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Sam Hooper @SamHooper
, 13 tweets, 3 min read Read on Twitter
You can design the most responsive, proportional electoral system possible for choosing leaders and turning voter preferences into legislative seats, but if the people don't recognise the validity of the institutions or see themselves as part of a common demos it ain't democracy.
And this is what most Remainers just don't seem to get. Or at least they claim not to - some of the smarter ones are deliberately playing dumb, I think, because it is a tricky thing to explain and allows them to look smug while Brexiteers get flustered and tongue-tied.
I've spend another evening sparring with Remainers claiming the EU is "arguably more democratic than the UK" because PR, or some other glib reason. FPTP (which most wouldn't care about if it still delivered big New Labour majority govts) makes the UK a dictatorship in their eyes.
And because the not-at-all tokenistic EU Parliament is elected by proportional systems and Commissioners selected through a totally opaque and individualised procedure (ha), the EU is a bastion of democratic legitimacy and above reproach because "what about the House of Lords?"
This whatabout-ism is tedious. It is perfectly possible to note that the EU lacks democratic legitimacy both in spirit and process (not to mention the total absence of an agreed, united demos), while also acknowledging the UK's democratic flaws. See? I did it just now.
For all that Remainers love to portray Brexiteers as easily mislead, simple-minded folk, they seem to hold an almost childishly simple conception of what democracy means. By their lax standards, any dictator could play the democrat by donning the robes & rites of democracy.
You can argue that democracy isn't everything and pure democracy is even undesirable - @Yascha_Mounk makes important points about dangers of "illiberal democracy" taking away minority rights. But this only proves that a liberal democratic spirit needs more than just elections.
Too many Remainers seem content to sit back smugly and point out the UK's democratic flaws while ignoring the EU's dubious legitimacy and equally opaque processes.
They'll make the flimsiest excuses ("Well the EU can't do X or Y if the UK government does <insert some draconian nuclear option which could only be deployed once and would permanently isolate us in the bloc>") as though the spirit of democracy is present in such an arrangement
They'll tolerate countless degrees of separation between public opinion and EU action - "well nobody can be confirmed to Position X if the UK government (which again, must balance each short term decision against long term goals within the EU) objects or uses its veto"
Rather than acknowledging the ways in which flaws in UK democracy are magnified by the EU (and vice versa), Remainers seem on a mission to suggest that flaws in UK democracy mean the EU's sins are forgiven, and that we are silly for even bringing them up for discussion.
If Remainers looked honestly at EU political decision making and accountability outside the pressing context of Brexit, most would acknowledge awful gaps and the urgent need for reform. But because Brexit brings out the tribalism in them, instead they claim the EU is just fine.
Remainer attitudes have been characterised by lack of concern about the EU's democratic flaws prior to Brexit and furious denial of those flaws since the EU referendum. The only thing which might save them is honest admission of those flaws, which is the one thing they won't do.
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