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[dupe] EU Referendum Results (bbc.com)
427 points by mmastrac on June 23, 2016 | hide | past | web | favorite | 387 comments

Since we don't need one story about this at #1 and another at #2, I guess we'll call this thread the dupe and consider the discussion moved to https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=11966167.

The University of East Anglia have a live blog as well that updates their predictions based on statistical model [0] by Dr Chris Hanretty. Predictions are based on how results differ from the prior model. The model is explained in more detail here [1].

[0] http://www.ueapolitics.org/2016/06/23/eu-referendum-allnight...

[1] http://www.ueapolitics.org/2016/06/09/the-eu-referendum-what...

Edit: They moved their blog to Medium because of the demand: https://medium.com/@chrishanretty/eu-referendum-rolling-fore...

Live betting from Betfair's betting exchange / prediction market:


Interesting because the odds react far quicker than any live blog I've found, so a sudden swing means that there's just been a surprising result announced.

The foreign exchange market has more volume and eyes watching it. Just watch the value of the GBP.

What is the formula to translate from betfair's back/lay for exit/remain to percent likelihood of each outcome?

This site does the calculation: https://electionbettingodds.com/brexit.html

Implied probability is 100 / odds

If the odds are 4:1, I'm not sure what that means.

100/4:1 is a notation mystery. 25%?

x:y or x/y means y / (x + y), so 4:1 is 1 / (4 + 1) or 20 %.

But what do "back" and "lay" mean?

Backing is betting on it to happen, laying is being the bookie for somebody else (i.e. betting against it happening).

So if something is 4/1 and you back it, you'll win £4 for each £1 you wager. If you lay it, you'll win £1 for each £4 wagered.

Betfair exchange is matching up people on both sides of the bet, with a margin of commission in between the back and lay values.

Back means you bet on something happening, lay means you bet against it happening.

You can go to the graph on betfair and "invert axis" to see the actual probability.

Now well over 4:1 for remain. The change in betting ods is extremely interesting from a statistical modelling point of view.


I don't care about the result. I'm more interested in how our statistical modelling tools failed us. Thoughts? Did opinions change overnight? Did the polling miss a demographic?

Bradley effect: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bradley_effect

(Also known as social desirability bias)

Lots of people say in public that they're in favor of immigration, unity, and tolerance, because lots of people will call you a bigot if you don't, but in private, harbor old-fashioned ideas about nationalism, and well, polling involves a human and voting happens in private.

Makes me wonder about the Trump presidential odds: https://electionbettingodds.com/. They're not even as wide as the Brexit odds were earlier today.

Well, since we have much more information about presidential elections (which happen regularly) than we have about brexit (which is mostly without precedent), you could argue that election 2016 forecasts are probably more accurate.

I don't think that's the case though. I predict a Trump victory on the basis of a very strong social desirability bias and an immense amount of silent resentment against current social justice orthodoxy, especially as it pertains to speech restrictions on campus and in the workplace.

Yup. I got some money on Trump too, and tbh I was tempted to double-down on it now that we know he's facing a 100% "establishment" "PC" candidate.

I've gone through Italian politics in the '90s. We tend to be pioneers when it comes to political monstrosities.

Just curious, but have you acted upon this belief and bet on Trump in the prediction markets?

I don't have that much confidence in my analysis. I'm an amateur.

But if this is a known effect, why were the betting markets also wrong?

The betting markets had somewhere around a 35% of Brexit. So it wasn't that unlikely according to the betting markets.

I saw 15% before election data started coming out. That's pretty wrong.

It looks like the average was around 35%: http://predictwise.com/politics/uk-politics Interestingly the odds went down pretty sharply as the election came closer, but it is not really fair to pick the lowest odds when evaluating how good the predictions were. But even 15% odds are not really all that unlikely, about a 1 in 6 chance. It isn't as though pundits were predicting leave.

I think betting markets are prone to wishful thinking; there's no guarantee that errors of reasoning toward one side or the other will cancel out, since it's perfectly reasonable to imagine that errors in one direction are more common.

There's no guarantee, but the bookie is watching his, uh, book and adjusting the odds to make sure the payouts come from losing bets rather than his pocket.

Not on Betfair, it's an exchange. They make money either way.

Or maybe people are using the betting markets to hedge. Is that a dumb thing to do?

I think that hedging would have the opposite effect. The pound is tanking (30-year low right now), so if your salary is paid in pounds, it would have made sense to bet on Leave. I'm not sure who wins economically from leaving. British companies that compete with continental ones?

Pollsters were never confident of this result, with their adjusted and unadjusted results being all over the place, and were cautiously predicting Leave victories as recently as last week. There weren't any relevant precedents for them to test their models against, and the biggest factor in the Leave vote appears to be high turnout from demographics that rarely vote in other elections.

I've found it odd that the markets were far more confident in poll findings than the pollsters but assume that the bets were mainly placed on the simple heuristic that poll results tend to understate voters caution and attachment to the status quo.

Or, someone made a large transaction.

More likely that many people made bets, which they'll do when, as parent had it, "there's just been a surprising result announced."

Given that there will be a number of swings maybe a good strategy is to bet on the one with longer odds, wait till the next swing, sell and buy the other, rinse and repeat.


Odds on 'remain' have already oscillated in the last few hours from 1/16 to 2/1 (94% to 33% implied probability)

I saw that reverse for a few minutes on Betfair. It's a fairly illiquid market looking at the depths.

About £100 million has the traded on that market, that's far from illiquid.

In case those links continue to have database problems, you can also read Chris Hanretty's updates via twitter: https://twitter.com/chrishanretty

He's called it. According to this model there's a 100% cance of leaving.

His latest update seems crazy- p at .03 based on that data seems like an unlikely jump based on the changes in votes and % reporting from each update.

Seems bogus.

Why does the drop from p=0.32 to p=0.03 seem crazy/bogus? Isn't that what you'd expect as the probability distribution both narrows (with more evidence) and moves toward the 'leave' side?

It's a big jump in a single update. Given that Remain has since pulled ahead in the raw total, this only makes it appear more questionable.

That Remain pulled ahead is somewhat irrelevant though. That seems to be mostly due to London reporting in, which was always expected to vote Remain. What's relevant (for this model at least) is whether the results are higher or lower than predicted per area.

And now Leave is ahead again

If the model is being updated based on results as they come in, and the results coming in are not randomly distributed, then the updates will be of questionable value. In particular, this update came when a large number of predicted pro-leave results had come in, and no results from predicted strong pro-remain results had come in, so I'm not sure it has much value as a prediction.

Interesting he's since increased the certainty of a Leave vote even after a couple of unexpectedly strong pro-Remain votes swung the betting markets back in favour of Remain

Whether that's because he's better than the markets at modelling differential turnout or the markets know things his confirmed results data doesn't about predicted results in places like Birmingham remains to be seen...

As I understand it, the model is based on the difference between expected and actual results in each area. So the order that results come in should not affect the prediction.

> So the order that results come in should not affect the prediction.

This model uses a frequentist prediction interval, which assumes independently drawn samples, meaning reporting order must be random for the assumptions to be valid. If reporting is non-random, e.g. how early or late a district reports is correlated with things like region, demographics, population density, etc., then the prediction interval is probably narrower than it should be, especially early on in the reporting (meaning the model is overconfident in its prediction).

The headline prediction is more robust if you just want to know which outcome is more likely given current results, but the probabilities being badly calibrated due to these kinds of model assumptions is a common issue in quantitative polisci models.

That was P = 0.03, or 3%. Not 0.03%.

Yup! He did qualify his prediction though:


>This is a big update, and I'm conscious that I may have made a terrible mistake somewhere in estimating differential turnout, but here goes:

That update might be a bit dated... Glasgow just reported, heavily in favor of Bremain, tipping the scale of the current vote count.

The totals will go back and forth, but it's all about turnout proportionally in in- vs out- regions versus original projections. Glasgow was expected to be massively pro-remain but did Glasgow turn out in higher/lower numbers than anticipated? and did Glasgow go more or less pro-remain than anticipated? I would be very very worried if I were a British citizen in the remain camp right now.

Depends on how Glasgow was predicted to vote in their model. If it matches their prediction then the impact would be limited.

That last update took the chances of leaving from 68% to 97%. Looks like a mistake to me.

Why? Of course the model might be making a wrong prediction, but if I had a betting account betting on leave looks very tempting.

Maybe be glad you don't have a betting account. I wouldn't trust anyone who thinks they can model this to the point of literally attaching "p=1.0", this early on.

I am not much of a gambler, but with a spread like this it looks very tempting. The currency market boys seem to think out has won.

Anyway using my imaginary betting account I will bet a million pounds - I will enjoy the cup of imaginary coffee I will be able to buy with my winnings :)

You expect a lot of imaginary GBP inflation?

No I live in Australia so I have to covert my imaginary winnings pounds into imaginary Australian dollars to be able to buy my imaginary coffee ;)

More seriously the model was right and the bookies wrong - it is relatively rare that you get an opportunity like this handed to you to make money with almost no risk.

make money with almost no risk

I still think p=1.0 was not possibly achievable via any model at that point in the counting, which means betting based on it would have been an enormous risk. The fact that the bet would have paid off makes no difference; especially given how close the vote seems to have gone, a coin flip would have gotten it right half the time, and I doubt you'd say that a coin flipper who just declares 100% confidence has a good model.

The model was almost exactly spot on, while the bookies were still offering 6/4 on for remain at the time I originally posted. The betting market really was not adjusting to the changing data and was way off on the real odds - this is quite rare.

I certainly hope that the people who made money off Chris’ model follow his suggestion and donate to the Jo Cox fund.

The odds were advertised---but were they actually still accepting bids at these odds?

I don’t know - they certainly were in my imaginary account :)

From my perspective in the UK, it's been interesting (though frustrating) to watch what's been happening.

It definitely seems like political discourse has taken a turn for the worse. In contrast with the Scottish independence referendum a couple of years ago which, although there was some animosity, did feel like a genuine political conversation… this one has seemed much more like an angry shouting match.

I'm particularly interested in the comparison with Trump in the US. In both cases, it feels like a nominally populist, anti-bureaucratic/anti-establishment movement (the extent of the truth in that being debatable) has been able to make a substantial impact with that platform, due in part to the abject inability of that establishment to deal with and neutralise the movement.

> t feels like a nominally populist, anti-bureaucratic/anti-establishment movement (the extent of the truth in that being debatable) has been able to make a substantial impact with that platform, due in part to the abject inability of that establishment to deal with and neutralise the movement.

It's happening all over the world: Austria, France (National Front), China, Japan, Turkey, Israel, etc etc.

It's like the world forgot the lessons of the past - the curses of nationalism, populism and ideology - and nobody has stood up to remind them. The latter really angers and depresses me; nobody with a platform is making the well-known arguments about why these things are very dangerous.

It's possible to argue the same thing from the other side: the political establishment in many countries have forgotten that they have to earn their legitimacy by working for the benefit of their compatriots.

We've had a political class who've decided that the hoi polloi don't really matter anymore and that governance is a matter of maintaining consensus at the top. Now the working classes are lashing back and sure it's ugly but it's a predictable consequence of the last few decades of tone deaf technocratic government.

I think this is probably key. People across the world are pissed at the political class – and I completely understand why.

In the UK, there's an intense feeling that the concerns of people in traditionally working-class communities have been ignored in preference of a metropolitan elite. There is increasing wealth inequality, cuts to public services, less job security and so on. Members of these communities are very aware of the costs of EU membership – free movement of labour being particularly damaging to these communities – and are not as convinced by the corresponding benefits.

I do place the fault squarely at the feet of the modern left-of-center political movements (Labour Party in the UK) which has consistently peddled a muddled message of internationalism mixed with social democracy mixed with unrestrained capitalism – in appealing to an imagined middle-ground voter they have alienated their traditional support. It feels like these movements have compressively failed to provide a convincing messages – instead peddling a weak compromise that pleases nobody.

It's frustrating, but I'm struggling to understand what the answer looks like.

> I think this is probably key. People across the world are pissed at the political class – and I completely understand why.

Yes, but in the UK context they're voting for Farange, Johnson, et al. Who are as solidly establishment as they come.

Not at all. Nearly every Leave supporter I've talked with over recent months finds Farage and Boris just as foolish as any of the rest of them.

If you live in the NW or NE it's probably down to disenfranchisement. Large parts of the NW and NE are still not out of the 2008 recession, so hearing the constant bleating about the economy, they're told is doing so well, just reinforces the emptiness of the political classes.

On Europe specifically most of the remain arguments were economic. It's quite hard to listen to those seriously whilst London is in its usual bubble and the area in which you live is still suffering. Nearly every EU economic argument is reinforcing the EU being about big business, just proving, in their minds, the disconnect with the people. People who are living in areas that have seen enormous decline in the last 30 years. Makes it harder to vote for free movement and markets when you can see the decimation of your once vibrant industry and town centres.

So nearly every argument for Remain is demonstrably untrue in their own life and region.

So, no, they're not voting for Farage, they're voting against the Westminster groupthink bubble. If they had got more regional development, or the regional economies were given better support, things could have been very different.

Jeah, but with the EU Nike for example would have built there robot fabric in the UK. Now it will be somewhere in EU.

The UK just lost the biggest future lights out fabrics.

What does the UK plan to do?

FWIW I was remain. I have no idea how this will play out. Twenty or thirty years ago I would have had definite ideas of how a UK exit would have played (quite well), now I just don't know.

I would hope that efforts can be made to make the UK economy more inclusive. The areas voting overwhelmingly to leave are all the areas that have been suffering since the 80s - NE, NW, Wales.

How the UK operates and competes globally now, I simply have no idea. I'm also concerned we're going to lose a lot of the protections we had in the EU.

Only by supposed proxy. Directly, they are voting to leave the EU.

> There is increasing wealth inequality, cuts to public services, less job security and so on

These are Tory policies; Labor opposes them.

> free movement of labour being particularly damaging to these communities

How? The UK has had internal free movement of labor for a long time, and it didn't damage them. Blaming the immigrants sounds suspiciously like populist propaganda. It doesn't make it false, but can you back it up?

EDIT: From today's NY Times:

there was no question that while the immigrants contributed more to the economy and to tax receipts than they cost


These are Tory policies; Labor opposes them.

That's not really the case. Wealth inequality increased massively under the previous 13 years of Labour government in the UK, for example. They're more 'new liberal' policies than Tory or Labour policies.

How? The UK has had internal free movement of labor for a long time, and it didn't damage them. Blaming the immigrants sounds suspiciously like populist propaganda. It doesn't make it false, but can you back it up?

I guess I wasn't that clear – I don't actually agree with them in the aggregate, and I'm solidly pro-EU and pro-free-movement. 'Blaming the immigrants' as you say is solidly nationalist propaganda. But there is a perception in these communities – false though it may be – that 'immigrants from the EU' come to the UK and 'take jobs,' 'put pressure on public services' and so on. Many people in these communities haven't been well-treated by successive governments, particularly around immigrations. That's why they're annoyed, not because immigration is bad for the country (it isn't.)

>> These are Tory policies; Labor opposes them.

> That's not really the case. ...

Austerity is a Tory policy ... I don't know about the rest, but Labor hasn't been in power for awhile.

> there is a perception in these communities – false though it may be – that 'immigrants from the EU' come to the UK and 'take jobs

That's the propaganda. Social services are reduced by Tory austerity, and then they blame the immigrants. Similar things happen in other places in Europe, especially blaming immigrants.

But the way we're lashing back seems completely unproductive. Why not organize around a sane leader instead of electing bigger and bigger idiots in some kind of suicidal hope that the system will collapse?

> Why not organize around a sane leader

Because there aren't any. Although I would not use the word "sane" here, I would use the word "capable", as in capable of running a political unit the size of a country. The inconvenient truth that nobody wants to acknowledge is that there are no human beings capable of doing that. Countries are simply too big and too complicated. (This is actually true IMO for units much smaller than countries, but countries is the current level of discussion.) The problem is not to find someone who can govern a country sanely; the problem is to figure out how to organize ourselves and coexist given that nobody is capable of governing a country sanely.

In other words, why doesn't the pendulum stop swinging?

Because bringing it to a halt would take precision work and even then it probably wouldn't be stable. Iterative systems oscillate. It's what they do.

Moreover, a lot of the suggestions about "how to solve it" are in fact what people are trying to do very hard, and are themselves part of the system. The obvious solutions are what are taking us in the current direction. The fact that they are obvious is why you can actually plot the cyclic progression of civilizations with some reliability. It's an interesting field of study.

(BTW, buckle up. We're almost certainly in for a period of substantial uncertainty based on those modes. But, also, you are not your government or social system. Whatever abuse those things may be in for doesn't mean that you won't come out of it. Also, while I'd say high technology shows little evidence of having eliminated the cycles up to this point, I do consider it a wild card personally. Doom is not guaranteed.)

Do you have some links on the cyclic progression of civilization? Would be super interested to read more on that.

A good start here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Social_cycle_theory

See also http://www.livescience.com/22109-cycles-violence-2020.html , which also has some very Google-able keywords.

Bear in mind that it's a field of active research, and I'm giving those more as starting points I plucked out from Google hits than necessarily endorsing those exact theories. Personally I would only defend a somewhat weaker idea, that the future isn't somehow entirely random, but that we can indeed look to theories like this for some understanding of the next few decades, modulo the technology wildcard. Or at least a much better understanding than just thinking it's all whims of fate and everything's on the table equally. I said some reliability on purpose... it's not totally reliable, but you can still do much better than nothing.

The traditional left parties, in much of the English speaking world, have shuffled so far right (the "Third Way" types like the Lange, Blair, the Clintons, and so on) that there's slim pickings for have-nots to vote for. In the UK half of the Labour party and progressive institutions (like the Graun) spend more time attacking Corbyn for being, well, a Labour leader than they ever do going after the Tories. Clinton says that everything is sweet and the system can't (and shouldn't) be changed.

The institutions that used to provide alternatives political voices have been co-opted. So who are they going to vote for?

In proportional systems, you have parties popping up on the fringe, as older parties vacate them.

See Die Linke (The Left party) in Germany taking over territory perhaps once held by the SPD (Socialdemocratic party).

Pretty much - we have the same thing in New Zealand, but one of the dynamics we see here (I don't know if you get the same in Germany) is a huge hostility from the old left parties to the new left parties - there's an arrogant assumption that those voters "belong" to the old left, and a lot of derision directed at them (I guess a not dissimilar dynamic to the Clinton/Sanders split).

It's a bit more complicated in Germany, because Die Linke is in some sense a continuation of the former East German ruling party.

So the accusations are not so much that `these voters belong to us'. But: no self-respecting party should form a coalition with these dictators ever.

That taboo has been broken on the state level in East German a long time ago. But it still holds some power on the federal level, and in West German states.

> Why not organize around a sane leader instead of electing bigger and bigger idiots in some kind of suicidal hope that the system will collapse?

The voting systems make that hard. Eg for the US any one who wants to win the primaries has to pander to their extreme base.

Moving to range voting would help a bit http://www.rangevoting.org/

We tried that. Sanders, Rand Paul. We had potential leaders that didn't always resort to shouting, that wanted another way. Now we have Trump Clinton.

This cycle is completely about the ruling elite wanting the same crooked game to keep playing, and the voting public saying "You know what? Fuck you".

To a lot of folks, those candidates weren't appealing. They didn't inspire confidence that they could work on a populist agenda while also being competent political leadership. Paul more than Sanders, but a lot of people have trouble taking Sanders' rhetoric very seriously, or believing that it is well-based in facts, is well thought-out, isn't likely to have disastrous side-effects, that sort of thing.

If this cycle is about that, why would Trump have gotten the nomination? Jeb/Rubio were the golden boys of the GOP, and they got blown up by Trumps appeal.

Yes, the Dems couldn't pull it off with Sanders, but it appears the republicans actually picked, perhaps not an anti-establishment candidate, but at least a non-establishment candidate.

You're asking why the angry mob is so disorganized? Angry mobs are angry mobs and demagogues are demagogues. My point is that the fault doesn't lie with the mob it lies with the people who let things come to this.

An angry mob is made of people who are individually responsible for their decisions. It doesn't matter whose fault it is; if the government won't fix it, the people have to organize to do it on their own, and an angry mob is not the best way to do that.

They aren't an "angry mob". They are people voting for what they feel to be their best interest. I find it interesting that you believe people voting to be an "angry mob" because 1) they don't listen to the political establishment on who they should vote for, and 2) they don't listen to the academic establishment on who they should vote for.

I never said they were. I was responding in general terms to the comment above mine. What disappoints me about this vote has nothing to do with the way people are organizing, but the thing they're organizing around. People are voting based on how they feel or what "side" they're on instead of thinking about what will actually have the best outcome. Cutting off the nose to spite the face and so on…

When has it ever been different?

Because facts don't win elections, persuasion and emotions win elections.

Because no sane leader has been produced by the political system.

I want to like the EU and this in fact what was pushed really hard for by the school system at least in Germany. But I can't fail to notice its many disadvantages. It is fundamentally even less democratic than the representative democracies it unites, supposedly run by technocrats that in fact follow agendas set by corporations/industry, with decisions that get sold to the public as inevitable. I hate what the Bologna reforms did to higher education for example, but there are many other instances where EU decisions had extremely negative impact, with sometimes almost no popular support.

Point being not only right wing basket cases don't like the EU. The far left doesn't really like it either. It is a project conceived by US planners and executed by the French and German elites pushed onto the rest of the continent. Whenever there is talk about the "democracy deficit" it is brushed aside as something that will be fixed once Europe has become more integrated.

This is exactly why I also don't like the EU. Not the racist rhetoric UKIP is using, but because the EU is deeply undemocratic. The EU is one whole layer of extra politicians above those that we have already elected in local parliaments. It makes the distance between me and those who are in power much greater, both physically and metaphorically.

Plus, Germany, the UK and France are the big players in the EU. Naturally the union favors their agenda and overrules smaller member countries.

>It is a project conceived by US planners...

Any proof of that? From a US perspective, I can't see how a unified Europe would benefit the US - neither economically nor militarily. The EU is the only state (besides China with 4x the population of the US) that can compare to the US economy. Dealing with smaller countries gives the US an advantage compared with similar deals with the EU itself.

A unified EU military would be the only state both large enough and advanced enough to pose a valid military challenge to US hegemony.

Europe is a US ally; the US wants them stronger. Also, dis-unified Europe cost the US quite a bit in the first half of the 20th century.

It benefited Wall Street pretty good after they sold hundreds of billions in bonds that were in reality; junk.

> I hate what the Bologna reforms did to higher education

A bit off-topic, but what exactly do you hate about Bologna? I liked it that it shortened my studies (math) from 4 years to 3, although I would have appreciated a bit more depth (more elective subjects)... But then, I only have a very limited perspective, so I'm very curious about what other people think, and what possible improvements they see.

I don't like that especially in Germany it has reduced the depth to which people were expected to study a subject to receive a degree (A German diploma in math took 5 years) and that they introduced grades that mattered along the way. This pushes students to narrow their focus and optimise good exam results. In the old system you had two exams that mattered, one oral exam after two years and your final grade was determined by a set of oral exams and your thesis.

The result is as far as I can tell from personal experience that the quality of an average master students in Math and Physics is now significantly lower than that of diploma students.

They also introduced very interesting language, you study Modules, each of which give you points. In the end you are supposed to end up as a nice exchangeable semi-educated narrowly focussed cog in some big corporation.

As someone born and raised in a communist country (what is now Czech Republic), I can tell you it is precisely because we DID NOT FORGET what it was like, that we're against the direction EU is going [0].

The parallels between our (still recent) past are absolutely striking: EU's propaganda, censorship efforts, ideological idiocy that nobody takes seriously any more (incl. economic).

But most of all, there's the scary disconnect between how real people live their lives vs what the official "party line" dictates. We're re-learning to read between the propaganda lines, again.

IMO we don't need condescending comments about how stupid everyone is (populists!), nor a platform explaining why this "central planning" ideology is appealing but very dangerous. We know very well, and we vote accordingly.

[0] "we" = majority of the country: http://zpravy.idnes.cz/ctenari-idnes-cz-anketa-czexit-de5-/d...

The EU is nothing like the Soviet Union. That is itself propaganda, and undermines everything else you write.

The fact that a majority of a country believes populist propaganda is, unfortunately, not evidence of anything but the power of populist propaganda.

It seems to me the Czech Republic has become far wealthier in the EU, in large part because of access to EU markets and due to the stability of EU institutions.

Honestly? Eastern Europeans, of all people, got massively subsidized by the EU. Biting the hands that feed you is a great recipe for building resentment and mistrust, which brings conflict and ultimately war.

That's kinda the point, isn't it?

Wouldn't a voluntary exchange of trade, labour and policies, in place of "a feeding hand" (what a condescending remark!) be better for everyone?

By the way, the subsidies feed mostly the politicians, and the hands of their well-connected friends who are the true benefactors. And that's no coincidence -- as I said, we've already lived through the reality disconnect that is the result of top-down social engineering.

What the linked poll shows you is that normal people are telling you to take your oh-so-generous subsidies and shove them. If it means being part of a political union they have no say in.

> the subsidies feed mostly the politicians, and the hands of their well-connected friends who are the true benefactors.

You'll need to provide some data. It sounds like what any anti-EU propagandist would first think of asserting.

And what about the businesses with access to the world's largest market?

Sure. The squandering of EU subsidy money on nonsensical "well chosen" projects is hardly a tinfoil hat conspiracy. It's been covered by most major media in detail [0].

Regarding businesses: what about them? I happen to run a business, and dealing with EU partners and clients is actually a (marginally) greater nuisance than non-EU partners and clients. Are you aware of the complexity of the inter-EU VAT regulations and laws, especially for SMEs? [1]

[0] http://hledej.idnes.cz/clanky.aspx?q=zma%F8en%E9+dotace

[1] https://euobserver.com/opinion/129961

Unfortunately people do not change. Look at our history, i fear that it's only a matter of time when we will see another hitler in disguise, but this time this will not be the jews that will be the target but muslims. You can feel populism all over the Europe, (i am from EU) every month right wing parties getting stronger and stronger, nationalism and populism EVERYWHERE. Only 30 thousand votes saved Austria from radical right wing president. Look at US also, political correctness in really excessive levels and not speaking about things made Trump so popular.

There is a problem with education also, we should teach our kids what populism and nationalism is, what are the consequences of radical nationalism.

"Those who don't know history are doomed to repeat it."

> Unfortunately people do not change

We are a long way from the Middle Ages; things do change quite a bit. Look at civil rights in the U.S.: Two generations ago, women needed their husbands permission to get a job, and were only allowed in teaching and nursing for the most part. Look at the spread of democracy.

I just hope that trend you are talking about will keep up but... I know someone that took part in World War II, he is alive still, this was not a long time ago, we are far from change my friend. Then look rwanda, somalia, balkans now middle east, north africa etc.

I guess the changes happen too slow for a single person to notice within a span of single generation. So I guess I'll have to die in hopes that I have done my duty to change the world for the better and the next generation will carry the torch for me.

I don't think it's so much the forgetting of history as much as overreach on the part of those who would try to deny that human nature exists.

When people can see all around them that gender, nationality, race, and religion convey useful information about the people they meet, and they live under the rule of an elite which claims that these things are irrelevant, then when some demagogue or other comes along who acknowledges the truth about these things but who lies everything else, people are going to go running into the arms of that demagogue.

Had these people advocated a fair and humane acknowledgement of these obvious, day-to-day truths instead of adopted a posture of absolute denial of the obvious, we wouldn't have Trump in the US and Brexit across the Atlantic.

> When people can see all around them that gender, nationality, race, and religion convey useful information about the people they meet

> absolute denial of the obvious

You say that as if it's assumed, but I don't agree and neither do very many others. I agree it's obviously a human instinct to think that, but that's true of many other bad ideas - we're not beasts, our intellectual abilities take us far beyond our instincts. That tribal instinct has led to terrible destruction - arguably it's caused more harm than any other idea.

Of course I'm not speaking in absolutes (and I hope you don't you mean to). There's a little bit of information there, but generally I find people are the same everywhere; there are good and bad, smart and dumb, happy and sad, capable and incompetent, kind and cruel, etc. just as much in every group. It's really the individual that matters.

It's also essential to liberty and basic fairness: An individual need to be judged on their own merits, by their own action, and not by the color of their skin, their nationalities, their religion, gender, sexual preference, etc. If we say, "people in religion X are thieves", then it will be an injustice to almost all the individuals in that religion. It leads to widespread injustice even in peace, when a skilled woman or minority, for example, is judged instead on their race or gender and denied the job.

> You say that as if it's assumed, but I don't agree and neither do very many others.

It turns out that stereotypes, however distasteful, usually do have a certain degree of accuracy: http://heterodoxacademy.org/2016/03/30/are-stereotypes-accur.... You may not want to live in the world where they do, but that reality is what it is.

When you ask people to deny the evidence of their own eyes, you're setting up a kind of resentment that can lead only to bad outcomes.

Of course, it'd be awful to be individually assumed to be a thief because you come from a group full of people unusually likely to be thieves. My point is that if it's a matter of fact that people of that group are more likely to be thieves, whatever the reason, and you tell people that, no, that group isn't full of thieves, and people are terrible for thinking so, then as soon as some demagogue acknowledges the truth, people will run to him no matter how bad his other opinions and no matter how ruinous his policies.

People hate liars, and even more, they hate being compelled by social forces of shame and ridicule to deny their true beliefs. It's better to have an honest conversation about these things than to repress them and create the kind of pressure cooker that explodes and makes a Trump president.

In an EU context, maybe it'd have been better to accept some restrictions on freedom of movement. Maybe it'd have been better to scale back centrally-imposed regulations on consumer goods (e.g., the EU banning traditional UK tea kettles).

Now we're going to see the EU damaged because well-meaning people tried to bring about the world they'd like to see by demanding everyone pretend it be so, and only children play pretend.

You keep using the words "truth", "matter of fact", "accuracy", "evidence of their own eyes"; and refer to people who disagree as "liars", etc.

But I don't think any of that is accurate; I think your words are false and the argument rests only on the assumption that they are true.

If you want to cite something persuasive, you'll need something with more widespread credibility.


> It turns out that stereotypes, however distasteful, usually do have a certain degree of accuracy ... You may not want to live in the world where they do

This is an argument with a strawman that you made up, some absolutist person who says otherwise. If you read my prior comment, I already agreed with you that they have some degree if meaning.

> but that reality is what it is.

However, you don't get to define reality; maybe your definition is wrong.

You claim to want to avoid propaganda, but you are hewing to that approach closely with the assumptions, the absolutes, the lack of skepticism of your own position. My impression of Heterodox Academy is that it's more of the same but regardless, how about finding some more serious sources if you genuinely want to know?

I suggest reading through the blog I linked; Haidt is serious and well-respected. Alternatively, you can look at various impartially- (and usually government-) collected statistics that demonstrate group differences.

Most of these differences are too incendiary to link here (and I'd rather not attract the wrath of dang), but let me cite one example: men are, biologically, physically much stronger than women. 95th percentile in women is 5th percentile in men. See this well-sourced quora thead: https://www.quora.com/Are-men-generally-physically-stronger-...

I think it's pretty easy to corroborate the statistics with everyday experience. Muscular strength is a function of total number of muscle fibers. Look around you, if you're in a group of men and women: which group tends to have the thicker biceps and triceps?

Now consider that quite a few people, particularly in the more blue-tribe areas of the US, think that it's a grave injustice that women do not have more representation in occupations that depend to large extent on physical strength --- e.g., firefighting.

Think about how frustrating it must feel to point out the unreality of this accusation. Imagine how it must feel to fear that you'd be fired from your job and ostracized from your social group for pointing out what the statistics and your own eyes agree in the truth. Now imagine that you had an opportunity to anonymously vote against the people who make you feel that way.

Can you imagine this state of mind? If so, you've captured why Britain left the EU.

> My impression of Heterodox Academy is that it's more of the same but regardless, how about finding some more serious sources if you genuinely want to know?

One sad effect of the current political climate is that it's become very hard to find unbiased sources --- or at least sources everyone respects (which isn't the same thing).

> Muscular strength ... firefighting ...

This is just a strawman; nobody argues women are as strong as men.

> it's become very hard to find unbiased sources

Not really, except than for ideological partisans

> It's like the world forgot the lessons of the past - the curses of nationalism, populism and ideology

It could also be, that we are doing something wrong in the society, something we did better after the last wars. Such as not including everybody in the growth of the economy.

At least I'd like to think we don't have to kill hundreds of millions of people every century, to make people remember...

We have to find something to better than fear or hate to unify nations.

Company cultures have been shifting from fear-driven-development to a more human focus. Still a ways to go (especially compared with the marketing around it), but a step in the right direction.

There is a theory that this is what happens when you have several generations live their lives without seeing a major war or crisis, and feeling its results firsthand. Presumably, that's when people, and societies as a whole, get too "cocky" and less compromising, because they don't fear the consequences enough.

Yeah, I think after a few generations of stability, when the last survivors of the last major calamity leave power, people start believing that this time is different, we've moved past war, without realizing that humans haven't fundamentally changed.

>It's like the world forgot the lessons of the past - the curses of nationalism, populism and ideology - and nobody has stood up to remind them.

The average worker in the western nations did a lot better when the cold war was in full swing than afterwards. Peaceful competition among nations and economic systems seems to work best.

I've read that the reason US and other Western workers have done worse since the Cold War is due to the breakup of the Soviet Union, and with it, the fear that the population might support communism if capitalism became too predatory.

Once the USSR and its satellite states disappeared, US capitalism had no fear of a revolution ever gaining hand, and the results for the middle class have been as expected.

Seems like a valid idea.

I do know that in the aftermath of WWII, the Allies, under the Morgenthau Plan, treated the German population in the West very poorly. Essentially, the goal was to keep them in an agrarian state so they'd never be able to pose a military challenge.

After it became apparent that a large ideological battle between the communist and capitalist systems among the German population was being waged, and that the western population might just begin to choose communism, should things not improve, the Allies did begin to allow the West to re-industrialize.

In the US this started during the Great Depression. Political leaders at the time were legitimately afraid of a socialist / communist uprising. The New Deal social welfare and income redistribution programs might have helped to prevent such an event.

Yes, exactly.

I watched the Grapes of Wrath (1940) a few years ago. The amount of pro-communist idealization in the film would never, ever be allowed to play in a main-stream theater in the US today.

I think most younger people don't realize that communism was a huge threat to the US Capitalist system pre-Soviet-breakup, and because of that, a very large propaganda campaign was waged until the 90's. The remnants we see today are why an effective attack on Bernie Sanders was to associate him with socialism / communism.

Obviously, young people didn't fall for the tactic. Older folks who had been taught to fear and hate communism for much of their earlier lives, on the other hand, were influenced heavily by the attack.

You mention Japan, but even as a local I'm not sure which movement you're referring to regarding anti-beueaucratic populism.

Perhaps, are you alluding to SEALDs and those against revising the constitution? If so, I don't think their voice are comparably as loud as those overseas.

I was talking about nationalism and populism more generally. For example, I've read many times that the revisionist far right has growing influence, re-writing history books to hide Japan's actions in WWII, launching campaigns against those who criticize that period, etc.

>nobody with a platform is making the well-known arguments about why these things are very dangerous.

This is the inherent problem in dealing with demagoguery. Logical arguments do not matter, and the left doesn't seem to understand this. You have to fight fire with fire. Feelings with feelings. You have to speak to people's guts, not their minds.

I think its more a statement on the perception of globalization and how it affects the working class in western countries, combined with some actual breaking down on how the whole trade thing is supposed to work (WTO, Doha round is now 15 years old !!!)

What are the well-known arguments?

Perhaps it's been too long since we've had Beggar Thy Neighbor recessions or World Wars induced by stupidity?

The situation with Trump vs. Hillary and Brexit vs. Bremain seems almost identical to me, especially after having watched the TV debate the other evening (the first political debate I've ever watched in the UK).

Sure, you can say that Brexit are incredibly populist and play on peoples fears, but... the Bremain side was no better. Essentially, my take on it was, that the Brexit side was targeting the incredibly stupid people with fears like immigration, whereas the Bremain was targeting the merely stupid people with fears like economy crash. Neither seemed to have any kind of justification to their main arguments, or any other sensible argument.

The situation in the US seems very similar. Sure, Trump is spewing inconsistent nonsense left and right, but Hillary has nothing to say, period. Part of me thinks that she's so embroiled in potential scandals that it's actually better for her to say nothing, and hope that Trump auto-ignites and explodes based on his speech...

I'm a little bit put off by the mentality of "both sides are bad" that a lot of people seem to have in both of these issues.

Yeah, both sides have massive flaws, but isn't it stifling to keep insisting on this fact and to keep preaching it? Shouldn't we all just accept the lesser evil, by however small a margin it's less evil?

As good a point as you may have, isn't it more important to avoid a Donald Trump presidency/a brexit/a ridiculous fear of immigrants and Islam than to say what is technically correct so loudly and prominently?

I feel like if we wind up with the worse cases, people might regret having made both sides seem bad. Plus, less intelligent people might avoid voting altogether rather than voting for the lesser evil because they keep hearing intellectuals say how bad both sides are.

Yeah, both sides have massive flaws, but isn't it stifling to keep insisting on this fact and to keep preaching it? Shouldn't we all just accept the lesser evil...

Today's vote only has two possible outcomes, but please don't perpetuate the myth that Americans have only two choices in November. Both Gary Johnson and Jill Stein would serve the public better as president than either of the two corrupt charlatans that the two wings of the Status Quo Party will nominate. If we want to improve the nation, and we want to do it by voting, we will be fools if we continue to vote as we always have.

A myth? We literally only have two choices. There is not a single chance that someone else will be elected unless someone within either of the parties does something.

What do you seriously suggest the people do to get another person besides these two?

Whether you like it or not, the fact remains that those who vote for a third party have always been a tiny minority and have ultimately caused elections to be lost to people even they think is the worse evil. Unless of course you respond with what your plan of action is and how it will work.

Some people have already done something, and both of the candidates I mentioned by name in the parent comment will be on the ballot in your state. Please vote for one of them! Don't vote for what you know to be "evil"; that wouldn't be rational. No one will stop you from voting rationally, except yourself, by listening to the "literally only two choices" bullshit that the media spoon-feeds you.

This is probably too political for HN, so I'll stop now.

I want to listen to you (I'd write in Bernie to be honest) but unfortunately it's not realistic. I've come to this conclusion by observation of reality, not from the media. I don't even consume much American media.

You're saying you only want to vote for a party that could win. Why? For the satisfaction of feeling like you made a difference? If the polls showed that the "greater evil" party was winning by a large margin, would you vote for that too because the lesser evil one has zero chance?

People who vote against their own interest and focus on over-emotional bipartisan feelings are exactly the reason America's government keeps doing things that people don't like. They're so afraid of the "greater evil" that they'll even kill the greater good in a futile attempt to avoid it. The republicans will still keep on winning every couple of cycles, just as they always have. Voting for one of the two major parties is really a vote for the status quo of alternating republican and democrat governments. It's like sports, no team is ever really going to win. They just keep switching places.

Run some computer simulation. In a first-past-the-post system, voting for anything but one of the top two contenders is throwing away your vote.

The strawmen about only voting for the winner doesn't apply.

If you want to make voting your conscience easier, support something like eg Range Voting.


Score Voting or Approval Voting, yes. It's the only way to ensure—like mathematically guarantee—it's safe to vote for your favorite candidate _always_.

> It's the only way to ensure—like mathematically guarantee—it's safe to vote for your favorite candidate _always_.

I am not so sure. I think there are other systems that can achieve this too. Eg a proportional system perhaps?

Anyway, yes, score voting is still a good idea if you can only elect a single candidate. People already understand how it works from sports.

Why? Getting a bit political here, and I'm sorry, I just need to answer the question then I'll cut it out with the strong political views:

Because I couldn't bear to be a citizen of a country that elects Donald Trump as president. I'd be too embarrassed in the face of my peers around the world. I already get made fun of enough for my country by my German, Swiss, and Korean friends for just the prospect of Trump winning. I couldn't live here anymore or represent this country when I travel. The people who surround me, my compatriots, would be too stupid, bigoted, and hateful in my view for me to continue living here.

For any other election, I'd happily agree with you and might even try to change the status quo. But the risk of a Trump presidency has my insides sinking.

But right now, I'm going to vote for anything to stop that guy from winning. Even if it means voting for a crook.

If you can tell a difference between Trump and Clinton, you have discriminating tastes indeed.

the fact remains that those who vote for a third party have always been a tiny minority

Ross Perot got 19% of the popular vote in 1992. I'd say that shows what a third party candidate can do.

It does. It shows a third party candidate can surpass expectations and still come nowhere close to winning a state.

Assuming that you think Trump would somehow be a disastrous clown - or at least more of a disastrous clown than Hillary. Really, it's Giant Douche vs Turd Sandwich here, but from my perspective, Hilary has done nothing to inspire confidence, and a great deal to make me wary - Trump might be a jackass, but he is generally a shrewd operator, and really not liable to simple corruption.

> but he is generally a shrewd operator, and really not liable to simple corruption.

That would probably come as a surprise to the small army of people who have sued him over the years[0], or who have been sued by him for what seem to be vindictive or petty reasons[1].

You may prefer Trump, but the corrupting interests of business and politics very often intersect. I think it would be a mistake to assume he's neither corrupt nor corruptible.



My comment was mainly aimed at people who agree with me that Trump would be a disaster and Hillary would simply be the continuation of the not-so-great status quo. To those people, I plead to stop making the both-sides-are-evil argument.

You seem to be a Trump supporter, so there you go, you're not on the both-sides-are-evil boat. I have no qualms with you other than the obvious political differences.

I'm no fan of Hillary, but have you listened to what Trump has been saying?

I highly recommend reading https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_True_Believer . It was written in the aftermath of WW2 and tries to break down the factors that go into the formation of mass movements like Naziism and Communism.

I wouldn't say we've reached the same levels by a ways, but the parallels between the situation then and now are chilling.

> Shouldn't we all just accept the lesser evil, by however small a margin it's less evil?

That margin is an epsilon, and its inverted for people with different pressing concerns than you.

The Republican party is full of people will be voting for Trump, not because they really like him, but simply to keep Killary out. That is their lesser evil.

This is the manufactured consent of US politics.

They are incredibly similar movements. I think we're confronting the leading edge of disgruntlement as the working class is displaced by technology, globalization, and cheap immigrant labor. Immigrants become the scapegoat when it's really more complex than that. But the defenders of remaining an open society have a hard time explaining how they would fix these. Tech and urban elites have generally done well in this new world.

Calling people "incredibly stupid" if they're worried about immigration is a bit condescending, especially if they are observing the immigrants compete for jobs with them.

That sort of attitude towards non-upperclass people on both sides of the political spectrum is why they are pissed off with the political classes, in fact. And they are not stupid to be pissed off.

> It's actually better for her to say nothing, and hope that Trump auto-ignites and explodes based on his speech...

I saw something (jokingly) suggesting the other day that the best thing Clinton could do with her campaign's cash would be to loan it to Trump's campaign.

incredibly stupid people with fears like immigration

I've yet to hear an intelligent argument in favor of mass immigration, especially for a densely populated country like the UK. So, "stupid" to me is forcing a country with millennia of fairly consistent demographics to rapidly [0] turn into a squabbling Middle Eastern/North African/South Asian aggregate. Stupid. And by stupid, I mean stupid to the point of being utterly baffling.

[0] By historical standards. Britain is being re-settled a lot faster than North America was for instance. That took hundreds of years.

I'm not saying that arguing against immigration is stupid... Just that the way Brexit was arguing was devoid of any real factual data or rational arguments. They were playing purely on people's emotions.

I agree, partially. Mass immigration is almost never a good idea. However, the populations you pointed out aren't from the EU so have basically nothing to do with Brexit.

> I've yet to hear an intelligent argument in favor of mass immigration, [...]

It's good for the people moving!

(There are other arguments, too.)

There is no mass immigration into the UK. That's the lie, I think.

Is remain Hillary or Trump then?

One of my favourite part of this whole thing is seeing just how little my friendship group understand how much FB/Twitter are self-selecting echochambers.

My feeds are full of people who just absolutely cannot believe that other people hold "wrong opinions".

This is very true, and something I didn't even realize until I entered a period of life in which I'm simply too busy to participate in social media.

If something went viral, I used to take that as a signal or indicator of how the majority of people think. Now when something goes viral, I think, "that's roughly how a lot of men and almost as many women, age 13 to 30, who are comfortable aligning with that particular opinion publicly, think."

Then I started considering what that might mean for television, movies, print, etc.

I always knew that media was skewed in favor of attracting the youngest audiences, because they're more valuable to advertisers. Now I'm also considering that maybe those forms of media are also skewed in favor of the type of person who tends to watch a lot of television, go to a lot of movies, buy a lot of magazines, etc. I used to think everyone did that, now I know a lot of people do it far less than others.

Daytime television, for example, is full of advertisements for private colleges that exist mostly just to take your SSN so they can pocket federal loan money and list you as the debtor. That's because people who watch daytime television tend to be uneducated and unemployed.

Daytime television is nothing close to a cross-section of humanity. It's content engineered to appeal mostly to people who don't go to school and don't work.

Now, what kind of people tend to watch primetime television? Or listen to terrestrial radio? Or buy a magazine at an airport?

As a result of media producers learning more about their audiences, pretty much every form of media eventually becomes an echo chamber.

That's why it's entertaining to look at the ads in the Economist.

The first time I read it I was amazed at how unaffordable everything was.

But Bill Gates has said he reads every issue of The Economist from cover to cover, so they definitely know their audience. They'll be in the black as long as they can sell him and Richard Branson one Gulfstream every 5 years.

I think this is one of the major reasons for our awful political discourse now. Everyone self-selects into echo chambers and it gets so bad that they can't even fathom how someone could disagree with them as they pass around strawman memes of 'the wrong side'.

Then at the end of the day, you must perceive the opposing side as inherently bad in some way. It's amazing how so few people can remain friends with people who have differing viewpoints.

Never mind friends. I would settle for simply realizing that the other person has a viewpoint is different from yours, and yet perfectly reasonable.

Anytime you see calls for "sanity" or the like you know the person is completely incapable of seeing something from another point of view. I've started to use it as a code word for "don't listen to this person".

Not just that, but there are lots of people who honestly believe that no one does hold a different opinion. They attribute a failure to enact the policies they support to a conspiracy of vested interests, rather than the fact that a large fraction of country disagrees with them.

Wow, I knew that all the non-attached parts of the UK would want to remain, but not by this much. Both the Shetland and Orkney islands voted to stay by a fair margin, about 65% Remain, but Gibraltar was far more heavily Remain. Gibraltar, for example, had 96% vote to stay, with 85% turnout (!).

This is partly because the islands are far more dependent on the EU than the mainland, but in Gibraltar's case it is particularly extreme. Without EU membership Gibraltar may not be able to have a border with Spain due to the territorial conflict. Spain already occasionally closes the border on a whim, for example when a Spanish fishing boat was arrested for illegally fishing in Gibraltar waters.

[edit] I don't want to get into a debate (w/commenter below) but basically both the UK and Spain claim that they own all the waters. International rulings so far seem to be leaning towards giving the UK some and Spain some; a lot of these rulings come from the EU courts which is yet another reason why those in Gibraltar have a very strong interest to stay.

While I'm amending my comment, I think it's interesting that there were any Gibraltar citizens who voted to leave. This shows that there is a solid 8% of the population or so that will vote how they feel is important despite a very strong economic incentive to the contrary. I'm simultaneously surprised at how few people voted to leave (only 4%!) and at how there were still people who voted to leave despite the obvious economic problems leaving would bring to Gibraltar.

That's only the Spanish view.

The Treaty of Utrecht only referred to Gibraltar, not the waters. IMHO, it's the UK who has a view.

One of the things I dislike about graphics displaying live (or otherwise unfinalized) electoral results is that the viewer must know something about political geography in order to interpret them: Are the tallies I'm seeing in line with how those districts were supposed to vote? Is it just happenstance that the votes counted so far have come in disproportionately from districts expected to vote against the expected overall result?

Please, if you work on these things, try to help us understand what we're really seeing. Otherwise, your work is for naught, because we will all learn to say, "Bah, I'll check the results in the morning."

Do any of you have ideas about how better to display live results? Maybe a heat map showing the difference in the actual results versus the polled expected results?

I'm harvesting results from the BBC website, and comparing them with estimates from ACPO (http://apcoworldwide.com/docs/default-source/default-documen...).

You can see a feed of results here: https://gist.github.com/inglesp/0b0ba9efcefe54f965be9b042afd...

Caveat: I'm drinking increasingly heavily.

The New York Times has done live predictive models as results come in, which is the best election night tool I've ever seen. Here's the New York Democratic primary: http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2016/04/19/upshot/live-mo...

All of the charts updated in real time based on how precincts actually voted compared to their predictions.

I agree completely...a shining example of how there's always more data to the data. I remember in 2014, they were tracking a Senate race in which the underdog, because of the order of precincts reporting, was seemingly on its way to a massive upset. To its credit, CNN made a few caveats while at the same time talking about how exciting things were as they did Jerry-Bruckheimer-zooms of their fancy electorate map...but all the while, the NYT kept calm and steady with its prediction and as the night went on, the vote results line gradually converged to nearly exactly what the NYT's analysis predicted.

It's definitely made election night a lot less dramatic.

I think that's a nice idea, but it's also exceptionally difficult to do in practice for something like this.

In the case of a general election, we have the previous election on which to base our expectations. The UK broadcasters use the "swingometer" (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Swingometer) in these elections, which is a useful visualisation of the change of vote share on a per-consitutency basis, indicating the meaning of the result rather than just the number.

The EU referendum has no recent comparable campaign with which it can be compared, making it much harder to do this.

Just to piggy-back, these maps often don't show urban density very well. I'm guessing that Kettering (which is reporting "Leave") has a few less people than say, London.

Similarly, here is the 2012 election county map where "blue" had 5MM more votes than "red": http://politicalmaps.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/11/2012-usa...

That's a good point.

The Guardian do good election maps – this one has regional results scaled by population, so it's much clearer what's happening: http://www.theguardian.com/politics/ng-interactive/2016/jun/...

The Guardian is currently running an excellent live blog (http://www.theguardian.com/politics/live/2016/jun/23/eu-refe...) which includes comparisons between real and expected results, as well as projections by experts. I wish that link were at the top of HN instead of this submission; live results are completely useless for the average observer.

If you watch the BBC live stream they do in fact give information on how the results fair in terms of what was expected. This information appears to be missing from their website however.

I would like to second this -- they have a rather neat distribution that shows areas arranged in terms of leave-to-remain ratio. So as some results come in, they point out where that area was predicted to come, and whether or not the results are as predicted or surprising.

See my comment below. If you are interested in this and want to get some in depth analysis check out either BBC 1 or the BBC live blog. They cover these questions.

It's hard though, there isn't much to compare as there isn't an 'expected way' regions vote. There's a rough idea, but it's seeming like these are not what people expected. My money is on Scotland and Ireland being overwhelmingly remain, Wales swinging unexpectedly to leave (partly because they are disenfranchised with the government), while in England the non urban areas going leave and the urban ones going stay.

BBC Radio Four is doing a reasonable job of saying what's expected in each area.

The BBC just announced that "Britain has voted to leave the European Union".

Leave only needs 2,105,984 more votes to win. [edit 12:15am EST] 1,715,256 votes now and closing fast. [edit 12:19am EST] 1,196,678 [edit 12:27am EST] 894,189 [edit 12:31am EST] 785,549 [edit 12:37am EST] 741,795 [edit 12:38am EST] 592,337 [edit 12:45am EST] 448,596 [edit 12:46am EST] 373,532 [edit 12:51am EST] 308,519 [edit 12:57am EST] 94,635 [edit 1:00am EST] 37,665 [edit 1:02am EST] 0. The UK has officially voted to leave.

Predicted result: Leave 52%, Remain 48%

Wow. So what happens now?

- Scotland voted 62% Remain. The SNP said it will call a second independence referendum if Leave wins. Many estimate that the independence movement will win this time around. Literally every single Scottish division voted to remain.

- Gibraltar will probably be royally screwed [0] as well as some other areas that are heavily dependent on trade/travel with EU countries

- The pound drops like a rock. Was stable at $1.48 all day, peaked at $1.50 earlier after Remain was doing well (~6pm EST), now at $1.33 (12:13am EST), now at $1.32 (12:21am EST) and the lowest level since 1985. In 1985 it hit $1.08, which was then the lowest value in a very long time.

- The pound is down 17% from the yen by the way.

- Other independence movements in other EU countries gain a bit of legitimacy. The euro drops (currently at $1.09, down four cents or 3%), and the yen gains (currently up 6%) (12:25am EST)

- For those of us fortunate enough to have our savings in dollars, everything denominated in pounds is currently on a 12% off sale.

[0] https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=11965342

The pound is in free fall (-7%)...


This is going to hurt...

Edit: now rebounding... Remain is winning now thanks to London.

meh, it's still trading around the same levels as it has been since January.

Meh? It's the largest single day drop for the Pound in history.

When I said meh it was around 1.45. It's now officially beyond meh levels.

You replied to the comment that noted it was down 7% which is an outrageous move for a currency.

Time to gobble up some pounds.

I hold the belief that the apocalyptic predictions of Brexit are mostly bunk, and Britain will soldier on. I additionally believe that the market is overreacting.

Can anyone more familiar with UK markets offer suggestions on how I can trade this opinion?

Buy the pound, buy FTSE, buy really anything tomorrow because it's all going to be on sale.

Yes it is an easy buy. Wait a few days and get options to buy GBP @1.5 USD :-)


I wonder if referendums should have a higher bar than 50% against the status quo. Referendums are reserved for big changes (generally) or constitutional changes, and the population can be extremely fickle. A 50% target might go one way or another depending on the week or month you call it - and probably doesn't represent a true majority, especially in a state where voting is optional. The ramifications can be very large and shouldn't be expected to change again for a very long time.

If a higher percentage was thought to be a good idea, what would that percentage be? 60/40? 55/65? 70/30? I'm not advocating for this by the way, just figure it might be an interesting thought experiment.

I agree. A fifty-something vote is more like "neutral" or "undecided" than "leave" or "remain". Perhaps 60% would be the clear threshold to count as a clear, unambiguous decision from the voters to leave the EU.

On the other hand, you don't want too high a threshold to make a change, like 3/4 to ratify, as js2 points out, because then you're effectively locked in to the status quo for too long.

Another way of doing this is to offer voters a third option, "neutral/undecided". When counting, you'd treat these votes as if they were in favour of the status quo, remaining in the EU. Then, if 51% of the votes are to leave, Britain leaves the EU. After all, if you're neutral about something, you stick with what you have, rather than disrupting things for no good reason.

I'm inclined to agree given that voting is not compulsory. In Australia, where voting in all elections and referenda is compulsory, I would have to stridently disagree. I suspect the result today was skewed by the big swing towards the 'Remain' vote following the assassination of Jo Cox causing a lot of 'Remain' voters choosing to stay at home in the expectation of 'Remain' comfortably prevailing.

I'm Australian, but I'm still not sure a 50/50 split on something so important is right. At least here in Australia you need a 50% total and a 50% of states. I don't think the extra requirement of locality would have prevented the leave in the UK though - it seems only London and Scotland really led the way for the stay vote.

> I suspect the result today was skewed by the big swing towards the 'Remain' vote following the assassination of Jo Cox

That's kind of what I'm getting at. With a vote so close it's almost a decision that could change day to day, or depending upon the weather. For a vote that can only happen every decade or three I don't think 50% is a high enough bar for change.

Yeah - or at least 50% of the population vs 50% of the turnout.

Results timeline - local (US Eastern):

3-4 a.m. (10-11 p.m.) - Results from half of the counting areas are in

Around 5 a.m. (midnight) - About 80% of counting areas have reported results

7 a.m. (2 a.m.) - All votes are likely to have been counted and the official result is expected shortly after.

This is such a tragedy. How many voters and observers understand than that European project was never primarily about economics? It was a political project that has produced 71 years "since an army crossed the Rhine with fire and sword" [0].

And now, we can watch as the project that has brought peace and prosperity to more than almost any in history unravels. And yes, Europe has been failed by horrendous, narrow-minded economic policies of the EU, but a previous generation of leaders who still remembered the horrors of war would not have sacrificed Europe for their own narrow benefits.

[0] http://delong.typepad.com/delong_long_form/2015/01/the-futur...

It's possible to understand the nature and purpose of the European project and still, resignedly, vote "leave". People voting "leave" aren't opposed to peace and prosperity. They're saying that the EU is so badly run and so antithetical to their way of life that despite the advantages of the European project, the UK is better off without it.

So far, I've seen most commentators cast aspersions on the UK public for squandering an opportunity for peace and unity. I wish more people would entertain the notion that the EU was so badly run and so antithetical to the UK way of life that leaving was the right choice, however sad it was that the EU dream didn't become reality.

Although I've lived in London twice, my viewpoint is obviously biased as an American living in New York City. But at least from over here, the "leave" campaign has not seemed to be based on a demand for reform of the EU [0].

[0] http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/features/2016/06/brexit-ant...

I think that arguments for leaving the EU based on concerns about immigration are implicit calls for a rethinking of the EU social contract with respect to freedom of movement.

It's exactly this idea that discussions predicated on group identity are somehow outside the realm of legitimate politics that leads to the very resentment that made Britain leave the EU.

It's a shame, because if the EU had treated this issue as a political one, subject to compromise and regulation, they'd have been able to come up with a political solution. Instead, a lot of people treated this issue as a moral crusade and provoked a huge, destructive backlash.

God, homo sapiens is doomed.

Is there any real appetite for that in the rest of the EU, though? You need some kind of potential partners to put together significant reform of a 28-member bloc, and restricting the free movement of labour would be a huge change. I could see it happening if there are increasing questions in many EU countries about it, but not if there are only really increasing questions in one.

External immigration is a huge issue in many parts of the EU, and a common rallying point for the anti-immigration right. Especially Muslim immigration has become a major political issue in many EU countries. There is probably a coalition that could be put together with a hard-line view on refugees and external immigration (and one is sort of forming in opposition to the Merkel-led coalition's more accommodating view). But internal EU movement is a much smaller political issue in much of the rest of the EU (though it is a big issue in non-EU, but Schengen member Switzerland). Anti-immigration parties elsewhere in Europe, like Sweden Democrats, are mainly animated by worry about Muslim immigration from outside the EU, and don't really have the beef with e.g. Polish immigrants that some of the UK anti-immigration groups have.

Logically right, but emotionally wrong. I don't think you've appreciated the extent to which people publically oppose EU migration because it's politically incorrect to oppose Muslim migration, whether or not this UI indirection makes any sense.

Structures are tools, and they are never better than the people that compose them. Even when they are created with the right ideals, they quickly degenerate unless those ideals begin to become real in people consciousness.

The european project has failed in this sense. Europe is not the euro nor the current european institutions.

Hopefully one day Europe will be the people.

I don't think the fat lady has sung yet. Fact is, in Britain, the most Euro-skeptic country in the Union, almost half of the population is now convinced that the EU is fine. From a historical perspective is amazing, considering the country was dragged in what it was, at the time, little more than a trade union, and is now a semi-federalist structure.

We only need a couple of generations of old angry men to die off, and then we'll be ok.

They might still not think the EU is fine. Just that leaving is worse. There will be reforms of the EU regardless of this outcome I hope and the member states left might stand to gain from it.

I don't think anyone is really claiming EU is fine. Or that the dividing line is defined along young/old.

What is being voted on is simply whether the good bits outweigh the sucky bits. Or whether the sucky bits are at least reformable.

Existence of the sucky bits is beyond question.

I think you're wrong to despair.

The Europe of < 1910 was very different. Socially, politically, and economically. If the EU dissolved today, I don't believe France and Germany would be at war within 200 years. So long as strong democratic values persist in Europe, peace, I think, is a certainty.

Nobody believed a dissolved Yugoslavia would be at war either. Ethnic cleansing followed. People don't realize how easy things can snowball, once you let in darkness.

Watch this movie, it's brilliant: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Second_Civil_War

Yugoslavia was always divided, so it's not _really_ a valid comparison.

Scotland was also "always divided". EU countries are still so divided in practice (this vote being proof).

Look at Gibraltar. Channel tax havens. Nuclear submarines and oil platforms in Scotland. All these situations will now have to be renegotiated. Negotiations between states sometimes fail, and when they do, there's always that extension of diplomacy behind the corner: war.

There are endless fault lines all around us, which will be opened by renouncing the superior structures keeping them together.

Yes but Russia is not a member of the EU and its not really a democracy.

There's never been a war between EU countries though.

Are you really saying this could lead to war between Europe and the UK? That seems entirely unlikely unless some other major disaster happens, and in that case they would just quit the EU anyway if it suited them.

Not necessarily between the UK and the EU. But I fear that Brexit is the first step in the dissolution of the EU. And I can certainly imagine a future conflict between, say, Austria and a Russia-oriented Hungary. Go look at the distribution of minority nationalities in Europe, and you will see an endless potential for conflict. That was the reality from 111 AD to 1945.

I doubt there would be a major conflict in Europe with the US still being the dominate military force in the world.

Major disasters are a certainty over long enough time. It's been 71 years—Europe can certainly revert in that time.

On the contrary, you see people using their vote rather than force to seek their will and self-determination. No arms fired.

In some ways, one of the main thrusts of this effort, the wish to be more independent and having self determination and resulting in more control over employment and immigration is understandable. Unlike the US where anti-immigration brings calls of racism, in the UK the animus is against people of the same "race". (it also affects people from non-EU, and of non-European descent, but less so).

I think this is the attitude evidenced when people decry "gentrification". Or No "Californians" in Portland, OR or Seattle, WA. People don't mind immigration (influx of outsiders) or change, so long as it's controlled to some degree and they have a benefit (unaffordable housing and competition for blue collar jobs from regions who are used to lower wages, makes it a wedge for people of that economic class).

Is this going to be decided by the pure number of votes, or is it separated by region and the number of regions is what will decide the result?

Pure number of votes. THough the regions will declare separately, it's the net remain vs leave votes overall that matter.

A sane voting scheme...unlike what we have in the USA. IMAO of course, but I'm so A about it I don't care.

Don't worry, in all of our normal elections it is insane.

There was an opportunity to fix the insanity in an earlier referendum. Such a wasted opportunity.

Probably the saddest referendum result in my lifetime https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_Kingdom_Alternative_Vot...

I'm a big fan of reforming the electoral system in the UK, but the AV referendum was an awful fudge at best, plainly just offered as a sop to the Liberal Democrats.

It was genuinely one of the worst referendum campaigns of all time though. I'm still haunted by the 'if you vote for this then babies will die' adverts.

The Alternative Vote was a stupid suggestion in any case. (A similar system doesn't work too well in Australia.)

Something like Approval Voting or even better range voting would have been worth it.


That would have just brought UKIP into government with the Tories faster and accelerated the process.

Dunno. Simple majority votes that change the legislative process (London vs Brussels writing laws) seems less than sane to me.

Referendums in the US are based on popular vote as well.

Elections, however, are not based on popular vote.

All elections are based on popular vote in the US, except the presidential election, which is based on electoral votes.

Here's some more information about how the votes are counted: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-eu-referendum-36044026

Pure number of votes. This is a referendum, not an election.

Wow. Everything I'd heard today pointed to them staying in the EU. As of now the leave votes are winning. This will probably be one of the big political experiments in my lifetime.

There's approx 30m votes to declare - only 1m has so far. It is early

If votes were being counted in a completely random order then 1m votes would have been more than enough to determine the result with very high accuracy.

Regional variations are the only reason things haven't been decided yet.

From what I saw, it'll be morning before the vote is certified. It looks like only 9 of 380ish voting districts/constituencies/etc. (sorry, I'm not British and don't know what they actually call them).

we call them counties

I think this almost guarantees the break up of the UK (if the result stays with the leave Eu campaign). Scotland is voting overwhelmingly to remain in the EU.

I doubt we'll stand by and stomach a far right dogwhistle government. Most of the politicians advocating leaving the EU also want to abolish the Scottish parliament.

I'd like to see an independant Scotland, but I wonder if they would actually vote for independence this time around, even in the face of a Leave vote: the low price of oil, and the chaotic state of the EU might make that look too scary for the Scots

I don't think this is a vote for the the #brexit campaign as such. The major exit votes are from working class areas that are traditionally Labour meaning this could be more of a #Lexit which was hardly covered in the mainstream media. This is also a general protest vote against the establishment not just the EU.

Something I hadn't considered was the breakdown between the individual UK nations.

What happens if the UK as a whole decides to leave the euro zone, perhaps by a small margin or perhaps by a lot, but for some reason Scotland decides buy a 15% margin to stay in the euro zone.

Is there any reason to think we might see Scotland decide to stay with the euro zone it leave the UK in that case? Or are the ties so strong that the UK would probably stay together no matter what even if one of the member nations has a strongly different opinion?

(Just a heads-up, the Eurozone and the EU are different – the former is the currency union under the Euro, and membership of the latter is what the referendum is about. Not all members of the EU are members of the Eurozone).

Scotland had an independence referendum less than two years ago, where the outcome was a good 45%-55% in favour of remaining in the UK. However, the majority of representatives in Scotland remain pro-Scottish independence. Continued membership of the EU was an important argument during the independence campaign – with the pro-independence side wanting to remain, and the pro-UK side warning that Scotland would lose EU membership if it voted for independence.

It's likely – but not certain – that there would be a second independence referendum in Scotland on the basis of being 'forced' to exit the EU. But it's not going to be pretty, and there have been a lot of elections in Scotland recently – no doubt everyone is getting a bit fatigued. It's not clear at all what the outcome would be, either, or if Scotland would even be able to maintain EU membership.

Thanks, thought I might be getting the "euro zone" part wrong but wasn't sure.

Honestly I was surprised when this whole issue came up because I assumed that the EU and the Eurozone where the same thing. I know the UK never decided to adopt the Euro so I just assumed that they weren't part of the EU.

It's not hard to get confused – there are a lot of overlapping groups involved here! The Eurozone, the EU, the ECHR, the EEA… they all have different sets of members and such.

The UK has been a bit frosty about the prospect of further EU integration, possibly with good reason in some ways.

Ah! This is where I get to pull out one of my all time favorite Wikipedia graphics: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Supranational_European_Bo...

...ya know, just in case you weren't confused enough already!

This would be better, if it didn't rely on me knowing all the flags.

I'm on my phone now, so I can't find a link. But yes, some politicians in Scotland have already said they'd have another referendum to leave the UK if it leaves the EU.

I wonder what will happen in Northern Ireland. My understanding is that it will be split in half in terms of voting leave/remain.

Scotland will definitely try to leave (as others have pointed out, there's a definite theory that turnout there was lower because a lot of pro-independence Scots who support the EU in principle didn't particularly mind the rest of the UK leaving the EU if it reignited their opportunity for independence)

The other interesting aspect is London: a part of the UK whose expected resounding Remain vote[1] is far from the only way it's increasingly politically, culturally and economically different from the rest of the UK...

[1]Lambeth just voted 78%/21% for remain...

It's an impossibility, but London independence would probably do an awful lot of good for the UK.

London as a city state would be pretty amazing. They can put the English parliament into Winchester, with some historical justification.

SNP did not really campaign, despite having been resolutely pro-EU all the time in the past. They clearly hope Leave wins so they can get a mandate to break away for good; they'll have another referendum, which will be easily won, and say bye.

The SNP has essentially already promised to hold IndyRef2 if that's the case.

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