Praesidium

Friday, November 16, 2018

Liam Fox channels Edmund Burke

I'll be teaching the trustee-delegate debate as part of my democratic theory module next semester, so here's a convenient example: Liam Fox saying "We are not elected to do what we want to do, but to do what is in the national interest".

Of course, no one defends the view that representatives should do whatever they want. The crucial question is whether they should exercise their own judgement as to what's in the national interest or accept the people's verdict.

Fox seems to agree with Burke, in suggesting that they focus on the national interest (rather than particular interests, such as their constituency), but perhaps to disagree on whether they ought to exercise independent judgement. Burke famously argued that MPs should make their own minds up about what is in the national interest.

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