• Bitter Crank
    8.8k
    Popular votes are not infallible; when the stakes are very high, it makes sense to take more time to find a more unified, and unifying, less divisive decision.

    From a distance, at least, Brexit doesn't appear to offer the UK many advantages, unless it is to an elite whose interests moved the decision in the first place.

    The People may make major mistakes. We do, and we also fail to anticipate unforeseen consequences. Take Prohibition: Once passed, it created crime and criminal activity out of what had previously been a legal and even essential business. The government depended on tax revenue from alcohol sales.

    At the time (1915-1920) of the campaign for prohibition, the US had disproportionate representation. Each rural vote counted for more than each urban vote. The majority of citizens were not in favor of prohibition, and were not militantly anti-alcohol. However, a super-majority of state legislatures were prohibitionist (because of disproportionate representation).

    The issue was revisited a decade later. The national experience of prohibition had shown the people that prohibition had too many negative downsides. It was repealed by another supermajority.

    A constitutional amendment is complicated enough, but pulling out of the multi-layered bureaucracy of a complex trade agreement is likely to be much more complicated, and once done won't be at all easy to undo, or it may be impossible to undo.

    So, my sources of information are fairly limited: The Guardian, mainly. I just don't see how pulling out of the existing setup will result in a more dynamic economy capable of fueling a high level of growth, increased tax revenues, and increased layouts for essentials like the NHS.

    Brexit should be submitted to a vote again, or it should be overridden by parliament (if that is possible).
  • wuliheron
    440
    Britannia no longer rules the waves and the banks and international conglomerates are running everything. Either way you're screwed so the question is would like it in the front or the back end? If things get really bad I'm sure the majority will bend over and grease their ass like everyone else so I don't really understand the question. Sometimes its just best if to let people complain and cry first and only apply the restraints if absolutely necessary.
  • Barry Etheridge
    349


    And if the result's the same will that put an end to this nonsensical campaign to overturn a decision that's been made for better or worse or will there be cries for a third vote and then a fourth? And if the result is different do you imagine that the other side then won't start calling for a best of three, or four or five? The one thing that will unquestionably do damage is doing nothing while no decision is made at all. The vote is binding and must be so. How about the losers stop whining about it and actually put some effort into making the best possible and most dignified exit if the claim to be so enamoured of the country they are apparently hjappy to throw into a state of permanent limbo.
  • Michael
    8.9k
    or it should be overridden by parliament (if that is possible).Bitter Crank

    There's currently a court case that seeks to ensure that Brexit requires Parliamentary approval, which will give MPs the option of not passing it. I'd expect the Scottish and Northern Irish MPs to vote against it, given that their constituencies did, but the chances of the English and Welsh MPs voting against their constituencies and the expected party whip is pretty low.
  • Wayfarer
    9.8k
    I would be obliged if a link could be provided showing indications of any positive consequences of the Brexit vote. So far all the news has been negative, aside from how good the Pro side feels about it.
  • Michael
    8.9k
    The vote is binding and must be so.Barry Etheridge

    Binding in what sense? Legally, no. Maybe the government has a moral obligation to accept it? But then depending on the High Court case (or, rather, the Supreme Court after the inevitable appeal), it might not be up to the government.
  • Barry Etheridge
    349


    Should the courts find against the Government the constitutional crisis that follows will make Brexit itself seem like very small beer! I'm not sure those bringing the case have really considered the implications of winning it!
  • Michael
    8.9k
    Should the courts find against the Government the constitutional crisis that follows will make Brexit itself seem like very small beer! I'm not sure those bringing the case have really considered the implications of winning it!Barry Etheridge

    Same could be said about Brexit if it precipitates Scottish independence and Irish reunification.
  • mcdoodle
    1k


    The liberal commentariat is strongly 'Remain' and still can't seem to get over losing the vote. I voted Brexit. Here's Jenny Jones presenting the Green case before the vote: https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/jun/08/eu-reform-green-brexit

    Paul Mason made a socialist case for Brexit before the vote. Here's a recent article by him: http://www.newstatesman.com/politics/uk/2016/10/paul-mason-how-left-should-respond-brexit

    The EU is a rich countries' club. It's likely to have more rather than less internal strife in the near future. It's not a liberal cause: it exists to keep the free flow of labour and especially capital within the EU boundaries. It's not a great example of subsidiarity: making decisions at the lowest possible level.

    I don't personally think the referendum vote is binding, but it would be a brave government that defied the result, and much of the talk about revisiting the vote is wishful thinking: many people still can't quite believe it, and keep telling me about the supposed Brexit voters who already wish they hadn't (the empirical evidence is slim for that). Many middle-class people I know were more emotionally attached to the whole project than I'd realised; to me it wasn't about whether I'm a European, it was a vote about being in a customs union that had grown rather big for its boots. Norwegians and Swiss still manage a good impersonation of Europeanness outside the union.

    It turns out quite a lot of personal feeling was also invested in the freedom of their children and grandchildren to work in Europe; there are lots of tales about how to obtain an irish or other eu passport.

    Still, I'm very glad it brings France, Germany and Italy together, for stability's sake.

    Many of the economic forecasts of short-term doom have turned out to be ill-judged. There's certainly going to be a period of uncertainty, but that's what a big constitutional change does. I'm not clear if the medium-term economic forecasts are any less politicised than the short-term ones were.
  • Michael
    8.9k
    ... and keep telling me about the supposed Brexit voters who already wish they hadn't (the empirical evidence is slim for that).mcdoodle

    Well, according to this 7% of those surveyed regretted their vote to leave, which if an accurate representation amounts to 1.2 million.
  • mcdoodle
    1k
    Well, according to this 7% of those surveyed regretted their vote to leave, which if an accurate representation amounts to 1.2 million.Michael

    It says 'up to 7%' regretted their Leave vote and '3%' regretted their Remain vote: one week afterwards. This seems flimsy, and too soon, to me.

    Here's a YouGov focus group survey, a month after, that doesn't find regret a big theme: https://yougov.co.uk/news/2016/08/11/yougov-focus-groups/

    I don't think there's much empirical evidence. And what would it show? A vote was held on a certain date which we all knew had been coming for months.On what criteria is one to claim that this particular vote among all the votes that have ever been held was somehow wrong? These discussions seem pointless to me. We have to get on and work out what our agriculture and food policy is going to be, and put pressure on the trade negotiations, and decide our immigration criteria, and so forth. The business now is, how to move forward, not keep replaying a vote.
  • Wayfarer
    9.8k
    @mcdoodle - what I meant was, any link to a story about the actual economic benefits of Brexit. So far all the stories I have seen have been about the probably negatives - lower economic growth, higher unemployment, business leaving Britian. I wonder if all the patriotic 'taking the country back' will make up for them.
  • Punshhh
    1.9k
    It's too early to say what the economic repercussions are. There are strong arguments on both sides in the media about the fluctuations in the £.

    Anyway, it's my perception that the economy was not the reason why most people voted the way they did. I was a poling officer for the vote, and the mood in my poling station was that people were fed up of the creeping control from Brussels and the lack of sovereignty and were happy to take an economic hit. This was in rural Suffolk.

    Also, it was an anti-establishment backlash, so the media being of the establishment will inevitably show some bias in favour of the doom and gloom perspective.
  • S
    11.8k
    How about the losers stop whining about it and actually put some effort into making the best possible and most dignified exit if they claim to be so enamoured of the country they are apparently happy to throw into a state of permanent limbo.Barry Etheridge

    Less of "the losers" and "they" when making such criticisms, please. I don't mind being called a loser in that context, because it's correct: we lost. But we are not a homogeneous group with identical opinions on everything related to Brexit, so please don't tar with the same brush.

    I agree more with you, and with most Leavers, than many of the Remainers in this respect. And there are many others just like me.
  • S
    11.8k
    We have to get on and work out what our agriculture and food policy is going to be, and put pressure on the trade negotiations, and decide our immigration criteria, and so forth. The business now is, how to move forward, not keep replaying a vote.mcdoodle

    Yes, agreed: those and other important issues which might not be such a priority for the Tories. I'm with Jeremy Corbyn on this one, who has taken a similar stance - unlike his former rival in the leadership contest, Owen Smith, who I'm glad he wiped the floor with; and unlike other prominent political figures on the Remain side, such as Nicola Sturgeon.
  • mcdoodle
    1k
    Shock news: Brexiter and Remainer agree on way forward :)
  • Bitter Crank
    8.8k
    and others...

    So, what do you expect to happen in your life (job, housing, cost of living, etc.) as a result of Brexit, assuming that the exit is negotiated with a middle-of-the-road outcome (neither the worst possible or best possible)?

    Also, do you perceive the EU as a meddlesome presence in your own sphere?

    I sometimes wonder how the EU manages to accomplish anything, (despite seeing obvious positive functioning) when a few Walloons can hold up the treaty between the EU and Canada.
  • Barry Etheridge
    349


    Both those outcomes are extremely unlikely - it may be possible to win a referendum in Scotland though I doubt it but not in Northern Ireland - but neither would precipitate a constitutional crisis because it does not mount a challenge to the Government's right and ability to govern.
  • Punshhh
    1.9k
    For me personally, well I was planning to move to the south of France in a few years. That could become more complicated, or even a nonstarter now.

    Otherwise the EU didn't effect me as far as I can tell. It's difficult to detect the subtle influences though, which have crept in over the last forty years.

    I am critical of the Eu organisation, but I do enjoy and favour the freedoms it has given us, as a European citizen. If it could have been reformed from within, that would have been my preferred option, but I can't see how it can be, it is so disfunctional and dogmatic.
  • mcdoodle
    1k
    So, what do you expect to happen in your life (job, housing, cost of living, etc.) as a result of Brexit, assuming that the exit is negotiated with a middle-of-the-road outcome (neither the worst possible or best possible)?Bitter Crank

    I think the Canada treaty problem suggests a juggernaut so big and unwieldy that it finds it hard to steer.

    I expect a minor short-term drop in standard of living compared to how it might have been; what I think Remainers miscalculated is that in poorer areas such as where I live, real wages haven't risen for years so short-term economic issues don't count for much. London and the South East feels like another much more affluent country to me, with enormous public investment in infrastucture, for instance, even among people who claim to be ideologically opposed to it.

    My wife's an immigration lawyer so I'm expecting Brexit to be quite good for business! She's an (American) immigrant; it's very unclear at the moment what the immigration policy will be, I expect some sort of need-based system - need being defined by businesses, with the Tories in power. I'm a bit shocked that the Tories have made some early noises about discouraging foreign students, since that brings income and intellectual enrichment to us. The higher education system is on tenterhooks because their funding and their admissions are EU-networked, and the UK gets a disproportionate amount of EU research money; either a new system is needed or the present system will be re-adopted lock stock and barrel (EU students pay the same fees as Brits at the moment).

    The ease of country-to-country work movement is a worry to people I know, but despite the tabloids I don't expect big inroads into workers' rights, we're already among the most anti-union in the EU. There's plenty of rhetoric around about ditching red tape and barmy EU rules, but in practice an awful lot of regulation of industry, banking and retail is Europe-wide, Norway Switzerland et al included, and our producers will have to conform to EU standards to sell there.

    All in all, uncertainty seems the greatest difficulty at the moment. The quality of the pre-referendum debate was so appallingly poor that the issues at stake have been little debated, and even now there's little talk - and a lot of wittering as if the referendum could somehow be undone by right-minded people. The Guardian seems to be going through a rubbish period and mostly I've moved over to the Independent for clearer-sightedness. I keep trying to engage Green people for instance in talk about food and farming, where the UK may be reinventing a policy from scratch, but there's little interest in such debates yet.
  • S
    11.8k
    So, what do you expect to happen in your life (job, housing, cost of living, etc.) as a result of Brexit, assuming that the exit is negotiated with a middle-of-the-road outcome (neither the worst possible or best possible)?Bitter Crank

    I expect at least some of the predictions about the detrimental consequences of Brexit to come true. I'm more sceptical of the beneficial predications. £350M for the NHS would be nice. Perhaps we'll see it some time soon when pigs can fly.

    There has already been detrimental consequences on the cost of living, as predicted, due to the looming prospect of Brexit - and, of course, we haven't even left yet. As for the other two, I'm not so sure, but I'm sure there have been foreboding predictions about those as well, which, at the very least, shouldn't just be dismissed.

    As for how these things will effect me personally, I'm not sure. My employer is an Australian company that has recently bought a top D.I.Y. chain here in the UK, and we seem to be doing alright so far. We kept our jobs and got a pay rise when they took over earlier this year.

    As you know, any negative effect on housing will likely aggravate my present situation - as will increases to the cost of living, though perhaps to a lesser extent. (Slight increases in the cost of bread or milk, for example, just don't strike me as alarming, personally. I don't pay very close attention to that sort of thing when I'm out shopping).

    Also, do you perceive the EU as a meddlesome presence in your own sphere?Bitter Crank

    The way that you've phrased that carries negative connotations, but I don't think that it's all bad. I think that there is some good, too. But I trust the unfortunately out-of-government Labour party more with those sorts of things.
  • Thorongil
    3.2k
    The Guardian, mainlyBitter Crank

    Well there's part of your problem.

    Tough nuts I say. That's how democracy works. If you don't like the decision, then you probably don't like democracy.
  • S
    11.8k
    Tough nuts I say. That's how democracy works. If you don't like the decision, then you probably don't like democracy.Thorongil

    Who likes bad decisions? Democracy allows bad decisions, so it clearly has a downside. It's not a simple matter of liking or not liking democracy. It's a matter of what is right and what is wrong, and a question of how far we should go.
  • David J
    11
    The question of democracy here (as everywhere, especially it's birth place Greece) is relative. The word is banded about as if it represented the will of the people. It representes the will of the people in a highly manipulated way - even without the set up from which statistics are taken. And the statistics are rarely thoroughly presented - and, here's the nub, understood. A simple breakdown of the brexit vote shows that it was not representative of the people. But the people are too driven by simplistic assumptions and rarely question. Ah democracy: meaningless, yet we swear by it...
  • Mongrel
    3k
    Apparently the EU has had problems taking actions to protect itself from terrorism (like keeping track of the movements of known terrorists into, out of, and around Europe.) Per the recent Frontline documentary, part of the problem is deep-seated fear of the loss of civil liberty, but it's also that even during stress-free periods, Europeans have difficultly communicating.

    In other words... they can't partake of the benefits of centralized authority. Since that centralization in the US is the result of a civil war, I couldn't criticize... even if I was inclined to.

    So Brexit may have been inevitable. From a physics perspective, it's just a matter of time before the right kind and amount of stress comes along and the EU will basically be gone.
  • Wayfarer
    9.8k
    The story doing the rounds this morning is that the current estimate of the cost of the UK leaving the EU is being estimated at £58.7 billion. So much for all the money that would be available for the NHS, in fact there's going to be a real hit on all forms of public spending, health spending included. Meanwhile the Europhobes are demonstrating for immediate exit, blithely ignoring the real cost in the pursuit of an imagined benefit (although only 100 turned up for the 'immediate Brexit' protest, not the 20,000 the organisers had forecast.)

    I think the lesson is that the complexities of modern economics and politics are far beyond the capacity of the electorate to understand and manage. Ignorant enthusiasm often carries the day by stirring up the emotions of millions of uninformed voters, who then stampede blindly into an imagined 'solution' which is only going to excacerbate the problem. Brexit, Trump, climate-change denialism, and protectionism are all examples - the subjects are so difficult that the voter can't understand the details, and will follow those who promise them the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.
  • Bitter Crank
    8.8k
    the complexities of modern economics and politics are far beyond the capacity of the electorate to understand and manageWayfarer

    I think what is beyond the capacity of the electorate to understand and manage is being presented with several confused, partially true and partially false, incompatible sets of facts and opinions, each delivered with truth-telling conviction. Professional economists and skilled political operators aren't able to make sense of this jumble of deceit either.

    The People can handle the fact that there is often real conflicting information when it is honestly presented in a straightforward way. The American people were presented witddh false information about Iraq's WMDs, and much else. If the president says the Iraqis were building nuclear weapons, who is in a position to contradict that? Not very many. It isn't a deficiency in the people's reasoning that they did not guess that the Iraqi WPMs were a fabrication.

    I fully understand why this straightforward approach does not occur. Professional politicians and advocates want to obscure the truth of the matter as much as possible so that their views might prevail. If people aren't honest, you can't do business. If people aren't honest, you can't do good politics or international relations either.

    The situation is that professional politicians can not deal with inconvenient facts and will not communicate honestly about them.
  • Hanover
    5.7k
    If, as you say, the general public is intellectually incapable of properly setting its own course, why should I trust you (or anyone) to do it for me? How is it that you have transcended the level of the common man, and how can little old me know you're the one to trust? Should we perhaps just designate an elite ruling class comprised of those who are most certain they're just and true and have them care for us simpletons?
  • Wayfarer
    9.8k
    If you look at the British situation - those who now have to implement the extremely difficult task of effecting separation from the EU, are mainly those who voted to remain in it! It is beyond the capabilities of many of those who voted to Leave, because they really have no understanding of the immense amount of detail involved, or what a trade deal or a tarriff negotiation consists of, or why many financial services firms are looking to re-locate. I'm not saying those who voted to leave are stupid, but I think it's fair to say that many of them are not particularly well-informed about what it really means. But who is? Who amongst us here could give an impromptu talk on the pros and cons of being part of the European Union?

    Another case was the Australian carbon tax. This was introduced under a previous Labor (i.e. left) Government. But the then-conservative opposition leader siezed on the issue as a 'Great Big New Tax on Everything', and scared the hell out of the electorate. Then when he got into Parliament, he abolished the carbon tax, which was doing exactly what it was designed to do, and replaced it with mickey-mouse legislation that does precisely FA. What was abolished was one of the most effective pieces of carbon abatement policy in the developed world, and for purely political reasons. Nowadays the subject is virtually dead, nobody talked about it in the US election campaign, it's barely mentioned here. And that is at least partially because it's a really big, difficult, politically-charged and contentious topic. It's all too hard. Politicians avoid it in droves.

    I'm a technical writer - basically I write instructions and user-guides for IT systems. Earlier this year I got a job, which might have gone full-time, except they wanted to dismantle all their online documentation and turn it into videos and brief articles. 'Nobody reads user guides anymore', they say. People are used to clicking on links to a video to tell them how to use something. I ended up walking away from that contract, because I thought they were actually degrading their product by doing it. They were 'endumbing' their product, I thought (and told them so.)

    But I think this kind of attitude is actually leading to the endumbing of the populace. (That hardly applies to anyone here, but then, this is a philosophy forum, it is frequented by people who can put arguments together and write persuasively). But a lot of people can hardly be bothered concentrating long enough to read anymore. Everything is sound-bytes, pictures, videos - because it's easy, like today's food culture. Instead of having to carve a chicken, it comes in a neat little plastic tray, already crumbed. Meanwhile the world is changing at a faster rate that at any time in history, the amount of information is exploding, and the kinds of problems we're facing more complex than ever before.
  • tom
    1.5k
    So Brexit may have been inevitable. From a physics perspective, it's just a matter of time before the right kind and amount of stress comes along and the EU will basically be gone.Mongrel

    And it was inevitable, that the first exit would be a country that was only half in EU any way - no Euro, no Schengen.

    What is becoming clearer with each passing humanitarian disaster, be it in the Mediterranean or on the Promenade des Anglais, is that the EU doesn't work. Or rather, its main function, which is to extort money from countries in return the imposition of German policies is working rather well.

    The migrant crisis is a case in point. This was a policy decision made unilaterally by Germany, which has affected every other country in the EU, and involves the overturning of the Dublin Convention - i.e. breaking EU law.

    Then there is the economic crisis in southern Europe, which has been manufactured solely to deflate the Euro in order to ensure German prosperity. We forget that democracy has been suspended in Italy and Greece!

    Brexit may not happen this time, but it will happen.
  • Bitter Crank
    8.8k
    those who now have to implement the extremely difficult task of effecting separation from the EU, are mainly those who voted to remain in it!Wayfarer

    I presume that the people who are going to do the implementation are a relatively small number of bureaucrats. It doesn't make any difference what the said bureaucrats voted for. Their job is implementation, regulation writing, negotiation, etc. OF COURSE several million voters are not going to negotiate or implement. That wasn't the case when the UK first affiliated with the EU.
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