Losers’ Consent

Christopher Harries

For any democracy to function, it requires losers’ consent. That foundation principle where those standing for election accept they may not prevail and respect the result accordingly.

In recent years can we be sure that all those involved in the democratic process have abided by this principle?

Granted not all have been as transparent as explicitly stating they do not respect the result of the ballot, colourful language is instead deployed to mask the intent and actions.

In the United Kingdom, following the referendum on membership of the European Union how often did we hear the accusations of foreign interference? 

Again in the United States of America, following the election of Donald Trump as President, the narrative became one of foreign interference.

Were concerns about possible foreign interference about protecting the democratic process or de-legitimising the result?

Now to be generous, some individuals may have acted on a desire to protect democracy, yet, others sought to wage a form of lawfare to try and frustrate results which did not sit with their world view or politics.

There is a place for the legal process if there are genuine grounds for concern however this should not be an avenue to try and prevent democratic choices from being implemented or ignored.

With the eyes of the world on the United States, let us not hold Trump to a different standard. His conduct with the result in the balance is as deplorable as Hilary Clinton blaming her loss on Russian interference or those in favour of Remain who sought to use the courts.

We should hope that in time, politics on both sides of the Atlantic matures and returns to the days where those who lose come to accept the result rather than seeking to circumnavigate or denigrate it.

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