The UK Prime Minister, Mrs May, writes today that to have a second Referendum in the UK on Brexit would be “a gross betrayal of democracy”.
If she believes that, she does not understand democracy very well.
She seems to suggest that democrats, having made a decision, should not ever change their minds. In fact, democracy is all about creating mechanisms whereby voters CAN change their minds.
Democracy allows voters to change their minds, usually through parliamentary elections.
Totalitarian or dictatorial regimes, who do not hold regular elections, do not a have an inbuilt mechanism for changing their minds. This makes them brittle. Democracy, in contrast, is flexible.
There may be practical arguments against holding a second Referendum on Brexit, at this stage.
One could ask questions like
“What alternative to Brexit would be offered to voters, and by whom would it be offered….by the UK alone or by the UK and the EU?”
“ Might it be wiser to allow UK voters to actually experience Brexit in practice before asking them if they like it or not and want to change their minds?”
But for Theresa May to argue that reconsidering a referendum decision, by means of a second referendum, is “ a betrayal of democracy” is just nonsensical.
Courtesy of John Bruton