Generation Brexit

Are citizens fit to rule?

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The Brexit vote was an exercise in plebiscitary democracy; a direct appeal to the British people to state their voice on the UK’s continued membership to the European Union. However, the second most Googled question in the UK, after the vote took place on 23 June 2016 was 'What is the EU?'

What does this tell us, if anything, about the how fit citizens are to ‘rule’?

Long before the vote, studies have shown that much of the British public was ill-informed about the workings of the EU and the Referendum campaign did little to fill this gap in information. Contentious social issues were discussed at length, such as immigration, the NHS, and welfare, which arguably often had little to do with the UK’s membership in the EU. Both the Leave and the Remain campaigns were focused on portraying what life outside of the EU would look like, in practice having little to no ability to make such predictions. In light of the above, was turning to the wisdom of the people the right choice?

  • What were the pros and cons of the Brexit referendum?
  • Did the UK public know what they were voting for? Where they given the chance to be appropriately informed?
  • Is the Brexit Vote legitimate? Should the UK public vote directly on such big issues from now on?

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  1. Hugo Engel
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After the Brexit referendum, there have been exasperated sighs about the uneducated electorate, how fake news contributed to the problem and the death of our faith in democracy. However, although democracy is a political process that may not always know what the "best" outcome is, best being rather subjective here, it never stops to strive for our citizens' best interests, if only we didn't curtail its many functions. A robust liberal democracy should have multiple checks and balances, a...

Tasha Chia
by Tasha Chia
0 Votes
Comments 0
Tasha Chia

It seems that there are questions over how informed the public are to vote, and subsequently how serious or legitimate a public decision, such as in a referendum, can be. It is not necessarily a question about whether citizens are fit to rule, as a direct democracy is not realistic, but more about whether citizens are informed enough to select those who are fit to rule.  It is hard to argue that the UK electorate is fully informed - there is poor education on politics, low political...

Ianthe Roper-Elliott
by Ianthe Roper-Elliott
1 Votes
Comments 0
Ianthe Roper-Elliott

Recently during the LSE100 class we have thought about the idea of an Epistocracy, whereby a country is ruled by the knowledgable. In our group we decided this was a bad idea because it did not allow a population to be properly represented and allowed certain groups to push their agendas. However, something we did all agree on was the idea that more needs to be done to help properly inform voters of the real facts- such as increased education and fact checking- because in todays digitalised...

Samuel Hale
by Samuel Hale
1 Votes
Comments 0
Samuel Hale
Idea thumbnail

Democracy as a system of governance relies upon the active participation of an informed citizenry. However, as recent data indicates, this symbiotic relationship between citizens and the government is far from ideal. Firstly, citizens appear to be severely lacking in general political knowledge. In a Pew Research Centre poll, when US citizens were quizzed on who the current Speaker of the House is, only 62% of respondents answered correctly. Secondly, diminished turnout figures indicate an...

Ryan Ho
by Ryan Ho
1 Votes
Comments 0
Ryan Ho
by
Ryan Ho

If you consider that citizens aren't fit to rule, then ask yourself, could you really expect them to be? In a society where mass media and even politicians concentrate on catchy sound bites, where we oversimplify to convince and where in the end, we only ask citizens to vote for their favourite person every few years, are we really breeding citizens capable of ruling? This all starts with education of course, where, really, we are brought up to be effective workers and not independent...

John Gordon
by John Gordon
1 Votes
Comments 4
John Gordon

The Brexit referendum was plagued with disinformation which confused an uninformed electorate who were absorbing the fear tactics of politicians. However, this doesn't mean the British electorate aren't 'fit to rule'. I believe that the British public did have the right to decide on their future in the EU and that the result of the referendum in 2016 was legitimate under UK electoral rules. However, as suggested by comments below, it would be prudent for such influential referendums to...

Ella Hutchinson
by Ella Hutchinson
2 Votes
Comments 0
Ella Hutchinson

Whether the people are fit to 'rule' depends on whether they are in a position to make  well-informed and well-reasoned decisions on important matters. The vote to leave the EU highlights how easy it is for the media and politicians to dress up social issues as anything that they want to in order to further their cause. The crucial aspect of this is that those with a lack of education (and that is not to say that all those who voted for Brexit have this) or lack of inquisitiveness to fact...

Zoe R
by Zoe R
1 Votes
Comments 0
Zoe R
by
Zoe R
Idea thumbnail

Redesigning Democracy 1) Censorship : Helps to prevent the inflow of too much information which often creates doubt and contradicting evidence; leading to confusion.  2) Information Education:  “We must learn how statistics work, treat the narratives we believe as sceptically as those we don’t, try not to succumb to conspiratorial thinking.” 3) Algorithms:   "Algorithms affect their users' access to information and how they form political opinions." 

WAR ON TRUTH
by WAR ON TRUTH
1 Votes
Comments 0
WAR ON TRUTH

People today have access to more information, are often more educated, turnout at higher rates (as of the referendum and 2017) and vote less along traditional geographical or family lines, all of which imply that citizens are increasingly 'fit to rule'. This is not to say that the issues that democracy currently struggles with are solved; there is much misinformation that must be dealt with, for example. What we must consider, however, is that some institutions and democratic structures...

Haydon Etherington
by Haydon Etherington
2 Votes
Comments 0
Haydon Etherington

Misinformation is not new, and political apathy isn't either. These phenomena alone don't tell us anything constructive. Rather, under what conditions are people subjected to misinformation and the circumstances which drive them towards political apathy should really be what we are looking at. Information bombardment, boring news and a lack of patience to read them, and a feeling of hopelessness regarding how one vote can hardly impact the political situation are all possible indicators....

Karen Lee
by Karen Lee
1 Votes
Comments 0
Karen Lee
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