Brexit – it’s time to stop looking for someone to blame and take action!

Last Friday marked 8 months since I woke up in disbelief at the outcome of the EU referendum. That morning, I looked at my 3 month old daughter, and feared what the result could mean for the U.K in the short, medium and long term. Ever since that result, as events have unfolded, I have been lost as to whom I should direct my despair at:

  • Should it be David Cameron for calling the Referendum, which he did not believe in, purely to solve internal divisions in his own party?
  • Should it be the right wing press (such as the Daily Mail and Daily Express) for all of the years they have blamed the EU for all of the problems in the country, that were in fact the failings of a number of governments?
  • Should it be Boris Johnson, Michael Gove and the rest of Vote Leave for putting together a campaign full of lies, most notably that ridiculous bus claiming £350m a week for the NHS?
  • Should it be at the likes of Arron Banks and Nigel Farage for spreading xenophobia and having the hypocrisy to pretend they are men of the people?
  • Should it be at the 17m voters who were persuaded by their arguments?
  • Should it be at all those involved in planning the Stronger In campaign for failing to articulate why the UK hugely benefits from the EU and the Single Market? Rather than only focusing on a negative economic message that clearly did not get through.
  • Should it be at the BBC for being so concerned about being seen as balanced, they made the Brexit arguments seem credible!
  • Should it be at our unelected Prime Minister who is ignoring half of the population and claims to be able to read the minds of the other half! A Prime Minster who is setting off on a course to drive the economy over a cliff (notably ignoring a manifesto pledge to stay in the Single Market)?
  • Should it be at my own MP Jeremy Corbyn (who does not reply to my emails) and the rest of the Labour leadership for failing to provide any credible opposition whatsoever over the last 8 months?
  • Should it be at the arch Brexiteers like Iain Duncan Smith and Jacob Rees-Mogg who banged on about sovereignty but then decried when independent High Court and Supreme Court Judges upheld it?
  • Should it be at all those Labour and Conservative MPs who voted for the Article 50 bill in the full knowledge that it would be harmful to the country?
  • Should it be at myself for failing to get involved in progressive politics until I was 31, only joining the Lib Dems a few weeks before the Referendum (although I had been meaning to for years) and only getting properly active (outside of social media rants) in the last few weeks?

I have now realised that, although I still feel all of this despair is justified, just looking to blame any person or group for where we are is not going to help. Ranting on social media will do no good. As Tony Blair said recently, it’s time to rise up! 

Brexit – it’s time to stop looking for someone to blame and take action!

It’s time for those of us who are fearful of the direction our country is heading to do something about it. It’s not just about a hard Brexit and what that will do to the economy. If things continue as they are, we will be stuck with a Conservative party that is moving further and further right for many years. They should not be allowed to pursue a  regressive heartless agenda unchecked!

Enough is enough! At the weekend I got involved in Islington Lib Dems’ action day, delivering leaflets spreading the progressive message around Jeremy Corbyn’s constituency to help show him there is an opposition and he has failed his constituents!  I will do much more in future but, the more people that who feel as I do that get involved, the more hope there is for my 11 month old as she grows up!

* Andrew Davidson is originally from Somerset but now lives in Buckinghamshire and works in outer London.

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53 Comments

  • Well said Andrew! It is difficult to avoid being mired in despair and resentment about the present political landscape. Many of the things we can do are useful and necessary but not very pleasant (writing to MPs holding them to account, confronting prejudice). However by volunteering for street campaigns, I’ve approached complete strangers to speak out about what’s important to me – defending the rights of EU citizens, the positive aspects of the European project – and in doing so, I’ve made several pleasant acquaintances and a couple of good friends. Maybe a lack of communication was what led to the lack of empathy culminating in the referendum result, but it’s not too late to start talking and connecting with people. And maybe that will prove to be a way out of this quagmire.

  • Andrew,

    You’ve missed one out. The Liberal Democrats who gave the Tory Party oxygen by joining the Coalition in 2010.

  • Its time to hold the brave Brexiteers to account. That doesn’t mean giving them a hug and saying there, there we are were we are we are all in that together, it means holding their feet to the fire. The right for too long have had an easy ride, alternative facts have been allowed to prosper. We need to challenge them and nail them to a wall. If it makes the posters who post them look small and stupid, good that is how it should be. We need to understand less and challenge and condemn more.

    No one remembers nice people, its just how it is, but they do remember (and respect people who challenge and fight). Name me a quote from a Liberal politician of the 20’s, 30’s or 40’s that is still as well known as this

    “No attempt at ethical or social seduction can eradicate from my heart a deep burning hatred for the Tory Party. So far as I am concerned they are lower than vermin.” Aneurin Bevan

    There aren’t any, and that is why they still remember Aneurin Bevan as the father of the NHS , even though the leg work was done by Liberals.

  • You know who were the most to blame – Tony Blair, most of Labour and the Liberal Left who allowed Blair to not have transitional arrangements for the A8. That has twisted the whole idea of the EU as people at the bottom experience its effects.

    All this displacement activity about Gina Miller, 2nd referendums, being in stasis about a fixed extreme view of migration or rather bias about migration is about that the left having no mainstream economic policy. The tide has turned – either deal with it imaginatively, radically and pragmatically or lose nationally.

  • Andrew Davidson 1st Mar '17 - 12:02pm

    Thanks Nathan and Esther.

    David Raw; what option did the Liberal Democrats have in 2010 besides forming coalition with the tories? Given the financial crisis there was simply no other way of forming stable government. The more time passes the more the Lib Dem influence in coalition is showing through, I mean just look at the mess the tories have made of governing unchecked for 18months!

  • Andrew Davidson 1st Mar '17 - 12:09pm

    Frankie, condemnation for the brexiteers is needed but my point being is it’s time for people who hate seeing where this country is headed to get involved and do something about it. Condemnation of Boris et al is part of this but other action is needed.

  • Personally, as a Leave voter. I don’t blame anyone. I think the result is good and I think it says a lot that Remain that many think blame comes into it at all. But if you do want to blame anything blame it on a misunderstand of the demos and believing that nation states were old hat, plus trying to turn it into a contest about morality with disagreement reduced to good guys v bad guys.

  • Hi Andrew. I know exactly how you feel.
    You can blame all the above except the 17 million who voted Leave. That is counter productive.
    The cracks are already starting to appear and will only open wider as time goes on.
    Amber Rudd admitted on Preston on Sunday that Immigration will not come down in the medium term. (Watch that space for UKIP to occupy). Did you catch Mr Lawther’s submission to the International Trade Select committee yesterday. Even the Telegraph is starting to turn.
    What is needed now is a consistent and comprehensive debunk of the Leave myths of:
    Parliamentary Sovereignty and the ECJ, Contributions to the EU and Immigration. Along with the assertion that it did not need to come to this and all these issues could have been mitigated against by competent governance in the past.
    The worm will turn. It is just a question of how much damage will be done in the mean time.

  • Michael Cole 1st Mar '17 - 1:12pm

    Well said Andrew.

    “Should it be David Cameron for calling the Referendum, which he did not believe in, purely to solve internal divisions in his own party?”

    Yes, Cameron and the Conservatives are primarily to blame. In his wildest dreams he never thought that he would lose the referendum. It would have been prudent to provide a threshold (60% ?) for such a momentous decision.

  • Peter Watson 1st Mar '17 - 1:35pm

    “Should it be David Cameron for calling the Referendum, which he did not believe in, purely to solve internal divisions in his own party?”
    No more so than this party for long campaigning for just such an In/Out referendum because they did believe in it, and its MPs who voted for it.

  • Lorenzo Cherin 1st Mar '17 - 2:09pm

    Should it be the EU that have not reformed and are not a loose commonwealth of friendly nation states but a federalist organisation dominated by France and Germany ?!

    Andrew, any young father who looks at the little face of his child after the referendum and feels despair, needs a course in Liberal optimism, or needs to get out more !

  • Lorenzo Cherin 1st Mar '17 - 2:13pm

    P.S.
    Andrew is ten times more a Liberal than many, or any who adopted the absurd notion of Frankie.

    The quote from Bevan, is yet another reason why many preferred Gaitskell, and do, yet !

  • If ‘it’s time to stop looking for someone to blame’, why spend most of your article on a big list of, um, people to blame?

  • @Lorenzo Cherin
    ‘Andrew, any young father who looks at the little face of his child after the referendum and feels despair, needs a course in Liberal optimism, or needs to get out more !’

    Please retract this comment. I don’t know you and I suspect you don’t know Andrew but I find this crass and beneath you.

  • Richard Underhill 1st Mar '17 - 4:55pm

    UKIP differences are now public: 1) Nigel Farage MEP had an article in the Daily Telegraph yesterday criticising the UKIP MP Douglas Carswell. 2) UKIP donor Arron Banks reportedly intends to stand for election to the Commons at the next general election in Clacton. Would-be MP Paul Nuttall has boasted about UKIP unity under his leadership.

  • @Lorenzo Cherin

    You have your view, I have mine. The problem facing you is we are about to go through hard times and hug an opponent is unlikely to be popular or productive strategy. Now in many way I hope I’m wrong and that the good times roll and we all get along but I can’t see that happening. Time will tell and will judge us all; as the Brexiteers are aware and are more than slightly worried about.

  • @ Lorenzo Cherin ” The quote from Bevan, is yet another reason why many preferred Gaitskell, and do, yet !”

    Oh dear, Lorenzo. You’re far too young to remember Nye and Gaitskell – so I have an advantage over you there.

    Bevan gave us the NHS and entertained us with his wit and passion. Gaitskell gave us charges for dentistry and spectacles, and as Nye rightly said, was a ‘dessicated calculating machine’. Bevan, for all his faults was a great man. Gaitskell wasn’t.

  • The problem with a lot of comments and the article itself is they are blaming and further to that they hang everything that happens next on Brexiteers and a Conservative government.

    It is exactly that attitude that means nothing will get done. By that definition every political party that isn’t in government accomplishes nothing and is irrelevant. Which is just not true.

    We are in a post referendum world whether we stay in or go out of EU and regardless of the deal.

    The responsibility of every left leaning party is to help shape whatever comes with the values of their party. The longer people focus on Brexit deal and not the policies that will follow it the more they will be playing catch up and response to the government in power who will control the timetable and policies being discussed.

    The left should be shaping policy, getting ahead of the government on issues they can run with. Not rehashing the past, chasing their tales and accomplishing nothing. Our country needs effective parties lobbying on behalf people and championing the ideals they represent. Those ideals will not be represented properly without that.

    Greens should be all over the ecological and environmental impact of increased global shipping and transport post referendum. Lib Dems should be all over supporting strong ethical business models in a post referendum world and Labour should be all over workers rights and expectations in a post referendum world. (a tad simplistic a view of party values but you get my point)

    If we do nothing, if we do not focus on shaping any and all outcomes we cannot blame others for what others do in OUR absence.

  • Andrew i agree that a positive case needs to be made for many things, unfortunately positive cases seldom win elections destroying your opponents does. You only have to see they way the Tories targetted the Lib Dems or Trump rose in the USA, neither used a positive case both used fear and loathing. Now we might not like that but it works and as yet no one has found away to counter it. I suspect hard lessons will be inflicted on the electorate and their mood might change; at which point a more positive case may play well but at the moment we are in a fist fight and being nice won’t win it.

  • Katharine Pindar 1st Mar '17 - 10:33pm

    Good constructive post, Toby Jai. I think our party as well as the Greens is strong on environmental issues, but I’d like to hear more from us on ‘strong ethical business models’ (is it just John Lewis we look to, and why are they not doing well just now?), and on the EU reforms we want to help shape. Let’s work for the future, not spend much time looking at the past.

  • Richard Underhill 1st Mar '17 - 10:45pm

    David Raw: Please credit work that was done designing the welfare state during the coalition government in World War 2, what the Atlee government did was to legislate for the Beveridge report, 1942.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beveridge_Report
    https://www.bing.com/search?q=beveridge&form=WNSGPH&qs=SW&cvid=c16cc65e715b45f4a599d8be9edbce7a&pq=beveridge&nclid=D19A84F13F0AA22DEE7AE50DDCF460A0&ts=1488408238640&cc=GB&setlang=en-US

  • @ Richard Underhilll “Please credit work that was done designing the welfare state during the coalition government in World War 2,”.

    Indeed I do, Richard, especially the positive parts of the 1944 Education Act…….. although the Tories never really took to R.A. Butler who introduced it.

    However, I don’t believe a Tory Government under Churchill would have introduced the welfare state post 1945. It took a great deal of courage for the Attlee Government to face up to introducing the bigger elements of the Beveridge Report given the financial situation…… and also saved agriculture and the railways as well.

    You might be interested to know that Beveridge (who represented Berwick for a short time) is buried not too many miles away from where I live.

  • Lorenzo Cherin 1st Mar '17 - 11:56pm

    P. J.

    If you cannot realise I am only pulling a leg, let me say it, that’s all, just trying to say to Andrew , cheer up ! Read my second comment and see I have great respect for him , but we need to not be so upset about this !

    Frankie

    Good trek you have been on to the Land of Nice Try !

    David

    Very unfair to Gaitskell, who slogged his guts out and gave far more to our politics of the centre left, was loved by those who loved him very much, including , Roy Jenkins , about the most unsung man in history of professional top level politics, read the biographies, a decent , honourable man.

  • @ Toby Jai
    Just when I was about to remove Lib Dem voice from my bookmarks and call it a day, I read your comment.

    A real descent into infighting appears to be surfacing – there is a real football crowd mentality behind many of the comments over the last couple of days – jeering, pointing, metaphorical throwing of sticks.

    This is very worrying for a bunch of people who are supposed to have pretty much similar values.

    If the government are playing a divide and conquer game then there is evidence of some nasty splits starting to appear on these pages.

    This one issue is starting to become toxic even amongst friends.

    The Lib Dems desperately need a vision and a set of joined up policies to bring people back together.

    Your post rescued me as I hovered over the delete button. Thank you!

  • Antony Watts 2nd Mar '17 - 8:55am

    Help me! My MP is Jeremy Wright, Attorney General no less. Declared Remainer when elected, but staunchly now following like a sheep the party line to Leave.

    Like hundreds of other MPs he is a FLIP-FLOPPER.

    Even May herself is Remain, May said recently to Trump, “It remains overwhelmingly in our interests – and in those of the wider world – that the EU should succeed.”

    Is that two sided flip-flopping or what?

  • Peter Watson 2nd Mar '17 - 9:02am

    @Toby Jai “If we do nothing, if we do not focus on shaping any and all outcomes we cannot blame others for what others do in OUR absence.”
    I entirely agree with you …

    @Katharine Pindar “Let’s work for the future, not spend much time looking at the past.”
    … and with you, …

    @Mike S “The Lib Dems desperately need a vision and a set of joined up policies to bring people back together.”
    … and this sums up my position in a nutshell.

    I really hope that this indicates a move away from being a Ban the Brexit echo chamber towards being once again a more outward and forward looking party with a coherent vision for a UK inside or outside the EU.

  • I see many of the 17m voters as being in the position of the people, who knowing or unknowingly, bought PPI,

    What a quite breathtakingly condescending attitude.

    So anyone who doesn’t agree with you is either stupid, or didn’t have the time to think about things and was misled?

    Pshaw.

  • Andrew Tampion 3rd Mar '17 - 5:59am

    @Antony Watts. Both Jeremy Wright and Theresa May along with every other Conservative MP stood on a party manifesto that clearly stated that a referendum on EU membership would be held and the result would be honoured. It is not flip flopping to vote to carry out a manifesto commitment.

  • Philip Knowles 3rd Mar '17 - 8:57am

    I think the key is in the headline. The Referendum was lost for all sorts of reasons- none of which are important now. What IS important is to carry on campaigning for what we believe is right. Since the Referendum 100s of Leavers have told me they think they made a mistake. By the time the Article 50 process is complete it is estimated that the new voters coming on to the register will have turned the majority in Leave’s favour.
    We need to mobilise those young, disenfranchised voters (who are going to suffer most from this) into a resounding voice that has to be listened to. Remember that those who lost in 1974 kept on fighting for 42 years to over turn the last Referendum! We don’t have 42 years only 2. We have to make rational, believable attacks on every single loose phrase and comment that the Leavers make. It won’t make us popular with the hard liners but they are a lost cause for us anyway.
    Only by being the voice of reason can we have any chance of succeeding.

  • You may also have different priorities than I have that, after careful thought, leads you to a conclusion that I disagree with. I respect that, but I expect that to be allowed to say that I think you were wrong.

    Saying people are wrong is fine. But saying people have no responsibility for the way they voted because they are like people who were mis-sold PPI is yo deny them agency, to basically say that they were like children who shouldn’t be scolded because they didn’t know any better, but should instead need to be helped to see the error of their ways by wise, thoughtful people like you.

    It’s supercilious, it’s condescending, it’s just downright rude. And it’s not going to win anyone over to your side, assuming that’s your aim.

  • Matthew Huntbach 3rd Mar '17 - 1:53pm

    Dav

    So anyone who doesn’t agree with you is either stupid, or didn’t have the time to think about things and was misled?

    I watched the development of the Leave campaign, from it starting with supporters of extreme free market economics, and them pushing it, funded by very wealthy extreme free marketeers, and pushed by supporters of extreme free market policy in the right-wing newspapers, so that it gradually moved from being just something supported by a small minority of conservatives to something supported by most of them.

    From this I could see that those pushing and funding the Leave campaign did so because they wanted Britain to be a country for the super-rich, a sort of tax-haven. They opposed the international co-operation of the EU because thy did not like the way this challenged the power of the super-rich.

    I have asked supporters of the Leave campaign to tell me exactly what it is they feel the EU is stopping us doing that most of the people in this country would want. I have had no satisfactory answer. I have carefully looked at what the EU actually does to make sure I am clear about that. Most people who voted “Leave” when asked don’t seem to have much of a real idea, and often they seem to think it is about the opposite to what I have worked out it is form my careful study of how this all came about over the years.

    So, Dav, what do you say to me? I have heard nothing that has caused me to change my mind, despite asking for it. You accuse me of being insulting to those who voted Leave when I repeat what I have always believed. Isn’t that being insulting to me? Why can’t you respect me and my beliefs my accepting they are genuine?

    I repeat – it is my genuine belief that most of those who voted Leave were fooled into doing so by being convinced by shady fraudsters to do so for the opposite reason those fraudsters want us to leave the EU.

  • Little Jackie Paper 3rd Mar '17 - 2:19pm

    Huntbach – ‘I watched the development of the Leave campaign, from it starting with supporters of extreme free market economics, and them pushing it, funded by very wealthy extreme free marketeers, and pushed by supporters of extreme free market policy in the right-wing newspapers, so that it gradually moved from being just something supported by a small minority of conservatives to something supported by most of them.’

    Oh come on! It’s not exactly as if corporate interests were entirely absent from REMAIN groups is it?

    Look, I have no dispute with your thinking on this but I really don’t think you can dismiss this as the plaything of particular interests as your post implies. If that referendum demonstrated nothing else it is that grave reservations about the EU project cut very much across party lines. Yes, of course that may well be the same conclusion being reached by different analyses but so what?

    It may well be the case that the EU is not the villain of myth and that we can, indeed should, be taking a long, hard look at both domestic UK governments and ourselves as voters.

    However equally the stark fact is that if you are looking for something not to like about the EU political construct then you don’t have to look very hard. The dreadful balance of net contributors to recipients, the migrant/refugee debacle, Eurozone austerity, TTIP, the list goes on. Were you personally belting out Ode to Joy as you stepped up to the ballot box? I imagine not but please don’t tell me that I didn’t think about the issues or that I don’t respect other views, yours included.

    Anyway, I’ll sit back and let you spit poison at me now.

  • it is my genuine belief that most of those who voted Leave were fooled into doing so by being convinced by shady fraudsters to do so for the opposite reason those fraudsters want us to leave the EU

    I accept that your beliefs are genuine.

    But as your beliefs are basically that anyone who disagrees with you is either stupid, or was hoodwinked — that you seem not to even be able to conceive of the idea that someone might be intelligent, well-informed, independent, not in thrall to or manipulated by any shadowy powers, and yet still disagree with you — then I think they can also accurately be described as condescending and supercilious.

  • Andrew Davidson 3rd Mar '17 - 6:58pm

    Thanks to all those who commented, as Phil Knowles has said, although I spend much of the article ranting about who or what may have caused the Ref result, the point is that it’s what those upset by it now that matters. We need to make sure whatever comes out of this mess works for the country and to do that progressive people need to be involved. As someone else said, a number of young people are now politically active for first time as a result of these events and it must be harnessed!

  • Matthew Huntbach 4th Mar '17 - 7:31am

    Little Jackie Paper

    Oh come on! It’s not exactly as if corporate interests were entirely absent from REMAIN groups is it?

    Yes, and this is part of the problem. The arguments in the EU campaign were mainly between the economic centre right and the economic far right. Because the Leave campaign was funded and run by the economic far right, the Remain campaign put all its stress on right-wing argument against them. The line pushed was essentially the pragmatic one that the controls on extreme free market economics imposed by the EU were worth it because on balance it helped big companies.

    So there was the problem – it made it look as if the Remain campaign was all about defending the political right.

    To try and think of something similar, suppose there was a referendum pushed by the Corbynites, with the Blairites leading the opposition them. I can see how that might end up with the Blairites pushing what would come across as a pragmatic left-wing position in order to try and persuade those who might have sympathy for the Corbynites not to back them, only to find that ended up making Tories vote for the Corbynite position.

  • Matthew Huntbach 4th Mar '17 - 7:41am

    Dav

    Instead of accusing me of being “condescending and supercilious”, give me some actual factual arguments against what I have said.

    What actually is it that the EU is stopping us doing that the people of Britain want to do and would be able to do if we were not in the EU?

    The Leave campaign did a lot of hand-waving suggesting that was what it was all about, as if all the problems people face in this country are about the EU controlling us and stopping us doing things. So when I asked the question “Well, give us some examples”, I’d expect an answer, but I never got one.

    Well, apart from the one about immigration. And actually, unlike many LibDems, I do have a lot of sympathy and understanding for that point. I very much can see why people resent large-scale immigration from other EU countries, and I think there are issues about employers and the government here preferring cheap labour from abroad rather than having to train and pay decent wages to ordinary British people.

  • Matthew Huntbach 4th Mar '17 - 8:00am

    Little Jackie Paper

    Were you personally belting out Ode to Joy as you stepped up to the ballot box?

    No, not at all.

    On balance I felt the international co-operation of the EU was a good thing, and such international co-operation is desperately needed if we are to combat the way the world is shifting towards being controlled by the super-rich and their globalised big businesses playing off one country against another. That does not mean I think everything about the EU in its current state is super-duper wonderful.

    So here really is where I am. I really would like a rational argument that would convince me that I am wrong, and that there are positive reasons why someone with my concerns might accept leaving the EU. But I have had none, even though I have asked for it again and again. Instead, all I get is insults that accuse me of being some liberal elitist etc. This happened throughout – this constant pushing of this very narrow stereotype of what anyone who supports remaining in the EU was and is like.

    I’m sorry, but I continue to believe, and knowing that this stereotypical view is almost the opposite of what I am really like convinces me still more, that the Leave campaign was run by fraudsters. Part of their fraud was continually pushing this false and insulting image of people like me. And yes, I do believe that other people were fooled by this into voting Leave.

    If I am wrong, give me a convincing argument. You and Dav are only saying things that convince me even more that I am right. I was never a strong fan of the EU, and indeed could have been converted by genuine factual answers to my questions to agreeing with Leave. It was the appalling false argument of the Leave campaign that pushed and continue to push me the other way.

  • Peter Martin 4th Mar '17 - 2:19pm

    @Andrew Davidson,

    You’ve said it’s time to stop looking for someone to blame but you’ve still managed to produce a list of 12 blameworthy groups.

    But what about the EU itself? You haven’t included them. But, are they completely blameless? I’d say they aren’t. They’ve introduced a common currency without understanding what is needed to make one work. Or if they have understood, they haven’t been prepared to put their understanding into practice. There’s no common Treasury. There’s no effective central EU government. There would need to be a Federal United States of Europe with all the powers of the USA to make it work.

    The result has been very high levels of EU and EZ unemployment, very high and asymmetric patterns of migration between the wealthy and less wealthy regions. If the PTB in the EU had wanted to sabotage their own project, and encourage the rise of the extreme right in the EU they could have hardly done a better job than they have.

  • Matthew you are not going to get a rational argument that will convince that you are wrong anymore than you will convince me that you are right.
    Personally, I just do not like the idea of the EU. It all just seems a bit grandiose and a poor organisation to put your faith in. A bit like medieval religion. full of talk of punishments, piety, moralising and warnings about the dangers of listening to heretics. Except crossed with the PR of FIFA and the Eurovision Song contest.
    I think leaving will prove a dreadful let down for the doomsayers and the exultant alike. Britain will just trundle along doing OK but nothing spectacular good or bad will happen.

  • @ Glenn “Matthew you are not going to get a rational argument that will convince that you are wrong anymore than you will convince me that you are right.”

    So why do you bother coming on here then ? Is it some sort of therapy ?

  • David Raw,
    I come on here because I’m a Lib Dem. I’ve told you this countless times. Around thirty per cent of Lib Dems voted Leave. I’m one of them. I’ve been posting on here years.
    I just disagree that the EU is a good thing and I think the current stance is a huge mistake.
    I actually think the EU has been an utterly useless organisation since it started in on 1st November 1993. The single currency is pure nonsense, freedom of movement has actually increased the rise of the far right and the whole project undermines locally progressive politics because it all becomes defused. The EU does nothing of note. Plus not seeing the fault lines with internationalist dogma is destroying democracy because again there is no focus and leads to the delusional belief that countries can influence other nations more than they actually can. I believe in the Nation State and that it is better to work locally with focus than stand around singing Ode to Joy (being metaphorical, not literal) in displays of meaningless gesture politics.

  • Matthew Huntbach 6th Mar '17 - 8:37am

    Glenn

    Personally, I just do not like the idea of the EU. It all just seems a bit grandiose and a poor organisation to put your faith in. A bit like medieval religion.

    But here we go again. The suggestion that anyone thinks it is better to stay in the EU does so out of some sort of mystical “faith”. We are told that it is insulting to suggest that those who voted “leave” did so because they were fooled rather than because they had rationally thought through the arguments – but here we have just the same: the line that anyone who voted “Remain” did so out of some sort of irrational fixed belief.

    This line has been pushed constantly by the “Leave” campaign. Constantly they have made out that anyone who supports remaining in the EU is some sort of fanatic who thinks everything about it is wonderful. See, for example, how my attempts to talk about it rationally get met with this line about singing “Ode to Joy”, like a religious person singing hymns of praise.

    I like much better what you say “The EU does nothing of note”. From what I see, its power is a lot less than the Leave campaign suggested. The way they pushed it as if it would be like leaving a domineering empire that was stopping us doing all that wanted was to me ridiculous. If it were true, political discussion in this country would be all about what the EU was forcing on us. But it isn’t. When it comes down to actual factual things that the EU is stopping us doing, we get almost none.

    As we now see, the EU is mainly about trade agreements, and we still have to have trade agreements even if we are out of the EU. Are the trade agreements we have in the EU oppressively dominating and controlling our lives? I don’t think so.

    I am open to being persuaded otherwise, and that’s why I’ve asked for factual arguments, and it’s not getting them that has pushed me further to the Remain position. It’s not like a religious faith, it’s just a matter of balance of opinion.

  • Matthew Huntbach 6th Mar '17 - 9:04am

    Glenn

    I think leaving will prove a dreadful let down for the doomsayers and the exultant alike. Britain will just trundle along doing OK but nothing spectacular good or bad will happen.

    Again, yes. One of the things that concerned me was the line put by the Leave campaign that there would be some huge beneficial improvement, as I said as if we were gaining freedom from dominating oppressors. That is why I wanted some factual evidence about what we were being stopped from doing by the EU that would support this line. I think many voted Leave because they were unhappy with the way things are in this country and felt it would make the big change promised. Yet to me it seems clear that the changes it will lead to are likely to be more towards the way that have made people unhappy here. To me it is Thatcherism that has caused people’s miseries in this country, and the Leave campaign was run by extreme Thatcherites.

    If I really felt that Leave would result in a more self-sufficient country, with more democratic control, I may well have voted for it. I think, however, it will result in the opposite. Those running the Leave campaign were people funded by shady money, and that’s where they are pushing us: a country where the super-rich come in with no questions asked, and no international over-view. We are already seeing this, with so much of our country being bought up by shady foreigners. The role of the British people will just be to be servants to these masters, although coolie labour is brought in to do a lot of it. That is, a sort of giant tax haven.

    We are trundling this way, and I think that has made people unhappy, yet I think leaving the EU trundles us more that way, and that was what it was really pushed for. That is why I say what I believe: most of those who voted Leave voted for the opposite of what they thought they were voting for in terms of what it will lead to.

  • Little Jackie Paper 6th Mar '17 - 9:14am

    Huntbach – ‘So here really is where I am. I really would like a rational argument that would convince me that I am wrong, and that there are positive reasons why someone with my concerns might accept leaving the EU.’

    Insofar as I can understand you, you seem to be thinking that anyone who voted LEAVE violently disagrees with you as of necessity. I don’t disagree with you at all. I voted LEAVE and pretty much went for a shower. A friend of mine voted REMAIN and also felt the need for a shower afterwards. I suspect a lot of people on both sides were not totally happy with how they voted.

    I hope you understand that I’m not trying to convince you to become a LEAVER. I’m sure you voted for good, right reasons. You did what you felt was right and made a value judgment. For my part I’d quite happily agree with the large part of what you say.

    But when it came to it I just looked at the EU over the past 10 years and I just couldn’t bring myself to tick the box that said, ‘I vote for this.’ The euro austerity mess, the debacle over migrants/refugees, the fiasco that was the A2 enlargement, relations with Russia and Turkey, TTIP and (yes) severely asymmetric migration. The list goes on and this is to say nothing of the mess the EU has (at least in part) made in my wife’s country. Now looking at your posts I infer that you are not totally without sympathy for at least some of this. The only difference really is you could look past the political construct and I could not.

    I’m not trying to tell you that you’re wrong, nor to persuade you from what, I assume, is a good-faith stance. I fully respect you for your vote and it’s sad you can’t do the same for me. Is the EU the monster of tabloid frenzy? No. Should we be holding UK (and other national) governments to account for hiding behind the EU? Most certainly. But when it came to actively saying, ‘I endorse this political construct,’ I just couldn’t do it after considering the last ten years whilst you could. Sorry if causes you umbrage or offence. It’s not meant to.

  • Hi Matthew.
    In defence of the religious thing. It was the result of reading too many reader comments in The Guardian which can be every bit as boggling as those in the Daily Mail in their flights of hysteria.
    The only thing I’d say is that both sides were really being run by the super rich so I think it’s sort a moot point on which side was more beholden to dosh. I just hope that being out of the EU will reconfigure progressive politics a little so that it is more attuned to the reality of the electorate. My view is that people are slightly more small c conservative than parts of the left want them to be and you have to work with this at a more local level.

  • Andrew Melmoth 6th Mar '17 - 1:29pm

    Do you want the UK to be a deregulated, low tax, tax haven, with minimal public services, minimal worker’s rights, low standards of environmental protection and animal welfare and a US style health system?

    If you are a Leaver and you don’t want that then you have been hoodwinked. Because it’s what the hard right of the Tory party want and Brexit has given them the once in a lifetime opportunity to bring it about.

  • Matthew Huntbach 6th Mar '17 - 5:43pm

    Glenn and Little Jackie Paper

    Andrew Melmoth has it right. I spent a lot of time studying the rise of the Brexit movement and who was really behind it, and they are people who want it just as he put it. So far as I was concerned voting “Leave” meant endorsing them, and whatever concerns I might have about the EU as it is at present, no way am I going to endorse them.

    I see nothing in the way of a realistic alternative that implements Brexit. We might think that Corbyn and his types, who were historically anti-EU, could put one forward. But they haven’t. I myself could see how it would work, but it would have to be a pretty unpleasant authoritarian socialist-isolationist thing, and I don’t see anyone proposing anything like that.

  • Andrew and matthew,
    The problem is that Right were already in power in the Conservative party. Not only that, but both Labour under Blaire and the Lib Dems under Clegg swung to the economic right as well. In truth things like freedom of movement and taking more people out of tax are economic right wing ideas, because they undermine job stability in one case and in the other conform to the smaller government model. The EU does not protect anything and never has. The move rightwards accelerated after 1993 with ever more things opened to market forces, more things sold off and so on. So I do not buy the idea that economic right have been any more empowered than they already were. I’m sorry I don’t think any of the Brexit Tories are anymore right wing than George Osborne who would have been PM in the event of Remain winning. I actually think that in Tory term the Leave/Remain split was more to do with parliament than economics. Old school parliamentarians and trad Tories v internationally minded modernisers and for want of a more exact description libertarian American style conservatives. And in the end both still have to go to the electorate with their crack pot or otherwise ideas.

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