🇬🇧 The Brexit Conundrum — Roger’s View

A week or so ago, I asked our UK and Canadian friends to give us their views on the situation in their own countries, for we here in the U.S. have been so wrapped up in our own troubles that we may not fully understand theirs.  Last week, John Fioravanti rung in with his take on the scandals surrounding Prime Minister Trudeau, and how they might affect the upcoming election.  Three of our UK friends volunteered to give us their thoughts and views on the current state of their nation with the Brexit deadline just about 3 weeks away.  Today, I am featuring Roger’s excellent analysis, tomorrow will be Colette’s, and on Wednesday, we will hear from Gary.  These posts are lengthy … about 3 times as long as my usual posts, but theirs is a complex situation and cannot be condensed into a nutshell.  I think you will find all three of these posts to be informative and quite interesting!  And so, without further ado, I give you the words of our good friend, Roger Jacob!


Roger JacobBrexit- No. Let’s Discuss Something Simple Like Quantum Field Theory. (This is why you have a 2,500+ word post)

Proviso

Before I commence the commentary let the record show:

(1) I voted to Remain in the EU

(2) I am so hard-left, Jeremy Corbyn and his folk are considered betrayers of the people for failing to control the narrative and throw out the Conservatives; thankfully for most people there is not the political party to suit me.

Preface

To make anything close to sense of Brexit it is essential to consider History, Social interactions, Folk-Memories, Human fallibilities and the force known as The Population. To try and take small slivers of events is to mire the reader and the writer in confusions. You cannot do Brexit in The Small. Buckle in for a long ride. For it did not start in 2016. That is only the bar-room brawl after a night of drinking and it’s not just the two who started it, it’s to do with the others who joined in or bawled and shouted their encouragement.

Brexit? Where does one begin?

In most histories it is common for some of the work to contain an account of events which precede the events being discussed. In the case of Brexit this is important when folk, be they natives or outside spectators wonder how the UK could have ended up in such a confused and humiliating mess which has taken on proportions of a Civic War (ie one is which mostly words of vitriol are used as weapons) with no indication of anything remotely such as order arising?

I will try and be brief in my own idea of a backdrop. Remember History has a long and pervasive reach.

In this we must consider the UK between 1914 and 1945 took part in two Global Wars which left the nation’s sense of pride intact but ruined the fiscal infrastructure and eventually relegated it to a second-tier power which lost its empire. In folk-memory terms this is a powerful matter to deal with, particularly when only 50-60 years ago you were top nation and won both wars. “Someone else must be to blame?” goes out the cry. Really? Oh yes. For certain. If you live in the USA ask any Confederate Waver.

The Events

On Thursday 5 June 1975 a referendum took place to decide whether UK should stay in the EU. With a national turnout of 64% across the United Kingdom, the target secure a majority for the winning side was 12,951,598 votes. The result was a decisive “Yes” to continued EC membership, which won by a huge majority of 8,908,508 votes (34.5%) over those who had voted “No” to reject continued membership.

Now bear in mind the Conservative Party officially supported joining, whereas the Welsh (Plaid Cymru) & Scottish (SNP) nationalist parties did not … Labour had no official opinion (they were in government) although it was split nearly 50/50 as a party.

Leave called ‘foul’ and continued to do so for the next 40 years.

Onto the second decade of 21st century and the wake of financial crashes caused by deregulations and a subsequent return to government of The Conservatives. By now this party was riven over the question of membership in Europe and Farage had become a bothersome but known political figure taking the previously margin comical UKIP and making it a force to scare the Conservative establishment. After a stunning General Election victory in 2015 the then Prime Minister David Cameron in an act which screamed for Hubris to come knocking, said there would be a referendum over EU membership in 2016. Even before the dates had been announced and campaigning formally started the battle lines were drawn and such words as ‘stupid’ and traitor’ were common currency.

Following a June 2016 referendum, in which 51.9% of participating voters voted to leave, the UK government formally announced the country’s withdrawal in March 2017. Stats:

Total electorate: 46,500,001

Turnout: 72.2%

Leave 17,410,742

Remain 16,141,241

Again, bear in mind …

Firstly, the question though: “Should the United Kingdom remain a member of the European Union or leave the European Union?”. The government of the day asked an opinion not a binding contract an important factor for the Remain wing.

Secondly 13,000,000 voters were conspicuous in their absence.

Anyway, it was fair democratic result. What a shame it wasn’t over something very usefully important but mundane like ‘Should there be a library in every population centre of 5,000 people’.  However.

Here I mix facts mixed with commentary. My own sense of History and Politics takes over and I have to cry out:

‘Ha! God Love you all. Did you think it was going to be so easy to leave a 40-year-old multi-layered relationship?’

(I pause and for clarification’s sake admit to being a person who leans to the authoritarian in matters of the state management, and until I read 1,000 intelligent and well-argued statements in social media such as FaceBook I will maintain this stance – so sue me)

Overview of the Referendum 

In short, it has to be said, whether anyone likes it or not this was a simplistic response to a very complex situation involving political, trade, economic, social, security and legal interactions built up over 40 years. If there was ever a time an electorate being unqualified to answer a question this was the time. Had there been a party with a political attention span greater than a fruit fly, perception deeper than allegorical skin-deep and an intelligent sense of how European History has worked over the past 1,200 years they would have run on a campaign for a slow, gradual and dignified withdrawal. But to be fair it was a difficult task when you represent or court the votes of ‘The Ordinary Person’.

So, let us consider the true Villains of the Peace in this matter. The ones who have been dodging the issue with self-righteous outrage and breath-taking unwillingness to reach across the divide.

The Voters:

Never blameless. It has to be said this time a howling mob shorn of rationale and perception. Slavering and spittle flecked.

Let us look at the Accused:

Where Were You:

Yes, there might be very good reasons why a small percentage of the 13,000,000 who did not vote were not able to. And Yes, there would be a goodly few who, so fuddled by the whole screaming match, could not make up their minds. But the ones who just ‘didn’t? In this case, when the very fate of a nation hangs in the balance…. ‘Social Irresponsibility’ is a phrase that springs to mind.

Leave:

These, like most groups, are an eclectic mix. There are folk who feel small is better and a nation should run itself. There are those who think if we just leave then Britannia will once more magically rule the waves and all the money we need to build merchant fleets, large navies and all an island needs will appear. There are nasty mean-spirited racists candidates for re-education in large camps. There are folk who believe any scare story they are told. There are hard-left wingers who think the EU is a corporate stitch up (Looking at you Mr C). A number (excluding the racists) mean well. Sadly, there are an excess of the strident, belligerent and essentially ignorant and naturally attracted the attention of the politicians.

Remain:

Another Eclectic group. Left-wingers who believe in Unity there is strength. Moderate Right-wingers who believe in stable markets, trade, whole trade and nothing but trade. Socially minded people who reckon whatever the opposition is saying has to be bad. Nationalists who, after the dalliance with neo-fascism in the 1970s, decided they can trust Brussels far more than London. The dogged ‘Why Rock The Boat’ folk allied to the ‘If It An’t Broke Don’t Fix It’ people. Remain also have a strident wing whose approach is to consider the Leave voters as essentially stupid (err…guilty on several counts –  let the record show I was provoked)

Thus, we have in round figures 33,000,000 people who are so passionately divided that relationships and families have broken up, areas of the UK where you do not mention you voted Remain and a spike in racially aggravated attacks. A challenge for any professional politician to unite such a grouping. Sadly.

Politicians:

The financial collapse at the end of the first decade of the 21st century witnessed the rise of the simplistic populist and the demise of the professional, straight out of college, brief spell in something nebulous, politician. Long ago had passed the reasoned and eloquent debates to stir the heart. Thanks to the erosion of the attention span in which The People were cheerfully complicit, politics relying upon snappy sentences, regarding vague announcements on the future and condemnations of the last administration, with a suitable scapegoat minority thrown in for good measure, and of course a Popular Press who are nothing like the noble or gritty reporters of fiction.

As the populist, colourful or dogmatist took centre stage urged on by the voter base thinking Sunshine and Lollipops would be over the hill the result was a dilution in the capacities to discern, ponder and listen to the uncomfortable possibilities. They worked on the basis all would be splendid if they promised everyone what they wanted to hear. A simple, uncomplicated answer to complex matters. ‘We need to go to the moon’ ‘Fine I will build you a big step ladder’ ‘Hoorah! They’ve got my vote’

Summing Up

Yes, there is no avoiding this, the driving force all along has been the passionate and ill-informed voter. The person who thinks Shakespeare, Marlow, or the latest over-heated fiction set long ago is history (and that’s before we get to TV series or films). Admit it, we’ve all fallen for it, imperfect creatures that we are. Never did any of us stop and think … A House Divided Against Itself Cannot Stand.

We The People screamed at the politicians to ‘Do Something’. We sent them hysterical e-mails, we wrote hate mail, we threatened them and their families, we chanted endlessly and waved flags, we marched, we organised petitions, we ranted, we vented spleen, our more actively inclined few said we would not have them as MPs and find someone more simplistic. Small wonder that when faced with this barrage of invective, howls of fury and mindless baying set against the mountain of complexity that is the EU and the understandable intransigence of impatient other states MPs became entangled in complex debates and curious votes which would have challenged the capacity of the best of philosophers to analyse.

People, the MPs were only reflecting you. Yes, You. You are at fault, this is Yours. Admit it.

Meanwhile Government By:

Look How Tough We Are. We Are Climbing Everest in T-shirts, Shorts and Trainers.

Those who came centre stage were the inept extremists, dogmatists and opportunists. The ones who just wanted to get ‘there’ and ‘they’ would make it all perfect and fine. In the UK the nightmare choice arose Boris Johnson and Jeremy Corbyn, two characters mired in the dogmas so deep they could not swim to the top and realise the landscapes they were in.

And having finally wrecked the last vestiges of a mature infrastructure of their governing party in strode the populist wing of the conservatives headed by opportunist Johnson and a fellow whose arrogance compares with any medieval bishop Rees-Mogg. These, so lacking in any sense of History (there’s that word folk) they thought they could drive their notions through a parliament with a history of 800 hundred years of being difficult. Edward III no pusher-over, Richard II a clever but nasty fellow, Charles I, the entire Hanoverian House, ask their ghosts about The Parliament. You simply do not say ‘This is my game. I will play in my way’. In the Late Middle Ages great and powerful folk were toppled for the old ‘We are rescuing the monarch from bad councillors’ with the approval of Parliament. These little creatures of this frenetic era have no sense of history. Of course, they try and play the People vs Parliament Card, which is double-speak of the highest order since they do not represent all of the people, just at the last count 17,000,000 +

Meanwhile The People Howl, The People March, The People urge the politicians to use words like ‘Traitor’ ‘Freedom’ and ‘Struggle’ as if we were in 1940… The People Blame … Someone else.

So to the Future

Dystopia Lite (We hope)

Who knows where this will end? I don’t mean this year’s frenetic can-can. I mean in the long years ahead.

The No-Deal, Flag-Waving, Let’s Do Churchill Impressions result.

What happens to the economy, to the infrastructure built on an EU basis. The government have plans, which a year ago those now in power would have labelled ‘Project Fear’ and dismissed as alarmist. Will those who voted Remain forgive and forget? No likely, at the first death from perceived lack of medicines there will be rage, there will … you know the rest.

Turn Around and Back From The Brink. We Remain.

Does not bear thinking about. Those 17,000,00 and the journals they ‘read’ will not go away. Lost Cause and Stab In The Back movements will proliferate (Think Southern White Supremacists or Denial in Germany Post WWI, and any other nationalist drummed up romance you care to mention). And naturally immigrants and Muslims will be blamed. Terminal Stupidity will be rife. While the wearing of Tin Foil Hats will become commonplace.

Half A Deal is Better Than None

In this case The Good Lord God saves us from ourselves and delivers unto us a Blessed Fudge. All in Parliament and their advisors claim the credit. The population stop waving flags, wearing silly hats and go home grumbling and mumbling. Everything is put on hold until the next election or referendum; when it all starts up again, though what the party stances of Conservative and Labour would be is anyone’s guess.

The nub of the issue is that whatever happens, the issue of the UK leaving the EU was raised, became public property and the British have been split along sectarian lines as if as a nation we had re-discovered religion. Scotland could drift away. Ulster will continue to mystify those outside of her borders, Wales might re-discover that London does not care and all that money was coming from The EU. The end of the UK? Possibly. Why not? Nothing new here folks, this is the latent and powerful force of History in action, driven as usual by Human Folly.

These isles might have another stroke of good fortune once the post WWII generation and their indoctrinated children have been shuffled off this mortal coil. Those born in the 21st century might have something left to build with and life can restart. The Isles might get lucky.  One thing will be certain, this was not ever by any argument our finest hour.

So I conclude. Jaundiced me?

Damn straight. After a life-time of reading histories, military and political, covering from 1066 to 2010, in particular the 20th century to see an entire population of a Nation squander the loss in life and other sacrifices on some out-dated concept in this vastly complex world. And do it all in an hysterical screaming match which would make a children’s set-to look like an exercise in Rhetorical Debate.

113 thoughts on “🇬🇧 The Brexit Conundrum — Roger’s View

  1. Pingback: Wednesday walkabout – October 9, 2019 | musingsofanoldfart

  2. A great explanation Roger. Well written, as always. And thanks to Jill for spurring the debate. I have to say, I knew little of the particulars concerning Brexit. I know a bit more now. It seems as though the divisions in the UK match what is going on in so many areas of the world, us over here across the pond for sure. Political, religious, financial, environmental, immigration. You name it, we can’t agree on much, anywhere.
    And all of this derision and divisiveness lends itself to autocrats and dictators. Somehow, there are substantial amounts of people who want to be led by so-called ‘strong-men.’ Yeah, these guys will do what’s right. Look at all of that bluster! Surely they’ll lead us to the promised land. Yeah, Ok.
    These are tough times my friend. It seems to me, as a layman who pays attention to overseas developments, but who is nowhere near as informed as I need to be, Remaining would have been far better. In the complex world in which we now find ourselves, strength in numbers and allies makes much more sense. Going it alone just doesn’t make sense to me. Isolationism may seem sexy. It may seem like the right way to go when everything else is going to hell in a hand basket. But better to work out the problems within the overall framework of EU just seems like it would have been a far better choice.
    I sure hope things work out Roger. It seems however that the road ahead is perilous at best. Welcome to the new world reality.

    Liked by 2 people

    • We learned some new things, didn’t we, my friend? Sigh. And I think what hits home the most is that we are not alone … we are not the only victims of the new ‘populist’ movement, but the Brits have as many troubles as we have. Worst part? I see it getting a lot worse on both sides of the pond before it gets better, likely the better not coming in u lifetime. Sigh. Still … this id a fun project, isn’t it?

      Like

    • Thanks for your kind works.
      These are indeed times, which to paraphrase, ‘try people’s souls’. It is the toxicity of the debate (or lack of debate) which has been the most shocking and brutal. Somewhere within there are good arguments (as Colette and David) have indicated to Leave, as there are for Remain and yet they are subsumed in the venom being spouted out by the street corner opportunists.
      I don’t believe there is one informed person who will make a prediction as to where the UK will be by the end of 2019.
      To me in some complex amalgam of images, lyrics and tune this is the only performance and song which seems to come close to illustrating the circumstances:

      Liked by 2 people

      • Anytime Roger. I couldn’t pull up your youtube link for whatever reason. But, I get your point that this whole thing is one big…..expletive…..You can put whatever word you like there. Because as I write this to you, it appears that the Kurds, who have been helping our country immensely in the fight against Isis, is now in danger of being slaughtered. Because our distinguished(NOT) POTUS has decided for whatever reason, to abandon them. It goes from bad to worse my friend. Good luck sir!

        Liked by 2 people

        • This is what happens when a draft-dodging, adulterous, person who made money by questionable means in the nebulous arena of high-rent property marketing and became a media image becomes president of the USA not by a majority but by a freak of the voting system.
          Legally he may be president but morally, ethically, professionally and by the wishes of The Nation, never.
          Choosing not to vote in 2020 election is simply not an option.

          Liked by 2 people

          • You’re right. It’s NOT an option. Voter apathy over here is pathetic. I noticed you said 72% turned out for Brexit vote. We’d kill to have that kind of turn out in America. Obama’s first victory in 2008 garnered high 60’s if I’m not mistaken. If we get that close again, Trump is toast. Bigly!!

            Liked by 2 people

  3. I have a few responses I could make to the ‘reasons to leave’ expressed in the comments, but will hold my powder until the other two offerings are in. Thank you, Roger, for your entertaining analysis, and Jill for giving hiim the space.

    Liked by 3 people

    • I have really enjoyed the back-and-forth in the comments … between Roger’s post and the comments, I’ve learned much. I think you’ll like Colette’s as well. I haven’t seen Gary’s yet, but I’m sure it will offer some food for thought. I really enjoy these conversations … I feel that we all learn from each other, and I love the civil discourse … no vitriol, just conversation. I’ll look forward to your thoughts later on!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Well, Roger and Jill, thank you for that! I read the whole thing listening to Radio 3 at breakfast where once it would have been Radio 4 – Roger you will understand what that signifies. I, like most people in this sadly torn and tired nation can’t stand the continuing Brexit nightmare – but can’t avoid it either. I too voted Remain, but several members of my extended family were Leave voters, at least 2 married to Remainers. I can’t bear to talk to staunch leavers for very long and I am sure vice versa. I am horrified by the misinformation the Leave side promulgated, by the foreign interference, (I realise you couldn’t cover this too, perhaps that’s to come) wish everyone would watch The Great Hack (Netflix) but of course it’s long and detailed and doesn’t suit approximately half of the opinions in… Oh, it’s awful. And the worst thing is we can do nothing but watch, wait and keep calm, hoping we carry on with some semblance of the prosperity we had before the Conservative party blamed Labour for the global financial crisis. There, a long, waffling inadequate response, to a fascinating romp through the run up to the fiasco from Roger. Now, back to Radio 3 and another cup of tea for me.

    Liked by 4 people

    • Hi Mary.
      I like Radio 3, it is a place to go for education, entertainment and enlightenment and not to have swing out of a chair and switch off the radio because some independently wealthy and/or supremely ignorant person is telling me what is good for me.
      We are fortunate here to have Colette and David give the first coherent, intelligent and reasoned arguments for voting to Leave I have ever heard.
      As to the future? What can we say? Only lament that this ever happened the way it did and say ‘sorry’ to those born since (for sake of argument) 1995.
      One thing I am sure of, if democracy does survive this period, in the future there will never, ever be any sort of referendum on National Policy.

      Liked by 2 people

  5. As regards the rest of your Brexit referendum vision, Roger, what you described fits most any election in a democratic country, or political unit. There are always some on either side, or multiple sides, who understand the issues fairly well. But even they are biased by what they think they believe. Then there are the somewhat informed, the barely informed, those that think they know everything, and them that know they know nothing. The last group is the only one who is really honest with themselves. The rest all have an agenda, and do not have a right to vote. I know you won’t agree with me, but I don’t mind.
    Anyway, people choose to vote or not vote depending on what they believe, or think they believe. Democracy is imperfect at the best of times, so you can never expect a perfect decision. Giving the “stupid fools,” as you more or less called them, is what a democracy is all about. You are what you eat, after all. Eat hearty.

    Liked by 1 person

    • This is a good overall view of Democracy in action RawGod, and in terms of the current position of Humanity in world history I would lean towards saying ‘It’s The Best We Got’ (Could do better though).
      Each Democratic Process has to be viewed in terms of its reason for being there, the circumstances under which it takes place, the nature of the debate and the reaction to the result.
      In the UK there is normally celebration by the winning side and a lot of grumbling by the losing side, then its back to business as usual. The winners are disappointed they did not get everything promised, the losing side said ‘Told you so’ and in general life goes on as before, with a few bits of drama for entertainment and activists squaring up for the next round.
      Where Brexit differs is in the visceral anger. even hatred engendered by both sides. It would be common to say this was whipped up by politicians for their own purposes. This one was different, it came from the bottom and boiled up to volcanic proportions with the political classes having to play catch-up with no options for ‘Opt-out’…naturally in such conditions opportunists and dreamers are given far more credence than they would normally be due.
      I would venture nothing like this (outside of Ulster where they do things differently) since Charles I failed to understand what was going on.

      Liked by 1 person

        • rg, most of the contentious issues in the UK, hinge on tenuous alliances over the centuries. Scotland and Ireland (and to a lesser extent, Wales) are not happy neighbours of England.

          Ulster – is a reference to Northern Ireland and the involvement of the Orangemen (a protestant group with Dutch origins founded in 1795) who, during the troubles encouraged their members to join the Royal Ulster Ulster Constabulary, and the Ulster Defence League (British army) to fight off any rights of Catholics. Democracy in Ulster just didn’t exist…
          The whole Irish problem has its roots back in the late 17th century and beyond. There was conflict brewing everywhere back then and the 18th century is littered with wars fought over all sorts of religious incompatibility. Even today, that while thing could explode spectacularly into reinvented differences and hatreds. Democracy hasn’t a hope in hell’s chance of putting its head above the parapet if conflict comes to Northern Ireland once more.

          Liked by 3 people

          • Never forget, never forget; I don’t think many of us will ever understand Northern Ireland; despite Brexit most of us on the mainland live and work happily with every nationality and religion in the same street, while in Belfast you are defined by what street you live in?

            Liked by 2 people

            • You know, my own family were caught by the Irish uprising against the British in 1916. My Dad had just been born. His Uncle was a chaplain to British Catholics based in the trenches of Ypres in the second world War. His Aunt was married to a Policeman employed by the British. Neither of them were protected by the British against the fury of their own family for British allegiances. My Great Uncle, a decorated war hero fled to Australia. His sister, policeman husband and 10 children followed shortly after. Other siblings fled to the United States. My father was protected until after the death of his father in 1930. But after college, he fled to Britain where he was employed in the construction industry during the second World War. As an Irish National, he was a second class citizen. Hatreds divide and take away any form of democracy. Hate kills and takes human rights away.

              Liked by 4 people

              • I meant to say never forget, never forgive. Yes you must have a better insight than many of us, Irish people to me are just lovely friendly people to live and work with who bear no relation to hate and divisiveness, both in England and Australia, where I’ve lived. And of course Ireland’s loss has been the gain of other countries and continents.

                Liked by 2 people

            • Well, Roger describes it quite well below. The government in Northern Ireland is British, but with a lot of input from the Democratic Unionist Party (which Johnson is trying to keep happy) and the Irish Republican Army (IRA), who hold the keys to peace in Northern Ireland.

              Liked by 1 person

        • Ulster is a place where being Protestant or Catholic is a matter which can transcend all else.
          You would have to go back to the Elizabethan times when Scots Protestants were given land in N E Ireland at the native Catholic’s expense.
          Since then there has been trouble.
          Voting therefore moves along generally sectarian lines.
          Protestants will vote for parties who support union with the rest of the UK.
          Catholics will vote for parties who favour some kind of union with Eire.
          These are set in stone.
          As an example of how solid this is One Catholic Party Sinn Fein have vote seats in the UK Parliament but will not take them as they refuse to recognise the Queen.
          Had they taken their seats in the 2017 General Election, arguably Labour could have formed a government who would have looked favourably on them. But, no, they will not recognise the Queen.
          Ulster has its own Parliament known as Stormont, currently it is not in session as both sides will not co-operate since January 2017.
          All this makes sense if you have be born and brought up in Ulster, of course you might not like it, but you will understand why they do things that way.
          In parts of Scotland where this sort of thing matters they will understand in part but have to put up with the way the rest of the mainland UK works.
          It could be argued the mainland UK has adopted an Ulster Stance over Brexit.

          Liked by 2 people

  6. Well done to Roger – I always want to respond to Jill’s invitations for our opinions, but I couldn’t meet this challenge! We have wondered in our family – ‘What did we used to be before we were Remainers?’ Not a member of any political party – green by nature. Remainer by instinct. We also were supporting our adult children. What next I really don’t know – does anyone trust anyone in government – have we got enough intelligent good people on the ground to rebuild from scratch?

    Liked by 5 people

    • Thanks for your kind words.
      Who knows? Not even the most seasoned of commentators dare answer that one, only give statements as to legally what happens next if such and such a path is taken.
      As for this current crop in government I would not trust them to have the capacity of foresight, flexibility or depth of character to see through an aftermath.
      I sympathise with the lower and middle ranks of the MPs who are subject to abuse verbal, physically and what we might laughingly call written by the ignorant of both sides. These are folk who try their best and do have the comfort of a large staff or security team to keep them in their bubble. If there was a mass resignation of these I would not be surprised.
      I fear it will be up to the generation born around the turn of the century to learn from the antics of the previous generations and rebuild what will be a smaller and humbler nation or set of nations. (And find comfortable and dignified care homes to place those of previous times who made such a mess of things).
      As a population we have been found Wanting, which is very tough on those who tried for the best of reasons.

      Liked by 2 people

  7. I have to start my comment by saying, the 2016 question was worded (probably intentionally) so that either side could answer yes, and neither side should answer no. So, unless you did not quote the exact question as it stood on the ballot, to answer the question in proper English should have elicited a 100% Yes vote. But of course the answer would have been set up by the situation, probably that a yes vote meant to leave the EU, but a no vote meant to stay in the EU. I cannot help but wonder how many people mistakenly answered yes, while meaning no. The question should have read: Do you want to leave the European Union? Yes _____ No _____ Indifferent _____ Undecided _____
    (More Later)

    Liked by 4 people

    • Yes, it seems that the wording was, perhaps, misleading or vague, and I agree that it was probably intentional. And, they also had the same thing that we here in the U.S. had — the Russian rhetoric. But, either way, they are rather stuck with it all now, and Donnie’s twin, Boris, seems determined to muck it up even worse than it already was. Sigh.

      Liked by 2 people

    • HI Rawgod…
      Oh my, they spent ages on the wording because of the legal implications resulting. This is what happens when you have an unwritten constitution.
      There would have to be definitions of both ‘Indifferent’ and ‘Undecided’ and whether those two would be considered legally binding as policy for a nation…or would ‘Undecided’ mean there would have to be another referendum later on to check on whether the ‘Undecided’ had changed their minds, both ‘Leave’ and ‘Remain’ camps would never let that one go. Coupled with the fact that anyone who voted ‘Indifferent’ and admitted it would be socially harangued by supporters of Leave or Remain for ever.
      No, I am not making this up, having lived in these Isles for 68 years,worked in its Civil Service for 40+ and followed both politics and some of the easier legal constitutional events I can just imagine.
      Basically for the stability of ‘the realm’ it would have been better not to have happened, too late now though.

      Liked by 4 people

      • I have to say, Roger, this is so politically stupid. That time is past, things have obviously changed.
        My “indifferent” and “undecided” answers would have not been a yes or a no, so therefore would not have had an effect on the outcome unless together they were over 50% of the electorate, at which time the referendum would have been postponed for 5 years (in my mind). Meanwhile, it may have picked up the opinions of a lot of those “missing voters” you were looking for, who were not able to answer the question honestly as it was asked.
        I know politicians only want definitive votes cast, but despite your wish for everyone to be socially relevant, without the indifferent or undecided possibilities I don’t see where it can be a valid poll, and you can never take the pulse of an entire nation of people.
        If I were to move to Australia where a citizen MUST vote, unless those type answers were on the ballot I would most likely be in jail after every election, given the nature of useless and corrupt candidates everywhere else. If you want everyone to vote, give them meaningful selections, not just yes sir, no sir, three votes false votes sir. A democracy is ONLY A TRUE DEMOCRACY where everyone can vote their truth, not someone else’s, and then, just maybe, an honest candidate can win honestly.

        Liked by 3 people

  8. At the referendum in 2016 my mind was set as to what my vote would be but I had determined to accept the result whatever. There was too much contention as it was. As it happened ‘Leave’ won and obviously my vote swung it as the margin was so narrow. The uproar that followed and has been present ever since described me as some kind of nasty racist who wanted to do no more than close down the immigration to our country and repress the poor refugees beyond what they’d already suffered. As it happens that couldn’t be further from the truth, I’m not racist and have a black son in law whom I have a great relationship with. Neither and I against immigration especially whee it meets the needs of the country and I support helping refugees. Where I did draw the line was having Brussels set the figures we should take without considering the impact it could have, especially when other EU countries refused and closed their borders.

    One of my larger objections had been the fact that we had gone from a trading partner to an integrated member without being given a choice and yes I know that Ted Heath had plans to do that as he was enamoured of the EEC and was delighted to be in there after De Gaulle had fought so long to keep us out. Later objections are because of the incredible waste of money in the EU. The cost of moving the whole machinery from Brussels to Strasbourg, paperwork included, and then back again on specially rented trains just sends my mind in a spin. I know we’ve had our own gravy train moments with our MP’s either being creative with their accounts or the nepotism of having whole families on their expenses but the thing seemed to be in full throttle over there. I don’t want to tick off all the things that have annoyed me and that leave me almost happy to be leaving. But I want to say that the fines the EU have put in place for our temerity are high, perhaps to warn les autres.

    We currently have a buffoon in charge of the Conservative party that isn’t going to make leaving any easier but to my mind rather him than Jeremy Corbyn who would get in at any price and like those Labourites before him would probably leave with a note in the money box with a note saying ‘Sorry, Empty’.
    Hugs

    Liked by 4 people

    • I can sympathise with your sentiments David. And yes, the EU has squeezed us over the years. The way people voted was complicated, personal and to my mind, very few leavers voted on the immigration issues as reported by media. I have friends who voted remain, because it suited their circumstances and others who voted leave for the same reasons. Where ever we end up now, is so far away from that original 2016 referendum, it is quite divisive and will leave us all as losers on some level. We will just have to make the best of it.

      Liked by 6 people

    • It is a sad statement about western society that we cannot find common ground, and that both of our nations are so polarized that civil discourse is nearly antiquated. I know you well enough to know that you are NOT a racist in any form or fashion, and that anybody would think so simply because you voted one way or another is ludicrous. But, the same is the case here … we tend to generalize, to paint an entire group with a broad brush.
      Cwtch

      Liked by 4 people

    • Hi David
      It does my heart good to read intelligent, reasoned and coherent arguments such as yours and Colette’s as to why some voted to leave the EU.
      These are the arguments I can appreciate and acknowledge as the valid ones. My response is we should have stayed and resolved to overhaul the system from within; I have to admit to a biase to ‘Big Government’ not a popular one I know; it is a reaction to reading vast amounts of military history. I thus have a trust in large governing bodies, rather than small squabbling ones.
      Sadly the genie is out of the bottle. Words have been said and the extremists who once would have been mocked as cranks are allowed to have influence and they have been given licence by and to The Mob.
      Johnson I see as a mere self-serving opportunist, who simply wanted to be PM for its own sake, (a nice little earner, gives him a chance to earn more moolah to pay for his numerous progeny and ex-wives) he is hopelessly out of his depth. True he may squeeze something out by the 31st October, but then has to deal with the aftermath, which will be a divided nation(s), and a legacy of bitterness.
      I have to say (lest I explode-you understand), I would sooner trust Brussels than the current government.

      Liked by 4 people

    • An interesting read Roger. I agree with you at the futility of a ‘Brexit.’ I did actually vote to leave on that simple in-out vote. And I did so because of seeing some real wastes of EU funds in Europe. One of the biggest was in a tiny village where a friend lives permanently in Spain. He too, despite his residence in Spain, voted to leave. The village has one road in and out from a main road. It is a quiet village with no big traffic. Yet this village receives its EU money, and must spend it each year, or return it. So they used their pot of money to construct a super Roundabout to bring the traffic into the village, requiring two bridges to go over the river that meanders around the conurbation. The village has no more traffic than it did before, but subsequent EU funds have been used to put an expensive tiled sidewalk onto the access to the roundabout… Where nobody walks! This is not the only waste I have seen, but there is definitely something wrong with EU administration.
      But, we have turned Brexit into a terrible, grindingly complicated political power play. It has divided everyone as it never should have. I think that the political elites knew the mess that a referendum would create (as it did in the past referendums). They never told the complete truth on issues and I blame David Cameron for his hubris and his ultimate cowardice. In one fell swoop, he had a tantrum with Europe, he couldn’t take the heat, so gave it over to the people, and then had another tantrum and quit. He, and his ilk are the toads that lead us down the road to perdition.

      Liked by 4 people

      • I don’t actually believe that fools are to blame for the vote. I think both sides of the voter turnout had fair arguments. What was unconsionable, was the lies and rhetoric bandied about, confusing the populace.
        In reality, Parliament never meant, or wanted us to leave. Without their interference, we would be out. We would not be better off, we would be a lonely little country, but we would not have to live by anyone else’s rules. Would that be better? No, likely not, but then we Brits have always been a cantankerous lot… We can’t even get along with ourselves!

        Liked by 4 people

        • We are indeed cantankerous. You do have to look back to 1939-1945 to see a generally united UK and as soon as that was over…here we go again.
          This time, however the venom and vitriol released has left wounds in families communities and relationships. It will be, if ever, a long time healing; later generations of historians of all stripes will be writing many volumes on all the aspects of this era.
          Sheila (my long-suffering wife of 46 years) and I voted to Remain, but we disagree on one point. She agrees with your argument that the population was misled (or ‘mizzeled’ as she likes to put it), I (as Jill knows) have something of a more censorious Martin Luther outlook. This dyspepsia is in part natural and also down to reading a great of deal of history, in particular the events which led up to wars and the aftermaths.

          Liked by 5 people

          • Well, I am not sure we were even united during the war. The history books tend to wipe out any detracting elements that taint a ‘victory.’ I do agree that these wounds go deep this time. It is apparent to me that old hatreds are resurfacing… History (hidden or otherwise) has a terrible habit of repeating itself. After all, the American revolution started over ‘British taxation,’ and Middle Eastern wars have come and gone over the control of ‘oil.’ It seems that when it comes to sharing the stuff of life fairly to all, we continue to fail miserably as avarice, vice and cruelty overtake the human psyche.

            Liked by 4 people

            • WWII has been something which has always drawn me in. In the harshness which went on then and in its fearful war logic (wherein ordinary morals are put away for a while), folk were willing to go along. It is very sobering infact to read what folk took as acceptable and can still resonate. Very sobering. And we have forgotten the lessons of what happens when hate and ignorance takes hold.
              Glad you mentioned the American War of Independance I joked sometimes that this was not a rebellion for rights merely a Tax Dodge that got out of hand.
              Sadly though, we are as a species a flawed set and if we do not adapt, Nature will have its say…and ….pooof!….gone…..smear on the fossil record, not even remotely close to the length of the dinosaurs’ duration.

              Liked by 4 people

      • Hi Colette
        Now here’s the first time, ever I have seen a reasonable, rational and well argued explanation as to why someone voted to leave the EU. I tip my hat in genuine respect for the way you put your case. Folk who voted leave for reasons such as yours I had no argument with. In this febrile atmosphere it’s a shame you’ll get put in the same box as the ‘Let’s Make Britain (England) great again’ crew.
        The EU has its faults and inconsistencies. As a mirror image; where we live in a Housing Association 60+ houses location all of our doors and windows were replaced to meet EU standards, no cost to us and with EU funding through the Welsh Assembly, all clear, clean concise and correct. The incident in Spain does remind me of my days in the Civil Service, some would stick by the book and get in all sorts of tangles, some of us would read it and say ‘Hmm…that’s interesting, let’s find the loophole to make the system work’
        Basically I trust a system in Brussels more than I trust the ‘pandering to the mob and nice little earner for me’ creatures who with the aid of the Hysterics of some wings of the population and the likes of the Mail, Sun and Express are now polluting Westminster…opportunists(looking at you Boris) and fanatics (looking at you Rees-Mogg & Cash)
        I’m looking forward to reading your views.

        Liked by 4 people

        • Maybe it was rational at the time, Roger. Now, I am not so sure. Brexit has, as you say, fallen into the hands of fanatics. It feels now like a return to the colonial wars of old, and an unravelling of hard built relationships. What I saw as a drawback to a fiscal position that equates with somewhere like Norway, has become so much worse and far more dodgy.

          Liked by 4 people

          • The opportunists looking to make a quick extra fortune or those of the racist frame of mind, crawled out of their holes and under cover of the invective strode onto centre stage….
            They would have done better to have considered what happened to certain folk who tried this one in nations in central and eastern Europe during the third, fourth and part of the fifth decades of the 20th century.
            History will come calling and bringing its good friend Hubris.

            Liked by 4 people

    • Your post was excellent, Roger … I think we all enjoyed it, and I also enjoyed some of the comments. Colette’s will be out at 3:00 p.m. today … or 8:00 p.m. your time! Gary isn’t finished yet … he has some personal trouble on his plate, and his may be delayed by a day or two. Thanks to YOU for doing this! I love these interactive posts!

      Liked by 4 people

  9. Jill, thanks for yielding your forum. Roger, thanks for the detail. Just as people outside of the US see the problems with our leadership, we can be chagrined about Brexit. I am saddened to see this self-inflicted wound which will hurt the UK economy and influence. It is also apparent that the leaders are choosing not to lead, just as they are doing here. If the UK leaves with no- deal, it will be a huge disaster as the country is obviously not prepared for what that means.

    Hubris is a a dangerous trait, whether it is in the US, UK or elsewhere. Keith

    Liked by 4 people

    • Leadership requires tough decisions not playing to your fan-base, which is what has been going on here. One of the few to retain thier dignity has been Theresa May; she made a number of errors as everyone does, but at least she tried to forge the un-populist path.
      We can be something of a warning to the USA as to what happens when the population is so polarised that dialogue dies.
      History has found us wanting.
      Thanks for taking the time to read this Keith.

      Liked by 4 people

      • Roger, reading the excellent comments, I am reminded of the following truism. “Collaboration is hard work. It is easier to do things on your own, but that does not make the end result necessarily better.” Using this line to identify a similar occurence in the US retrenching from global leadership and trade – you cannot shrink to greatness. Keith

        Liked by 4 people

        • When I read histories of WWII, at the highest levels within the allies there was very little sign of friendship, comradeship or anything heart-warning, yet between them they got on with the job.
          Nazi Germany and Japan barely talked to each other, let alone co-operated, while Italy and German worked seemed to have worked in an atmosphere of mutual animosity.
          And who were the victors? (even with much snapping, snarling and back-biting)

          Liked by 2 people

          • Roger, great example. I do believe there were a lot of egos at the top, but the troops and staff got along better. That is how it is in most corporations unless the CEO makes a concerted effort to tell them to play ball. Patton had a large ego as did Montgomery. Keith

            Liked by 3 people

            • Very true both men very clever at war, but with destructive personalities. This was the genius of Eisenhower he managed to get these divas and other to work together.
              Churchill said of Montgomery:
              ‘Indefatigable in adversity. Insufferable in victory,’

              Liked by 2 people

  10. I couldn’t honestly say that we are ‘coping’ John. It would be hard to say what ‘we’ are doing, as there is no longer any ‘we’ in the UK, there are two camps and also lot of confused people. The 31st October is supposed to be the make or break day when the current outfit of indepenadntly wealthy people masquerading as a government will hope to lead us out, flags held high.
    As for the environment I agree with you. There will be well-meaning tinkering around the edges, but unless the species as a whole adapts to the situation, it will indeed go the way of others which failed to adapt. Smear on the fossil record.
    Thanks for taking the time to read my post.

    Liked by 5 people

  11. Phew! I’m exhausted, Roger! I can’t imagine how you guys are coping across the pond. Although I’m not a citizen of the UK, I think Brexit is a big mistake. Also, keep in mind that I believe that national governments do more harm than good on this planet, so a multi-national organization like the EU is far preferable. But methinks it matters not since national governments will continue to do nothing about the deteriorating environment and we will condemn this planet to ecological disaster and our own extinction.

    Liked by 5 people

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