Power to the people, really?

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“I am a firm believer in the people. If given the truth, they can be depended upon to meet any national crisis. The great point is to bring them the real facts, and beer.” Abraham Lincoln

Democracy, sovereignty. Bureaucracy, globalisation. The Brexit debate has brought forward a whole gear of concepts that have been massively over-used, in an urge to give some intellectual weight to each side’s arguments. The EU? a bureaucratic machine – a loss of sovereignty for its member states. The UK? A country that can face the winds of globalisation on its own, with Brexiting finally allowing its population to make choices on a democratic basis. Is it a euphemism to say that some of us have felt betrayed by the striking emptiness of these claims? That it felt like complex notions such as sovereignty and globalisation have been overly simplified and used as smokescreens to justify all sorts of self-interested political moves?

Democracy is an interesting one. On one side the Leave campaign was shouting at will that the sprawling EU machine had led to an atrophy of democracy. Leave to regain control! On the other side, it was fascinating to observe how a flurry of disdain and cynicism from the remain supporters blew on social media after the referendum results, as some claimed that this is democracy in action – or, give a voice to the people and that’s what they do with it. So what’s the diagnosis here? Too much democracy? Or not enough?  Continue reading

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