The Brexit Party is undemocratic!

Apparently, we Liberal Democrats hate democracy. Or so I’ve been told by those who support an exit from the EU.

Apparently, we don’t respect the result of the 2016 referendum.

I hear it’s now undemocratic to hold any other view. It’s undemocratic to spend nearly three years campaigning for and building a massive consensus for that view, to the point that going into any People’s Vote referendum campaign, there would be every reason for us to be optimistic.

It’s undemocratic, I’m told, for us to rebuild the Liberal Democrat Party as a people’s movement against Brexit and for an open and tolerant Britain.

It’s nonsense of course.

Unlike the slippery prevarications of Jeremy Corbyn, I believe it is entirely consistent with respecting the result of the 2016 EU referendum and to continue campaigning for a different, better future for my children. This is simply called having principles and sticking to them.

The Brexit Party are right to point out that the 2016 referendum was the biggest act of democracy this country has ever seen, but this impressive sounding factoid should be not be used to imply that it was the last one. Democracy didn’t end.

Democracy continues and we will continue to hold views that others disagree with. We will make our case and something we might even prevail. Other times, views we disagree with might carry the day. But that doesn’t mean they become Liberal Democrat Party policy.

So, whether you agree with the Lib Dems or not, I salute your contribution to respectful and continued debate.

It is the Brexit Party I accuse of being undemocratic, because they believe in ending democracy, ruling a line under debate and enacting an extreme Brexit that is very far from the current consensus.

If you want to show The Brexit Party that we are still a democratic country, vote Liberal Democrat on Thursday.

Together, we can stop Brexit.

* Colin McGerty is a ward organiser for Cambridge Liberal Democrats. This week he tweets from @libdemdisco but can generally be found via @colinmcgerty.

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103 Comments

  • John Marriott 20th May '19 - 8:35am

    It might be better to await the result of the EU Parliamentary Elections and the analysis thereof, especially on this side of the Channel, before trying to highjack ‘democracy’. Quite frankly, it will probably be a dog’s breakfast, whatever happens!

  • Colin McGerty 20th May '19 - 9:01am

    @John Marriott: With respect John, haven’t you rather missed the point? Making the case for and campaigning for a particular outcome tends to happen before polling day.

  • Your click bait headline seems to hinge on a single paragraph of absurdity.
    “It is the Brexit Party I accuse of being undemocratic, because they believe in ending democracy, ruling a line under debate and enacting an extreme Brexit that is very far from the current consensus.”
    They believe in ending democracy?! Well that is quite the conspiracy. Hear that one at the flat earther society?
    You can debate all you like. You might want some more practise though.
    An extreme form of Brexit that is so far from current consensus that it’s polling higher than any other solution?!
    Try again.

  • John Marriott 20th May '19 - 10:01am

    @Colin McGerty
    No, sir, I think that you’ve missed my point. Nobody is denying anyone democracy – or their being able to campaign for their version of it. It could easily be argued – and indeed is by the Brexit Party in particular – that those, who voted Leave nearly three years ago are having their democracy denied at the moment. It all depends on how you define democracy. What you ought to be saying is that, of the total electorate, around 38% voted Leave and around 36% voted Remain in the 2016 Referendum, while around 28% didn’t vote at all. Surely this is the strongest argument of all for another go?

    Yes, I am sure that some, who voted Leave last time, have changed their mind. Indeed, that’s the impression that Alistair Campbell appears to be getting from the various dinner parties he’s been attending. But, move out of the Westminster bubble and do a few vox pops around the country and you won’t get the same impression, I can assure you. So, let’s just stop crystal ball gazing and just wait and see. Not long to go now.

  • On the polling so far the Brexit Party is pooling a lot more votes. Also we are constantly being told by very vocal Remainers that the Conservatives and Labour are Brexit Parties. So you can add, on what real basis is the assertion that the tide has turned posited on? Then there are the Nationalist parties in Wales and Scotland who may be Pro-EU but are making a fundamentally different argument to the UK parties because they are first and foremost independence movements thus are explicitly not committed to keeping “Britain” in the EU.

  • “But, move out of the Westminster bubble and do a few vox pops around the country and you won’t get the same impression, I can assure you.”

    The big polls that have been done indicate there has been a bigger move towards Remain in Leave voting areas than Leave voting areas.

    Now there are many criticisms that can be levelled at opinion polls but they are by far the most accurate and “scientific” way of measuring this – better than Alistair Campbell’s dinner parties or vox pops (or is that voces pop ???!!!!)

  • Colin McGerty ….It is the Brexit Party I accuse of being undemocratic, because they believe in ending democracy, ruling a line under debate and enacting an extreme Brexit that is very far from the current consensus……………………….

    Really? Even as a ‘Remainer’ I believe that, if any party has acted undemocratically, it is the LibDem party who, from the moment that the referendum result was announced, have refused to accept ANY kind of agreement to leave the EU.

    Let’s be honest with ourselves; if ‘Remain’ had won, any attempt by ‘Leave’ to reverse the result, would’ve been reviled as undemocratic.

  • that should of course read than in “Remain voting areas”

  • @expats

    “Let’s be honest with ourselves; if ‘Remain’ had won, any attempt by ‘Leave’ to reverse the result, would’ve been reviled as undemocratic.”

    Yes – more than likely but Farage and UKIP etc. would have been campaigning for a second referendum – something they say is undemocratic – as indeed Farage started to do on the very night of the referendum when he thought that he had lost. If “48-52” is unfinished business for Farage then it sure is for me.

    The acid test for me is this? Did the legislation ban further referendums for a period of timen – either in the specific legislation for the EU referendum or the overarching PPERA? No!

    Do we ban one general election after we have had another? No! On constitutional issues we now effectively have a third chamber – the people. Just as we have regular general elections, we should be allowed to consult the people on how constitutional issues are going.

    As I have said in other comments I think we will have at least 2 more referendums in the next 10-20 years. And no, it’s not a “best of” but the policy remains the policy until it’s changed.

  • Sue Sutherland 20th May '19 - 11:12am

    I thought this was going to be about the undemocratic constitution of the Brexit party which, according to theGuardian is set up so Farage is unlikely to be removed as leader. He can only be challenged by a no confidence motion from a board, which he appoints, if I’ve got it right, and then a vote by members. At the moment there are only supporters.
    Farage wants to make this election about democracy, sympathising with Brexit voters who have been told they are stupid to want to Leave, so let’s challenge him on democracy. He goes for emotion not facts so we have to attack him with emotion, our feelings about being ripped apart from our European family, to which we all belong and have a say in and which has looked after us all by keeping the peace for the last 70 years, for example. That is why we are fighting so hard against the Brexit vote.

  • Peter Watson 20th May '19 - 11:57am

    @Michael 1 “Yes – more than likely but Farage and UKIP etc. would have been campaigning for a second referendum”
    Indeed they would have been. They were mooting this before referendum day in anticipation of defeat (and the original high-profile petition for a second referendum, back in 2016 was hijacked afterwards by Remainers but had been created by a Brexiter).
    But fortunately for democracy, the Lib Dems and their leader Tim Farron were there to dismiss the idea of a Neverendum! 😉

  • Peter Martin 20th May '19 - 12:03pm

    @ Sue Sutherland,

    “….which has looked after us all by keeping the peace for the last 70 years, for example.”

    I’ve been guilty of of not expressing my clearly enough from time to time which has led to accusations of anti German sentiments. What I really should have said is those right wing German neoliberals and ordoliberals who impose far too much economic austerity on the EU.

    But there seems to be a far more serious accusation implicit in your argument. It is that we need the EU to prevent another European war! You’re saying that we would otherwise have had to see off another potential German or French invasion!

  • William Fowler 20th May '19 - 12:20pm

    The poor in Greece would, in the short term, have benefited from a bit of extra money printing but the overall populace were in favour of staying in the EU and the Euro (not trusting their politicians with the money printing presses) so it is odd that a post about lack of democracy should be complaining about the democratic decision of a wounded Euro country not to invite hyper inflation into the system. Setting up a new party from out of thin air requires a different set of rules to making an existing one more democratic, over time I am sure the Brexit Party will either evolve or collapse back into the ether. Apart from staying in the EU, the LibDems have yet to embrace a set of policies that will enthuse the populace but I suspect that Farage will do just that for the GE, along neo-Thatcherite lines that, as with Brexit, will split the country down the middle again.

  • Richard Underhill 20th May '19 - 12:33pm

    [email protected] @17.30 20/5/2019 Vince Cable
    Peter Martin: West Germans always said they wanted German Unity. They said so repeatedly. They also said that they would move the capital from Bonn back to Berlin. They have done that.
    They might not have liked fighting a war on the ground through East Germany, any more than Poles might not have liked the use of tactical nuclear weapons in Poland, nor even the transfer from East Germany through Poland of 400,000 Soviet troops.
    The EEC/EU had always facilitated peaceful German unity, reserving a place in the EEC/EU for East Germany.

  • Laurence Cox 20th May '19 - 1:04pm

    @Martin

    It’s not quite like that. While there is no requirement to report sums of under £500, this is what the Electoral Commission says:

    “Donations of £500 or less are outside the scope of PPERA and you do not need to record or report them. However, be alert to situations where it appears that a donor is attempting to evade PPERA by making a series of small donations, for example, if a number of donations of £400 are made from the same source in similar circumstances. If you think this may be happening, call or email us for advice. ”

    “It is an offence to attempt to evade the controls on donations.”

  • Richard Underhill 20th May '19 - 1:08pm

    The Flat Earth Society only really lost its credibility when there were photographs from space of the Earth as a sphere, facilitated by John F. Kennedy’s policy of putting a man on the moon and bringing him back alive. At the time there was fake news that these trips into space were fraudulent. Another event was the Earthrise.
    https://www.bing.com/images/search?view=detailV2&ccid=OIamtc5k&id=B74106A4C60D8CE981752060F275189B1C647F59&thid=OIP.OIamtc5km-pBm11xdIefbQHaF6&mediaurl=http%3a%2f%2fhdwallpapers2013.com%2fwp-content%2fuploads%2f2014%2f06%2fEarthrise.jpg&exph=1863&expw=2336&q=earthrise&simid=608049436748284209&selectedIndex=1&ajaxhist=0
    Why do Peacocks exist? They cannot fly, they cannot run fast and are therefore very vulnerable to predators. A lonely dissenter was the disrespected expert scientist who deduced that females were making the choices about reproduction and males were developing exotic tail feathers to attract females.
    Charles Darwin is now recognised as a scientist of worldwide importance, despite starting in a minority of one. Scientists are now more interested in new discoveries than in existing theories. The condemnation of “experts” in the 2016 referendum was disappointing and should be replayed to Gove if he stands to the Tory leadership.

  • John Marriott 20th May '19 - 1:33pm

    @Michael 1
    I know you just love opinion polls as you are always quoting them. Well, I would invite you to visit Lincolnshire and do a bit of polling. I don’t think that you would find many Leavers changing their mind around here in what some call the ‘Brexit capital’ of the country. All this arguing about percentages etc. is great fun for some, so, if it makes you happy, who am I to disagree?

    It will be interesting next week to see how the ‘experts’ try to interpret the EU Parliamentary election results, both here in relation to Brexit and on the continent in relation to populism.

    Finally, a word about Tice, Farage and their camp followers. They really are having a field day, running rings around all the earnest souls wringing their collective hands in their respective comfort zones. Having Parliament as the counterweight to their antics is like having the Polish cavalry charging Hitler’s panzers at the start of WW2. I’m sure that ‘Frankie’ will disagree; but, if you try to fight fire with fire, it might be you who gets burned. You need to be SMART, so why not ask them what percentage of the total electorate actually voted Leave in June 2016?

  • Charles Rothwell
    Not the old tyranny of the majority argument. The alternative in this case is tyranny of the minority. It was a winner takes all one person one vote majoritarian vote, exactly the same as the Scottish referendum. Them was the rules decided by parliament and parliament decided with an overwhelming margin to trigger article 50. If the so called tyranny of the majority had gone the other way you would not be arguing with it.
    The reality is that some people thought membership of the EU was forever, convinced themselves that the future was mapped out, avoided putting it to the test and then fell at the first hurdle and now can’t let go. That is the cause of the impasse. We’re now listening to them carrying on because the farcical forced EU elections are not going there way either.

  • Dilettante Eye 20th May '19 - 2:06pm

    As a Brexit Party supporter (there are no members yet!) I donated another £25 yesterday from an email request.
    Once you press the donate for the Brexit Party button, this is the message you get :

    Important Note regarding donations of £500.01 and over by individual persons:
    We can only accept Donations totaling £500.01 and over from an individual that is registered on the UK electoral register. If you are donating £500.01 or over, you must tick the box marked “Share your mailing address with The Brexit Party so they can acknowledge your donation.” during the PayPal Process. This enables us to confirm we can accept your donation.
    Important Note regarding donations from Companies:
    Most UK-registered companies and UK-registered limited liability partnership (LLP) that carries on business in the UK can donate. You must include your company number in ‘Add a note’ field during the PayPal Process.
    Important Note regarding all donations:
    You should only join as a registered supporter and/or donate to the party if you are on the electoral roll and eligible to vote.

    Hope that clears things up for the crazed conspiracy theorists and Gordon Brown.?
    P.S. I’m not Russian, before some clever so-n-so asks.

  • Nothing undemocratic about pointing out to leavers that without a backstop the Good Friday Agreement is put at risk.. Nothing undemocratic about continuing to tell people that if we make our own trade deals with the rest of the world, all sorts of “interesting” goods that the EU don’t want will be finding their way from N. Ireland into the single market area (This shall hence forth be known as the “American Chicken Problem”). Nothing undemocratic about reminding fisherman that they may want fewer controls on what they can catch, but that’s not much use if they loose their markets in Europe and can’t sell the stuff they catch. Nothing undemocratic about pointing out the threat Brexit poses to the Union.
    And if I deduce from all that that our interests lie in the EU, then it’s my right to fight for that, not to have to lay down and accept our miserable fate, because I have been told it’s “Undemocratic” to do otherwise.

  • Michael 1 20th May ’19 – 11:09am
    @expats

    “Let’s be honest with ourselves; if ‘Remain’ had won, any attempt by ‘Leave’ to reverse the result, would’ve been reviled as undemocratic.”……………Yes – more than likely but Farage and UKIP etc. would have been campaigning for a second referendum – something they say is undemocratic – as indeed Farage started to do on the very night of the referendum when he thought that he had lost. If “48-52” is unfinished business for Farage then it sure is for me……………………………

    I know exactly what he said, and did. However, he is the leader of the party you claim is undemocratic. If you complain about his stated refusal to accept an adverse result, how does that differ from the LibDem refusal to accept the result?

  • Matthew Huntbach 20th May '19 - 3:00pm

    When the referendum happened we were told by those pushing Leave that an agreement with the EU could easily be made. Brexit has not happened because the realistic agreement that Theresa May obtained has not been accepted, neither by those who wanted a “Soft Brexit” i.e. with continuing customs union, or a “Hard Brexit” i.e. just pulling out with no agreement.

    So, Brexit has not happened because those who say they wanted it have not agreed to a compromise they would all support. Don’t blame those of us who didn’t want Brexit in the first place for this.

    Many who wanted Brexit with some sort of clear agreement stated that they’d rather stay in the EU than leave without any agreement. Those who now want to leave without an agreement say they’d rather remain in the EU than have an agreement which is like being in the EU but not having the say in it that EU members have. So that suggests there is no real majority for Brexit, because whatever form it takes some who say they want Brexit say they ‘d rather stay in the EU than have that form.

    If you’re a worker, and someone asks you to perform a task for a reason you think won’t lead to what they say they want it for, what should you do? If you were a decent worker, you would surely ask them “Are you sure?” and explain why you are concerned.

    Similarly, if something turns out to be more complex than originally suggested and there are several variations of it that attempts to do it have brought up, wouldn’t you as a worker go back to the one who contracted you to ask them to clarify which version they actually wanted, or to drop it if they now think problems it has led to are too much?

    So it seems to me that a second referendum to clarify exactly what is wanted makes sense. Those who oppose it saying “The people voted Leave” sound to me very much like fraudsters who get people to pay for something and when it doesn’t do what they really wanted (but it does do what you as a fraudster really wanted) say “They paid for it, and that’s it, they can’t be allowed to change their mind”.

  • Nothing in democratic about a debate about our future. In fact you can argue that Brexit is starting to make people wake up to politics and destroying the big two. Now is the chance to tell people what type of EU we want, I am very reluctant to see it go down a federal route and fight against it. How we plan to work and get what we want and also what we want for the UK. We have SNP shouting in Scotland and a serious threat to the UK so how do we plan to fix the fundamental issues that both the EU and UK face.

  • jayne mansfield 20th May '19 - 3:54pm

    @ Dilettante Eye,

    Given the concerns, an investigation will clear up any problems and hopefully shut up any conspiracy theorists.

  • Much as I detest the Brexit party, it serves little purpose to call them undemocratic. Unless they can be proved to be breaking election rules, that party has as much right to put up candidiates as we do. Just stick with the positives of what we offer!

  • @expats

    “If you complain about his stated refusal to accept an adverse result, how does that differ from the LibDem refusal to accept the result?”

    I am not complaining about Farage (starting to) campaign for a second referendum when he thought it had gone against him. That’s within his democratic rights. I am complaining about him complaining about people doing exactly the same thing as him (campaigning for a second referendum)

    @John Marriott 20th May ’19 – 1:33pm

    @Michael 1
    I know you just love opinion polls as you are always quoting them. Well, I would invite you to visit Lincolnshire and do a bit of polling. I don’t think that you would find many Leavers changing their mind around

    Well Survation did exactly that last November. It estimated that the number supporting Leave has fallen in every local authority area in the East Midlands and since then all indications are support for Leave has gone down further.

    Wikipedia give me following local authorities for Lincolnshire (and apologies if any are missed out) and along with Survation’s estimates – they give the following change in the Leave vote:

    1.City of Lincoln -9.41%
    2.North Kesteven -5.07%
    3.South Kesteven -3.38%
    4.South Holland -5.81%
    5.Boston -5.20%
    6.East Lindsey -5.00%
    7.West Lindsey -5.91%

    And for the two unitaries that I think are actually in the Yorkshire and the Humber region:

    8.North Lincolnshire -5.04%
    9.North East Lincolnshire -5.91%

    It might all just mean that your friend Bill Newton-Dunn can add the letters “MEP” after his name on Sunday night.

    https://www.survation.com/what-does-the-british-public-now-think-about-brexit/

  • Paul Barker 20th May '19 - 6:03pm

    Because of the pathetic weakness of our Electoral Law, as long as donations are kept below £500 there are no controls at all. Its quite possible that Brexit is being largely funded by Russia but proving that will probably be impossible.
    In any case any enquiry will report long after the Election.

  • Nonconformistradical 20th May '19 - 6:47pm

    @Don Manley
    “Unless they can be proved to be breaking election rules, that party has as much right to put up candidates as we do.”

    Provided they are indeed operating by the rules – and are not, for example, taking non-permitted donations – as is being alleged.

  • Intresting thing about fraudsters is they they defraud you once rather than avoiding you because you would obviously have learned your lesson, they come back because your actually much more likely to fall for the fraud again. It look like quite a lot of Brexiteers will follow that path, no statement is to big to swollow, no snake oil salesmen can fail to sell them poison, tis sad but true.

  • chris moore 20th May '19 - 7:26pm

    The Brexit Party can campaign for a No-Deal Brexit. The Lib Dems can campaign for a second referéndum.

    There’s nothing “undemocratic” about either.

    The Brexit party is new-born and will take time to develop structure. The small donations issue is one that faces all parties.

  • For all those conspiracy theorists, I suggest you visit this website: https://www.libdems.org.uk/donate (feel free to donate while you do so). Ask yourself, are the Russian’s funding the remain side in an effort to divide the UK’s population? Should we ask for an urgent investigation into the funding of the Liberal Democrats campaign, who allow donations up to £500 without any checks. A threat to democracy, right? Seriously folks, some self-reflection and objectivity here.

  • nvelope2003 20th May '19 - 8:02pm

    Peter Martin: No one knows if there would have been another war. We have had plenty of them in the past. The very wise Romans said if you want peace prepare for war. We ignored that before 1914 and 1939 and see what happened. Whenever we have isolated ourselves from the Continent we have always ended up in a war. I think you have no interest in history along with the other Leavers. Strange for people who seem obsessed with WWII – maybe they want a rerun like in the movies ?

    The idea of Britain thriving on its own is a bit risky. We are not Singapore unless we can persuade 50 million Chinese to settle here. If The US is prepared to risk a war with the world’s biggest and most powerful country (population 1,400,000,000) to protect their mobile phone industry against Huawei whose prices are rather lower than Apple, what chance would Little Britain (population 65,000,000) have in any trade dispute with the USA ? We would be wiped out along with any other industry which presented any competitive threat. It is time to wake up and stop listening to the Brexit dreamers and those who well what shall we say ?

  • Nonconformistradical 20th May '19 - 8:11pm

    @Doug
    “Should we ask for an urgent investigation into the funding of the Liberal Democrats campaign, who allow donations up to £500 without any checks.”

    Donations to a politcal party of up to £500 are perfectly legal!

    If someone donates more than £500 they must be a permitted donor.

    See https://www.electoralcommission.org.uk/faq/donations-to-political-parties/are-there-limits-on-the-amount-that-can-be-donated-to-a-political-party

    Also https://www.electoralcommission.org.uk/__data/assets/pdf_file/0014/102263/to-donations-rp.pdf

  • Mick Taylor 20th May '19 - 8:26pm

    @Doug. All political parties can and do accept amounts of £500 or less and are not obliged to report them. Over £500 all donations must be recorded (even if they come in several smaller amounts during the year) and the donors must be registered UK voters.
    The problem comes when the £500 limit is being used countless times (eg by the Brexit Party) to circumvent the rules. See Lawrence Cox’s post above.

  • Peter Martin 20th May '19 - 8:30pm

    @nvelope 2003

    “No one knows if there would have been another war”

    I think we can be pretty sure there wouldn’t have been! At least not between the European powers of France, Germany, Britain and Italy. The situation was quite different in the period 1945 -1990. Then the west of Europe was in alliance with the Americans, with the ‘bad guys’ on the other side of the Iron Curtain.

    There is really no evidence that we need to get into bed with each other to anywhere near the same extent as is required by the EU to prevent wars. Whatever the faults of South American countries, and African and most Asian countries too, that they seem to get along tolerably well. Any disputes don’t usually break out as armed conflict.

    The exceptions have been when the Americans, and before that the Imperialist powers, were involved, and also the outbreak of civil wars often caused by US meddling. The EU, as it moves in the direction of single country, is no guarantee against those. The USA, as I’m sure you’ll know, had its own bloody civil war in the 19th century as part of its ‘nation building’ process.

  • @ envelop “The very wise Romans said if you want peace prepare for war. We ignored that before 1914…….”

    I’m afraid you’re betraying a lack of knowledge on that one, Mr Envelop. For what it’s worth, there’s a general consensus amongst reputable historians these days that the Asquith Government did not ignore matters before 1914.

  • My point is the massive partisan hypocrisy of casting Brexit party supporters donating small sums as a threat to democracy. Small sums donated by supporters is positive political engagement and part of our political settlement, all parties use this.

    If you have proof – not conspiracy theories – of what Cox’s post talks of, by all means, I would encourage reporting it. Pending that being proven, this partisan framing just makes us look bad.

  • Peter Martin
    What you should have said was that the EU has not been keeping peace for 70 years. It was only formed in 1993. Remainers keep talking about the EU as if it was this long standing organisation when really the political union stuff is only 26 years old, the Euro is only 20 years old, freedom of movement dates to the ancient past of 2004 and the Lisbon treaty entered into force in the dim distant times of 2009. Far from being a rip snorting longstanding success it has spent most of its short existence mired in problems, has member states that ignore its rules and is committed to an ever closer political union that very few people actually want. It’s a severely compromised organisation.

  • nvelope2003 20th May '19 - 8:51pm

    Chris Moore: Surely the Brexit Party is just UKIP without the democratic structure that party appeared to have which caused Nigel Farage so many problems so he started a limited company without any members – just 100,000 supporters paying £25 each which gives them £2,500,000 together with all those £499.99 donations from abroad, possibly not from our dearest friends. If only we could manage that but I guess we are no threat to anybody ?

  • Peter Martin 20th May '19 - 8:53pm

    @ Matthew Huntbach,

    “So, Brexit has not happened because those who say they wanted it have not agreed to a compromise they would all support. Don’t blame those of us who didn’t want Brexit in the first place for this.”

    There is some truth in what you are saying. No-one is to blame. Or everyone is to blame -depending on how you want to look at it. The problem is that Parliament works on majorities, yet, there are some problems which can’t be resolved simply by taking a vote. For example if we have ten people sharing a single TV set they could be split 4,3,2,1 on a choice of four channels to watch. If everyone insists on voting only in favour of their preferred channel we end up with a situation in which there isn’t a majority for any single one option.

    What is someone surprising is that both sets of negotiators seemed to be oblivious of this simple problem. The sensible thing would have always to be asking the question of whether what was being sort-of-agreed would ever get a majority in Parliament. A little bit of foresight was all that was needed to have known how it would all turn out.

    But maybe they wanted it turn out this way, all along?

  • Peter Martin 20th May '19 - 9:01pm

    @ Glenn,

    “What you should have said was that the EU has not been keeping peace for 70 years. It was only formed in 1993”

    Yes. Good point. There’s a big difference between the old EEC and the present EU. Most of us who are supposedly eurosceptical would be OK with what we had in EEC days. That all seemed to work reasonably well.

    I’ve always worked on the basis of ‘if it ain’t broke don’t fix it!’

  • nvelope2003 20th May '19 - 9:07pm

    Mr Raw: Yes I am aware of the song “we want Eight and we won’t wait and “we don’t want to go to war but by jingo if we do we’ve got the ships, we’ve got the men, we’ve got the money too”
    Asquith and the Government were aware of the competition from Germany and did rearm but they did not really make it clear that they would fight – the Germans did not think so – “are you going to war for a scrap of paper” in reference to the 1830 guarantee to Belgian neutrality. There were anguished debates in the Cabinet and Lloyd George took some persuading until the comparison with little Belgium and Wales became clear. It was similar to the US ambassador’s equivocations to Saddam Hussein which led him to think the US would not go to war with Iraq and then they did. The point I am making is you have to make things crystal clear – got it ?

  • Dilettante Eye 20th May '19 - 10:22pm

    Strange how an uncorroborated allegation by a bitter remainer and has-been politician, can spur the Electoral Commission into action when it suits their obvious anti-Brexit bias, and yet :

    This is taken directly from the peoples-vote uk website:

    “We have, therefore, set the donation limit to £499 because in a regulated period, any donation for campaign purposes below £500 is considered a small donation, which means that individual donors don’t have to be checked.”

    So how come the ‘impartial’ Electoral Commission, missed this blatant and open admission of funding abuse?
    Electoral Commission hypocrisy at its finest.

  • Bless is anything ever a Brexiteers fault, a bit of scrutiny a bit a pressure and they throw poor dolly out of the pram. Facts can be held back by delusion for longer than a rational person would think, but eventually they will break through.

  • Peter Martin 21st May '19 - 6:12am

    @ Martin,

    You seemed to be trapped in your own fixed mindset that the EU is a marvellously progressive, (even slightly socialist?) , entity and, ergo, any opposition to it must be indicative of latent right wing tendencies. If you got out and about a bit more, and actually spoke to people, you’d perhaps appreciate your mistake. It’s true that Tony Blair largely made sure that no-one like Jeremy Corbyn or Dennis Skinner, or even he himself in his younger days, would ever make it through the MP selection process in the Labour Party but we leftish EU-osceptics haven’t gone away.

    Socialism isn’t changing things just for the sake of it. We build the NHS, because we believe in the need for it, then afterwards we do our best to conserve it? You’re saying that makes us ‘conservatives’? OK if you say so.

    Also, as democratic socialists, we work to change the system by popular consent. You can, if you like, argue for the merits of the Maastricht and Lisbon Treaties which are significant steps along the Federalist road and do mark the changes from the EEC to the EU. However, there was no significant significant demand anywhere for either of them. There was no popular clamour. They were foisted on the reluctant populations of EU countries by the PTB in the EU. We, like many EU countries, didn’t even get a vote on them so you can’t claim popular consent. Gordon Brown knew how unpopular his signature on the Lisbon Treaty was going to be when h decided to have a ‘prior engagement’ on the same day everyone else was signing away!

    Evolution isn’t the gentle process you might imagine. If any of us don’t use the intelligence we were born with, and try to do something dangerously stupid, we will likely and quickly eliminate ourselves from the gene pool. The EU has indeed done something extremely reckless and has got itself stuck in an nonviable in-between state. It is neither a Confederation of Independent Nations, which we know works reasonably well from EEC days, nor is it a fully federal United States, which we can see also working reasonably well over on the other side of the Atlantic.

    Brexit, the Yellow Vest protests, the slow growth, high unemployment, the imminent influx of the far right into the EU parliament are just symptoms of its inevitable demise.

  • ……………………[email protected] envelop “The very wise Romans said if you want peace prepare for war. We ignored that before 1914…….”

    May I suggest that “If you prepare for was”, you’ll get a war.

    The popularity (especially among senior politicians and military thinkers) of Erskine Childers 1903 novel “The Riddle of the Sands” was an indication of how the public saw Germany as a threat.
    The number of treaties and pacts in ‘preparing for war’ made the war so inevitable that, even an incident so far removed from Britain as when “a bloke called Archie Duke shot an ostrich ’cause he was hungry”, was the spark.

  • @ Envelope “The point I am making is you have to make things crystal clear – got it ?”

    Which of course Asquith did via the speech he got Lloyd George to make in the Mansion House in 1911. Got it ?

    The trouble is that some people never “get it”, however clear you make it. Got it ?

  • Martin,
    Peter isn’t a Conservative he is a Reactionary, he wishes to return to a previous time. It is in fact a defining trait of Brexiteers they all seem to want to return to days of yore. The problem is with them is they can’t agree what decade or even century they wish to return too. The so called leftie ones seem to favour the 1970’s, the more conservative ones the 1950’s, and the deeply reactionary ones the age of Victoria. This urge to return to a safer age is a natural reaction to the fear they have of a rapidly changing world, unfortunately by voting to make such a major change they have voted for even more rapid change. Brexit us being powered by the old and very afraid, the tragedy is what the fear most change, is actually what they have voted for, ironic, sad but true.
    So we enter the school of fools and dammed few of them will make it through, rapid change is not good for the old and they will be among the first to be thrown under the bus, there is no room for the unproductive in the glorious future Farage, Mogg and Co envisage.

  • The very wise Romans? You mean the vicious militaristic expansionist empire that enslaved people, loved to force some of them to kill each other for entertainment, and saw omens everywhere. I know it’s wrong to judge the past by modern standards, but surely such value judgements apply both ways. You can’t separate the sentiments and beliefs of ancient Rome from how it functioned in practice.

  • Peter Martin 21st May '19 - 8:25am

    @ frankie,

    Actually I’m a time traveller who could go back to the 70s, but I’ve been sent to 2019 from the year 2060 to warn against the dangers of EU inspired neoliberalism which will lead to the rise of a new Nazism and WW3.

    Just keep that between ourselves. I’m not supposed to menation that! 🙂

  • Nonconformistradical 21st May '19 - 9:23am

    “It is in fact a defining trait of Brexiteers they all seem to want to return to days of yore. The problem is with them is they can’t agree what decade or even century they wish to return too. The so called leftie ones seem to favour the 1970’s, the more conservative ones the 1950’s, and the deeply reactionary ones the age of Victoria.”

    I thought they’d prefer the more medieval times of landowners and serfs – and the main factor which started to modify that scenario was the Black Death – far fewer serfs left to serve the (remaining) landowners’ needs…with the laws of supply and demand kicking in – I recall vaguely a bit in Simon Schama’s History of Britain TV series on this point.

  • chris moore 21st May '19 - 9:40am

    nvelope2003 20th May ’19 – 8:51pm
    Chris Moore: Surely the Brexit Party is just UKIP without the democratic structure that party appeared to have which caused Nigel Farage so many problems so he started a limited company without any members – just 100,000 supporters paying £25 each which gives them £2,500,000 together with all those £499.99 donations from abroad, possibly not from our dearest friends. If only we could manage that but I guess we are no threat to anybody

    Yes, the Brexit party is a personal vehicle for Farage with a single objective. i can’t see that that makes it undemocratic.

    If it morphs into a general purpose party, it will have to develop structure.

    This issue of donations: we don’t actually know that there is anything untoward about the donations. All parties are faced by the same issue regarding donations at the limit.

  • chris moore 21st May '19 - 9:47am

    @e Dilettante Eye 20th May ’19 – 10:22pm
    Strange how an uncorroborated allegation by a bitter remainer and has-been politician, can spur the Electoral Commission into action when it suits their obvious anti-Brexit bias,

    it did not spur the Electoral Commission into action.

    There is no special investigation into The Brexit party. Nor any official suggestion that they have done anything wrong, The Electoral Commission regularly looks into funding of ALL parties.

    And I believe that at times all the major parties have been rapped over the kncukles for irregularities, of greater or lesser seriousness.

    The Electoral Commission is an impartial and important element of our democratic electoral system.

  • chris moore 21st May '19 - 9:58am

    Peter Martin 21st May ’19 – 8:25am
    @ frankie,
    Actually I’m a time traveller who could go back to the 70s, but I’ve been sent to 2019 from the year 2060 to warn against the dangers of EU inspired neoliberalism which will lead to the rise of a new Nazism and WW3.
    Just keep that between ourselves. I’m not supposed to menation that!

    Peter, you are one of the very few survivors of that multi-lateral atomic war then? I see you emerging like a prophet of old out of the base of a towering mushroom cloud, muttering something about a curency issuing government.

    (PS Your remarks about your Liberal and Green family and friends were splendid. My wife’s family were ardent communists; grandfather was in jail for 10 years under Franco. My wife maintains the family tradition.)

  • Jayne Mansfield 21st May '19 - 10:01am

    @ Peter Martin,
    The surge in extreme Right Wing ideology and support is not just an EU phenomenon.

    Just as the Referendum was called at a time when people were concerned about the mass movement of refugees, asylum seekers and economic opportunists, thus adding fuel to the fire of the extreme Right wing, the idea that the timing has come for your brand of left wing politics, is also I believe, a fundamental mistiming.

    Read the runes Peter. there is no great movement for a more fundamental left wing politics at the moment. Brexit or remain have become symbols of something greater than whether we leave or remain in the EU. You, like many on here, are talking economics, whereas the extreme Right wingers like Farage are appealing to emotions that appeal to ideas about culture, national identity , immigration. It is base, but that is what is now happening and we live in dangerous times. Those of us who wish to stand against these emerging forces need to stand together.

    I regret that the EU elections is being sold by some as a form of second referendum, it can only end badly giving to a further boost for those whose politics we both find abhorrent.

    I have been sent a information by a group of Remain number crunchers who advise on current trends which party to support to rally maximum support against having a Brexit candidates in one’s area,

    REMAINVOTER.COM. I will be a tactical voter based on their predicted figures.

  • Nonconformistliberal
    No the medieval lot is the pro EU camp harking back to an imagined shared cultural and historic destiny that never was with its roots in the concept of Christendom. The thing is very few nations and even less of their respective populations actively want the ever-closer-political- union at the heart of the EU concept which is the main cause of resurgent nation first politics. It isn’t collapsing, but the drive and belief has mostly gone. This is because there is no common language, no common values or shared culture except maybe pop culture which is basically American. Plus, there’s enough arguments about that stuff within Nation states let alone within the supranational EU.

  • Peter Martin 21st May '19 - 10:41am

    @ chris moore,

    Yes full respect from myself to your wife, her family and politics. Churchill would probably have done a deal with Franco over Gibraltar which have allowed him to remain in power after the war.

    My colleague who has been sent back to early 30’s Germany has the same problem. He’s been saying to Weimar Republican politicians that Nazism can be stifled at birth by simply reflating the economy, yes by using its powers as a currency issuing government, to reduce unemployment and levels of social distress. He’s warned that otherwise there will be 60 million deaths as a consequence of the coming WW2 and also Germany will lose its Eastern parts to the Russians after losing it.

    He’s finding it hard to get anyone to take him seriously! 🙂

  • @ Peter Martin

    I think you must go back yourself. Your colleague clearly lacks persistence.

  • Laurence Cox 21st May '19 - 10:59am

    Here is a good article in the Guardian ‘Long Reads’ series that explains how the Brexit Party really works and how Farage built it on the template of the right-wing 5* Movement.

    https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2019/may/21/brexit-party-nigel-farage-italy-digital-populists-five-star-movement

    The whole idea of direct democracy is just a cover for the real aim, which is for the leader to control his supporters without any checks or balances; this is why it is important that the organisation is a company not a regular political party (in case you were wondering).

  • It is a sad thing that people can no longer publicly support a different view without risking having themselves or their property damaged or covered with some substance.

  • Peter Martin 21st May '19 - 12:04pm

    @ Jayne Mansfield,

    “The surge in extreme Right Wing ideology and support is not just an EU phenomenon.”

    This is true to some extent. However, what is happening in the EU really doesn’t have any parallel anywhere else. Not even with Trump and the USA. Once great EU parties of both the centre left and centre right in the EU have just about ceased to exist. Even in Germany, which arguably does well out of the EU, neither the Social nor Christian Democrats can govern without the support of the other. So they cling together to try to fend off a growing support for the AfD. Democracy can’t work with only one natural party of government. Sooner or later the AfD will take over and it will be all over for the EU.

    The issue of EU-ophilia or EU-oscepticism is tearing parties apart as voters, many who are normally left leaning, switch to the eurosceptics of the far right. I wish the left were playing a more decisive role in opposing the EU imposed austerity which is the cause of all the problems we see -including Brexit. Unfortunately they largely have a misplaced love for a failing neoliberal/ordoliberal capitalist entity.

  • Laurence Cox 21st May ’19 – 10:59am
    Here is a good article in the Guardian ‘Long Reads’ series that explains how the Brexit Party really works and how Farage built it on the template of the right-wing 5* Movement.

    Thanks for the link, Laurence.

  • @ Peter Martin “Churchill would probably have done a deal with Franco over Gibraltar which have allowed him to remain in power after the war.” I hope that’s meant to be a joke about the old Imperialist, Senor Martin. Such a deal is impossible to envisage.

    Tradition has it that British rule over the Rock will end if the Gibraltar apes disappear – a catastrophe Churchill was not prepared to countenance. Papers released by the National Archive in 2004 show that he fretted about this even during the Battle of Arnhem in September, 1944. The reproductive capacity of the Barbary ape of Gibraltar was, it appears, a matter of supreme national importance in the corridors of power.

    In September 1944, as 1st Airborne Division fought desperately to hold on at Arnhem, the Prime Minister’s thoughts were elsewhere. Something, he said, had to be done about the unpatriotic frigidity displayed by the apes (actually a kind of macaque found in North Africa and taken on to the Rock by British sailors).

    Churchill sent a message to the Colonial Secretary – brief and to the point. ‘The establishment of the apes should be 24. Action should be taken to bring them up to this number at once and maintain it thereafter.’ He gave the Colonial Office no clue how this feat was to be accomplished though.

    Luckily for the Empire, the apes did their duty. But a watch was kept thereafter, the governor being required to submit a report to London every six months containing the names and ages of all the apes. HMG also agreed to contribute nine pence per day for the upkeep of each one.

    Don’t ever say that LDV is historically uninformative, Peter.

  • Philip Moss 21st May '19 - 1:29pm

    One could say that by pointing out the rules on donations that Brexit was requesting
    donations below £500.01, AS I understand it you can make as many as you like below this magic figure and your name is not disclosed to the powers that be.
    Surely there should be no thresholds all donations should be disclosed with full info as to the subscriber.As we are aware questions have been raised as to large donations to UKIP, very disappointing that we still have no full disclosure, why do these things take so long.
    We are told that Mr Johnson somehow arranged payment of £40m? for the Garden Bridge from public money, if that is so why has he not in court explaining under what
    authority these payments were made? We seem to be unable or unwilling to clear out the stables. Not to worry when errors are made in the payment of monies to those in need
    you will soon have the Government demanding the monies back with penalties.

  • Dilettante Eye 21st May '19 - 1:51pm

    “…the Guardian ‘Long Reads’ series that explains how the Brexit Party really works…”

    Hmmmm..

    Yes you could read an avid remain newspaper, spin its clueless view on how the Brexit Party works, OR you could listen to leaver comments direct, and get info from the horse’s mouth on the Brexit Party from those who (unlike the Guardian), actually believe in Brexit.?

    This disgraceful attempt at establishment remainer stitch up has gone way past acceptable, and now requires a much greater cutting-through into the very heart of British politics. And that is what is coming.

    This is now about the deeper fundamentals of democracy, and a re-assertion in British (post EU), politics of just who is in charge?

    Hint… the voter is in charge.

    British voters have shown (in 2016), that they have an new appetite for direct democracy, and I’m hoping that once this proxy 2nd Referendum on Thursday is completed, the Brexit Party will step up a gear towards a commitment to a major policy of true direct voter approval in our politics.

    Direct democracy can be done as California, with a population of 30 million has shown. So perhaps using the California model of propositions, as a starting template, I see no reason why voters in Britain can’t decide by ballot on a series of major issues every 5 years at the same time as a GE, on things such as ~ whether the Lords second chamber, should

    i) Stay as is, with appointees
    ii) Stay but with elected personnel
    iii) Stay but with a five yearly ‘jury’ of citizens
    iv) Abolish completely.

    So direct democracy can be done responsibly, and as a bonus it’s Liberal !
    Furthermore, does ‘supporter’ or ‘member’ of a new politics, really matter anymore when it could be said that using a California style model of ‘propositions’, every one of the 45 million eligible UK voters are ‘proxy’ members of a direct democracy model of electoral reform.

    The disgraceful shenanigans of a ‘remain’ parliament have shown us that we can’t trust our out of touch established politics and discredited politicians.
    Now go and read your (remainer bias) Guardian article and see truly, how very little they understand of the Brexit Party, and what is coming (politically), down the line.

  • Nigel Farage has his own views on this. Of Ms Andreasen, he said: “The woman is impossible.” Douglas Carswell was “sniping from the sidelines”. He is no more flattering about his other former disillusioned colleagues.

    Nevertheless, anyone thinking of teaming up with Nigel Farage should be aware that the chances of falling out with him are substantial. And given he had a reputation as an autocrat when he was in charge of UKIP, the structure of the Brexit Party should give any would-be ally pause for thought. For it is not a party, but a company controlled by Nigel Farage. He appoints the board. There are no members. Those registered supporters are the fools who are easily parted from their money – they get nothing for it.

    Nigel Farage is leader for life and he can do as he pleases. If you join the Brexit Party and you then fall out with Nigel Farage, you will lose.

    So, those hardline Conservative MPs beguiled by the Brexit Party’s rise in the polls need to do some careful thinking. Do they stick, unhappily, with the Conservative party (which they may well believe is a sinking ship) or do they defect to a new home where they will have no power and no real influence, where they will serve as a trophy rather than a colleague? To defect is to subordinate yourself to Nigel Farage forever. That is the tariff of admission.

    The choice is not a particularly easy one, especially if you believe that the Conservative party is now incapable of delivering the Brexit you want. But anyone who defects to the Brexit Party only to discover that they end up as the next of Nigel Farage’s victims deserves no sympathy for their fate: the implications of the choice are there for all to see right now.

    Alastair Meeks

  • @John Marriott 20th May ’19 – 1:33pm

    @Michael 1
    I know you just love opinion polls as you are always quoting them. Well, I would invite you to visit Lincolnshire and do a bit of polling. I don’t think that you would find many Leavers changing their mind around

    Well Survation did exactly that last November. It estimated that the number supporting Leave has fallen in every local authority area in the East Midlands and since then all indications are support for Leave has gone down further.

    Wikipedia give me following local authorities for Lincolnshire (and apologies if any are missed out) and along with Survation’s estimates – they give the following change in the Leave vote:

    1.City of Lincoln -9.41%
    2.North Kesteven -5.07%
    3.South Kesteven -3.38%
    4.South Holland -5.81%
    5.Boston -5.20%
    6.East Lindsey -5.00%
    7.West Lindsey -5.91%

    And for the two unitaries that I think are actually in the Yorkshire and the Humber region:

    8.North Lincolnshire -5.04%
    9.North East Lincolnshire -5.91%

    It might all just mean that your friend Bill Newton-Dunn can add the letters “MEP” after his name on Sunday night.

    https://www.survation.com/what-does-the-british-public-now-think-about-brexit/

  • Ah Peter, that is actually more sense than you have spoken for a long while, certainly your opinions and views haven’t moved on since the 1970’s, are you Jeremey Corbyn?
    Still I shouldn’t poke to much fun at you, after all you will have to explain Scunthorpe to your nearest and dearest, that won’t be fun and you still have Sunderland to come. The list of towns devastated by Brexit grows by the day. I know some of you think but they are Northern towns far, far away, of which we know nothing and care less, but Glen Airbus is just up the road and you’ll have the joy of explaining that so don’t get too cocky.

  • Dilettante Eye 21st May '19 - 5:44pm

    @ Roy

    “Those registered supporters are the fools who are easily parted from their money – they get nothing for it.”

    Well this registered-supporting-fool has put forward donations of about £165 in several ‘chunks’, and if necessary, I’ll do more, and all I want for it is freedom from this unelected EU mess, and the restoration of my democratic right to Hire n Fire those that supposedly represent us in parliament.

    Freedom from this monstrous EU is worth every penny.

    Just think, if the average ‘supporter’ donation is half of that £165 and there are 110,000 registered supporters then that’s a £9 million fighting fund. Can the Lib Dems boast such financial support?

    I just don’t think you realise the sheer anger that you are up against.

    You establishment remainers think !! you understand Brexit and the mind set of leavers, but you don’t come close to understanding what’s coming down the track.
    Be under no illusion, we will leave this immoral corrupt EU, and will do whatever it takes to do so.

  • Paul Barker 21st May '19 - 6:19pm

    There is a case for saying that the structure of Political Parties should fit with their Values, thus the Liberal Democrats have a structure that is open & democratic & Brexit has a sort of Absolute Monarchy. Brexit Supporters don’t want to be members who take some responsibility, they want Farage to tell them what to do. Some of them actually believe that he was appointed by God to save Britain. Theres a photo of them holding placards saying just that.
    Of course Farage would like to tell us all what to do, if he could achieve that position with little effort; failing that he would like to see Bojo doing it in his place.
    Its our job to stop them, if we can.

  • Paul Barker
    Gobsmacking nonsense of the highest order.

  • Any of our resident Brexiteers and Lexi care to comment on the deverstation of Scunthorpe. No thought not, couldn’t we at least have a “Nuth to do with Brexit” out of one of you!

  • Nonconformistradical 21st May '19 - 7:17pm

    @Philip Moss

    “As I understand it you can make as many as you like below this magic figure and your name is not disclosed to the powers that be.”
    Political parties do not have to declare such donations to the Electoral Commission.

    However, the Electoral Commission instructs parties to:-
    “be alert to situations where it appears that a donor is attempting to evade PPERA by making a series of small donations, for example, if a number of donations of £400 are made from the same source in similar circumstances. If you think this may be happening, call or email us for advice. ”

    See https://www.electoralcommission.org.uk/__data/assets/pdf_file/0013/102280/sp-manage-donations-rp.pdf

    So if the Brexit party isn’t keeping an eye on this or doesn’t even have the ncessary info there’s an issue there.

    “Surely there should be no thresholds all donations should be disclosed with full info as to the subscriber.”

    Well maybe – but if this discourages people from making small donations it might not be a good idea. The objective of the donation reporting system is to provide some transparancy so that we the people can see if a particular party is being funded by a small number of wealthy individuals rather than by lots of small donations from lots of people.

    This seems where the Brexit Party situation gets interesting. On their website – the donate facility at https://thebrexitparty.org/donate/ takes one to a PayPal payment facility. That allows payment either via a PayPal account or one can pay using the guest checkout, And in the guest checkout part it states:

    “Your financial details won’t be shared with the merchant.”

    And there is a drop-down list of countries – so it seems possible to pay with plastic from just about anywhere in the world, over and over again, without the Brexit party knowing who is making the donations.

    I stopped at this point!

    If you look at the donate facility on the LibDem federal website at https://www.libdems.org.uk/donate it starts by asking how much and the next thing it requests are details about the donor before ever getting near a means of payment.

  • Frankie
    You mean the steel manufacturer that was marching for survival in 2015 while we were still in the EU. You need to look up just how many manufacturing jobs were devastated by your beloved pro Europe PMs from Heath onwards.

  • nvelope2003 21st May '19 - 8:35pm

    Glenn/expats: The Romans were a cruel people like the British who treated the Irish and colonial people with savagery or extermination in the case of Australian aboriginals, and American Indians at the hands of our US descendants.
    Is there much difference between an absolute monarchy and an absolute democracy – a sort of elective dictatorship ? The rule of the mob can be worse than that of a good king. I hear people calling Farage “our Nigel” and the way they say it indicates a sort of worship like that for Hitler, Stalin or Mussolini. It is frightening around here and elsewhere.

    Peter Martin : You seem to have overlooked the Iran/Iraq war, the one with Kuwait, Yemen etc and the wars between Israel and the Arabs, Pakistan and India, Afghanistan etc. You failed to answer my point about the ruthlessness of the US in trade matters. We will be their vassal.

  • John Marriott 21st May '19 - 8:38pm

    @Michael 1
    There you go again. If it’s in an opinion poll, it must be right. We shall see. For the record, in the seven Lincolnshire Districts, only two registered a Leave vote under 60%. The rest were well above, with Boston, on 75%, having possibly the highest Brexit vote , or one of the highest Brexit votes in the country.

    So a drop of on average of around 5% in Leave support is unlikely to make much difference around here.

    @Paul Barker
    Whether you or I like it or not, most people have no desire to join a political party and this will probably always be the case. Many will give to a cause that appeals to them, which is clearly the case with the Brexit Party, which ought really to be rechristened ‘the Brexit Movement’.

  • Bless Glen so no words for Scunthorpe, just whatabouttery, well deflector shields up Glen you’ll be needing them. By the way no functioning economy equals no pensions and no amount of whatabouttery will change that, better go find your old work clothes there will be a need for them soon.

  • @John Marriott

    “So a drop of on average of around 5% in Leave support is unlikely to make much difference around here.”

    Well – it does make some difference! And you said that if you went and did polling you would find hardly any difference. I pointed out that was not the case – a reputable company did go and do some polling and found that there was a difference. Now we can quibble as to whether 5% is “much”. I would argue that it is not insignificant when the referendum was won by 4%. And actually all the evidence is that there has been a further drop in support for Leave since then.

    “If it’s in an opinion poll, it must be right.”

    No! It was you were arguing about opinion polls. I don’t think that opinion polls “must” be right. They are good illuminations and guides to views. But they only do what they say on the tin. And one should be very mindful of that. I am very aware of the large number of problems with them. And if available other tools should be used as well. But they are an important bit of evidence. And as has been said of democracy and government, they are the worst way of divining opinion until you consider all the others.

  • Frankie
    I’m just pointing out that the advocates of the European project were no friends of the working man/woman.
    Also also you need a thesaurus or something so you can find an few alternatives to tis and bless.
    Nvelope2003.
    And the Spanish empire was bad too, so was the Belgian one, the French was a bad one as well and of course there’s the German one. My ancestors were Jewish and Romany. so I’m less dewy eyed about European history.

  • Innocent Bystander 21st May '19 - 10:29pm

    Er.. no. The way to divine opinions, in a democracy, is via a secret ballot. Opinion polls are worthless in that process. They entertain the political activists, but that is all. They are not expressions of the will of the people and should not be claimed to be.
    That is why they routinely predict the exact opposite of what happens when the real test of public opinion is taken.
    But you can believe them if you like.

  • Glen,
    I find simple words are easier to understand. However I think you need to look up the meaning of the big word “whatabouttery”, because that seems to be all you and your fellow Brexiteers have been reduced to. O go on I’ll help, Google is probably beyond you
    whataboutery/ (ˌwɑːtəˈbaʊtərɪ) /
    noun
    (of two communities in conflict) the practice of repeatedly blaming the other side and referring to events from the past.

    Big day today Glen British Steel goes under and you’ll spend all day avoiding the topic, bit hard for poor Peter there are 700 jobs in Teeside at risk, that is a bit too close to home for him. Still look around your little village, I’m sure there are looming closures you’ll have to explain. Tick tock, reality is at the gate and it will not be kind to you.

  • Peter Martin 22nd May '19 - 8:52am

    My immediate (maybe socialist kneejerk ?) reaction would be to Nationalise “British Steel”. However there could be EU rules to prevent that. We haven’t left yet. Although some of us are critical of the EU, we do need to understand why the EU has rules against state involvement in industry. If just a few countries subsidised their local steel industry, for example, then everyone else would have to subsidise theirs too.

    The British Steel industry, in the wider sense of the word, has been in trouble for years. Many Brexiteers would say that’s because we play by EU rules and don’t subsidise and don’t nationalise whereas others manipulate the system for their own advantage. And if some countries are covertly subsidising then that’s why we are feeling the need to also.

    If we stay in the EU then its probably better to get out of steel making as much as possible. Import it from where it is cheaper. Concentrate on doing something else. If we leave there is more of a case for keeping it going with state aid for strategic reasons.

  • Frank
    I was also pointing out that the steel company in question was in trouble before Brexit. Like a lot of Remainers you point to things that have been happening for decades that have long standing causes then blame them on trying to leave the EU. It also is not whataboutery to point out that membership of the European project has not actually been anything like as beneficial as is made out. Not in Britain. Not in Spain. Not in Italy, Not in Greece.

  • John Marriott 22nd May '19 - 10:29am

    @Michael 1
    You’re splitting hairs in your latest reply. The fact is that Lincolnshire, with the possible exception of the City of Lincoln, is still solidly for Brexit. Remember, I’ve lived here for over 40 years and been a councillor for 30 years. I reckon I know a bit about how most people around here think. I’ve no idea who you actually are nor where you actually live, although you appear, possibly thanks to Wikipedia, to be an expert on most matters political in most areas of the country.

    If you read your final paragraph again, I think you will see that what you present is more or less a government health warning about opinion polls. The only one that actually counts involves a ballot box, so let’s wait and see. I would love to be proved wrong.

  • nvelope2003 22nd May '19 - 2:22pm

    Glenn: I was merely pointing out that we are not much better than other imperial powers, including the US so I am not sure what relevance there is to the activities of the French, Spanish, Belgians, Germans etc or the Russians, Arabs, Chinese or Indians for that matter as they were all at it.

    What is rather irritating about this site is that certain persons post acres of stuff about the same thing but never reply to any serious questions.

  • Peter Hirst 22nd May '19 - 7:13pm

    If anything can be added to this cacophony, my view is that democracy is people oriented and for it to work, the people must be informed; enough said. They weren’t and it is unclear what they wanted/want. We need another referendum.

  • Nvelope2004
    No you changed the subject. Then went into a virtual rant about America and Britain. I find the way some pro EU people waffle on about the British empire whilst acting like it was the only European country with an empire annoying, especially when the EU is basically the old imperial powers union clubbing together into something that sometimes resembles a modern version of an empire.
    The second point. There is no such thing as pure democracy and to be honest find that critics who say democracy easily degenerates into “mob rule” are often arguing for the special status of their own political cause. I think a far bigger problem than hypothetical mob rule is the reality that power, wealth and privilege is reinforced through legal frameworks by people with the power, wealth and privilege to dictate what construes the rule of law.

  • @Glenn – “You need to look up just how many manufacturing jobs were devastated by your beloved pro Europe PMs from Heath onwards.”
    Are there any Conservative MP’s who have or have had real experience in the UK manufacturing industry?
    I suspect that is probably a bigger factor than whether they are pro Europe or Euro-sceptic; as I keep noting, the roots of the UK’s problems are to be found at Westminster, not Brussels/Strasburg… In/Out won’t fundamentally change that…

  • Peter Martin 23rd May '19 - 8:39am

    @nvelope 2003

    You seem to have overlooked the Iran/Iraq war, the one with Kuwait, Yemen etc and the wars between Israel and the Arabs, Pakistan and India, Afghanistan etc. You failed to answer my point about the ruthlessness of the US in trade matters. We will be their vassal.

    Relatively recent international conflcts have occurred, in Asia, South America, Africa, and as you’ve pointed, out but they are a rarity. When they do occur there is always the direct or indirect involvement of one of the superpowers. Afghanistan is and was a civil war. As is the continuing smouldering conflict between India and Pakistan and don’t forget Bangla Desh too. They were all one country at one time. All with the same currency.

    That didn’t prevent the outbreak of armed conflict.

  • Peter Martin 23rd May '19 - 8:51am

    @ Roland,

    “In/Out won’t fundamentally change that…”

    We’ll have to see about that! The EU has created the conditions for the South East of England to do very well for itself without having to bother with any real manufacturing industry. It’s probably more a matter of geography than anything else, and also the open EU market available to the London based finance sector.

    Consequently the UK as whole hasn’t really needed the contribution made to the National economy by the, now depleted manufacturing sectors in the North, Wales and Scotland. This has led to the rise of separatism in Wales and Scotland. And an increased sense of disillusionment in the North as the country has become more London-centric.

  • Peter Martin
    It’s more the South West. The South East includes places like Peterborough, Chatham, Southend and Ipswich. It also depends where you are in London, parts of which are amongst the most deprived areas in the country. But mostly it depends on what job you’re doing, who your parents were, where you went to school, and how much land and property you own. I can’t image that London’s cleaners and baristas are living high on the hog. What we’re actually seeing is the self mythologizing of the powerful . If only people embraced my values and were as awesome as me that is me and so on. But whatever you do don’t look at the concentration of power and wealth or who writes the financial laws.

  • Peter Martin 23rd May '19 - 10:03am

    @ Glenn,

    Yes, what you say is true. Nevertheless London and the SE is where most migrants, both internal and from overseas, head for. That is where they perceive the money to be. Of course in doing so they push up rents and property prices which makes life more difficult for many existing residents. The population ‘centre of balance’ is continually moving towards London. This is neither good for many in the region itself nor for the left behind regions in the North.

    Lib Dems largely recognise the problem, but have the wrong solution with devolution to those regions. That arguably has worked, to some extent, with National devolution to Scotland but only because their Barnett formula for fiscal transfers has ensured than money is moved from the richer parts of the UK. It’s the movement of money and spending power which makes the difference. Not devolution per se.

    The record in Wales is much more patchy.

  • @Peter We’ll have to see about that!
    Doon’t see how leaving/remaining in the EU will have any impact on Westminster MP’s first hand experience and regard for UK manufacturing.

    > The EU has created the conditions for the South East of England to do very well for itself without having to bother with any real manufacturing industry.
    The EU has just accelerated a worldwide trend – a move from products to services – it is interesting to watch Trump grapple with the problem that many US ‘manufacturers’ are actually service companies, fronting a Chinese manufacturer…

    But in some ways you may be right, if the UK does exit and trade on WTO rules then that will practically kill our services exports, which includes Roll Royce engines which have been sold as a service for some years now…

  • Peter Martin
    I take your point. The thing about city populations is they tend to be somewhat transient. I’m a city person, I’ve moved a lot and and my neighbours are basically short term strangers I’m on vague nodding terms with. IMO, liberal cities v conservative suburbs type arguments are based more on population movement than values. When they settle newcomers are no more liberal than locals. Really, with migrants what your seeing is an almost 1930s style gig economy that tips the balance more heavily towards the employer. The problem isn’t that it drives down wages or increases house prices, so much as it destabilises work. Everything ends up as short contracts which limits peoples future prospects. It’s looks ok as GDP, but GDP is not a measure of the standard of living or an indicator of where money is going. . I often think politicians forget that people are not obliged to support their ideological bent or what they believe to be in the publics best interests. This is why we’re getting the sky is falling panic. as a consensus that only really dates back to the 1990s crumbles. People talk about the post-WWII liberal order, but really its the Post-Cold War thinking that is trouble.

  • William Francis
    Nowhere voted remain or leave. It was a one person one vote referendum, not a general election with boundaries deciding the outcome. That was just the way the individual votes were counted for the sake of convenience. A vote for leave in London or remain in Thanet carried exactly the same weight.

  • Glenn: So what ?

  • nl
    Mmmm?

  • “The Brexit Party are right to point out that the 2016 referendum was the biggest act of democracy this country has ever seen” – can we please stop repeating this false claim. More people voted in the 1992 General Election than in the June 2016 referendum. There have also been 10 General Elections since the Second World War with higher turnouts of the electorate.

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