The pendulum has swung towards more civility

  • On the campaign: young members of Britainís opposition Labour party write on a billboard February 12, 2019,  why they want Jeremy Corbyn the party leader to back a ďPeopleís VoteĒ second referendum on Britainís European Union membership, during a publicity stunt in Islington North, Corbynís north London constituency (Photograph by Matt Dunham/AP)

    On the campaign: young members of Britainís opposition Labour party write on a billboard February 12, 2019, why they want Jeremy Corbyn the party leader to back a ďPeopleís VoteĒ second referendum on Britainís European Union membership, during a publicity stunt in Islington North, Corbynís north London constituency (Photograph by Matt Dunham/AP)


I think of myself as a Democrat, but not strictly because I also believe in the liberty of the individual. As an example, I believe when a person represents others, they should do so with the best that they can personally offer, and not merely as a vestibule through which others have a microphone.

So thatís slightly Republican.

If I were ever elected, donít expect me to speak your mind, as though I were a mummy or robot.

I will speak my mind and do what I consider best for you and the collective good. If you donít want me, then replace me and let someone else do the bidding.

I do, however, believe in majority rule for better or for worse, and unfortunately at times, the majority does get it wrong.

And it can be worse, but comes with the package. The majority in a democracy has the right also to be wrong.

Governments and electorates are like children: they need to learn the lessons of life and hopefully evolve.

The issue of sovereignty, in my view, is inseparable from the people. Self-determination, independence and sovereignty should all be subject to the will and expression of the people.

Politicians may argue over what is the most effective way of testing the will of the people. If itís a single question, then the easiest and surest way is through a referendum.

Brexit was a major referendum and a good example of the principle of determining the will of the people. Most modern governments use a single question plebiscite to determine national consensus and will.

The world has woven its way through a tangle of national and colonialist constructs, some of which were oppressive.

Therefore, as a result of the disparity in conditions, it resulted in different routes towards independence, including revolution and civil war.

However, the pendulum of freedom in modern times has swung towards greater civility.

We can take the Falklands as an example, which Argentina has always claimed as part of its territory. However, the majority of the population wanted to remain British.

The universal consensus is that every person and citizenry have the right towards self-determination.

They cannot be forced or otherwise coerced beyond their expressed will.

Zeal is not a substitute for the respect for the free choice of a population. Wherever the will of the people is usurped or bypassed, no matter how well-intentioned the goal, the result will be tyranny.

Substance will always triumph over style. It always concerned me when persons talk about nationhood but show no aspirations towards building an ideal democracy with all the features of accountability and oversight.

We have a country with a history of more than 50 years of responsible government, yet the electorate is still largely cut off from a meaningful right of participation.

We inherited a system of elitism; now we honour it like the golden calf rather than seek the progressive reforms to become a real participatory government.

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Published Aug 22, 2019 at 8:00 am (Updated Aug 22, 2019 at 12:17 am)

The pendulum has swung towards more civility

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