4m nationally and rising ...

Richard Fairhurst
(site admin)
👍

Sat 20 Apr, 19:37

I think this has largely run its course and so I’m transferring it to the Grease Pit, but do continue the debate if you want to.

Alice Brander
👍 3

Thu 18 Apr, 16:25

Thank you Rosemary.  Our democratic deficit has resulted in our failure to address climate change and has led our country into division and turmoil.  It is incredibly sad.  

Rosemary Bennett
👍 5

Thu 18 Apr, 09:20

Yes Tony, they were. What has since emerged is that we were all lied to. Many made their choice based on the lies, and the propoganda. Boris' bus, and the refugees posters, for starters. Secondly, as has been discussed intelligently along the way, we don't have democratic rights within our voting system. The vote, based on first past the post, is bound to be unfair to every voter, whatever their view. If we could get PR, I might have more confidence, but at present based on evidence it is not fair and to my mind, undemocratic in itself.

Tony Morgan
👍 2

Wed 17 Apr, 18:24 (last edited on Wed 17 Apr, 18:26)

People weren’t moaning they were exercising their democratic right to vote to leave

If remain had won and the leavers had tried to change the result there would have been hell to play

Hans Eriksson
👍 4

Wed 17 Apr, 16:57

The EU isn't perfect, so instead of moaning I applied to become an MEP to try to help improving it. 

Rosemary Bennett
👍 1

Wed 17 Apr, 15:22

Really interesting Mark. There has already been a shocking waste of time and resources in the name of Brexit. The government can't govern, clearly, there has been nothing of any value come out of all this waste so far, so how awful can it get in the future? I fear that we haven't seen anything yet..... I loved a statement seen recently. No-one born in the 21st Century voted for Brexit.

Mark Luntley
👍 5

Tue 16 Apr, 22:06 (last edited on Tue 16 Apr, 22:36)

I completely agree climate change is the challenge of our time. Sadly after the end of the coalition government nearly all of the UK climate change policies were either ended or reversed.

This means that it would be hard for another community project like Southill to be built, whilst other policy changes mean most rooftop solar installations are probably uneconomic.

I was at a talk last year where the speaker highlighted the overlap between a small number of MPs, deeply hostile to renewable energy investments, and the most determined of euro-sceptics. The current government is not prepared to cross that group.   

The EU has just agreed a clean energy package - which puts citizens and community energy groups at the heart of the European energy transition. This commits Europe to a continent-wide approach to combatting climate change. It is unclear if the UK will be required to adopt this. 

Details at https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/PDF/?uri=CELEX:32018L2001  

I fear a post-Brexit UK will not have climate change as a much of a priority, although many citizens and MPs see the issue as critical. Our focus over the next decade will be on navigating the policy choices arising from leaving the EU.

Rosemary Bennett
👍

Tue 16 Apr, 21:33 (last edited on Tue 16 Apr, 21:35)

Totally agree, Hans. This is also my strongly held opinion. We're being held hostage by a bunch of loonies, dumbclucks and egotistical opportunists, while the globe is being shredded. Forget this  Brex(s)it, and let's get on with the really important issues before IT'S ALL FAR TOO LATE.

Hans Eriksson
👍 3

Tue 16 Apr, 18:37

IMHO Brexit has to be a side issue compared to climate change, knife crime, left behind areas due to globalisation, social media out of control, AI's impact, lack of infrastructure investment, lack of housing, refugee crisis, malaria... I could go on. I am surprised that Brexit causes so many opinions where most probably and for most of us we have little idea what actually happens in EU, and what the EU regulations actually do, and how they impact each of us directly on a personal level.

Greta Thunberg is right - Forget Brexit and focus on climate change 

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/apr/16/greta-thunberg-urges-eu-leaders-wake-up-climate-change-school-strike-movement

Hannen Beith
👍

Tue 16 Apr, 12:04

Apologies, I have no idea what you are talking about.  The last time I read "P E" was 50 years ago.

Thanks to all for the exchange of views, and forbearance.

I am also now retiring from the discussion and shall, like Sulla, tend my cabbages.

Tony Morgan
👍

Tue 16 Apr, 09:15

Or giggler who sends particularly unfunny email comments or colin who makes off topic posts!!

stephen cavell
👍

Tue 16 Apr, 07:27

Any one else read Private Eye? - From the Notice Boards - Time for Bogbrush to sign off.

Alice Brander
👍 2

Mon 15 Apr, 21:33

I'm sure that the withdrawal agreement will eventually go through.  Maybe there will be a preferred way forward attached to it.  Then a government will have to negotiate our future trading arrangements with Europe.  That'll be the hard part.

Tony Morgan
👍 3

Mon 15 Apr, 20:50

My simple point, which you're quite entitled to disagree with, is that we had a majority in favour of leaving the EU and MPs should have respected that democratic vote and supported the withdrawal agreement How that relates to colonial subjugation and feudal oppression beats me so I will retire from what upto now has been an interesting discussion

Alice Brander
👍 1

Mon 15 Apr, 19:39

Don't change the subject, Hannen's point is well made.  Wherever did you get the idea about 'playing fair and abiding by rules'.  Can you find any evidence to back it up?   I understand that Mr. Cameron was shocked that Vote Leave failed to play by the Queensberry rules.  If only he'd set out the rules in advance.

I'm busy here practising 'doffing a cap' in preparation for the return to unregulated feudalism.   

Tony Morgan
👍

Mon 15 Apr, 19:00

Hannen as someone who objected to references to the current state of European countries on a thread about brexit  I'm surprised you're  diverting to historical analysis of European colonialism  My point is that MPs are ignoring the majority referendum vote which has nothing to do with colonial inequities but everything to do with current democracy Maybe a separate thread to beat us up for our antecedents behaviour

Hannen Beith
👍

Mon 15 Apr, 17:32

Alice.  Interesting.  I'm the opposite.  I've never voted in European elections, simply because I have never "known" the candidates, and haven't the faintest idea of what they get up to.  Not a good reason, I concede.  I do vote in elections to Parliament and local elections and am looking forward to 2 May.

"Britain's willingness to play fair & abide by the rules!", Eh?.  A cursory study of History reveals that the British looted the colonies.  Particularly India.  See:  https://www.quora.com/How-much-wealth-did-Great-Britain-loot-from-India-during-the-British-Raj-period.  And that is just India!

Little wonder that the Yanks fought for independence, and later almost every other colony including, in relatively recent times, Rhodesia.  Can you blame them?  The British plundered their wealth and have left many of their populations (literally) living "hand to mouth".

John Partington
👍 2

Mon 15 Apr, 17:12

Taking this sideways for a moment:  you know the difference between democracy and feudalism, don' t you?  In democracy your vote counts, and in feudalism ..

Alice Brander
👍 2

Mon 15 Apr, 15:37 (last edited on Mon 15 Apr, 16:08)

Maybe Tony,  but I've never believed we live in a democracy, my vote doesn't count.  The 'deal' isn't really a 'deal' is it?  It's a transition arrangement to give us time to come to a deal.   The negotiation hasn't started yet.  I have given up trying to understand what Mr. Courts, a member of the extreme ERG is trying to achieve.  

But I am looking forward to someone explaining what are the benefits to Charlbury and West Oxfordshire of leaving the EU because at the moment I can't think of one thing.

I'm sorry, I made a mistake there.  The only elections I have voted in for the last 40 years when my vote has been truly counted and represented are the European elections.

Tony Morgan
👍 1

Mon 15 Apr, 13:11

Alice I suggest Democracy would have benefited from MPs honouring the referendum & voting for May's deal, rather than pursuing their own agenda, whether that be the ERG pushing for a hard brexit or the remainers pushing for no brexit

Its no wonder people have lost faith in politicians, & the rest of the world has lost faith in Britain's willingness to play fair & abide by the rules!

Tony Morgan
👍 2

Sun 14 Apr, 10:10

Richard as a reluctant remainer with concerns for the democratic process I've found this thread extremely interesting & am pleased you let it run

Hannen Beith
👍

Sat 13 Apr, 20:07

Richard,

Acknowledged!

Hannen.

Richard Fairhurst
(site admin)
👍 1

Sat 13 Apr, 20:05

It may be moved to the Grease Pit at some point, but I’ve kept it here (though on a reasonably tight leash) because it’s been remarkably civil so far and there’s clearly an unusually strong Charlbury interest - I don’t know of many other places with EU flags flying from people’s houses on the through roads!

The admins are very aware of the forum guidelines and I would gently remind you that another one (and one I feel very strongly about) is that if you have concerns about a thread, please pass them on privately via site message or email, rather than publicly trying to bounce us into a particular action. Thank you! 

Hannen Beith
👍

Sat 13 Apr, 19:48

The first "rule" of this Forum is "The forum is for the discussion of Charlbury town issues."

Not observed much in this thread in my opinion.  I know I am one of the "guilty" ones but can't it be moved to the Grease Pit or erased?

I've read specific references to various European countries (the populace of which probably haven't even heard of Charlbury). I really do wonder where this is taking us other than to aggravate the division that this topic has caused nationally, sorry, I mean in Charlbury.

Let's get back to talking about our favourite themes, e.g. dog poo, parking and housing.

Alice Brander
👍

Sat 13 Apr, 15:03

Wasn't the backstop the inevitable consequence of Mrs May's red lines?  The free market argument comes up against the rest of the world who want to protect their populations and businesses.

Wasn't the bill that the UK has to pay only its share of the EU budget agreed before the referendum and a share of Mr. Farage's very generous future pension liabilities?  All the commitments that the UK agreed to pay?  If the UK refuses to pay its debts it's not going to get any future trade deals with anyone.

Weren't all the negative points that Tony has pointed to, a consequence of being a member of the Eurozone following a period when the banks bought most developed economies to their knees; having very generous labour conditions which meant that French companies were happy to relocate to Britain (Macron is certainly suffering for trying to reduce conditions for working people); a consequence of not being very good at collecting or paying taxes and living well beyond your means (Greece), etc. etc.  Sadly, the UK has been living beyond its means for years, it keeps afloat by selling businesses, assets and land to overseas and largely anonymous investors which is fostering nationalism.  Maybe a benefit of Brexit will be the reduction in overseas investment which has already started.

If we accept that all these difficulties, differences and stresses arise as a consequence of 27 individual nation states in a collective, continuing to be in competition with each other then we begin to understand how difficult an EU is and how we should have devoted more attention and skill towards managing our interests.  Electing wreckers as representatives has resulted in a wreck.  

I'm still waiting for someone to tell us what the benefits will be to Charlbury and West Oxfordshire.

Ali Ross
👍 1

Tue 9 Apr, 10:08

Tony: 'Brevity' - aah, would that it were so.

Tony Morgan
👍

Mon 8 Apr, 21:33 (last edited on Tue 9 Apr, 12:15)

Read an interesting article that suggested Macron, whose hero De Gaul vetoed us joining the original common market, might block an extension to boost his failing popularity at home. Long shot but would be interesting if the ERG's intransigence and the remainers insistance on a second referendum combined to produce a hard brevity by default! Especially as there is a deal on the table!

Katie Russell
👍 2

Mon 8 Apr, 08:15

Indeed, ordinary people are being priced our of becoming politicians by the huge costs of being a party candidate. Tories spend around £100,000 to win marginal seats with the average personal cost around £11,000. This is why we have a millionaire cabinet:

https://news.sky.com/story/huge-cost-of-becoming-an-mp-pricing-people-out-of-politics-11489543

No surprise then that the policies we get reflect the interests of the policy makers.

Rosemary Bennett
👍 1

Sun 7 Apr, 17:33

I do agree that the capitalist societies are run by the capitalists and not the politicians. One of the big problems with that is that capitalists and politicians can be one and the same. Look no further than Donald Trump as an example. How is it that most Tories are very wealthy? Privilege can only be bought, and wealth comes from capitalism.

As for any long-term future, this Brexit example doesn't bode well, does it? If we can't even find agreement within or without the EU, what hope for global co-operation on the rather larger issue of global survival?

K Harper
👍 3

Sun 7 Apr, 16:39

This is meant to be a kind and non-confrontational post; I think we all need to chill!

Whatever we do in politics makes little difference to the outcomes everyone is worrying about at the moment, in my humble opinion. There have been many well thought out posts on this thread with everyone trying desperately to find a path though the confusion in front of us it but maybe we are just over-thinking it.

You can trust that the people who control this country, and that’s not the government and not us, will make sure that they continue to prosper and for that they need us all to pay mortgages, invest in pensions and pay our taxes like all good citizens, so they can continue to accumulate unimaginable wealth. That holy grail of democracy/justice is just an illusion created to maintain the status quo.

If we really cared about the future of this country, our children and grandchildren and also the sustainability for humanity on this planet we would be working hard to promote donut economics; our current prosperity is based on flawed economic principles for growth; the only way forward is following the permaculture model in the wider sense of the word; to do this us older generation would have to take a big hit ie let or encourage the devaluation of the homes we own in a monetary sense so that the next generations can have a roof over their heads without having to create unnecessary unsustainable growth in order to exist; anyone prepared to do this?

K Harper
👍

Sun 7 Apr, 14:26

Of course, Rosemary, if we use that analogy, the fact that we could not go to the matinee performance because our tickets had been spuriously issued to another party to watch a completely different film that was not on the schedule might convince the cinema chain (27 complexes across Europe) to let us attend a later showing free of any surcharge (fantasy/drama/comedy) maybe!

Rosemary Bennett
👍

Sun 7 Apr, 13:21 (last edited on Sun 7 Apr, 14:15)

The country did not leave the EU when the government said it would. Ergo, if the deal was not fulfilled then the new deal logically is that the country should not leave the EU, without another referendum. I'm sure a child of five could see the logic in that.

If you bought tickets to take a child to the cinema and then you couldn't go, you'd have to buy more tickets for a different date. You'd have paid the price for not doing what you had originally planned. Just like Brexit. We've paid a price and we got 100% of nothing for our money. We're surely not going to be daft enough to do it all again?

Charlie M
👍 3

Sun 7 Apr, 07:53

Another one here who agrees with Hannen.

Sadly there is absolutely no point in raising this matter with our MP because of his insistence on following Rees-Mogg and the ERG in their wishes to destroy our country. I wish it were not so. 

I have even written to May on this matter; I have not had a reply, nor do I expect one. Her government is falling apart, with resigning ministers no longer (for me at least) raising an eyebrow. And the debate on the "Revoke Petition" was a farce, stage-managed (presumably) to discharge the obligation to debate it with as little interruption to MPs' day-to-day business as possible. WHY was it not held in the main Commons chamber?????

Rosemary Bennett
👍 1

Fri 5 Apr, 18:10

I agree with you Hannen.

John Dora
👍 2

Fri 5 Apr, 14:15

Hannen, I agree with you. Have you said this to your MP and to the party leaders? 

Hannen Beith
👍 4

Thu 4 Apr, 18:12 (last edited on Thu 4 Apr, 18:17)

What I find extraordinary (whether one is a "Leaver" or "Remainer") is that Downing Street has said it could not comment on a live investigation, but dismissed the idea of a pause: “The referendum was the largest democratic exercise in this country’s history and the PM is getting on with delivering its result.”

This against the backdrop of the corruption that has emerged and is yet to be fully investigated.

For example: The National Crime Agency is to investigate allegations of multiple criminal offences by Arron Banks and his unofficial leave campaign in the Brexit referendum, prompting calls from some MPs for the process of departing the European Union to be suspended.

And: The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has fined Vote Leave Limited £40,000 for sending out thousands of unsolicited text messages in the run up to the 2016 EU referendum.

To be fair, the alleged culprits are innocent until proved guilty (although Dame Denham (as she now is) has shown that she believes that there is sufficient guilt to  warrant a fine)).  

If true, these "inconsistencies" undermine our democracy.  My view is that they should be investigated and the whole Brexit process put on hold until we all know whether it was a fair contest.

Sorry Downing Street, but if you condone this "democratic exercise", when such serious allegations are in the air, then you clearly have no idea of what democracy is.  

In any event, the Referendum was always intended to be "advisory" and not binding - unless I have misinterpreted the Conservative Manifesto.

Happy to be corrected.  Please do not assume that I am for one side or the other.  I just want confirmation that I live in a fair and truly democratic society.  A fanciful and childish notion, I know.

Simon Hogg
👍 2

Sun 31 Mar, 20:04

Nobody seems to be happy about any of it. If that is the case, then the obvious thing is not to continue with any of it, in any shape or form, until anyone can possibly perhaps, with a good degree of doubt, or in fact certainty, make any sense of any of it, whatever 'it' may appear to be, or factually actually be.

Matthew Greenfield
👍 2

Fri 29 Mar, 21:13

Well,  I think this 2015 tweet from a local (ex) politician has aged quite well:

"Britain faces a simple and inescapable choice - stability and strong Government with me, or chaos with Ed Miliband"  (David Cameron, May 4, 2015)

Tony Morgan
👍 4

Fri 29 Mar, 09:52 (last edited on Fri 29 Mar, 11:29)

Germany & France encouraged Greece to join despite knowing they would not be able to meet the rules because it expanded their captive market for exports. They then encouraged Greece to join the euro despite warnings that linking disparate economies in a single currency would cause problems, one thing that Gordon Brown did get right

When the inevitable happened the Greek people were punished whilst the European gravy train of excessive salaries & gold plated pensions carried on

Italy's recent budget broke EU rules but unlike Greece they are too big to punish, & now Italy is accepting Chinese money to prop up its failing bank system against EU wishes

France also broke EU financial rules in its abortive attempt to buy off the rioters, but Macron is more concerned about making it as difficult as possible for the UK to leave, to disuade others, rather than applying EU rules

Hungary & others are breaking the free movement of people rule with impunity despite this being one of the 4 pillars of the EU system

As a reluctant remainer I am not at all surprised that the majority voted to leave this flawed institution & that the ones I've spoken to are more determined rather than less

The point when I realised what the EU's motives were was just after the vote when they announced that they would not talk about a trade deal until after we had completed the withdrawal agreement & left.There was no reason not to start trade discussions alongside the withdrawal agreement, which might well have avoided the back stop, except a desire on the EU's part to punish us for leaving

The leaving penalty of 36 billion has dubious support in law and does not allow any contra for the 20% of EU assets that we have paid for and therefore own

It is like a wife in a divorce case insisting that the husband agrees & pays a financial settlement before any discussion of access to the children

Katie Russell
👍 4

Thu 28 Mar, 19:32

Tony, Greece should never have been allowed to join the EC in the first place as they did not fully meet the requirements and have obviously suffered as a consequence. It's not that I want to dismiss the opinions of Leavers and if there is still a majority to leave, then Leave will win again, but whichever opinion you hold, the facts are much much clearer now than they were 3 years ago and we should have a chance to vote on reality not broken promises. 

Tony Morgan
👍 5

Thu 28 Mar, 14:33

I fully agree with Ali Ross's statement below 

The truly democratic option is to embrace the 2016 vote and fight for the least damaging Brexit possible, then to campaign for re-entry to the EU at the earliest opportunity if the majority wants this

I was a 'reluctant' remainer at the referendum because I believe in free trade & movement but not the direction the EU has adopted

The Greek economy has been destroyed by the single currency straight jacket 

Italy is in recession & its banks close to insolvent

Greece, Spain & Italy have unemployment rates above 10% compared to 4% in the UK

Greece, Italy & Spain have youth unemployment rates above 30% compared to 12% in the UK

The UK's growth rate is higher than Germany, France & Italy

The people's vote march at the weekend passed without trouble unlike France where there have been months of violent riots with the army mobilised

Maybe the EU is not the Nirvana suggested by the remainers & the UK is not in as bad an economic state as portrayed!

I acknowledge that the leaders of the leave campaign lied, but the remainers project fear that predicted economic collapse within weeks of a leave vote has also patently been proved false

Maybe the remainers should be a bit less dismissive of the majority who voted to leave & from the limited number I've spoken to have not changed their mind

 

Alan Wilson
👍 2

Wed 27 Mar, 16:12

I have thought for several months that another referendum would be a sensible way forward, provided that two major problems could be overcome.  The first was that the "people's vote" seemed to be being pushed almost entirely by people who were desperate to stop Brexit and pretended that the vote would solve the problem, while being completely unable to say what they would actually do if the result of the vote was another defeat.  I don't think you can say it would sort out the mess we are in if one of the results leaves us just as badly stuck as we are now!

The second problem is simply the difficulty of framing the question(s) sensibly.  If the choice is whether or not to accept leaving with a particular deal, then is the alternative not leaving or leaving without a deal?  I don't think you can assume that those who don't want a deal have only one of these alternatives in mind.  So I see no honest way to avoid either a relatively complicated question ranking more than two possibilities, or to have more than one question, eg 1) "Do you want to leave or not?" 2) "If we leave, would you prefer to leave with this deal or without a deal?"  As far as I can understand it, to the extent that it addresses this issue at all, the referendum amendment that Parliament is voting on today cheats on this by simply assuming that if you vote against whatever deal has been negotiated then you are voting in favour of staying in.

Alice Brander
👍 5

Wed 27 Mar, 15:56

I'm reading the Tim Shipman book 'All Out War' on the process of the campaign to influence a population to vote one way or another.  "Dominic Cummings, had decreed from the beginning that Vote Leave should never be pinned down to one trade model, because no two Eurosceptics could agree on the issue, and the public did not understand it.  He had told Vote Leave staff; 'No one knows what the single market is.  The MPs don't know!  No one knows! No one will know what it is by the end of this campaign.  Period.'  

So after an amoral campaign which avoided identifying what type of Brexit we were to have, the discussion on the validity of the process seems over.   We now need an informed debate about the choices and trade-offs ahead of us.  Mark has written to Mr Courts asking him to lead on the debate.  E.g. Agriculture - will we have to adopt US food standards as a part of a deal with the US?  Are we hoping to reduce food tariffs to get lots of cheap food from around the world?  Do the farmers know?    Services - currently enjoying global reach - will they be subject to tariffs and restrictions as a consequence of trade deals with other service dependant economies?  Local car industries - being on an island makes them expensive, will introducing friction make them move?  The last car plant in Australia closed 2 years ago.  Is the plan to reduce corporate taxation to encourage foreign investment and transfer the cost of the welfare state to businesses and individuals?    There is so much to discuss now for the part 2 discussion - 'what relationship do we want with other countries now we have left the EU'?  

In this household we are committed to the free movement of labour.  Young British people face losing their long-term rights to freely work across a continent.  Will future trade deals accept free movement of labour?

Charlie M
👍 1

Wed 27 Mar, 15:26 (last edited on Wed 27 Mar, 15:27)

Rod - I agree with you totally. I was taken in by the ERG propaganda - now shown to have been a monstrous falsehood - concerning the extra money that would accrue to the NHS after Brexit. An article in a similar vein is here: 
https://www.thelondoneconomic.com/news/vote-leave-director-admits-won-lied-public/08/02/

My belief in a second referendum is based purely on my opinion that these falsehoods, coupled with the relatively small majority in favour of Brexit in the referendum, means that the referendum result did not constitute a mandate.
Incidentally I wrote on these points to our (ERG-supporting) MP, and in his reply to me he did not deign to comment on the matter of the aforementioned falsehoods. 
I have drawn my own conclusions on that; I invite you to draw yours ...

Rod Evans
👍 2

Wed 27 Mar, 14:21

The central question raised by the petition (now with nearly 6m signatures) is not whether we should leave or remain but whether there should be another vote on it.

Where no-one knew what leaving would actually mean in practice and probably less than a third of the adult population voted in favour of it, my question remains – how can it be undemocratic, once we do know what’s on offer, to put it to the people?  That’s not to ignore or betray the 17.4m, it’s actually to give everyone a much more informed choice and I cannot for the life of me see where the objection is to that.  No-one would be deprived of their vote!

Another referendum would probably also be close but so long as it was clear what we’d be voting on, I believe it could also ‘put to bed’ a lot of the current division and unpleasantness.  To draw an analogy, everyone would then have ‘had their day in court’ – and in my experience if people know they’ve been heard, or in this instance, that the process has been fair, they are more likely to accept an unfavourable outcome.  Conceivably if one of the leave options looks good, I might even vote for it – ok, unlikely but as of now, I’d just like to be asked. 

 As would – in response to Ali’s young leaver – all those young people who feel angry that they are about to be deprived of the future they expected because of such a flawed and corrupted process.

Mike Williams
👍 2

Wed 27 Mar, 13:38

While we're at it, here's another quote from David Davis published in the Harvard Business Review in May 1985. I wonder if we can draw any parallels?

"Project managers who believe that closing down a project will wreck their careers are tempted to carry on in the hope they will have a slight chance of saving their reputations. Both courses carry the risk of disaster for those responsible for a project, but one - abandonment - is often far better for the company."

https://hbr.org/1985/03/new-projects-beware-of-false-economies

Alan Wilson
👍 1

Wed 27 Mar, 13:35

I don't have a problem with arguments that a democracy can change its mind, or that it is reasonable to ask people every now and again whether they still feel the same way, as we do with General Elections.  It feels a bit weird, though, to see Liz arguing that leave voters should get used to the idea of not being heard because that is what happens in a first past the post system, when the fact is that they WERE first past the post on this issue.

Matthew Greenfield
👍 3

Wed 27 Mar, 13:11 (last edited on Wed 27 Mar, 22:27)

This quote from an old leaver (David Davis MP) puts it quite well:

"If a democracy cannot change its mind, it ceases to be a democracy."

Liz Leffman
👍 3

Wed 27 Mar, 12:30 (last edited on Wed 27 Mar, 12:49)

In elections in this country, we do not get our choices unless we happen to vote with the winning party. That's just what happens, and if young people (or anyone else) who voted leave feel that they are not being heard, well, get used to it, because that is what happens in a first past the post electoral system, and, as Richard says, if you vote for Greeks bearing gifts (classical reference, no slur intended) you may well be disappointed. Which is why we always have another opportunity to vote against the people who let us down. I have only ever seen my vote return the person that I voted for in Charlbury and then only in the local elections. It has never stopped me from voting though, and it never will.

What is wrong with another vote?  The demographics have changed since 2016.  A large number of young people (about 400,000) are now on the electoral register who didn't get a say in 2016, and the same number has gone. If people feel they have not been heard the first time around then SAY IT AGAIN. Or maybe change your mind. That's what we have to do every time we vote. And we will see what the outcome is now that we know that leaving is infinitely harder than people were led to believe and the sunny uplands are just the figment of an overactive imagination. And by the way, if Courts is now backing the deal, what does that say about it?!!

Rosemary Bennett
👍 2

Wed 27 Mar, 12:13 (last edited on Wed 27 Mar, 12:15)

Ali, I think that this case is different from, say, an election. Brexit was sprung upon us because of in-fighting within the Tory party. I don't disagree with most of your comments but I do think 'more unscrupulous than most' doesn't go far enough to describe the campaign tactics used by unscrupulous politicians, who were playing with the electorate as if they were puppets. What is not in doubt is whether the majority of voters voted to leave. What was so very wrong was that the referendum asked the wrong question, it was far too simplistic, and the 50/50 balance simply laughable, if it were not so tragic.

What never ceases to amaze me is that if I were in a court of law on trial for deceiving and lying to people for my own gain, I would be called out as a bad person, rightfully so, and given a penalty. If those lies and deceit were to lead to millions of people's lives being put into jeopardy, the penalty would be substantial, presumably. Now I see those Brexit liars and deceivers being chased up by the press and TV, as if they were major celebrities. I do not feel good about this as I now completely distrust those people, and have no respect whatsoever for the PM, who seems to me to be just as bad a liar as they are.

That's all folks!

Richard Fairhurst
(site admin)
👍

Wed 27 Mar, 12:04

Our MP Robert Courts has now rowed in behind Theresa May's deal: https://twitter.com/robertcourts/status/1110853088838148099

(Alan and Ali, I disagree but suspect we're never going to convince each other of this. If there's a lesson to be learned I'd say it's the usual one: don't vote for parties who promise something important to you then fail to deliver on it.)

Katie Russell
👍 1

Wed 27 Mar, 09:49

There is no independent assessment of the financial impact of Brexit that suggests the country will be better off after we leave. The younger generation are already the first to be poorer than their parents and Brexit will compound that. Aside from the insanity of the politics of all of this, why would we all want to be poorer and give our kids and grandkids a worse quality of life than we have? We already have an education system where schools can't stay open 5 days a week, a crisis in social care, the NHS at breaking point, record child poverty etc., and all of that will only get worse.

Alan Wilson
👍 3

Wed 27 Mar, 08:40

I did not find it simple to decide which way to vote in the referendum and I find it hard to decide what I think we should do now.  But I have no difficulty at all in deciding between the alternative views of what is "undemocratic" offered in recent posts here.  Yes, there are drawbacks in constituencies of different sizes, and in voters whose vote will never matter in a first past the post system.  But these are transparent features of the system we have that we have known about and lived with for years.  That is quite different from giving the impression that peoples' votes only seem to count if they vote the "right" way.  If the latter is the case, it implies that we don't have democracy at all but we simply want to give people the impression that we do (and have probably been hoping that we would never have to admit that that wasn't really the case).

Ali Ross
👍 2

Tue 26 Mar, 21:46

Richard, going back on a promise from the government to implement the choice of a majority in a record turnout is more than ‘moderately’ undemocratic; more than a 3 on a democratic scale.

The motivation for the vote, the distortions of the campaign, and the difficulties of delivering have no bearing on the obligation.

The shortcomings of our electoral system in general have no greater weight here than they do on any election and I don’t see their relevance here.

Rosemary, nobody ever knows the future when they go to vote, and every political campaign is an attempt to wrangle the facts into a supporting argument. The leave campaign was more unscrupulous than most, but the complacency and cheap scaremongering of the remain campaign gives us nothing to be proud of.

The motivations of politicians are obscure, but I’m sure that the dividing line between honest and venal doesn’t coincide with whether or not they want to leave the European Union.

This tweet from a young leaver puts it quite well:

“I've never felt I matter so little in my entire life as I do right now. I have no voice and no say. My vote is worthless. All it means is that I was wrong, I'm uneducated and I'm racist. My country has turned into something I am fearful of now.“

Rosemary Bennett
👍 2

Tue 26 Mar, 19:36

Another fundamental truth is that nobody, just nobody, knew what Brexit meant at the time of the referendum. Nobody knew because it wasn't supposed to happen like that, as evidenced by the 000% plan for exiting. Nobody knows, even now, what it really means, so how on earth could we have known anything them. People were duped by lies, that's a fundamental truth. Those (ghastly) politicians who ponced around, lying and deceiving, now changing their minds because it suits their political agenda, who do you think they are really interested in?

Hannen Beith
👍 1

Tue 26 Mar, 19:33

I agree with Eleanor, Richard, and Alice. It's so sad that we now have these divisions, and in my experience, having worked at the Surrey Fire Brigade HQ in the 1980s after the Firemen's strike, I know first hand that grudges can last for decades.

Alice, I too voted to join the "Common Market" in 1975. Heath promised us a Golden Age of cheap food and prosperity.  I don't know of others' experiences but I soon realised that I had been lied to, and that Referendum betrayed many Commonwealth countries, in particular New Zealand, from whom we imported a good proportion of our food.  

The Common Market institution then morphed (over decades) into the EEC -  a very different institution with huge powers we never envisaged in 1975.  I suspect it is that growth in power which influenced many voters.  Understandable.

Ultimately, I am with Eleanor.  It's just so sad.  Three weeks ago I saw David Cameron strolling down Chipping Norton High Street, looking as though he hadn't a care in the world. 

Richard Fairhurst
(site admin)
👍 4

Tue 26 Mar, 18:46 (last edited on Tue 26 Mar, 18:48)

I do have a little bit of sympathy for that argument – yes, it would be mildly undemocratic to offer the people a vote on something, promise that "the Government will implement your choice", and then not do so.

I say “mildly” for several reasons. If the question had to be asked at all (which, outside the fevered confines of the Conservative Party, it didn't), it shouldn't have been a glib, binary choice for such a nuanced issue. If “the Government” promised something, that Government should have at least stuck around to implement it, rather than calling an unnecessary (but, as it turned out, fairly hilarious) election for a new Government. And most of all, if the referendum had asked the question “Do you want to be served caviar by unicorns?” and 52% of people voted yes, we wouldn't freeze up all Government for the next n years until we had found some unicorns willing to serve caviar to everyone, including the people who don’t like caviar.

But on the British 0-10 scale of “undemocratic”, this merits about a 2, a 3 at best. The fact that a voter in Orkney & Shetland has three times the say in Westminster of one on the Isle of Wight (33,000 electors for one MP, vs 105,000)? That’s undemocratic. The fact that a voter in Buckingham has no say at all? That’s undemocratic. The fact that half of Northern Ireland is without representation because their views on the Queen have been deemed unacceptable? That’s undemocratic.

The fact that a conservative in an urban area, or a progressive in a rural area, will never have a vote that can in any way change the Government? That's undemocratic. And then there’s the House of Lords…

I do see the point. But it seems like just one more detail on the wider topic of people lacking agency over the own lives – not something unprecedented or fundamental. If we're talking about what's undemocratic, let’s sort the fixable stuff out before we get onto the caviar-serving unicorns.

(personal opinions only, etc. etc.)

Ali Ross
👍 2

Tue 26 Mar, 18:37 (last edited on Tue 26 Mar, 18:43)

It's interesting to see the arguments for and against Brexit played out on this site (not to mention the minor miracle that it has not be consigned to the grease pit). The to and fro here reflects the divisions in the country at large, albeit with a more pro-EU bias. People on both sides have given deep thought to the issues, and many have expressed their honest views without spin, despite the emotion the topic throws up.

However, I've yet to see proper recognition for one key fact: setting aside what people think they have discovered or understood since, the 2016 referendum was observed in good faith by a record turnout, and the majority rejected remaining in the EU. 

This is the fundamental democratic truth behind this issue, and no amount of post-hoc rationalisation can change it. It follows that, if we end up remaining, it will be in defiance of millions who turned out in 2016. If this sounds puritanical to you, look at it from the point of view of those on the other side. If you believe, as many did and do, that leaving the EU sets Britain up for a brighter future and restores self-determination to its citizens, then being told your voice doesn't count because you're wrong would be infuriating to say the least. 

Seeing a transparent democratic process overturned by the losing side would shatter your faith in your compatriots and your politicians, and understandably so.

If we go ahead and engineer a reversal, no matter the post-hoc arguments we rally in our cause, there will be a cost. Despite the worst threats of some leavers, it probably won't be a tide of blood on the streets, although scuffles, abuse and damage to public property do seem likely. Instead, we'll see this country's commitment to democratic principles diluted. 

In practical terms this would mean a rise in populism, a rise in xenophobic acts and xenophobic politics, a rise in apathy and a general sense of disorientation as the country tries to figure out what it stands for if not for majority rule. Who would win a subsequent election? How different would the political landscape look from what we're familiar with, and what parties, old or new, would find a place in that landscape? It's impossible to say, but there would be many on the extremes keen to give voice to national frustration.

It's fine to campaign for a people's vote and/or revocation of article 50. We could do this and still respect the 2016 referendum by removing the option to remain. If we want to campaign to stay in the EU, that's fine too, but we shouldn't pretend we're not tearing up all the votes cast on the leave side in 2016, under the noses of the people who cast them. We should be honest about that. 

The truly democratic option is to embrace the 2016 vote and fight for the least damaging Brexit possible, then to campaign for re-entry to the EU at the earliest opportunity. If the wave of leavers who've changed their minds materialises, that shouldn't be too challenging a fight. I realise this is simply unacceptable to many remainers, but it's what principle demands in my view. 

Alice Brander
👍 1

Mon 25 Mar, 18:04

At the risk of sounding like a parrot, it would be a third referendum not a second.  67% voted to remain in 1975 myself included.  52% voted to leave in 2016 when the will of the people as expressed in 1975 was overturned.  How lovely it would be to live in a country where politics was consensual, where people were heard, a democracy maybe.  Clearly the petition is going to be ignored.  As is the biggest march the country has ever had.  The question for me is why should I follow the country over a cliff edge.  What is the benefit to Charbury of being outside the world's largest trading group?  Anybody know? 

Matthew Greenfield
👍 2

Mon 25 Mar, 17:54 (last edited on Mon 25 Mar, 22:35)

God, what an awful mess! Whose idea was it to call this referendum?

Rod Evans
👍 9

Mon 25 Mar, 15:41

Some simple facts:

No-one in June 2016 knew what our future relationship with the EU would be if we voted to leave or what trading arrangements we’d have with the rest of the world. 

17.4m voted to leave, 16.1m voted to remain – leaving 13m registered voters who didn’t vote.  So clearly a majority of the British people did not vote to leave – by my calculation the 17.4m comes to about 37% of those registered and would be even less if the unregistered were included.

The electorate will have changed significantly over the last 3 years.

 There will of course be different views about this but another referendum would not be a ‘second bite at the cherry’ simply because it would not be the same cherry even if – absurdly – with 4 days to go we don’t know what sort of cherry it would be!  But how in these circumstances would it be undemocratic or ‘betraying the will of the people’ to ask us if what the government or parliament now wants is what we want?

Leavers – if you’re so sure leaving is what the majority want, what pray are you afraid of?

Personally, I’m still a remainer not because the EU is a perfect set of institutions, far from it, but because imho it continues to offer my children (and theirs if and when!) the best prospect of continuing peace, security, prosperity, opportunities and protection for the environment and human rights.  We already enjoyed a privileged position within it and I cannot for the life of me see how we’d be better off going it alone or being in hock to it but unable to participate in its decisions. 

I would though like to add my voice to Eleanor's and others regretting the deep divisions this has opened up and the sometimes vitriolic tone of the debate.  I was lucky enough to go to the 2012 Olympics a couple of times and felt so proud to be a citizen of such an apparently welcoming and inclusive country - even Londoners began to talk to each other! Can we ever recover that or was I deluded?

Huw Mallins-Brown
👍 1

Sun 24 Mar, 20:21 (last edited on Sun 24 Mar, 20:22)

Alex,

Michael’s  second paragraph explains his reasoning. I don’t agree with him, but his argument is sound.

Alex Flynn
👍 1

Sun 24 Mar, 14:57 (last edited on Sun 24 Mar, 14:58)

Michael Flannigan wrote at 8.50 am today "It really is time Leavers produced an argument they believe in. Because they clearly don't believe "Leave Means Leave""

Forgive me if I am wrong but I don't remember having to have a compelling argument either way being on the ballot paper. 

What do you mean "Because they clearly don't believe "Leave Means Leave"? 

Alex Flynn
👍

Sun 24 Mar, 14:38 (last edited on Sun 24 Mar, 14:45)

Let's keep going until remainers get to put their toys back in the pram and get the result they want. Best of 3 perhaps? On and on and on until we all die of boredom with the whole darn thing! Oh sorry...too late most people with lives already have! :) Or was that May's plan?

"Democracy" will never EVER recover from this! 

Don't come back Dave Cameron . I am still not missing you! 

Hans Eriksson
👍 5

Sun 24 Mar, 12:01 (last edited on Mon 8 Apr, 22:09)

del

Simon Himmens-Warrick
👍 2

Sun 24 Mar, 11:10

Almost 5 million now. Reaching out to anyone who doesn't use social media much.. 

Alice Brander
👍 3

Sun 24 Mar, 10:13

If we lived in a democracy,  UKIP and the far left would have been represented in parliament.  We would have to be governed by consensus and coalition.  Less efficient than our first past the post elective oligarchy, but more inclusive.  More like our elected representatives in the European Parliament.  The reasons given by our elected class for not having proportional representation and for refusing to allow it to exist (except in devolved governments) is that populations can make decisions that are not in the interests of whole and that our elected representatives make better decisions.  It's a pity we don't live in a democracy.  I voted to stay in the EU in 1975 in the interests of peace, cooperation and shared prosperity and I have had 40 years of benefit from that decision.  I am so sorry young people that you will be denied the opportunities that I had.

Eleanor Draycott
👍 5

Sun 24 Mar, 09:18 (last edited on Sun 24 Mar, 09:21)

What I try to, and still don’t understand is the level of vitriol and bile that has been either generated by the Referendum and its outcome or, more sadly, been revealed by it. 

Yesterday on Twitter, I saw a now-retired but much respected professional connection of mine post a very levelled, facts based, neutral tweet about remaining within the EU. Within minutes, complete strangers had responded rebutting her comments but also insulting her, calling her a ‘dog’ and commenting on her teeth. None of which, last time I checked, have anything to do with leaving Europe, freedom of movement, markets etc. When this seething group is antagonised, it escalates to abuse and death threats to people in Parliament and beyond. You can say ‘Remoaners’ with a smile, and I have no problem with that, but surely it’s simply more name-calling, more spats with people who have differing opinions to yours, more intolerance. And I don’t know where this ends.  

All of this anger, and resentment, and violence, stirred up by a decision made to appease some UKIPers. I don’t know what the answer is but I wish we had a strong enough ruling party, and a strong enough opposition to drive us in a moderate, and informed direction. In my opinion, I’m not sure we do. 

Jon Carpenter
(site admin)
👍 3

Sun 24 Mar, 08:56

Well said, Mike and others.

Signatures: 4,852,466 at 8.50 this morning.

Michael Flanagan
👍 6

Sun 24 Mar, 08:50

It really is time Leavers produced an argument they believe in. Because they clearly don't believe "Leave Means Leave"

The government deputed negotiations to avowed Leavers, who've agreed a deal with our largest trading partner. Remainers don't like it - but the vitriol against it is coming from the Leave camp, who keep telling us it isn't the deal they'd like to see.

But the nation - or at least the third of the voting population who voted Leave - didn't vote for "light touch regulation", an "end to vassalage", a "departure without a deal"or any of the other slogans Leave have invented to pretend the voters wanted rule by Etonians like Johnson or Rees-Mogg.

They simply said Leave: the government's followed their instructions and arch-Leaver Fox has recommended a deal . Since it's the Leave camp leading the campaign against its own creation, the rest of us are entitled to conclude they really don't want us to Leave: they want us to Leave only if it's on their terms.

So we're entitled to say: Put the deal to the people, not to a bunch of duplicit Etonians who clearly say one thing and mean something else.

stephen cavell
👍 4

Sun 24 Mar, 08:26

The referendum was based an misinformation, disinformation and some untruths. For some/many of us, now we have a good deal more accurate information we would like an opportunity to re-express our opinion.

Alex Flynn
👍

Sat 23 Mar, 20:10 (last edited on Sat 23 Mar, 20:10)

I can’t help myself Richard! It’s said with a grin :)

Richard Fairhurst
(site admin)
👍 2

Sat 23 Mar, 20:05

I’ll have £4m from you then please Alex :)

(More seriously… I’m keeping a wary eye on this thread lest it become Grease Pit material, but if we could refrain from using insults like ‘Remoaners’ that would be better. Thank you.)

Alex Flynn
👍 2

Sat 23 Mar, 20:03 (last edited on Sat 23 Mar, 20:05)

Remoaners....4m is nothing in the grand scheme of things!

Leave means leave believe it or not - not leave by your own chosen definition to suit your own ends!

Hannen Beith
👍

Sat 23 Mar, 18:24

Having said all that (!) I do think that there must be a question mark over the validity of the Referendum result now that it has been proved that dodgy money was behind the Leave campaign.

Hannen Beith
👍

Sat 23 Mar, 18:21

Helen,

I think that your opinions are fine, but as a lawyer I think you will find that if the Executive is elected (as this one was) on the promise of a Referendum, it is bound to deliver such and in turn, is bound by the result.

I think that is what Theresa is saying in perhaps a clumsy way.  

A Referendum is not the same as an Opinion Poll, in these circumstances.  The Government, of whatever hue, has a duty to honour, and implement the result.  Even though many don't like it.  So I gather.

Be careful what you wish for!

Helen Wilkinson
👍 3

Sat 23 Mar, 17:47 (last edited on Sat 23 Mar, 17:50)

This will head for the Grease Pit but....

There is no clear consensus on the issue - in government, the two main political parties, Parliament, or the country or perhaps even Charlbury (although Wext Oxfordshire did vote Remain)- that is the problem. It will be interesting to see what the result of any indicative votes in the Commons are next week.

The referendum in 2016 was a snapshot of public opinion 3 years ago. Referendums are not binding on governments in the UK. In my opinion the vote should be held again, now it is clearer what leaving the EU will actually mean for the UK.

The electorate is not static - who is to say that a vote held in 2016 has validity over a vote held in 1975 - or one in 2019?

Hannen Beith
👍

Sat 23 Mar, 17:41

We are told that we live in a democracy.  With the present Government made up entirely of multi-millionaires (or married to them) my own view is that we now live in a plutocracy.

Whatever, the Executive have the power to put certain decisions to the eligible population by way of a Referendum.  The result of which is binding on the legislature.  Whether you like the result or not.

Our previous MP (the then PM) was either blissfully unaware of Constitutional Law, or badly advised, or made assumptions.  Or a mixture of all three, in differing proportions.

We are where we are.  

I have no doubt that the citizens of Charlbury will adapt and thrive.

Graham Wisker
👍 4

Sat 23 Mar, 17:15

The decision has already been made, I thought that's what a democracy was!!!

Chris J
👍 4

Sat 23 Mar, 13:38 (last edited on Sat 23 Mar, 13:39)

In the interest of balance...

https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/229963

Helen Wilkinson
👍

Sat 23 Mar, 13:32

Just a reminder you need to click on the email you get when you sign the petition to verify your signing. My email took a while to come through and then went into my junk folder - please sign and verify!

Diana Limburg
👍 5

Sat 23 Mar, 11:27

Thanks for sharing this here Jon. The petition is now the biggest government petition ever, having past the previous record. If you've not signed yet: please do. If you have: keep sharing and encouraging others to sign! https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/241584

Jon Carpenter
(site admin)
👍 5

Sat 23 Mar, 10:10 (last edited on Sat 23 Mar, 11:06)

... and 12% of the total Witney constituency electorate. (It will be more in Charlbury!)

https://www.livefrombrexit.com/petitions/241584?fbclid=IwAR0vltUD5xJ2PT4ZZSlu_PLvMOiV4mlSpCJQJKXstLGugAKrLLabHVD9-Eo

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