Wednesday, 12 October 2016

The utterly warped Daily Express definition of democracy

On Wednesday October 12th 2016 the extremely right-wing Daily Express ran an editorial calling for anti-Brexit politicians to be locked up in the Tower of London. This isn't just some bonkers editorial buried away at the back of the paper either, David Maddox's ramblings were given front page billing.

Anyone with a few brain cells to rub together should be able to spot the flaw in Maddox's bizarre call for people who oppose his ideology to be locked up in prison to "reflect on the true meaning of democracy".

If the Daily Express definition of "true democracy" involves imprisonment without trial for anyone who disagrees with them, then they clearly don't have the first clue what "democracy" actually means.

It doesn't matter whether 37% of the electorate voted in a particular way or 97%, locking people up for their political opinions isn't what democratic states do, it's the behaviour of the likes of Nazi Germany, Stalinist Russia
CIA backed Latin American military dictatorships, Francoist Spain, and corrupt Islamist theocracies like Saudi Arabia (you know? The brutal anti-democratic regimes that the Tory party keep sucking up to).

The entire point of democracy is that dissent from the majority opinion is allowed. If dissent is silenced, imprisoned or eliminated by the powerful then the political system clearly isn't democratic at all, it's authoritarian and tyrannical. Anyone calling for their political opponents to be silenced for the "crime" of holding the wrong political opinions is clearly and undeniably an anti-democrat.

As I've said before, this whole "shut up, you lost, get over it" ranting from Brexiters (as if the whole thing was some kind of football match that finished months ago rather than a complex ongoing process) is anti-democratic and utterly hypocritical. It's anti-democratic because the whole point of democracy is that it must allow variance in opinion, and it's utterly hypocritical because the whole anti-EU movement was based on four decades of constant whining and blatantly ignoring the democratic outcome of the (very much more comprehensive) 1975 European Communities membership referendum.

Aside from the fact that the whole concept of democracy relies on tolerance of dissenting opinion, there's also the fact that many MPs represent constituencies that voted strongly in favour of Remain. If MPs from constituencies in London, Scotland, Northern Ireland and various urban centres in England continue arguing against Brexit then they're actually representing the views of their constituents, not undermining democracy. Only an anti-democrat could possibly suggest imprisonment without trial for MPs who refuse to ignore the will of their own constituencies.

Another flaw with this whole "democracy" argument from right-wing Brexiters is the way in which Theresa May and the three Brexiteers have expressed their intention to completely bypass parliament in order to impose their own savagely right-wing version of Brexit. It would be fair enough to argue that Brexit is about democracy if it were being conducted in a democratic manner with proper parliamentary scrutiny, but when it's being imposed without a parliamentary vote by an unelected Prime Minister, then the whole "democracy" argument from the right-wing press is rendered utterly farcical.

Whether you think that quitting the EU is a good thing or a bad thing this concept of silencing/imprisoning/disappearing people who dare to oppose what Theresa May and the Tories are up to should be utterly terrifying. This attitude that dissent must be ruthlessly crushed is the absolute antithesis of democracy. It's pure unadulterated authoritarianism.

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