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So what about this Brexit thing?


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#1 MSheridan

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Posted 14 June 2016 - 05:29 PM

I feel as if we may have been a bit parochial lately. Granted, our politics are still the most interesting politics in the world (train wrecks are "interesting", right?), but we could at least glance across The Pond now and again.

There's a piece in Bloomberg at the moment that may repay a reading:

The U.K. Is Divided About Much More Than Europe

Excerpt:

Quote

With 10 days before the vote, the campaign to leave the EU has closed the gap and is even leading in some polls. Bookmakers have shortened their odds for a so-called Brexit. On Tuesday, the Bank of England starts a series of special monetary measures in the hopes of keeping markets calm before the vote.

[snip]

Maybe because I am an American who also has a vote in the U.K. referendum, I find the parallels with the U.S. election campaigns striking. Both Trump (#MakeAmericaGreatAgain) and the Vote Leave campaign (#takebackcontrol) speak to visceral fears of change and uncertainty and the experience of loss. Both finger external scapegoats and posit that controlling immigration will enhance well-being.

In Britain, as in the U.S., that case falls apart on inspection. A study out last week from the think tank Breugel notes that net immigration has added less than half of one percent to Britain’s population between 2008 and 2014. Most foreigners arriving in Britain are between 20 and 30 years old and 76 percent of them find work, with Britain’s unemployment rate at its lowest in four decades.

What makes the forecasted “leave” vote so dramatic is that nearly every official body, national and international, has lined up the other way. Britain’s political parties (with the exception of the anti-immigrant UKIP party) and the country’s trade unions (which opposed remaining in Europe in Britain’s 1975 referendum) have backed remaining in the EU. Large businesses, small businesses and the scientific and tech communities all broadly want to remain in Europe. Former NATO chiefs, the U.S. president and other world leaders have also pleaded with Brits to stick around.

So, Bikkies, what's your take on all this?

#2 Bact PhD

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Posted 14 June 2016 - 05:37 PM

I'm interested in hearing from Rich, too, on this.

Until then, something for consideration by the assembly:

http://www.theguardi...mmer-blow-peace

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#3 AnBr

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Posted 14 June 2016 - 06:13 PM

We don't discuss British politics here much, but I do regularly get it in my FB feed as I have a number if British FB friends. I have little to contribute to those threads except to note similarities with certain events here. Oligarchs and nativists are much the same regardless of nationality.
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#4 Rich T Bikkies

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Posted 15 June 2016 - 03:10 AM

I feel daunted by this huge subject. I'll collect some thoughts and try to assemble a coherent post of four or five paragraphs. More detail later, and support for my hitherto unsupported assertions, as and when. At this point all I'll say is this:

This is bloody important.

It would be disastrous for the UK to leave the European Union.

However many good reasons on paper you can find for leaving, the sheer magnitude and number of things we'd have to do to get out, and the years and years it would take, would cause the rest of political life to grind to a halt.

We would piss off twenty-seven countries in the EU and then turn round and expect them to make new independent trade deals with us.

We would piss off the USA, who regards us as a very useful independent English-speaking channel of communication with the twenty-seven countries.

I'd better stop now – tons more, and I've got stuff to do this morning – but I'll add that if you just look at who the prominent politicians, businessmen, media execs etc. are who are supporting Brexit, and guess their (pretty obvious) motives, you don't even have to look at the issues. They're a bunch of crooks, politicians on the make and mad swivel-eyed loons. Every prominent person who keeps Britain running, as distinct from running Britain, says “For God's sake, we must stay in”.

That was my attempt at a coherent summary of four of five paragraphs, off the top of my head. Did I mention that there's much, much more?
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#5 AnBr

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Posted 15 June 2016 - 02:15 PM

Posted Image
Pray for Trump: Psalm 109:8

"Science is more than a body of knowledge; it is a way of thinking. I have a foreboding of an America in my children's or grandchildren's time - when the United States is a service and information economy; when nearly all the key manufacturing industries have slipped away to other countries; when awesome technological powers arc in the hands of a very few, and no one representing the public interest can even grasp the issues; when the people have lost the ability to set their own agendas or knowledgeably question those in authority; when, clutching our crystals and nervously consulting our horoscopes, our critical faculties in decline, unable to distinguish between what feels good and what's true, we slide, almost without noticing, back into superstition and darkness.

— Carl Sagan
The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark
1995


“As democracy is perfected, the office of president represents, more and more closely, the inner soul of the people. On some great and glorious day the plain folks of the land will reach their heart's desire at last and the White House will be adorned by a downright moron.”

— H.L. Mencken
On Politics: A Carnival of Buncombe


“The test of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much; it is whether we provide enough for those who have too little.”

— Franklin Delano Roosevelt
Second inaugural address January, 1937

#6 AnBr

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Posted 15 June 2016 - 02:29 PM

Posted Image
Pray for Trump: Psalm 109:8

"Science is more than a body of knowledge; it is a way of thinking. I have a foreboding of an America in my children's or grandchildren's time - when the United States is a service and information economy; when nearly all the key manufacturing industries have slipped away to other countries; when awesome technological powers arc in the hands of a very few, and no one representing the public interest can even grasp the issues; when the people have lost the ability to set their own agendas or knowledgeably question those in authority; when, clutching our crystals and nervously consulting our horoscopes, our critical faculties in decline, unable to distinguish between what feels good and what's true, we slide, almost without noticing, back into superstition and darkness.

— Carl Sagan
The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark
1995


“As democracy is perfected, the office of president represents, more and more closely, the inner soul of the people. On some great and glorious day the plain folks of the land will reach their heart's desire at last and the White House will be adorned by a downright moron.”

— H.L. Mencken
On Politics: A Carnival of Buncombe


“The test of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much; it is whether we provide enough for those who have too little.”

— Franklin Delano Roosevelt
Second inaugural address January, 1937

#7 indy

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Posted 16 June 2016 - 06:59 AM

The EU was a mistake but the UK leaving it will be a bigger one.

#8 Traveler

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Posted 16 June 2016 - 07:31 AM

Interesting perspective Indy. Can you elaborate why the EU was a mistake, outside of the obvious currency/fiscal divide issues? Which do not apply to the UK. Seems like a free trade and transport and travel zone would be a good idea.
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#9 indy

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Posted 16 June 2016 - 07:58 AM

To clarify, I don't think the UK joining the EU was a mistake because the benefits were always going flow uphill to the better economies like the UK and Germany. In particular the benefits to the UK financial industry were tremendous as were the benefits to German manufacturing and exports.

In general I think the EU was a mistake in the sense that OVERALL the costs outweighed the benefits.

Now, the shock to leave will be significant. I really don't think most there realize how big it will be or they wouldn't (according to most of the polls now) be on that course.

#10 Traveler

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Posted 16 June 2016 - 08:07 AM

So what were the overall costs that were so bad? I would have thought free trade etc would have helped...

Not quibbling, just seeking wisdom.
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#11 Sinan

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Posted 16 June 2016 - 08:15 AM

I have a UK buddy that supports Brexit but his posts on FB sound more and more like a Trump supporters posts.
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#12 indy

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Posted 16 June 2016 - 08:38 AM

View PostTraveler, on 16 June 2016 - 08:07 AM, said:

So what were the overall costs that were so bad? I would have thought free trade etc would have helped...

Not quibbling, just seeking wisdom.

Mostly because I think that private debt across the EU, cheaply financed by the richer countries, has outpaced the potential of the economies to grow to meet the load. One day there will probably be a reckoning.

#13 Traveler

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Posted 16 June 2016 - 08:44 AM

That makes sense. But I have never heard that mentioned till now.
"Men occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of them pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing had happened."-- Winston Churchill
"Anyone who has the power to make you believe absurdities has the power to make you commit injustices" Voltaire

#14 indy

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Posted 16 June 2016 - 08:45 AM

Labour MP was shot by a man apparently yelling 'Britain First!'.

http://www.bbc.com/n...ngland-36550304

#15 Rich T Bikkies

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Posted 16 June 2016 - 08:54 AM

View PostSinan, on 16 June 2016 - 08:15 AM, said:

I have a UK buddy that supports Brexit but his posts on FB sound more and more like a Trump supporters posts.


Yep. That's the big complaint, too, about the most prominent politicians supporting Brexit. Boris Johnson and Nigel Farage are the grossest examples. Try and imagine two English Trumps who have had proper jobs before politics (Johnson a political journalist, Farage a commodity broker . . . well, jobs, at any rate) and who have the lowest level of social graces and skills that could possibly be described as acceptable in a public figure, but with an urge to self-promotion and zero acquaintance with truth. They may seem mild to you Yanks because we British have a lower tolerance of motormouths and they can wrap it up if necessary.

The headbanging rightwingers are hoping to ride on Brexit out of the European Convention on Human Rights and the European Court, both of which were set up just after the World War II and years before the European Common Market and its successors leading to the present European Union. Set up, that is, by the victors: that is, by us, and a lot of the ideas came from Britain. We in the UK have no written constitution, and many of the human rights provisions, health and safety laws, etc., that we now have were enacted as a response to European Court decisions.

The extreme conservatives want to marketise and monetise everything they can, ditching all forms of public provision and anything rooted in any concept of the Common Good. They see Brexit as a Heaven-sent opportunity to junk all this bleeding-heart do-gooding liberal stuff.
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#16 Traveler

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Posted 16 June 2016 - 09:01 AM

Well, that explains it!
"Men occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of them pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing had happened."-- Winston Churchill
"Anyone who has the power to make you believe absurdities has the power to make you commit injustices" Voltaire

#17 Rich T Bikkies

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Posted 16 June 2016 - 09:05 AM

View PostTraveler, on 16 June 2016 - 09:01 AM, said:

Well, that explains it!

Of course, I'm speaking as a Decayed Old British Liberal, and I was writing too fast for nuance. Though I've amazed myself this past couple of months with my increased fluency and cogency since I first started posting regularly here. (I haven't caught you guys up yet, but I can now see on the horizon the cloud of dust you kick up).
Reality is a hallucination caused by alcohol deprivation.

Only Satan can rebuke sin. The righteous don't know enough.

God is not dead. He was merely voted out of office.

You can do anything with anybody if you just save them the trouble of thinking.

#18 Traveler

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Posted 16 June 2016 - 09:17 AM

Oh you are right in the pack, sir. Appreciate the window into the UK.
"Men occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of them pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing had happened."-- Winston Churchill
"Anyone who has the power to make you believe absurdities has the power to make you commit injustices" Voltaire

#19 MSheridan

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Posted 16 June 2016 - 09:43 AM

What Traveler said.

#20 indy

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Posted 16 June 2016 - 10:59 AM

I wish we could rope in a few more perspectives from around the world.





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