Friday, March 17, 2017

Which people? Whose will?

52% of the British people voted for Brexit, therefore the will of the British people is Brexit, therefore Brexit must happen.

62% of people in Scotland voted against Brexit, therefore the will of the Scottish people is to remain in the EU, therefore Scotland must not be dragged out of the EU against its will.

Isn't that a bit odd?  The unequivocal will of the British people is Brexit, but the unequivocal will of the people of Scotland, who are a subset of the British people, is no Brexit.  And all this despite the fact that a large minority of the people of Scotland - who, as you'll remember, will not to leave the EU - expressed a desire to leave the EU, and despite the fact that an even larger minority of the British people - who, you'll recall, absolutely will Brexit - voted to remain within the EU.

It would appear that the 48% of British people who voted remain have made no contribution to the will of the British people.  Presumably they all now realise that their individual will has been subsumed, not to say over-ridden, by the will of the people.

Although, if you are in Scotland and you voted to leave, you are presumably fairly conflicted.  When you consider yourself as a person in the UK, you find that your individual will is in line with the collective will; but when you consider yourself as a Scot, you find that your individual will must be sacrificed to the will of the people of Scotland.

And of course the question has now been raised of what happens politically when the will of the people of Scotland, which of course has now over-ridden the wills of all Scottish Brexiteers, comes into conflict with the will of the people of the UK, which has of course subsumed the wills of all British people, and in the case of British people who voted to remain in the EU has over-written them with its larger collective will to leave.  Although, that presumably implies that the collective will of the people of Scotland has also been similarly over-written, except that apparently it hasn't.

All of which is just to say: individual people have a will; collectives do not have a will.  It's a nonsene (as demonstrated above) to try to pretend that we can speak of the will of the British people, as the PM is inclined to do, and it is only slightly less of a nonsense to try to pretend that we can speak of the will of Scotland, as the FM regularly does.

Essentially, we are going to need a better way of making decisions than just counting heads.

4 comments:

  1. Philosopher kings, perhaps?

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  2. Hang on now, surely it's the will of the British *nature*?

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    Replies
    1. The quidditas of Britannia has spoken!

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