How did such a weighty decision get put directly in the hands on the average citizen? And with only a simple majority required? In the USA the biggest thing that people vote on directly is city building projects or infrastructure. Most of the time those measures require a 60% approval rating. How is it that Brits are voting on what seems like a federal issue?
One Thing I Don't Get About Brexit
So David Cameron could avoid pissing away votes to UKIP at the last general election.
Look JW_Rogue - over here in London we have the mother of all parliaments (or mother of something! )
Without the English civil war in the 1640's modern day democracy would never have happened and then spread to the rest of Europe let alone in some outpost of the British Empire now called the USA.
So now what we do in the UK is ask "the people" what they want. The fact that 50% of "the people" have an IQ lower than 85 didn't deter the UK government from every few decades asking what they want to do! In the past they have been able to "guide the voters" to do their bidding.
But despite the manipulation and craftiness and the support of much of the media the IQ85'ers (ie thicko's) have swung it to an OUT vote.
Now watch all the back tracking and meltdowns and loss of office of party leaders until it all settles down and everyone realises that this wasn't the Battle of the Somme and life will continue in a "Keep Calm and Carry On" sort of way with a few weedy protests and twitchings of talons from the disgruntled.
The decision is not "directly in the hands of the average citizen" as the outcome is not legally binding. The decision remains with Westminster as to how it responds to the referendum.
Ignoring the outcome may well be political suicide though.
JW_rogue: That's a very good question. The big problem is the sheer amount of FUD floating around.. when unpopular decisions are made politicians are pretty quick to blame the EU because it wont hurt them politically. That means many people just "know" the EU is not democratic, inefficient, wasteful, enact stupid rules etc.
On top of that the right-wing nationalistic anti-EU movements all across Europe keeps selling the EU as a bureaucratic (non-democratic) body that keeps on growing. The "non-democratic" part is FUD, however the growing part is true. For instance the EU had to draft a ton of banking legislation in the wake of the recent banking crisis with the Greek to stabilize the economy. But is that really a bad thing? One way or the other that legislation would have to be made, and by ensuring the same legislation for all of EU this ensures no unfair competitive advantage.
The EU issue has devided the Tory party for decades. David Cameron took a calculated gamble that by having a referendum he could settle the argument. He lost. Boris Johnson is an opportunist that thought that if he led the leave campaign and lost but with a significant leave vote be would be ideally placed to be the next PM. He won, and in doing so he lost because if he becomes PM David Cameron is leaving a poison chalice for the next leader of pulling the article 50 trigger to leave.
I guess the moral of the story is don't use your electorate to have a proxy leadership power struggle. Their vote may just surprise you.
We had a Brexit because the government hadn't appeared to listen to the concerns of the people. Or if they had listened at all, they'd done little to solve the problems. Whether those concerns were valid or not was not the issue. Those concerns were never dealt with, other than a glib PM paying lip service occasionally. People felt that they were being micromanaged by the EU in too many sections of their lives. They also felt that the country's infrastructure was breaking down because of the surge in population. They felt too that their national identity was being eroded, although that wasn't such a big deal to the younger voters. They didn't feel that their concerns were being taken seriously and could see no end in sight. So finally they lost patience and walked.
Maybe they were right to walk. Maybe, if they'd been genuinely listened to and reassured, they might have stayed. Or just maybe the EU has become so intractable and beaurocratic that there really was no other choice. Shame.
the government hadn't appeared to listen
People felt that they were being micromanaged
They also felt that the country's infrastructure was breaking down
They felt too that their national identity was being eroded
They didn't feel that their concerns were being taken seriously
So finally they lost patience and walked.
One could also ask in another way: Did the people do it's job to investigate what the EU was and what the benefits of being a member of the EU is?
It's not the people's "job" to investigate about the EU. It's the people's job to be fed bread and circuses!
freddo: The ballot should have been like this:
What do you prefer?
[ ] Leave the EU
[ ] Remain in the EU
[ ] A pint of beer