What is being decided here is not just about Brexit. It is about the biggest constitutional question you can ask in any country: Who holds legitimate political power? Is it the people, or Parliament, or the government?
For centuries, there was a settled answer. Parliament held the power by virtue of votes from the people. The Brexit referendum provided the government with a mechanism to sidestep that arrangement and portray itself as the voice of the people independently from Parliament. The events of the next few weeks will show which of those visions is victorious. The stakes couldn’t be higher.
Ian Dunt explains Brexit in two paragraphs.
Incidentally, if you don’t know the difference between, in particular, “Parliament”1 and “the government”, and why selecting one or the other as the embodied will of the people makes so much difference in a democracy… then you can probably thank half a century of right-wing populist demagoguery and intentional attempts to undermine public understanding of and participation in the democratic process, honestly.
- Americans, you may substitute “Congress” for “Parliament” here. [↩]