The Result Won't Matter
June 6, 2016 3:29 AM   Subscribe

BBC: "Pro-Remain MPs are considering using their Commons majority to keep Britain inside the EU single market if there is a vote for Brexit, the BBC has learned. The MPs fear a post-Brexit government might negotiate a limited free trade deal with the EU, which they say would damage the UK's economy. There is a pro-Remain majority in the House of Commons of 454 MPs to 147. A Vote Leave campaign spokesman said MPs will not be able to "defy the will of the electorate" on key issues."
posted by marienbad (224 comments total) 18 users marked this as a favorite
 
Suddenly our shitty first-past-the-post electoral system makes sense.
posted by Brian Lux at 3:46 AM on June 6, 2016 [7 favorites]


And this is why referendums are profoundly un-British and wrong. Cameron and his party should have sorted their problems out internally without sucking us all into Tory civil wars and risking EU membership. We elect MPs to represent us for five years: we don't expect them to come mewling back to us when a problem gets too difficult in the hope of keeping their office. Can't get elected if you want to propose a policy that is bonkers? Tough shit. Don't foist it on us after you get elected.

Govern, or do not govern. There is no referending.
posted by alasdair at 3:47 AM on June 6, 2016 [72 favorites]


Nice to have a new Brexit thread! I've found the FT's poll tracker and Predictwise's aggregated odds tracker to be very handy.

At the time of writing, the FT's poll tracker has Stay on 45% and Leave on 43%, which has edged up lately due to a spate of pro-Leave polls in the past couple of weeks. When Obama made his speech last month, things were looking great for Remain, but that appears to have been a temporary effect. And unlike the Scottish referendum, I'm not clear if there'll be a comparable and convincing last-minute intervention like 'The Vow' from EU/world politicians... it's going to be close.
posted by adrianhon at 3:56 AM on June 6, 2016


it's going to be close.

I'm not so sure. People often tell pollsters one thing and then do the exact opposite when it comes time to vote.

Polls are just a chance to vent your frustrations knowing there are no consequences of doing so. When it comes to an actual vote - particularly one as important as this - the consequences are very real indeed, and people behave differently as a result. My bet is that Remain's "keep a hold of nurse" argument will triumph in the end for precisely that reason - and do so by a comfortable margin too.

Of course, I'm often wrong ...
posted by Paul Slade at 4:07 AM on June 6, 2016 [3 favorites]


I think everything from a fairly small Leave to a fairly strong Remain result is a good possibility, looking at the number of undecideds and the apparent tendency to break to the status quo in these sorts of referendums. But we'll see...
posted by howfar at 4:12 AM on June 6, 2016


Where I live, there are Vote Leave posters on every other lamp-post. I'm not sure how a lamp-post saying "Vote Leave" is going to get people to Vote Leave, because it makes no argument other than those two words, but they're there. I've not seen a single Vote Remain poster.

I live in Essex (which is depressingly as vocally anti-EU as possible), and Vote Leave stuff is pasted pretty much everywhere. And also, there's stalls full of vote leave leaflets and volunteers on every high street, seemingly.

And again of course no sign of Remain stuff anywhere. Maybe they've written Essex off as a hopeless cause, but it really does feel like there is an assumption they'll win overall, and win via the media, so street level campaigning and individual engagement with people isn't really needed. Which seems worryingly like the Labour strategy at the last election (that people will dislike the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats enough that they'll vote for Labour without Labour actually doing anything to court their vote).

And of course, the people who want us out of the EU really want us out of the EU. Whereas it seems the people who want to stay in the EU aren't quite so passionate about it (to the point perhaps of ambivalence).

The EU is a bit too bland and remote to truly love I suppose. But just bland enough and remote enough to be able to project a multitude of disgusts upon.

In conclusion, I currently am overcome with fear that leave will win.
posted by dng at 4:24 AM on June 6, 2016 [7 favorites]


I should probably also say that I've never been more depressed or felt more alienated by an election campaign in my life. It seems to be set out as an issue that's profoundly unconcerned about me or anyone I really know, and is actually just a private argument between two separate factions of the Conservative party over their right to rule.
posted by dng at 4:34 AM on June 6, 2016 [14 favorites]


Enough scaremongering on the ways in which the economics will impact on ordinary people. Let us talk instead about the complete and immediate end to democracy as we know it brought about by staying.
posted by vbfg at 4:35 AM on June 6, 2016


Well then, vote remain or get something you REALLY don't want - no access to tighter border controls, no stopping off supposed payments to the EU, and drastically reduced influence on the regulation and legislation that would still be binding for a UK that is part of the common market.

Remain makes more sense than ever.
posted by Dysk at 4:36 AM on June 6, 2016


It's down to the Undecideds, and I'd like to think that's a good thing. If you're emotionally committed to one side or the other, you'll have been there for a good long time now; if you're not, you're going to decide on what you can make of the 'facts' (good luck) - but the facts that are extant are that the UK has done very weil within the EU and economic opinion is thoroughly against Brexit.

You can also try to piece together what a post-Brexit UK would look like - again, good luck - and the various choices are full of contradiction. For example, the 'we must control immigration by strong borders and quotas' line is quoted alongside 'there will be no need for a border with Ireland',. Has to be one or the other, chaps. ("But Norway and Switzerland don't have borders with the EU and they're outside it" - yes, but they're in Shengen, which the UK isn't, even now. Does Leave want to join Shengen? No. So what's it to be?)

Interestingly, businesses which were anti-Scottish independence are now saying that post-Brexit, they'd support Scotland leaving the UK and joining the EU, so that'll be more fuel on that particular fire.

We have the opposite problem in Scotland to Essex. Scotland is so pro-Remain, there's not much campaigning going on - but every vote counts; it's a national referendum. A lot will depend on GOTV working in areas where it feels as if there's no point because the local mood is heavily one way or the other.
posted by Devonian at 4:39 AM on June 6, 2016 [3 favorites]


On a derail: dng, I've been meaning to tell you that quark really likes your dragon book. When he sits still for a photo (of him reading it) I shall send you photographic evidence.
posted by the quidnunc kid at 4:43 AM on June 6, 2016 [2 favorites]


As an engineer working for a company owned in German and with a supply chain all over Europe, I would very much prefer that we remain, thanks. The amount of paperwork when sending a rejected part back to Switzerland is just ridiculous.

Our parent company in Germany has issued a statement telling us that Europe is wonderful and they would prefer that Britain Remain, but that doesn't really mean much to anyone. Of the colleagues I've actually discussed the topic with, there's one remain, one undecided, and one who was strongly into leave (Turkish immigrants!!!) but seems to be drifting into undecided territory.
posted by YAMWAK at 4:50 AM on June 6, 2016


For example, the 'we must control immigration by strong borders and quotas' line is quoted alongside 'there will be no need for a border with Ireland',. Has to be one or the other, chaps. ("But Norway and Switzerland don't have borders with the EU and they're outside it" - yes, but they're in Shengen, which the UK isn't, even now. Does Leave want to join Shengen? No. So what's it to be?)

Schengen's got bugger all to do with it. Ireland, like the UK isn't part of the Schengen area. And there's been a permeable border between UK and Ireland for a lot longer than the EU/EC have existed.
posted by veedubya at 4:58 AM on June 6, 2016 [2 favorites]


Schengen's got bugger all to do with it. Ireland, like the UK isn't part of the Schengen area. And there's been a permeable border between UK and Ireland for a lot longer than the EU/EC have existed.

Things change. I would have said the same thing about Denmark & Sweden - and looks what has happened in recent months.
posted by kariebookish at 5:02 AM on June 6, 2016


It's already probably the most tightly controlled border in Europe.
posted by veedubya at 5:06 AM on June 6, 2016


We have the opposite problem in Scotland to Essex. Scotland is so pro-Remain, there's not much campaigning going on - but every vote counts; it's a national referendum

Scotland's pro-EU campaign have produced "The wee bleu book" (the name derives from its pro-Yes ancestor from back in 2014). Its an interesting read. Up here our ratio of MSPs is 106 to 8 in favour of remain. Debate about what happens if Scotland gets forced out of the EU against its will - or, on longer odds, proves to be the decisive factor keeping the UK in - has been going on for a while.
posted by rongorongo at 5:14 AM on June 6, 2016 [1 favorite]


I've been looking for signs that the Remain campaign (or parts of it) is deliberately taking a dive. This "fuck you, voters" statement sure looks like one.
posted by Zonker at 5:14 AM on June 6, 2016


For me, one of the attractive things about Leave are the constitutional dynamics. I would like to see the breakup of the United Kingdom, the independence of Wales, Scotland, and England, and the reunification of Ireland. I hope that will cause a deep shift in the notion of "Britishness" which also brings and end to the Commonwealth and the remaining overseas territories. Maybe then we can begin to reassess our history with some sense of distance, be less defensive about the past and more willing to make a future which has no reference to it.

But I'm almost excited that the current political elites are ready to set their face against a majority of citizens and cause an even bigger democratic crisis. The schoolboy politics of Westminster is such a turn off and having them even more discredited can only be a plus. Cameron is the biggest fool for holding this referendum--I agree that we should never have been asked in this way--and it will destroy a lot more than him. Maybe whole parties, maybe whole ideas, maybe whole ways of governing this country. I doubt a Johnson or a Farage will last long when they have nobody to blame for their failure but themselves.

I hope a vote to Leave will be the big break, the beginning of a process which leads to a mental closure of the past, the end of many knowns. Something new will come out of this. I feel socially and economically disenfranchised by the status quo: a job which doesn't pay, a house I can't afford, and getting nearer to a pension which doesn't exist. Change is the biggest hope for me, not another twenty years of the same. It's easy to FUD and say "change might be for the worse!" but please don't.
posted by Emma May Smith at 5:16 AM on June 6, 2016 [4 favorites]


Schengen's got everything to do with it. It's why Norway and Switzerland don't have controlled borders. They have free movement agreements with the EU, which Leave reject; Switzerland has been faffing with those, and getting slapped as a result.

Ireland is outside Schengen, but is completely open to inter-EU migration, which is what Leave explicitly say must be controlled. Unless Ireland agrees to implement British immigration policies for it, then you'll have an area of controlled immigration with an uncontrolled border next to an area of uncontrolled immigration.

How do you control immigration with no control points? Will all British citizens be forced to present proof of citizenship on demand to police, public services, local government, landlords, banks and so on?

Your papers, please, citizen.

Can't wait.
posted by Devonian at 5:21 AM on June 6, 2016 [2 favorites]


There has been deceptive campaigning on both sides, but Leave has been by very far the biggest liar and most shameless sinner, gleefully making a habit of crazy conspiracy-mongering and willing to resort to sheer racism even.

Btw, if a pro-Remain majority of MPs in Parliament defy the referendum result:

1) It will be a very strong expression of Parliamentary sovereignty, a principle that Leave claims is fundamental and crucial and holy to their ideals.

2) This is probably just yet another conspiracy-mongering tale from the pro-Brexit press buts, if the public really hates that the MPs have defied the referendum result, then the MPs will be severely punished at the ballot box by losing many votes and so perhaps their jobs , and perhaps more immediately they will face suspension by their political party. That is the serious risk defiant MPs will know they will be taking. That is how the parliamentary democracy that the pro-Leave camp claims to love so much works. As others have said here, it is referendum democracy which is unparlimentary.
posted by Bwithh at 5:21 AM on June 6, 2016 [4 favorites]


I hope that will cause a deep shift in the notion of "Britishness" which also brings and end to the Commonwealth and the remaining overseas territories.

For me, it's the opposite. I'm hoping that leaving the EU will strengthen ties with the commonwealth. My ideal would be a free travel/work/trade zone for the commonwealth, to replace what we have with the EU at the moment. I vaguely recall somebody suggesting that the Aus/NZ area could be extended quite easily to cover the UK and also, possibly, South Africa. Canada, too, would be nice, but that big border with the US would be problematic.
posted by veedubya at 5:22 AM on June 6, 2016


I was driving south from Birmingham this weekend and saw plenty of Vote Leave billboards in farmer's fields by the motorway. Weirdly they are designed like a Labour logo (red background, white text). Not sure if that's an intentional sneaky way to make people think Labour are pro-exit or what.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 5:23 AM on June 6, 2016


Yesterday Deutsche Welle's Inside Europe radio program had a "Brexit special" episode that was interesting. (Interesting to this USian living in North America, at least, maybe Europeans have heard it all ten times by now.)
posted by XMLicious at 5:23 AM on June 6, 2016


Devonian, your entire hypothesis is based on the assumption that UK leaving the EU would create a greater existential crisis between UK and Ireland than all of the combined atrocities of The Troubles.
posted by veedubya at 5:28 AM on June 6, 2016 [2 favorites]


I remember the permeable Irish border at the height of the Troubles: the fact that I didn't need a passport was not particularly reassuring when a soldier's gun was pointed straight in my face.

All that progress in bringing peace was dependent on working within the EU framework. It makes me sad to see how little the whole Brexit crowd care.
posted by Azara at 5:32 AM on June 6, 2016 [5 favorites]


veedubya, why did you only mention Commonwealth countries with such low populations? Would you open the border to the 1.5 billion Commonwealth citizens in South Asia, for example?
posted by ambrosen at 5:33 AM on June 6, 2016 [9 favorites]


I've said nothing about the relationship between the UK and Ireland. Purely pragmatic question of how you control immigration with an uncontrolled border.
posted by Devonian at 5:34 AM on June 6, 2016 [2 favorites]


How do you control immigration with no control points?
Build a wall and make the EU pay for it?
posted by Thorzdad at 5:37 AM on June 6, 2016 [13 favorites]


Of course, whoever wins, this referendum will have provided such a concrete and final full stop to this discussion that MPs will ignore the results if unfavourable.

Another sign that this entire shambolic shit-show is a waste of time for everybody.
posted by The River Ivel at 5:39 AM on June 6, 2016 [2 favorites]


Glad to see that people are arguing over which hypothetical unicorn future they hope for as a consequence of fucking my life - and the lives of thousands of other EU citizens in the UK, so well as British citizens in other EU countries - completely.
posted by Dysk at 5:45 AM on June 6, 2016 [39 favorites]


For me, it's the opposite. I'm hoping that leaving the EU will strengthen ties with the commonwealth. My ideal would be a free travel/work/trade zone for the commonwealth, to replace what we have with the EU at the moment.

This is an argument I've heard several times now from "stands to reason" type people in the pub, often with the same list of countries that you mention (South Africa, New Zealand, Canada, Australia).

What's really fun is nodding along and then pointing out who else is in the Commonwealth. You know, Pakistan, Sierra Leone, Nigeria, Kenya, Bangladesh etc.

I've noticed about 75% of them suddenly change their minds about how keen they are on the whole "open borders with the Commonwealth" thing.

Now I'm emphatically not suggesting that this applies to you. Because even from your brief comment I can see that you've got a more nuanced view.

But it utterly infuriates me that there's been a subtle white-washing of the Commonwealth by the leave campaign in order to support the little-Englander views they espouse. Things like that, the general HURF DURF IMMIGRATION and the OMG TURKEY stuff they've been actively pushing are the same kind of low level dog-whistle racism that polluted the London mayoral campaign.

It's behaviour that has has no place in society, let along politics.
posted by garius at 5:47 AM on June 6, 2016 [33 favorites]


Stand down, everyone. Farage has answered the Irish border question on the radio, just now.

Q: So how would you stop EU citizens coming to Ireland, and then travelling to Northern Ireland?

Farage says that is something you would have to keep an eye on.


So that's OK.
posted by Devonian at 5:48 AM on June 6, 2016 [9 favorites]


Ah good. Glad that's sorted.
posted by garius at 5:50 AM on June 6, 2016 [3 favorites]


Maybe Farage will just stick a rota on his fridge, and we can all tick which days we're around for eye-keeping duty.
posted by garius at 5:51 AM on June 6, 2016 [2 favorites]


Dysk, I'm a Brit that lives in another EU country.
posted by veedubya at 5:51 AM on June 6, 2016


Fortimately, freed from European rules on privacy and other personal rights, the state will be able to keep a much closer eye on all of us.

Why won't you show me your papers, citizen? Do you hate freedom?
posted by Devonian at 5:55 AM on June 6, 2016 [1 favorite]


I've said nothing about the relationship between the UK and Ireland. Purely pragmatic question of how you control immigration with an uncontrolled border.

What I could see happening:
-Ireland joins Schengen (implementing an identity card system would not be as big a deal now as it was 20 years ago.)
-Passport controls imposed on all the air and sea routes between Ireland and Britain.
-Blow up more of the smaller cross-border roads (government action); put in passport controls on the main roads, and watch them get blown up by resurgent dissident action.
-NI residents, while part of the UK, get treated as second-class citizens and have as much hassle crossing the channel as those from the south.

Happy Days.
posted by Azara at 5:56 AM on June 6, 2016 [1 favorite]


But I'm almost excited that the current political elites are ready to set their face against a majority of citizens and cause an even bigger democratic crisis.

I can't help but think of all of my clients, exclusively poor, significantly immigrants, who will suffer for you to get your exciting crisis. Leaving aside the fact that economic costs are human costs, a further shift to the right in the government of this country is the single most likely outcome of a vote to leave. Yes, we might get change for the better, but don't imagine that Johnson and Gove haven't worked out exactly how they plan to divide up the spoils of victory.

This "change" argument seems, to me, to be an admission that there aren't really any arguments that Lexit can win. There aren't any concrete benefits they can point to for the left, but Lexiters want to leave anyway, so the argument is reduced to "Chaos will be brilliant for the left", despite the history of the last hundred years or so suggesting precisely the opposite.
posted by howfar at 5:57 AM on June 6, 2016 [23 favorites]


All that progress in bringing peace was dependent on working within the EU framework. It makes me sad to see how little the whole Brexit crowd care

The amount of EU money poured into NI in the aftermath of the Troubles kept this place going in many ways (leaving aside the issue of it ending up in the wrong hands in too many cases), and the fact that the people here who are pro-Leave have conveniently forgotten that really enrages me. I was really worried to see NIPSA throw its weight behind Brexit at the weekend. For once I'm hoping the sheeple vote for the status quo wins the day.
posted by billiebee at 5:59 AM on June 6, 2016 [4 favorites]


NI residents, while part of the UK, get treated as second-class citizens and have as much hassle crossing the channel as those from the south

Ah, memories
posted by billiebee at 6:00 AM on June 6, 2016 [1 favorite]


My ideal would be a free travel/work/trade zone for the commonwealth, to replace what we have with the EU at the moment.

You do understand that this a complete fantasy? It isn't going to happen. The idea that we're going to go from people howling about free movement with Poland to people being ok with free movement from Cameroon. Malaysia and Bangladesh is insane.

Or do you just mean majority English speaking countries historically dominated by white people? I notice those are the only ones you mention.
posted by howfar at 6:03 AM on June 6, 2016 [18 favorites]


Dysk, I'm a Brit that lives in another EU country.

That's not the same thing as having your life fucked by a leave vote, though. For someone like me - poor, currently long-term unemployed as I recover from major surgery, having lived outside of the country that issues my passport my entire life and with literally nowhere else to go, almost certainly amongst the first to go - there's been rumbling about deporting people like me before this referendum nonsense started, even, but it had been made clear that throwing me out (to where?) would be a priority for the leave campaign.

Not all migrants are equal. Being a migrant doesn't automatically make this the life-or-death moment it is for many of us.
posted by Dysk at 6:03 AM on June 6, 2016 [15 favorites]


Or do you just mean majority English speaking countries historically dominated by white people? I notice those are the only ones you mention.

I've already addressed this. If you want to call me a racist, go ahead. As far as I'm concerned it reflects far more poorly on you than me.
posted by veedubya at 6:06 AM on June 6, 2016


Fortimately, freed from European rules on privacy and other personal rights, the state will be able to keep a much closer eye on all of us.

Why won't you show me your papers, citizen? Do you hate freedom?


We had identity cards left over from WW2. They were abolished in 1952. Indeed, the UK is currently one of the few EU countries not to have identity cards. What are you actually even arguing?
posted by Emma May Smith at 6:10 AM on June 6, 2016


Nobody called you racist - they pointed out that you were advocating for a racist policy (free movement within the white Commonwealth only). Which you are. Because you deem a non-racist free movement within the entire Commonwealth policy impossible, yes, we understand that, but the fact remains that you're advocating for a racist policy.
posted by Dysk at 6:12 AM on June 6, 2016 [2 favorites]


Indeed, the UK is currently one of the few EU countries not to have identity cards.

In theory. In practice, try participating in society without a NI number and photo ID. No bank account, no property rental or purchase, no voting, no job, no school, etc, etc.
posted by Dysk at 6:14 AM on June 6, 2016


I've already addressed this

I can't actually see where, I'm sorry if I'm being blind.
posted by howfar at 6:15 AM on June 6, 2016 [2 favorites]


What are you actually even arguing?

That the most authoritarian wing of the Tory party is the one arguing most strongly for Brexit? That Theresa May despises the intervention of the courts in her dreams of universal surveillance?
posted by howfar at 6:18 AM on June 6, 2016 [3 favorites]


Mod note: Folks, let's back up from accusations of racism, or anger about whether specific questions mean someone is calling you a racist. It's fine to just explain your position in greater detail, but let's get away from the personally directed stuff here.
posted by taz (staff) at 6:20 AM on June 6, 2016 [5 favorites]


We had identity cards left over from WW2. They were abolished in 1952. Indeed, the UK is currently one of the few EU countries not to have identity cards. What are you actually even arguing?

Without wishing to put words in Devonian's mouth, he's pointing out exactly what he says in the comment - that recent British Governments have hardly been champing at the bit to protect the privacy and freedom of the common person only to be held back by the EU. It's pretty much the other way round.

So - purely from a person-on-the-street perspective if someone feels strongly about their own "freedom" being impinged by the big bad state, leaving the EU is pretty much the only way to guarantee that happens.
posted by garius at 6:20 AM on June 6, 2016 [5 favorites]


Remain makes more sense than ever.

It's not about sense or logic. It's about the visceral good feeling of telling our ancient enemies, the frogs and krauts and all their wine-drinking, garlic-eating buddies, where to stick their European Union. I unclog my nose at you, Frau Merkel! So there!
posted by acb at 6:21 AM on June 6, 2016 [1 favorite]


Where I live, there are Vote Leave posters on every other lamp-post. I'm not sure how a lamp-post saying "Vote Leave" is going to get people to Vote Leave

Most political advertising isn't intended to make an argument or convince you to vote their way. It's intended to get the people that already agree with them to get off their asses and go vote.

The "Vote Leave" posters serve to remind the people that want to leave that they need to go vote for it or they might not get their way. People who want to stay are not who they're intended for.
posted by VTX at 6:23 AM on June 6, 2016 [2 favorites]


I'm trying to stay out of this, but yes - I'm saying that the logical conclusion of Leave's position on the Irish border is much increased state surveillance of everyone, and that Brexit would fortuitously provide the ability to do that. And, as pointed out, the general tenor of pro-Brexit politicians is in general pro-surveillance anyway, so as far as I can tell, Brexit would lead to a very marked decrease in privacy and protection from the state in that regard.

I am not in favour of this. I will restrain myself from listing the many other aspects of Brexit I am not in favour of, as I did that in the other thread, and I have to DO SOME BLOODY WORK, DEVONIAN.
posted by Devonian at 6:26 AM on June 6, 2016 [7 favorites]


This "change" argument seems, to me, to be an admission that there aren't really any arguments that Lexit can win. There aren't any concrete benefits they can point to for the left, but Lexiters want to leave anyway, so the argument is reduced to "Chaos will be brilliant for the left", despite the history of the last hundred years or so suggesting precisely the opposite.

I'm not a leftist I'm a centrist, maybe just a radical one. It's super weird that people on the left are defending the status quo and demanding that centrists don't rock the boat. But then, Varoufakis is defending the EU too, even after it destroyed his country. How are poor immigrants in Greece faring?

So - purely from a person-on-the-street perspective if someone feels strongly about their own "freedom" being impinged by the big bad state, leaving the EU is pretty much the only way to guarantee that happens.

Oh, it's another of these "hypothetically the UK government will do something bad which the EU can prevent" arguments. Similar stuff to "they'll reintroduce the death penalty", or "minimum wage will be abolished", or who knows what. It's nonsense, and what's worse it's just so infuriatingly supine. It's a kind of political learnt helplessness, an infantilization, where you've come to believe that good things are only possible through and by the EU. I can understand why, if you really think like that, you hold leaving the EU in such horror and why change is so upsetting.
posted by Emma May Smith at 6:31 AM on June 6, 2016


(Thank you for this informative thread, everyone.)
posted by Frowner at 6:32 AM on June 6, 2016 [1 favorite]


  And of course, the people who want us out of the EU really want us out of the EU

Maybe not so much: UKIP MEP (how can that even be a thing?) Jane Collins is attempting to use European parliamentary privilege to get out of UK libel damages. That's some serious fucking brass neck cynicism right there.
posted by scruss at 6:33 AM on June 6, 2016 [7 favorites]


but the fact remains that you're advocating for a racist policy.

South Africa was the 3rd non-UK country I mentioned. The first two were Australia and New Zealand where a free-movement area already exists. South Africa is 8.25% white.
posted by veedubya at 6:35 AM on June 6, 2016


Paul Slade: "it's going to be close.

I'm not so sure. People often tell pollsters one thing and then do the exact opposite when it comes time to vote.
"

Well, if that happens it'll still be close.
posted by chavenet at 6:40 AM on June 6, 2016 [2 favorites]


Personally, I'm really hoping Britain decides to remain.

For one, I like the option of being able to live and work on the continent should I choose to do so. On a personal level, if Britain leaves the EU, I'd be slightly less screwed (I believe I could, with a bit of bureaucratic faff, get a Polish passport, though I may have to call myself “Andrzej” if I did so). However, that would just entitle me to a deckchair on a doomed ship. Once Britain leaves the EU, that will embolden other Europhobic parties (notably, the Front National in France and AfD in Germany), and soon other states will follow. Perhaps one of them will be France or Germany, which will be the end of the EU as a meaningful body (if there's a rump EU consisting of, say, Portugal, Slovakia and San Marino, that would be nothing more than the sort of trivia-question answer, like the still-extant British Empire (currently consisting mostly of Gibraltar and a few islands in the South Atlantic), or East Germany (currently an island off the coast of Cuba)). Even if it isn't, the EU will be greatly weakened, and more inward looking. An emboldened Russia will expand westward, picking off the Baltic states by invasion or subterfuge (perhaps they'll remain independent on paper, like post-partition Congress Poland). Poland will decide, for perfectly understandable reasons, it needs a nuclear arsenal. Finland will start preparing for another bitter winter war. New groups of blackshirts will start arising everywhere, openly attacking foreigners and anyone outside a narrow view of their true national identity (Hungary, Poland and Finland are previews of this). Before long (within a generation or two, at least), France and Germany will start building up their armies, in preparation for the inevitable rematch of their ancient enmity. The optimistic post-WW2 Europe, the Europe of free movement and peaceful cross-border collaboration, of Interrail and EasyJet and Erasmus scholarships and weekenders at Berghain and complaints about drunken English stag parties, will be gone, and replaced by the millennia-old killing field. In other words, a world that, at the time, we didn't realise how good it was will be lost forever.

Staying in Britain will be no panacea either; expect US-style union-busting “right to work” laws and a scrapping of pollution restrictions at least, and if this leads to Farage looking like PM material and the right of the Conservative Party joining with UKIP to govern, far more regressive things. (Capital punishment is a perennial favourite of the hard right and tabloid readers, and then there are things like the cane in schools, and/or an entrenching of a reactionary “Christian” national identity, at the expense of atheists, Muslims, gays and others, which could be expected.)
posted by acb at 6:42 AM on June 6, 2016 [18 favorites]


"hypothetically the UK government will do something bad which the EU can prevent" arguments. Similar stuff to "they'll reintroduce the death penalty", or "minimum wage will be abolished", or who knows what. It's nonsense

But given that your entire position is "chaos for change, maybe something good will happen"...is it really so unreasonable to point out things that really could be the result of the knock-on effects of leaving. After all, the only benefits you point to are entirely hypothetical.

supine

This is an emotional argument, which seems to me to be of the "Britain can stand on its own two feet...Churchill... Agincourt...sun never set..." school, as far as I can see. There is nothing wrong with being cautious, or even cowardly, if it protects the vulnerable, and the fact that something is emotionally appealing, resolute and courageous does not, necessarily, stop it from being a fucking stupid idea.
posted by howfar at 6:51 AM on June 6, 2016 [12 favorites]


It's a fucking stupid idea in your opinion. Opinions, at the moment, are all we have. The future is, as yet, unwritten.
posted by veedubya at 6:54 AM on June 6, 2016


I'd Iike to be wrong. If I were wrong we'd face a choice between acceptable but not ideal status quo and a possible better future through change. As it is, I think we're flirting with disaster for no very clear reason other than boredom with how hard real politics is.
posted by howfar at 7:01 AM on June 6, 2016 [6 favorites]


Oh, it's another of these "hypothetically the UK government will do something bad which the EU can prevent" arguments. Similar stuff to "they'll reintroduce the death penalty", or "minimum wage will be abolished", or who knows what. It's nonsense, and what's worse it's just so infuriatingly supine.

It's absolutely nothing like that.

Firstly, the Conservative Party is on record as wanting to get rid of the Human Rights act. They're not doing that because they want to replace it with something that has more rights in for people. Comparing it to the death penalty is a straw man.

I can understand why, if you really think like that, you hold leaving the EU in such horror and why change is so upsetting.

I'm perfectly comfortable with change. I'd quite like an awful lot of change and have border-line ranted in many threads on here before about that fact. But the reality is that the act of promoting and effecting change is a zero-sum game.

Put bluntly, if I have to spend the next god knows how many years of my life putting what time and effort I have for political effort into fighting against negative change (like human rights abolition) rather than positive change (like improvements to the social condition of my fellow citizens, better education, some genuine action to sort out the housing situation in this country) then leaving the EU is a shit idea.

Ultimately what I'm getting at here is that I suspect our desired end points aren't that dissimilar. You say:

I feel socially and economically disenfranchised by the status quo: a job which doesn't pay, a house I can't afford, and getting nearer to a pension which doesn't exist. Change is the biggest hope for me, not another twenty years of the same.

And the thing is, I 100% agree.

I guess what I'm saying though is that balance of evidence - based on actual positions held by actual political parties and the wholesale dragging of the British (and primarily the English) electorate to the right by the Conservative Party and the media - suggests that post-Brexit there'd be an awful lot of fighting to simply stay where we are before we could even think about bringing about any actual change.

Basically I'm totes with you on pushing for a fairer, better society. But if we've got to start by refighting all the basic social policy battles that we already thought we'd collectively won first, then it's going to take a helluvah lot longer than twenty years.
posted by garius at 7:03 AM on June 6, 2016 [27 favorites]


My ideal would be a free travel/work/trade zone for the commonwealth, to replace what we have with the EU at the moment.

The question you haven't answered is, why would they want that? What would an isolated, disintegrating (We could take Scotland and Co. leaving as a given) England have to offer the rest of the Commonwealth?

I mean a free travel/work/trade agreement would be really good for English who want to take their talents and wealth away from England, but that seems to be about it .
posted by happyroach at 7:18 AM on June 6, 2016 [1 favorite]


But if we've got to start by refighting all the basic social policy battles that we already thought we'd collectively won first, then it's going to take a helluvah lot longer than twenty years.

I hear what you're saying, and I agree, to a certain extent. But (there's always a but) I think that you're underestimating the British people.

We're the country that threw out Winston Churchill immediately after the war, so that we could create the welfare state. The EU didn't gift us the things that make the UK great. We, the people, fought for them. The Tories fought it every step of the way but we still won.
posted by veedubya at 7:20 AM on June 6, 2016 [1 favorite]


I mean a free travel/work/trade agreement would be really good for English who want to take their talents and wealth away from England, but that seems to be about it .

The UK is the 5th largest economy in the world. Short of a unicorn farm, isn't that enough?
posted by veedubya at 7:22 AM on June 6, 2016


This is why referendums are profoundly un-British and wrong. Cameron and his party should have sorted their problems out internally without sucking us all into Tory civil wars and risking EU membership.

Agreed. Cameron granted the referendum only as a means of pacifying the Euro-sceptics in his own party. Allowing Cabinet members to vote according to their own consciences instead of binding them to collective responsibility was done for the same reason.

Short-term, the promise of a referendum achieved that pretty well, but now that the campaign itself is upon us, the Tories are ripping one another to shreds more than ever. I'm old enough to remember the party's Euro-wars in John Major's day, which helped to guarantee the Conservatives were consigned to opposition for the following 13 years.

The Tories' secret weapon has always been that they focus on one thing: gaining and keeping power. Europe's the one issue which makes them forget that priority, and it could prove their undoing all over again. The resentments and insults fired off at their "colleagues" by both sides of the Tory party in this campaign won't be easy to walk back when they find themselves needing to present the image of a united party once again.
posted by Paul Slade at 7:23 AM on June 6, 2016 [1 favorite]


Interesting as this discussion is it does perhaps miss the point of the article; personally I think its interesting in perhaps showing how the tables have turned in favour of Brexit in the past ten days, and how frightened the political classes are of losing control.

Whatever the outcome, the aftermath of the debate is liable to transform British politics; splitting the Tories, further divorcing the two wings of labour, and in the process reorientating British politics around a very different axis...
posted by Middlemarch at 7:35 AM on June 6, 2016


The UK is the 5th largest economy in the world. Short of a unicorn farm, isn't that enough?

Which would shrink by 10% with the loss of Scotland and NI, and would likely suffer considerable further losses through harm to the finance sector. Have you not noticed the big drops in sterling whenever a pro-leave poll appears?

And the idea that we could just dictate our terms to nations like India is pretty farcical, in my view. They are going to get access to our economy no matter what. We need them, in order to sustain standards of living, more than they need us. We wouldn't be able to waltz in and sit at the top of the hill, and the terms of any agreements might be quite difficult for England to swallow.
posted by howfar at 7:39 AM on June 6, 2016 [5 favorites]


We're the country that threw out Winston Churchill immediately after the war, so that we could create the welfare state. The EU didn't gift us the things that make the UK great. We, the people, fought for them. The Tories fought it every step of the way but we still won.

And if this were 1945 again I'd heartily agree with you. But the argument that the post-war period was the outlier rather than the norm is getting increasingly hard to ignore. That is, that the horrors of two world wars in succession, with a brutal recession between, did a really bloody good job of convincing one generation to swing far further to the left then they normally would. I'd be genuinely (and I honestly mean that, I'm not being internet-sarcastic) interested to hear why you feel leaving the EU would bring about that situation again.

And you know what, yeah, maybe if we had Attlee and co. around it wouldn't even matter, because we'd have a set of political leaders capable of waging that fight for social rights etc. Attlee is one of my personal heroes and, as I say, I've raged about how much we need a figure of his like right now. But the reality is that we don't have people like that in power, or close to power, right now.

Which is an effing shame, don't get me wrong, but it's also the reality.
posted by garius at 7:40 AM on June 6, 2016 [12 favorites]


We're the country that threw out Winston Churchill immediately after the war, so that we could create the welfare state. The EU didn't gift us the things that make the UK great. We, the people, fought for them. The Tories fought it every step of the way but we still won.

We, the people, have been terrible at fighting for anything at all recently. Witness the recent Tory rampage through the welfare state only to get reelected.
posted by Dysk at 7:47 AM on June 6, 2016 [6 favorites]


You do realize that the Commonwealth only exists because those countries were quite unhappy being ruled by the British?

Why does anybody think that a (now-demonstrably-xenophobic) England will be welcomed with open arms, or allowed to dictate the terms of any proposed economic union?

Also, why does anybody think that the "changes" that this will bring about would necessarily benefit the people of England? In all likelihood, it would accelerate the dismantling of the welfare state, and prompt a shift from neoliberalism to neoconservatism.
posted by schmod at 7:50 AM on June 6, 2016 [3 favorites]


So, Dysk, enlighten us as to how the EU has emiliorated that rampage. Do you have an example where any of the apparatus of the welfare state was dismantled prior to the UK joining the EC? Because, as far as I'm aware, every shitty thing that's been done to the welfare state has been done whilst the UK was a member of the EC/EU.

Is anyone, after what's been done to Greece, going to argue that the EU is a defender of the welfare state?
posted by veedubya at 7:54 AM on June 6, 2016


In all likelihood, it would accelerate the dismantling of the welfare state, and prompt a shift from neoliberalism to neoconservatism.

Or possibly postdemocratic neofeudalism. Expand the (feudal, undemocratic, corporate-ruled) City of London to have more control over the day-to-day affairs of state, and at the other end, surrender sovereignty to corporate-friendly TTIP-style “free trade” agreements, reducing Westminster to the equivalent of a student union. When China and/or some coterie of Middle Eastern princes become the dominant power, they will find a client state ready-made for them, without any pesky Hong Kong-style resistance.
posted by acb at 7:56 AM on June 6, 2016 [2 favorites]


I saw a few Leave posters in fields in North Yorkshire last week, the only ones I have seen. I was wondering if they are supplied free of charge. I was also wondering if the fields were owned by one of the corporations/private individuals that own huge swathes of the country now, leasing the farmland and buildings, rather than farmers themselves. I would have thought that the EU farm subsidies, or loss thereof, would be focusing the minds of those who struggle to make ends meet farming. But now that I have done a bit of reading, it seems that the threat of Britain leaving the EU has resulted in a drop in the value of the land, which wouldn't seem to be good news for the land owners. Maybe they are betting that being outside the EU would mean they have more chance of selling land for housing development? I can't work it out.
posted by asok at 8:04 AM on June 6, 2016


Is anyone, after what's been done to Greece, going to argue that the EU is a defender of the welfare state?

No, but you seem to be conveniently ignoring my point that there are other battles that it ensures we don't have to fight (e.g. human rights) because the EU has made it significantly harder for the Tories to chip away at them.

So, to get down to real basics again:

We the people can spend all our time fighting to save the Welfare State or we can split our time between fighting to save it and fighting to save the new set of social rights that the Tories are now free to attack.

Are you honestly telling me that you prefer the idea of the latter?
posted by garius at 8:04 AM on June 6, 2016 [6 favorites]


So, Dysk, enlighten us as to how the EU has emiliorated that rampage.

Those workers' rights the Tories have been bleating about for years now, for one. Those same ones the Leave campaign have the abolition of as a stated aim.

The EU didn't save the welfare state, no. Nor did Britain, in fact, see my previous comment. The EU did save a number of rights for workers, consumers, and people generally, however.

The EU may well be a neoliberal institution, but it is to the left of Britain and serves to moderate, to a degree, the damage the Tories (and New Labour) can do and have done.
posted by Dysk at 8:07 AM on June 6, 2016 [13 favorites]


Anybody that thinks the UK is behind the rest of the EU in terms of human rights is living in cloud cuckoo land. Get on a train at Paddington, go to Paris wearing a hijab and then tell us how enlightened the rest of Europe is with respect to human rights.
posted by veedubya at 8:16 AM on June 6, 2016


Counterpoint: the entire history of The Sun and Daily Mail.
posted by zombieflanders at 8:19 AM on June 6, 2016 [2 favorites]


Anybody that thinks the UK is behind the rest of the EU in terms of human rights is living in cloud cuckoo land.

Except nobody said that. Both Dysk and myself said that, on the most basic level, membership of the EU currently prevents the UK from taking a step backwards in the field of worker and individual rights. Not that it is pushing us forwards.

I'm all for honest debate here dude, not least because it's clear that in many respects our politics are actually aligned, but honest debate means that you do actually have to address the points we're raising directly - even if it's just to to disagree, which is fair enough, rather than inventing slightly different arguments that you feel you can shoot down.
posted by garius at 8:30 AM on June 6, 2016 [8 favorites]


Get on a train at Paddington, go to Paris wearing a hijab and then tell us how enlightened the rest of Europe is with respect to human rights.

This isn't a response to the argument raised, which is that EU membership (and connected treaty commitments to the ECHR) have specifically protected specific rights on numerous occasions. It doesn't say anything at all about the effect of EU membership on Britain. It is, as far as I can see, purely rhetorical, without any substantive bearing on the matter under discussion.

I'd agree that multiculturalism is absolutely something that the UK has got right (in the past) which France got (and continues to get) wrong. But that's not the entirety of human rights. Given the Tory (and to a degree Labour) desire to curtail freedom of speech and privacy, to make access to justice harder and to eliminate immigrant rights, I don't think that "But France is Islamophobic!" is more than the most marginally relevant of points.
posted by howfar at 8:31 AM on June 6, 2016 [5 favorites]


It would seem like an opportune moment to turn to Patrick Stewart on the subject of the European Convention of Human Rights.
posted by asok at 8:31 AM on June 6, 2016 [4 favorites]


Ok, what abuses has the EU prevented? What human rights have been protected?
posted by veedubya at 8:36 AM on June 6, 2016


The first two were Australia and New Zealand where a free-movement area already exists.

I'm a New Zealander and I'm not really sure what you're referring to here? Yes, I can go to Aus and visit or work but I need to get a special visa to do so. I get it at the immigration checkpoint while entering the country (assuming I qualify, it's not a given). And I don't get the same rights and health care as a citizen while I'm there and they can and will kick me back out again if I no longer qualify for the visa, even if I've lived my whole life there. It's not an open border by any means, and certainly not the type of free movement I've become used to in mainland Europe.

But then one of the main reasons I'm not living in the UK right now is that it's immigration policies are so so hostile to third nation citizens like myself. It's just not even worth spending the substantial amounts of money and effort trying (I'd have to go back to NZ to apply for a start). And I saw how difficult and expensive it was for my sister to get legally settled there despite being married to a British citizen, with two kids and all. Suddenly opening the borders to all Kiwis to allow them to work in the UK unrestricted would be such a gigantic, head-spinning change, I just don't see it happening. Particularly not in the wake of a Leave win given how that whole thing is driven by racist anti-immigration feelings in the first place. So don't look to us to help you sort out the mess afterwards.
posted by shelleycat at 8:39 AM on June 6, 2016 [16 favorites]


Ok, what abuses has the EU prevented? What human rights have been protected?

Asking someone to provide evidence of something that never happened to prove the efficacy of something else as is not a particularly valid conversational technique.
posted by zombieflanders at 8:43 AM on June 6, 2016 [3 favorites]


Asking someone to provide evidence of something that never happened to prove the efficacy of something else as is not a particularly valid conversational technique.

That's bullshit. If the argument is that belonging to an institution prevents abuses, then it's perfectly valid to ask what abuses have been prevented.
posted by veedubya at 8:47 AM on June 6, 2016


My despair is because people like this are voting in this referendum. Note that in an obviously fake story about Muslims, in the UK, which has nothing to do with the EU, there is at least one "defo voting to get out of the EU" comment (and I am sure plenty more floating around) because for many people getting rid of the EU is going to magically result in a pure-white, foreigner free, financially bouyant nation that is just what they want because obviously it is the EU that is stopping everything they want and imposing sharia law and taking their money and forcing them to, I don't know, do things safely and humanely and that is what got us in to this problem, nanny state, Brussels is taking all my money, etc. etc. etc.


Seriously, it's like Trump supporters. What they think they are voting for is not actually what they are voting for, it is a symbol of what they want (even if it is not remotely possible, and frankly probably not in their favour). There will be schadenfreude if the leave happens and all these people come to learn, bloody quickly, that it makes life worse for them rather than better; but sadly the rest of us will be dragged down as well.
posted by Megami at 8:48 AM on June 6, 2016 [5 favorites]


It would seem like an opportune moment to turn to Patrick Stewart on the subject of the European Convention of Human Rights.

The ECHR is wonderful! I'm glad the UK joined the Council of Europe in 1949. I'm even happier that it shows you can have European cooperation without having to believe everything stems from the EU. Remember that we had the ECHR for about twenty years before we joined the EEC. I believe Greece brought cases against the UK as early as the 1950s.
posted by Emma May Smith at 8:51 AM on June 6, 2016


That's bullshit. If the argument is that belonging to an institution prevents abuses, then it's perfectly valid to ask what abuses have been prevented.

How are they supposed to prove it, then? "Here's a human rights violation that never happened"?
posted by zombieflanders at 8:51 AM on June 6, 2016


Ok, what abuses has the EU prevented? What human rights have been protected?

Well the second part is answerable, sort of, actually - at least in being able to show what is prevented. Short version:

Meet The Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union.

This came into force in 2009 and is the reason why simply "scrapping" the Human Rights Act isn't enough for the Tories. Because the Charter is equally (if not more) binding on a whole range of basic human rights than the HRA.

And don't just take my word on that even the frikkin' Telegraph says so (althoug obviously their opinion on whether being bound to those basic niceties is a good or bad thing is rather different from yours or mine!).

You can read the really important part about what the Charter protects here.

Here's Full fact's analysis of the relationship between the HRA and the Charter.

To quote (bolding mine):
Being able to rely on EU human rights, as opposed to European Convention rights, in a UK court is important. As already mentioned, they're more wide-ranging; but even where they're identical to what's in the Convention, EU rights can lead to more potent legal outcomes.

A court can and must strike down UK legislation that conflicts with EU law —including the Charter. By contrast, where there is a conflict between an Act of Parliament and the Convention, senior judges can only make a formal declaration to that effect. This is a signal to Parliament, or the relevant Minister, that it should change the law (this generally happens in practice, but not always).

There are some limits on use of the Charter. It only applies to situations covered by EU law. There are quite a lot of these, however, and the Supreme Court has said that the concept is to be "interpreted broadly".

There has also been some debate about whether or not an addition to the Lisbon Treaty, 'Protocol 30', might prevent people from using the Charter as freely as they might otherwise.

The EU Court of Justice has decided that Protocol 30 "does not call into question the applicability of the Charter in the United Kingdom"—so it certainly doesn't give us an 'opt-out' from EU human rights law.

Judges here have said that it's "far from clear" what it does achieve. It certainly hasn't prevented them from ruling that UK law has to be 'disapplied' because of a conflict with the Charter in several recent cases.
There's some helpful links to cases where this has actually happened, but the short version again is probably that right now an awful lot of privacy stuff is dependent on the Charter. Tom Watson and David Davis' case over surveillance is the recent biggie.
posted by garius at 8:55 AM on June 6, 2016 [11 favorites]


How are they supposed to prove it, then? "Here's a human rights violation that never happened"?

That's not the way that the EU works. The idea is that the a nation state decides to do something, and then the EU steps in and says no. That was my question: what has EU prevented from happening that a nation state within the EU was determined on doing.
posted by veedubya at 8:56 AM on June 6, 2016


I saw how difficult and expensive it was for my sister to get legally settled there despite being married to a British citizen, with two kids and all.

I'm not sure when this was, but it's got massively harder under the current government, in the experience of my friends who've married visa nationals, both in terms of the rules, and the willingness of the border agents to use non-material or even Kafkaesque issues with the paperwork as a reason to refuse. I feel that this is pretty good evidence that a vote for leave will shut the borders even tighter.

And net non-EU migration was higher than net EU migration in the most recently released figures.
posted by ambrosen at 9:00 AM on June 6, 2016 [1 favorite]


That's not the way that the EU works. The idea is that the a nation state decides to do something, and then the EU steps in and says no.

That's one way it works. The other way it can work is national governments don't pass legislation they know would be quashed by EU courts - such as the Tories with their constant whining about having their hands tied by EU worker conventions.



The ECHR is wonderful! I'm glad the UK joined the Council of Europe in 1949. I'm even happier that it shows you can have European cooperation without having to believe everything stems from the EU. Remember that we had the ECHR for about twenty years before we joined the EEC. I believe Greece brought cases against the UK as early as the 1950s.


...and currently we have a government that would scrap it - one of the oft stated 'benefits' of a Leave vote - if it weren't for treaty obligations related to Britain's EU membership!
posted by Dysk at 9:05 AM on June 6, 2016 [11 favorites]


If you read your quote, you'll note that the ECHR is independent of UK's membership of EU. Voting to leave EU wouldn't change that. Yet more scaremongering.
posted by veedubya at 9:10 AM on June 6, 2016


...except that the thing currently preventing the UK from scrapping the treaty are obligations related to EU membership. You cannot scrap it and stay in the EU. If you leave the EU, you can. This is a separate issue to whether the treaty originated with the EU.
posted by Dysk at 9:12 AM on June 6, 2016 [11 favorites]


If you read your quote, you'll note that the ECHR is independent of UK's membership of EU. Voting to leave EU wouldn't change that. Yet more scaremongering.

See my post directly above yours up thread. The EU Charter is what protects us. Because there's no point abandoning the HRA as long as we're members.

You asked for examples. I gave you one.
posted by garius at 9:22 AM on June 6, 2016 [5 favorites]


I'm not sure when this was, but it's got massively harder under the current government, in the experience of my friends who've married visa nationals, both in terms of the rules, and the willingness of the border agents to use non-material or even Kafkaesque issues with the paperwork as a reason to refuse.

It was, thank god, a couple of months before the most recent law changes otherwise her family would have been split up. As many other families have been split up - this is documented reality. Her husband had some health issues and needed to go home to get them sorted, but because of the health issues he doesn't earn quite enough under the new laws to bring his wife and kids along too. So if they had waited a few months basically he'd be looking at possible death vs being with his family. Given they managed to survive just fine on that income without government help shows how bullshit the law is.

The reason why it's relevant is that all other EU-citizens can bring their non-EU spouses to the UK with them unrestricted and not jump through the same bullshit hoops. This is because the EU makes the UK treat their (EU) citizens better than the UK treats their own. Keeping families together is a basic human right within Britain that the EU currently protects while the UK blatantly does not.
posted by shelleycat at 9:23 AM on June 6, 2016 [9 favorites]


The UK Parliament can scrap every piece of legislation it's ever passed. No parliament is bound by previous parliaments. That's the nature of the beast.

Whether or not the ECHR is scrapped by parliament (and I sincerely hope not) should be a matter for UK MPs. We elect them to represent us, after all.
posted by veedubya at 9:24 AM on June 6, 2016


garius, apologies but I'm lost. (No sarcasm intended.) What are we talking about?
posted by veedubya at 9:28 AM on June 6, 2016


Whether or not the ECHR is scrapped by parliament (and I sincerely hope not) should be a matter for UK MPs. We elect them to represent us, after all.

...so it's cool if the anti-Brexit MPs override a potential leave vote, then?
posted by showbiz_liz at 9:30 AM on June 6, 2016 [4 favorites]


...except that the thing currently preventing the UK from scrapping the treaty are obligations related to EU membership. You cannot scrap it and stay in the EU. If you leave the EU, you can. This is a separate issue to whether the treaty originated with the EU.

But Cameron and May want to scrap the HRA and stay in the EU. Either they're lying (okay, that could be) or you're going to be disappointed. I think this is a good point Remainers on the left need to answer: how come the bad things you're warning against should we leave the EU are actually being proposed by those in the Remain camp?
posted by Emma May Smith at 9:32 AM on June 6, 2016


...so it's cool if the anti-Brexit MPs override a potential leave vote, then?

That's the real question, isn't it? A referendum represents the will of the people, but MPs are there to represent the people. I'm not a constitutional scholar, and I'm not clever enough to figure out what should take precedence. As far as I can see, it's yet another hole in our constitution and almost a perfect example why, until the last few years, we've avoided referenda like the plague.
posted by veedubya at 9:36 AM on June 6, 2016


But Cameron and May want to scrap the HRA and stay in the EU. Either they're lying...

They're not lying per se, they're disingenuously presenting their position as feasible. They want to scrap the HRA and stay in Europe, but they're currently prevented from doing so. Their track record in extracting these sorts of concessions from the EU - despite years of this being their hobby horse and then having played their 'threaten to leave' trump card - says it all.
posted by Dysk at 9:37 AM on June 6, 2016 [1 favorite]


Which is a fantastic argument for Leave: the EU breeds poison politics by letting politicians blame the EU instead of taking responsibility for their policies. Look at how they handled the recent crisis in the steel industry.
posted by Emma May Smith at 9:41 AM on June 6, 2016


It only lets them in so far as we let them. I'm not sure the people voting for a party loudly declaring they want to scrap the HRA are suddenly going to about-face if they actually do so, and the idea that they will puzzles me immensely.
posted by Dysk at 9:48 AM on June 6, 2016 [1 favorite]


garius, apologies but I'm lost. (No sarcasm intended.) What are we talking about?

Right here.

You've been demanding to know what the EU has been protecting, and then insisting that the ECHR is not the same thing and using it is scaremongering.

I specifically pointed out the existence of the EU Charter, explained its role and relationship to the HRA and listed an example of the impact it was having.
posted by garius at 10:08 AM on June 6, 2016 [5 favorites]


Which is a fantastic argument for Leave: the EU breeds poison politics by letting politicians blame the EU instead of taking responsibility for their policies

That's a terrible reason for leaving. The EU doesn't breed poison politics. Disingenuous politicians breed poison politics.

"It was the the EU wot did it sir." Is just one of many excuses such individuals use and they will always find more.

How do you propose we get rid of:

"In order to balance the budget we need to..."

And:

"We're all in this together. It's important that everyone share the pain fairly so..."

Because they've been particular favourites of the current Government and, if anything, leaving the EU - because of the Charter and other legislation - makes those false arguments even easier to get away with, not less.
posted by garius at 10:18 AM on June 6, 2016 [6 favorites]


garius, thanks, I appreciate that.

However, I have to say, I don't see actual examples. There's a lot of text about what it should achieve, but I can't see anything about what it has actually achieved. Is there anything that says, "Look, this happened!"
posted by veedubya at 10:24 AM on June 6, 2016




I refer to that example simply because it's in my field.
posted by howfar at 10:45 AM on June 6, 2016


  What would an isolated, disintegrating … England have to offer the rest of the Commonwealth?

Thanks to happyroach for restating my deleted comment in much nicer language.
posted by scruss at 10:57 AM on June 6, 2016 [2 favorites]


That's a terrible reason for leaving. The EU doesn't breed poison politics. Disingenuous politicians breed poison politics.

Yes, many politicians lie, but the EU gives them something to hide behind. Good government comes from accountability and transparency. The EU harms our ability to achieve them. "If only politicians told the truth and stopped shifting blame!" Good luck with getting politicians to tell the truth. They don't reform themselves, citizens simply remove them from power.
posted by Emma May Smith at 11:29 AM on June 6, 2016


They don't reform themselves, citizens simply remove them from power.

That's a nice theory, but reality certainly doesn't bear that out.
posted by Dysk at 11:31 AM on June 6, 2016 [2 favorites]


By your own argument, Emma May Smith, Brexit won't get politicians to be more truthful, they'll just shift to other excuses.

And balancing that nebulous benefit against actual real harms that will happen seems, I dunno, short sighted. The thing about 'burn it all down' is that the people saying that generally (think they) are wearing asbestos. It doesn't work that way.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 11:35 AM on June 6, 2016 [2 favorites]


...so it's cool if the anti-Brexit MPs override a potential leave vote, then?

It wasn't that long ago the pro-Brexit crowd argued for continued referendums until people voted correctly, and brexit MPs have been pretty clear in that they're not going to support a dialogue with UK's European neighbours even if people vote that way. I don't recall seeing any MeFi outrage threads back then, though.
posted by effbot at 11:38 AM on June 6, 2016


Brexit won't get politicians to be more truthful, they'll just shift to other excuses.

I don't think you appreciate the level of blame which is shifted onto the EU. It is staggering and toxic. Name a policy area and I bet you can find somebody blaming the EU. We will never, ever deal with our problems until we learn to blame ourselves for our failures. The EU delays fixing the housing crisis, paying properly for the NHS, providing a decent education for children, and a host of other things, because we can always pretend it is out of our hands. It is axiomatic that the railways must be privatized because 'the EU says so', and who know what else.

I want to say the same about the good things people pin on the EU. It has stopped us believing that we're actually capable of being a good country and good society without outside help. The UK has achieved some of the best LGBT rights in Europe--indeed, in the world--and we've passed laws which many in the EU have yet to catch up on. The left suffers from a lack of self-belief here, and a lack of trust in people. Yet there's no reason for it. Look at the opinion polling for the death penalty and see support is dropping. And look at euthanasia, three quarters support it! A growing number support reform of the drug laws for marijuana. We've the makings of a liberal society, yet I see so many in this thread terrified of their fellow citizens and clinging to the EU for help.
posted by Emma May Smith at 12:13 PM on June 6, 2016 [3 favorites]


yet I see so many in this thread terrified of their fellow citizens and clinging to the EU for help.

Look at who the fellow citizens keep putting into power and perhaps you might understand the fear better.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 12:20 PM on June 6, 2016 [9 favorites]


It would be 100% bullshit if MPs failed to implement the result of the referendum. I've still got enough faith in the independence of individual MPs' consciences and the stuffiness of the Lords to thank that any explicit "Well, that's nice but...." response to a Leave vote wouldn't wash. A 90% bullshit US-style ongoing-obstructionist approach sounds plausible though. Do not want.

The campaign/debate to date has been conducted and covered at an atrociously poor level. I actually cheered the TV when John Major stated several basic things which no politician or media outlet seemed to be saying, e.g. that talk about how many millions Brexit would benefit the NHS by when you're on record as a being a "privatise it all and give me a non-exec seat on the board, old boy" type is hypocrisy of exactly the sort which characterises the Brexit campaign "leaders". Like Brown, Major is someone who picks his moment to chip in on an issue and is well worth listening to. Maybe I just have a soft spot for Peter Principle Chancellors. In any case, I take a postal vote and whilst I'll be following the campaign I'm literally not for turning at this juncture. Too late for more lies.
posted by comealongpole at 2:38 PM on June 6, 2016


We will never, ever deal with our problems until we learn to blame ourselves for our failures.

As an American, I find this hilarious. We don't have an EU, and our politicians still find someone else to blame.

So if you do the Brexit, five years from now we'll be back here, talking about how your MPs are blaming illegal immigrants, feminists, transfolk or 20-somethings for your woes, and debating the populist referendum to "deal with the problem".
posted by happyroach at 3:11 PM on June 6, 2016 [14 favorites]


Seconded. This is a public school common room scuffle that's now metastasised into something quite ugly. That it's got this far is testimony to the narcissistic cluelessness of the Conservative Party. And really, anyone still pretending that the Brexit vote isn't driven by fears about immigration only needs to look at how closely the uptick in "leave" voting preferences over the past few weeks tracks alarmist stories in the right-wing press about Albanian immigrants arriving via the Channel route.
posted by Sonny Jim at 1:48 AM on June 7, 2016


winterhill I favourited your comment in the way we used to have to "like" FB posts about tragedies - as in a favourite doesn't seem quite the right thing for a comment so bleak but I heartily agree. I read a comment (I know, I know) on a recent article where that fuckwit Boris was talking about the restrictions that should be put on future economic migrants. Someone wrote "but I thought after we leave the EU there won't be any more immigrants unless there are jobs that British people can't fill and that won't happen" and I still have the imprint of the desk on my face.
posted by billiebee at 1:57 AM on June 7, 2016 [2 favorites]


winterhill, there are a lot of idiots it is true, but there are also vested interests working hard to keep people 'information poor'. The amount of noise to signal in this, or any, political debate in this country is pretty overwhelming. The level of political discourse in this country is pathetic. There was a woman speaking on a radio phone in this morning saying that she was not going to vote because she couldn't decide which side was more full of shit, to paraphrase. Who would not want to walk away from this never ending torrent of bullshit?

There are also plenty of solid reasons why sound bite sloganeering is an effective rhetorical trick that works with the noise machine to hold sway over opinion. I am uncomfortable with blaming people for making poor decisions based on the deliberately obfuscated information jumble. Couple this with the sadly prevalent propensity for patriotic poppycock from a disenfranchised populace unwilling to let go of the post-empire hangover, and you have a toxic cocktail of jingoistic pablum. This 'patriotism' is far from uncommon in the world, a fact that might ironically unite people if they realised it!

As Emma May Smith points out, there seems to be a good deal of support for libertarian ideals of freedom for individuals, but I perceive that there is also a paucity of understanding about the legal structure required to ensure that abuse of these freedoms is controlled. I wish I could share her optimism that a break from Europe would signify a new start, rather than backsliding and degeneration. The Leavers certainly play on a lot of nonsense ideas about the past as well as the fear of a black planet, to steal a phrase.

As shelleycat says above, currently it is very difficult for Commonwealth citizens to get residence in the UK. I would like it to be as easy for them to move about as it is for EU citizens. As Akala says, currently an Indian citizen whose grandfather fought for the British in the second world war finds it much harder to enter the UK than a German whose grandfather was fighting on the other side. People should be able to move about the planet as easily as money does as far as I am concerned.

There is an article about the referendum in the New Scientist from last week, dubbing it 'the most irrational referendum yet'. I have yet to read it, but the gist seems to be that if you are unable to use fact based reasoning to make a decision you will fall back on cognitive biases. So, that's something to look forward to!
posted by asok at 4:13 AM on June 7, 2016 [2 favorites]


German whose grandfather was fighting on the other side.

Since the comments that show what I really think about arguments like this keep being removed, can you at least explain why you think that what someone's grandparent did ages ago should in any way be relevant today?
posted by effbot at 5:25 AM on June 7, 2016 [2 favorites]


Oh, I don't personally think it is at all relevant today, but I can imagine it being upsetting to those who lost a friend or relative in the war fighting for the Allies seeing their children unable to move to the UK whereas the people of the country that was the enemy do not have that problem. They might question what they laid their lives down for. They might feel that it is tantamount to collective punishment for helping out in a time of need. You know, 'war, what is it good for?' and all that. Surely you can see that chafing a bit.

AFAIK citizens of countries that have been fucked over by the UK have historically been given unofficial preference when seeking asylum, so if they are truly desperate they may have been in with a chance in the past.

Ich liebe gern die Deutschen FWIW
posted by asok at 6:30 AM on June 7, 2016


As shelleycat says above, currently it is very difficult for Commonwealth citizens to get residence in the UK. I would like it to be as easy for them to move about as it is for EU citizens.

Why stop at the Commonwealth? What about, say, Americans, Japanese, South Koreans, Brazilians and so on make them less worthy of this than Commonwealth citizens?

(And if this is going to be limited to the Commonwealth, is this going to be reciprocal? I.e. will it be just as easy for UK citizens to move to Commonwealth countries?).
posted by plep at 9:30 AM on June 7, 2016


...is this going to be reciprocal? I.e. will it be just as easy for UK citizens to move to Commonwealth countries?

To be clear, this is part of the point of the free movement aspect of the EU. It's true that ~1 million non-UK EU citizens live in the UK; it's also true that a similar number of Brits live elsewhere in the EU (a group whose interests haven't been addressed particularly well by the campaigns so far). It's reciprocal and the movement of people more or less evens out on either side. What's important is that people - both British and other EU nationalities - have the opportunity to do so.

There is a small movement for free movement within the Commonwealth itself, although these calls tends to be suspiciously limited to certain Old Commonwealth countries (rather than the largest Commonwealth countries by population - India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nigeria and so on) - for some reason. #icantguesswhy
posted by plep at 9:42 AM on June 7, 2016


Fwiw the map here shows that citizens of most of the largest Commonwealth countries - the Indian subcontinent, Nigeria - need a visa even to transit through a UK airport. Whereas citizens of most of the Americas (both North and South, including the US, Mexico and Brazil) and part of East Asia (Japan, South Korea, Taiwan) can visit the UK visa-free. Certain Commonwealth countries are also non-visa nationals - Canada, Australia, NZ, Malaysia, Singapore, Botswana, Namibia, PNG and a few others - but by and large it's remarkable how little free movement there is within the Commonwealth in general.
posted by plep at 9:47 AM on June 7, 2016


I'm lucky in the sense that I have both UK and Canadian citizenship. It just bugs me that I could move to Italy or France more or less on a whim, but NZ? Nope. Free movement throughout the entire Commonwealth would be a spectacularly good thing in the exact same way free intra-EU movement is.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 11:30 AM on June 7, 2016 [1 favorite]


Botswana, Namibia

It's also worth pointing out from that map that plep posted that, in contrast, the UK imposes visa requirements on South Africa (although this only started in 2009) so I'm skeptical that any Commonwealth free-movement agreement would easily include South Africa.

I'm also skeptical because South Africa's GDP per capita at $6483 is lower than any EU member state GDP; Bulgaria seems to be the closest at $7851 (compared to $46,297 for the UK, $61,979 for Australia and $50,230 for Canada) [all $ are US$]. Certainly it's considerably more expensive for South Africans to immigrate to the UK than for eastern Europeans, but it seems like there would be a very unbalanced flow of South Africa>UK bound migrants that would make a free-movement agreement including SA rather unattractive from the UK perspective.

(Also, a casual Googling of "Commonwealth free movement" reveals very few results, if any, that include South Africa. The vast majority of currently existing proposals are for the UK, Australia, Canada and New Zealand. Places like Malaysia or Pakistan are, of course, nowhere to be seen.)
posted by andrewesque at 1:16 PM on June 7, 2016 [2 favorites]


Mod note: A couple of comments deleted. Please don't personalize arguments here, or frame all British people as xenophobes, insult people generally, or ramp up hostility with "your country sucks" type comments and responses.
posted by taz (staff) at 1:22 AM on June 8, 2016


[sorry taz]

Just on the Commonwealth:

What would an isolated, disintegrating England have to offer the rest of the Commonwealth?

I mean a free travel/work/trade agreement would be really good for English who want to take their talents and wealth away from England, but that seems to be about it .


I think I can comfortably say that plenty of New Zealanders and Australians would choose to live there, if not permanently. Our governments would be keen for free-trade agreements, too - NZ is trying to negotiate one with the EU now. NZ was very badly hurt in the 70s and 80s when the UK joined the EU, and our exports suddenly were hit with a quota system. We went from 87% of our exports going to the UK, to 6% (between 1940 and 2000, according to King's Penguin History of NZ). Definitely scope for that to increase.

I can't speak for other countries, but if you look at the UK immigration forums, there are plenty of Indians who want to work in the UK. There are trade and investment links, Indian businessmen investing in UK football clubs, etc. Certainly the UK couldn't dictate terms, but I think there would be interest from many Commonwealth countries in closer relations with the UK, and indeed each other (I mean, countries that were never colonised by the Brits have joined the Commonwealth - they must see some benefit in it).

(As for the argument about the UK, Canada, Australia and NZ doing their own thing: part of the argument is that those nations all have the Queen as head of state. It would be somewhat more intellectually honest if the proposal also included all the other countries which do so).
posted by Pink Frost at 1:55 AM on June 8, 2016 [1 favorite]


What would an isolated, disintegrating England have to offer the rest of the Commonwealth?

It's really not isolated or disintegrating though, neither would it be even with a Brexit (I'm voting Remain on Europe-as-a-promoter-of-world peace, economic/trade and protection of human rights (in the UK and elsewhere) grounds, but it's silly to say England would turn into some kind of mid-Atlantic North Korea overnight). London and New York regularly top surveys of the world's most globalised cities and London (even sans-rest of the UK) is such a magnet for business and workers - Brexit may have a negative impact on that, but it wouldn't be overnight. Moving infrastructure and workforces and buildings and businesses and everything that supports that (universities and media) .... takes time. It wouldn't happen immediately. Let's not be black and white about it.

(One argument I've heard is that the possibility of an EU tax on transactions is a reason for London's financial centre to be pro-Out, though I don't see that as a determining reason for many).

One interesting point to consider might be the continued popularity of the youth mobility visa both for young Australians, New Zealanders and to an extent Canadians (and some other nationalities - such as the Japanese) who want to work in Britain, and (reciprocally) for young Brits wishing to work overseas. It's a kind of free movement for 20somethings. It's still very popular among all the participating nations and could be some kind of indicator. It's predecessor visa, which was available to -all- Commonwealth nations, was also hugely popular among young South Africans (to a lesser extent also for some nationalities such as Indians and Ghanaians) until a major rule change limited it to the aforementioned countries which also have some kind of reciprocal arrangement.

I'm for free movement of people, where it's practical. For most of human history, the barrier to travel was mainly logistical and related to cost - passports and visas as a form of enforcement only really became a thing in the Western world post-World War I (although internal and external controls existed in the Russian and Ottoman Empires previously). But you don't promote people's freedom among one group of countries (say the Commonwealth) by removing it from another group of even more interdependent countries (say, Europe).

Currently both Brits and non-Brits have the freedom to live and work anywhere in the continent, including non-EU countries which remain in the EEA or have arrangements with it (Norway, Switzerland, Iceland - sometimes cited by Leave as examples). That's an amazing opportunity and it would be a pity for that aspect of human freedom to come to an end.
posted by plep at 3:31 AM on June 8, 2016


Why stop at the current Commonwealth? Why not all countries with former links to Britain? In Europe alone, apart from the Commonwealth countries of Cyprus and Malta, that includes Greece (the Ionian Islands), Germany (post-WWII occupation and Heligoland), Spain (Minorca), France (Corsica, and historical English claims to the French throne) and Ireland. Oh, and the Netherlands (because of 1688), the Danes while we're at it (because of the Danelaw), and of course Italy (because of 43 AD). The alliance between England and Portugal is the oldest still in force, so why not them too. Britain fought a world war over Belgium, so they surely deserve special consideration, and a second one over Poland, so they do too.
posted by rory at 3:55 AM on June 8, 2016 [2 favorites]


Why stop at the current Commonwealth? Why not all countries with former links to Britain?

That would be all of them. :) Basically Britain, more than any other country, made the modern world.

Somewhat exaggerated but nevertheless amusing link.
posted by plep at 3:57 AM on June 8, 2016 [1 favorite]


Why stop at the Commonwealth?

Why indeed! I was simply repeating the shabby way that Commonwealth citizens are treated by the UK, as shelleycat pointed out, in comparison to the way EU citizens are currently treated. I am not convinced there would be a lot of goodwill toward the UK from the Commonwealth on this issue, should a post-Leaving Britain decide they want to be best of friends.

UK: It'll be just like the old times, old boy
Commonwealth: *side eye*
posted by asok at 5:58 AM on June 8, 2016 [2 favorites]




So in case someone is still naive enough to think that the brexit campaign is about facts and not just unbridled racism and hysterical xenophobia, here's Leave.EU's latest cartoon, "Abandon Ship."

I could link you to sites where people brexplain why this isn't in any way racist, but let's leave that to another day.
posted by effbot at 4:13 PM on June 14, 2016 [2 favorites]


Also from Leave.EU: Leaving the EU will apparently stop an Orlando-style attack, somehow. That tweet is deleted now.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 1:42 AM on June 15, 2016 [2 favorites]


in case someone is still naive enough to think that the brexit campaign is ... not just unbridled racism and hysterical xenophobia

I think, strictly speaking, it's neoliberal demagogues exploiting the racism and xenophobia that people feel in the face of straightened economic times in order to seize power. The fact that the policies they're enthusiastic to impose when they get there will impoverish more and more people and funnel wealth out of the country into the bank accounts of foreign and multinational corporations is one of the ironies of the situation that will seem quite amusing in a couple of centuries.
posted by Grangousier at 3:38 AM on June 15, 2016 [1 favorite]


So speaking of abandoning ships.

Bob Geldof and Nigel Farage are commanding opposing fleets in the Thames No, really. In the battle for the EU things have got very strange indeed as a fleet of fishing boats arguing the Brexit case are met by a fleet of Remain boats headed up by Bob Geldof.

Each side also has their own War Correspondents

Reporting from the Remain flagship: MikeySmith
and from the Leave Fleet: Michael Deacon
posted by Just this guy, y'know at 5:14 AM on June 15, 2016 [4 favorites]


A question for Remainers on the Left about Osborne's £30bn 'blackhole': do you think, should Leave be successful, that more Austerity will be economically necessary? Or do you believe that he's conning us now just like he did in 2010?
posted by Emma May Smith at 5:37 AM on June 15, 2016


I would say that you'd need to define "economically necessary".

as McDonnell said earlier: "Any credible economist would tell you that raising taxes or cutting spending or both in response to an economic shock is the wrong thing to do."
posted by Just this guy, y'know at 5:49 AM on June 15, 2016 [1 favorite]


As economically necessary as Austerity. That's all.
posted by Emma May Smith at 5:54 AM on June 15, 2016


Then I'd guess probably, yes.
posted by Just this guy, y'know at 6:02 AM on June 15, 2016


I may be missing tissues of irony here - the economic necessity of austerity in 2010 was itself a con. It wasn't economically necessary, it was disastrous, the opposite of necessary. So, yes, whatever happens will be used to justify even more austerity (as will the economic downturn that's probably going to happen between now and 2020), because austerity is their aim. But it will still be, strictly speaking, unnecessary and disastrous.
posted by Grangousier at 6:12 AM on June 15, 2016 [8 favorites]


The Tories are going to give us Austerity until 2020 no matter what happens. The question at this point is how badly you want to be screwed on everything else as well.
posted by Dysk at 6:31 AM on June 15, 2016 [3 favorites]


Hahahahaaa. FFS.
The flotilla arrived at Tower Bridge as Greenpeace attacked one of the largest trawlers in the protest, the Christina S from Peterhead, over its role in a £63m fisheries fraud scandal four years ago, the worst yet involving the UK fisheries industry.

The joint skippers of the vessel, Ernest Simpson and his son Allan Simpson, were each fined £65,000 and had a total of £725,000 confiscated by Scottish courts in September 2012 after they admitted illegally landing mackerel and herring in Peterhead and Shetland.

Earnest Simpson pled guilty to landing more than £2m worth of undeclared fish while his son Allan admitted to more than £2.7m in undeclared fish, in a scandal involving dozens of Scottish skippers and several major processing factories.
People involved in 'serious and organised' criminality - yeah I'll definitely take their advice.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 6:39 AM on June 15, 2016 [4 favorites]


I may be missing tissues of irony here - the economic necessity of austerity in 2010 was itself a con. It wasn't economically necessary, it was disastrous, the opposite of necessary. So, yes, whatever happens will be used to justify even more austerity (as will the economic downturn that's probably going to happen between now and 2020), because austerity is their aim. But it will still be, strictly speaking, unnecessary and disastrous.

I think we're in agreement. Osborne's conning us now just as he's conned us since 2010. I wouldn't trust him on bit on the economy.
posted by Emma May Smith at 7:29 AM on June 15, 2016


I wouldn't trust him as far as I could spit his severed head. And I'm perfectly willing to find out exactly what that distance is by empirical testing.
posted by Grangousier at 12:24 PM on June 15, 2016


I find this article on working-class voters to be worth the read.
The women in east London and the men in the mining towns all tell me the worst thing is that things stay the same.
In some ways it doesn't matter if things get worse. They're not burning down the house, they're already on fire. They hope that if you're on fire too something'll get done about it.
posted by Emma May Smith at 1:08 PM on June 15, 2016 [2 favorites]


Nothing will get done about it because a lot of people are demanding a quack medicine (anti-immigration measures/Brexit) to cure cancer (the effects of austerity and globalisation and weakened trade unions), and as the quack cure fails and the cancer gets worse they will demand yet stronger quack medicine (More banning immigrants! We haven't banned them enough! That's why the medicine's not working!) because many people have now invested their identity and pride in this false belief system - and like American fundamentalists/Trump voters, they take any attack on their belief system as a sign that someone is an elitist and an enemy who is not to be listened to, so it's getting impervious to criticism. We're seeing epistemic closure in a key block of voters. It's something that has been developed over years and can't be turned round quickly.

All we're going to get from a Brexit is more and stronger xenophobia as people see it's not working and demand stronger medicine, because nothing is getting through to them on the actual causation of their problems. The people who think it is going to help them will get shafted as their jobs are hit by a Brexit induced economic downturn. But the people who will suffer worst will be the non British and non-white people plus the sick, unemployed and disabled who the government have already decided are a soft target to demonise in an economic downturn. It's not suddenly going to wake people up to the real causes of their misery, because they now have pride and identity at stake in misidentifying those.
posted by Flitcraft at 3:41 PM on June 15, 2016 [14 favorites]


Vote Leave versus Stronger In: How the referendum campaigns' ground operations measure up (Only interesting for serious political junkies though).
posted by TheophileEscargot at 2:42 AM on June 16, 2016


In some ways it doesn't matter if things get worse. They're not burning down the house, they're already on fire. They hope that if you're on fire too something'll get done about it.

This is some privileged-ass shit. For some of us - ask anyone with a disability or who is a carer, for example - things do not just stay the same. They consistently get a lot shittier every time there's a Tory government, in a manner and at a rate that is not seen under even the worst labour has to offer. Some of us are genuinely struggling to even survive (you try having all ESA and JSA and housing benefit removed while you're bed-ridden recovering from surgery - can't eat optimism or Brexit,.could totally have eaten food bought with benefits, guess how this affects recovery and return to the job market...) to a point where the abstract notions of sovereignty seem like an outright fucking insult.
posted by Dysk at 3:08 AM on June 16, 2016 [13 favorites]


So maybe it doesn't matter to you if things get worse, but look at the rash of suicides amongst people with disabilities and the most vulnerable in society in general since this government came in, and understand there are an awful lot of people for whom it cannot get any worse without killing them.
posted by Dysk at 3:10 AM on June 16, 2016 [11 favorites]


Jesus Christ: Labour MP Jo Cox in critical condition after being shot and stabbed. The Leave campaign has suspended its activities for the day.
posted by Sonny Jim at 7:00 AM on June 16, 2016


As has the "Britain Stronger in Europe" campaign.
posted by Sonny Jim at 7:04 AM on June 16, 2016


There are unconfirmed reports that the attacker shouted "Britain First" whilst running off.
But as ever unconfirmed reports should mostly be ignored.

She was on one of the remain boats in the flotilla the other day, and is a London Houseboat person (when she's not at home in her constituency)
posted by Just this guy, y'know at 7:12 AM on June 16, 2016


Yeah, the "Britain First!" claim has already disappeared from the Guardian's coverage, but if I were Paul Golding or one of the other brainless fools involved with that particular party, I'd still be bricking it right about now.
posted by Sonny Jim at 7:19 AM on June 16, 2016


And eejits on Twitter already claiming that the Jo Cox shooting 'may have been a Remain false flag" - which I think puts them in the 27 percent craziest of the 27 percent crazies.

Suspect arrested (by unarmed police, good on 'em), so the full story should be clear soon enough.

Sense of shock palpable - a 'what have we become?' moment. Jo Cox is universally popular and seen as a future star - she was an aid worker, then head of policy at Oxfam before being elected, and is deeply involved in the Syrian refugee issue (leads the all-party Syria committee in Parliament), as well as being a very active campaigner for Remain.

A terrible price to pay for what may become a national moment of clarity.
posted by Devonian at 7:46 AM on June 16, 2016 [4 favorites]


Just came here to post this link, which seems pretty trivial in light of the news about Jo Cox, but anyway: Is worry about the EU referendum affecting your daily life?

Also, some personal thoughts on the "let's take more Commonwealth immigrants" thing, as an immigrant from the Commonwealth myself; plus some more links at the end of it.

Jesus, that poor woman.
posted by rory at 7:50 AM on June 16, 2016 [3 favorites]


That Britain First claim is back:

Police are also investigating reports the suspect shouted “Britain First”, a possible reference to the far-right political party, as he launched the attack.

Graeme Howard, 38, who lives in nearby Bond Street, told the Guardian he heard the man shout “Britain First” before the shooting and during the arrest.

Police were understood to be talking to at least one witness who claimed to have heard the attacker shout words about the right-wing group, and the motivation for the incident will form part of their inquiry

“I heard the shot and I ran outside and saw some ladies from the cafe running out with towels,” he said. “There was loads of screaming and shouting and the police officers showed up.

“He was shouting Britain First when he was doing it and being arrested. He was pinned down by two police officers and she was taken away in an ambulance.”
posted by Just this guy, y'know at 7:56 AM on June 16, 2016 [2 favorites]


Huh. Headline news in all major Swedish media, including background articles with brief biographies, but not even above the fold on BBC which was the first UK source I checked.

(getting flashbacks to september 2003 here, when another young female widely respected pro-EU politician was stabbed only days before a EU-related referendum; let's hope this attack doesn't end as badly.)
posted by effbot at 7:58 AM on June 16, 2016


eejits on Twitter already claiming that the Jo Cox shooting 'may have been a Remain false flag"

This really gets to the heart of something that's been bothering me for a while.
Politics, identity, opinion, thinking even all that have become massively more entrenched and tribal.

I think curated media / social media are a real problem, because you only see your side you think more and more along those lines and then you can't even begin to comprehend how anyone can think different.

I've been adding reporters who hold radically different opinions to me, and it helps. It does. I can see that I am as bad as anyone else on this and I'm trying really really hard not to be.
But this is a big problem and it's gonna get worse quickly if it's not addressed somehow.
posted by Just this guy, y'know at 8:00 AM on June 16, 2016 [2 favorites]


From the Guardian's rolling coverage:
Jayda Fransen, deputy leader of Britain First, said the party was “looking into the reports right now”.

“We were extremely shocked to see these reports and we are keen to confirm them, because of course at the moment it is hearsay,” she said. “This has just been bought [sic] to our attention. This is absolutely not the kind of behaviour we would condone.”
"The kind of behaviour we would condone." Jesus Christ.
posted by Sonny Jim at 8:02 AM on June 16, 2016


From Nick Clegg:

"I am deeply shocked as someone who knows Jo. She is a lovely decent person, full of goodwill to everybody. My heart goes out to her and everybody affected.
But also it is such a vile affront to our democracy.
One of the great things about our democracy is that anybody can just wander in and see their MP in their weekly surgeries.
That violence against Jo, although that is the most important thing... is also violence against our democratic values and very proud democratic traditions."
posted by Just this guy, y'know at 8:14 AM on June 16, 2016 [2 favorites]




I was just sitting here writing down some thoughts about the pandora's box of xenophobia that this referendum has opened, and then this happens. I feel physically sick. It doesn't help when people on facebook turn straight into cracking jokes about Farage. When will people realise that this isn't a joke anymore? This is some 1930s shit and I don't like it. If Brexit happens it'll go from bad to worse. For the first time in my life I'm seriously considering leaving Britain for good, I don't like the way this is going at all. What the fuck?
posted by Acey at 8:37 AM on June 16, 2016 [7 favorites]


I've heard the phrase "thoughts and prayers" all too much of late.
When associated with the pulse shooting it's all too often code for "thoughts and prayers, but no gun control".

Seeing it here so much as well in a British context is strange. It's hard to write something without going there though.
writing "oh fuck please be ok" doesn't seem right.
posted by Just this guy, y'know at 8:44 AM on June 16, 2016 [1 favorite]


Here's what I was just writing, I can't stomach finishing it now considering what has just happened. And I'm not posting to Facebook where it can be "liked" and promptly forgotten. I'm better off shouting into a bucket.

***

In all seriousness now, I am worried about the future. It’s looking like Brexit will happen. If it does, Britain is fucked. Scotland will leave within a couple of years and the rest will fall apart soon after. The EU will maybe survive, but with the right wing resurgence it’s days are numbered. We are going full steam into a recession which was already overdue. The interest rates are at rock bottom and there will be no bailout this time. Like I say, Britain is fucked.

If it doesn’t happen, and honestly I don’t think it will be allowed to happen, it will be too late anyway. The seed of doubt and conflict has been planted. The Tory party will implode, which ordinarily I would welcome, but they will take us all down with them. Labour is in no position to pick up the pieces. Even if they can survive and win in 2020, it will be too late. At that point we could be three years into a real depression, one that makes this one look like a picnic. The xenophobia that has been unleashed cannot be put back in the box. When the economy, political stability/continuity, and rule of law breaks down, you get violence. Lots and lots of violence.

Now, I am no fan of the British State. But I do not want to see it end in violence. Divisions in this country run deep. Class, for one, though I don’t foresee a class war any time soon, not in Britain of all places. More likely it will be political violence, sectarian violence, state repression and opportunistic looting and rioting. Things we have seen in just about every country, but not here. Never here. Right...

Britain has been a remarkably stable country for a remarkably long time. We are a complacent people. Even in the face of the Irish “troubles” (scare quotes not because I think it was a minor thing, but because I think it’s a typically British euphemism for a violent insurgency). But for over three hundred years, Britain has not faced a constitutional and democratic crisis of this magnitude, perhaps even longer. Not even the two world wars could truly break Britain (the Empire, maybe, but not the mainland… thanks America).

The last 65 years have seen the longest period of peace and prosperity, possibly for all of recorded history, in Britain. Even with the miner’s strikes, terrorism, and countless foreign wars, Britain has remained politically stable and under the rule of law, for the most part and compared to most other countries. A big part of this was down to the balance of power through the cold war and domestic economic prosperity on the back of that stability, plus a ruthless approach to resource extraction and economic imperialism and neoliberalism.

Of course, it was all a mirage, a debt that must be repaid. Not in the form of austerity as the current order would have you believe, but rather as a long overdue and violent geopolitical re-alignment and an impending environmental reckoning like never before seen.

Like I say, I’m worried. If we don’t kill each other we’ll kill ourselves. It’ll be a miracle if we make it through this century alive.
posted by Acey at 8:50 AM on June 16, 2016 [7 favorites]


.
posted by zombieflanders at 9:16 AM on June 16, 2016 [1 favorite]


Jo Cox MP

.
posted by Mister Bijou at 9:18 AM on June 16, 2016


Ugh. Saw the news that she was attacked. How awful.

.
posted by tonycpsu at 9:19 AM on June 16, 2016


oh.
posted by Just this guy, y'know at 9:19 AM on June 16, 2016


Jesus.
posted by Acey at 9:19 AM on June 16, 2016


Apparently MP Cox has now died.

God have mercy on us all.
posted by absalom at 9:32 AM on June 16, 2016


.
posted by rewil at 9:40 AM on June 16, 2016



Brendan Cox, the MP’s husband, has issued a statement about her death. He says she would have wanted everyone to unite “to fight against the hatred that killed her”.

Today is the beginning of a new chapter in our lives. More difficult, more painful, less joyful, less full of love. I and Jo’s friends and family are going to work every moment of our lives to love and nurture our kids and to fight against the hate that killed Jo.

Jo believed in a better world and she fought for it every day of her life with an energy, and a zest for life that would exhaust most people.

She would have wanted two things above all else to happen now, one that our precious children are bathed in love and two, that we all unite to fight against the hatred that killed her. Hate doesn’t have a creed, race or religion, it is poisonous.

Jo would have no regrets about her life, she lived every day of it to the full.

posted by Megami at 10:04 AM on June 16, 2016 [11 favorites]


.
posted by Flitcraft at 10:16 AM on June 16, 2016


as a desperate attempt to make things seem better:

A group of parisians are planning on handing out hundreds of croissants to commuters at kings cross the day before he referendum to remind people that maybe the EU is pretty good?

Also, and from my perspective more importantly the dutch are planning a multi city stroopwafel mission!
posted by Just this guy, y'know at 2:57 AM on June 17, 2016 [5 favorites]




J. K. Rowling: On Monsters, Villains, and the EU Referendum
In a few days' time, we'll have to decide which monsters we believe are real and which illusory. Everything is going to come down to whose story we like best, but at the moment we vote, we stop being readers and become authors. The ending of this story, whether happy or not, will be written by us.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 4:15 AM on June 22, 2016 [2 favorites]






When will we know the result of the Brexit vote?

tl;dr: Officially, about 7 a.m. Friday BST (2 a.m. EST). Unofficially, possibly earlier, as the 382 counting areas report their results as they complete their counts throughout the night, with the earliest ones expected about 12:30 a.m. BST (7:30 p.m. Thursday EST). There will be no exit polls.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 2:15 PM on June 22, 2016


One More Day!!!
posted by marienbad at 5:49 PM on June 22, 2016


I can't vote, but I'll be volunteering for Remain all day tomorrow.

With the polls so close, this is now a fight for turnout. High turnout would favour Remain, but rain is forecast here in London (widely seen as a Remain stronghold). I'll be doing my best to help get out the vote.

Right now there is a thunderstorm like the wrath of Thor breaking right above my house. I hope it gets it all out of its system tonight.
posted by Pallas Athena at 6:01 PM on June 22, 2016 [3 favorites]


The lightning storm is still massive but is over France now, but it'll be rain on and off all day.
Preliminary indications suggest that the postal vote was overwhelmingly for leave.
I'll be doing my best to counteract that in about an hour.
posted by Just this guy, y'know at 10:29 PM on June 22, 2016


Told my Christian/Remain-voter friend that he was supposed to pray for remain. RE-MAIN.

Seen people say the weather may affect turnout but is there any actual historical correlation to this?
posted by EndsOfInvention at 2:42 AM on June 23, 2016 [1 favorite]


In the UK:
Oxford academic and election specialist John Curtice when asked whether there was firm evidence of a link between weather and turnout said:
"No. We've had one or two general elections when it's been raining in some parts of the country and not in another and there has been no significant variation in turnout. Nobody has ever really done the analysis for local elections. It's one of the most common theories of turnout but nobody has ever found the evidence to back it up. We tend to avoid elections in December and January because snow can make a difference. Just because there's a little bit of rain in the south east people think it's relevant."


In the US:
They got data from every county in the U.S. for every presidential election from 1948 to 2000 and magtched that up with weather reports from over 20,000 weather stations and determined that for every inch of rain that a county receives above its average rainfall, turnout decreases roughly about one percentage point. And that reduction in turn out was for the benefit of the Republican party.


In the Netherlands:
A paper in International Journal of Biometeorology merged the election results from over 400 municipalities with election-day weather data drawn from the nearest weather station between 1971 and 2010. It found that the weather parameters indeed affect voter turnout. Election-day rainfall of roughly 25 mm (1 inch) reduces turnout by a rate of one percent, whereas a 10-degree-Celsius increase in temperature correlates with an increase of almost one percent in overall turnout. One hundred percent sunshine corresponds to a one and a half percent greater voter turnout compared to zero sunshine.
posted by Just this guy, y'know at 3:19 AM on June 23, 2016 [5 favorites]


Huh, that's interesting, thanks!
posted by EndsOfInvention at 3:50 AM on June 23, 2016


It's one of the most common theories of turnout but nobody has ever found the evidence to back it up.

This is such a perfect little statement about election analysis.

There will be no exit polls.

Does anyone know why this is? Are exit polls just not a thing in the UK?
posted by tobascodagama at 5:14 PM on June 23, 2016


There were exit poll surveyors working where a former colleague voted today.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 5:36 PM on June 23, 2016


Basically, exit polls work by comparing the polls area-by-area to the last election's polls and the last election's results, and extrapolating to the current election's results. But the last EU referendum was 41 years ago and an exit poll wasn't done then, so an accurate comparison can't be made. Source.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 5:38 PM on June 23, 2016 [1 favorite]


Are exit polls just not a thing in the UK?

Exit polls are normally done for General Elections.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 5:39 PM on June 23, 2016




Last few months I've wondered if I shouldn't just move back home so I'm near my family when the fuckin bombs fall.
posted by showbiz_liz at 9:13 PM on June 23, 2016 [2 favorites]


nonono this is not what was supposed to happen
posted by zinful at 9:16 PM on June 23, 2016


Shit!!!!!! Cannot believe this! Does anyone know what happened with the train delays preventing people from voting?
posted by ellieBOA at 9:18 PM on June 23, 2016


Farage - That's a turn up for the books.
Cameron - shlimazel.
posted by unliteral at 9:39 PM on June 23, 2016


Aaaaaaaagh! This can't be happening!

(You know, this means Trump will win in November. The world is falling apart on us sooner than I'd ever expected.)
posted by aramaic at 9:45 PM on June 23, 2016 [1 favorite]


I am so sorry. My god.
posted by sallybrown at 9:53 PM on June 23, 2016 [4 favorites]


United Kingdom
posted by Fizz at 9:59 PM on June 23, 2016


Ok replying to my own question, there is a gap of 1ish million people between leave and remain, and max quarter of a million affected by strikes and delays.
posted by ellieBOA at 10:04 PM on June 23, 2016


I honestly didn't believe this would happen. I'm appalled.
posted by Superplin at 10:45 PM on June 23, 2016 [3 favorites]


The lamps are going out all over England, we shall not see them lit again in our life-time.
posted by happyroach at 12:38 AM on June 24, 2016 [1 favorite]


I am honestly shocked. I really didn't think it would go this way. I am so sorry for everyone on the Remain side today.

The CBC just reported that Dutch right wing party leader Geert Wilders has tweeted "Hurrah for the British! Now it is our turn. Time for a Dutch referendum! #ByeByeEU". Ugh, what a horrible man. God knows he's got plenty of horrible company.
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 1:33 AM on June 24, 2016 [2 favorites]


Fuck.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 2:03 AM on June 24, 2016


Some interesting demographic breakdown of the results. Clear splits on level of education and earnings, less so on age.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 2:06 AM on June 24, 2016 [1 favorite]


"Official Leave campaign adverts on posters and buses claimed: ‘Let’s give our NHS the £350 million the EU takes every week’ and ‘We send the EU £350 million a week, let’s fund our NHS instead’.

But speaking on Good Morning Britain, the Ukip leader said he could not guarantee it would be possible and the Leave campaign should not have said it."
Not even a whole day after the vote, and they're breaking every promise they made, smirking and saying "OH, *I* didn't make that particular promise." This was a con job from the beginning. A filthy hustle.
posted by Slap*Happy at 5:04 AM on June 24, 2016 [12 favorites]


But overall the pattern holds true that the highest remain votes tended to be in the areas of highest net migration while the leave vote rose in areas where immigration was lowest.

Bobby Duffy of Ipsos Mori, whose surveys showed that two weeks into the campaign immigration had replaced the economy as the single most important factor driving the leave vote, said that polling showed “the actual direct impact on people’s local areas and lives is much less widespread than the general concern.

“That doesn’t mean the concerns aren’t real – we can be legitimately worried about how immigration is changing our country and putting pressure on other parts of society and services like the NHS. But it is still remarkable that the single most important factor driving the leave vote actually only has a direct negative impact on one in five of the population.”

posted by ellieBOA at 5:04 AM on June 24, 2016 [1 favorite]


MeFi's own cstross is "not patting [himself] in the back for calling out the consequences." Of which, a sample:
Divorce negotiations ...the Brexiters have been selling a lie; that they'd get a no-fault divorce and keep the house. Reality is somewhat less convenient and Brussels has no alternative but to play hardball if it is to deter other loosely-bound members from following England's example. Most likely England will end up losing the house, the CD collection, and the cat and having to sleep in the car. For example, the biggest chunk of the UK economy today is the banking sector, and London is the global number one market for euro-denominated derivatives trading. But London, as a non-euro zone market, is only allowed to trade in euros because it's the capital of an EU member state. A London that is out in the cold will lose that business. Expect much of the British financial sector to decamp to Frankfurt, Paris, and Brussels."
posted by seyirci at 5:39 AM on June 24, 2016 [7 favorites]


The Dutch journalist Joris Luyendijk argued back in Januari that Britain was bullying Europe. Now he considers it time to say goodbye (Google-translated).
posted by Too-Ticky at 6:01 AM on June 24, 2016


First Minister of Scotland Nicola Sturgeon says second Scottish independence vote 'highly likely'

Scotland voted in favour of the UK staying in the EU by 62% to 38%.
posted by showbiz_liz at 6:13 AM on June 24, 2016 [2 favorites]


Cameron resigns.
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome at 7:14 AM on June 24, 2016 [2 favorites]




Ha. Well, on the one hand if they're still here their dollars will buy more. On the other hand it's been pissing down with rain all week. Swings and roundabouts.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 8:57 AM on June 24, 2016 [1 favorite]


I am visiting London and Edinburgh this week. Every time I came out of a tube station, someone asked if I had voted. I had to say, "Sorry, I'm not a citizen here." I have spotted lots of buttons and stickers spotted for both Leave and Remain. You can definitely tell that a referendum happened. Also all the newspapers on the streets and tube stations have almost up to the minute news about the vote outcome and the Cameron's resignation.
posted by rustcrumb at 9:54 AM on June 24, 2016


Something I should have asked around the time of the first Scottish independence referendum: What happens with the Queen? If Scotland votes now for independence, will they still be nominally a constitutional monarchy under Elizabeth II? I assume they'll have similar status to other Commonwealth nations like Canada, and it's not like the queen does much.

But it's still conceptually weird to me that Elizabeth II could end up being the queen of two European nations, where one is in the EU but the other isn't.
posted by tobascodagama at 10:17 AM on June 24, 2016 [1 favorite]


headline from The Independent:
Brexit: Nigel Farage branded 'shameful' for claiming victory 'without a single bullet being fired': The Ukip leader was accused of 'bad taste' over his comment, which came just over a week after the killing of Labour MP Jo Cox
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 10:42 AM on June 24, 2016 [3 favorites]


And that headline about Nigel Farage tells you all you need to know about the moral compass of a lot of people leading the "Leave" charge.

I don't even live in the UK or Europe, but I'm incredibly saddened by this whole thing. It is depressingly easy to persuade vulnerable populations (everywhere) to vote to make life worse for themselves.
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 10:50 AM on June 24, 2016 [4 favorites]


A petition for a second referendum has (easily) met the 100,000 signatures threshold for Parliament to consider it for a debate.
posted by terrapin at 11:29 AM on June 24, 2016 [2 favorites]


It is depressingly easy to persuade vulnerable populations (everywhere) to vote to make life worse for themselves.

That's been the recipe for fascism and authoritarianism everywhere for ages: make people's situations worse and worse, sometimes accidentally but often deliberately; austerity in Europe was an example of deliberately destroying the economy. Then offer them a target and tell them they are the cause of their misery: Jews. Blacks. Polish people. Liberals. Can be anything, just some group of they are primed to hate -- and if they weren't primed to hate them at the start, they will be after the media the authoritarians mostly own is done. Campaign for more power on the basis hating and destroying said targeted people.

I mean, the logical, rational response would be to band together and go after the people who had caused the actual misery, but monkey brains mostly don't seem to work that way. So you had people over in the US, in the Kentucky gubernatorial election, in one breath explaining how Kynect (the ACA) had saved their lives directly and literally, and in the next how they were voting for the Republican whose entire campaign was based on destroying it because the liberals.
posted by tavella at 11:57 AM on June 24, 2016 [6 favorites]




Something I should have asked around the time of the first Scottish independence referendum: What happens with the Queen? If Scotland votes now for independence, will they still be nominally a constitutional monarchy under Elizabeth II?

The queen is sufficiently popular in Scotland to make it unlikely for there to be any proposal to remove her as head of state in an independence white paper (and back in 2014 that was the case too). So Scotland would become, I suspect, a commonwealth country with the queen continuing as head of state. Below this surface level of continuity, there are some interesting implications however: in England, Wales and Northern Ireland the queen has sovereignty over the country and grants power to parliament. Under Scottish law (and since the Declaration of Arbroath back in 1320) the people have sovereignty and grant it to their queen (Elizabeth the first of Scotland in this case). In theory, I guess, an alternative monarch could be chosen.
posted by rongorongo at 10:52 PM on June 25, 2016 [1 favorite]


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