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Democracy Is Under Yet Another Threat, With Left-Wing Parties Calling For The Curbing - Or Even Banning - The Use Of Referenda

01/03/2017 15:22
Chris Radburn/PA Archive

Democracy is not perfect and it never will be.

In the past I have described it as being three wolves and a sheep voting on what is for dinner; there always will be winners and losers. But there is no doubt in my mind that it is the best system available.

Enhancing the process and engaging more of the electorate has got to be a good thing as it breaks down the divisions between the rulers and the ruled. The Internet has expedited this growth of grass roots involvement; one only has to look at www.change.org or www.38degrees.org.uk to see how people have been able to become more involved politically via the net.

As publicly held political meetings have become a 'thing of the past' of the past in terms of voter engagement, they have become replaced by virtual meetings via the net and are helping (particularly amongst younger voters) engagement with the democratic process. The success of this communication dissemination change is of course not always welcomed by governments, as shown by the response of the Chinese Communist Party which has 'firewalled' over a billion people.

Yet, the Left in Europe, which likes to call itself progressive, actively wants to discourage democracy. Only this week in Denmark, viewed by many as one of the freest nations on Earth, the Left has sought an alliance made up of The Danish Social Liberal Party, The Alternative, and the Socialist Left Party are pushing for a parliamentary deal committing all the country's pro-European Union parties never to put the country's EU membership to an in-out referendum.

Their tenuous argument being that tying Denmark more securely to the EU will help the economy by making international investors better able to predict the future.

(Strange how the Left is masquerading itself as pro-business.)

This call for referendum banning echoes those from Rebecca Harms MEP, Co-President of The Greens-European Free Alliance group in the European Parliament, who has called for an end to referendums on issues "not suitable" for direct democracy because 'they threaten the very existence of the European Union'.

A statement however that puts her at odds with the sole Green UK MP Caroline Lucas MP, who calling for a second referendum in the UK over our withdrawal from the EU.

As ever then, the use of referendums are OK only if they deliver the right result.

Let's look too at the 47 UK Labour MPs who defied the wishes of the electorate and voted against the triggering of Article 50. While some, like Owen Jones MP, made the claim that they were voting according to the majority wishes of their constituents and ignore the wishes of the people across the UK; others such as Labour MPs Graham Allen (63.8% Leave), Mary Creagh (62% Leave), Paul Farrelly (61.7% Leave), Chris Bryant (61.2% Leave), Catherine McKinnel (57.1% Leave), Ann Clwyd (57% Leave), Alan Whitehead (50.7% Leave) do not even have that excuse, and voted in open defiance of what was a democratic outcome at the ballot box.

One should ask these people why they even bothered to campaign for Remain if they were going to ignore the result anyway? The answer is quite simple: despite making all the right democratic noises the Left despises democracy.

Previously, almost all UK referendums had gone the right way securing a London Mayor, devolved powers for Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland (but not the North East Regional Assembly), and prevented any change to the First Past the Post system; yet in 2016 the EU Referendum set the elite into a tailspin, voters had voted the wrong way.

This has exposed the Left for what it truly is, an enemy of democracy. It allowed and openly supported all these other referendum results, yet on this EU Exit one they have voted against the people or are clamouring for a new vote (no doubt with new promises) to deliver what they consider must be the right result. Just like the EU did in Ireland when they rejected the Nice Treaty.

This habit is not confined solely of the nominal Left, the Conservatives, who are becoming more and more socialist by the day, have also shown a willingness to ignore referendum results. In May 2012 the people of Birmingham were asked whether or not they wanted a directly elected mayor. 57.8% voted 'No Thanks.' Yet guess what, this year will see the election of the first Birmingham Mayor; Manchester - which voted no 53/47, and Sheffield which voted no by 65/35, will similarly both have Mayors forced upon them despite voter sentiment being clearly against.

Mayoral contests, of course, will be dominated by the higher spending and richer two Westminster parties, leading to a tightening of their grip on politics in the UK - hardly democracy in action.

I am a democrat, and one of my major motivations supporting Brexit has been to bring back decision-making to the UK away from the unelected and unaccountable officials in Brussels. Unlike the Left, which wishes to maintain the wall between the rulers and the ruled, I will always defend and encourage the greater use of referenda and will always respect the result.

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