Interpreting the electorate’s wishes

ANYONE who has lost a close relative will have learned to beware the phrase “It’s what he/she would have wanted.” The deceased, alas, are no longer around to express their wishes. The temptation is to assume that one’s own desires coincide with those of the departed.

When it comes to the views of the electorate, politicians (and newspapers) to assume that they are in tune with the real desires of the voters. The recent UK referendum on the EU is a case in point. The question at issue was

Should the United Kingdom remain a member of the European Union or leave the European Union?

That was it. There were no subsidiary questions about how the UK should leave. But in the wake of the Leave vote, there are plenty of commentators ready to say that the vote “clearly” means Britain have voted to leave the single market, stop freedom of movement etc. Jeremy Corbyn, the Labour leader, has been accused of living in “la-la land” for not realising that free movement had to stop.

But is that what people voted for? Daniel Hannan, a leading eurosceptic MEP, argued <a…Continue reading

from Business and finance http://www.economist.com/blogs/buttonwood/2016/09/decision-making-referendum?fsrc=rss

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