First, on popular (populist) vs. representative democracy. The referendum of 2016 was odd in many aspects, as not really in line with the parliamentary tradition of the UK. And unlike many previous referenda on EU issues
across Europe, it did not offer a choice between status quo and further integration but between status quo and something unknown (aka unicorns) – where the unknown won. The Prime Minister took it on herself to interpret the findings without any consultation
or consensus-seeking within government, party or country – so not really surprising that she failed! Step by step, over the past two years parliamentary democracy has fought back, first gaining the right to a meaningful vote (which took place yesterday)
and by forcing the government to show its cards (and thus calling its bluff). Now, that the referendum politics has failed and Theresa May is in the weakest position of any prime minister over the past generations, it might be the moment when parliament finally
takes back power and does what it is supposed to do in a representative democracy like the UK: legislate – in this case, legislate the future relationship between the UK and the EU. It would be ironic if after two years of everyone being fixated by the
referendum result, parliament comes out stronger than before!