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.
The great question before us in these challenging times is this: should the people, as they participate in democracy, be allowed to make mistakes? Let's look at this in terms of Donald Trump in America and Brexit in the UK, though no judgment is made here about either.
Rightly or wrongly, the political classes (as a whole) of both countries object both to the policy initiatives of Trump and Brexit as well as the tone and context in which these events happened. Even if they sometimes feigned support, when decision time came, they opposed both.
Whether it's immigration (where many Republican politicians found great success posing against illegal immigration only to blanche at the idea of it being throttled) or the EU (Tory MPs moaning about rule by a Brussels superstate and then supporting Remain) there's a hypocrisy.
I'm clearly a masochist because I spent the last hour slogging through the Tony Blair Institute's Totally Objective Report on Brexit: institute.global/news/brexit-wh…
God knows why I bothered. Remainers have clearly learned nothing when it comes to persuading wavering Leave voters.
If it was nothing else at all, the EU referendum showed us that a significant group of British citizens are capable of understanding that an action may carry short term risk and even medium-term uncertainty or even personal sacrifice, yet still be the right decision.
Many of the most prolific Remainers (at least on social media) are quite unable to look past the potential disruption to their own private lives and so don't seem to understand this, but some of their compatriots voted for reasons besides personal financial gain.