Is moving some powers from Brussels to 10 Downing Street really giving us more democracy?
Let’s look at the positive trend in our national history. For the last thousand years, the power of monarchs has been reduced. The power of parliament has been enhanced. We all live according to laws, impartially administered.
Well, that’s how it should be. But the idea is that parliament should represent us and stand up for our interests. At its best, parliament calls government to account, especially through the system of select committees. Parliament is supposedly sovereign.
But governments try to override or ignore parliamentary scrutiny. Theresa May tries to rely on royal prerogative, the last vestige of rule by monarchs. These anti-democratic moves work against our interests. So-called strong government is arbitrary, undemocratic government.
Even though parliament is sovereign, that doesn’t mean it can make up rules on the hoof. Parliament sets the laws, but we are then all subject to them. Including governments. It is profoundly anti-democratic to obstruct judges when they have to decide whether government is acting within the law.
And, of course, the biggest problem is that our voting system means that parliament cannot represent us. A true democracy is representative of all. Otherwise it becomes oppression of minorities. Proportional representation would make us a great deal more democratic. There’s a lot to be done if we’re to have a healthy kind of national sovereignty, and Brussels isn’t really much to do with it.