Lawsuit would force Parliament to vote on Brexit


#1

Originally published at: http://boingboing.net/2016/10/13/lawsuit-would-force-parliament.html


#2

It seems to me that Brexit in general was so woefully misrepresented that a good case can be made for the vote being invalided on the basis that the populace was misled.


#3

And even if it wasn’t, there was not even a two-thirds democratic quorum majority of citizens in favor of it. There’s certainly no popular mandate to proceed with the idiocy and self-harm of the Brexit, nor to suppress and disenfranchise the destinies of the many millions of cosmopolitan and pluralistic Brits who can’t imagine or even justifiably fear living in a demagoguery-diminished post-Brexit world; an EU exit may well become the first step down an extremely slippery slope.


#4

The only Tesco’s item that doesn’t seem to be going up in price in the new Little England is a jumbo-sized can of worms (which tastes awful without marmite). They don’t go down well without Chippie Sauce, either.


#5

I’m thinking there’s a good argument that anything this seismic should be voted on twice, with the first being a practice referendum. Would people just not take the first vote seriously the way they do the polls, and still make mistakes they regret in round two? Maybe, but at least people could reconsider their decision with the results laid out before them. With all the talk of people who didn’t bother to vote or who voted for Brexit thinking it would never actually pass, I’m thinking this is a time when that would come in handy.


#6

There wasn’t a two-thirds majority to get in either. There’s hardly ever a two-thirds majority for anything at all.

Look, Brexit is going to ruin the UK. And the EU is not above putting in a helping hand to make sure the ruin takes all the surer. However, this right here is democracy. It’s democracy even when the decision is not the one you’d pick. The Brits have made their bed (well they’ve lit it on fire, really) and now they must lie in it.

And as for @Jorpho: If being mislead is cause to cancel an election, I would humbly suggest that all elections right back to ancient Athens should be invalidated.


#7

Are you perchance someone high up in Irish government / civil service? They think precisely this whenever the people give the wrong answer in a referendum. Let’s hold another one! Let’s pretend the problem is some minor technical issue and obfusticate for months while making dark mutterings about what will happen if we don’t give the right answer and then resubmit to the people with that tiny change…
:grinning:


#8

Wake up. It’s only democracy if it’s based on an enlightened electorate. Given the demagoguery that supported the Brexit, this was not a democratic action, nor are these results in any way democratically legitimate. Garbage in, garbage out. Citizens and people who care about their own right to have a righteous and legitimate destiny must resist, and that resistance is legitimate. Democracy only “counts” if it is true, and it is only true if it is based on credible factual intelligent meaningful enlightened rhetoric disseminated to the people to inform their vote. A deluded vote leads to a deluded illegitimate result, and that’s all that the Brexit is, nothing more. The means invalidate the ends. Britain is literally now under attack from within; the Brexit is a withering salvo.


#9

It seems to me that if any public vote can be invalidated by saying “well, it doesn’t count because 100% of the electorate wasn’t properly enlightened”, we’d be stuck in an endless cycle of do-over votes.

It’s true the public was lied to in advertisements about Leave, but those who voted Leave failed to do their homework. They made an ignorant and poorly informed decision, but that’s on them.


#10

That is infinitely preferable to shrugging and saying, “eh, but they technically cast ballots for this, and so It’s OK.”

Legitimate government is about the universal morality of the means mattering as much as the ends.


#11

I’m just thinking of all the news coverage of shell-shocked voters, even some of who vote pro-Brexit, after the results were in. I mean yes, people should live with the consequences of their choices, but I’ll admit to feeling a little sorry for people who just realized they torpedoed their economy.
¯_(ツ)_/¯


#12

Actually, according to Wiki:

In total, over two-thirds of voters supported continued EEC membership. 67.2 percent voted Yes and 32.8 percent voted No.

To anticipate quibbles, that was only two-thirds of the voters, or 65% of the potential voters, which means it passed with roughly 4/9ths. And also, this was a referendum on continued membership; joining had already been decided by Parliament a few years before.

The precedent here suggests that since we had a Parliamentary vote and a referendum to join/stay in, to get out also requires a referendum and a Parliamentary vote, not just the PM deciding to do it because she’s just realising she took a poisoned chalice when she took the job.


#13

I disagree strenuously. A crucial part of democracy is lack of ambiguity. Once the votes have been cast, that’s it and everyone agrees to abide by the result. Obviously, this is the ideal but this and only this makes democracy work at all. Eroding it is a dangerous and ruinous thing.

Your view is such that anyone can claim that any democratic decision is based on an unenlightened electorate and there is no way to argue against them. In other words, this view of democracy provides license to unilaterally back out of accepting decisions achieved through the democratic process. Adopted widely, it makes democracy as such pointless since there’s no point voting if, after the election, the losing side ignores the result.

After all, were matters reversed, some anti-you (sepialock?) could just as easily point to the Oh God Oh God We Are All Going To Die And Putin Will Eat Us scaremongering that emerged from the ‘Remain’ campaign and make the exact same argument. And even if both sides of this debate weren’t firing off salvoes of untruths with wild abandon, an anti-you could make the argument that anyone who votes to remain in the EU is, by definition, deluded and that their votes don’t count.

How do you argue against that? I mean, the way we resolve conflicts in a society like this is voting. We don’t psychoanalyze where votes come from. This is not given to us. We ask the question, we tally the responses, and whatever is, is. What would you replace it with? How do we pick whose enlightened electorate argument is valid? Fisticuffs? Guardian Council of the Constitution? Prayer?

It is possible to make two valid arguments against the validity (if not the wisdom) of Brexit. First, you can argue that it represents the tyranny of the majority and that the rights of the minority are unduly affected by this choice. This falls down on consistency. Decisions of a similar magnitude are routinely taken without such consideration. Indeed, in the case of the Iraq war, say, no consideration at all was apparently taken. You may say that all of these are wrong, and fine, that’s a valid position, but then the entrance into the EU is similarly flawed and you are stuck at square one. Besides, asking for a stronger protection of minority opinion now is perilously close to an isolated demand for rigor.

Second, you can claim that such things should not be decided by referendum either in principle (not sure which principle, but fine) or in the case of this specific referendum because you do not believe that it is being conducted fairly. And this is a perfectly valid argument (maybe you think that the atmosphere of lies and deception is so vicious that nothing worthwhile could be done? Maybe you wanted to insist on 66.67% + 1?) provided you make it before the referendum. If the remainers (who, if I recall, were assured of easy victory because someone somewhere else will surely vote if they do not) boycotted the referendum then I’d see their point. But it is beyond imagining that, were the outcome otherwise, the same people would be complaining how it wasn’t fair, even though they won.

I am sorry but all of these attempts to rob the Brexit vote of its legitimacy strike me as nothing more than casuistry tinged with desperation. The people voted. As far as can be determined, the vote was tallied as it should have been. The result has been reached, and now, alas, you must live with it. That’s what democracy costs.

Or, in soundbite form: Democracy, the EU, consistency: choose any two.


#14

My point is that 100% of the electorate can never be completely, entirely ‘enlightened’. No matter how honest the campaign, tons of people will still vote based on gender or whether they think one candidate has a better speaking voice than the other. If all votes, worldwide, are invalid because they don’t meet your personal criteria, then the photo you posted completely matches your scenario, indeed.


#15

Interesting. I remember the numbers incorrectly. Apologies.

And, no I wouldn’t quibble on those issues. Perhaps only on the issues that the EU and the EEC aren’t the same thing, really, but that is the problem when you join an ill-defined organization that can change while you are in it.

And this, this is an interesting argument. I can absolutely see an argument being made on the basis of consistency. Of course, it won’t pass in parliament, which rather leaves open the big can of worms of what to do then.

Further, one could make the argument that the government declaring a referendum on the issue is equivalent to the entrance-by-parliament, essentially abdicating responsibility and letting the people decide (Like the austerity vote in Greece, and didn’t that end well).

You could also make the argument that the electoral system in the UK is such that the parliament is decidedly non-representative, but again, it’s always been thus and you can’t just bring it up whenever convenient and forget about it otherwise.

This is the best argument for avoiding Brexit I’ve ever seen. I’m not sure, however, it is legally possible, but it is certainly defensible.


#16

And who gets to define “enlightened”?


#17

Exactly. Testing people’s level of ‘enlightenment’ to determine whether they could participate in democracy is inherently racist and authoritarian.


#18

I was just messing with you! Ireland voted not to ratify two EU treaties so the government of the day just ran them again after making up reasons why people might have voted against them (actually the reasons were simple and twofold: to protest the government. or because of creeping technocratic neoliberalism - expressed differently)

So not that different to the UK then except we weren’t asked to leave the EU, nor would we. As for fucking up our economy. It’s not good but who knows what will happen, there are opportunities too I suppose. I have been convinced since it happens that there would be no border re-erected in Ireland, and the recent mood music suggests that will be the case. Except the UK wants us to then do their racial profiling/ filtering out the undesirables/ Poles etc. If that becomes a reality I will be very. very angry.


#19

Agreed. But then again, people can also bring their racist views into the ballot box with them in a way that at times defies the elite. Eric Love talked about that dynamic in his book Race Over Empire:

So, I’m not sure how to get out of this. Expecting the enlightened to rule (and be somehow less prone to xenophobia, racism, sexism) doesn’t work and democracy is always going to have this baggage of “the people” being prone to the same.

No good answer to this conundrum.


#20

It has nothing to do with my criteria. I am standing upon the shoulder of giants. I wish I were clever enough, philosophically learned enough, moral enough, brave enough to have authored any of the these ideas. I am merely a student of enlightenment and righteousness and applying these timeless tools and ideas.

Enlightenment is an intellectual movement whose ideas are centered upon reason as the primary source of authority and legitimacy. If people have now lost their ability to discern what is and isn’t reasonable, then they are not bound together as a people with a shared identity that could be united under a single authoritative centralized government making decisions about what kind of lives they’ll have and world they’ll live in.

After all, were matters reversed, some anti-you… could… make the exact same argument.

They can make the exact same argument, but they’ll lose because they are objectively wrong. The public Brexit debate was a farce for many reasons, that’s not my opnion, that’s the takeaway from the journalistic coverage of things that were actually said, appeals that were actually made. Because it was illegitimate rhetoric, some British anti-Enlightenment xenophobic authoritarian crusader simply has no ground upon which to stand. They are wearing the emperor’s new clothes and they are naked and exposed.

I mean, the way we resolve conflicts in a society like this is voting.

No, the way you resolve conflicts is an earnest discussion about the issues. Real world events demonstrate to us that casting ballots doesn’t magically resolve conflicts. There’s more to a functional democracy and a successful political culture with legitimate results for its people than voting, and a disordered, deluded, broken, or corrupted electoral system only underscores this point more deeply.

The result has been reached, and now, alas, you must live with it. That’s what democracy costs.

I just explained to you, this isn’t legitimate democracy. I actually don’t have to live with it, and I won’t. In fact, thanks to the particular circumstances, I now have a green light to attack, undermine, shame, sabotage, subvert, and end this wrongfulness. It’s apparent you’ve chosen complicity with or support for the side of darkness and are now facing off against the good. You want to place yourself between the people and the good, and I think that you yourself are going to risk being razed along with this wrongful wall. May the side closest to the truth, universal human decency and natural rights, and the divine now prevail and beat back the darkness until it is once again under the rock out from which it has crawled.