(2) The Will of the People is the term frequently employed to describe the shared values and collective purposes of a community. The all-important question is however: how is the will of the people to be determined?
The Will of the people is clearly not what, for example in Germany, the Soviet Union and Communist China, a series of dictatorial and totalitarian ideologues imposed upon their respective populaces during World War Two and subsequently. Nor was it what Mrs Thatcher, over the heads of many of her ministers and Parliament, said she was convinced she heard through her special ear, and even less what Tony Blair was reflecting when he took his country to war in Iraq. Indeed, the will of the people, that collective aggregate of individual reason, is not even what audimats, box-ticking opinion polls and market surveys – those trackers of individual preference – claim to inform us about.
For Constitutionalists, the Will of the people, not being a discoverable given, cannot by definition exist prior to the painstaking democratic process of collective enquiry, debate, discourse, deliberation and consensus-building that brings that Will into existence. In other words, the Will of the people is an act of purposive collective co-creation. Unless and until that ongoing articulative act begins to be accomplished, and the processes by which it is achieved enshrined in a codified and living constitution and perpetuated by constant democratic practice, we risk being left with a political void. History has repeatedly shown how this void can all too easily be filled by the lies and manipulation of unscrupulous individuals and groups who, driven by self-interest, seek to divide, control and exploit, especially when the communities concerned are cowed by scarcity, deprivation and fear.