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The "will of the people"

(59 Posts)
GracesGranMK3 Thu 08-Aug-19 17:06:13

This little phrase seems to be the answer to everything. Listening to someone talking on Sky this morning I had to agree that "the will of the people" is neither immutable, singular or sovereign and yet people have been convinced it is.

Why has this not been challenged by the press, the opposition, or anyone with some clout? How can we destroy the lie?

Greta Thu 08-Aug-19 19:21:18

I find the expression 'the will of the people' ridiculous. In 2016 this 'will' represented 52% of the people who chose to vote. Since the 48% have not been included in 'the people' they have no 'will'.

We often hear ”we must deliver Brexit”. The reason given is that we live in a democracy and we must respect 'the will of the people'. There seems to be a belief that if Brexit does not come about there will be a civil war. Those who voted to leave will be so angry that we must expect that they will take direct action. So how come that the 48% remainers have not caused civil unrest. They will lose their EU citizenship and have every right to be angry. Actually, they have every right to be furious at the circus that was the referendum and the last three years of incompetence.

I believe 'the will of the people' to be an excuse. To admit you were wrong, to lose face is never easy- for many it is impossible.

GillT57 Thu 08-Aug-19 20:21:40

No talk about the remain voters, only trying to balance the wishes of those who want to leave with a WA and those prepared to crash out. I think it is all a cunning plan to terrify everyone at the prospect of a crash out Brexit, planning on everyone being grateful for a WA. Assuming that only a few people who voted leave did so with economic catastrophe a no deal Brexit as their choice, it makes the percentage or number of people who actually voted for this very small indeed. ^Waits for protests that everyone knew they were voting for wartime rations, loss of jobs, worldwide mockery,^ ( delete as applicable)

GracesGranMK3 Thu 08-Aug-19 20:45:44

No support for the will of the people leavers? I wonder just how much rope we have to reel out before they realise how silly thinking a vote three years ago is of any relevance now?

Cindersdad Fri 09-Aug-19 17:02:23

"The Will of the People" is fickle and easily manipulated. In June 52% (of 75% of the electorate) had a gut reaction to a question which neither Remainers nor Leavers really understood. The make up of the People has changed by 4 million since the, 2 million deaths and about the same number of young coming of age. Brexiteers refer back to this snapshot of opinion using it as the reason to follow a dream which few of us have and the majority regard it as national nightmare.

Governments only listen to the people when it suits them. The fact that over 6 million took the trouble to sign a petition to stop article 50 shows that the "Will of the People" has more than likely changed.

GracesGranMK3 Fri 09-Aug-19 17:49:22

I couldn't agree more Cindersdad but we are still being told this must go ahead because it is "the will of the people". But although people change their view, some move in one direction and some another it is being treated as if this one vote on one day told us something that must be democratically carried out; which is nonsense. But still they go on saying it.

Governments aren't supposed to listen to the people in that way. The MPs are doing their jobs and should not be ridiculed by falling back on this amorphous "will of the people". We need to challenge this meaningless phrase wherever we can.

M0nica Fri 09-Aug-19 17:57:34

Leavers won the referendum by a small majority, I have absolutely no problem with that, but when the vote is so close and the issue so important, I believe that the government should have borne this in mind when negotiating how we would leave.

I have been involved in formal and informal negotiations for most of my life and the key of negotiation is finding a solution that is equally acceptable/unacceptable to both parties, especially when those involved are fairly equally divided about the preferred outcome.

Those in government negotiating our exit since the referendum have ignored/not read/ chosen to flout, every rule out for successful negotiation. This lot couldn't negotiate themselves out of a paper bag, even if they tried. they would end up triple wrapped with string and parcel tape.

GracesGranMK3 Fri 09-Aug-19 18:10:13

It's also three years later and much information has gone under the Brexit bridge M0nica. If "the will of the people" mutates with time then why oh why can't we have another vote.

M0nica Fri 09-Aug-19 19:03:21

But even if another referendum reversed the result of the last one, if it was a close vote, then the leavers worries should be addressed in any negotiations with the EU.

You cannot just ignore the wishes of a very large proportion of the population just because another view won by a squeak.

varian Wed 14-Aug-19 14:47:29

Phillip Hammond has warned that Boris Johnson risks betrayal of the UK if he allows "unelected people" to force through a no-deal brexit.

He accuses Dominic Cummings of attempting to force through a no-deal brexit by making demands that Brussels "cannot, and will not, accede to ".

Writing in The Times today he claims that suggestions from Brexiters such as Dominic Raab that leave voters were informed before the referendum of the risks of a hard exit is "a total travesty of the truth"

Urmstongran Wed 14-Aug-19 15:01:28

I think there’s a lot of talk about the will of the people now because the referendum result was ignored or subverted by the HoC.

varian Wed 14-Aug-19 15:31:52

Far from ignoring the result of the fraudulent referendum, politicians have spent the last three years trying to deliver the undeliverable promises of the lying leave campaign.

Theresa May made matters worse by leaning over backwards to try to show that, although she'd been a half-hearted Remainer, she had transformed herself into an extreme brexiter, cow-towing to the ERGs and setting out ridiculous red-lines which were mutually exclusive, ie impossible.

The people who have been ignored are the majority of the population who never voted for this brexit nonsense, but are now each £1000 worse off and are still being threatened by the right wing media with a no-deal brexit which would blight the future of our children and grandchildren for years to come..

GillT57 Wed 14-Aug-19 18:20:22

Can I also remind people that nobody voted for 'no deal'. This was not an option on the ballot paper and many mps assured the electorate that this woujd not happen. Raab is telling lies and anyone who says they voted to leave on the basis of a no deal Brexit is rewriting history to justify the mess that their decision has landed us all in.

MaizieD Wed 14-Aug-19 18:27:39

I think there’s a lot of talk about the will of the people now because the referendum result was ignored or subverted by the HoC.

There has been talk about 'the will of the people' ever since the referendum. It was a phrase that May and her government were very fond of. I realise that rewriting very recent history is very fashionable at the moment. You might lap it up, Ug but Remainers are not easily fooled.

The very worst thing about that phrase is that it it was very popular with fascists in the 1930s.

GracesGranMK3 Wed 14-Aug-19 18:59:19

"I think there’s a lot of talk about the will of the people now because the referendum result was ignored or subverted by the HoC."

It may have been used to try and say that Urmstongran but it simply doesn't and can't. Even if you agree that this was "the will of the people" at that moment it simply cannot be static. Any view "the people" express through a poll, referendum or election, will change from day to day and hour to hour. It will certainly change over three years.

It has been used as if this is not true; that this "will of the people" is immutable - that is simply a lie, or if we are feeling a little more generous, a misdirection.

It has also been used as if it were the same group all the time. So there has been an attempt to portray this "will of the people" as a singular group. That is not true either. Any group voting for, say, a political party will change construction over time. Even if you got exactly the same outcome it may well not comprise the same people.

Thirdly, as I said in the OP, no expression of the "will of the people" is sovereign. The "crown in parliament" is sovereign in our form of democracy. Hence, if you vote in a particular set of MPs who have a majority which they lose, they cannot stay in power. We do not say "ah well, the "will of the people" voted them in three years ago so they must be allowed to continue to govern". It is parliament via the crown that decides under our rules of democracy.

Parliament had every right to ignore the vote but politically they decided not too. That is politics, not democracy. Parliament set out to carry out their view of what the referendum meant but unsurprisingly they could not agree. That is not subverting the "will of the people" the people are not sovereign, parliament is.

You may not like it and others are certainly trying to subvert our democracy by the misuse of various words but they cannot change the meaning of our democracy.

M0nica Wed 14-Aug-19 19:10:02

GillT57 ^ nobody voted for 'no deal'^. But they did, from all the vox pops I have heard at the time and since. whatever was written on the ballot paper, a very large number of people assumed that a leave vote meant that we would just walk out, shutting the door behind us. Some expected us to exit the EU the day after the ballot result was announced.

That was the whole problem with the EU referendum. Nobody on either side had a clue what they were voting for.

growstuff Wed 14-Aug-19 19:12:23

Unless there is total solidarity, there is no such as "the will of the people. It's an empty propaganda soundbite.

growstuff Wed 14-Aug-19 19:21:58

I remember the heated discussions before the referendum and people were claiming that everything would be OK because we'd have a Swiss or Norwegian-type deal with no problem. People seemed to think these kind of deals could be worked out overnight and anybody who questioned them was dismissed as a "Project Fear" supporter.

When people asked questions about EU citizens already in the UK and healthcare for UK citizens in the EU, again they were told not to make a fuss. Everything would be OK because the EU needed the UK more than the UK needed the EU. Everything would work out alright, we were told.

I remember asking somebody "What about Ireland?" and few people even seemed to realise there would be an issue. Again my concern was dismissed.

So who exactly wanted to make a good trading deal with the UK? Well, loads of countries, we were told. The US, for starters, and of course the NHS wouldn't be on the table and our food standards wouldn't need to be lowered.

And so it went on …

The leave campaigners couldn't even agree amongst themselves how they foresaw the future. All the ones behind it all could see was that there would be money pouring into their bank accounts and deregulation and lack of transparency about tax would follow form leaving the EU. More dosh for them!

All they had to do was persuade the hordes that leaving those nasty bogeymen in the EU would mean "taking back control". It really is sad.

There is NO collective "will of the people", however grand it sounds.

GracesGranMK3 Wed 14-Aug-19 19:38:55

It's not ours to choose though. It's parliament's now.

Obviously, they will look at it politically (not democratically) so they get voted in next time but Johnson is just trying to attract the socially conservative (very) lot as that's his base.

I can't see that this will be enough to get him the votes for a majority though. Perhaps they think a spell as the opposition is the best thing for them.

GracesGranMK3 Wed 14-Aug-19 19:40:37

There is NO collective "will of the people", however grand it sounds.

So much shorter than my long-winded diatribes but yes, you are so right.

varian Wed 14-Aug-19 20:41:29

The very large number of opinion polls since the fraudulent referendum give a far better indication of "the will of the people". still very divided, albeit with a majority who wish to Remain in the EU.

jura2 Wed 14-Aug-19 21:20:36

and 'they' know that - which is one reason they want to rush it through sad

mich777 Thu 15-Aug-19 12:56:47

52% voted to leave 48% to remain...which figure is the majority here please????

mich777 Thu 15-Aug-19 12:58:03

I am feeling very confused about what a majority is and what a minority is!!! Help!

varian Thu 15-Aug-19 13:02:08

Three years ago 17 million out of a UK population of 66 million voted leave on the basis of all sorts of dishonest statements.

Fraud by the leave campaigners has since been proven in court so that the referendum would have been declared void if it had been mandatory. As it was only advisory that did not happen.

Everything has changed. Since then we have all learned a great deal about the consequences of brexit so that the majority want to remain in the EU and that is why the same fraudsters are against a peoples' vote.