2016 Grateful 27

Brexit. Bremain. The votes were cast. The public spoke and yet the furore continues. The recriminations. The blame. The castigations. I don’t hold a UK passport so I find myself strangely removed from it all. Yes, I had hoped for a remain vote. No matter how bad the EU is, working to fix it is more the answer than worrying away at a thread that could eventually see it unravel. IMHO. Someone somewhere once said that “many of the great achievements of the world were accomplished by tired and discouraged men who kept on working.”  I’m not as politically aware as I could be and would have made more of an effort to update myself had I had to vote. For me it was enough to see who was supporting Brexit.

Still, an innate curiosity has me still reading the articles and the comments that form the post-referendum deluge. And two in particular struck a note – a shorter comment on democracy from a Facebook thread that was not sourced. It got me wondering about democracy and margins and majorities:

Two thoughts about the Brexit vote:
Firstly: No one thought it could happen. why didn’t anyone think it could happen? Because the analysis listened to the experts who listened only to themselves. Welcome to the echo-chamber. Never hear anything beyond what is already being said. Maybe even only listening to confirmation-bias. Serious questions needs to be asked as to polling, and as to analysis. Everyone is “shocked” because no one bothered to ask anyone outside of London what they think.
Secondly: Democracy. Ah, what a wonderful system. The people has spoken. Either you support democracy, or you do not. If you are a “stay” voter, and feel disgruntled by it, take heart: democracy won! The people have spoken. But this brings in another question: is a rural country bumpkin’s opinion on the matter as valid as someone with an honours in PPE? Democracy: the notion that one person’s ignorance carries as much weight as another person’s knowledge. Welcome to the great failure of democracy. Wonderful when your guy wins, quite sucky when he loses, huh?

And a longer comment that I lifted from Facebook – it had previously been lifted from a comment thread Again, no source…

“If Boris Johnson looked downbeat yesterday, that is because he realises that he has lost.
Perhaps many Brexiters do not realise it yet, but they have actually lost, and it is all down to one man: David Cameron.
With one fell swoop yesterday at 9:15 am, Cameron effectively annulled the referendum result, and simultaneously destroyed the political careers of Boris Johnson, Michael Gove and leading Brexiters who cost him so much anguish, not to mention his premiership.
Throughout the campaign, Cameron had repeatedly said that a vote for leave would lead to triggering Article 50 straight away. Whether implicitly or explicitly, the image was clear: he would be giving that notice under Article 50 the morning after a vote to leave. Whether that was scaremongering or not is a bit moot now but, in the midst of the sentimental nautical references of his speech yesterday, he quietly abandoned that position and handed the responsibility over to his successor.
And as the day wore on, the enormity of that step started to sink in: the markets, Sterling, Scotland, the Irish border, the Gibraltar border, the frontier at Calais, the need to continue compliance with all EU regulations for a free market, re-issuing passports, Brits abroad, EU citizens in Britain, the mountain of legislation to be torn up and rewritten … the list grew and grew.
The referendum result is not binding. It is advisory. Parliament is not bound to commit itself in that same direction.
The Conservative party election that Cameron triggered will now have one question looming over it: will you, if elected as party leader, trigger the notice under Article 50?
Who will want to have the responsibility of all those ramifications and consequences on his/her head and shoulders?
Boris Johnson knew this yesterday, when he emerged subdued from his home and was even more subdued at the press conference. He has been outmanoeuvred and check-mated.
If he runs for leadership of the party, and then fails to follow through on triggering Article 50, then he is finished. If he does not run and effectively abandons the field, then he is finished. If he runs, wins and pulls the UK out of the EU, then it will all be over – Scotland will break away, there will be upheaval in Ireland, a recession … broken trade agreements. Then he is also finished. Boris Johnson knows all of this. When he acts like the dumb blond it is just that: an act.
The Brexit leaders now have a result that they cannot use. For them, leadership of the Tory party has become a poison chalice.
When Boris Johnson said there was no need to trigger Article 50 straight away, what he really meant to say was “never”. When Michael Gove went on and on about “informal negotiations” … why? why not the formal ones straight away? … he also meant not triggering the formal departure. They both know what a formal demarche would mean: an irreversible step that neither of them is prepared to take.
All that remains is for someone to have the guts to stand up and say that Brexit is unachievable in reality without an enormous amount of pain and destruction, that cannot be borne. And David Cameron has put the onus of making that statement on the heads of the people who led the Brexit campaign”

What happened, happened. But all is not lost. In a week that has caused many to stop and think a little harder than usual, I’m grateful for the reminder: Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow. And that I can attribute to Einstein 🙂


15 Responses

  1. The second quote is very interesting……..there is still a long way to go with this one. There is reference made to country bumkins v metropolitan elite……it is becoming clear that the major turning point was ‘old’ people ( who felt that they had been ignored by politicians of all sides especially on the immigration subject) and young people looking to the future. The almost half of the UK voters (including those young people) who voted remain are now very angry. As the leave voters realise that the immigration problem is not going to vanish, as they were promised, and the ‘vast sums of money’ that were sent to the EU are unlikely to ensure that we have a better health service…..they are likely to become angry too. Interesting times.
    However I’m sure that the EU is blissfully happy that it gave D. Cameron a very hard time in his recent negotiations with them………it can look forward to a smooth future 🙁

    I prefer ‘Cherish the past, Adorn the present, Construct for the future’ Clough Williams Ellis (Welshman)

  2. As the referendum has no force in law but is merely advisory, DC should stay in office, lead a united Parliament (our democratically elected representatives, who are known to be strongly against the Leave result) in accepting that grievances have been aired and that much will be done forthwith. And then get and do it. The powers of the EU have had a big shell fired across the bows, and only good can come of that.

  3. I sit here in France, feeling that I’m in the middle of a very bad dream, and that when I wake up, all will be well; membership of, albeit a flawed EU organisation, will be intact.
    People with integrity and vision will take up the banner, and work with colleagues across the Union to make Europe and beyond, a good, safe and inspiring place to be. A good place to live, learn, work, dream, to share common aspirations, inspirations, and cultures. Celebrating our commonality, while learning from those areas that we may not have in common.
    My dream did not include the idea, that “attempting to walk away” was any kind of solution, it recognised that to do so, was a cowardly and selfish act, by a people who did not aspire and dream, and who were hell bent, through distortion and creative manipulation of truths, of taking that initiative from those who had such admirable qualities by the bucket load, the young people of Britain.
    It is virtually impossible to take a detached view, as if this was potentially no more than an occurrence, where the social, historic and financial fall out, would make the subject of an interesting dissertation.

  4. “No one thought it could happen. why didn’t anyone think it could happen? ”

    Really? Nobody? Sorry, but that is wrong. I not only expected it, but bet on it. I did not wish for a Brexit, but all the populistic indicators were there to indicate that it would happen. Many where simply in denial.

    “Because the analysis listened to the experts who listened only to themselves. Welcome to the echo-chamber.”

    A valid point. So called “intellectuals” do not understand or account for visceral public opinion (i.e. populistic). Much to their dis-benefit.

    “Everyone is “shocked” because no one bothered to ask anyone outside of London what they think.”

    Many polls did ask beyond London, and gave a statistical “dead heat” to the outcome. Which means the opinions where statistically too close to call for the entire electorate. If one understands statistics and sampling, there was no fault on the part of the polls. If one did not understand survey sampling and choose to rely upon pundits, then, well, oh well, Your fault. Do not now come and complain now and blame the polls.

    “Secondly: Democracy. …. is a rural country bumpkin’s opinion on the matter as valid as someone with an honours in PPE? ”

    Yes, the opinion of each person is of equal value.

    But it is not the failure of “Democracy” that the “country bumpkin” did not learn critical thinking skills and were coerced by false propaganda. That is the fault of the government for not a providing better national education, and of the electorate, in general, for not voting to fund such education. Do not come now and whine if you did not vote for more education funding. To blame the “country bumpkin” now really seem like sour grapes from the hot house London orchids….

    “Democracy: the notion that one person’s ignorance carries as much weight as another person’s knowledge. Welcome to the great failure of democracy. ”

    Which is why most successful liberal democracies are actually republics. Republics function under the rule of law, so to avoid the “tyranny of the majority” which can happen under direct democracy. In other words, if the “majority”, by democratic vote, wants every person with red hair expelled or eliminated from the population, a republic government will not allow this since even red haired people have the basic legal rights to life and liberty.

    Or in other words, the word “democracy” is vastly overused and misunderstood in today’s populist Facebook and Twitter world.

    1. You reach a sound conclusion. Remember Churchill’s remark, that the best argument against democracy is a short talk with a voter. On this occasion “the people have spoken” but, misled by lies, damn lies, and questionable statistics, did not know what they were talking about. If there had to be a referendum (which there did not) it was a grave error to leave such a weighty matter to a simple majority – in theory, a single vote could have carried the day. If only change of the status quo had required 60% support!

      1. “But I thought it did… 60% majority and 75% turnout, no?”

        Sigh. No.

        And a really, big, big sigh……

        The referendum passed with only a 52% majority of the voters Not even close to 60%. Where did you read such a false statistic?

      2. “I was referring to BA’s comment: If only change of the status quo had required 60% support! ”

        Sigh… Even bigger sigh…..

        And if your comment is as you claim, where in any UK national referendum law has it ever been required that 60% support, of 75% of the electorate, is required to pass a referendum?

        Hint: Try a basic goggling as a fact check before commenting.

      3. In other words:

        ” If only change of the status quo had required 60% support!”

        most readers would take as a lament for what should have been.

        While :

        “But I thought it did… 60% majority and 75% turnout, no?”

        Is a rather clear statement of surprise that the “lament” was not true.

        Now you seem to claim you were just “reinforcing”, in some obtusely way, with the lament and agreeing with it. Which either is poorly done grammatically, or just and example of backpedaling. I have noticed and commended before when you have done the first. Stick to that. Less embarrassing.

      4. “I seem to claim? Most readers?”

        I have shown your posts and comments to some people I know. And,…. wait for it…. most (it is true, not all, but most)…. do tend to agree with me. Nothing better to help with improving one’s writing than to get reviews from strangers (friends may try to be supportive and thus not as fully helpful in critiques).

        Which leads me to the biggest sigh of all… because it has been a recent theme: IMHO you need a better editor than you have now.

        But feel free to dismiss that opinion if you so choose.

        “Long may I continue to provide you with material to comment on.”

        You mean continuing to write in an ambiguous and enigmatic manner, which may lead to any number of different interpretations, including this one? If so, I certainly do not wish to prevent anyone from their stated life goal. As far as this blog is concerned, I choose to take the advise of Matthew 7:6 and exit here and now.

  5. Gosh Mary……..you know that people say that you are lucky when you are at the seaside and a seagull picks your head to poop on………is it the same when your blog picks up an internet troll?

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