An assault on democracy

Am I the only one who sees a problem with this idea of stopping Brexit? I mean, apart from the fact that it’s not at all certain Article 50 can be revoked. Or what price the other 27 member states would exact for allowing the UK to remain. Or whether that price would not then make it politically impossible to revoke Article 50.

Quite apart from that wee mine-field, there’s the small matter of democracy. Now, I know that many of the signatories to this letter are British nationalists. So it’s safe to assume that democratic principles, as these are generally understood, won’t loom large in their thinking. But did not these same ‘One Nation’ British nationalists – explicitly or implicitly – insist that Scotland must accept that the EU referendum was a UK-wide vote and that the people of Scotland must meekly accept that they had been overruled?

These same people seem now to be saying that it’s the people of England and Wales whose democratic will should be discounted. They appear to be suggesting that the UK-wide vote no longer counts. One might even frame their proposal as the Scotland and Northern Ireland minority overruling the England and Wales majority.

Let me be clear. I do not want Brexit. For my own reasons, I voted Remain. And would certainly do so again now that I see how the UK Government is making a turd latte of the process. But how can I demand that Scotland’s democratic will in this matter should be honoured without also accepting that the democratic will of England and Wales should be afforded the same respect?

What concerns me at least as much as the whole Brexit fiasco is the casual disregard for democracy that has seeped out of its dank pit on the far right of British (nationalist) politics to become a commonplace of political discourse.

Democracy is being turned on its head. A perfectly acceptable principle that the minority should be afforded due consideration has metamorphosed into a shrill insistence that it be afforded equal, or even superior status, to to the majority.

This upsetting of democratic norms may be seen as part of an insidious and increasingly prevalent anti-democratic agenda which seeks to undermine all our democratic institutions and processes. From the MP expenses scandal – which latterly became as much a campaign against parliament as against corruption – to the way in in which established power is treating the Scottish Parliament and Government, there is a powerful sense of democracy itself being under attack.

What this call to stop Brexit tells us is that it is not only the people of Scotland who should be concerned about an assault on democracy from a malign clique exploiting the rise of extreme British nationalism. We should all stand ready to defend democracy against the depredations of those who would reduce it to nothing more than a means by which people may be manipulated like puppets.

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9 thoughts on “An assault on democracy

  1. bringiton

    They only get away with it because England’s right wing press pack support and encourage their agenda.
    Once people realise that they are being lied to through the works of fiction published as facts by HM press then there is no going back.
    However,for many,that day has yet to dawn.

  2. Geach

    “Democracy is being turned on its head. A perfectly acceptable principle that the minority should be afforded due consideration has metamorphosed into a shrill insistence that it be afforded equal, or even superior status, to to the majority.
    Wise words Mr Bell, very wise words, and a tacit agreement from you that there should not be another indyref?
    “…..only the people of Scotland who should be concerned about an assault on democracy from a malign clique exploiting the rise of extreme *British* nationalism. We should all stand ready to defend democracy against the depredations of those who would reduce it to nothing more than a means by which people may be manipulated like puppets.” Substitute *Scottish* for *British*, and the song remains the same.
    “..But how can I demand that Scotland’s democratic will in this matter should be honoured ….”
    Exactly.
    Once the majority has spoken……

    1. commonoldworkinchap

      Well done mate, you managed to get” indyref” mentioned . Is any opinion piece about
      UK politics ,or the ( Ludicrous) state of democracy in the UK, an opportunity to get
      “indyref” in. We get the picture, this divisive obsession with another indyref (Yawn) is
      harming Scotland ( OOPS Growth figures ) and we , in the colony, must just accept
      the result of 2014 for ever and ever.!!

      This negative, one trick pony, tactic is getting sooo boring. Wee rooth will be happy
      with you. Mibbe give you a ride on her tank. Land of Dope and Tory indeed.

      1. SandyW

        Also the small matter that the people of Scotland recently elected representatives with a mandate to hold another Independence Referendum in the event of a Brexit that Scotland voted against. Those elected representatives duly passed a Bill in the Scottish Parliament for precisely that. Opposition to another independence referendum puts you firmly in the anti-democratic camp, not a champion of the ‘majority’.

        1. Geacher

          Actually SandyW, there was no “majority”, and as the Greens did not have anything about another referendum in their manifesto, their vote is “without manifsto”, but leaving that technicality aside, I would quite happy see another referendum after the 2021 Scottish Elections, because you would lose, and heavily at that.
          My reply was relating to the sheer hypocrisy of the author of the piece who as done nothing for the last three years about the “democratic” (SNP style) right of the Scottish people to get another referendum. And another one. i draw your attention to this passage “minority should be afforded…. a shrill insistence that it be afforded……. superior status, to to the majority.” Which is EXACTLY what Mr Bell has been demanding since September 2014.

          1. Peter A Bell Post author

            You demonstrate your customary lack of comprehension. Like pretty much everybody in the Yes movement, I have moved on from the 2014 independence referendum. British nationalist fanatics such as yourself have not. You continue to fight a campaign that is long since over. Meanwhile, those whose concern is for democracy and Scotland press for a NEW referendum in order that the people of Scotland can make an informed choice in the light of changed circumstances.

            Democracy is a process. Dullards such as yourself imagine that history stopped on 19 September 2014. Those of us who are not intellectually crippled by British nationalist bigotry insist that the people be heard. Fascists demand that the people be silent.

            You shall not prevail. Your anti-democratic British nationalist extremism will not prevail. Democracy will prevail. When you set yourself against the people of Scotland you pick a fight that you cannot win.

          2. SandyW

            What Peter said. Also, there doesn’t need to be a majority of the popular vote cast, its whether sufficient MSPs vote for the Bill – that’s the way our parliamentary system works. Or would you like to start applying the same rules of an overall majority vote to the tories at Westminster and their Brexit plans? No? Didn’t think so.

          3. grizebard

            It’s funny-peculiar that people like you are so delightfully choosy about which votes have to be respected and which are readily discardable. Following your logic we would have had a general election back in eighteen-something-or-other and never needed another since.

            Or more directly, we’ve had two referendums on the EU before this latest one, so shouldn’t they also have “been respected”?

            Excuse me, but your double standards are showing. And the sight isn’t pleasant to behold.

  3. P Kelly

    I can’t help wondering if you’ve actually noticed the daily deluge of news re the enormous negative impact of Brexit. In Scotland it’s anticipated with loss of investment our economy will plunge by approx. £8 billion within the next 10 years, job losses will follow, wages will inevitably fall, research funding will plunge… Any initiative from Scotland which challenges the Tory government’s determination to drag us out of Europe is surely a positive regardless of a few names associated with the Better Together campaign. There is a significant swell of opinion consistently reflected in new polls showing majority support for Remain in England and Wales. In Scotland and NI we decisively voted against Brexit but English and Welsh voters are not entitled to change their minds in a democracy? As a supporter of an independent Scotland in the EU I feel that I am not alone in refusing to meekly accept the consequences of Brexit.

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