The legislative being only a fiduciary power to act for certain ends, there remains still in the people a supreme power to remove or alter the legislative, when they find the legislative act contrary to the trust reposed in them. For all power given with trust for the attaining an end, being limited by that end, whenever that end is manifestly neglected, or opposed, the trust must necessarily be forfeited, and the power devolve into the hands of those that gave it, who may place it anew where they shall think best for their safety and security.

—John Locke. Two Treatises of Government, 1689.

If a legislator votes in defiance of the wishes of his electorate, the electorate should have an immediate remedy. Some theorists claim legislators should ignore the wishes of the electorate and vote according to their consciences. They claim it is somehow a noble thing to do. This is a false doctrine, implying an agent is not bound to obey his principal. In truth an agent is a mere extension of the principal and is bound to do what the principal wants done. For a legislator to imagine that his election somehow elevates him to a plane where his opinion becomes superior to that of his electorate is an absurd pretension.

This article is an extract from the book ‘Principles of Good Government’ by Matthew Bransgrove