UK Politics

Parliament drags us back to a pre-democratic age

BY Robert Tombs   /  5 September 2019

I must admit that I find it hard to write a dispassionate analytical article on our present situation.  This is partly because things are happening so quickly and in ways that even recently would have seemed unthinkable.  It is also because – and here civility requires me to say “with the greatest respect to those of other views” – I find it very difficult to know whether extreme Remainers are honest in what they are saying, or, if they are honest, whether what they are saying is coherent enough to be engaged with.

But for the sake of argument, let me try.  The political argument seems now to revolve round a conflict between two conceptions of democracy.  The Remain camp now bases its position on an extreme view of parliamentary sovereignty. The Leave camp relies on the assertion of popular sovereignty, which seems to me not only the foundation of all modern democracy, but in reality to have underlain our constitutional system from time immemorial.


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