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28 June 2016 @ 09:15 pm
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The UK is now two nations, staring across a political chasm | John Harris | Opinion | The Guardian
"Even those who understand that something seismic is afoot among predominantly working-class voters are still too keen on the idea that they are gullible enough to be led over a cliff by people with whom they would actually disagree, if only they knew the facts. But most people are not really being “led” by anyone. In my experience, Farage, Boris Johnson and Michael Gove et al are viewed by most people with as much cynicism as the people fronting the remain campaign. Moreover, this argument is dangerously redolent of that lousy old Marxist trope of “false consciousness”, whereby people enthusiastically following the supposedly wrong cause are only a speech or poster away from enlightenment, and a sharp left turn."

How to think about the EU result if you voted Remain
There are worse things than leaving the EU and giving up on democracy (or the free press) would be among them. This is the first article I've seen that gropes towards articulating why Remainers, like myself, should not be looking for ways to wriggle out of this.

EU ‘massively impressed’ by the way Britain’s handling this
The Daily Mash struggles to make the situation seem more ridiculous than it already is.

This entry was originally posted at http://purplecat.dreamwidth.org/196520.html.
a_cubeda_cubed on June 29th, 2016 01:02 am (UTC)
A 51.8% vote for a pretty-much irrevocable decision that involves an utter leap in the dark, and about which it is absolutely clear that the Leave campaign won by lying outright (350m, immigration, their two main planks have been destroyed by their own people within two days of winning) does not strike me as a democratic order. Despite Cameron's statements that the results of the referendum must be binding and immediately implemented I believe that avoiding pulling the trigger on Article 50 and engaging in serious sober reflection of the actual options is the right way forward. If the rest of the EU can get beyond their feelings of being insulted by the referendum they will permit negotiations on what an exit would look like without triggering Article 50 by the UK, followed by a further referendum in which the options would look something like:
1. Stay in the EU anyway;
2. Withdraw from the EU.
If we withdraw from the EU should we:
2a. Accept the deal offered by the EU for new relationship such as membership of the EEA but not EU membership
2b. Withdraw from all EU-related agreements.

These are the real choices we should have.

It seems to me that while not all Brexiters have been misled by the campaign, that a substantial enough number of them have been that the legitimacy of such a close result should not be taken as a clear democratic mandate. It should be noted that quite a few of the original Brexit campaingers kept saying that a close vote for Remain would not be regarded by them as a clear mandate for Remain and that they would regard anything less than 60-40 as a mandate to keep agitating for a further referendum. I feel no compunction in arguing that MPs, the vast majority of whom weere elected as part of a "Remain" party and personal platform, would be quite entitled under UK constitutional traditions to refuse to support an act authorising Article 50 notification, facing the voters at the next general election (or even then voting to trigger one immediately, which would be the most honourable thing to do) for their verdict on that. The first past the post system is not brilliant for such things but it's the system we've got.

Edited at 2016-06-29 02:44 pm (UTC)
louisedennislouisedennis on June 30th, 2016 10:46 am (UTC)
I'm not going to argue either that the whole referendum was exceedingly shabbily done from the reasons for calling it, through the campaigning, to the apparent lack of any serious thought about what to do should Leave win.

There was lying on both sides of the campaigning. I've seen it stated that the lies by Leave were worse and I'm tentatively prepared to believe that (though since I am Remainer and all the people arguing this are Remainers and one's definition of "lie" is often subjective I think there is a lot of danger of bias in that assertion).

All that said the "big lie" is 350m and, well, I find it hard to believe there is anyone who voted Leave who would not have voted Leave if that bloody bus had had 161m written on the side of it instead of 350m (let alone the 500,000 or so that would be required to make a difference to the result). The other lies were all about the extent to which Leave would be good or bad for the economy and over what time scale. I believe, and you believe, and most Remainers believe that there was a fair bit of lying there but even if we could prove definitively at this point that the decision was economically bad in the long term for the UK, all that objectively means is that they were wrong, and they could have been wrong for a whole load of reasons particularly since economists, bankers and financiers do not, at present, have a great reputation for foresight, statesmanship or probity.

The last poll I saw suggested that only 1% of Leave voters currently regretted their vote while 4% of Remainers were, in fact, happy with the outcome. That was over the weekend mind and things have changed since then, though not necessarily things that a lot of casual voters really care about (most of the Leave voters I know did not do so casually and as far as I'm aware none of them have changed their minds). As it stands those sorts of numbers do no support a belief in a groundswell of opinion that would change the result.

I personally believe that a big factor in the Leave vote, was a belief that all politicians lie, all are out for themselves, and the opinions and votes of the average person are not only irrelevant but held in active contempt by the political parties and the chattering classes (to which pretty much everyone I know well belong). That being the case, choosing to overturn or ignore the referendum seems to me to feed into and exacerbate the underlying problem rather than fix it.

But you know, yes, the mandate is tiny, the referendum should not have allowed a simple majority, we should have been presented with clear options to decide between (rather than status quo or something different, which is broadly the choice that was on offer), it was advisory and someone somewhere in a position of power should have had the bollocks to say loudly, publicly and before the event, that in the event of a close result then its advisory nature would have great weight in determining the way forward. I still think, all things considered, that we need to actually go with the result, but I realise there are good arguments that we should overturn it.

I'm currently in favour of 2a above. When I looked at the weekend there was no petition in favour of it, if there isn't one by this weekend then I will probably try to set one up.
athene: atlantis pythagoras triangledeinonychus_1 on June 29th, 2016 07:52 pm (UTC)
Thanks for those links (especially the last one, could do with all the laughs we can get at the moment!).
louisedennislouisedennis on June 30th, 2016 10:50 am (UTC)
athene: atlantis pythagoras triangledeinonychus_1 on July 1st, 2016 06:54 pm (UTC)
Thanks for those, the first one was particularly unexpectedly hilarious!

Rather more serious, you may have already seen it, but I was just reading this interesting piece in the Guardian:


louisedennislouisedennis on July 2nd, 2016 09:03 am (UTC)
An interesting article, though it repeats the myth about us dropping from 5th-6th in terms of the size of the economy. But I think the diagnosis that a lot of the UK thought things were bad and getting worse no matter what and at least this way they got to vote for a change is fairly accurate.