Jul 272019
 

Back when the Brexit referendum result was announced, I (as a remainer) was reasonably content that we should have Brexit – and then start campaigning to rejoin the EU. But things have changed.

What has not changed (but is still worth reminding ourselves) is that the margin of victory was very narrow – the Leavers like to claim there is a clear mandate for leaving the EU. A mandate yes, but any referendum that is won by such a narrow margin is not exactly a “clear mandate”.

And it has become clear that the referendum campaigns were conducted in a way that was probably in violation of UK law – questionable funding sources, connections to some very dubious US ‘politicians’ and of course the Russian connection.

Various credible sources have indicated that Russian social media trollbots were very active during the lead up to the referendum.

Does this invalidate the referendum result? It would not be totally unreasonable to argue that it does – whilst disregarding the referendum could well be regarded as undemocratic, the level of interference in the referendum is also undemocratic.

But rather than concentrating on that, let us take a look at “no deal”. The referendum was not asking whether we should crash out of the EU with no deal; the implication was always that there would be some sort of deal to our benefit (although why the EU should agree to a deal favourable to the UK was always a bit questionable).

So all those who voted for Brexit were not necessarily voting for “Brexit under all circumstances”; they were voting for a Brexit with a beneficial deal. In these circumstances, it is more democratic to cancel Article 50 if no deal is possible – only extremists want a “no deal” Brexit.

Because that was the choice in the referendum – remain, or to leave with a decent deal – because all the leave campaigners were saying we would get a good deal.

The Paths Meet

May 282019
 

The European election results in the UK are being commonly classified as an enormous victory for the Brexit Party. Which is regrettably true, but not quite the whole truth.

If you were to take a list of the numbers of MEPs each party got :-

PartyMEPs
The Brexit Party
29
Liberal Democrat16
Labour10
Green7

You can see that if the next three parties were to hold a pact, they could outvote the Brexiteers every day and twice on every Sunday. Interestingly enough, whilst the Brexit party got 5,248,533 votes, the petition to revoke Article 50 got 6,085,584.

Which seems to indicate that whilst Brexit is the largest ‘party’ in the European elections, the remainers have actually got a slim majority!

Nov 062016
 

There has been a great deal of fuss over the recent High Court decision recently that requires the government to ask parliament to authorise Article 50 to trigger leaving the EU. Most of it complete rubbish, and the more extreme responses were childish too.

The court case had nothing to do with Brexit itself – it was a constitutional issue over whether the government had exceeded its authority by trying to use the royal prerogative to authorise Article 50. The court decided it had, and that parliament should decide on the Article 50 issue.

It was not an attempt to defeat Brexit. There wasn’t some sort of remainer conspiracy to block Brexit. It was “just” a standard constitutional law case deciding on whether the government was using the royal prerogative unnecessarily to act in an undemocratic way.

As a side effect of the decision, there is a chance that parliament might decide to ignore the referendum result and try to remain within the EU. This would probably be a dumb move (and I would prefer to remain within the EU), but the blame for that loophole is down to how the original referendum was drawn up.

stack-of-coins-p1

Oct 312016
 

It is getting pretty boring listening to all the remain supporters whine about the result of the ‘recent’ (well to an old fart like me anyway) referendum. It’s done; time to move on – it may have been the dumbest decision the public have made since electing Thatcher, but it’s still done.

But that’s not the end of it; it’s just the beginning.

The first thing to say is that the politicians are lying (not difficult to ascertain; their lips were moving) when they say they have a clear mandate for Brexit. With a referendum result as close as the one we have just had – 51.9% in favour of leaving and 48.1% in favour of remaining – we have a clearly divided country with a not insignificant minority who want to remain within the EU.

Does that mean we should ignore the result? Of course not (written with gritted teeth), but neither should we ignore the fact that there is a significant minority of voters who want us to remain. This should have an effect on the negotiating position – having what is effectively a weak mandate for Brexit should be a reasonable excuse to aim for “Brexit light”. Something like the Norway model.

Is this going to keep the leavers happy? No, but neither is leaving the EU going to make the remain supporters happy. And the only sensible course is something that leaves everyone mildly discontent rather than seriously piss off one side or the other.

And it’s time for the remain supporters to start work on getting back into Europe; just as the leavers started campaigning after they lost the last referendum.

The New Defence

The New Defence

Apr 282016
 

How much money do we pay into the EU? Well according to Full Fact, it’s quite a bit less than the Brexit campaigners would have us believe (who would have thought it? Politicians lying!). It’s actually around 13 billion a year (inclusive of the rebate), and the EU directly spends about 4 billion in the UK. To which can be added other figures such as grants for research, etc.

Now that’s still quite a bit of money, and the Brexit campaigners are busy claiming all sorts of benefits that could come about if we spent it ourselves rather than send it to the EU.

Really? Have they not checked the colour of the Prime Minister’s underpants? The current Tory government is not in the business of spending money; they are more interested in cutting taxes for their rich cronies.

stack-of-coins-p1

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