The more I read, the more I am convinced that people really voted for Remain on Thursday. The one thing those who want Brexit seem to have forgotten is that "democracy depends on the consent of the loser".
Currently, we have Farage commenting about “building a coalition against the people”. For him, "the people" mean less than 52% of the electorate. May sees “the people” as those who will keep the Conservative party in power; Corbyn sees “the people” as those who will put the Labour Party into power. "The people" are actually the whole of the electorate.
It has to be possible for the loser to consent, otherwise, you have the dictatorship-of-the-majority. We currently don’t have a crisis of democracy, as the Leavers keep telling us, but a crisis of legitimacy.
Democratic elections are designed to create uneven votes. It is the losers who maintain democratic legitimacy by agreeing to the outcome. How losers respond to their loss and how institutions, parties, governments, etc., shape the ability of the loser to accept that their loss is legitimate, measures the level of democracy within a country.
Did the losers believe the win was legitimately gained? Did the institutions, the parties, the government ensure the outcome could be seen as reasonable and acceptable? After the election, there was a Neanderthal attitude which tried to bully the "losers" into agreeing; that was never going to work. Without a true acceptance of the vote, you have a dictatorship, not democracy. Being able to accept losing is one of the central, if not the central, requirements of democracy. For the "loser" to do that, conditions must be created which allows them to feel it was a democratic process.
There are good reasons why the "losers" do not believe the referendum was legitimate. "Winners" do not have to believe those reasons to be right or wrong; what they have to be able to do is convince the "losers" of the legitimacy of the vote. Those who still want to leave think a vote is all about who wins; it isn't. It is about both winning and whether you win in a way that those who lose can accept as legitimate. Shouting, calling people names or slurring their characters will not change the "losers" view of the legitimacy or otherwise. It would be better to assess why the vote is not seen as legitimate by the "losers" as, unless we do this, it will always seem, to half the country, to have been an illegitimate vote.
Brexiteers keep trying to appeal to the already persuaded - those who want to leave. How do they think that will change anything? If half of the country cannot be convinced the vote was legitimate enough to be able to agree, we threaten not only our economy, our future and our standing in the world but our fundamental democracy.
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