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Jesus I despise Brexit.
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grufty jim
grufty jim
1978 posts

Edited Mar 14, 2019, 11:45
Re: Jesus I despise Brexit.
Mar 14, 2019, 11:25
The 'kitten' analogy is a good one. It highlights the absurdity of the situation. The obvious retort is "don't be stupid, people would never vote for that".

Which makes me think, "well they voted to dramatically increase the risk of sectarian violence in Ireland... the kitten thing is more obviously absurd of course, but is really that much more insane?"

It feels to me; three years on now that everyone knows a lot more about the downsides of brexit; it's surely a big enough decision to at least warrant double-checking. No?

That said -- and I guess this isn't a massively popular thing to say -- I'd rather the UK government just unilaterally cancelled the whole thing. I find the current fetishisation of "the will of the people" troubling. It's not sacrosanct and nor should it be. History is full of great evil done under the name of "the will of the people".

Which is not the same thing as saying "the will of the people" (whatever that is!) is irrelevant. It can't be ignored. But nor is it Divine Will. And when, collectively, we get a decision wrong, there's no moral obligation to abide by that decision. Especially if it's clearly destructive.

To side-step the absurdity of the kitten analogy, if 52% of a country votes to intern Muslim immigrants without trial, that does not make it a morally justifiable action. In fact, I would argue in that situation that the will of the people has become deeply malign and the moral choice in that situation is to oppose the will of the people.

So while people may never vote for kitten eradication, anyone feel confident that for example, the current Hungarian government given the political situation there, couldn't run a referendum campaign that would have such an outcome? Do people really think a nation has some kind of obligation to set up internment camps just because 52% of the people can be whipped into enough of a frenzy to vote for it on some random day?

Ironically Hungary couldn't do something like that as it is currently constrained by the European Union and its pesky Court of Justice and Human Rights legislation. But that's a whole other issue.

In my ideal scenario, there would be no new referendum. Instead Theresa May would simply declare brexit a clear danger to the interests of the United Kingdom and its neighbours. She would publicly acknowledge that a huge number of those who want to leave are misinformed on the issue, while another significant cohort are simply xenophobes. She would make it clear that the UK is a decent, modern nation and does not make major political changes based on misinformation, bigotry, and ignorance.

Therefore, she would announce (to the outrage of the gathered tabloid throng) that she had already sent legal notification to the EU rescinding Article 50. She would strongly urge the nation to engage in a serious, informed discussion about EU membership; the benefits and drawbacks; without the ticking clock of Article 50 making the whole situation hysterical. The debate should take place as much as possible outside the popular press and social media; there must be genuine attempts to educate rather than manipulate. The conversation should begin after the General Election (which she would call for the same day as the European election in a couple of months - giving the tories time to elect a new leader).

And the conversation should end in several years; not with a referendum, but with another General Election in which the parties set out their policy for European membership in their manifestos and would then enact those policies in the following parliament like any other major national decision.

In the meantime, while the UK works out what the hell it wants, the rest of Europe can try and salvage something from this mess... a sense of greater unity perhaps; a cautionary example of the dangerous road that populism can lead us down... while turning attention to arguably more important issues (such as Climate Change, the breakdown in global power-structures, and internal tensions within the EU).
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