Politician responding to popular vote is betrayal of democracy

Twice in a couple of days we have learned that Theresa May is pursuing policies that will help define her government but in which she clearly has no personal belief. First there was Brexit, where her speech to Glodman Sachs clearly shows that all she is saying as PM does not reflect her personal opinion on the issue.

However, what is very clear from May’s behaviour is that a Prime Minsiter does not now think they have the power to follow their convictions. They do think there are greater requirements than doing the right thing as they see it. And May, to be blunt, is willing to do what she obviously thinks is the wrong thing so that she can be Prime Minister. And that’s where the danger lies.

It’s one thing to think that politicians lie to help achieve what they think is the right thing. But it’s quite another to think they lie to achieve what they think wrong for the country just so they can be in power. In that context May is dangerous and a deep threat to democracy.

We did have a referendum on Brexit, didn’t we?

It’s OK to lie to the people in order to do what you want. But when the people are asked and you do as they say then that’s a danger to democracy?

He really is a fascist, isn’t he?

37 thoughts on “Politician responding to popular vote is betrayal of democracy”

  1. So Much For Subtlety

    Actually I am not sure that May is under any obligation to follow through on Brexit. It is a tricky constitutional question. Actually referenda have no place in the British system. All sovereignty and power lies in Parliament as delegated by the Crown. The Parliament alone has the right to make laws. A referendum can only be advisory.

    Of course May has probably thought about what would happen next if she did not follow up what the people wanted. It is sensible, both politically and personally, for her to claim she will trigger Article 50.

    But she is under no legal or, perhaps, moral obligation to do so. She only obliged to vote what she thinks is best. Personally I might think better of her if she refused to do so. I might also seek to hang her from the nearest lamp post if she refused, but I would do so with the utmost and most tender respect.

  2. He is completely cynical. When democracy wants something he doesn’t like, he channels Burke like something off The Exorcist. When the Govt ignores a popular vote for something he likes, suddenly he is a Tribune.

    Fortunately for him, his followers either have the memories of goldfish or are as cynical as he is.

  3. They pulled a bit of a fast one with the Brexit vote, didn’t they?

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but the ultimately pointless AV vote was binding, right?

    First it goes in the Tory manifesto, when the odds were that another coalition would allow them to shrug it off and blame the Lib Dems.

    Ouch, unexpected majority.

    So they agree to do an EU vote, but don’t make it binding.

    Then they run Project Fear, including the supposedly independent BoE in their propaganda.

    Joe Cox dies. That event gets milked to make Brexiteers feel guilty.

    Shit, we lost. They weren’t meant to vote out!

    What to do, what to do? Cameron resigns, leaving someone else to trigger Article 50 and hoping they’ll bottle it.

    Thanks to the non-binding referendum, it’s open to legal challenges to give Parliament (pro-Remain) the final say.

    Given all the hurdles, it will be nearly miraculous if this actually gets through, looking at it from the beginning.

  4. > All sovereignty and power lies in Parliament as delegated by the Crown.

    Yes, and a referendum is when Parliament in turn delegates that power to the electorate.

    I don’t understand why these leaked tapes of May are supposed to be some sort of scandal. Yes, she was pro-Remain. It wasn’t a secret: she said so. We all knew it. What’s next? Secret footage of Michael Gove saying he thinks schools could be improved?

    But May stood as leader as a direct result of the Brexit vote. The whole and only reason the post was vacant was that Cameron was pro-Remain. The whole point of her candidacy was “I will deliver what the people have voted for.” If she hadn’t offered that, she couldn’t have won. Whether she thinks the people were right to vote the way we did is secondary.

    Personally, I think every Remnant MP in a pro-Leave constituency should have called a by-election immediately after the result. But never mind. In the absence of that ideal, having them accept the will of the people they’re supposed to be representing is pretty good.

  5. He correctly divines that Mrs May secretly let her real views be known to the evil Glodman Sachs. Who are probably Ickean reptiles.

  6. I also think May is the right person for the job. The main role of the Prime Minister for the next couple of years is to be chief negotiator with the EU. For that, we want one of our meanest, toughest, most ruthless and uncompromising bastards. May is perfect — and her Machiavellian willingness to bury her own principles in order to get the top job doesn’t undermine that case; it bolsters it. Once we’re out, she can go.

  7. The main role of the Prime Minister for the next couple of years is to be chief negotiator with the EU. For that, we want one of our meanest, toughest, most ruthless and uncompromising bastards.

    And possessing a pair of tits is probably also an advantage when negotiating with the Frogs.

  8. This isn’t going away, no matter how much the Remains want it to. If Parliament votes against Brexit it will be a fucking massive shitstorm. Lots of MPs will lose seats at the following completely chaotic General Election. For once, the cynical self-preservation instinct of MPs will actually be a good thing.

    For every smug David Lammy who will get voted back in on an ethnic block vote no matter what he says in public, there are half a dozen MPs, most of them Tory, in seats with a majority small enough to be overwhelmed by a Brexit insurrection. It’s like the Labour MPs and Corbyn – they all oppose him but not one has the balls to take him on in a by-election.

  9. I’ve seen this nonsense reasoning elsewhere. It is coming from a certain layer in political life, it is evidence of HUGE cognitive dissonance.

    I mean part of May’s actions are to be PM, but it is politically impossible for anyone who took the PMship to not implement the majority will.

    Those making the observation/argument about it being May’s desire for power are just suffering massive cognitive dissonance. I’d probably stop talking or taking the views of anyone saying this seriously, save yourself time as they are beyond seeing that its about implementing the popular will whether they like it or not.

    Alternatively call anyone who thinks May should spurn the majority will as an anti-democrat and mark them out as someone who you might need to deal with in future political developments.

  10. “He really is a fascist, isn’t he?”

    There was a spell in the history of the Free State when almost all the pols were fascists, though only one mob paraded around in Blue Shirts.

  11. First there was Brexit, where her speech to Glodman Sachs clearly shows that all she is saying as PM does not reflect her personal opinion on the issue.

    So in order to carry out the role of administering the running of a country, one must personally agree with every task?

    It’s one thing to think that politicians lie to help achieve what they think is the right thing.

    Is he talking about Blair and Iraq?

  12. For once I am going to try and translate Murphy’s stream of consciousness. On a conventional Grading Scale (Let’s use A to G) his utterance is normally a U but this one might be an F- let’s see)

    ‘Does it matter? I think it does. People already hold politicians in low esteem’

    For him therefore, it would seem that the best quality a politician can have is to follow the strength of his convictions even if the people disagree with that. Any number of issues arise from this, as Tim and others point out. It suggest Murphy would be a big fan of the likes of Bob Mugabe, Alexander Lukashenka, Kim Jong- un etc , as they ‘have the courage of their convictions’ in spades, as their opponents would no doubt testify if journalists were given access to the detention centres they are being held in (assuming they aren’t just killed off) It’s also problematic because people’s opinions can subtly change (or radically change) as a result of argument, evidence or changes of circumstances. It’s not uncommon for Murphy to contradict himself in the same post on several occasions and indeed almost unheard of to find the same position consistently held on one of his more prolific days – so he is asking for qualities from May which he himself has never displayed. Physician, heal thyself…..

    ‘The bigger concern is for our collective belief in the democratic process. This managed to survive the belief that politicians were liars for a very long time’.

    Another unevidenced assertion from the genre’s undisputed master – Contempt for politicians is a characteristic certainly across 19th and arguably (albeit the sections of the population which were able to express it were much more limited) the 18th as well. If his contention is that technology is increasing contempt for the political classes, then I happen to think he is right. Perhaps we should adopt his ideas and prevent any new technological innovations which the almighty state has not approved coming into being? Who knows – and given his outright contempt (often expressed) for the democratic process when its outcome is one he finds unamenable his contention is bizarre.

    I have to admit the rest of it is standard fare: ‘But it’s quite another to think they lie to achieve what they think wrong for the country just so they can be in power. In that context May is dangerous and a deep threat to democracy.’

    So what is his solution – that only a Brexiteer should be allowed to become PM? several stood and were rejected by the Tory MPs who were selecting the new Party Leader of the Largest Party?. A General election run now would see May come home with a hugely increased majority according to all the polls. Is this what he wants? The Ecksian attack on ‘CM’ to commence? His grants withheld? Forced to move maybe to Sleaford or Grimsby as Ely becomes too expensive?

    On second thoughts, I’ve changed my mind – It’s still a ‘U’ – ‘F’ far too generous for this sweeping of the floor of a fifth rate mind….

  13. > Those making the observation/argument about it being May’s desire for power are just suffering massive cognitive dissonance.

    Yes, and they also don’t understand that this is the great strength of democracy: that it harnesses politicians’ desire for power. The whole point of democracy is that you achieve power by doing what the electorate want. In non-democracies, you achieve power by trampling all over the public. As long as they have to persuade voters, it simply does not matter whether a politician bases their policy on a deep-seated conviction or a fervent desire to do good or a cynical unprincipled hunger for power or even a lunatic conspiracy theory — because not enough voters will ever share the same conviction or altruism or conspiracy theory, and certainly not an overwhelming desire to give as much power as possible to that one politician. It doesn’t matter what the voters’ motives are, either — an idea the Remnants are having real trouble with. In a democracy, motives are pooled and mixed and diluted till they may as well not exist. Which is why it’s so rare for democracies to give rise to significant crazed extremist movements.

    This is a feature, not a bug.

  14. “Actually I am not sure that May is under any obligation to follow through on Brexit. It is a tricky constitutional question. Actually referenda have no place in the British system.”

    Quite true, she isn’t. But she also isn’t stupid.

    Taking the piss out of the public over the EU AGAIN will see the peaceful equivalent of a revolution happening. Almost every leave voter would go to the polls at the next election and vote for UKIP just as a “get the fucking message” vote. The public have told the politicians, and to a reasonable margin, what they want.

    May is the reason I recently joined the Conservatives. Because for the first time since John Major, I think we’ve got a grown-up running the country. She’s made Hammond chancellor, one of the most able people around, and put Priti Patel in to International Development, which is basically about pouring water onto that bonfire of money.

    And I intend to keep the grown-ups running the Conservatives as a member.

  15. Bloke in North Dorset

    First there was Brexit, where her speech to Glodman Sachs clearly shows that all she is saying as PM does not reflect her personal opinion on the issue.

    However, what is very clear from May’s behaviour is that a Prime Minsiter [sic] does not now think they have the power to follow their convictions.

    We had a female PM who had the power to follow her convictions. It didn’t go down to well with the left. But what from I’ve seen and read she’s probably more in the Heath model anyway.

    And to describe her as a Remainer is probably technically correct, but she was hardly a vociferous campaigner.

    Obviously the best solution to this problem is to remove all Remainers from Government then they don’t have to go against their principles. Maybe all Remainers should resign to force by-elections to prove their point if they are adamant that everyone’s got buyers remorse and changed their mind? I suspect (hope) the Labour Party will be decimated outside London.

    Of course had the Remain gang got their way there would be no question of the result not being binding.

    And insisting that it was the end of discussions for at least a generation.

  16. May is under any obligation to follow through on Brexit

    Quite right, parliament being sovereign, and rather a comforting thought.

    Should Brexit become an obvious problem over the next year or so, or should the EU spectacularly and positively reform itself, then HMG can change course, and no doubt would if public opinion changed.

    It’s far odder to see Corbyn backing Remain.

  17. @SMFS

    I can’t bring myself to revisit the full horror, but I believe the 2014 Scottis referendum was “legally binding”, whatever that means.

  18. Does the leader of the party not have a responsibility to act for the party and as PM for the country regardless of her own personal feelings about something?
    Like it or not she has the job until such time as a general election is held. Its perhaps a poisoned chalice as whatever happens with Brexit she will be blamed for not doing what part of the electorate want. When cannot do what all the electorate want.

  19. I presume it is ok to lie if one is claiming the UK sends £350m a week to the EU and that it should spend it on the NHS instead? If the outright lies of the Leave campaigners were merely “aspirational” and never intended to be actually honoured so might Brexit also merely be an “aspiration” that the government is under no legal duty to honour?

  20. MJW–Save your Remainiac bullshit you putrid traitor.

    Your scummy gang of Cultural Marxist controlled pricks lost and that is it.

    And as for Leave being liars–how fucking dare you. Every lying sack of shite in the world was on your team.

    Now if you want a civil war that is fine. Lets go.

  21. ‘Every lying sack of shite in the world was on your team.’

    That ought to be on someone’s grave stone – classic!!

  22. “I presume it is ok to lie if one is claiming the UK sends £350m a week to the EU and that it should spend it on the NHS instead?”

    – Emergency budget
    – Back to the end of the queue with America
    – Unable to negotiate within 2 years
    – Museums damaged
    – Football harmed
    – A flood of bankers leaving
    – Roaming charges on phones coming back
    – End of financial protection for package holidays
    – Deutsche Bank to leave
    – Global security would be harmed
    – Culture would be harmed
    – Animal welfare would be harmed
    – Maternity rights would be harmed

    The remoaners are on very shaky ground when they talk about the honesty of the out campaign.

    Plus, I don’t remember you people complaining when Brown and Cast Iron made promises regarding the EU and failed to keep them.

    All you people are angry about is that your lies didn’t work, but Leave’s did.

    You lost. Losers make excuses. Winners go home and fuck the prom queen.

  23. I don’t know why people get angry with each other on here when we can all get together and hate Richard Murphy.

  24. Two things.

    Firstly, the £350m a week was just brilliant politics. It put the Remnants into the position of saying “Actually, I think you’ll find that we send them £210m a week!” (or whatever the figure was), which essentially had them fighting the Leave side for us. Idiots.

    Secondly, I honestly don’t believe the British public are so stupid that they thought it was a general election. Furthermore, they know what the phrase “let’s” means. And that particular bit of the campaign was not isolated; it happened in the context of the rest of the campaign, in which Leave campaigners said again and again and again that the whole point was to bring the money and the decisions back to Westminster so that we could then decide what to do with the money. I’m sure some people managed to get the wrong end of the stick, just as some always do about everything, but there was no “broken promise”.

    And finally, given that the NHS is the British national religion, that all political debate surrounding the NHS is a competition to see who can promise it the most money, and that anyone offering to cut its budget is totally unelectable, I would be amazed if a large chunk of the EU membership budget, possibly even all of it, didn’t end up being spent on the NHS. Come on, it’s Britain: that’s where money goes.

    So there was no promise to be broken, but in a few years it’ll turn out it was kept anyway.

  25. I don’t hate RM. I just find him fascinating to study.
    Can pretty much guarantee whatever those in power (ie not him) do or say he will oppose, point out real or imagined issues and generally act like a naysmith.
    He is a pretty good guide what not to think. Head in the opposite direction and things should work out.

  26. I’d have to echo Andrew C – don’t forget:

    ‘Listen…. and understand. Murphy is out there. He can’t be bargained with, he can’t be reasoned with. He doesn’t feel pity or remorse. And he absolutely will not stop – ever – until you are dead’

  27. @ Martin
    It is on record (but was not public at the time) that Mrs Thatcher was opposed to abolishing free school milk. So, yes!

  28. Christ VP

    I’ve now got a mental picture of a sort of portly skeletor stamping about laying waste to the population of Ely, with red mechanical eyes and bare metallic teeth whilst holding copies of the Joy of Tax and Mein Kampf

  29. Bloke in Costa Rica

    That milk was fucking gopping anyway. By mid-morning break it was on the turn, even if the bloody blue-tits hadn’t been at it. Fatch did us all a favour.

  30. Yes, never forget who took milk away from school kids.

    It was a monstrous evil thing that was done!

    (Whisper it quietly) Edward Short- 1968 – was Education Secretary when the decision was taken to withdraw free school milk for 11 to 18 year olds – He was Labour.

    THEN SHOUT LOUDLY ABOUT THATCHER THATCHER MILK SNATCHER who was Education secretary when direct government funding for milk was withdrawn for those over 7 in 1971.

    Described by the Labour Education spokesman as “the meanest and most unworthy thing” he’d seen in 20 years as he’d obviously forgotten what had happened just 3 years earlier.

    Although many LEAs carried on by simply funding it themselves or via the EEC.

  31. Just look how well it turned out having a PM who insisted on doing what he felt was right and was happy to manipulate the situation to get that, Blair has tainted politics a lot more than I think May ever will.
    One of the scary things about Hilary is that I see the same obsession with their place in history and right at all costs stuff that Blair exhibits

  32. The remain argument which so persuaded Jeremy, EU employment legislation, is a niggling itch for me. I can’t quite understand why the debate hasn’t moved on immediately to what shall we enact? I suppose eventually it will. I suppose that everyone can predict eventually it will, so why don’t we skip the part where we pretend something magical was lost for ever and start arguing for things we want to preserve or discontinue.

  33. Blair had a decade in power to bring milk back into schools.

    I’m quite happy if people want to call Thatcher an evil bitch for doing something, but if your side aren’t going to change it back, you’re a fucking hypocrite.

    It’s like the miners. My stock question to watermelons is “so, shall we reopen the pits and burn lots of coal?”.

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