This is not democracy

20 January 2017

There have been several momentous events this year, notably Brexit and the election of Donald Trump as US President.

The effects of both of these votes are unlikely to be immediate; in the case of Brexit, the process itself could take years and even the most knowledgeable economists have not the faintest notion of how this will affect future generations. 

The election of Donald Trump has the potential for implications far beyond mere economies; this is a man who thinks that climate change is a hoax, put about by China to secure unfair trade advantages.

Quite simply, we are walking (running?) headlong into what is possibly the greatest threat the world has ever seen and Trump is hardly likely, on his current record, to make any effort to counter this.
The older people who voted for Brexit and Trump are not those who will bear the consequences of these decisions; it will be the younger generations who suffer most from the effects of climate change (and there is overwhelming evidence that this is happening) and the, as yet unknown, effects of Brexit.

Approximately 75% of young people (18-24) voted to stay in the EU, while only 39% of the 65+ age group did so.
It is these figures, and the consequences of the implications of the vote, that lead me to wonder just how fair democracy is.

Of all the misinformation fed to the public (from both sides), surely the most outrageous was the claim that Brexit would allow a further £350m to be put into the NHS budget on a weekly basis.

If I offer myself as the next Prime Minister of the UK and at the same time promise everyone who votes for me £1m, I think I would stand a pretty good chance of being elected.

If within an hour of my success, I backtrack, it strikes me that the electorate would have a pretty strong case for demanding a re-run.

I am a great supporter of democracy but let us not be deceived that what we are seeing here is democracy in action.

Michael MOAT, by email

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