Pullman: 'referendum has no place in democracy'

Pullman: 'referendum has no place in democracy'

The referendum should not have “any place at all in a parliamentary democracy”, author Philip Pullman has said, following Britain's decision to leave the European Union, arguing that the device “slips far too easily into a sort of raucous populism”.

Writing for the Guardian about his thoughts on the causes of Brexit, Pullman strongly criticised Britain's politicans and media outlets for this "catastrophe".

He argued that the "most immediate" cause of this "disaster" was the "flippant, careless, irresponsible way David Cameron tried to buy off the right wing of his own party by offering them a referendum”. He continued: “I don’t think that device should have any place at all in a parliamentary democracy: it slips far too easily into a sort of raucous populism. We elect MPs so that they can have the time and the resources to make important decisions. That’s what they should do.”

He hit out at the politicans that led the Leave campaign and media corporations that allowed themselves to be “seduced by strong personalities”. He said: “The oafish saloon-bar loudmouth Nigel Farage was indulged with far too many appearances on 'Any Questions' and 'Question Time'. Producers seem to have felt his dog-whistle racism to be amusingly transgressive.”

He added: “Similarly, Boris Johnson, a liar, a cheat, a man said to have betrayed a journalist to someone who wanted to beat him up, a shameless opportunist, an idle buffoon, to name but a few of his disqualifications for high office, was flattered over and over again by programmes such as 'Have I Got News For You'. Without the completely needless exposure these two gained from the generosity of TV and radio, they would have found it harder to spread their lies and not-even-quite-covert racism during the referendum.”

He also criticised Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn saying his performance during the referendum was a "masterclass in lacklustre, moribund, timid, low-wattage helplessness". Pullman added: "You cannot take someone formed by nature to be a safely maverick backbencher and expect him to project any kind of clear determined leadership.”

“But then, if we had a properly thought-out constitution instead of a cobwebbed, rotten, diseased and decaying mess of a patched-up, cobbled-together, bloated, corrupted, leaking and stinking hulk, we wouldn’t have come to this point anyway. We desperately need fundamental change. But who can bring us that now?” Pullman concluded.

Fellow authors including JK Rowling, Malorie Blackman, Matt Haig and Nikesh Shukla have taken to Twitter to voice their concerns about the referendum result.