University of Bath

What is the 'Will of the People'? England and Brexit.

Listen to Anthony Barnett address the core question at the heart of Brexit - what is the 'will of the people'?

20 Nov 20185.15pm
to
20 Nov 20187.00pm
Free
The Will of the People
Who are 'the people'? Do they have only one 'will'? Is it unchangeable? Is it an expression of democracy or an anti-democratic device? These questions go to the heart of Brexit.

The 'Will of the People' has been invoked as justifying Brexit and what the Daily Mail calls “a deep-seated human yearning to recover our national identity and independence”. But as a concept it explodes the sovereignty of parliament, which is the bedrock of British nationalism. Also, Scotland and Northern Ireland voted differently from England (and Wales would too now, if there is another vote). So who are 'the people'? Do they have only one 'will'? Is it unchangeable? Is it an expression of democracy or an anti-democratic device? These questions go to the heart of Brexit.