‘Peaceful politics is based on accepting the will of the majority’

March 4, 2019

NATIONAL MANDATE: “Parliamentary sovereignty really meant, and still means, the unchallenged right to put the people’s will into law. To accept the inevitable that, more than anything, is the secret of our political stability. Those who claimed the elite knew best found themselves on the scrap-heap of history.” – Robert Tombs, professor of French history at St John’s College, Cambridge.

EXPERT KNOWLEDGE: “The purpose of democracy is not to find the right answer to technical problems, as judged by ‘experts’, but is to maintain an acceptable political community based on consent. The EU has aspired to establish the rule of experts to constrain democratic choices that the elite thought dangerous.”

 

A HISTORIAN and academic claims those seeking to overturn the democratic mandate to leave the EU could be a “dangerous step backward”.

Robert Tombs, professor of French history at St John’s College, Cambridge. claims the People’s Vote and other voices clamouring to reverse the 2016 EU Referendum are symptomatic and the arguments used are “more strident” than is normal in UK politics.

He claims the two-party system – however imperfect it is – has brought continuity, the avoidance of violent political discourse and the neutering of political extremism via the first-past-the-post voting system. These arguments were put in an article written in The Telegraph of 7 November 2018. It is also published in the free magazine of Wetherspoon News.

‘Sovereignty means turning people’s will into law’

“Parliamentary sovereignty really meant, and still means, the unchallenged right to put the people’s will into law.

“Past rulers had the good sense to accept the inevitable that, more than anything, is the secret of our political stability. Those who claimed the elite knew best found themselves on the scrap-heap of history.”

Tombs claims the deal Theresa May negotiated with the European Union delegate headed by Michel Barnier, was akin to a relationship that the American Colonies had with the United Kingdom prior to the American War of Independence in 1776.

‘Protecting borders is threat and moral affront’

“Globalization and our membership of the EU have created a new elite whose careers outside the boundaries of Britain.

“For them the idea of ‘taking back control of our borders’ is a threat and even a moral affront.

“For a modern democratic state to deny its own citizens even an indirect voice in deciding the laws governing them for an indefinite period would previously have been unimaginable: taxation without representation, to the tune of £39B.

‘The purpose of democracy is based on consent’

“One can oppose the will of the majority on principle, argue against it and try to alter of it. But the extremism of their (Remainers) arguments, the predictions of disaster, the assertions that people will die due to lack of medicine, the unwillingness to look dispassionately at the evidence are more strident than is normal in our politics.

“To behave in this way seems to me reckless and fundamentally subversive of democracy. The purpose of democracy is not to find the right answer to technical problems, as judged by ‘experts’, but is to maintain an acceptable political community based on consent.”

“The EU has aspired to establish the rule of experts to constrain democratic choices that the elite thought dangerous.”

Establishment parties are expected to face huge political losses at the next European Parliamentary elections in May to populist movements, as well as the costs of dealing with the migration crisis and slow economic growth across the bloc.

‘Lid on EU democracy is screwed down if vote is ignored’

He concluded: “As the EU accumulates crises, it is a strange kind of reality. If Brexit is defeated, it will prove not only the impotence of democracy in Britain, but it will confirm the impotence of democracy throughout the EU. The lid will have been screwed down.

“We all know the eventual consequences of that. Our long history of peaceful politics has been based on accepting the will of the majority.

“Attempting quite openly to thwart it is a dangerous step backwards – and a long way backwards.”

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