celebrity you can pretty much get away with anything.

Never has anyone stood for high office who is more unqualified for the job. Even if we judge him by Republican standards he has no redeeming features and quite a few negative ones. He is a vane, insecure misogynistic who neatly combines megalomania with egomania and delusions of grandeur, plus he has the intelligence of a small bowl of fruit. And his supporters can’t feint ignorance. We’ve got a a year and a half of this and his own words to back this up. Even if you lived on Mars you’d know what he’s like by now.

The fact is that anyone who votes for Trump, you’ve doing it because your an asshole who just want to watch the world burn. You are not acting in the best interests of your country. The fact is you hate America and everything it stands for (freedom of speech, all are equal regardless of race, colour or creed, etc.). In essence Trump is proving to be a test to see how many Americans are too dumb and racist to be allowed to vote.

Some Republicans have been calling on supporters to pick VP Mike Pence as a write in candidate. Ah, no! In a tight race no doubt Trump’s lawyers would argue such write in votes should count towards Trump’s total. Its a risk Trump’s opponents can’t take. The GOP had all summer to do something about Trump, they didn’t. Anyone who is vaguely sane needs to vote for Hilary (I don’t necessarily like her much either, but its not exactly like we have a choice). If you can’t bring yourself to do that, vote for a third party candidate like Gary Johnson….thought that is kind of like walking into a crowded bar with your eyes closed and firing a gun in a random direction. Yes you can claim not to have intentionally shot a particular person, but your actions still produced the same result.

In short many have developed this warped view of democracy. They see it as a means to an end. That we can ignore the essential checks and balances built in to it to stop crazy people doing crazy things. While politicians in the past have been “economical with the truth”, these pale in comparison to outright lies and flip flops we see from the brexit brigade or Trump. I mean seriously go back and look at Richard Nixon’s record. By modern standards he’s practically a saint. At the same time some voters are seeing elections as a way of taking out their personal frustrations, rather than acting in the best interests of the country. They’ll vote for a certain thing just for a laugh. Ya and let’s see if you are still laughing when your job goes or your pension becomes worthless.

And politicians have developed a very lazy attitude. Some who supported remain for example seem reluctant to call another vote to sort matters out because it would be a whole lot of work. I’m sorry politics is not the business of the lazy and the stupid. If your too lazy to vote (or too stupid to understand basic concepts), don’t bother voting (or standing as an MP), leave it to the grown ups.

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One thought on “What passes for democracy in the post-truth world

  1. Pingback: Some points on the article 50 court ruling…… | daryanblog

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