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Happy Brexit Day!

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Re: Happy Brexit Day!
Post by Bluesqueak   » Sat Feb 15, 2020 6:43 am

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Annachie wrote:It was not legally binding, but the government said they'd follow the decision.


Yes, that's right. That 's the way UK referenda run, because only Parliament can pass the laws to make the result legally binding. It's declared in advance whether the government will follow the decision on a straight majority, follow the decision on an overwhelming majority, or treat the referendum as advisory.

In the case of Brexit it was 'straight majority'. I know there's been an 'overwhelming majority' referendum- Scottish Devolution in the eighties, I think - but the rules for the required majority were stated in advance of the vote.

Welsh Devolution was another 'straight majority' referendum, and that was enacted on a less than 1% majority. It literally came down to a few thousand votes more for devolution than for not.
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Re: Happy Brexit Day!
Post by The E   » Sat Feb 15, 2020 8:02 am

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Annachie wrote:It was not legally binding, but the government said they'd follow the decision.


And then, once it became abundantly clear that Brexit was going to be a complete disaster, once public opinion had shifted to be majority pro-EU, the UK government was insisting that no, the original referendum was definitely binding and a complete and truthful expression of the will of the people that must not be questioned.

For an incredibly complex decision like whether to leave the EU or not to be decided by a single simple-majority vote and to not reconsider that vote or to give the public a second vote once the parameters of the UK's exit from the EU were better known is definitely undemocratic and, to my mind at least, downright criminal.
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Re: Happy Brexit Day!
Post by Bluesqueak   » Sat Feb 15, 2020 9:49 am

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The E wrote:
Annachie wrote:It was not legally binding, but the government said they'd follow the decision.


And then, once it became abundantly clear that Brexit was going to be a complete disaster, once public opinion had shifted to be majority pro-EU, the UK government was insisting that no, the original referendum was definitely binding and a complete and truthful expression of the will of the people that must not be questioned.

For an incredibly complex decision like whether to leave the EU or not to be decided by a single simple-majority vote and to not reconsider that vote or to give the public a second vote once the parameters of the UK's exit from the EU were better known is definitely undemocratic and, to my mind at least, downright criminal.


I'm afraid you are mis-remembering this. The government stated in writing before the vote that the decision would be enacted. I've given you the quote and the page number - if you like, I can give you a link to the gov.uk pdf copy of the leaflet.

There are also video links of the then government ministers saying the same thing - that the result of the vote would be enacted - before the vote.

Not after. Sorry, but your memory is at fault.
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Re: Happy Brexit Day!
Post by The E   » Sat Feb 15, 2020 10:58 am

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Bluesqueak wrote:I'm afraid you are mis-remembering this. The government stated in writing before the vote that the decision would be enacted. I've given you the quote and the page number - if you like, I can give you a link to the gov.uk pdf copy of the leaflet.


No need. I am not disputing what you said.

The thing I keep coming back to is that something like Brexit is a decision of such a magnitude that it can't be decided by a simple majority after a few months of competing PR campaigns. In a pretty real sense, the general public in the UK was not competent to make an informed decision, not only because they were completely misinformed by the respective campaigns (with the pro-Brexit side making impossible promises and the pro-EU side concentrating too much on the negative sides of Brexit and not enough on the positives of staying in the EU), but also because decisions with that sort of impact are not usually put to a plebiscite. It's a level of responsibility that the general public was entirely unprepared for.

And again: The outright refusal of multiple british governments to reexamine the Brexit decision even after public opinion turned on it is, to my mind, undemocratic at least.

Oh well. Enjoy your Brexit. The EU will still be there when you come to your senses.
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Re: Happy Brexit Day!
Post by TFLYTSNBN   » Sat Feb 15, 2020 11:01 am

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Germany is the biggest frog in the EU pond. Germany will remain the biggest frog in the EU pond after Brexit. However; Brexit severely downsizes the EU pond economically so that it will never eclipse America before the entire continent sinks into demographic oblivion.

Diminishing the EU economically also compromises NATO. President Trump obviously favors the US withdrawing from the entangling alliance. The brewing conflict between Turkey verses Greece in context of Turkey buying weaponry from Russia will increase public support for Trump withdrawing from NATO. If the US withdraws from NATO, and Brexit enables the British to also withdraw from NATO, then Germany suddenly becomes less secure in it's position as the biggest frog in the EU pond. France has nukes while Germany does not. If Germany gets nukes than Sweden and may be Itally will join Turkey in getting nukes. The EU will implode along with any vestige of NATO. Russia will not be happy with a polypolar nuclear armed world that would probably include Japan, South Korea and Taiwan as nuclear armed nations.
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Re: Happy Brexit Day!
Post by The E   » Sat Feb 15, 2020 11:18 am

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Did you come up with that bit of fiction yourself, or did you copy it from one of the fiction blogs you read?
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Re: Happy Brexit Day!
Post by Bluesqueak   » Sat Feb 15, 2020 12:15 pm

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The E wrote:
Bluesqueak wrote:I'm afraid you are mis-remembering this. The government stated in writing before the vote that the decision would be enacted. I've given you the quote and the page number - if you like, I can give you a link to the gov.uk pdf copy of the leaflet.


No need. I am not disputing what you said.

The thing I keep coming back to is that something like Brexit is a decision of such a magnitude that it can't be decided by a simple majority after a few months of competing PR campaigns. In a pretty real sense, the general public in the UK was not competent to make an informed decision, not only because they were completely misinformed by the respective campaigns (with the pro-Brexit side making impossible promises and the pro-EU side concentrating too much on the negative sides of Brexit and not enough on the positives of staying in the EU), but also because decisions with that sort of impact are not usually put to a plebiscite. It's a level of responsibility that the general public was entirely unprepared for.

And again: The outright refusal of multiple british governments to reexamine the Brexit decision even after public opinion turned on it is, to my mind, undemocratic at least.

Oh well. Enjoy your Brexit. The EU will still be there when you come to your senses.


Again, you appear to be arguing on the basis of either a faulty recollection, or a faulty understanding. I'm not sure which.

For example, you state that "decisions with that sort of impact are not usually put to a plebiscite". That is false within the UK context. We've had referendums - regional and national - on constitutional questions, whether to remain within a Union and/or the type of government since 1973. Apart from one, they were all decided on simple majority (partly because of the backlash after the 1979 Scottish Devolution Referendum that required a 40% of all voters majority, but didn't get it despite getting a simple majority).

Those referenda have included questions with huge potential impact - on Northern Ireland remaining within the United Kingdom, on Gibraltar remaining a British Overseas Territory, on Scotland leaving the United Kingdom to become an independent country.

So you appear to be arguing that major decisions such as Brexit are not put to a plebiscite - when they historically are. Similarly, you are arguing that this referendum was "a level of responsibility that the general public was entirely unprepared for" when various parts of the UK (and Gibraltar) had been asked such questions before.

Are you arguing that the general public was perfectly prepared to answer such questions during 1973 - 2014 but became unprepared between 2014 and 2016?
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Re: Happy Brexit Day!
Post by TFLYTSNBN   » Sat Feb 15, 2020 12:33 pm

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Bluesqueak wrote:
The E wrote:

No need. I am not disputing what you said.

The thing I keep coming back to is that something like Brexit is a decision of such a magnitude that it can't be decided by a simple majority after a few months of competing PR campaigns. In a pretty real sense, the general public in the UK was not competent to make an informed decision, not only because they were completely misinformed by the respective campaigns (with the pro-Brexit side making impossible promises and the pro-EU side concentrating too much on the negative sides of Brexit and not enough on the positives of staying in the EU), but also because decisions with that sort of impact are not usually put to a plebiscite. It's a level of responsibility that the general public was entirely unprepared for.

And again: The outright refusal of multiple british governments to reexamine the Brexit decision even after public opinion turned on it is, to my mind, undemocratic at least.

Oh well. Enjoy your Brexit. The EU will still be there when you come to your senses.


Again, you appear to be arguing on the basis of either a faulty recollection, or a faulty understanding. I'm not sure which.

For example, you state that "decisions with that sort of impact are not usually put to a plebiscite". That is false within the UK context. We've had referendums - regional and national - on constitutional questions, whether to remain within a Union and/or the type of government since 1973. Apart from one, they were all decided on simple majority (partly because of the backlash after the 1979 Scottish Devolution Referendum that required a 40% of all voters majority, but didn't get it despite getting a simple majority).

Those referenda have included questions with huge potential impact - on Northern Ireland remaining within the United Kingdom, on Gibraltar remaining a British Overseas Territory, on Scotland leaving the United Kingdom to become an independent country.

So you appear to be arguing that major decisions such as Brexit are not put to a plebiscite - when they historically are. Similarly, you are arguing that this referendum was "a level of responsibility that the general public was entirely unprepared for" when various parts of the UK (and Gibraltar) had been asked such questions before.

Are you arguing that the general public was perfectly prepared to answer such questions during 1973 - 2014 but became unprepared between 2014 and 2016?


You miss the point. TheE believes that the British People should not be allowed to make momentous decisions without the expressed consent of their German masters. Your political customs and past practices are irrelevant. Only the noble, enlightened Germans can be trusted to explain the issues to you ignorant English fools.
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Re: Happy Brexit Day!
Post by The E   » Sat Feb 15, 2020 1:11 pm

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Bluesqueak wrote:For example, you state that "decisions with that sort of impact are not usually put to a plebiscite". That is false within the UK context. We've had referendums - regional and national - on constitutional questions, whether to remain within a Union and/or the type of government since 1973. Apart from one, they were all decided on simple majority (partly because of the backlash after the 1979 Scottish Devolution Referendum that required a 40% of all voters majority, but didn't get it despite getting a simple majority).


And in the 40 years since those happened, how many questions of similar impact were put to the public? The only thing that remotely qualifies was the scottish independence referendum, and that was preceded by decades of public debate on the subject; Not just general grumbling about the UK, but an actual, focussed public debate. Scotlands' citizens were pretty well informed on the subject, and as it turned out, one of the decisive factors in that referendum was the promise of continued EU membership...

Those referenda have included questions with huge potential impact - on Northern Ireland remaining within the United Kingdom, on Gibraltar remaining a British Overseas Territory, on Scotland leaving the United Kingdom to become an independent country.

So you appear to be arguing that major decisions such as Brexit are not put to a plebiscite - when they historically are. Similarly, you are arguing that this referendum was "a level of responsibility that the general public was entirely unprepared for" when various parts of the UK (and Gibraltar) had been asked such questions before.


Yes, parts of the UK have been asked to decide on similarly impactful questions before. But not the entirety of the UK, not on a question with an impact as far-reaching as the Brexit question.

Are you arguing that the general public was perfectly prepared to answer such questions during 1973 - 2014 but became unprepared between 2014 and 2016?


I do not know the context of the previous votes, so I would be hesitant to comment on them in detail.
But I did pay attention to the Brexit campaign. I did pay attention to the many and various lies that the pro-Brexit campaign used to sell their idea of an independent Britain. I can state, with certainty, that unlike the scottish people deciding on their independence from the UK, the british people had a completely distorted view of the pros and cons of continued EU membership.

In the end, the Brexit vote was a choice between staying and leaving, without there being a clear concept of what "leaving" meant. People who voted to leave had a multitude of options available to believe in; from a complete cutting of all relationships with the EU and the removal of all foreign nationals from the UK to a strong association in line with the Norway model. Voting for Brexit was not an informed choice, because noone who voted for it had enough information to know what that choice would ultimately mean. This is unlike scottish independence, and also rather unlike the questions about northern Ireland or Gibraltar: In those cases, while the impact would have been dramatic and partially unpredictable, it was nowhere near as undefined and uncertain as Brexit has turned out to be.
As I said, I can't really speak to the previous public referenda you cite (apart from the scottish one). But I strongly suspect that the public debates about those topics were nowhere near as dominated by lies and distortions as the Brexit one was.

TFLYTSNBN wrote:You miss the point. TheE believes that the British People should not be allowed to make momentous decisions without the expressed consent of their German masters. Your political customs and past practices are irrelevant. Only the noble, enlightened Germans can be trusted to explain the issues to you ignorant English fools.


Nah. The british can make whatever decision they choose. I would prefer for those decisions to be made in an environment not dominated by xenophobes like you, or people afraid of losing their tax havens like Jacob Rees-Mogg or Michael Gove, or habitual liars like Boris Johnson, or people so deep in their ideological habits that they can't offer a viable alternative like Jeremy Corbyn, but that's just me and my desire for honesty and integrity in government speaking.
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Re: Happy Brexit Day!
Post by Bluesqueak   » Sat Feb 15, 2020 2:24 pm

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The E wrote:
And in the 40 years since those happened, how many questions of similar impact were put to the public? The only thing that remotely qualifies was the scottish independence referendum, and that was preceded by decades of public debate on the subject; Not just general grumbling about the UK, but an actual, focussed public debate. Scotlands' citizens were pretty well informed on the subject, and as it turned out, one of the decisive factors in that referendum was the promise of continued EU membership...


Hmmm... well, there was the previous referendum on whether the UK should remain within the then Economic Community. There was the 2011 referendum on whether the voting system should be changed (No). Those are the UK wide ones - there have been eleven 'major' regional referenda as well, which often include questions of devolution from the Westminster Government.

If you're arguing that the British people don't have experience of making major decisions unless they're Scottish, I'd have to say that, again, you seem to be mistaken in your understanding of UK history within the last forty-odd years.


The E wrote:
Bluesqueak wrote:So you appear to be arguing that major decisions such as Brexit are not put to a plebiscite - when they historically are. Similarly, you are arguing that this referendum was "a level of responsibility that the general public was entirely unprepared for" when various parts of the UK (and Gibraltar) had been asked such questions before.


Yes, parts of the UK have been asked to decide on similarly impactful questions before. But not the entirety of the UK, not on a question with an impact as far-reaching as the Brexit question.


Again, this is what I mean when I say you are arguing on a mistaken understanding. The Referendum in 1975 was both nation wide and on whether the UK should remain within the then Economic Community. Our referendums are on constitutional questions - how we should be governed. If the government concerned is regional, they'll be regional. If it is a governmental system that affects the entire nation, the referendum will be national.

bluesqueak wrote:
The E wrote:Are you arguing that the general public was perfectly prepared to answer such questions during 1973 - 2014 but became unprepared between 2014 and 2016?


I do not know the context of the previous votes, so I would be hesitant to comment on them in detail.
But I did pay attention to the Brexit campaign. I did pay attention to the many and various lies that the pro-Brexit campaign used to sell their idea of an independent Britain. I can state, with certainty, that unlike the scottish people deciding on their independence from the UK, the british people had a completely distorted view of the pros and cons of continued EU membership.



Given that so far you've got a number of facts about the 2016 Referendum wrong, and also seem to be unclear about the history of Referendums in the UK, might I suggest that you may also be confused about the context of the pros and cons of continued EU membership for the UK?

It certainly wasn't an easy decision - the UK has just had about three and a half years of what you might call a 'cold civil war' about this. Those of us who voted in the Referendum came in at 48% 'pro' and 52% 'con' and the 'con' side won in the end because those who were 'pro' were less likely to vote in the first place, then split their vote between several parties in the latest election.

The 2016 Referendum was a very nasty, hard fought campaign. It was also an extensively discussed political question - as much so as the Scottish Referendum - and people took their votes extremely seriously. The polls show that people were considering both sides, but that in the end, those who preferred to Leave were more committed to voting than those who preferred to Remain. Turnout was noticeably higher in Leave majority areas than in Remain majority areas.

The E wrote:In the end, the Brexit vote was a choice between staying and leaving, without there being a clear concept of what "leaving" meant. People who voted to leave had a multitude of options available to believe in; from a complete cutting of all relationships with the EU and the removal of all foreign nationals from the UK to a strong association in line with the Norway model. Voting for Brexit was not an informed choice, because noone who voted for it had enough information to know what that choice would ultimately mean. This is unlike scottish independence, and also rather unlike the questions about northern Ireland or Gibraltar: In those cases, while the impact would have been dramatic and partially unpredictable, it was nowhere near as undefined and uncertain as Brexit has turned out to be.



Again, you are not understanding the way UK referenda work. Essentially, they ask 'strategic' questions. Should we change the voting system (no). Should we have devolution in Wales (yes). The government usually sends out an information leaflet, but it's understood that what the public are voting on is NOT, for example, the exact details of how the Welsh Assembly is going to work and whether we might have more or less devolved powers than were discussed during the campaign.

People weren't voting on our exact relationship with the European Union. Whether they voted to Remain or to Leave, that exact relationship is something to be negotiated by whatever government has been elected into power.

The Leave campaign wasn't a government, and it wasn't a political party (it was several). It could discuss as many ideas as it liked. The Leave campaign had exactly zero power when it came to putting any of these ideas into practice - that was a power reserved for the elected government.

For that matter, it can equally be argued that those voting to Remain didn't have a clear concept of what they were voting for either Were they voting for the status quo, or were they voting for 'ever close union'? Were they voting for nothing changing, or for further treaties? Who knows?

Unfortunately, it's very British to do something major without any actual plan for what happens when we've done it. One of the American ambassadors once said that he was perpetually astonished at our ability to grab the baby just after we send the bathwater flying.

In this case, we'll have to see whether we managed to grab the baby. But we certainly sent the bathwater flying.

The E wrote:As I said, I can't really speak to the previous public referenda you cite (apart from the scottish one). But I strongly suspect that the public debates about those topics were nowhere near as dominated by lies and distortions as the Brexit one was.


Given that this conversation between us started because I noticed you'd stated a lie as a fact (I'm not saying you were lying, I'm happy to accept that you didn't realise that 'an advisory referendum became decisive after the vote' is an extremely severe distortion of UK practice), I'd be wary of accepting the 'lies and distortions' line. It's very much from one political side.

Pretty well all of what you might politely call 'distortions' were acceptable within UK electoral practice - even if a bit bare-knuckled - and they came from both sides. Seriously, both the Remain and Leave campaigns got fined by the Electoral Commission. As I said, it was a nasty campaign.
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