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James O'Brien on why Brexit is not "the will of the people"

James O'Brien on why Brexit is not "the will of the people"

(7:58) Caller phones James O'Brien insisting that Brexit is "the will of the people" and parliament shouldn't have the power to stop it.

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Guest: Guesting (210 days ago)

My main criticism of Brexit is this:

The older generation, not affected by the economic and social effects of Brexit, decides over the future of the young voters and those who were still too young to vote. Other choices by the electorate can be overturn four years later. Not this one.

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My main criticism of Brexit is this:

The older generation, not affected by the economic and social effects of Brexit, decides over the future of the young voters and those who were still too young to vote. Other choices by the electorate can be overturn four years later. Not this one.

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Guest: (210 days ago)

So would you like to outline how you think democracy should work?

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So would you like to outline how you think democracy should work?

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Guest: Guesting (210 days ago)
Latest comment:

Since this was a question directed at me, I should answer.

In my opinion, "indirect democracy" is better than direct. There's a lot of literature on that (for instance, minorities are vulnerable in a direct democracy). I think a question of leaving a political/economic union is an example of an issue that is too complicated to be put to a referendum. And a referendum easily invites to superficial and populistic propaganda, it certainly did recently in the UK.

Others think differently and Switzerland makes frequent use of referendums.

A second answer is: If older people have one vote, and they should, including those with moderate dementia, why are not teenagers from 16 and upwards allowed to vote? As a researcher in ageism I have come to conclude that ageism towards the young is even more prevalent than ageism towards the old. This is just one more example. But again, I fully accept and understand that there are different views on this.

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Original comment
Latest comment:

Since this was a question directed at me, I should answer.

In my opinion, "indirect democracy" is better than direct. There's a lot of literature on that (for instance, minorities are vulnerable in a direct democracy). I think a question of leaving a political/economic union is an example of an issue that is too complicated to be put to a referendum. And a referendum easily invites to superficial and populistic propaganda, it certainly did recently in the UK.

Others think differently and Switzerland makes frequent use of referendums.

A second answer is: If older people have one vote, and they should, including those with moderate dementia, why are not teenagers from 16 and upwards allowed to vote? As a researcher in ageism I have come to conclude that ageism towards the young is even more prevalent than ageism towards the old. This is just one more example. But again, I fully accept and understand that there are different views on this.

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Guest: (214 days ago)

Urgh, this is irritating to watch. Just let the guy speak! I'm a Remainer but this interviewer is appalling. A mix of contrived and leading questions, interuptions, and sarcasm.

Beef or chicken for dinner? If one person asks for beef expecting steak, another asks for beef expecting lasagne, and a third expects a burger, they are all asking for different forms of the same thing. And you can't possibly ask for a vote on each option, until you know that a majority in principle are in favour of the broadest outline.

It's important to question whether it was fair that someone mentioned steak when they knew there's only Aldi mincemeat in the freezer, and fundamentally, I believe when you're given a plate of something you didn't expect, you should have the option of sending it back (especially if you're the one paying for it.) However, the referendum offered a very broad question which was answered by everyone who could be bothered to vote. Regrettably, that's as close to 'the will of the people' as we'll ever get.

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Original comment

Urgh, this is irritating to watch. Just let the guy speak! I'm a Remainer but this interviewer is appalling. A mix of contrived and leading questions, interuptions, and sarcasm.

Beef or chicken for dinner? If one person asks for beef expecting steak, another asks for beef expecting lasagne, and a third expects a burger, they are all asking for different forms of the same thing. And you can't possibly ask for a vote on each option, until you know that a majority in principle are in favour of the broadest outline.

It's important to question whether it was fair that someone mentioned steak when they knew there's only Aldi mincemeat in the freezer, and fundamentally, I believe when you're given a plate of something you didn't expect, you should have the option of sending it back (especially if you're the one paying for it.) However, the referendum offered a very broad question which was answered by everyone who could be bothered to vote. Regrettably, that's as close to 'the will of the people' as we'll ever get.

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Guest: RichardJN (213 days ago)

It's worth noting that, of the 2 main visions for Brexit (Corbyn's "drawbridge up, socialism" and Mogg-Johnson's "drawbridge down, unfettered capitalism"), these two are both in the opposite direction. So in your analogy, the mid-point is "stay in and cook a decent supper"; but the "go out for dinner" vote was split between those who want to go to the burger van, and those who want the Ritz. In other words, even if we only cared about satisfying the leavers, the best compromise is remain, and either a hard-left or hard-right Brexit would be the worst outcome for the Brexiteers on the other side!

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Original comment

It's worth noting that, of the 2 main visions for Brexit (Corbyn's "drawbridge up, socialism" and Mogg-Johnson's "drawbridge down, unfettered capitalism"), these two are both in the opposite direction. So in your analogy, the mid-point is "stay in and cook a decent supper"; but the "go out for dinner" vote was split between those who want to go to the burger van, and those who want the Ritz. In other words, even if we only cared about satisfying the leavers, the best compromise is remain, and either a hard-left or hard-right Brexit would be the worst outcome for the Brexiteers on the other side!

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Guest: (213 days ago)

Unfair comparison to say "of the 2 main visions for Brexit" they are opposites. As different as forms of Brexit can be, (extremely different) they are all forms of Brexit, and the referendum established that most people who voted wanted some form of Brexit instead of no Brexit. A hard-right or left Brexit may be the worst form of Brexit for the other half of Brexiteers, but how many have said that would be worse than staying in the EU?

If you're changing the analogy to staying in or eating out, fine. In the vote, most people wanted to eat out, perhaps all expecting a different venue. It's possible (though unprovable) that some of them expecting the Ritz might rather have stayed at home than go to the burger van, but it wasn't a practical option to offer each possibility individually. The referendum gave the mandate to look at venues for dinner, and if it had been a Remain result, that wouldn't have been necessary.

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Original comment

Unfair comparison to say "of the 2 main visions for Brexit" they are opposites. As different as forms of Brexit can be, (extremely different) they are all forms of Brexit, and the referendum established that most people who voted wanted some form of Brexit instead of no Brexit. A hard-right or left Brexit may be the worst form of Brexit for the other half of Brexiteers, but how many have said that would be worse than staying in the EU?

If you're changing the analogy to staying in or eating out, fine. In the vote, most people wanted to eat out, perhaps all expecting a different venue. It's possible (though unprovable) that some of them expecting the Ritz might rather have stayed at home than go to the burger van, but it wasn't a practical option to offer each possibility individually. The referendum gave the mandate to look at venues for dinner, and if it had been a Remain result, that wouldn't have been necessary.

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Guest: (215 days ago)

“The House of Commons exists to keep checks and balances upon the executive the Prime Minister” Can someone please explain to me how this is possible? Parliament has been around much longer than the first Prime Minister so this does not sound right. Looking through history, there used to be separate parliaments for each piece of the UK and they were eventually combined by abolishing the individual ones in Ireland, Scotland, and England. I think that system has been around since the 13th century and the first Prime Minister was in office in the 1700's.

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“The House of Commons exists to keep checks and balances upon the executive the Prime Minister” Can someone please explain to me how this is possible? Parliament has been around much longer than the first Prime Minister so this does not sound right. Looking through history, there used to be separate parliaments for each piece of the UK and they were eventually combined by abolishing the individual ones in Ireland, Scotland, and England. I think that system has been around since the 13th century and the first Prime Minister was in office in the 1700's.

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Guest: (214 days ago)

In presidential system, like in USA, Congress can perform that role.
In UK, Parliament gives power to Prime Minister. It can't give and control his power in the same time.

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In presidential system, like in USA, Congress can perform that role.
In UK, Parliament gives power to Prime Minister. It can't give and control his power in the same time.

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Guest: (214 days ago)

What? A party nominates its leader and the leader of the party with a majority becomes PM.

A PM doesn't have constitutional authority like a POTUS. He or she leads the cabinet, the cabinet together decide which proposals to take forward as a bill, then parliament debate and vote.

At any point the parliament (whose majority chose the leader) can control the PM's power by unchoosing them as a leader via leadership challenge, commons vote, whatever.

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Original comment

What? A party nominates its leader and the leader of the party with a majority becomes PM.

A PM doesn't have constitutional authority like a POTUS. He or she leads the cabinet, the cabinet together decide which proposals to take forward as a bill, then parliament debate and vote.

At any point the parliament (whose majority chose the leader) can control the PM's power by unchoosing them as a leader via leadership challenge, commons vote, whatever.

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Guest: (214 days ago)

President and Congress have separate elections. It's not uncommon to have President from one party, and Congress majority from another. They both have instruments to help or obstruct each other.
PM is representative of Parliament majority. Minority party has no influence on PM. In essence Parliament majority and PM are one, they can't control each other.

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President and Congress have separate elections. It's not uncommon to have President from one party, and Congress majority from another. They both have instruments to help or obstruct each other.
PM is representative of Parliament majority. Minority party has no influence on PM. In essence Parliament majority and PM are one, they can't control each other.

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Guest: (214 days ago)

Parliament is elected by the public, and the PM is elected by the ruling party.

The minority party (particularly the shadow cabinet) still has a massive influence on the PM. All policies have to go through a vote, so when in most cases the ruling party only has a slight majority, the minority parties can effectively block any bill that the PM's cabinet have put forward. This happens quite a lot, for example Labour blocked bills on tax avoidance last year and the PM didn't like it one bit.

The PM and parliament have measures to help or obstruct each other. The PM selects the cabinet, controls his or her party via whips, and determines which policies proceed to bills. Parliament meanwhile votes on which bills to allow through independently of the PM, and can remove power of the PM through leadership bids, no confidence, etc.

The POTUS can veto any bill that the Congress sends to him, and they can only get it through with a 2/3 majority which is pretty difficult to achieve. The PM has no such power on their own because they are controlled by parliament.

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Original comment

Parliament is elected by the public, and the PM is elected by the ruling party.

The minority party (particularly the shadow cabinet) still has a massive influence on the PM. All policies have to go through a vote, so when in most cases the ruling party only has a slight majority, the minority parties can effectively block any bill that the PM's cabinet have put forward. This happens quite a lot, for example Labour blocked bills on tax avoidance last year and the PM didn't like it one bit.

The PM and parliament have measures to help or obstruct each other. The PM selects the cabinet, controls his or her party via whips, and determines which policies proceed to bills. Parliament meanwhile votes on which bills to allow through independently of the PM, and can remove power of the PM through leadership bids, no confidence, etc.

The POTUS can veto any bill that the Congress sends to him, and they can only get it through with a 2/3 majority which is pretty difficult to achieve. The PM has no such power on their own because they are controlled by parliament.

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