Friday, July 29, 2016

The Brexit vote is democratically reversible

Anatole Kaletsky argues that "The Brexit vote is no more irreversible than any other election or referendum, provided the EU is willing to adopt some modest reforms." Actually, I agree. Either British voters will change their mind and be convinced that access to the common market means free movement of people, or they will be convinced that official Brexit is just a very small change relative to the package of very small reforms negotiated by David Cameron. In other words, in any case things will not change much.The reason is that national sovereignty is a fiction in an interconnected Europe and that binary referendums are just a way to lie to the electorate by trying to convince them that complexity does not exist. Kaletsy also says this: "
Instead of rushing Brexit, Europe’s leaders should be trying to avert it, by persuading British voters to change their minds. The aim should not be to negotiate the terms of departure, but to negotiate the terms on which most British voters would want to remain.
An EU strategy to avoid Brexit, far from ignoring British voters, would show genuine respect for democracy. The essence of democratic politics is responding to public dissatisfaction with policies and ideas – and then trying to change the judgment of voters. That is how numerous referendum outcomes – in France, Ireland, Denmark, the Netherlands, Italy, and Greece – have been reversed, even when deeply emotional issues, such as abortion and divorce, were involved.
If European leaders tried the same approach with Britain, they might be surprised by the favorable response. Many Leave voters are already having second thoughts, and Prime Minister Theresa May’s uncompromising negotiating position will paradoxically accelerate this process, because voters now face a much more extreme version of Brexit than they were promised by the Leave campaign."

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