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Re: Brexit

Postby Krashlia » Tue Jan 15, 2019 11:55 pm

...Has letting Ireland go been considered?
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Re: Brexit

Postby Pedgerow » Wed Jan 16, 2019 12:55 am

As in, giving Northern Ireland to the Republic of Ireland? Because they had a referendum about that and it was The Will of the People™ not to do it, so if you're going to just ignore a referendum result, then I have another result they can ignore instead. Also, the Conservative Party do not have a majority, so they cannot rule unless they have the support of another party. The only party willing to team up with them is the Democratic Unionist Party, a rabidly conservative Northern Irish party that believes more than anything in making sure that Northern Ireland remains British and Protestant. That's why they keep kicking off about the idea of making the EU border just the border along the sea, and letting Northern Ireland technically be part of both the UK and EU at the same time. As they see it, it's the first step on a slippery slope towards Northern Ireland rejoining the rest of Ireland, and putting, ewww, Catholics in charge. There was damn near a civil war over this. So I'm sure that letting Ireland go might have been considered at some point, but it would never be accepted by the majority of MPs, which is what you need to pass a law.

Or did you just mean letting it go as in talking about something else for a change? Because no, that has never been considered.
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Re: Brexit

Postby Marcuse » Wed Jan 16, 2019 6:22 pm

Gisambards wrote:I actually think a no-deal Brexit is incredibly unlikely. It's likely that Theresa May will get the mandate to go back and renegotiate something, and actually if a no deal Brexit does become the only option then I think popular support for a second referendum will be high enough that one will happen


If May wins this confidence vote, which she is widely tipped to do so, she's probably not going to delay or revoke article 50. The Health Secretary was on the BBC coverage of the no deal vote last night insisting that there will be no need to revoke article 50 or extend the period before we leave. If that's the government line, and the government remains in place, I don't see how no deal won't become an inevitability. It's only just over 2 months away.

As regards a "People's Vote" (a term I find odious when politicians use it, as though the first vote was somehow not the people voting then) I dislike the concept that we need to vote again on the issue when really nothing has changed. At the time May invoked article 50 we had no deal and no concrete idea of our future relationship with the EU. As of right now we have no deal and no concrete idea of our future relationship with the EU. A second in/out vote wouldn't do anything to answer those questions and would merely allow the remain side to play on the decision fatigue people have because of how poorly the government has handled the situation as a reason people should vote to remain: to make the annoying perennial story go away.

This situation is politically interesting because (as Andrew Neill pointed out on the BBC) this is probably the first time a referendum result has sat at odds with the general feeling of parliament. This is why so many parliamentarians are desperate for a second vote to reverse the decision, they're uncomfortable with decisions the people make that don't match their own views. This demonstrates how hollow referenda in the UK are, if they're only taken seriously by the political class when they mirror their opinions, and are rejected when they don't. This attitude is exactly the problem I had accused the EU of over the Irish referenda, except that at the very least the terms offered Ireland had somewhat altered then. Are politicians representatives or rulers? A lot of remainers seem to think they are the latter.
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Re: Brexit

Postby gisambards » Wed Jan 16, 2019 8:23 pm

Marcuse wrote:I dislike the concept that we need to vote again on the issue when really nothing has changed. At the time May invoked article 50 we had no deal and no concrete idea of our future relationship with the EU. As of right now we have no deal and no concrete idea of our future relationship with the EU.

I'm sorry, but this doesn't make any sense at all. The deal obviously did not exist before it had been negotiated. The fact that the negotiations have now taken place and there is still no deal is actually a major development and does change the circumstances greatly. In the former there was the expectation of a deal, and in the latter there is the knowledge that there is very likely not going to be one.
A second in/out vote wouldn't do anything to answer those questions

It would answer the very pertinent question of whether people want to go through with it now that the practicalities are known.
and would merely allow the remain side to play on the decision fatigue people have because of how poorly the government has handled the situation as a reason people should vote to remain: to make the annoying perennial story go away.

Surely if the likelihood of politicians using silly populist arguments to unfairly win a referendum is an argument for not having a second one, then it's just as good an argument for ignoring the result of the first one, where we know that sort of thing went on?
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Re: Brexit

Postby Marcuse » Thu Jan 17, 2019 1:43 pm

I'm sorry, but this doesn't make any sense at all. The deal obviously did not exist before it had been negotiated. The fact that the negotiations have now taken place and there is still no deal is actually a major development and does change the circumstances greatly. In the former there was the expectation of a deal, and in the latter there is the knowledge that there is very likely not going to be one.


I don't recall this being a feature of the referendum, how we left only became a public issue following the vote. Why would the possibility or expectation of a deal be relevant to the referendum before it had become established that Leave won? In most circles, including the Leave camp, believed Remain would win, so how was the Leave vote meaningfully informed by an "expectation of a deal"?

The point is that, for all the politicking and discussion, we still have an equally opaque vision of what Britain outside the EU will look like now as the day after the referendum. Saying no to Teresa May's deal doesn't preclude the possibility of other deals, and it certainly doesn't limit Britain's options to no deal or no Brexit. It makes both of those things more likely, which is why both the ERG and DUP opposed the deal alongside Remainers, but it doesn't state that there's no deal which would pass parliament. But right now we don't know what that deal would be just the same as we didn't know back then.

It would answer the very pertinent question of whether people want to go through with it now that the practicalities are known.


What about the initial referendum was insufficient? Should we do a best of three? I'm being serious here. If we have two results, one for Remain and one for Leave won't that simply result in calls for a deciding one? We risk ending up in a ridiculous situation where every referendum result ends up in a call for a new one. The referendum to create the Welsh Assembly succeeded by 0.3%, should opponents of it call for new referenda on this as well? If you ask a question over and over again you'll probably get different answers anyway, the more it's done the less well you can trust the answer is a reflection of the person's opinion and it's more likely they're answering the way you think they want to in order to get you to stop asking.

Surely if the likelihood of politicians using silly populist arguments to unfairly win a referendum is an argument for not having a second one, then it's just as good an argument for ignoring the result of the first one, where we know that sort of thing went on?


I think asking the same question multiple times will incentivise people to answer based not on their opinion of the issue (which however wrongly they may have done so previously, their opinions were about Brexit) but on the fact of their fatigue of hearing about the issue for years. There's a difference between a silly populist argument and an argument which bears no relation to the facts of the issue.
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Re: Brexit

Postby IamNotCreepy » Thu Jan 17, 2019 2:02 pm

People voted for Brexit on the naïve assumption that there would be a good deal worked out by the British government that would be agreed on and approved. It's becoming clear that such a deal is not going to happen, and people are reevaluating their positions in light of new information.

If the original vote was between Remain and a hard Brexit, I think people would have chosen to Remain. It's not unreasonable to hold a new vote if the expected situation has significantly changed from what people were promised when they held the first vote.
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Re: Brexit

Postby gisambards » Thu Jan 17, 2019 2:20 pm

Marcuse wrote:I don't recall this being a feature of the referendum, how we left only became a public issue following the vote. Why would the possibility or expectation of a deal be relevant to the referendum before it had become established that Leave won? In most circles, including the Leave camp, believed Remain would win, so how was the Leave vote meaningfully informed by an "expectation of a deal"?


This bears no resemblance to any argument I've made. There was an expectation of a deal when Theresa May invoked Article 50, which is the specific point in time you were comparing to now.

I think there should be a second referendum because it is entirely logical to have a second vote once the practicalities are apparent, particularly when - as appears to be the case - it is very likely that the end result will not be desirable.

What about the initial referendum was insufficient?

Were you out of the country at the time? The initial referendum was one of the worst travesties of "democracy" in this country's history, and there should have been a second referendum immediately, regardless of who won. Both sides took advantage of the people. One side was quite explicitly lying. The idea that the result could possibly be considered a valid expression of the will of people is utter nonsense and always has been. Perhaps, in a rational result, Leave would still have won - there are many valid arguments for leaving - but as of right now we don't know. If we accept populist rabble-rousing as a guiding force in our country, where does that end?

Marcuse wrote:There's a difference between a silly populist argument and an argument which bears no relation to the facts of the issue.

Again, if we're excluding the possibility of a referendum because one side might win using "arguments which bear no relation to the facts of the issue", why should we not ignore a referendum result that was won through lies?

IamNotCreepy wrote:People voted for Brexit on the naïve assumption that there would be a good deal worked out by the British government that would be agreed on and approved. It's becoming clear that such a deal is not going to happen, and people are reevaluating their positions in light of new information.

Unfortunately, that's not entirely true. The question was leave or remain, and the question therefore didn't really have any mention of deals one way or the other. But this is rather the point - the original question was so lacking in practicalities that it can't reasonably be taken as a practical answer.
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Re: Brexit

Postby Absentia » Thu Jan 17, 2019 4:24 pm

I hate to snipe from across the ocean, but this seems like the inevitable result of government by referendum. Professional politicians are barely well-enough informed half of the time; ordinary people with day jobs who have to get their information thirdhand from media reports and soundbites (if they're even paying that much attention) don't have much of a chance to form realistic expectations on complex issues.

And even if you believe the misinformation problem is fixable, the bigger problem is that a referendum result is a static, inflexible snapshot of the public's position on a given day. It can't learn anything new, it can't adapt to changing circumstances, and it can't participate in a negotiation or agree to a compromise. It's like trying to navigate the jungle with a compass that pointed north once, a year and a half ago.

If the overwhelming majority of people who were elected to make decisions for the country agree that the negotiated deal is undesirable, that no better deal is likely, and that proceeding without a deal would be disastrous, then I'd be perfectly comfortable with them just admitting that the referendum was a mistake and calling the whole thing off. Is preserving the sanctity of the referendum really more important than anything else that's at stake here?
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Re: Brexit

Postby gisambards » Thu Jan 17, 2019 5:54 pm

I think referenda are a perfectly sensible component of a democracy, although they really shouldn't be considered binding if they pass with such a small margin (although this referendum was only ever advisory anyway, something the Brexiteers do willfully ignore). The problem is that the right-wing press has made it so that many Brexit supporters no longer consider representative democracy a valid form of democracy (despite the entire point of Brexit supposedly being to give Parliament more power on the world stage). There is no good reason why Parliament shouldn't be allowed to not follow the referendum result if it looks like the result will be bad, but right now any attempt from our elected officials to go against that one non-binding vote that was taken under nowhere near ideal circumstances a year and a half ago is considered by some an affront to democracy, and increasingly carries the threat of potentially violent unrest.
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Re: Brexit

Postby CarrieVS » Thu Jan 17, 2019 8:01 pm

gisambards wrote:I think referenda are a perfectly sensible component of a democracy, although they really shouldn't be considered binding if they pass with such a small margin (although this referendum was only ever advisory anyway, something the Brexiteers do willfully ignore).


It was not legally binding, but it was understood that the result would be abided by. I think it was short-sighted and unfortunate for the government of the time to do so without some sort of minimum margin - I can see the logic, I suppose.

If it had come out with the same, almost 50:50 result in favour of Leave but we didn't leave because it was less than 60:40 (or whatever threshold) I can imagine the outcry from dedicated Leave voters. So, since they never thought it had a snowball's chance in hell, they let it go on without any such precautions, in order to put Euro-scepticism to bed for the foreseeable future. Without having any real idea of what they would do if the result was Leave.

I think that was irresponsible and disingenuous. But here we are, in a hand-basket, with what looks troublingly like a lot of good intentions underfoot. We'd better make the best we can of it now. I'm against another referendum and if there was one I'm not entirely convinced I wouldn't vote Leave this time. I was disappointed by the result and I'm concerned for the future, but I've been disappointed by the result of every general election since I've been old enough to vote, and I wouldn't support my preferred party managing to declare it invalid on a technicality to get a second bite at the apple.

On the other hand, I still think it would be better for the country to remain in the EU and maybe it would be irresponsible to put high principles before actual benefit and harm. I would have a difficult decision to make, if it were to happen.
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Re: Brexit

Postby gisambards » Thu Jan 17, 2019 9:15 pm

CarrieVS wrote:I wouldn't support my preferred party managing to declare it invalid on a technicality to get a second bite at the apple.

But if a party you didn't like had, by a very slim margin, won an election with a campaign rooted in what they admitted after winning was misinformation (and a campaign that also committed finance violations), and then on top of that were not only passing the policies that you oppose, but going even further in a way that was very obviously putting the economy at risk, whilst encouraging a grassroots movement that branded anyone who opposed their policies a traitor to the country, would you not support your preferred party trying to call another election? It's not about declaring the previous result invalid, it's reaffirming whether this is what people want, now that we have some idea of where it's going - it's the entire reason we have elections every few years, and particularly the option to have one sooner if necessary.
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Re: Brexit

Postby CarrieVS » Thu Jan 17, 2019 9:30 pm

gisambards wrote:a campaign rooted in what they admitted after winning was misinformation (and a campaign that also committed finance violations).


Didn't both sides have irregularities? Not that two wrongs make a right but...


For what it's worth, I would be less troubled by the government saying that the referendum was not binding and deciding that, given that we seem to be incapable of negotiating an acceptable deal and nobody knows what the hell we're doing here, it would clearly be a bad idea. (I do realise that this would utterly infuriate a lot of Leave voters. But everyone knows to take campaign promises with a pinch of salt.)
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Re: Brexit

Postby gisambards » Thu Jan 17, 2019 9:52 pm

CarrieVS wrote:Didn't both sides have irregularities? Not that two wrongs make a right but...

Both sides did have irregularities, both in terms of finance and their relationship with the truth, but I think this is just a further argument for why the original vote was such a shambles. It should be pointed out, however, that Leave's irregularities in both of those areas were considerably worse: various parts of the Remain campaign (particularly the Lib Dems) did fail to provide a number of invoices and some spending was declared incorrectly, but the Leave campaign had nearly £80,000 in entirely undeclared spending. And whilst Remain's Project Fear was awful, at least it was based in possible outcomes, as opposed to the admitted fictions coming from some of Leave's prominent backers.
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Re: Brexit

Postby iMURDAu » Fri Jan 18, 2019 12:22 am

I like that instead of blowing up the government the referendum is headed to another public vote. Giving more time for discussion and planning isn't a bad thing is it? Seems like adults are involved when compared to the situation here in the States.
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Re: Brexit

Postby Pedgerow » Mon Feb 25, 2019 1:00 am

With five weeks to go, and another parliamentary vote on Theresa May's deal expected this week, she has come out and said there won't be another vote until the 12th of March, actually. In other words, half of the entire five-week period we have left in the EU (in theory) is now going to be spent waiting to see if the literal most unpopular deal in British history, that cannot be changed, is going to be changed after the most recent attempt to change the unchangeable deal obviously failed. The consensus seems pretty universal: Theresa May is deliberately running down the clock until MPs have no choice but to vote for her deal.

But there are several problems with this: firstly, that's what she's been doing for months now and it hasn't achieved a damn thing yet. But hey, maybe that's okay; it's not brinkmanship if you don't go to the brink with it. However, with that in mind: everybody knows that we can extend, or even revoke, Article 50 right up to the very hour of Brexit. So there will be precisely zero eleventh-hour peril on the 12th of March. Just vote down the deal again, and then we can extend, cancel, or soar freely into the no-deal paradise with absolutely no repercussions. So nobody will be afraid that they have to vote for the deal, even when there will only be 17 days remaining. You could vote it down and then extend Article 50 with 17 minutes remaining if you felt like it. You could vote it down and then go to KFC if you are of the no-deal persuasion. So the brinkmanship is not going to work, and this is an absolutely terrible plan by Theresa May.

By the way, here's an interesting quote from that article in the link above:

And she also made clear that she wants to stay on in Number 10 after the first phase of Brexit finishes, despite having promised her MPs she would not fight the next election.

She said her job "is not just about delivering Brexit" and "there is still a domestic agenda that I want to get on with."


It's almost like she's afraid to say she will extend Article 50, so she's pretending to be focusing on other things instead, but she also wants to signal to people that she won't be stepping down in April once Brexit is done and dusted. If any politician in this climate had even a shred of competence, I would suspect that Theresa May is softening up her colleagues for the Article 50 extension. Her comments sound to me like, "Obviously Brexit will be sorted by April and that's what I'm here for. But I will still be here past April. For, uh, other reasons, honest. Definitely not a Brexit extension. Stop looking at me like that. There's, erm, a... domestic agenda... that I'd like to get on with."
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