If we’re going to argue about the tyranny of the majority, I will win

So, we’ve finally left the EU. But this hasn’t stopped a few ardent remainers from trotting out some of the arguments they’ve been making for the past three and a half years.

The one that fascinates me most is the one that goes something like “x voted to remain”. You’ve seen the claims. “Scotland voted remain” or “London voted Remain”. Sometimes they’re grouped together, for impact, like this tweet from a disgraced member of the corporate press:

This always seems to me to be a strange argument, but one I’m actually happy to back (although they won’t like the support I’m giving it). It’s one of those points that you know they just haven’t thought about enough. They cannot have thought it through, or taken it to the next stage (never mind its logical conclusion).

Let’s do that for them.

Their point must, for they wouldn’t have said it otherwise, be that this is somehow important. That x (let’s use Scotland) voted to remain. That the people of Scotland (a subsection of the broader referendum area) are being overruled. It’s worth pointing out at this stage that this was a UK referendum. There were no constituencies, no countries, no cities, just one big vote, winner takes all. This wasn’t a first past the post vote for a number of seats, like in a General Election. Any area that remainers are speaking of is arbitrary (unless it’s the whole of the UK). So why are they doing it?

Is it that it’s bad for a larger population to govern a smaller one? To somehow dictate terms to people who don’t want decisions imposed on them? Because I say let’s take this further. You talk about Scotland. Not everyone in Scotland voted to remain. Many voted to leave. What about them? If it’s not ok for the larger part of the UK to dominate a smaller part, why is it ok for the larger part of Scotland to do the very same thing?

I love the idea that a larger group should not impose its will on a smaller group, which is exactly what they don’t realise they’re saying.

If Scotland shouldn’t have to listen to the rest of the UK, why should Glasgow have to listen to the rest of Scotland? Why should a village with a Glasgow postcode listen to the rest of Glasgow? Why should households in that postcode listen to the rest of them? In fact, why should any individual listen to any majority? Why should anyone have power over another, simply because they’re larger in number?

This is the logical conclusion of their argument.

It also helps us to point out that the larger the democratic area, the greater the number of people who will be disappointed. So why do they use it to argue for membership of an organisation that has the ability to impose its will on multiple countries every time a new law or regulation is passed? Indeed, if your argument is against the tyranny of the majority, you should logically be calling for the smallest possible majority to prevent any unnecessary tyranny whatsoever. Which leads you to the democracy of one: The individual.

This is why I’m all for their argument. Why should people tell you how to live your life because they outnumber you? Why should any group impose their morals on a group of lesser members? Why should a number of people have power, authority and control over any smaller number?

Let’s not play the democracy game. It’s easy to talk like Brendan O’Neill and say that we should always rely on the wisdom of crowds, that we should trust in the democratic will of the people and that we should put our faith in the collective decision making of the entire population. Collective decision making gave us Theresa May and over any reasonable length of time you, personally, will be overruled by the majority for no good reason.

Instead, let’s play them at their own game and play to win. Yes. You’re quite right. The rest of Britain shouldn’t impose its will on Scotland and nobody else should impose their will on me.


Photo by Adam Wilson on Unsplash

Proroguing Parliament: What does it really mean for Brexit?

As predicted, Boris Johnson has decided to end the current parliamentary session (the longest in modern times), and trigger a new Queen’s Speech. Remainists are naturally going crazy, and talking of constitutional outrage.

But what does it actually mean for Brexit on 31 October? Is there time for fast-tracked, Bercow-enabled law that would either revoke Article 50, extend the deadline, or somehow prevent a “no deal”? What about passing a law that would stop prorogation itself? Is there even time left now in the parliamentary session?

We discuss all this and the finer details of the Fixed Term Parliament Act, and whether Boris has pulled a blinder.

Fixed Term Parliament Act 2011 –

House of Commons Library Briefing Paper on Prorogation –

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Every day hypocrisy: You cannot have it both ways

In this edition, we recap on what actually happened during & after our last podcast recording, and how it informed the way we discuss & debate issues.

By understanding & agreeing each others points of view, a whole vocabulary & context is created that makes examining issues far easier.

And then we explore a list of popular political, social & cultural contradictions.

Can you really have it both ways? We debate the hypocrisy and stupidity of our favourites.

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Is Jeremy Corbyn the political genius he’s being made out to be?

When it looked like Jeremy Corbyn would win the Labour leadership election in 2015, pundits and commentators were essentially speechless.

Sure, they could point to the Momentum movement, and a desire by members to try something different. They could easily identify the new leadership election rules and allowing £3 “members” to vote as having a huge and unexpected impact.

But essentially no one knew what to make of him.

I think most people were genuinely shocked when, after the general hilarity that he had actually won, the reality of having John McDonnell as shadow chancellor sunk in.

But still, the prevailing view at the time was that this must be the gift that it seemed to be to the Conservative Party.

And in the short term it was. For all his faults, David Cameron was at ease against Corbyn at the despatch box. It was merely sport to each week point out the attempted coups, the splits and the absurdity that the Labour Party had become.

Dressing improperly, not singing the national anthem and having no idea how to handle the media (Seamus I don’t think this is a good idea…) all fed into a comfortable narrative that Jeremy Corbyn and the new Labour leadership just weren’t credible.

And let’s be clear this is excluding all mentions of the IRA, anti-semitism, and dangerous socialist policies.

But then came the EU referendum and subsequently Theresa May.

JC was virtually silent during the campaign. As was TM. Both I think for different reasons.

JC, a long time advocate of leaving the EU, realised he would alienate his party if he came out in favour of leave.

TM, in one of her more canny political moments, realised that this thing could go both ways, and better not to piss off the leavers in case there was a chance to grab the throne.

She was right. And the staggering fumbling of the Tory Brexiteers ensured she became leader and Prime Minister.

Fast forward one disastrous general election (for the Tories at least) and a failed EU withdrawal negotiation and the politics of the UK couldn’t be more different.

If Jeremy Corbyn and the Labour Party could be accused of being consistent it would be in their inconsistency, in particular with EU policy.

At first it was highlighted as gaff by the media. Hang on, didn’t that shadow minister say the exact opposite of what Corbyn said yesterday?

Wait, Corbyn has now contradicted what he said last week.

And so it continued.

Now after months and months of this, commentators are starting to say that this is Corbyn’s genius. That he is actually a smooth political operator.

6 impossible tests. What a trap he’s laid.

By being all things to all people he has become the every-person leader. A man of all the policies.

Agreeing with everyone and disagreeing with the Tories.

We know he never thought he’d ever get this far. We know it’s McDonnell that we should be really worried about ever coming close to power.

And it doesn’t take a political genius to see that every move they make is about seeking power, at any cost.

But I’m reminded of the Soviet Union in the Cold War, when there was a genuine nuclear arms race between them and the west.

Western intelligence agencies could only find derelict and old missile silos. But how could this be when the rhetoric was that they had the most powerful arsenal in the world?

The intelligence agencies of the day concluded that the Russians were being so clever that they had indeed developed better weapons and the ability to make the other side think they hadn’t.

Ironically this hardened the resolve of America and its allies as they rushed to develop counter technologies to win the arms race.

History showed us that this was essentially unnecessary. The silos and missiles were exactly as they seemed. Dilapidated and under maintained. No match for their opponents.

So is Jeremy Corbyn wearing the Emperors new clothes? Political observers seem to think he has not only tapped into the current zeitgeist but is using his savvy political skills in a way that must be sheer genius.

Who else would come across as so untrustworthy and inconsistent. He must know something we don’t know.

The concern is that they are right. Not because he’s principled and just, but because the electorate will somehow be sucked in.

But I still can’t bring myself to believe that it isn’t anything other than Labour Party incompetence.

The 2017 election was a shock to me, having accurately predicted the previous 4 elections. I trusted the people to make the right decision.

Now I’m not so sure. I want to believe that the voters will, if presented with a Socialist Labour Party, will reject it, and we’ll all go back to saying how politically inept the whole experience was.

But with Theresa May at the helm of an increasingly interventionist Conservative Party, botching Brexit, with no credible free market, Liberal alternative in sight, I fear voters will waver, as I am, as to whether to vote at all.

And if voters become non-voters, then this absurdity, no matter how intentional, may yet be proved successful.

Democracy: What is it? And can we have too much?

This week, Nic asks some intriguing questions about democracy and we both try our best to find some answers.

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