Democracy and migration

The essence of democracy is not that the will of the majority prevails. That is the way to mob rule. It is a more subtle and complex concept. It is that the minority consents to be governed by the majority, subject to two conditions.

First, the majority power must respect the will of the minority: it consents that it should not go too far in damaging their interests. Second, the minority consents to be so governed, provided that (a) the majority exercises self-restraint and respects the views of the minority (b) there will be an opportunity to depose the current majority in due course.

Mutual consent depends on mutual trust. It is only possible in a coherent community with shared culture, history and values – a demos. This demos cannot be willed or legislated into being. There is no European demos, no shared culture and no shared basis for consent to government by another majority. True democracy is impossible.

Leaders of Romania, the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Hungary voted on 22 September 2015 against the Commission’s mandatory quota scheme for relocating migrants; Slovakia’s Prime Minister Robert Fico added that he would refuse to comply rather than accept the “diktat” of the majority. These leaders may be realizing that Qualified Majority Voting within the EU is not genuine democracy.

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