Brexit and democracy
Sir, – Theresa May has argued with apparent sincerity that a second referendum would be undemocratic as it would disrespect the 17.4 million electors who voted for Brexit.
Is it not therefore disrespectful to MPs elected by the very same electorate, as well as being hypocritical and dishonest, to hold a second, third and possibly even a fourth vote until MPs vote the way she wants? – Yours, etc,
DAMIAN HUGH O’NEILL,
Sir, – In terms of pure farce, please tell me we have reached the apex. – Yours, etc,
Sir, – The British parliament has voted against the Brexit deal. It then voted against no deal. Is that like eating a cake, but then deciding after a vote that it still exists? – Yours, etc,
Sir, – If the DUP burns its bridges over Brexit will they be entitled to a “cash for ash” payment? – Yours, etc,
Sir, – How can the British government reconcile rejection of a no-deal Brexit with its rejection of the withdrawal deal emphatically declared by the EU to be non-negotiable? – Yours, etc,
Sir, – They are happy to see a hard border in Ireland with a potentially violent outcome, and to see our beef industry in ruins, because we are a thorn in their Brexit plans.
With friends like that who needs enemies?
It is time to cultivate other markets and break away from our commercial dependence on the United Kingdom. We should have done so years ago. – Yours, etc,
A chara, – While I am interested to read the opinions of the “Irish in Britain who back Brexit” (Analysis, March 20th), I do find it hard to understand their opinion.
For example, one commentator stated that he “believed in democracy” but didn’t believe that “Europe is democratic”.
This statement is particularly striking when considering democracy in UK. A UK subject cannot vote for their head of state, and cannot vote for their upper house. The absence of proportional representation system in the lower house means that the vote of each UK subject is not weighted equally. In the current UK parliament, twice as many people voted for Scottish National Party than the Green Party. However, the SNP has 39 seats to the Green Party’s solitary seat. Indeed, first-past-the-post so severely restricts voter choice that a vast number of constituencies in the UK haven’t changed party in over 100 years!
Furthermore, the unelected head of state in the UK is also the head of an established church in perpetuity. This stands in stark contrast to the papacy whereby the pope is voted into office in a secret ballot.
Finally, it should be clear to all that Brexit has raised the most fundamental issue of democracy in the UK in that the UK is unable to square the results of the Brexit “referendum” (but in my view was really only a plebiscite) with the circle of the UK’s version of parliamentary democracy. The main reason for which is that the UK does not have a written constitution.
As an Irish citizen, your commentator is welcome home to Irish and European democracy at any time after Brexit. Where he can directly elect MEPs to the European Parliament. Where he can indirectly elect someone to the European Council once the Dáil elects the Taoiseach. And where he can indirectly elect others to the European Commission through the Taoiseach, in the same way that the cabinet of ministers are nominated by every Taoiseach or UK prime minister since their respective parliaments have been introduced.
Welcome to democracy. – Is mise,
GARETH T CLIFFORD,
Sir, – Your editorial of March 13th describes the support by the DUP for Brexit as “inexplicable”.
Theresa May’s electoral shambles and Brexit were a gift to the DUP, allowing them to sabotage the less than perfect Belfast Agreement it never signed up to in the first place. That Northern Ireland as an economic unit will suffer grievously matters not a jot to it as long as it can continue to peddle its homophobic misogynistic and fundamentalist views, which in normal times would be an embarrassment to the body politic in Westminster. – Yours, etc,
RORY E Mac FLYNN,