Ignorando la voluntad del pueblo

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Hemos aprendido que el referendo es una herramienta maravillosa de la democracia, una que otorga a las personas la dicha del voto directo y les permite tomar decisiones críticas por su cuenta. También hemos aprendido que un referendo da legitimidad a la decisión porque esta proviene de la gente, trascendiendo de tal modo la visión miope de los políticos. La decisión tomada a partir de un referendo es una orden dada por el pueblo, no simplemente una sugerencia.

Cualquier persona que siga pensando de esta manera después de las catastróficas experiencias en Grecia, España, Colombia y el Reino Unido durante los últimos años se encuentra en un profundo estado de negación sobre lo que logran los referendos. En estos cuatro casos se hizo creer a la gente que sus deseos se concederían si solo fueran a la mesa de votación y marcaran su elección preferida en un papel. En todos los casos la realidad ha sido sorprendentemente diferente.

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Ignoring the will of the people

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We learn that a referendum is a phenomenal tool of democracy, one that empowers people with direct vote, and allows them to make critical decisions on their own. We also learn that a referendum gives legitimacy to the outcome, and because it comes from the people, it transcends the narrow views of individual political actors. What is decided in a referendum is an order given by the people to the politicians, not simply a suggestion.

Anyone who keeps thinking this way after the catastrophic experiences in Greece, Spain, Colombia, and the UK over the last couple of years is in a deep state of denial about what can be achieved with referendums. In these four cases people were led to believe that their wishes would be granted if they only went to the polling station and marked their preferred choice on a piece of paper. In all the cases the reality has been strikingly different.

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Theresa May’s last bullet

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Now that we are about to finish the second season of this drama called Brexit, it is fair to say that nobody really knows what is going to happen in its final episode. The next crucial date is December 11, when the Parliament votes on the agreement reached by the British and European negotiators, and according to those keeping track of the numbers the outcome looks gloomy for the government of Theresa May: less than 250 MPs would vote in favour, way below the minimum threshold of 320 that is needed for its approval.

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