No one at the moment can avoid the endless commentary about the Brexit turmoil gripping our ‘icon’ democracy in Westminster. The word ‘democracy’ is being thrown around with great passion by all sides of the debate without any consideration to the fundamental essence of its meaning.
But let’s go back in time to the source of the problem: the referendum called by the then Prime Minister, David Cameron. The referendum was set up with little thought to its consequences and the gravity of an indecisive result. A major decision of this magnitude should have required a ‘super majority’, i.e a result that was incontestable.  The result was 51.9% for leaving the E.U and 48.1% to remain but the turnout was only 72.2%, so we only know that 37.5% of the eligible voters wanted to leave the E.U, not a basis to form an informed decision upon.
The requirement for a decisive adoption of this referendum should have been more than 50% of the eligible voters to rule out any possibility of a ‘silent’ majority opposing leaving the E.U. So, for a 72% turnout, the threshold should have been 69% not the 51.9 % achieved. This has never been properly explained to the voting population.
So this dilemma was set up right from the start.
The next problem was the fact that the Westminster system is not based on Proportional Representation, so the two old parties of Tories and Labour found themselves both split on the issue of remain or leave. Neither party had developed a cohesive policy on how to deal with the outcome of the referendum. At least the UKIP party had simple policy platform to deliver at the last election but was seen by voters to have delivered its commitment of ‘winning’ its primary aim of delivering a yes vote for leaving the E.U at the referendum.
So we have the dilemma of two ‘broad church’ parties fundamentally split on the issue, unable to advance any cogent argument as to the direction to take in the response to the referendum.
If the U.K had proportional representation to allocate seats to their parliament then new parties of the ‘right’ and the ‘left’ could contest new elections with clear policies encompassing a response to the referendum.
Clearly, the only fair path forward is to have a new referendum, requiring an incontestable result, to give some guidance to Parliament as to the way forward. But this still does not overcome the short falls of an inadequate system that does not provide for representation proportionate to the votes received by parties or independents, in line with the will of the people. Britain, like Australia, limps on with defective systems of parliamentary ‘democracy’ leading to dangerous dissatisfaction of the electors.
Two paths are then opened, either a movement towards proportional representation to truly test the will of the people, or a retrograde slide to populist, nationalist, autocratic government to drive home policies suited to a narrow clique that bends the ‘national interest’ to their interests.