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Explicitly anti-democratic? December 6, 2019

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.

William Keegan in the Observer has long been a Remain proponent, but interesting to parse the nuance in how his position has changed across the months. He also points up the sheer oddity of the LDs in relation to Brexit, supposedly their central concern, and yet…

Which brings me to Jo Swinson, leader of the Liberal Democrats. If things go the wrong way on Thursday week, the responsibility will lie principally with the Conservative Brexit party and Jeremy Corbyn’s failure of leadership. But what on earth did Swinson think she was doing when Tim Walker, the Liberal Democrat candidate for Canterbury, stepped down tactically to help his fellow Remainer, the Labour candidate, and Swinson proceeded to replace Walker with another candidate?

She is also splitting the Remain vote in the constituency of David Gauke, the former Tory turned independent.

It’s an absurdity. And points up the pernicious approach of the LDs in these very particular contexts. He also points to a further problem with the LDs.

Which brings us to what was manifestly a strategic error on Swinson’s part. For a long time the Lib Dems were sticking out for another referendum, then they spoiled it by saying they would revoke article 50. Now, of course they are right in one sense: the entire Brexit misadventure is an own goal, and in an ideal world article 50 should indeed be revoked – indeed, it should never even have been invoked.
But we are where we are, and a second referendum, however risky, would be a legitimate response to those who say “the people have spoken”. The people should be given another chance to reflect. It is more important to honour the wellbeing of the nation than to honour one referendum that was a vehicle for many discontents that had precious little to do with the EU.

I’m not keen on a second referendum quite this close to the first, but I do accept that a referendum arrived at on foot of an election with democratic legitimation therein is a different matter entirely. And it is telling that Keegan recognises the implicitly anti-democratic aspect of the Swinson approach.


1. tafkaGW - December 6, 2019

Of course unilateral revocation without a referendum would be anti-democratic. Which is the view of many remainers. Which should make clawing back Lib Dem voters easier, if that’s what the BLP chooses to concentrate on in the next five days.

As for a second/third referendum so soon: Well… it’s been three eye-opening years since the last one. And the next one will be much better informed than the last one. Thus more democratic.

Liked by 1 person

WorldbyStorm - December 6, 2019

Yeah, I’m not against it if legitimised by a vote, as with the BLP approach.


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