Generation Brexit

Are the people 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?

Guide to the Brexit vote

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Referendums are hailed as a medium of true democracy; the people directly vote on issues. The Swiss often use referendums to decide key issues. One of the reasons why referendums work in Switzerland but not in Britain is because Switzerland has a richer tradition of direct democracy while Britain has been a parliamentary democracy for centuries. The Brexit referendum has been mired in controversies during and after the vote such as the 350 million pounds claim that no doubt influenced the...

Bryan Chen
by Bryan Chen
1 Votes
Comments 0
Bryan Chen

Since Brexit was a major decision and has had a major impact at the political and economic level in the UK, the referendum should’ve been held after properly informing the public of the forecasted effects post Brexit versus the situation where the UK would’ve stayed in the EU. Many people based their votes off of their personal feelings towards the EU and the UK government without considering the bigger impact of Brexit. Had the effects, such as the new economic forecasts, been made public...

Pakhi Gupta
by Pakhi Gupta
2 Votes
Comments 0
Pakhi Gupta

Within any country there is always a divide in the population between those who are more educated versus those who are less educated. While this doesn’t take away from the weight of each citizen’s vote, it does make a difference in how people will vote. People with higher education levels tend to have a broader viewpoint and take into account more things before making a decision on how to vote. Those who aren’t as well off usually don’t have as good of a financial situation as they had hoped...

Pakhi Gupta
by Pakhi Gupta
2 Votes
Comments 1
Pakhi Gupta

This forum poses an interesting question that scholars have debated for and against since the first Greek philosophers. According to Aristotle, rule of the people through direct democracies is severely problematic, as the uneducated or misinformed can make faulty choices based on asymmetric information or even passion and emotion. To emphasize this point, he explains that the major failure and loss in the Peloponnesian war  against the Spartans was contributed to the direct democracy system...

Annie Wang
by Annie Wang
1 Votes
Comments 1
Annie Wang

Because direct democracy is based on the vote of the people, one of the biggest risks of democracy lies in an uneducated and/or misinformed public. With an inability to discern between truth and sentiment, some voters do not vote with a complete idea of the impacts of such an action. Especially with the spread of misinformation through targeted ad campaigns and the bias effect of social media algorithms, it could be concluded that some voters did not vote with a comprehensive account of...

Jina Shi
by Jina Shi
5 Votes
Comments 1
Jina Shi

The day of the Brexit vote, social media was overwhelmed with tweets about the possible outcomes. As soon as the vote happened and the results were announced, social media was even more overwhelmed as political pundits and activists used the platform to speak out about their opinions on how the world and UK citizens should act in the coming months. No matter how you spin it, social media was one of the most prevalent resources in both before Brexit and afterward. "Not only were there twice...

Dharaa Rathi
by Dharaa Rathi
6 Votes
Comments 1
Dharaa Rathi

  I often hear about the efficiency of the current democracy in these last years. Indeed, after every voting occasion, people reflect on the voting system. An increasing number of people believe that votes should not weight equally, since some voters are more informed and educated than others. This is a very important and complicated question to answer: should every vote count equally even though people are not equally educated? I believe it would be difficult to create a system that...

Luca de'Castiglioni
by Luca de'Castiglioni
5 Votes
Comments 1
Luca de'Castiglioni

The Brexit Referendum as an example of a plebiscitary democracy can easily be interpreted as a prime reason why citizens are unfit to rule. However, I believe it is a false dichotomy to depict power as in either the hands of the citizens or the government. While uninformed voting and inaccurate information are issues that plague the electorate in any type of election, these reasons should not be used to completely dismiss the resulting vote as it can still be used as a good indicator of...

Rachel Tong
by Rachel Tong
12 Votes
Comments 0
Rachel Tong

Statistics show that supporters for and against Brexit can be correlated to certain, economic positions, education level, and age. Although all are important statistical groups when analyzing Brexit, economic inequality and its effect on the divide amongst voters proves an interesting component of this political process.               According to an LSE article by Danny Dorling, economic inequality has continued to rise in the UK for almost forty years, and many voters living below...

Dylan Polley
by Dylan Polley
4 Votes
Comments 1
Dylan Polley

    It is a common phenomenon that youth not only in the UK but around the world are less involved in politics than older generations. Given the youth’s shared ideology towards Brexit, higher youth participation rate might have changed the outcome of Brexit and many other political events. The TEDxLSE speaker Coban, one of the youngest Councilors in history of Britain, splits solutions for lack of youth participation into three parts: political education, changes in current voting...

Dylan Polley
by Dylan Polley
9 Votes
Comments 3
Dylan Polley
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