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Saturday, June 24, 2017

Expectations of a compliant media are anti-democratic

Tim Farron's description of Andrea Leadsom's comments to the BBC last night as 'sinister' and 'stupid' just about hits the nail on the head.

The Leader of the House of Commons' comment to Emily Maitlis was: “It would be helpful if broadcasters were willing to be a bit patriotic. The country took a decision, this government is determined to deliver on that decision.”

It is difficult to know where to start with his crass remark except to say that for a democratically elected politician to try and shut down legitimate scrutiny and criticism in this way goes beyond stupid. It demonstrates an anti-democratic mindset and a complete misunderstanding of the democratic process.

Democracy exists to protect the rights of minorities not to impose the will of the majority. It is meant to foster robust debate and encourage contrasting opinions. Any government minister who fails to understand that is in the wrong job.

Last year's referendum was non-binding, was fought on false pretences and lies and was close enough to justify a confirmatory vote once any deal has been agreed. It was also a snapshot of opinion at that particular time. It is no more set in stone than the 1976 vote that confirmed our membership.

If this is what the Tory party has been reduced to in the place of argument and persuasion then no wonder the government is floundering.
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