A lot has been said about democracy this week, and with whom it lies.
To a large number of Leave voters three judges have stood in the way of democracy, by delivering a verdict that frustrates the will of the people.
To a large number of Remain voters the judges are protecting democracy, by ensuring that our government is answerable to the courts and must operate within the law.
When we speculate who the defenders of democracy are we uncomfortably avoid making eye contact with the huge misconception at the heart of it all…that democracy is the name we give to the lie that we don’t secretly believe that everybody else is a fucking idiot.
Thirty-three million, five hundred and seventy-seven thousand, three hundred and forty-two people voted in UK’s referendum on June 23 this year.
The 16,141,241 who voted ‘Remain’ think that the 17,410,742 who voted ‘Leave’ are fucking idiots…and they’re right.
The 17,410,742 who voted ‘Leave’ think that the 16,141,241 who voted ‘Remain’ are fucking idiots…and they’re right.
The 33,551,983 who voted either ‘Leave’ or ‘Remain’ think that the 25,359 who spoiled their ballot paper or otherwise cocked-up putting a single cross into a single box are fucking idiots…and they’re undoubtedly right.
Now I’m sure some people, on both sides, weren’t idiots, but the issues of remaining or leaving are extremely complex, they cross over law, trade, diplomacy, history, accounting, sociology, economics…you don’t so much need to be a polymath to be well read on all of those subjects as an immortal who has been cursed with eternal diarrhoea.
How many voters really had an in-depth understanding of all of those issues? Three-thousand? One percent of one percent.
I’m lumping myself in with this, by the way. I voted ‘Remain’ because I think that immigration is broadly a positive thing, that the economy would be harmed by us leaving and because all of the politicians on the ‘Leave’ side were simply appalling examples of humanity.
Of course, to counter that, I live in Northumberland, which has an extremely low number of immigrants. Possibly if I lived in an area of high immigration I’d hate it. I know nothing about economics at all, other than having gained an ‘Unclassified’ grade at A-level nearly 30 years ago (I skipped a key exam because I was on a promise. I stand by my decision, but it does add to the case for me being a fucking idiot). My wife laughs about the stupid people at her work who voted ‘Leave’ just because they hated David Cameron and wanted to oppose him, and I haven’t the courage to confess that I’m really just as stupid, except that I hate Nigel Farage.
This week’s judgement has upset some of the Leave voters because they recognise that, in the face of expanding suffrage, it has been Parliament’s job to maintain the pretence of democracy whilst simultaneously keeping the number of fucking idiots running the country at a manageable level of 650-ish.
Or maybe they don’t recognise that. They are, after all, fucking idiots.
Our love of democracy stems from its openness; it allows people to air their views, so that we can easily find those who share our views and huddle together with them, like moths around a candle, believing that if we all think the same thing then we can’t all be fucking idiots.
It is the tragedy of democracy that this is not the case.
Those who want Brexit are fucking idiots. Those who think that Parliamentarians or the House of Lords are going to save them from Brexit are fucking idiots. Those who imagine the country uniting behind Corbyn in a snap general election are fucking idiots, as is anyone hanging their hopes on the Lib Dems, and those of us who don’t have a plan but think it’s fun to laugh at all of the other fucking idiots…well, we’re the biggest fucking idiots of all.