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British EU Referendum Thread

Discussion in 'Politics' started by Taure, Oct 13, 2015.

  1. Sesc

    Sesc Slytherin at Heart Moderator

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    There is nothing in principle wrong with holding a referendum on uniquely important decisions. The problem is in the way you organise it. For starters, it's worth considering whether, because the consequences on those decisions then will be grave by definition, the status quo will be favoured. So say, not 50%, but 60% or 65% must vote yes to overturn it. Then, if it's just 65.x% in favour, it's still a solid majority; while if it's just shy of the threshold, it sucks for those that want it, but the rejection is based on a principle, and not arbitrary: It's called, in the very literal meaning of the word, being conservative. Once upon a time there was a party ... well, whatever.

    And then, from the get-go, two referendums would have been reasonable. One, to give parliament and the government a to-do list, and a second, to decide whether the result was agreeable (implement it) or not (discard it, things remain as they are, i.e. no Brexit).

    That this didn't happen is probably due to the UK's inexperience with this kind of direct democracy; in Switzerland, it's fairly common. There, it's also possible for (a certain number of) people to force a referendum, so if they hypothetically still wanted a Swixit after a second referendum, they could have simply created a third, after a certain time. A referendum is not binding for all eternity (as some ERG folks have discovered after intense contemplation), it's just another tool for expressing opinions, and opinions can change.

    So it does work, given the right circumstances. What doesn't work is what happened here: A vote on an undefined question ("Brexit means Brexit" is the dadaist end of this problem), and a possibly impossible-to-implement policy (in short: holding a vote on whether to move the British Isle to Antarctica is nonsense, it can't be done.)

    --

    But at least, reality seems to reassert itself. @Blorcyn : There you go. Two options, and "no deal" is not going to be one of them. Here's another sign that we're rapidly nearing the end: Headlines like this one ("Unpalatable news? UK faces pallet crisis if there is no-deal Brexit -- Ministers hold emergency talks after they realise UK has shortage of the right pallets") mean we're reaching levels of absurd, the absurd that is due to the mismatch of pretense and reality, that is big enough to create cracks in the pretense in places where that matters.

    We can probably look already ahead to the extension period. The next big question, after the can was kicked down the road, is what happens on the new deadline. If the UK does not take part in the EU elections, it can't conceivably be a member after June. So that is the new problem coming up now.

    Edit: LOL
    She will be remembered as the best can-kicker that ever was PM. So finally, she found her one talent. What a distinction XD
     
  2. arkkitehti

    arkkitehti Groundskeeper

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    Even (or perhaps especially) if you define some kind of "has to have higher support than x%" threshold on a vote, it's still stupid.

    If you have a properly elected representative body with constitutional power to make decisions, then it's their job to make those decisions. If, for some bizarre reason, there is an issue where majority of the representatives don't feel like they have the mandate to do a certain decision (even when they do), saner option would be to wait for the next election and bring up that issue there, or if it was time critical, conduct a properly randomized scientific study on the opinion of the people and put those thresholds on it's results.

    A referendum will always devolve into a shitshow of propaganda and lies, and there's no defending using one for making any decision what so ever.
     
  3. Chengar Qordath

    Chengar Qordath The Final Pony Prestige

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    Aren't elections also shitshows of propaganda and lies?
     
  4. Sesc

    Sesc Slytherin at Heart Moderator

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    /shrug

    The US has it at state level. So do we. Switzerland, as mentioned, nationally. You simply vote on certain issues and say yes or no. It's not that uncommon. In fact, if you do have it, usually, it's surpremely boring. The problem, more than doing outrageous campaigning, is people not giving a fuck either way, and staying at home if it's not a regular election anyway. Brexit and the Brexit vote is pretty singular. It's not the norm at all.

    I'm pretty much agnostic either way. The argument that having no national ballot initiative prevents idiotic decisions is true ... until elected representatives make an idiotic decision. I think it's quite over-hyped, both in how much more "democratic" it is (ZOMG! Voters can say what they really want now!), and what the dangers are (ZOMG! Voters will vote to begin WWIII!). Have it. Leave it out of your constitutional framework. The difference is usually negligible.


    In Brexit news, the revised Cooper amendment, restating what May laid out yesterday (including the extension of the deadline), passed 502-20. I'm more convinced than ever that there exist a bipartisan majority for something (probably some customs-union++ thing), as opposed to merely against it. As to why that doesn't happen, see the earlier post.
     
  5. arkkitehti

    arkkitehti Groundskeeper

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    Well, yes, if the election is reduced to a choice between two candidates, like presidential elections in US. When you have wider selection of candidates to choose from, it's much harder to go for truly polarizing strategies, as the centrists will take the middle ground and leave only scraps for you.

    I really do like the fact that I live in a country where we have a multiple party proportional election system.
     
  6. Oment

    Oment The Betrayer

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    So May has managed to get some extra changes to the language of the deal. Three assurances, in fact:

    Will it be enough? We'll probably find out today.

    I'm not at all convinced it's anywhere near enough - Labour's been given basically nothing, so don't expect defections from that end, and the ERG hasn't sounded convinced at all. There's a lot of votes May needs to make up.
     
  7. melphion

    melphion Muggle

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    With Cox's legal advice published I'd say this 'new' deal is dead in the water.
     
  8. Seratin

    Seratin Proudmander Prestige DLP Supporter

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    Well Cox seems to be arguing passionately in favour of the deal despite his own legal advice but the mood in the commons seems... irritated. It's got that hornets nest feel that the original withdrawel agreement generated.

    Anybody keeping a closer eye on this care to shed some light on the general opinion? I'm ducking in and out.

    Edit: Nevermind, the majority of the Tories have left the commons and a good handful of opposition MPs too. I suppose it is rather dry stuff to listen to when it's lunchtime and The Westminster Arms is calling.
     
    Last edited: Mar 12, 2019
  9. Sesc

    Sesc Slytherin at Heart Moderator

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    It probably would be enough ... on any regular vote, that was lost in any regular way. But with 100+ people needing to change their mind on this topic, it's just not good enough. That's probably the bottom line in all of this -- within their limits, decent effort, but just not good enough. No one cares about relative scales.

    Also, that May's voice is fading in her final speech on her deal is symbolism out of a bad cartoon.

    Edit: I just got an idea of a different take. May knows that her deal is terrible, and that any deal involving her (and presumably, the Brexit voters') red lines will be terrible ... and now she is determined to deliver to them the terrible. They ordered a shit burger. And by jove, they are going to get a shit burger. Served as requested. And if it's the last things she does (which it is).
     
  10. Oment

    Oment The Betrayer

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    It's currently looking like another defeat for May, with the main question being the size of the defeat rather than anything else.
     
  11. Sesc

    Sesc Slytherin at Heart Moderator

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    Down by 149 votes. Like I said, any usual defeat ... it's a decent improvement over 230, but what does it matter?
     
  12. Oment

    Oment The Betrayer

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    Still something like the fourth largest defeat in history, so yeah.

    I particularly liked May's insistence that there's a majority to be found in the House, because from where I'm sitting, the only thing a majority can agree on is that there's no majority on any one way of dealing with the clock that is ticking. (May's deal is dead, no deal likely will get utterly annihilated tomorrow, Malthouse compromise requires tech that does not yet exist, revoking article 50 is probably not that far off literal death sentences, and if you want to discuss anything new, have fun with two weeks left.)
     
  13. Sesc

    Sesc Slytherin at Heart Moderator

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    There is a theoretical majority for something that isn't really Brexit. Customs union, EFTA, yadda yadda. But that would pass with Labour and only some Tories, and hence it's not going to happen.

    Or perhaps, there was that majority -- could be entirely possible that now enough Labour see the second referendum as too likely to vote for anything less.

    Pointless to consider anyway. If it's up to Elmar Brok MEP, who had a three-minute-rant live on Sky News, the UK can just sod off and crash into nirvana. The extension needs to be approved by all member states, and he doesn't think that'll happen, not without any clear new plan on what you are extending the deadline for. I think I still disagree -- that extension will come (you'd need it anyway, even with the deal) -- but the conditions will be interesting. Including EU elections or no? What can be possibly achieved then that couldn't be achieved now?

    Or perhaps we see a monumental EU fudge ... something like Britain simultaneously being in and out of the EU? Words are just words, they have no meaning, Brexit means Brexit means Brexit in perpetuity.

    Who knows. After the rejection of no-deal, and asking for the extension, my crystal ball goes dark.
     
  14. Oment

    Oment The Betrayer

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    I don't think there are enough Tory defectors for a Norway deal to counter both the numbers disadvantage (I doubt the DUP will go for it) and Labour defectors. Even if so, it's not far off of revoking Article 50 in terms of how much whining there'd be about taking back ARE SOVEREIGNTY from the usual bellends. It's also something that'd have to be discussed in the extension.

    I think the EU-27 will grant the extension and ask for concessions from the UK in the process. Whether or not the Commons will still go for it at that point is going to depend on exactly what these entail.
     
  15. Darth_Revan

    Darth_Revan Secret Squirrel Prestige DLP Supporter

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    One wonders what could be achieved if May worked outside of her own party, but that shows no sign of happening.

    My guess? Somehow, not sure how yet, this will end with a General Election.
     
  16. Sesc

    Sesc Slytherin at Heart Moderator

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    @Oment: Alternate universe, after May lost the elections, she saw the light and reached out to Corbyn. Corbyn was also mysteriously reprogrammed, gave up his badly hidden attempts to use Brexit as a vehicle to become PM, and held May's hand throughout the talk. After that, they gave a rousing speech about national unity, proposed Norway+, and put it to the vote.

    Parliament does what?

    That majority was always there. It didn't materialise because neither May nor Corbyn wanted it (and, perhaps, could survive it). The deal, as is, sits far to the Brexit side of the median of Parliament, because Parliament does not and never wanted a Brexit. The deal still might have passed in different times -- with a strong majority of Tories, with a strong leader to put them in line, with clever and careful maneouvring. It's the tragedy of these times that all this was lacking when it was needed the most.

    But then again, which is cause and which is effect? The hung parliament was elected by the people, and from that state followed the choice of the PM who is just as "hung" (look no further than the ridiculous cabinet balancing). So go full circle: A nation divided elects a parliament divided elects a leader divided. And the leader can't deliver to parliament can't deliver to the nation. Bottom up, top down, either way -- at one end, someone needed to have been strong, but that is precise reason neither one was.


    Agreed though, Norway+ would be just doing Brexit to say you Brexit. After all, Brexit means Brexit. The clean break it is not. In practical terms, it's just worse in every sense. So who knows, maybe this does end with May revoking article 50. Sorry chaps, we need to make up our minds first, can we partake in your elections and talk again in five years?

    To be fair, I'd sigh, shake my head, and agree. Britain is the cousin who's a little peculiar, but you still like 'em because they're family.
     
  17. Sesc

    Sesc Slytherin at Heart Moderator

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    @Darth_Revan : If you didn't read it already, one place to start on the reason why this has not and will not happen, leaving aside that you could not possibly pick two party leaders less able for this task, it's got to be the two worst ones in recent history, is: https://ukandeu.ac.uk/the-brexit-deal-and-party-divisions/

    Ultimately, it's the same logic as in US congress/house, e.g. the majority-of-the-majority rule ... imagine if neither party had a majority? You wouldn't need Trump to shut down the nation.
     
  18. ScottPress

    ScottPress The Horny Sovereign Prestige

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    Here's what I don't get: the referendum wasn't about "what kind of relationship do you want with the EU after leaving". It was a binary leave or stay. They voted leave. So... just leave. What's preventing this? The Ireland/NI border? Obviously the EU isn't giving an inch, but what did UK expect?
     
  19. Taure

    Taure Magical Core Enthusiast Prestige DLP Supporter

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    In this alternate universe, I think you can be fairly certain of a UKIP surge at the next general election after they campaign on a platform of the Tories and Labour colluding to frustrate the will of the people via a "Brexit In Name Only".
     
  20. Oment

    Oment The Betrayer

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    Alternate universe talk is all fine and good, but after two years of the government trying to make it work by themselves, any semblance of working alongside opposition to implement a deal closer to Labour's vision would be at best extremely unlikely, not that far off miracle territory. Apart from crossing more red lines than Assad did with Obama in Syria, there's simply not enough time that the EU will grant to negotiate something like this.

    Two years back, sure, it might have worked far more easily, but two years back is done and dusted. You can entertain hypotheticals all you want, but it's plain wishful thinking.

    As an aside, the Chancellor wasn't overly enthused in his Spring Statement and seemed to be preferring a softer version than May's deal (e.g. a Norway-esque deal).. He also managed to throw a bit of shade:

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Mar 13, 2019
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