Dr Philip Lee, the Justice Minister in Britain’s Conservative government, resigned yesterday over the government’s handling of the Brexit issue. Dr Lee said:
“Dr Lee added: ‘Sometimes when a majority of people want something that is against the good of society, government and parliament have a responsibility to protect us.
‘This was the case for the death penalty, where for decades politicians went against the majority view and refused to restore it.
‘Now I believe it has got to be the case for the Brexit process”.’ (See http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-5834013/Blow-justice-minister-QUITS-Brexit.html).
It is a brave man who stands up and says that the people are not always right, that government’s should not blindly follow “the will of the people” (my words and not those of Dr Lee) and that politicians should, sometimes protect people from the consequences of their ill judged decisions. I believe that Dr Lee is right and I applaud him for having the courage to resign on a matter of principle.
The issue of whether the UK should leave the European Union is too complicated to be put to the UK electorate, yet this is what was done. The debate surrounding the referendum saw a great deal of what where (quite frankly) lies, for example the claim by leading supporters of the Leave campaign that exiting the EU would mean far more investment in the NHS, and in the sound and fury of this ”tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing” the truth and common sense was lost.
Dr Lee has been criticised for his decision to resign on the grounds that 53 percent of his constituents voted to leave the EU. Yet if a person does, in all conscience believe that his constituents are wrong, is he not correct to go with his own inner conscience rather than with “the will of the majority”? I believe that he is, for the man of conscience can not live with himself if he allow the views of the majority to trump what he, in his heart knows to be right.
“I laud the mass
For to do otherwise is considered crass.
One can not have the brass
Neck to deny
The truth that justice in the majority does lie.
Who am I
My voice in praise
Of the view
That the few
Sometimes best construe
What is just and true?”
(“My Old Clock I Wind And Other Poems” by K Morris).