Your opinions: Brexit relish, Southern rail chaos and the decline of democracy

Your opinions: Brexit relish, Southern rail chaos and the decline of democracy

A space for our readers to talk about articles of the day in the Opinion section – with input from the writer below the line

Join us below the line to take part in a discussion from 10am-2pm

Welcome to our space – open every Wednesday from 10am-2pm – for discussing the day’s top Opinion articles. We’d like to begin today with three articles.

First off is Rafael Baer on how an excitement for Brexit has gripped the Conservative party’s grassroots, affirmed by Theresa May’s embrace of it this week. Baer likens her to a preacher, leading the party’s reformation, with ripples of ecstasy washing across members as the prime minister affirmed her commitment to Brexit. He writes:

The Tories do not speak for all of England, but in the absence of credible opposition they feel as if they do, and will act accordingly. To those millions who did not vote to leave the EU, the message is clear: you are free to pray for whatever you like. Your antique rites will be tolerated. But do not expect your concerns to be represented in the court of Queen Theresa.

Direct democracy – referendums and citizens’ initiatives – seems to produce even worse results. In the US initiatives are repeatedly used by multimillion-dollar lobby groups to achieve results that state legislatures won’t grant them. They tend to replace taxes with user fees, stymie the redistribution of wealth and degrade public services. Whether representative or direct, democracy comes to be owned by the elites.

If the Southern Rail fiasco has taught us anything it’s surely that travellers need to stand (conveniently) shoulder to shoulder against operating companies, rather than maintain their usual mutual aloofness. An attempt by Southern to get passengers to tweet angrily against the RMT union backfired spectacularly when 90% of the responses called Southern out for their own incompetence. Such groupthink points the way, for as more companies chase greater profits, conductors, guards and station staff will be endangered across the network. If we value them, we need to pull together. Budging up a bit is also appreciated.

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Source: Guardian Transport

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