“It is for the sake of accountability that winners take all in our system….”

Great piece from Janan Ganesh today which is worth reading into the Slugger record..

The British people have instructed their rulers to leave the EU. The execution of their will is the work of years and soul-sapping detail. It cannot be done by a prime minister who believes the instruction was foolish in the first place. It is awkward enough that the technical process of extrication will be managed by reluctant, deflated civil servants.

As a point of democratic principle, the highest offices in government – prime minister, chancellor of the exchequer and foreign secretary – should now go to committed Leavers, preferably ones with compatible accounts of what Leave should mean. A government of all persuasions would be magnanimity for its own sake and a perversion of the referendum result.

This is an important point, and not just for internal rivals within the Conservative party. Whatever’s left of the Labour party after it’s tussle with its “be-tanked” leader needs to take careful note too.

Democracy, like sport, is governed by a cruel clarity. Forty-eight per cent of votes does not entitle pro-Europeans to 48 per cent of their manifesto or 48 per cent of major ministries. Victory and defeat are more absolute than that, and not out of some misplaced machismo. It is for the sake of accountability that winners take all in our system.

That accountability is now everything. Leavers have won what was essentially a referendum and a general election all in one. They must be responsible for the country in the coming years. The economy, the union and the commitments made during the referendum campaign are all theirs to safeguard. A European settlement that simultaneously satisfies Brussels and the 52 per cent is theirs to negotiate.

He concludes:

But Leavers will understand one thing on taking control: Cameron and George Osborne, his chancellor, did not sex up the official advice they received about the economic costs of exit. If anything, they sexed it down to avoid the charge of lurid alarmism that came anyway.

The private dreads of people at the summit of the British state were worse than was ever let on. Unless they are taken with a sudden intellectual sunniness, it will remain the advice that Johnson and his ally Michael Gove, justice secretary, hear as the new masters.

The advice may turn out to be wrong but, on the morning after the referendum, the two men wore the haunted look of jokers at an auction whose playfully exorbitant bid for a vase had just been accepted with a chilling smash of the gavel. They must now govern as well as they campaigned.