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Brexit Deal Fails in Parliament (nytimes.com)
777 points by johnny313 3 months ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 1191 comments

The Brexit promise is something nobody can deliver on. It was a lie, you cannot force the EU to accept an unfavorable trade deal. If only for the reason that it would set an exceptionally bad precedent and everybody would want their own deal, to pick and choose the parts of EU membership that are favorable to them, leading the EU to implode.

Somebody needs to own up to that lie and accept that a "no deal" outcome, which is clearly bad, is still the best thing brexiters can actually deliver. Instead, they are trying to camouflage that reality with a bad deal that keeps Britain shackled to the EU for a number of years while losing all of the (substantial) influence it had over the way EU works. That's an anti-Brexit, the exact opposite of the independence and prosperity promised by brexiters. It was a bad deal and it's good that it failed.

This should be a lesson for all voters across the world - think for a minute before voting. At least try to understand what you're voting on. We can blame all we want on the media, politicians etc etc, but in the end, we can't deny Brexit is the result of a properly, democratically conducted election - voters need to take at least some responsibility. No amount of "voters' remorse" is going to help now.

This is not the voter’s fault. In a functioning democracy, there is a system to approve a text by popular vote instead of the usual parlement. So the question at such a vote should always be: “do you approve the proposed text?”, then the text becomes law.

By organizing an abstract opinion poll, the government just prepared a shit show, there no way to make any significant chunk of the population happy, everybody had a different view of brexit.

That's what Switzerland does.

Just today I voted about an energy act, a police act and a residence planning act. I admit that I didn't study the law texts carefully. Instead I read the neutral explanation of the government and both explanations of the pro and contra committees and decided whether the reasonings convinced me or not.

So even in Switzerland you could get the proverbial shit show if someone managed to convince the people with misleading arguments, and I am afraid this already happened a few times.

But precisely, you are voting on laws, not on an abstract "would you rather leave or remain" question.

The referendum should have been held now: "We have this deal prepared, would you leave with this deal, leave with no deal, or remain?"

Meanwhile there have been several conservative speeches in Parliament about the direction they want:

They want May to come up with a better plan for a "No deal" Brexit. To take a much harder stance against the EU in negotiations. THAT's why they voted against her.

I feel like this is going in a VERY different direction than is being implied in the comments here.

And let's be honest here: it might work. In the EU, in all countries where I can understand the language: France, Belgium, Ireland, the Netherlands there are artikels on the front page of the main newspaper about companies lobbying to force their governments to simply break ranks with the EU in case of "No deal": to have a trade pact with the UK ready to go March 29. In theory, that's not legal, but there is precedent. If the UK can get trade deals with the US (which is not going to be a problem), Ireland, Belgium, France and the Netherlands, the damage of a no deal Brexit will be limited quite a bit. A "fuck the lot of you. No deal !" approach ... it's not out of the question that they actually make it work.

Plus, you know, it's clearly what the majority of the voters want and in theory both the UK and these European countries are democracies. On would think that would make it simple.

And then there's the question of what happens if Juncker gets called on his bluff. AFD, 5*, Lega Nord and FN will certainly see their hand strengthened quite a bit if the UK blows up their EU membership and actually gets away with it. Talk about worst possible outcome for everyone.

The EU should say "ok ... voters decided, sucks, but let's make this work. Let's give the UK a fair exit and a fair trade deal". That is in the interest of everyone in the EU AND everyone in the UK ... with the notable exception of the EU politicians themselves.

Ah, that's not how the EU works when it comes to trade. You're in or you're out.

Non-EU countries make trade deals with the EU who is collectively acting on their member states behalf.

There will _NEVER_ be a "side" trade deal between Britain and an EU member state directly.

Don't feel too bad about not knowing this. The original Minister for Brexit David Davis (& embarrassingly enough a former Europe minister) also didn't know this.


> However one of the main basic features of the European Union is that EU countries cannot negotiate individual trade deals without side countries and instead do so as a bloc of 28.

They have broken rank before, they can break rank again.

For example, Switzerland has trade deals that explicitly exclude certain EU member states (notably but not exclusively Romania). France has oil trade deals with African countries and China. And so on and so forth.

And of course there's the Swiss, Denmark and Norwegian middle-ground situations.

> France has oil trade deals with African countries and China.

99% sure that is an impossibility but willing to take a look at any refs/articles you could link?

> Switzerland has trade deals that explicitly exclude certain EU member states

Similarly, pretty sure this is an impossibility. Any trade agreements are with and available to (all members of) the EU under the same set of conditions or they're not and they(Switzerland) would then trade under WTO rules.

1) https://www.ctvnews.ca/business/iran-signs-5b-gas-deal-with-...

Now you could say there's some excuse here. The oil in question technically never enters the EU, so it "doesn't have to" follow EU legislation (which prohibits dealing commercially with Iran). I'm sure if necessary something like that will be pointed out. Maybe it's also "not" Total selling the oil, but obviously they get part of the profit. And I'm sure there's some reason "Iran is not involved at all".

Also worth pointing out: the US has in the meantime successfully forced Total, over the LOUD protest of both French and German governments to abandon this deal.

2) https://www.expatica.com/ch/moving/visas/guide-for-eu-efta-c...

You can see the rules about employing Romanian and Bulgarian citizens (which are EU citizens) in Switzerland are very different from employing, say, French or German citizens. Note that this is one of the things the UK now tells Britain is non-negotiable. Somehow in practice another (labour related) trade deal the EU ... has negotiated it.

Of course, there are historical reasons for this, but of course that's true for all trade deals.

re: 1) That article is about a French multinational oil company entering a commercial agreement with Iran. This doesn't relate to an EU member state doing a "side" trade treaty with a non-EU member.

Any other EU company could have done the same.

re: 2) Seems like that provision was in the agreement Switzerland made with the EU:

from: https://www.swissinfo.ch/eng/business/freedom-of-movement_sw...

> Switzerland first activated such a safeguard clause – a controversial instrument of its complex dealings with the EU – in 2012, to limit the number of citizens arriving from certain new member countries who joined the EU in 2004..

From my understanding the Switzerland negotiated clause re Romania and other late joiners was timebound, which is why it was acceptable.

2) employment is not trade. So neither of your examples prove that EU members can negotiate side trade deal.

You might want to read exactly on what point does the fight between the EU and UK is mostly fought ... Yep: labour and movement of people is one of the important points ...

> Let's give the UK a fair exit and a fair trade deal".

They are getting a fair exit and trade deal.

That's what is happening now. Britain seems to be slowly realising that them being part of the EU was more beneficial to them (& the EU) than any other way.

I believe this exact issue was just voted on in the British parliament. I fear they disagree with you pretty damn conclusively:


PM May's interpretation merits repeating I think:

She will "continue to work to deliver on the solemn promise to the people of this country to deliver on the result of the referendum and leave the European Union"

Having watched the video, it might be relevant to add the response was applause. It seems to me that when push comes to shove, the conservatives seem to be operating under the conviction that another "Exit EU" referendum would have the same result. Whilst I have no way to know if that's right or not, I would argue that they do represent the majority of the people of Britain and therefore know better than I do.

> I believe this exact issue was just voted on in the British parliament. I fear they disagree with you pretty damn conclusively:

As they are entitled to...Doesn't change anything really. Nobody wins with a hard Brexit but there's only so far the EU can go with concessions before it no longer makes sense. That point has been (roughly) hit.

Secondly, that deal being voted down doesn't mean everybody who voted it down thought there was a better deal out there. Labour and friends want to stay in the EU. They wouldn't attend May's planning unless a hard brexit was taken off the table(British version of saying/not US version).

It's quite telling that both Remainers & Leavers viewed the vote failing as a success.

Most economists seem to agree that the EU could make a LOT more concessions with it still being a win compared to a hard Brexit.

So in effect consensus seems to be that the EU is risking a hard Brexit in the same way you do: threaten the British public with exactly what they voted they wanted, in hopes of achieving the opposite (no Brexit at all).

Furthermore: negotiations do not appear to be all that friendly. E.g. https://www.ft.com/content/9c59a204-fc6d-11e8-aebf-99e208d3e... as to how enthousiastic Irish citizens are about this particular problem, read this https://www.ft.com/content/ec894272-18db-11e9-9e64-d150b3105...

I think it's clear that I think this is dishonest, putting the interests of politicians ahead of those of the population, and to boot it's risky. The EU population does not want this at all, quite the reverse. They want trade with the UK to be as unaffected as possible, which of course means a trade deal that's as favorable to the UK as possible. Second the EU population certainly does not want to eat the economic hits that a hard Brexit would bring and expects their politicians to prevent this scenario.

I fear that if an election is called in the UK, which is the almost inevitable outcome of delaying or stopping Brexit, the end result will be a disorderly "fuck you" Brexit when conservatives gain another 10% of the vote with a promised firm hard Brexit negotiating stance. At that point Ireland, and perhaps France will suddenly find that the Euro is a serious impediment to their ability to react to limit the damage, and London will be able to adapt. This will further amplify the already anti-EU parties in France, Italy and Germany, and at this point it won't take much to force centrist parties in both countries to become anti-EU and propagate further.

An additional worry is that we're 10 years into the best economic situation we've seen in Europe in >50 years. This is the situation we're in, with essentially the best possible economic background. That at some point the economy will turn is inevitable, and it will further amplify anti-EU stances like it always does. If politicians find a way to combine both forces to hit at the same time, I don't even want to try to predict what could happen.

be careful with that "neutral explanation". in the last one we got told that private agents hired by social insurances may only observe clients in public spaces, while the law text actually says "public spaces and what's observable from there". i.e. pretty much any Swiss inhabitant can now be put under surveillance in their private homes without any judge order.

This would be considered abuse and such interpretation would likely get thrown out as justification for active surveillance. The law pertains to truly passive surveillance only.

And trying to use such evidence in court could be repealed then as obtained illegally. (Surveillance without a warrant.) The spirit of the law is to allow reasonably incidental recording only. A zoom camera pointed at your window is not covered, neither are directional microphones etc.

Law is not an algorithm. It is executed by judges and jurors.

(Note: not a lawyer, this is not legal advice, etc.)

That would depend on the wording and on legal precedent in the UK some civil service pensioners had changes to their pensions because the wording of the scheme of arrangement used a different three letter word than some other pensioners.

When it comes to surveillance I don't put any trust in the system other than what's strictly allowed / disallowed according to law text. Remember Fichen?

Yes, you are right. Then the opposing committee would point this out in their explanation.

People tend to trust the government much more than opposition committees.

My issue is that people vote based on the fact that they become convinced by other parties instead of developing their own opinions by trying to understand the ramifications of a law. Not saying this is right or wrong, laws are written in a non friendly way so it is not easily understandable by most but I wish more people tried to do the research themselves.

I don't see how this could reasonably have been done in the Brexit case. You would have to spend years negotiating the terms of the withdrawal first, then ask the people for a yea or nay. That negotiation would go totally differently if the UK government couldn't credibly claim it had a mandate from the people for the withdrawal.

In retrospect, it didn't go all too well with the mandate either.

In a functioning parliamentary democracy, the proper order of actions for Brexit would have been:

1) UKIP (or a coalition of Brexit-minded parties) wins general election.

2) PM Nigel Farage opens withdrawal negotiations with the EU.

3) 2+ years later, with a complete withdrawal agreement on the table, a referendum is held on whether to accept the deal.

4) If at least 50% of voters support the withdrawal agreement, it comes into effect within two months.

This is not a pipe dream — it's exactly how the countries who joined EU in 1995 did it.

David Cameron is entirely to blame for this ongoing sad charade that makes a mockery of UK's democratic processes.

2/3rds or 75% not 50% plus 1

In a way they did just that. David Cameron negotated some changes to EU law (minor tweaks), and said to the British people: "I went to the EU and got these changes, shall we stay in or leave?"

That’s what they did on the “European constitution”. On Maastricht, on schengen.

> This is not the voter’s fault.

Yes it is. Asked "do you want to fundamentally change status quo in some random yet to be decided way that most experts warn you will result in chaos" population should have voted "no".

Population would have voted "no" if just a few more young people cared enough to get their asses to the voting booths.

The lessons from Brexit are the same as the lessons from Trump in USA, Kaczyński in Poland, Orban in Hungary: 1. vote 2. don't vote populists. 3. don't disregard warnings of experts. 4. don't buy conspiracy theories. 5. don't engage in witch hunts against minorities and don't vote people who do so.

It's not a lot to expect of people. It's the bare minimum if democracy is to work at all.

Cameron is at fault too, of course. Shouldn't have played with the fire. But some politicians will play with fire if there's a profit to be made and power to get. It's the voters who have to stop them, not the other way.

I think the problem is that consensus (51.9%) was made at the 30k ft. / 9km view (leave the EU).

The details were left to be sorted out later and that's where all the trouble is.

If the details of Brexit were included in the referendum, there wouldn't be any trouble in implementing it.

But, you can bet that the ~half of voters that wanted Brexit aren't even in agreement on how to implement it, let alone trying to gain the support of all those that never wanted it to begin with.

In the end the referendum was more of an opinion poll than legislation that voters could analyze and make an informed decision.

I don't think you can fault the voters for answering the questions put to them. It's not like the ballot comes with a comment box: "I want independence from the EU, but I'm also concerned that you didn't think through how to implement it." They just vote Yes and expect politicians to do their job.

While generally in agreement, the "youth didn't vote" scapegoating is incorrect - their turnout numbers were roughly the same as other demographics.

I really don't rate the Guardian for all of its content, this particular article explains well and is reasonably sourced


Thanks for this, it's something I hadn't heard before.

Wouldn't exit polls record the ages of voters though? Seems strange that there's so little data on this.

> Population would have voted "no" if just a few more young people cared enough to get their asses to the voting booths.

I don't understand the need to youth-bash here. Turnout for young people was pretty similar to that of older demographics. There was a generational gap in how people voted, but not so much in whether they voted or not. [1]


In fact, turnout was 64% among 18-24 year olds and 65% among 25-39 year old, which is closer to the population average than could have been expected.

It stands to reason that the EU would not agree with the decision. If a "no deal" is the only way it can be done then that is what is done. That's what the people voted for.

Britain is the second largest net contributor to the EU next to Germany. Britain will be absolutely fine.

Eventually it probably will (brexiters seem to think in 25 / 50 years time, which is apparently a good price to pay for Brexit...).

However, the UK will lose the huge amount of influence it has at the moment on the world stage, will be pressured by bigger economies to accept unfavorable trade deals and deregulation (US food standards, VISAs, etc) and its manufacturing will be severely damaged; it could possibly collapse entirely. The irony is that this will likely create a wave of unemployment in the very regions that voted in favour of Brexit.

But regardless of the consequences, if you think people voted for a "no deal" when they voted Brexit, you are deluded. Let's illustrate my point with a few quotes:

"The free trade agreement that we will ahve to do with the European Union should be one of the easiest in human history" - Liam Fox - 2017

"Getting out of the EU can be quick and easy - the UK holds most of the cards in any negotiation" - John Redwood - 2016

"Within minutes of a vote for Brexit, CEO's would be knocking down Chancellor Merkel's door demanding access to the British market" - David Davis 2016

“It is also true that the single market is of considerable value to many UK companies and consumers, and that leaving would cause at least some business uncertainty, while embroiling the Government for several years in a fiddly process of negotiating new arrangements, so diverting energy from the real problems of this country – low skills, low social mobility, low investment etc – that have nothing to do with Europe.” - Boris Johnson 2016

As you can see, no deal is far from the position that was pushed to the people, even after the vote had occurred. Saying people voted for a "no deal" because they voted for Brexit is disingenuous. Long gone is the time of "Having our cake and eat it"

The UK doesn't have much to export in terms of natural resources (excepting Ireland), or hard-to-move industry. That leaves services, which can go away easily. So the situation was already bad in terms of overt influence, compared to, say, Germany.

Behind the scenes however, the British seem to stay important. The safekeeping of the Gladio operatives' names, Steele's involvement against Trump, the UK national who started the White Helmets, ... I have the vague feeling that les rosbifs seem to pop up a lot where the action is, just not too obviously.

> Saying people voted for a "no deal" because they voted for Brexit is disingenuous.

Not what I said. I said they voted to leave regardless of deal. So if EU doesn't want to make a deal then so be it. The no-deal hysteria seems entirely contrived by the remainers as far as I can tell.

A favourable deal from the EU was never going to happen prior to leaving. The negotiations BEGIN once Britain leaves and they explore their options - which appear to be considerable quite frankly. The EU is in trouble, not Britain.

People voted for leave on the basis there would be no downside. Just read the quotes from prominent Brexiteers posted in the other comments...

While some people were undoubtedly ok with a downside (especially if that cost was bourne by others, e.g. pensioners with guaranteed incomes and no jobs to lose), many leave voters accepted assurances "this would be the easiest negotiation ever". Remainers pointing out there was a downside were roundly condemned for "talking down Britain".

Negotiations for a trade deal take years and the country will greatly suffer in the mean time as it is not prepared for a no deal scenario. The recent events with the traffic jam simulation or the ferry company without ferries are great examples of that. And that’s assuming that the trade deal negotiated with the EU after the departure would be more favourable than the one proposed today; the four freedoms come together, and it’s unlikely to change.

I would be curious to know about why the EU is in trouble; in my opinion the UK is, and massively. Brexiters have sold leaving the EU as the solution to a wide range of issues (housing, health, immigration, etc) and when people will realise all of this was extraordinarily optimistic (not to say, a lie), there will be a certain uprising and it won’t be pretty. We could also mention that the union is also at risk, from the non respect of the Belfast agreement to the fact that Scotland and Northern Ireland did not vote for Brexit: independence desires could loom again, and it could become very real very soon.

Every sensible organisation in this country have warned against a no deal and the catastrophic effect it would have. -8% GDP according to the government’s analysis. But yeah bloody remainers, the source of all misery...

What are you talking about?

Have you read the EU's no deal plan? Ireland's no deal plan?

Their plan is this: - Allow the UK to keep trading with the EU on WTO terms - Do not halt trade with the UK. No need to, damages both. - No border in Northern Ireland. They won't build it, we won't build it, empty threat. - Boats, Lorries, Ferries to continue as normal until agreements made. Guess what, this is what real independent nations do with eachother.

Ireland's agriculture industry sells 80% of its produce to the UK. It's in big trouble with no trade.

Germany sells lots of cars to the UK. It's in big trouble with no trade.

4 Million EU citizens live here, they are in big trouble with no reciprocal agreement.

French, German and Spanish fishermen rely on British waters to for fishing as they are rather lucrative - to great detriment of the British fishing industry. They are in trouble when we take them back.

Spain, France, Italy and Germany are all having economic issues the UK isn't particularly having right now. Look at jobs, youth unemployment etc.

18% of the EU's goods are exported to the UK. The whole EU is in trouble with no trade. The reverse figure is fake news thanks to the rotterdam effect.

That 8% GDP figure is ridiculous and proven to be wrong [https://capx.co/the-bank-of-englands-brexit-forecasts-arent-...]. The assumptions it makes are the worst possible and completely unrealistic. Those figures suggest that the effect on the UK economy would be worse than WW2 - a time where Europe was occupied by a hostile power and Britain was at war with trade convoys regularly being sunk.

Personally I'd be happy for Scotland to leave the Union. They are a net receiver of English taxes. Also, would never be granted EU membership thanks to our hypocritical friends in Spain and their own issue with certain parts of their country declaring independence.

The EU suits large corporations. It keeps wages for the least skilled in our society as low as possible, more workers means less pay.

All we are asking for is to be an independent nation state, just like more than 150 other countries.

I could return the question: what are you talking about?

I have never said countries from the EU would not be impacted economically by a 'no deal' scenario. It would be bad for the whole continent. I was commenting on the "the UK will be perfectly fine, the EU is the one in trouble". Nonetheless, the economy of the UK is hugely dependant on the EU (financial services, JIT manufacturing, etc.) and the UK will greatly suffer from a no-deal. Quoting a highly biased and very specific article from a man who has been pushing for Brexit from the very start will not change the facts; a man, by the way, who said that leaving the EU with no-deal was more important than respecting the Belfast agreement. By the way, he also said that the UK would be even around 2030 (and he is a rather optimistic individual when it comes to Brexit): https://pbs.twimg.com/media/DqTgF9QXQAADxR5.jpg (https://www.theguardian.com/politics/shortcuts/2018/jul/24/t...)

I also hope that I am wrong, but I can definitely feel a xenophobic underlying tone in your message. That's regrettable.

Nobody talks about the irish border because the one who starts to do so is the one who is going to be blamed.

I have zero doubts that there is going to be a hard border within a year after a hard brexit. There is already a massive duty fraud problem with the UK https://www.politico.eu/article/eu-warns-uk-again-to-recoup-... which would only escalate.

I have the impression that most EU goverments are just fed up with this british farce and want it to be over and the UK gone.

Taking the "they voted to leave regardless of deal" concept to the absurd: technically pointing all the british nukes at ourselves and literally wiping ourselves off the face of the earth would remove us from the EU. But no-one voted for that.

On the other end of the spectrum, leaving the EU, but remaining under all EU regulations, staying in the free trade / free movement / etc laws, being in a similar position as now, paying massive divorce bills and paying essentially membership fees / EU taxes with no return EU investment into the UK and with no voice or representation in the EU politics at all, the whole 'vassal state' thing, could be technically "leaving the EU" as well. But that's also not what anyone voting to leave meant either.

"Out at any price / In at any price" is as absurd a polarisation as the above examples.

People have been trying to paint this as a binary issue - ever since the referrendum put it in such a YES/NO terminology. But we're not binary creatures, life is messy and complex.

They voted to leave regardless of deal ... with the EU. There are many other options for trade.

> It stands to reason that the EU would not agree with the decision.

But EU agreed to the decision? UK didn't.

> Britain will be absolutely fine.

We will see I guess :)

Why is ajuc's comment being downvoted?

Cause I was mistaken about young people turnout?

Or just people don't like bashing them for voting populists :)

This is an emotive topic and there is a large amount of downvoting-is-disagreement going on.

1. vote 2. don't vote populists

Poe's law again. What's up with these posts?

Voting, at its core, is a popularity contest. How exactly do you NOT vote for populists?


> Daniele Albertazzi and Duncan McDonnell define populism as an ideology that "pits a virtuous and homogeneous people against a set of elites and dangerous 'others' who are together depicted as depriving (or attempting to deprive) the sovereign people of their rights, values, prosperity, identity, and voice".

I don't have problems recognizing politicians propagating such views. Do you?

I can deny it: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alleged_Russian_interference_i...

Of particular interest is where the massive pile of cash that funded the Leave campaign actually came from.

It is interesting how any movement in opposition to globalism is caused by Russia, and any opponent of the progressivism pushing for this is obviously an racist/sexist/bigot.

It is interesting how all the yellow jackets, the maga folks, and the brexiters are all brutes easily influenced by nepharious forces against their own good. Especially when others manipulate their sometimes violent primitive tendencies.

It is interesting that all opposition to the predominant narrative really should be better informed, and listen to the ones that know better.

It's not interesting at all. It's the the mundane politics of everyday normal foreign relations as countries try to get a leg up and interfere in each other's processes. Maybe the only thing that's interesting is that for the first time, it's happening to the rich western former colonial powers. The chickens have finally come home to roost.

  for the first time
I think the russian meddling stuff is largely a bs scapegoat and even I know the KGB was up to this stuff for the entire cold war. See the classic interview from KGB defector Yuri Bezmenov where he claims that the majority of KGB efforts were dedicated to "demoralization" not spying.

Demoralization and destabilization are their goals with respect to meddling though. See my rather long reply to parent in this thread.

You're arguing against a strawman.

So do you think that nations don't intervene covertly in other nations? What about the US in Iran (1953) or Chile (60s)? And so why is it so improbable that Russia is doing it?

And recall the study by Prof. Igor Panarin (former KGB analyst) predicting that the US will fragment. Maybe it's more like a game plan.

You don't need to be a professor to know that sooner or later anything will fragment or "reshape" itself. Just learn the last 2000 years of history.

I think that what the OP is saying is that it's way too easy to always blame it on someone else when actually it's the voters' responsibility. We are definitely influenced by media, however, ultimately it's up to us to decide who to vote for, so it's our responsibility. Ignoring it doesn't make us less accountable.

Occam's Razor suggests that the people who voted for Brexit didn't think that they were receiving net benefits from the EU. I'm pretty sure the net financial transfer is Britain sends more money to the EU than they get back, so it is easy to see why a tax-paying voter might feel that way.

There is an argument that this view is too simplistic and that the trade situation is complicated; but it seems a lot more plausible than a Russian conspiracy to ... do something.

There is always some level of background interference by foreign nations (as an Australian I shudder to think how much influence the US must have over Australia's politics in practice) but typically it would be cheaper to buy off or otherwise influence entrenched politicians rather than try to influence popular votes. I expect the Russians can figure that out too.

Its actually a tiny amount < £200 for me and I am well above the uk median wage - every one gets a yearly break down of where there tax gets spent

I am just observing. It’s very impressive for Russia to be the essential force behind all major opposition movements that apparently are not rooted in legitimate concerns.

You are not "just observing", you are creating straw positions and then being extremely disingenuous about it, to the point of outright trolling.

Why don't you just say what you bloody well mean, so we can discuss it properly, instead of making these lofty implications that don't pin you down to anything?

The problem is if the people of England is correct in the assertion that it has given away too much Democratic power to unelected political bodies, and I am not the one to answer that. I am just saying dismissing their concerns seem a bit unproductive.

Well, the EU government isn't really "unelected". It's just indirectly elected. Before 1913, for example, US state legislatures elected their state's senators. As I understand it, the original goal was to insulate senators somewhat from populist influence.

But yes, I get that this was a concern for Brexit supporters. I'm just arguing that Russia exploited it.

I didn't say "essential force". And I didn't deny "legitimate concerns". If your goal is sowing chaos, you gotta build from those legitimate concerns.

> If your goal is sowing chaos, you gotta build from those legitimate concerns.

Since when is "Europe is gonna be islamized by refugees" a legitimate concern? It's not backed by facts in any way! The point is these "concerns" are fabricated outright or massively exaggerated by propaganda. Which is to a huge part a fault of Facebook as they failed to curb abuse.

Yeah but exaggerated rhetoric has existed for millenniums and is an inherent part of how human societies work. Also the rhetoric might be exaggerated but there are always some basis behind it, e.g. job loss and wage stagnation due to globalization etc. Sure we need to counter it in a civilized society, but pinning it all on Russia using such absolutist terms is just laughable.

And the US do much direct and violent interventions in lots of foreign countries. This is bread and butter for international politics. The western mainstream media now pretend to have an outcry now that such tactics are befalling themselves, which is really ironic.

> Yeah but exaggerated rhetoric has existed for millenniums and is an inherent part of how human societies work.

Sure. There was always a single village moron (in German: Dorftrottel, no idea how to translate it) but he was ignored by society. Now, however, all the village morons worldwide are connected - and can claim massive followings and reach capability on social media. This is the key difference.

> but there are always some basis behind it, e.g. job loss and wage stagnation due to globalization etc.

Back in ye olde times, people went off, went on strikes and went after the employers to gain their rights and higher wages. Thanks to the propaganda, now they go after migrants, Muslims, Jews, PoC, whatever - but the capitalist elites get left alone. Which coincides with the funding for many right-wing organizations coming from very wealthy individuals (e.g. Koch, Mercer, or in Germany August von Finck).

> And the US do much direct and violent interventions in lots of foreign countries.

Sure, but that's a bit of whataboutism. I don't really like many of the things that the US have done (especially historically), but that does not excuse the stuff that China and Russia do.

I was trying to be accommodating. But yes, "existing" would have been more accurate.

It isn't so impressive or surprising if you observe that a KGB man is in charge of Russia and the three letter agencies in America tasked with countering him have been tied up with other tasks since the the eleventh of september 2001 for some reason.

As I said elsewhere: Yes, the KGB defector Yuri [1] in 1984 said as much that there is manipulation. He describes a slow distruption they started of America by infiltrating the education system. This attacks the weakness of a democracy, which is the fact that it’s run by people for the behest of itself as a system and does not answer to an estate that would otherwise check its malfunctioning.

However, that doesn’t mean the movements of dissent is caused by this. They could be, or they could be a symptom of the problems not solved by a long term malfunctioning Democratic system. And the malfunctioning could be some other more major political ideology.

[1] https://youtu.be/bX3EZCVj2XA

And not just a "KGB man". Much of Putin's family died in the siege of Leningrad. And, as his key assistant, he watched Yeltsin sink into alcoholism and depression, as the Soviet Union fell apart, and Russia was humiliated.

So he's recreated the KGB.[0]

0) https://foreignpolicy.com/2016/09/21/putin-has-finally-reinc...

Edit: That is, I think that it's personal, for him. A matter of honor.

Agreed. To add to your points, Putin’s grandfather was a cook for Lenin and Stalin. Speculation: He grew up hearing about these ‘”heros”.


Yeltsin had sunk into bottle before Putin came in his sight in 1996.

Russian Foreign Intelligence Service is still separated from FSB/KGB.

edit: wording. Definitely not a russian intelligence agent :)

You sound like either a troll or a PR agent. Not sure most HN readers who should be capable of thinking on their own would take you seriously though.

It's not really that surprising considering Russia has a century long supremacy in this area: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Active_measures

Nowadays it seems to lack some of the professionality of former times and sometimes looks more like hobby projects of Kremlin figures and Oligarchs to curry some favour.

Tradition, local competency, low cost and risk due to social platforms and online news make it a good fit for present day Russia.

Again, nobody is really claiming they are an "essential force", only that they are a factor. Quit straw-manning.

> It is interesting how any movement in opposition to globalism is caused by Russia

I wouldn't say it's in opposition to globalism or always blamed on Russia. I'd rephrase it as, "It is interesting how any movement in opposition to [what the most vocal want] is caused by [election fraud] and [uninformed voters]." It's actually not that interesting though, it's an attempt to rationalize dissonance. Often based on facts with little evidence of effect. Such facts are uncovered, easily in most cases, by those searching to find them which is why the problems only appear to apply to the victors.

Everything seems to be going as planned.

"The United Kingdom should be cut off from Europe.[9]"

"Ukraine should be annexed by Russia because "Ukraine as a state has no geopolitical meaning, no particular cultural import or universal significance, no geographic uniqueness, no ethnic exclusiveness, its certain territorial ambitions represents an enormous danger for all of Eurasia and, without resolving the Ukrainian problem, it is in general senseless to speak about continental politics". Ukraine should not be allowed to remain independent, unless it is cordon sanitaire, which would be inadmissible.[9]"

"Russia needs to create "geopolitical shocks" within Turkey. These can be achieved by employing Kurds, Armenians and other minorities.[9]"

"Russia should manipulate Japanese politics by offering the Kuril Islands to Japan and provoking anti-Americanism.[9]"

"Russia should use its special services within the borders of the United States to fuel instability and separatism, for instance, provoke "Afro-American racists". Russia should "introduce geopolitical disorder into internal American activity, encouraging all kinds of separatism and ethnic, social and racial conflicts, actively supporting all dissident movements – extremist, racist, and sectarian groups, thus destabilizing internal political processes in the U.S. It would also make sense simultaneously to support isolationist tendencies in American politics".[9]"

From "Foundations of Geopolitics" by Alexandr Dugin. Putin has repeatedly cited his works and the book is used as a textbook by the Russian military.


Yes, the KGB defector Yuri [1] said as much. He describes a slow distruption they started of America by infiltrating the education system. This attacks the weakness of a democracy, which is the fact that it’s run by people for the behest of itself as a system and does not answer to an estate that would otherwise check its malfunctioning.

However, that doesn’t mean the movements of dissent is caused by this. They could be, or they could be a symptom of the problems not solved by a long term malfunctioning Democratic system.

[1] https://youtu.be/bX3EZCVj2XA

That's conspiracy theory nonsense.

Yuri was a real KGB defector, and the interview is from 1984 which is way before the effects we see today. Watch the whole thing here [1], and read the sometimes a bit offensive book on it by a CIA case officer [2].

Then take both with a bit of a grain of salt, but think what it would mean if both that seem to support each other’s assertion just told partially the truth.

[1] https://youtu.be/y3qkf3bajd4

[2] https://www.amazon.com/Willing-Accomplices-Influence-Politic...

What else do you expect from Russia or any other country that tries to overpower the others? It's just like nature, when the lion takes over the group and he is constantly challenged.

Now, if someone challenges you and you are easily defeated, then it means you don't deserve to be the leader. If our leadership is failing, then so be it, they don't deserve to rule the world.

Blaming brexit on Russia is new to me, albeit not surprising.

Brexit was a timed event destined to happen for the simple reason that Germany France and Great Britain cannot rule at the same time. They never could and they never will.

And Great Britain for one reason or the other found itself behind, they were unable to do push their supremacy over Germany and France. Either you leave or you knee, or you fight. They were unable to force other powerful countries to make them do what they wished, as they had done in the last 6 centuries before.

That's not particularly productive thinking: should we test buildings by bombing them - if they fall over, they didn't deserve to tower so high?

The world would be a lot better if a country that detects weakness in another didn't immediately look to exploit this. We can say it's human nature but when we start to talk about 'deserving' an outcome, we start to talk about the world like it's dogfighting.

Not sure what you're trying to say here. Sounds just like rehashing the what the mainstream western media have been drumming to tedium. If you genuinely believe that everything including Brexit and Donald trump is "caused" by Russia it's you that need to be much "better informed". If not then you're deliberately trying to deflect the focus just like what the Democrats and in general the mainstream media have been doing for all these years.

Also, the US have probably engaged in far more foreign inferences which are much more direct and violent than these events where Russia had a (shadowy) share. Ironic that now the western world are in uproar now that they are subject to some of their own classic tactics eh?

You need to pay more attention... he is being sarcastic. That's exactly his point - people are wrong to believe the media and blame everything on Russia.

Ctrl-F "racis"/"sexis" yields no results. That didn't stop you from triggering the persecution complex and going "waa, can't even disagree, they'll call you a bigot".

Please, don't buy into that divisive rhetoric.

We all know the rhetoric used against the brexiters, and what I stated is representative of that.


## source who voted for brexit

Repudiation of the story that the leavers feel economically left behind [1]. Some Leavers certainly felt economically left behind, but many did not. Research has since shown that three groups were key to the Brexit vote:

- Left Behind Leavers, who were working-class, struggling financially, almost never had a degree, were in their forties or fifties and most of whom did not identify with the main parties or supported the UK Independence Party.

- Blue-Collar Pensioners, who were also working-class but retired, and so less likely to be struggling financially and tended to vote for Conservative.

- Affluent Eurosceptics, who were much less likely to identify as working-class, more affluent, more likely to have a degree and tended to vote Conservative.

While we hear much about the first two groups we have heard very little about the third, and only the first would support the predominant narrative to some degree.

[1] http://natcen.ac.uk/our-research/research/understanding-the-...

## source dismissive attitudes to brexit claims

Some sources on it being dismissed as nostalgia:

[4] http://www.newstatesman.com/politics/staggers/2016/05/brexit...

[5] https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/mar/07/buildi...

Some source on it being dismissed as empire 2.0:

[6] http://www.express.co.uk/news/uk/775399/empire-2-uk-improve-...

Many of the other points about how Brexit voters are portrayed vs reality is listed here [2] and [3].

## other articles on the topic

More expansive analysis can be found in:

[7] https://areomagazine.com/2017/04/21/eurocentrism-remainers-a...

[8] https://quillette.com/2018/08/03/britains-populist-revolt/

> It is interesting how all the yellow jackets, the maga folks, and the brexiters are all brutes easily influenced by nepharious forces against their own good. Especially when others manipulate their sometimes violent primitive tendencies.

I totally agree, it is interesting! Here is some required reading on the subject: https://apps.npr.org/documents/document.html?id=5011321-Khus... It's the federal criminal complaint against Elena Khusyaynova[1] which details her activities at the Internet Research Agency and other Russian psyops sites:

> The Conspiracy has a strategic goal, which continues to this day, to sow division and discord in the US. political system, including by creating social and political polarization, undermining faith in democratic institutions, and influencing US. elections, including the upcoming 2018 midterm election. The Conspiracy has sought to conduct What it called internally "information warfare against the United States of America" through fictitious U.S. personas on social media platforms and other Internet-based media.

> Members of the Conspiracy, posing as US. persons, operated fictitious social media personas, pages, and groups designed to attract U.S. audiences and to address divisive US. political and social issues or advocate for the election or electoral defeat of particular candidates. These personas, groups, and pages falsely claimed to be controlled by US. activists when, in fact, they were controlled by members of the Conspiracy.


> any opponent of the progressivism pushing for this is obviously an racist/sexist/bigot.

There's an interesting bit that relates to this:

> Members of the Conspiracy were directed to create political intensity through supporting radical groups, users dissatisfied with [the] social and economic situation and oppositional social movements. The Conspiracy also sought, in the words of one member of the Conspiracy, to "effectively aggravate the conflict between minorities and the rest of the population."

The document goes into great detail about the specific tactics employed. I strongly suggest you (and everyone else) read it in full.



Edit: One more interesting thing from the complaint is this bit:

> Conspiracy's effort to sow discord in the US political system, members of the Conspiracy used social media and other internet platforms to inflame passions on a wide variety of topics, including immigration, gun control and the Second Amendment, the Confederate flag, race relations, LGBT issues, the Women's March, and the NFL national anthem debate. Members of the Conspiracy took advantage of specific events in the United States to anchor their themes, including the shootings of church members in Charleston, South Carolina, and concert attendees in Las Vegas, Nevada; the Charlottesville "Unite the Right" rally and associated Violence; police shootings of African-American men; as well as the personnel and policy decisions of the current US. administration.

What I find especially interesting is how well this passage (in addition to other descriptions given throughout the complaint) seems to describe your own HN post history, almost to a T! I just read through your entire (relatively short) post history and as best as I can tell, you have exactly one post which neither directly relates to one of the above subjects nor is nakedly inflammatory political rhetoric. Specifically you seem to have particular affinities for:

* Race relations: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=18803533

* Women's issues: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=18763486

* Specific (politically charged) events: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=18888092

* LGBT issues: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=18904507

Interesting indeed, my friend. Interesting indeed.

It's not that interesting. Manipulation was targeted at people more susceptible to it.

I expect that most racism/sexism/bigotry generally comes from prior manipulation too.

How do you know that other more major political stories is not the real product of manipulation [1] and these opposition movements are a symptom of problems not solved by a malfunctioning Democratic system?

[1] https://youtu.be/bX3EZCVj2XA

They could be, but there is a much lower threshold to manipulate people who are close-minded. Almost everyone I've encountered who repeats racially charged headlines is LESS likely to have much personal experience with the people they feel so strongly about, even to the point of avoiding encounters with those people.

Close minded means you are not open to new impulses.If they are close minded they by definition is bound by something old which should make them harder to manipulate.

A person that does the creative arts is generally very open minded.

My country was recently victim of a "hacker"-attack. Personal accounts of politicians were compromised. Everyone and their cats pointed their fingers at Russia.

In the end it was a younger pupil and far too many people used their surname as password.

I doubt that a significant part of the population are reiterating Kremlin-propaganda.

It seems to be a hysterical Red Scare 2.0, just from a different political side, that is just as opportunistic.

If you always see Putin in your dreams, I doubt you should point a finger on people and diagnose any form of manipulation.

There are certainly some bots, but I doubt Russia is represented disproportionally. Just the language barrier alone would lessen their numbers significantly. It often just serves as a convenient excuse for political defeat.

Putin is totalitarian dick. Why not just leave it at that instead of accusing people of asserting his will?


How do we know that we in the elites that have been given ideology instead of a classic humanities education, taught what to think instead of how, and to become practiced in ignoring what our mind as well as eyes tell us is not worse off?

In seeking to destabilize opponents, a key strategy is sowing domestic discontent. Everyone does it, to the best of their abilities. And in particular, it was a key part of the Cold War.

So the US managed to destabilize the Soviet Union. Threats from NATO and strategic nuclear weapons forced the Soviets to spend so much on defense that the civilian economy was destroyed. And yes, corruption and incompetence also played a huge role. Add saturation with VoA messages about the US consumer economy, and the Soviet Union collapsed. And more recently, they messed with Georgia, and finally engineered Ukraine independence. Not to mention Syria.

Russia has also sought to destabilize Western Europe and the US. For a long time, it was mainly messages about the communist paradise. And in the 60s, promoting protest against the Vietnam war, and pushing isolationism.

But then, in the late 80s, the message shifted to distrusting government, conspiracy theories, etc. I mean, look at RT! And more recently, basically the alt-right, with its overt racist overtones.

I don't know the UK situation well, but it's pretty clear that Russia promoted Brexit to destabilize the EU, and so NATO.

What if, instead of foreign influences, you just swap in poor economic management? I mean, China has moved from a position considerably weaker than Russia in its heyday to one that is probably stronger. So whatever mischief you think the US tried, obviously the Chinese have figured out how to deal with it. It seems to have involved a dose of freeish-markets.

> And in the 60s, promoting protest against the Vietnam war

This really takes the biscuit. Opposition to war is not evidence of a Russian plot, it is evidence of common sense. Without even considering if the Vietnam war made a lick of sense, any healthy democracy should at a minimum have some protests when it engages in a war of aggression.

> But then, in the late 80s, the message shifted to distrusting government, conspiracy theories, etc.

I don't think this affects your main point, but irony here is that "Russian Influence" is clearly a conspiracy theory. It might turn out true, as a number of conspiracy theories do, but still. Maybe the Russians have got to you :P

Re the Vietman War, of course opposition made perfect sense. It was a stupid, misguided adventure. It was driven by the "zero tolerance" standard for accepting communist development, even when in response to legitimate grievances. For Vietnam, that was long-term colonialist repression by the French.

So I'm not arguing that the Soviets created the antiwar opposition. But they clearly helped it develop. As I understand it, the main actors were domestic US communists, who were encouraged to join the movement, help train and organize, and so on. I was there, and I was part of it.

About Russian-influence conspiracy theory, have you actually watched RT very much? They've been trolling disgruntled Americans for almost 15 years. As subversive as VoA ever was, they've been total straight shooters compared with RT.

You're right of course, but I wonder how much it matters that only 45% of the voting population would have voted leave without interference as opposed to 52% (numbers pulled out of thin air). For interference (or a freak event, or weather, or anything really) to be able to push the results over the edge, the society as a whole has to be fairly close anyway.

This is also what I say to the Americans who insist Trump doesn't represent America because Clinton won the popular vote. Yeah, technically correct, but it doesn't really change how I view the American people.

How do you view us?

As bullies, tbh.

Reading the history of American foreign policy, it’s difficult to see it otherwise. It’s one long list of screwing other countries to serve the interests of the American people. That list contains a lot of bungled operations so the goals weren’t achieved some of the time. America has had 0 issues propping up brutal, venal, self-serving dictators if it meant benefit to America. Examples include Iran, Iraq, Cuba, Chile, Pakistan, Egypt, Afghanistan. These are the ones I can name off hand.

At the same time, American leaders are quick to get on their high horse talking about the values of democracy. Talk is cheap though.

Even after all that, our view of America dropped precipitously with the election of Donald Trump. I think it’s safe to say that a democracy elects people who embody the electorate. You know what Trump is like. That’s how we think of you (as a whole) right now. However, as a great man once said “some, I assume, are good people”.

If you’d like to learn more about the misadventures of America in the Middle East in particular check out The Silk Roads by Peter Frankopan. The last few chapters cover the 20th and 21st centuries.

> Examples include Iran, Iraq, Cuba, Chile, Pakistan, Egypt, Afghanistan. These are the ones I can name off hand.

I think these are good examples. I agree. Though don't I don't agree with your overall assessment.

America elect representatives (not leaders) and it seems overwhelmingly to be the case that its representatives haven't been in control of its own government. The accountability structure broke and this has been going on for decades (probably since JFK) or perhaps even earlier.

America gives more foreign aid and has more immigration than all other countries combined. Its constitution is the longest standing foundational document in the world and genuinely (at least on paper) gives the people liberty and justice for all. America changes at a very rapid pace given its emphasis on liberty and immigration.

I think America is overwhelmingly a force for good in the world despite its rogue out of control agencies doing very bad things. Even so I deeply respect America as a nation. Given the age and the huge amount of power that has been consolidated its going through some inevitable problems. I think the American people are resilient and have the character to get through these times.

Is that Americans as a nation? Americans as a state? Americans as people? Americans as the leaders that claim to represent those people?

I'm happy to clarify.

The American State is run by the American Government in accordance with the wishes of the American People. That's the definition of Democracy, which the American Government has trumpeted for at least 80 years, perhaps more.

The foreign policy of the American Government is chosen by American Leaders in a way that benefits the American People while also keeping the Leaders in power. If there is a conflict between the two goals, the latter goal takes precedence. Again, that is a feature of Democracy that America trumpets.

When that foreign policy goes to shit and causes misery to the rest of the world, the world blames the American Government and the American People, who represent the United States of America.

All of this is blindingly obvious.

I'm familiar with the structure of a general outlook on a country's performance and the political structure behind it. What I'm unfamiliar with is what you as the source of the issues the US – and, presumably, its foreign policy specifically – has.

You, as a nation, have elected Trump. As long as he's in charge, in my opinion any further discussion of such matters would be pointless. That's my honest opinion, sorry if it hurts. You need to fix your own problems first ("America First") before it even makes sense to start discussing US foreign politics, for a current foreign politics doesn't really exist, it merely consists of sending contradictory signals, brown-nosing dictators, destroying international treaties and alliances, and estranging allies.

> You, as a nation

I'm Russian.

> sorry if it hurts

You aren't.

Oh, alright then. My apologies! You sounded like an American who wants to nitpick over US foreign policy, something which would be pointless at a time when no clear-cut foreign policy exists and the former foreign policies are well-documented.

It's worth pointing out that the US is not, never has been, and will not be as long as we have our Constitution, a democracy.

Let's not split hairs over the difference between a Republic and a Democracy. It's clear what I meant when I said "America is a democracy" and "America supports/promotes democracy". Democracy, when I use this word is simply a system of government where leaders are chosen by people in periodic elections.

I'm really not interested in nitpicking beyond that. Talk to someone else or go elsewhere if you are.

You may mean something else by the word -- but words do have meanings. A republic is not a democracy, and a democracy is not a republic. They're different forms of government.

Many people do erroneously call the US a democracy, but that doesn't make it correct or irrelevant.

There is an important core difference that makes it meaningful to be clear: Republics give rise to career politicians, easy choke points for corruption. This is one of the often-discounted things behind Trump's election, he's an outsider who was vocal about this problem and cleaning it up.

That is a fair point as well.

Yes, just like they won the US election as well. Those guys sure are good at marketing considering the relatively minimal sums they spend.


Do you think the entirety of Russia's efforts to destabilise the US amounts to a few Facbook ads?

You make it look like the 'stay' campaign is not funded externally[1]. Obama had openly asked Britishers to vote "stay"[2]. I am not sure about Britain(or the West). But in most of the sovereign nations, this would be considered as foreign interference.

1. https://www.theguardian.com/business/2018/may/29/george-soro...

2. https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2016/04/obama-eu-britain-brex...

You’ve linked to an article about Soros advocating a second referendum, not funding the Remain campaign. Meanwhile, the Leave.EU campaign is being investigated for receiving funding from “impermissible sources”.

I am tired of this whole blame the Russians for OUR stupidity and our faults. Unless the Russians sent armed thugs to the polling station to force you to vote for Brexit/Trump/<insert enemy here> at gunpoint, the fault lies with you and you alone.

Acknowledge that. Blaming the Russians to avoid having to face the uncomfortable truth is only going to hurt you in the long run. Avoid that while you still can.

You can’t blame the voters for trump or for brexit. They voted their hearts as they should. It was the job of Hillary and the remain campaign to push their message and educate the people on what their choices could lead to. They failed. That’s not the fault of the voters. I doubt a single sole intentionally voted with malicious intent, and you can’t fault someone for voting what they honestly believe is best, even if they are misinformed.

You're giving US conservative republican voters and politicians too much credit. They didn't "vote their heart" they voted their hatred and wallet.

Conservatives didn't elect Trump. They tried to elect everybody else but Trump, he was maybe their sixth choice out of the original group.

Independents and particularly white women elected Trump. They were the most important swing vote that determined the critical states that gave Trump the electoral college edge over Hillary's massive $2 billion political campaign. Hillary's failure to resonate with independent white women and minorities, particularly black voters, sank her campaign.

"failure to resonate" being "Fake facebook memes knocking Hillary posted from a partisan meme factory" made her demographic stay home from the polls (they didn't vote for T either)

"he was maybe their sixth choice out of the original group"

As soon as he won the nomination, they all fell in line. So clearly he was the "conservative peoples" choice, but not the "conservative establishment" choice. Once he was elected, republicans (even the establishment) further fell into line by continuing to support, condone and cover for his (and the GOP leadership's) corruption.

"Independents and particularly white women elected Trump"

Independents sure but white ... republican women voted for him too. Being a "white woman' does not automatically make you a liberal democrat.

"Hillary's massive $2 billion political campaign"

Cute. All presidential campaigns are massive on the $ scale.

"Hillary's failure to resonate with independent white women and minorities, particularly black voters, sank her campaign."

Lots of factors contributed to Hillary's loss, it was not just "white women and minorities" who failed her.

Anecdotally, the people who have admitted to me (they feel shame BTW) voting for Trump did so out of their own self-interest. They thought they were "shaking up the system".

> is the result of a properly, democratically conducted election

Hang on, one side was found to have lied and was fined for that.

BOTH sides lied. Both sides have been fined.

Sorry, I don’t remember the remain campaign being taken to court over lies, or being fined for such. Could you link to those occurrences?

There are plenty of examples if you bother to search, e.g. https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-41649995 and https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-42411144

Thanks! I did look but couldn’t find anything, probably because I was looking for fines for lying to voters rather than campaign finance problems, but yeah that’s not great.

The thing is, there was no talk of a deal before the referendum. The vote was simply Stay or Go, with the assumption being that we would simply fall back to WTO rules. All this talk of negotiating a deal came after the vote. In that sense, a No Deal Brexit is closer to what the people voted for than any deal. Contrary to "voters remorse", I know plenty of Brexit supporters who are celebrating the defeat of what they see as the governments attempt to undermine the terms of Brexit.

There was no talk of falling back to WTO rules.

There was talk of 'hard' and 'soft' Brexits.

Mainly there was talk of how we could stay in the single market, and maintain all the good things about EU membership without having to pay any of the costs.

Oh, really? Here's the speech Michael Gove gave at the outset of the Vote Leave campaign: http://www.voteleavetakecontrol.org/michael_gove_the_facts_o...

The key quote:

"There is a free trade zone stretching from Iceland to Turkey that all European nations have access to, regardless of whether they are in or out of the euro or EU. After we vote to leave we will stay in this zone. The suggestion that Bosnia, Serbia, Albania and the Ukraine would stay part of this free trade area - and Britain would be on the outside with just Belarus - is as credible as Jean-Claude Juncker joining UKIP."

So here you have one of the two most senior politicians in the Vote Leave campaign, in a flagship speech, saying that after we vote to leave we will continue to enjoy free trade with Europe. Not WTO rules, not even a negotiated deal. He says we'll just "stay in this zone" as if it was a default.

I've never seen anything in the Brexit campaign saying that the goal was to fall back to WTO rules between UK and EU.

That's because it's the default position after leaving the EU trading block.

Just like the Geneva Convention is the default position when there is no peace treaty.

Nonetheless, having that be the only thing governing one state's relationships with another is so rare and unpleasant that unless that state of affairs is explicitly requested with a declaration of war it is natural to assume something else is intended.

The official Vote Leave campaign absolutely did talk about a deal: https://imgur.com/a/YGitsR8

If you broke apart what brexit might actually mean for the country into its constituent parts, I think most people would feel out of their depth voting on these potential amendments individually. It's interesting that when you package all the details up into a single ill-defined 'brexit' people feel happy to project their own vague meaning onto the term and confidently cast their vote.

This form of condescension is a major part of why remainers have utterly failed to make their case. Remainers clearly believe they are better than brexiters, but do not address the issues which matter (lack of control on political matters which affect the lives of average people: trade, standards, communications, intellectual property, immigration) to the people they are ostensibly trying to convince.

The Brexit referendum had among the highest turnouts of all British votes in history, there was a considerable amount of media produced to explain each side (and many more remain arguments and endorsements were aired on radio, television, and through social media advertising campaigns), and the opinion was nonetheless trending further toward Brexit on the eve of the vote. It is just about as democratic as it could possibly be.

I honestly don't know where this theme of regret is coming from, because among the people I know who supported Brexit, none of them have expressed anything other than ongoing support, and a desire to see the original intent of the referendum respected by the parliament (as it clearly wasn't respected by the Prime Minister).

The original intent? What original intent was that? Brexit was always light on detail, and that is coming home to roost. When pressed, most Brexit supporters I've spoken to show absolutely no interest in the dismal nitty gritty of politics, preferring to spout shallow platitudes like "why can't they just get on with it".

The silence from chief Brexiteers Nigel Farage and Boris Johnson has been profoundly deafening.

I'm not at all knowledgeable about the situation in the UK so I searched for Nigel Farage and this came up:


It felt like he was trying to avoid the consequences of the actions of "Brexiteers" like himself.

But he is definitely not silent. There's that.

People were promised a pogrom against immigrants and Muslims, and are getting antsy that they haven’t been allowed to start deporting and disappearing people yet. That’s what they want to get on with - it seems to be the sole unifying factor between pro-brexit factions.

There was no need for detail, because the WTO already provides a framework for trade agreements. That was the assumed state people voted on - talk of a deal came afterwards, and was considered by many to be an attempt to do "Brexit in name only", causing a situation where we're still obligated to the EU but no longer have any MEPs.

>>That was the assumed state people voted on

I can't believe anyone would make such an assumption. I know some people who 1) voted leave 2) are perfectly aware that under WTO rules their businesses would literally have to close because they trade with EU and their European partners won't accept a ~20% hike on the price of British products due to non-EU custom duties. They all wanted out of EU because they don't like the immigrants, because they think Brussels has too much power, but they all wanted easy trade with the EU. WTO trade is not what they voted for.

The "leavers" you talk to are pretty different from the leavers I talk to.

Well of course, after all there are millions of them so I'm sure it's relatively easy to find people from any part of the "leaver" spectrum - from people who knew exactly what WTO is and are happy with it, to people who voted leave because they don't like the Polish shops on their street.

There isn't a single one reason why people voted leave.

Stop trying to gaslight people with this garbage, it was never true that falling back to WTO rules was an intended destination after Brexit.

The WTO provides a loose foundation for trade without agreements, and guidance on how agreements can be reached.

Trade without agreements is subject to tariffs and major restrictions severe enough to cause serious economic damage.

Agreeing FTAs can take years, hence the need for a transition period until one is agreed between UK & EU.

What May did was entirely consistent with trying to achieve the Brexit that was voted for.

The argument about lack of control is not true: Uk has had very significant influence over a lot of the decision process in the EU. They have democratically elected representatives and career civil servants, like for local and national institutions in the UK. A British voter doesn’t control EU any less than they control the UK.

Not so. The UK parliament is at the root of democratic authority in the UK. The European Parliament is a largely powerless rubber-stamping body.

Thirty years ago, maybe. It's now got extensive co-decision powers and is a serious body in its own right.

In fact, there's an argument that the in-built government majority in the Commons makes that far more of a powerless rubber-stamping body in normal times (recent events notwithstanding!)

A serious body that is inhabited by Front National, AFD, Die Partei (they switch their parliamentary representative every 3 month, so that 4 people get a salary of ~30000 a year) and other reprehensible or joke parties.

I don't think this is actually a bug; I think small fringe parties deserve representation, and it's an inescapable consequence of being serious about proportional representation.

Arguably Farage has been a "shadow" party leader in the UK for years. I wonder how differently things would have gone under a PR system where there were a few UKIP MPs off in one corner. As it was, they had no influence right up to the point where they "flipped" a large section of the Tory party into being pro-Brexit.

I also think that Farage shows that having a safe seat in the media is far more important than in Parliament for small parties; the national media have consistently given him far more coverage than comparable small or regional parties, because he's "good entertainment".

Except that the the UK the goverment is formed from the elected members of the house. In the EU the only body with real power, the commision, is appointed by a process in which the "elected" president of the commision is the only candidate.

This form of condescension

Absolutely not trying to be condescending, apologies if I came across that way.

Personally, I am just pained that voters who live in countries where democracy still works, do not take it seriously - that includes not spending time and effort to educate themselves with at least the basics of the issues they are voting on.

Imagine living in countries like Russia, Zimbabwe, Turkey etc - where elections are a farce. Now compare it with UK - British people had a real chance to vote to stay in the EU, they just threw that chance away.

I am not being snarky or condescending - I am just frustrated that voters don't spend a bit of effort to educate themselves before voting. Democracy only works if the voters make it work.

> I am not being snarky or condescending - I am just frustrated that voters don't spend a bit of effort to educate themselves before voting.

Maybe many do and you're just wrong about whether they educated themselves? Maybe many of them are more educated about the issue than you are yet don't feel as required to shout how dumb the other side is from the rooftops. That you assume ignorance of those you don't understand and then say they should educate themselves as though there is an objective right answer is both snarky and condescending.

Folks are falling for well confirmed lies.

When people fall for blatant, untrue propaganda, they are dupes. Democratically empowered dupes, but dupes none the less.

> Folks are falling for well confirmed lies.

Sure, probably on both sides. But to assume that everyone on one side of an issue, or even most, are dupes is a very dangerous assumption. Not every election outcome has to be rationalized, but in the attempt to do so people build excuses out of easy-to-find-when-digging election issues prevalent in all elections. Then they blindly say that must be the reason or that it only affects one side or that voters are dupes or whatever makes them feel better instead of considering that there is reasonable disagreement. It happens with most election results these days that don't favor the boisterous.

> probably on both sides

Brexiteers keep saying the Remain camp put out lies, but whenever pressed for facts they can't really come up with anything substantial. In contrast to the lies the Leave camp has spouted, which are documented. The pioneers of the Leave camp actually got the hell out of politics when they succeeded. How does that inspire confidence..

So, please, show me how the Remain camp has lied in order to influence the referendum.

I said "probably" because I don't know (I do see plenty of comments suggestion fear mongering about things that wre supposed to have happened by now like recessions, loss of food, loss of medicine, etc). My comment is about foolishly getting hung up on the rhetoric (and assuming voters are too stupid to see through it) instead of the real issues both sides have. Sadly, the response was back to getting hung up on the rhetoric more or less proving my point.

To me it seems pretty clear that you said "probably" out of knee-jerk both-siderism.


[SMBC Theater, "Both Sides"]

> countries like Russia, Zimbabwe, Turkey etc - where elections are a farce

You underestimate the propaganda of Erdoğan, Putin and the likes. Elections themselves can be actually 100% proper - but for example in Turkey's case, 90% of the media is owned by pro-government people (see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_newspapers_in_Turkey - Demirören group is managed by this guy: https://www.haber61.net/images/upload/erdogan_demiroren_basb.... And Çalık is managed by Erdoğan's relatives). Same story applies to many of the dictatorships.

Whichever way one voted, we were sold a pup. Both sides lied. Which makes the case and result, either way, rather academic.

Farage admitted the morning after the result that the £350m a week to the NHS was a lie. A promise that undoubtedly had considerable impact with the current austerity NHS funding crisis.

> Farage admitted the morning after the result that the £350m a week to the NHS was a lie

The bus was part of the official Vote Leave campaign not Farage’s Leave.EU, so that particular lie is not for Farage to defend. Many others are though.

What lies did the remain side give? We know exactly what we were getting there, the same as what we have.

We knew what we were getting, but that is not what the campaign sold. Both sides ran overwhelmingly negative campaigns.

Ironic that remain was labelled Project Fear as the most direct lies were on the leave side - the £350m that is nowhere near and never has been, and the claims of mass Turkish immigration when Turkey isn't even in the EU stand out as easily memorable.

Remain were less blatant, but gave numerous predictions and estimates of the consequence of leaving. Some were reasonable, from good sources. Others appear to have been back of an envelope escalating wildness like that house prices would fall 10%, then 20, then 25% and more. Often very poor credibility sources but still repeated as though just as credible as the Treasury or BoE etc. Which just gave easy ammunition for the Mail etc.

We haven't left yet so the results are still to be seen.

Except the bus never actually said we'd be giving £350m per week to the NHS. It said "We send the EU £350m a week - let's fund our NHS instead." Nobody in their right mind would assume that means we'd just divert all that money to the NHS, nor is that a decision that the Leave campaigners can make - it's simply a statement that the NHS is grossly underfunded while we send billions of pounds a year across the channel.

It's also a major lesson for governments around the world (that their military already know though): information intoxication works.

>This should be a lesson for all voters across the world - think for a minute before voting. At least try to understand what you're voting on. We can blame all we want on the media, politicians etc etc, but in the end, we can't deny Brexit is the result of a properly, democratically conducted election

It's a shitshow for sure, but at least it's a democratic shitshow. Democracy isn't always a bed of roses, sometimes it's chaos, but it is what it is.

The EU council could have offered some reasonable concessions in order to remain, both before and after the referendum, but nada. What really helped the leave vote was not so much shadowy influences but the attitude of the EU council. You can't ignore the elephant in the room.

> The EU council could have offered some reasonable concessions in order to remain, both before and after the referendum, but nada.

The essential problem with the Brexit movement is that it's based not on what the EU is but on the distorted view on what the EU is. When you start tackling the specific complaints that people had, it often turns out that it was the British government who had the power to alter the policies, not the EU. (For example, Britain deciding to let in Polish migrant workers after Poland joined the EU in 2004, unlike every other major country in the EU). The EU even conceded that Britain had a perpetual right to opt out of "ever-closer union."

So what could the EU have conceded that would have convinced the die-hard Brexiteers to opt for Remain?

Here are some specific complaints about the EU:

- Nobody in the UK ever voted for an external, supra-national government to have increasing control over numerous and increasing aspects of British life: farming, fishing, immigration, subsidies, etc. etc.

- The EU is openly talking about a unified army, implementation of a law requiring all members to join the Euro and 'tax harmonisation': the removal of sovereign countries to set their own tax policies.

- Oh I know you'll tell me elected chambers that elect councils that distribute swords allocating a table of 7 presidents who nominate a head hobbit but the EU is patently undemocratic: noone knows who's in it, what they do or how they got there. Turnout for EU elections runs around 25% in the UK: it's hardly a mandate from the people is it?

- The EU is very expensive to the UK which makes a net contribution of £9 billion / year. This is money that could be spent on hospitals, teachers, police, etc.

- I know you like the EU because you see it as some hippy, huggy federation of nations but the EU is increasingly right-wing and neo-liberal - you need only look at their criminal treatment of Greece to see that.

- farming and fishing policies were central parts of the EU (EEC) when we joined, and voted to stay.

-'The EU' might be talking about them, they probably talk about a lot of things that aren't going to happen. And some are probably more reasonable than you are making out.

- I don't agree it's undemocratic, but yes there is poor engagement. I think that's a reason why we voted to leave, rather than a reason to leave in and of itself.

- That's less than 1% of govt spending. That is cheap. Brexit will cut growth, this money may plug the gap, we aren't going to be economically better off after leaving though.

- The EU reflects its citizens, you only have to look at Britain itself to see the same thing happening.

It is undemocratic by design (the role of the parliament is roughly that of the role of the parliament in Bismarck's Germany, they can't introduce laws and can only veto or amend laws they don't like. They don't appoint the commission etc.) and tries to replace the national laws and constitutions democratic nations have given to them. Luckily they didn't manage to institute a EU constitution, but some of their other reforms like Bologna have done enough damage as is. Their science funding is extremely ineffective and wasteful compared to the funding schemes of the national organizations like the Max Planck and Helmholtz society, but unfortunately practically mandatory now.

I get that it is a "right wing, populist" thing to oppose the EU, but there are plenty of reasons not to like it.

The commission is selected by the European council that is made up of people selected by national governments.

It's like saying that the UK isn't democratic because the house of lords isn't elected, and neither is our head of state (which is even worse, because democratically elected representatives get absolutely no say in that).

In most democracies in Europe the head of government is chosen by parliament, not by some third party. The current setup is precisely how things were in the Kaiserreich. I did not get to elect most people in the European council, right now the guy representing Germany is someone that does not even speak proper English and was send off to Brussels because he failed as [Minister President](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/G%C3%BCnther_Oettinger).

> Nobody in the UK ever voted for an external, supra-national government to have increasing control over numerous and increasing aspects of British life: farming, fishing, immigration, subsidies, etc. etc.

Most of that stuff was in the EEC that the British did vote for. The EU did guarantee that Britain could further opt out of "ever closer union" if it wanted to.

> The EU is openly talking about a unified army, implementation of a law requiring all members to join the Euro and 'tax harmonisation': the removal of sovereign countries to set their own tax policies.

Britain also had a guaranteed opt-out of the Euro. Since Britain and France are the only EU countries with any military capabilities worth speaking out, Britain has an effective veto over any unified military policy.

> The EU is very expensive to the UK which makes a net contribution of £9 billion / year. This is money that could be spent on hospitals, teachers, police, etc.

You do know that the Leave campaign basically said the day after the referendum "oops, this part of our plank was a big, fat, steaming lie"?

> Oh I know you'll tell me elected chambers that elect councils that distribute swords allocating a table of 7 presidents who nominate a head hobbit but the EU is patently undemocratic: noone knows who's in it, what they do or how they got there. Turnout for EU elections runs around 25% in the UK: it's hardly a mandate from the people is it?

I'll grant you that the EU has a hard time trying to overcome apathy in its democratic institutions. But apathy doesn't make it less democratic.

> I know you like the EU because you see it as some hippy, huggy federation of nations

Ha ha ha. No, that's not how I see the EU at all.

We went into the EEC after a referendum.

Also, we're mostly a representative democracy. That means we vote for representatives whose job it is to.. represent us. Make decisions on our behalf. etc.

> the EU is increasingly right-wing and neo-liberal

Yes, but Tory Britain is even more so.

>So what could the EU have conceded that would have convinced the die-hard Brexiteers to opt for Remain?

All it would have taken is to swing the referendum result by a few percentage points.

Some moves towards reforming the EU to make it more democratic could have been welcome.

After reading this [1] i wonder if the level of democracy is n't the problem, but rather the general understanding of how the EU works.

[1]: https://qr.ae/TUnWGJ

Thanks for sharing this.

I have just completed a European Law module for my Graduate Diploma in Law, and this answer is a really concise and organised version of what I've been trying to say to people since the first few weeks of the course.

I have studied the European Union as an undergraduate politics student and now as a postgraduate law student, and I would totally agree with you that one of the primary issues of the European Union is its perception among citizens. Another commenter here mentioned how low the European Parliament Election turnout is in Britain, I think it was about 34% last time round, and this vote is often used as a 'protest' vote.

The public are not aware of how the European Union is constructed, and they are not aware of how the balance of power is determined. Much of the dialogue before the referendum in the UK was about 'unelected' and 'undemocratic' power in the EU, and this was usually directed towards the commission - a body that has no lawmaking power, and is selected by directly elected bodies(at the EU and Member State levels).

I really think the EU needs to speak louder and more directly to European Citizens about the role it plays and how it functions. Perhaps it does already, but I have not come across much outreach.

Full disclosure: I am an ardent remainer, and believe that whilst the EU is not perfect, we are much better off inside with influence than outside without.

This is a truly excellent link and one that should be shared as widely as possible on this topic. I read his entire comment and came away much more confident in my understanding of what the EU really is and how it works. Thanks for sharing.

The EU is already far more democratic than the UK - see the house of lords, althought right now it is the sanest branch...

A Member of the European Parliament, working in one of the parliamentary committees, draws up a report on a proposal for a ‘legislative text’ presented by the European Commission, the only institution empowered to initiate legislation....

The European Parliament may approve or reject a legislative proposal, or propose amendments to it. The Council is not legally obliged to take account of Parliament’s opinion but in line with the case-law of the Court of Justice, it must not take a decision without having received it.


The commissioners are chosen from the governments of the member states and then go through a complicated vetting and election process. To achieve such an indirect representative structure was actually one of the major goals of the UK together with other countries, in order to limit the power the EU has over individual governments.

Hence, this appointment system, which is additionally kept in check by the European Parliament whose members are elected directly by the voters from all member states.

You could complain that it's too representative, but not that it's not democratic. The alternative of giving the European Parliament more power and let it constitute a "European Government" directly has not been found appealing by the governments of its member states, particularly not by the UK, since they do not want to give away so much of their sovereignty.

Complaining about lack of democracy in the EU while at the same time complaining about lack of national sovereignty is perhaps the most hypocritical and intentionally misleading part of the current populist agenda.

Keep in mind the European Commission is chosen largely by the heads of state of the various EU countries, and must be approved (and can be dismissed by) the european parliment. The EU parliment has most of the power and is democratically elected.

The Commission cannot create law alone and undemocratically.

The European Commission drafts legislation and then the European Parliament decides whether or not to amend or pass the legislation.

Turnout for EU elections runs less than 30% in the UK: nobody here knows who's in it, what they do or how they got there.

Oh I know you'll tell me of the ignorance and stupidity of the racist, little England British voter and how they need to be 're-educated' but this is hardly a mandate from the people is it?

> nobody here knows who's in it, what they do or how they got there.

> ignorance

People can't be proud of not knowing about the EU and complain about being called ignorant at the same time.

(Quite a lot of this is misinformation, frankly - the Mail and the Express run hilariously biased anti-EU campaigns on their front pages.)

When there was a five way debate on who would be next leader of the commission, millions around Europe watched. In the UK? We put it on BBC parliament and it was not advertised.

Our media are at least partly to blame, tolerating "opinions" on matters of fact and minimising our real exposure to actual things the EU does.

The UK already had so many opt-outs and rebates compared to all other members, there really wasn't that much room for more concessions, certainly not of the type that the UK "leavers" wanted.

Some "leavers" just want to trade with the rest of the world with flexibility and not be bound to the EU. It's a hard argument to make that the EU is better when "leavers" compare the economic growth of the EU, which employs protectionism to prevent easy trading with outside of the EU when comparing the potential trade deals with the rest of world outside of the EU, without the need for VAT etc.

Do you know about specific kinds of trade that the UK would want different deals for than the EU? You might be able to optimize that somewhat, but I doubt it would weigh up against the leverage you have as (part of) the huge EU trading bloc, plus the loss of access to the internal market.

"Flexibility" - the EU has more free trade deals than the UK will ever negotiate on its own. Not to mention the immense value of the single market itself.

Protectionism is what we like to think of as standards. It improves lives in Europe.

> the EU has more free trade deals than the UK will ever negotiate on its own.

It doesn't really matter how many trade deals or what the trade deals are when VAT, import fees are applied in such a way to equalize the costs of external trade, to the point there isn't much benefit of trading with outside the EU unless they're some how able to significantly reduce costs or pioneer an industry that doesn't exist in the EU.

Even with just the UK utiliziling only the WTO (which the UK has no control over in the EU), the UK could stand to get better trading with the rest of the world than it can within the EU. But, this is not just because it can set the WTO rates.

The UK is not obligated to apply VAT and other fees after it leaves the EU on any imports and it doesn't have to be concerned about applying protectionism in industries that don't even exist in the UK.

> Protectionism is what we like to think of as standards. It improves lives in Europe.

I'm not really sure about which standards you're talking about, but I'll take a couple of the earliest and longest implemented standards that the EU requires, something that Greenland left over in the beginning.

The standards of the common agriculture policy and the common fisheries policies that the UK farming and fishing industires have been lobbying to fix for multiple decades has only lead to the destruction of environments, forcing farmers on quotas who then can't sell their products being forced to then depend on EU subsidies and grants to operate, it has lead to the destruction of much of the industry in the UK which in turn has made in particular, numerous farming and fishing towns become welfare dependent... It's been over 20 years of consistent failing to address these issues.

The worst part of this all is that these issues were completely avoidable, the EU and UK could have actually solved these problems and not let the situation deteriorate to the point that people have become that unhappy that they just want out. I am interested though to hear an opposing view how this improved lives in Europe.

The idea that the UK might somehow abolish VAT on leaving the EU sounds like wishful thinking to me. Where's the money for that hole in the budget going to come from?

The CFP is a mess, but without something to replace it I suspect fish stocks would simply have been extracted below replacement level.

CFP would have been well loved if it had been set up in such a way as to designate quotas to small fishers etc. As it stands most of the quotas are owned by a few huge players. That's the real reason why there's so much consternation among fishers - because of the people who have accrued fishing rights to squeeze out small producers.

https://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/news/scottish-news/five-wealth... ? Does the cfp mandate that quota be tradeable?

"Flexibility" such as small negotiating position of weakness and having to negotiate trade and tariffs with every important trade partner directly from such position.

Small is not beautiful in global trade.

What did you expect them to do? The UK wants to leave, so lets give them some concessions to soften their stupidity?

From the start the only one with any kind of power in the negotiations was the EU.

More a case of UK politicians not doing their job.

What do I expect them to do? Act solely in the interests of their pay packet and party. What should they do? Act in the interests of the nation. That was once supposed to be the point.

They could have sought concessions or adjustments from the EU as precursor to a second referendum. The few times another EU nation has rejected a treaty or some aspect of the Union there's been something of a renegotiation and a second referendum.

Since the ridiculous Fixed Parliaments Act there needs to be a super-majority to call a UK election early. Why not with a referendum for a change of such consequence?

Were the EU not such a divisive issue, for the whole 40 years of our EU membership, within the Tory party, they might have approached the issue with a little more honesty. It could all have SO easily been avoided.

> They could have sought concessions or adjustments from the EU as precursor to a second referendum.

Do people really forget David Cameron's renegotiation prior to the referendum that quickly?

Not forget, more deem not worth mentioning. Promise the earth and moon, deliver nothing of note.

He came out of that looking the fool and if anything actually helped the leave campaign.

And what makes you think anyone else would do better? I mean, Cameron isn't exactly at Trump-level of negotiation.

Look at how quickly Cameron resigned after the vote. He wasn’t truly interested in finding a good deal, he was relying on the fact that people would vote remain regardless. I’m guessing due to the remain result in the Scottish independence referendum not long before.

Indeed - and in my opinion he'd completely misinterpreted that as a great success rather than what it was, a very narrow victory that burned a lot of political capital.

Or he resigned because he believed the leave decision could better be implemented by a leave campaigner, who would approach the matter more earnestly and enthusiastically.

Or more specifically, leave EU is a political and economic disaster and mess he wanted to not take part in. Even if you succeed you will be covered in dirt.

Just look at May now and imagine Cameron in her shoes. No politician wants this.

Allowing the referendum was an interesting but silly motion already, a gross miscalculation.

The UK has lots of power if they don't desperately beg.

They should expect a plain exit. With that done, a good deal with the USA is possible. The threat of that could instead get them a great deal with the EU, and they may even do well with both.

Desperate begging is the current plan though... that won't end well.

Hey man no problem, we'll just take the £30 billion divorce payment to help us with our stupidity.

What really helped the leave vote was not so much shadowy influences but the attitude of the EU.

1. Can you explain the "attitude of the EU" part?

2. If the EU is that bad, why aren't other countries holding referendums and leaving the EU? Why is only the UK making so much noise?

I am not European, so my knowledge on this matter is pretty small. Honestly curious, not being snarky etc.

In 2016, a Pew poll showed that more French had a negative impression of the EU (61%) than British (48%). A large fraction of French polled (33%) want to leave.

> If the EU is that bad, why aren't other countries holding referendums and leaving the EU?

I think you're wilfully ignoring what has been happening in Ireland, Greece, France and Italy in recent years.

The OP is mistaken and like many people think the EU is some kind of antagonistic entity that was forced upon their country, whereas in reality the EU has been funded by its member states as a voluntary union of members states - by unanimous votes, in all important matters. Every feature of the EU is the result of careful, decade long discussion between the governments of members states from all kinds of political sides.

The reason why the EU is perceived so bad in some countries (like the UK) are partly historic and partly because it the EU is the perfect scapegoat for local politicians who have messed things up. In the UK, scapegoating the EU for your own mistakes was particularly common.

Add to this the facts that the Leave campaign lied about practically everything - or at least intentionally distorted the facts - and that many voters don't know much about the structure of the EU, and the Brexit became reality.

It is unlikely that a similar decision will be made in any of the remaining 27 countries, for lack of popular support and because people there are more aware of the benefits of the EU. Never say no, though, fuelled with money from outside the EU, currently right-wing populists are pretty good at exploiting the fact that the divide between the rich and the poor is ever increasing very cleverly, and since poverty will increase in all EU countries, irrational and populist recipes for "the simple man on the street" can continue to gain in popularity. Radical left wing parties have largely the same agenda, so these are interchangeable.

So it's possible that one or two countries might attempt to exit the EU after some populist party has won an election. It's unlikely, though, because the EU offers overall way more benefits than disadvantages. It's budget is ridiculously cheap in terms of percentage of GDP and you get a lot of bang for the bucks out of the trade union alone. Moreover, future generations are fairly pro-EU in most member countries (though there are some outliers).

The situation is certainly different for any country that uses the Euro. The UK could leave with far less trouble than Poland or Ireland could.

But Poland have the złoty, not the Euro.

>1. Can you explain the "attitude of the EU" part?

They want to centralise power more and more, and seem completely oblivious to their own mistakes.

Just an odd example - make fuel from a food crop grown in tropical jungle areas, to save CO2? No surprises how that turned out...

The UK was always a special-case member of the EU, always demanding it's own uniqueness and pushing neoliberal garbage at every corner. The EU council should never have bent over so far backwards for the UK in the first place and it would have been absurd for them to bend even further. UK exceptionalism can go enjoy it's lonely island time.

Maybe? If you think that most of the people are actually looking at or arguing about the implementation of any specific policy (I'd suspect this is the minority).

It seems more likely people are just arguing about which tribe they're a part of. In that case nobody cares about what the best outcome is or what the truth is. If you can get a brexit deal passed that still allows the UK to 'brexit' in name only, but otherwise retains all of the actual agreements of being in the EU it could be a win-win. People get to pretend they left, but it doesn't actually change anything.

Without this there isn't a good outcome here short of just ignoring the referendum. I think owning the lie is a good idea, but not sure if it would work politically since someone like Nigel Farage can just come back and loudly call you a liar that can't deliver on a 'true brexit'.

Maybe? I get what you're saying, but the confusion of the past 2 years of negotiations and the magnitude of this vote's failure is a pretty strong indication that it'll not be possible to 'Brexit in name only'. The nationalist side will (correctly) point out that if you're still subject to the same regulations & trade deals, you haven't actually changed anything. The EU might go for it, but would probably be like "If you're going to say that you're not part of the EU, we can't realistically give you a voice in shaping EU policy", thus leaving Britain in a worse negotiating position with respect to those trade deals. I thought that was the grandparent's point.

I don't think what you are saying is correct. Rhetoric aside, I think there are 2 main reasons for leaving: 1. greater autonomy in deciding on laws (especially wrt things like immigration policy), 2. withdrawal of the financial contribution to Europe.

Many "remain" people specifically oppose these 2 reasons. They want the European oversight on laws. One of the main reasons for a European Union is to ensure that these kinds of laws are harmonised across Europe. Also, "remain" people feel that the UK actually receives more value than they pay for their European contributions. Specifically, the cost of bureaucracy is necessary to ensure that the UK has a voice in European decision making. They feel that in a "no deal" situation, Europe (being bigger and stronger) will simply dictate the conditions of every agreement.

I do remote work for a UK company, though I live in Japan, so I can see this from a slightly removed position (though, please note that I've been hurt economically from the weak pound since Brexit, so I still have a vested interest!) I sympathise with the "leave" goals, but I think the "remain" camp has it right. Brexit is going to cost the UK a lot IMHO and there is no way to have a "pretend leave" that satisfies the "leave" side. The UK may have some extra autonomy after leaving, but the cost will be that they will be tossed around by Europe on virtually every front with no power to respond. Economically, it will also be extremely expensive -- something the market seems to agree with me on, given the state of the pound since the referendum.

> 1. greater autonomy in deciding on laws (especially wrt things like immigration policy)

Which turned out to have been possible all along, Theresa May simply didn't implement the EU rules which have already existed when she was home secretary. Immigration can never be solved by leaving the EU because it was already solved.

> They want the European oversight on laws.

If the last two years have shown us, the UK doesn't have the technical ability to run itself, the government can't even organise leaving let alone the mammoth task of re-implementing the 500-odd trade deals they will lose.

Funny, I never knew there were 500 countries in the world.

Trade deals aren't always comprehensive, but can be sector-specific.

(I have no idea whether the number 500 is correct)

Some might say that a good outcome is one where the people can freely make their own choices and accept the consequences. The plight of the British might serve as a cautionary tale informing the decisions of some other country, that's certainly a good thing in some sense.

Democracy is not guaranteed to deliver prosperity or lead only to the correct decisions, yet it's the best system we have.

That reminds me of the Despair demotivational poster "Mistakes: It could be that the purpose of your life is only to serve as a warning to others."

"We all live in a yellow lump of Brie, yellow lump of Brie... "

Edit: Clearly one glass of wine too many...

Yes, you've gouda admit it's a grate analogy.

You're on fire, but this isn't Reddit :D

(then again, who thought we'd have a political article on the front page of HN!)

Overtly political discussions do pop up on HN occasionally - the ones that don't descend into slanging matches (such as this one) are usually of good quality and seem to be tolerated by the mods.

After brexit the people became a transcendent idea. An idea that nationalists want to have presidence over everything, including the democratic process and the rule of law. And at this point the people is just a proxy for the righteous authority of the nation.

The idea of enemies of the people as mentioned in The Mail has a rather inglorious history involving Nero, Stalin, Hitler and the like https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Enemy_of_the_people#Origins_of...

On the other hand I'm ok with a people's vote.

I often hear the refrain that, "democracy is the worst form of government except for all the other forms that have been tried". But how many forms have actually been tried? As far as I know, every country is either a democracy or an autocracy.

Maybe it could be better phrased as, "Democracy is better than autocracy, and we think it's crazy to try anything else".

What else is there? The only systems I'm aware of are variants of either democracy or autocracy. Control is either dispersed among many (democratic) or centralized among a few (autocratic). Or there's no control and you have anarchy, I guess.

There is certainly in a lot of room for improvement in how we elect leaders and what powers we give them. But, I think the evidence overwhelmingly suggests that dispersed power is better than centralized power. Remember that humanity has in fact tried a lot of variations of democracy and government throughout history. None of us actually lives in a direct democracy today a la ancient Anthens, we live in republics.

I replied to a similar comment: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=18927767

To reiterate, my main objection to asserting "democracy is the best" is that it discourages thought about other possibilities.

I don't know what work better. But I do think there are other possibilities. I'm using a somewhat stricter definition of democracy and autocracy. For our purposes, lets say a democracy allows nearly everyone to vote for a person or party that will have complete or nearly complete control over the government. We'll allow exceptions for felons and young people not voting. Lets call countries where one person has full power an autocracy.

I'm not going to give an example of a perfect form of government. But I'll give some bad or half-baked ideas just to illustrate it's possible.

As you mentioned, there's anarchy. Not far from there, you could have rule by corporations, where corporations hire their own internal police force to protect their employees, enforce their rules, and make up for the lack of national government. I know, scary. I said these weren't good ideas.

You could have rule by experts. Technocracy, or something similar. Only economists would vote on economic policy, medical professionals would vote on healthcare policy, etc.

We could say all new laws must be in pursuit of some mandate, such as increasing standard of living for the lowest 30% of the population. Laws that don't work towards this goal could be challenged and struck down in courts. Maybe laws could be proposed by anyone and the most upvoted ones would be considered by the courts.

Maybe direct democracy should be revisited now that we have the internet.

We could allow more departments to operate independently, much like the Federal Reserve Bank does now.

Maybe it's totally impossible to improve on the democracy we have now. I'd still rather not discourage thinking about it.

I think part of that is democracy is a good brand and applies to concretely different things like:

* No votes, just voluntary interactions

* The people voting on every issue

* The government/representatives being chosen randomly from the people

* Elected representatives being voted for by the people

* Political parties being voted for by the people

Then you have more details like franchise, denizens vs citizens, bicameralism, and more to worry about.

I would also say China today is neither a democracy (as least as you would think) or an autocracy.

The term can be pretty broad. In terms of what's used in practice, it's generally elected representatives or parties.

China's a pretty interesting counter-example. I don't know very much about their government unfortunately, beyond what tends to make the news.

What else do you have in mind?

There are dozens if not hundreds of different types of democracy, each with its own set of advantages and disadvantages, and many forms of democracy that have not yet been tried. Most of them would be disastrous, for example "direct democracy" as opposed to representative, parliamentary democracy could not possibly work outside of a small village.

But it's odd to look at this as trying something out. As far as I know, no political system has ever been tried out. Okay, maybe you could count the genocide in Cambodia by the Red Khmer as trying out, but even they didn't really have the intention of just "trying out" this new, accelerated path to communism.

Political systems are put in place by emerging elites after a disruptive event (e.g. revolution, war, cataclysm, mass exodus) has taken place.

I don't have anything specific in mind, and obviously it's virtually impossible to just "try out" different systems in an established country.

My objection to refrains along the lines of "democracy is the best system" is that it tends to shut down thought about other possibilities. We were taught from the time we're young that democracy is the best. But in reality, there's been very little experimentation. I'd rather encourage people to think on how we can continue to evolve our forms of government, not just in the details, but all the way up to how we choose our leadership.

I don't know how we'd test them. Computer models? Trial runs in small communities?

I don't know if anyone will come up with anything better. But there are possibilities other than "everyone votes for a leader" or, "one leader has power for life".

Democracy can be damn scary sometimes. The Nazi party was democratically elected. Who's to say that in 20 years, the majority of Americans couldn't be bigoted against some minority?

Did you mean republic also known as highly hierarchical representative democratic bureaucracy?

Yes, I suppose that's more accurate. For some reason, your phrasing hasn't yet caught on with the general public.

What if the consequences are instability or large scale war?

Then that's what we get. There's no guarantee of a good outcome: if the majority of people want to do stupid things, a democracy will let them.

In such a case we'd probably be fucked regardless of what form of government we had. A dictatorship, monarchy, or oligarchy lets a minority of people do stupid things, and if you have a majority, it's fairly likely there is a powerful minority contained within them.

You're thinking of a direct democracy. One major advantage of electing representatives is that they can prevent slim majorities from enacting huge mistakes.

Note that there won't be a democratic vote on any particular Brexit deal, which is likely to be less popular than the abstract idea of a Brexit. So if a Brexit deal is brokered, there's a good chance it won't be what a majority of people want to do.

A referendum is about as direct as you can get.

There won't be a referendum on any particular Brexit deal. The referendum was about an abstract ideal of a Brexit.

Correct. The brexit vote was expressing something people don’t like. It didnt’t specify what people want.

That’s a big problem. Voting against something is easy. Agreeing on what a solution is takes a lot more work.

Democracy doesn’t have to mean that 50% + 1 gets whatever they want. There can be higher bars to clear for more drastic changes, and pretty much every democratic government has some.

Especially when it's 50%+1 on a voting turnout of 65%.

The majority of EU citizens did not vote in the Brexit referendum. They shouldn't have to suffer the consequences [edit to clarify] of a war resulting from this vote.

"The majority of EU citizens did not vote in the Brexit referendum"

The overwhelming majority of EU citizens did not vote to join the EU, nor did they vote in favour of the Treaty of Lisbon upon which the authority of the EU currently resides.

Nor do any of the citizens of the EU get to vote for the EU executive, or anyone who has any material influence over legislation (their MEP's can't introduce legislation).

In fact, majorities of several EU nations voted against the Treaty of Lisbon after which it was 'passed anyways' (I'm looking at you France), and after which the other referendums were cancelled because the elites knew it would would fail.

And of course UK citizens never voted to join the EU, they voted to join the EEC.

Most EU citizens want something like the EEC, with some nice freedom of movement. They don't want a hard or ideological political union.

Have a look at Pew historical polling, it's interesting [1] - it shows the majority of even very large EU nations actually wary of the EU - up until the 'Brexit scare'. After Brexit, this will continue to languish downward.

The EU has so many existential issues that it's facing, and it doesn't seem to want to suggest anything other than 'more political union' as an answer, which is clearly not it. (See the recent 'twinning' agreement signed by Macron and Merkel last week as an example of trying to get some political momentum going on the pro-EU side).

The EU needs to reform, but it can't unfortunately for a variety of reasons, and I don't see any meaningful path forward.

[1] http://www.pewglobal.org/2017/06/15/post-brexit-europeans-mo...

"Representative democracy". The power to accept or deny things like the treaty of lisbon lies with the members of parliament that represent the people, not with the people itself. Why should it be different for things like the treaty of lisbon than for things like taxation?

"representatives" cannot arbitrarily change the constitution, create new forms of government and devolve national powers without real consent.

For the same reason Scotland cannot leave the UK without a referendum, for the same reason Quebec cannot leave Canada.

The Treaty of Lisbon represented enough change that it was to be ratified by referendum. But guess what? It was voted down too often among the first to hold referendums, so the elite just kiboshed the whole thing. And skipped the referendums knowing they would lose.

Now consider that the French population roundly rejected the treaty [1], and then their government simply changed a few items and passed it anyhow, without again deferring to the people.

Is the 5th Republic even legally legitimate now?

The French Government, acted directly against the will of the the people to devolve signifiant sovereign powers.

It's an appalling and brutal transgression of democracy, and there should be consequences.

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2005_French_European_Constitut...

> Most EU citizens want something like the EEC, with some nice freedom of movement. They don't want a hard or ideological political union.

I believe the EEA is just that.

EEA is basically paying the EU membership fees, without any voting power regarding how the EU should be run.

Members of the EEA have to accept EU legislation and make payments to the EU and the jurisdiction of the Court of Justice of the European Union. Not full emmbership fees. Also they're part of the decision process shaping EEA policies.


Another option is EFTA and bilateral agreements like Switzerland. However, the May government decided not to pursue EFTA membership and Norway isn't that keen since thay're afraid it would impact future EFTA/EU negotiations and they could use some of their current rights.

>And of course UK citizens never voted to join the EU, they voted to join the EEC.

Of course, the "UK Citizens" are not citizens, but subjects. Of a monarch. Whom they also did not vote for.

Others have responded abstractly with why this isn't a useful distinction, but I'll do you one better and give you a history lesson.

In 1649 Charles I of England was executed by order of Parliament. Parliament drew a distinction between the Crown and the person wearing it. Their loyalty was to the Crown. Having killed the King they decided to try being a republic.

Parliament is sovereign. But elected Heads of State are trouble - parliament eventually figured this out and got a new King instead.

They haven't really been subjects since the UK became a constitutional monarchy (defined as when a monarch is "a sovereign who reigns but does not rule" -- Vernon Bogdanor, ref wikipedia). So, not for the last few hundreds of years at least.

They can be subjects, nationals, and/or citizens. Those are all distinct and all still valid, and it is possible to qualify for more than one at the same time. Including those of us who don't qualify for any of them, there are 8 possibilities.

The UK has a web site that attempts to help people figure out what they are and what they could transition to. It's insanely complicated.

They are de-facto citizens, and the UK Monarchy has effectively no power, ergo your comment is moot, and deflects from a very real and tangible issue of democratic deficit in the EU.

The EU is far more democratic than the UK. In fact I happen to think that FPTP is one of the contributing factors to Brexit. For decades people have been living in areas where their votes didn't matter at all.

"The EU is far more democratic than the UK."

This is demonstrably false.

+ The UK (like other European nations) has a fairly vibrant democracy, with representatives who make legislation.

+ People know who their reps are, and vote on the basis of party ideals.

+ Governments live and die (i.e. they fall) on votes made by reps.

+ Governments are hugely responsive on many issues, and have no choice but to bend given popular demand.

+ There are popular plebiscites on major issues such as Scottish independence and Brexit.

Contrast that with the EU:

+ Nobody related to creating legislation, or providing strategic or material guidance is elected. Nobody speaking on behalf of the EU is elected.

+ MEP's cannot introduce or amend legislation.

+ Pragmatically, there are very low voter turnouts, and people have generally little knowledge as to who their MPs are, or what the platforms are.

+ There are no popular plebiscites, but worse, due to the above, the EU Executive is notoriously tone deaf to the will of the people. (They just don't care, because they think they are 'right' - which is a natural thing frankly in any body that doesn't have to worry about the status of their power)

+ The legal foundation of the EU, based on various treaties, most notably the Treaty of Lisbon, is on shaky ground. French voters literally voted against the Treaty, and it was enacted anyhow. This is not a 'trade agreement' - this is about devolution of major constitutional powers, so this is a problem. Referendums were cancelled in other nations because they would have been lost.


Summary: the UK, much like most other European nations, is considerably 'more democratic' than the EU.

If you're going to take a boldly contrarian stance, the onus is on you to provide the evidence.

It's funny how you only ever hear this (complete nonsense) meme applied to the UK, and never to say Canada or Australia. Even though it's the same queen...

That hasn't been true since at least 1983.

The majority of EU citizens that voted whether to join the EU or not ... voted against doing that. Ditto with expansion of the EU, constitution of the EU.

Should that be fixed too ?

For example: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Treaty_establishing_a_Constitu... (see "ratification")

The EU has a long history of ignoring democratic elections. That, to me, does not seem like a good thing at all, and yet it's becoming ever more clear that if you want the EU to exist at all, ignoring elections will be the cost: Both the current Greek and the current Italian government made promises of leaving the EU to get elected. Both have reneged, but of course other parties are springing up with more forceful leave rhetoric. Now French and German extreme-right parties promise to kill the EU if they get elected, and the more mainstream is forced to also take a more anti-EU stance in each country.

If either France or Germany decides to leave, then the EU experiment is over.

> Both the current Greek and the current Italian government made promises of leaving the EU

It's quite late for that, since unlike the Brits they also joined the EMU and thus ceded sovereignity to the EU. This is exactly what Margaret Tatcher warned against: a federal Europe by the back door. Also, organizing a referendum on the topic of exiting from the Eurozone is a violation of EU treaties.


Other EU exits could be less disastrous if coordinated. For instance if Greece and Italy would leave at the same time and negotiate together. For this they would first need to form an aliance like the Visegrad group. Regardless, everyone would have to suffer in such an event due to lack of credibility in the EU project, lack of confidence in national currencies and the Euro.

I don't live in the EU, so maybe I'm missing something, but how could Brexit possibly end in a war?

Then that's what we get. There's no guarantee of a good outcome: if the majority of people want to do stupid things, a democracy will let them. In such a case we'd probably be fucked regardless of what form of government we had. A dictatorship, monarchy, or oligarchy lets a minority of people do stupid things, and if you have a majority, it's fairly likely there is a powerful minority contained within them.

If that’s the degree of freedom you need to be happy, you probably need to live somewhere that has ever claimed to offer it. If you’re just convinced of the incompetence and doom of the race then while I can certainly see your point of view and don’t dismiss it, I don’t know that such a perspective is useful in a public policy context as it offers no solutions or hope.

Not accepting that we’re fallible, that principle is subservient to outcomes, and that a 48%-52% split is not exactly a significant minority-majority split seems unhelpful. More, if you see doom around every corner then what’s the harm in another referendum with a better defined question, and better controls on lying, dirty money and foreign influence? Remember that we’re less than a century away from the last time Europe tried to tear itself apart and take the rest of the world with it, maybe some caution is warranted here.

War between who and who?

Not necessarily "large scale", but it's hard to leave the EU customs union without introducing a hard border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, and specifically not having a hard border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland was part of the peace agreement that ended the Troubles.

I disagree. The Single Market is what is very hard to get out of without a hard border on the Irish border. Customs documentation can be addressed away from the border and is potentially fixed with technology, but the necessity of physical checks for standards conformance that cannot be fudged is the real problem.

Right, though technically the EU insists on a border, not the UK.

One of the main pillars of Brexit voters was immigration control.

So, we're going to ruin the entire country to get immigration controls (and destroy trade, and cut ourselves off politically, socially, and from the scientific communities, and...) then just leave the border open?

That's like burning down your luxury rental accommodation because you don't like that exact shade of wallpaper, then moving in to a hovel with graffiti on the walls.

Crossing a legal border physically doesn't give you the right to be there, and work, receive benefits, etc.

So anti-Immigration Brexiteers don't mind illegal aliens?

I doubt that.

A border will do nothing against illegal EU immigration. I doubt any brexit scenario will result in EU nationals requiring a visa to enter the UK (for short term stays). A border is not what will prevent them from overstaying.

Well, nothing is stopping the Republic of Ireland from following the UK. The EU can't even really do anything about it without starting a war, so a sudden surprise exit is entirely possible. This would solve the border issue.

Things would have been much less messy if Brexit had been implemented as a split of the EU, with the UK and Republic of Ireland running their own little 2-member EU government. Scotland could then be allowed to do their split from the UK while remaining in the mini-EU.

Ireland doesn't want to leave the EU. It's entire economy is based on EU membership. And they fought a war of independence in the 1920s specifically to avoid being in a 'mini union' with the UK. This kind of 'it would be easier if everyone did our bidding' thinking is one of the reasons exit negotiations with the EU have gone so badly.

The 'war', if it happens, would be a restart of the intractable civil kind among the various NI groups, not EU vs us.

I think Republic of Ireland not wanting to leave is "stopping them". They're much more integrated into Europe than the UK too. Have the euro for example.

Are you English? The sheer ignorance in this response suggest so.

Ireland is a Soverign Country. England made its choice, and now has to live with it. The empire is gone.

Well, that is the EUs problem, not the UKs.

Neither the UK or Ireland will ever ever be the ones the enforce the hard border.

It would have to be the EU enforcing it, if that is what their trade deals demanded. And I sincerely doubt that the EU would be happy with the consequences of them stationing troops on that border.

Both the UK and Ireland have stated that they will not be enforcing a hard border.

I thought immigration was one of the issues that was driving Brexit. How can they control immigration from the EU if they don't have border enforcement? There is something I'm missing here.

Make people fill out proof-of-right-to-work-in-the-country paperwork when they get employed and proof-of-right-to-live-in-the-country paperwork when they rent or buy housing. That's essentially what most countries do. Border security is definitely helpful--especially if you want to deter outright criminals from trafficking drugs and human beings--but it's not sufficient, because if you enter the country on a time-limited visa and your visa expires, you still need a mechanism for that.

Literally not enforcing the Irish border and relying on everyone having their paperwork in order when they deliver truckloads of goods or apply for jobs or whatever isn't a completely insane idea. There's a moderate risk of UK tariffs and trade barriers being circumvented by people smuggling Czech stereo systems across the Irish border in an unmarked van and selling them on the streets of Liverpool, but maybe that's okay.

The penalties for failing to enforce border checks (in the absence of a trade deal) would be severe.

On the end both sides want control over what's entering their country.

If the EU started allowing shady companies to export whatever tainted foodstuff they happen to have into the UK, we'd see English soldiers at the border real quick.

I was the OP - my thinking is that things are trending poorly.

The west and what it stands for is threatened both directly (Russian involvement in attacking elections both in the US, in the UK with brexit, and elsewhere) and indirectly (rise of authoritarian power/censorship in China). This is ignoring smaller, but still violent direct threats like ISIS.

With the remaining powerful moderates in Europe struggling (Merkel, Macron) and extremists waiting at the sidelines to be elected, increased nationalism and division from brexit could lead to more instability creating a situation where a large scale conflict is more likely or a west that isn't as united and can't respond as well to aggression from Russia.

It'll be 'war' within individual nations, leading to increased chaos within the entire EU system. Which is what is taking place in France right now in limited form. Take a look at GDP per capita growth since 2007:


Countries with negative or near-negative per capita growth since 2007 (as of the end of 2018) in nominal terms:

Denmark, Sweden, Netherlands, France, UK, Spain, Italy, Portugal, Austria, Finland, Belgium, Greece

The sole positive result? Germany, a mere 6-7% GDP per capita growth over a decade. In non-inflation adjusted terms, since 2007. Inflation adjusted those other nations have seen that much larger of a contraction.

That's a recipe for disaster in Europe.

How long can most of Western Europe continue to contract economically while social demands increase with aging demographics? It's fundamentally why France is rioting for these past two months, they're being smashed between high taxes, negative growth, and negative quality of life progress.

The UK's GDP per capita has contracted by 20% since 2007 just in nominal terms. Throw a tiny bit of inflation onto that, and you're looking at the UK losing 1/3 of its economy in dollar terms over ~11 years or so. Continue that process for another decade and the result is predictable: people will freak out in increasingly dramatic ways.

But war will not cause any economic expansion, nor would breaking of the EU, quite the opposite. If you can show how lack of EU would lead to better results, do provide a good and credible analysis, maybe something can be used and salvaged.

Each and every country would face the same problem, separately and with interesting various plans bbut no negotiation position compared to China or Russia or US. Even Germany or France alone would have serious problems negotiating with these economic powers.

Positive action like promoting internal market, good trade deals, subsidizing and making it easier to run manufacturing again, rebalancing from pure services. Pooling resources. It is what EU all offers much better than any individual country could... even then it it's just not enough.

You cannot outmaneuver 3/4 of the planetary manpower ever without a serious technological gap, and that is closing or already has closed. Even with Russian force and resources they will ultimately fail to dominate. US with their remaining tech lead is already failing...

What exactly does "the West" stand for, in your view? Your hyperbolic framing of Russia's "involvement" in 2016 aside (you make it sound like it was large scale cyberwar, which it wasn't), Russia would now start a global war in Europe that would very likely go nuclear because ... the West isn't "standing up to it"?

>a large scale conflict is more likely or a west that isn't as united and can't respond as well to aggression from Russia.

The default foreign policy consensus appears to be that anything Russia does is "bad" and should be opposed, perhaps militarily. This is nonsense, and really is a "Cold War mindset" that is not applicable in a post-9/11 environment.

> What exactly does "the West" stand for, in your view?

Freedom of expression/speech, free press, representative democracy, independent court system, individual (women/minority) rights. There are other things like not being a religious theocracy, but I think the first few cover the most general important pieces.

> you make it sound like it was large scale cyberwar, which it wasn't

Evidence suggests it was large scale and directed by Putin through the Russian IRA [1], though it was likely more effective than even they expected (and more of a disinformation campaign than a cyber war).

"But it quickly became clear that the Russians had used a different model for their influence campaign: posting inflammatory messages and relying on free, viral spread. Even by the vertiginous standards of social media, the reach of their effort was impressive: 2,700 fake Facebook accounts, 80,000 posts, many of them elaborate images with catchy slogans, and an eventual audience of 126 million Americans on Facebook alone. That was not far short of the 137 million people who would vote in the 2016 presidential election."

[1] https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2018/09/20/us/politics/r...

> Russia would now start a global war in Europe that would very likely go nuclear because ... the West isn't "standing up to it"?

I'm not suggesting they'd start a global war, but they're targeting NATO allied countries by influencing elections towards instability. Maybe it's just to free up access to their funds by trying to get rid of the Magnitsky Act [2], but if they wanted to more aggressively take over Ukraine or do something else hostile increased global instability might lead to something larger.

Obviously these things are hard to predict, but only a couple years prior to WWI people said the connected world economy made large scale conflict impossible. [3]

"A 1910 best-selling book, The Great Illusion, used economic arguments to demonstrate that territorial conquest had become unprofitable, and therefore global capitalism had removed the risk of major wars. This view, broadly analogous to the modern factoid that there has never been a war between two countries with a MacDonald’s outlet, became so well established that, less than a year before the Great War broke out, the Economist reassured its readers with an editorial titled “War Becomes Impossible in Civilized World.”"

> This is nonsense, and really is a "Cold War mindset"

It's not that anything they do is bad, but if you read about the people in power there from those that have interacted with them like Bill Browder, Gary Kasparov, and others - (in addition to the Russian government's current behavior) it suggests that they're not a government interested in rule of law.

[2] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Magnitsky_Act

[3] http://blogs.reuters.com/anatole-kaletsky/2014/06/27/world-w...

>"A 1910 best-selling book, The Great Illusion, used economic arguments to demonstrate that territorial conquest had become unprofitable, and therefore global capitalism had removed the risk of major wars. This view, broadly analogous to the modern factoid that there has never been a war between two countries with a MacDonald’s outlet, became so well established that, less than a year before the Great War broke out, the Economist reassured its readers with an editorial titled “War Becomes Impossible in Civilized World.”"

It's worth noting that both Serbia and Ukraine had McDonalds. Hell, even Panama had a few when the USA invaded them.


But I'm not sure what it has to do with Brexit.

Quite a bit. The UK is a nuclear power of sorts, has always been seen as a major player in NATO and is one of the more powerful countries in the EU from a military point of view.

They didn't quit NATO though. However if they're reticent to involve themselves as they usually were historically... not that useful of an ally.

Well, what if? You're essentially arguing that if our benevolent overlords decide that the democratic process might result in something unfavorable that they should do the wise thing and ignore the will of the people.

"the will of the people" sounds very grand and final.

"the will of 52% of the people" doesn't quite have the same ring to it.

I'm not claiming that I don't understand the concept of referendum by simple majority - merely that there's a certain duplicity in the sanctimonious language being used to describe the result.

52% of a 72% turnout, so really just ~37% of "the people".

(If I did the maths right)

Yeah 52% of those who could be bothered to vote. The non voters polled about 60-40 remain so you could argue the will of the people including the lazy was remain.

Though of course there isn't really a single will of the people, just a lot of people with differing opinions.

> 52% of those who could be bothered to vote.

Not just bothered to vote, but allowed to vote.

Citizens of other EU member states, living in Britain, were not eligible to vote (with a few exceptions), and nor were British citizens who had been living in other EU member states for "too long". Moreover, 16 and 17 year olds were disenfranchised too, despite that age group being allowed to vote in the 2014 Scottish independence referendum.

Are 16 and 17 year olds even of voting age in the UK? You can't possibly advocate letting non UK citizens decide for UK matters.

>> You can't possibly advocate letting non UK citizens decide for UK matters.

I don't see why not.

I have lived in UK for 8 years, and pay my taxes here. I'm a productive member of the society, I consider Theresa May as much my prime minister as any British person would. The result of the referendum affects me hugely, and yet I couldn't vote because my passport does not say "Great Britain" on it.

And like the other commenter has said - there was plenty of non-British citizens who were allowed to vote.

> You can't possibly advocate letting non UK citizens decide for UK matters.

The UK has a long history of letting non UK commonwealth citizens vote in things like... The Brexit referendum!

In fact non UK citizens do vote. Any citizeon of Ireland or of a Commonwealth nation, resident in the UK, is entitled to vote in every UK general election.

16 and 17 year olds do not vote in UK general elections, but I think that a referendum about the UK leaving the EU is more comparable to the referendum about Scotland leaving the UK.

The effects of such a change can last for generations and be hard to reverse, and potentially affect younger people for longer than older people. For those reasons, I think it is better to err on the side of greater franchise than less.

Those who didn't bother to vote should not be considered at all. If you do not vote your forfeit your voice.

I agree, a change like this probably should be 2/3 - and the significant amount of people like 30÷ didnt vote at all. I still doubt Brexit will happen. It just doesnt seem to make much sense in the grand scheme of things...

Who gets to decide which referenda require 2/3 and which only require a simple majority?

I'm arguing in favor of representative government where elected people decide on what makes the most sense for complex issues. Relying on advice from experts, but ultimately making the call that's in the country's best interest.

So, like, Parliamentary sovereignty with a democratically elected parliament, instead of popular sovereignty? What an odd idea.

So far every expert prediction about Brexit had been wrong. The UK was meant to be in a deep recession by now, remember?

It's true it's not as bad as some predicted and I imagine with a no deal brexit we'd muddle through but it still wouldn't be great.

For reference here's some prediction from back then:

>The Treasury's "cautious" economic forecasts of the two years following a vote to leave - which assumes a bilateral trade agreement with the EU would have been negotiated - predicts Gross Domestic Product would grow by 3.6% less than currently predicted.

>In such a scenario, it suggests sterling would fall by 12%, unemployment would rise by 520,000, average wages would fall by 2.8% and house prices would be hit by 10%.

Which was pessimistic. Sterling certainly fell, about 20%, but unemployment's doing fine so far.

By fine you mean as poorly as before so far, and Brexit is not yet in full effect.

It is not doing well. It's turning back into the sick man of Europe. Productivity growth is among the lowest in the EU.

That's an interesting description. Last year UK growth beat Germany, France and Italy in Q3 (don't know q4 figures yet I believe). It looks like the eurozone may be heading for recession given falling industrial output in Germany.

It bothers me immensely how quickly the truth gets discarded the moment it conflicts with EU ideology. The UK has shown excellent economics relative to the rest of Europe since the vote despite its people being told "uncertainty" would trigger a massive recession and employment bloodbath. Yet here you are, saying it's turning into the sick man of Europe!

It probably is, but so is most of EU as a whole and piecemeal.

Important big money already migrated to Ireland (mostly), but it takes some time (years, multiple) to take an effect if any.

Where did you read that the UK would be in a deep recession 2 months before Brexit actually happens?

https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-politics-eu-referendum-36355564 (2016).

Treasury (as well as other organisations) predicted that the vote itself would immediately trigger a deep and severe recession.

That's a helpful article, but I don't know of any examples of organisations other than the Treasury that predicted a deep and severe recession occurring before the UK had even left the EU.

One has to admit that there is something of a conflict of interest when it comes to the Chancellor of the Exchequer producing a document to analyse the negative consequences of a scenario which his own prime minister was campaigning against.

You didn't look, maybe?


The entire global establishment of "experts" united together and made a series of predictions that weren't just wrong by a percentage, they were wrong in the wrong direction. There are NO organisations that I remember who predicted the outcome correctly. There were though, quite a lot of vox pops with the man on the street who said words to the effect of, "it'll be fine, we'll manage".

The brutal reality is that people who put their faith in the notion of expert understanding of politics or economics have been made to look very foolish, and worse, many of them don't seem to have accepted the uselessness or bias levels of the people the media present as experts. They are still being upheld not only as important, but actually as people who should be given vast new powers to run government! It's quite concerning.

Thank you for going to the trouble to find that. I wasn't sure how to search for predictions about how the Brexit vote itself would affect the economy, rather than the effects of actually leaving.

The article starts "Leaving the EU would hit British living standards" and only talks about recession (occurring in 2017) in the context of the "adverse scenario" they modelled.

As explained here:


"[The adverse scenario] was predicated on the UK’s EU negotiations collapsing and the UK eventually crashing out of the bloc without a trade deal."

which hasn't happened (yet).

So I think the lessons to be learnt are that journalists can be guilty of over-simplifying economic analyses (presenting conditional scenarios as certain outcomes) and that government analyses can be self-serving (if they are published before a vote in which the government is campaigning for one side).

LaGarde is obviously going to claim she was right when she was actually wrong, there's no incentive for her to change course at all. But look at the guardian article. The IMF says under "long negotiations" the UK would be in recession in 2017, in fact growth was awesome that year. I'm no fan of either the guardian or the Indy, but in this case I don't think the issue is the journalists. The scenarios the IMF presented for the situation the UK is in were just wrong.

Of course for people who still believe, economics is unfalsifiable because these predictions are often of the form "x.y% less than it would have been" but there's no way to tell what any given stat "would have been" unless you accept the premise that these people can predict the economy ... which they clearly can't.

That sounds like a fantastic system, where is being implemented?

I would like to move there.

It’s Switzerland.

this is the general principle behind the EU Commission: that of a technocracy

the head of the Commission, Jean Claude Juncker, on the 2005 French referendum on the Lisbon Treaty:

"If it's a Yes, we will say 'on we go', and if it's a No we will say 'we continue'."

the result being that the French rejected it, but it was adopted regardless

Wikipedia suggests that

1. The French didn't hold a referendum on Lisbon

2. The treaty was ratified in 2008

Presumably you are either confusing the referendum on the EU constitution with the Lisbon treaty, or trying to suggest that they are one and the same? They are not of course, the Lisbon treaty was drafted specifically to address the concerns with the EU constitution. "The electorate rejected version 1, so we redrafted until it was acceptable" sounds like a pretty good policy to me.


as I'm sure you are aware: the texts of the constitution and the Lisbon Treaty are essentially completely identical

the Treaty was a device created to pass the constitution while bypassing the need for referendums

> "The electorate rejected version 1, so we redrafted until it was acceptable" sounds like a pretty good policy to me

well yes, that sounds reasonable, except the electorate were not given the option to reject it a second time, because they might actually do that

> as I'm sure you are aware: the texts of the constitution and the Lisbon Treaty are essentially completely identical

I am not aware of any such thing, in fact I reject your statement completely.

> the electorate were not given the option to reject it a second time Isn't that a matter for France to address, rather than the EU

Well, I for one agree with the GP statement. The Lisbon treaty was specifically designed to override the will of voters, and is essentially identical to the EU constitution. This is a view, I feel, that's shared by the entire Western European press.

Needless to say, this has now been repeated, again, and again:


And of course, one might say that the EU treated the election results in Greece, Italy, France and Germany with utter contempt. Greece most of all, of course, but the others aren't far behind.

It wasn't redrafted until it was acceptable. It was passed as is, but as a massive series of "amendments" that effectively rewrote the entire previous document into the new one.

French referendum was the exact opposite of Brexit referendum.

The question asked was « Do we accept this constitution ? »

As you can imagine, barely anyone read it, so on the end most of voters choosed their response on this question : « Do I like my actual government ? »

But my point is, for the Brexit the question was simple, and could have been summarized as « Leave or stay ? » which is very easy to have an opinion on (even if the consequences were not that clear and, as many have stated in other comments here, an elaborated exit treaty should have been thought before asking).

So one one side, a complex question (due to the complexity of the text), and on the other a simple one.

And in the end, most of voters voted emotionally.

Maybe not that different after all.

The lack of a complex text doesn’t make the Brexit question simpler. It really makes it far more complex: a massively complex agreement is implied as part of Leave, but at the time of the vote nobody knew just what it would say! It’s like asking, “Do you accept this constitution we’re going to write soon?”

> a massively complex agreement is implied as part of Leave, but at the time of the vote nobody knew just what it would say!

From being an outsider (I have never even visited UK yet), it seems to me from talking to people and reading the news it was more a vote about "do you like how the things are now and where they are headed, or would you like ... something else"? Something else could have been not necessarily Brexit, as long as it was drastic enough change from the status quo.

And I think a good number of people are just dissatisfied and thought this gamble for a drastic change would perhaps improve things.

You are not far off.

I think most people voting in the 2016 referendum were, in their minds, answering the question "do you want to give th establishment a good kicking?".

Same deal in the US. A lot of Trump voters were really voting for “let’s fuck up the establishment.”

Doesn’t make sense to me. Seems analogous to getting fed up with shady mechanics, so the next time your car breaks down you drive it over a cliff in the hopes that the wreckage will be more reliable. But I guess people do strange things when they feel like they have no control.

> Seems analogous to getting fed up with shady mechanics, so the next time your car breaks down you drive it over a cliff in the hopes that the wreckage will be more reliable. But I guess people do strange things when they feel like they have no control.

Exactly. Desperate people who don't see anything in the future for them or see thing getting worse, don't usually act rationally. Poverty does that to people as well, for example, and that's visible daily. They resort to payday loans, food they buy might not be healthy for them in the long term and so on.

On the other side there are usually powerful forces willing to take advantage of that irrationality and desperation.

It was reasonable to do a referendum on "leave or stay", if only to know whether they need to negotiate the terms of leave or not.

Now that they did, it's reasonable to have another referendum on those specific terms. To not do so would be undemocratic, in fact.

I didn’t meant that the problem was easy. What I tried to say is that for the French one, the question was too complex to be understood by most, so it ended simplified in their (our) heads.

So even if there had been a pre exit agreement to be vote for in the Brexit one, it might ended the same. Leave or stay. And I’m not sure UK people would have read it (but I may be completely wrong by projecting how we did in France)

I would argue that the campaign against the European Constitution in France was not completely unlike the campaign for Brexit.

Opponents (on the left side of French politics) to the European Constitution argued that rejecting it would allow France to open negotiations for a more social leaning EU that didn't try to be only a giant free trade zone, but would also care about the well-being of its citizens (social net, minimum wage, etc.). We've seen where that went: there never was a Constitution B. No-one ever agreed to even try to write one. In short: just like for the Brexit, there never was any concrete plan behind the "no".

Ironically UK managed to duck out of most of the Lisbon treaty obligations (like the Charter of Fundamental Rights, judicial harmonisation and co-operation, etc.), while it would have been much harder -if not impossible- to do with the European Constitution... Had we (the French) voted "yes", we may have ended up with a Brexit 10 years before Brexit!

I’m just saying that the Brexit question was ultimately the same: too complex to comprehend, so people understood it in a ludicrously simplified form. It’s just less obvious when the complexity isn’t even known yet.

I think your conclusion is right. Having an agreement worked out first probably wouldn’t have changed much.

The whole idea of a following the results of a non-binding referendum that 52% of the people that voted passed for such a major thing as leaving the EU seems quite strange to my American eyes. I would think something as major as joining the EU should have required a super-majority of people voting for it in and a super-majority to leave. Like a US constitutional amendment. I need to read more English history to understand how people think this is the way things should work.

Parliamentary Supremacy: Parliament has the last word on all constitutional matters, whether written or unwritten, and in any event can change any inconvenient aspects of the written constitution (e.g. historical bills and charters) with a simple majority.

Historically the House of Lords provided a check on populist sentiment in the House of Commons, but the powers of the House of Lords have slowly been diminished over the past century or two (albeit with their consent, more or less; but it's a one-way street), while also making membership more "democratic" and thus more likely to express populist sentiment.

> the powers of the House of Lords have slowly been diminished over the past century or two (albeit with their consent, more or less; but it's a one-way street)

In the most key point, decidedly less: “vote to strip your powers or the monarch will create enough new peers that will vote the right way that the measure will pass anyway” isn't real consent.

So total power, basically, but limited by custom and decorum. If Parliament says that the majority vote on a referendum with decide what they will do, then that can be the way it is. Parliament can also change its mind afterword and not do it, but that would be unlikely as it is not the expected way of behaving.

The details are specified in the specific Act of Parliament allowing the vote. The 1979 Scottish devolution referendum required a minimum 40% of the electorate vote Yes, so it failed, despite a 52% Yes vote, due to insufficient turnout.

I think you've misread this one. People actually care about the outcome, and are deeply divided on what they think the best solution is.

(some) Leavers even now explicitly discuss some deals as being "leaving only in name", and thus as not delivering on what they voted for.

>It seems more likely people are just arguing about which tribe they're a part of. In that case nobody cares about what the best outcome is or what the truth is.

Most of the people I see raging about it are either EU residents of the UK or people who work with EU residents of the UK. They're arguing about concrete impacts on their lives.

They are the ones who's existing rights are being taken away as a result.

> If you can get a brexit deal passed that still allows the UK to 'brexit' in name only, but otherwise retains all of the actual agreements of being in the EU it could be a win-win. People get to pretend they left, but it doesn't actually change anything.

I don't think that would work. All it takes is the EU to pass a law saying "all speed limits must be in kmph", or "You're not allowed sell goods in imperial units". The UK would then have to do that change, and that'd drive the Brexiters mad.

Nigel Farage is a media-created bogey man, a hack to the system of “equal time”. He isn’t actually representative of anyone, even his own useless party, as polls and election results have consistently shown.

He was an MP, is still a MEP, and cofounded a party that once commanded "major party" status and nearly 20% of the vote in 2014. He's clearly representing some folks.

He's never been a MP, UKIP has never been considered a "major party" (how is this even defined?), there was no election in 2014, UKIP won 12.6% in 2015. He's clearly representing some people but your facts are way off.

Sorry, I was mistaken on the MP front.



https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/UK_Independence_Party#Entering... "In March 2014, Ofcom awarded UKIP "major party status"."

https://www.ofcom.org.uk/about-ofcom/latest/media/media-rele... "Ofcom’s initial view is that UKIP may qualify for major party status in England and Wales for the General Election and English local elections on 7 May 2015."

https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-politics-31906154 "Ofcom says UKIP, but not Greens, are 'major party'"

That's very interesting about the official "major party status", thanks for sharing that. I was only considering General Elections, which are a fairer representation of a parties vote share (despite FPTP) as not all councils vote in local elections each year.

Worth remembering the dirty tricks employed against him:

'The election of a Conservative MP could have been declared void if he had filed accurate returns that showed he had overspent on his campaign to beat Nigel Farage, a court has heard.

Craig Mackinlay, an accountant, stands accused along with his election agent and a party official of deliberately submitting “woefully inaccurate” expenditure returns.'

As an electoral force, UKIP were very successful in European elections. It is reasonable to say that they were a major consideration in deciding to call the referendum.

He has never been an MP.

There also wasn't an election in 2014. His party won 1 seat in 2015 and got 12.6% of the total vote.

12.6% is really high to be getting only 1 seat, but it definitely isn't 20%.

He's talking about the MEP elections.

It's been very easy to dismiss UKIP's parliamentary holding only because the UK is first past the post, had it been more representative these last few decades, we probably wouldn't be in this mess.

Instead we've had two decades of Tory and Labour governments effectively sticking their fingers in their ears and going "lalalalalaaaa, we can't hear you, growth is king" when anyone mentioned the word immigration. Or talking about lower immigration targets, while at the same time the treasury was producing budget forecasts based on mass immigration continuing.

I have to agree that it is bizarre that the two main parties were talking all about growth while failing to acknowledge the role immigration was playing in that growth, and especially to the demographics of the workforce.

Perhaps if they had been more upfront, discussing how (in a country where we are not so far away from having more retired people than workers), letting more young workers in is playing an important role in the economy.

Then you hear that Teresa May herself suppressed reports that stated that the average immigrant was contributing more in terms of taxation (net) than the average Brit (for the demographic reasons above). This suggests that they were not just 'sticking their fingers in their ears', they were actively promoting an anti-immigrant agenda.

Well, I find that's obviously a very biased type of report based on a flawed premise. An economic migrant will eventually have kids and grow old, so in 40 years time the 'average' migrant won't be contributing more. It's just that they are right now. Or, perhaps worse, they'll take a large proportion of their total earnings out of the UK in a decade and move back home.

Anyway, putting aside that, they knew they couldn't release reports like that because they had to pretend to be anti-immigration.

So rather than having the conversation which was vitally necessary to reduce anti-immigration feelings, they were secretly pro-immigration, and even saw it as a necessity, so they just suppressed it all.

> Because that's obviously a very biased type of report based on a flawed premise.

Why must it have been? Could it not have been a reasoned report by a renowned expert in demographics? Your statement that anything pro-immigration is automatically propaganda is ridiculous, and reminds me of Gove's "we have all had enough of experts" guff.

> An economic migrant will eventually have kids

Who will join the workforce...in fact this is the only group who have an increasing birth rate in Britain.

> Or, perhaps worse, they'll take a large proportion of their total earnings out of the UK in a decade and move back home.

Its kind of hard to take the tax you paid and the profits you earned your employer back home.

Because it obviously isn't reasoned. I actually really hate Gove, but if you look at his whole quote rather than just cherry pick the first half, he was bang on. The actual whole quote was roughly "have had enough of experts who say they know what is best, but get it consistently wrong". Economic experts predicted a recession in the UK immediately after a leave Brexit vote, and they were completely wrong. The experts usually quoted are institutionally biased to be pro-EU, pro-immigration, pro-free market capitalism.

And also, the British people have decided they want smaller families, that the world needs less people, not more. Politicians are allowing mass immigration in direct defiance of a desire for a smaller population, and smaller families.

If birth rate is so important, why not do a national campaign to have more babies, rather than get migrants to move here? Because, as educated, liberal people, we know there are too many people in the world and growth above all else is bad. So why should we be ok with allowing population growth through the back door?

In fact, right now the UK government is penalizing people on benefits with more than 2 children, rather than celebrating the birth of a new future worker! They are cutting tax breaks for families, reducing financial incentives to have children.

Government actions never seem to match the reasons given for immigration. For example, we've known for decades we need more nurses, but instead of encouraging people to take up the profession we are now charging them tuition fees. Shouldn't we be giving student nurses grants instead?

Honestly, it's insane. None of it makes sense.

Finally, if you spent 10 seconds thinking about it, if someone takes 20-40% of their lifetime earnings out of the UK, it means they're not paying the VAT they'd have paid on all that money if they'd spent it in the UK.

So, yes, ultimately they paid less tax than a native, plus lose the UK wealth when the transfer it, which you can almost certainly predict is conveniently left out of those reports.

> If only for the reason that it would set an exceptionally bad precedent and everybody would want their own deal, to pick and choose the parts of EU membership that are favorable to them, leading the EU to implode.

The UK already picked and chose the parts of EU membership they wanted. They opted out of the Euro, they opted out of Schengen, they opted out of the Charter of Fundamental Rights--all of this, and more, on the threat of leaving the EU.

To be fair, they didn't really opt out of the Euro. It is completely unfeasible at the time. Originally they were going to go with the Euro and to start the transition they linked the pound to the deutsche mark. However, the German economy was crushing the British economy and this pushed interest rates in the UK to over 10% (Fun fact: I was getting 12% interest in my savings account in the UK). Mortgage rates were about 18% IIRC and this sparked a bursting of the real estate bubble in London. Prices fell 25% in 1992 as banks foreclosed on under water properties. The Japanese bought up a lot of properties, which buoyed the market somewhat, but it wasn't until the pound delinked from the deutsche mark that the market could recover properly. I remember that day well as I lost half the value in my UK bank account (so much for 12% interest ;-) ).

Everybody knew that the UK couldn't adopt the euro which is why they "opted out".

Part of the reason the Eurozone's in the mess it is right now is that, for the most part, the EU didn't let the fact that the Euro was completely infeasible for particular countries get in the way of converting them over to it anyway. The UK wasn't the only country with similar problems, but others like Italy didn't opt out and are in a fine state now as a result. In that sense the British opt-out worked well for us.

By that logic the US shouldn't have a single currency, either.

I get that a single currency is problematic. Arguably it is problematic even in the US, after all this time. But it doesn't necessarily follow that a single currency is fundamentally infeasible. The US isn't crippled because of it.

By contrast, the poster gave a very concrete explanation why adoption of the Euro by the UK was [then] infeasible.

> By that logic the US shouldn't have a single currency, either.

The US is at least somewhat willing to tax money made in California and spend the takings in Michigan. Greece or Italy gets the worst of both worlds: they can't devalue their currency to make their industries competitive with Germany, but they don't receive much share of German taxes either.

They actually got quite a chunk until the rampant mismanagement was uncovered, but indeed not as much as states in the USA.

The US and the EU really aren't comparable, as much as people like to model them as analogous.

In Europe you have tens of countries that speak different languages and have cultures that go back 1000-2000 years. That, along with a bunch of political baggage and that each nation has its own fiscal policy, and the starting points between EU and US are very very different.

I would instead extend your concession that given the single currency already exhibits creaks in the US, imagine how hard it would be to manage in the EU.

Europe also has a history that goes back 1000-2000 years of disparate countries unifying.

Germany, for example, is the descendant of the 19th century North German Confederation, a Prussian-dominated customs union between north German states, which in itself was an effort to recreate the earlier German Confederation without involving those pesky Habsburgs.

The Holy Roman Empire was a unified confederation of German, Italian, Swiss, and Bohemian states that allowed large amounts of autonomy and sovereignty within its borders. In fact, our modern conception of sovereignty dates from the Peace of Westphalia, which ended a thirty-year-long war (imaginatively named the Thirty Years War) fought largely over the authority of, once again, those pesky Habsburgs to tell HRE member states what their state religion should be.

Britain was formed by the unification of England and Scotland, both of which are still legally considered separate countries under British law. Italy was formed as a union of Italian states, largely from an effort to overthrow Habsburg rule. Spain was formed as a union of Iberian kingdoms (that eventually fell under a branch of the Habsburg dynasty which went extinct due to inbreeding, leading to a war of succession.) Poland and Lithuania had varying degrees of unification from 1385 until 1795, when the then-unified country was torn into pieces and partitioned off into their surrounding empires, including Habsburg Austria.

So really, given European history, it seems like most European countries don't really have a problem joining together into larger unions, so long as those unions aren't ruled by Habsburgs. The closest the EU ever got to that was when Otto and Karl were Members of the European Parliament up until 1999, so hopefully we're fine.

Sure, it's harder in the EU and more problematic in the EU. But so what? It's one thing to argue soberly that it's not working well for such-and-such country. It's another to exclaim, as is most often done, that it's a complete and utter disaster when it's plainly obvious it's not. As monetary systems go most nations would love to be in the EU, even with all the very real and substantial downsides.

The EU is a complex institution and the single currency is only part of it. An integral part, to be sure, but IMO we (the political chatter class) put far too much emphasis on monetary policy, both as our source of problems and a source of solutions. Often it's a distraction or excuse for more substantive issues, like political and fiscal ineptitude. Take Greece for example--when push came to shove most observers, as well, as Greeks themselves, decided that leaving the Euro was not the answer. When forced to soberly assess the situation it turns out that the Euro wasn't the most pressing problem and that on balance they were better off enduring.

Regarding comparison with the United States, let's not forget that political battles over a national bank dominated national politics for almost the first 50 years. Similar to issues over tariffs, what benefited the north was often to the detriment of the south, and vice-versa. And this was at a time when there were virtually no direct federal wealth transfers, and federal revenue came predominately from tariffs, which pitted not only the north (net importers) against the south (net exporters), but both against the federal government (tariffs were placed on both imports and exports). If the interplay between monetary policy and trade competitiveness was understood at the time and today's Euro critics were teleported back in time, who knows what might have happened!

I have to say that I actually agree with makomk. It was a good idea to opt out of the Euro. It was good for the UK and it was good for the EU. The issue I was originally trying to address was the impression that the UK had some special negotiating power to opt out of things they didn't want. In this case, I think it was mutually beneficial.

The point about other European countries is well taken and I believe there have been talks to get some countries out of the Euro zone. In part this is a big deal because countries like Germany don't want to prop up countries that are in financial difficulty. They have no controls for dealing with these problems and the result is that you need cash infusions from the EU to keep it all swimming.

But that's really the point, isn't it? How much of a "Union" do you want? It even gets to the heart of why some people want Briton to leave the EU.

On paper at least, the UK and Denmark do have special opt-outs from the Euro while all the other EU states are legally bound to join it. In reality it's likely that several of the non-Eurozone states will simply never join it and there's nothing to ensure that they ever do.

> the Euro was completely infeasible for particular countries

Which countries was the Euro "completely infeasible" for, and what are the facts demonstrating this statement is true? It's a very strong assertion.

I think UK had some serious negotiating leeway for simply being the UK. EU countries really want the UK inside the Union because it makes for a better union: it's a G8 country, a nuclear power and permanent member in the Security council, an economic behemoth with a large international clout, post-colonial ties and strong industrial and technological heritage. It has a massive internal market and rich consumers.

So it was always accepted that the UK can get more concessions than the average country, simply because they bring more to the table. But there's a limit to that, not even the UK can get what Brexiteers promised: unfettered access to the internal market coupled with full sovereignty to set any tariffs and enter any trade deals. That would effectively be the end of the EU.

Yes, very good point. They already were treated special and in many ways most many didnt really consider them being part of Europe - so the Brexit just reflects that.

Jokingly I said many years ago that the UK is more like the 51st state, rather then a member of the European community

Those negotiations were not made on the basis of threatening to leave the EU.

(edited for clarity)

British Euroskepticism has been a political force for decades and the risk of a Brexit has always been an implicit source of negotiating leverage for the UK.

Yes, but now the UK is out over its skis. It has much less leverage now than its MPs seem to realize. The clock is ticking — they are headed for a hard Brexit in 10 weeks and everyone knows they’ve not planned for it.

Exactly, it's like killing the hostages.

I think people undersell this - I can't find the really good analysis I recall reading about this right now, but what it said was polling over the last couple of decades shows there has actually been majority support (often over 60%!) to at least reduce participation in the EU for the last 20 years.

According to this other polling [1], the appetite to do a full exit has not been as high, but still close to 50/50. I think in general people are doing a massive disservice to their own understanding when they try and take a minority "fringe racist" view and try to say that is the reason for all voters of Brexit, when reality is more complex and long-term.

(I say this not really having a horse in this race, never having even been to the UK and only having been to Europe a few times).

1. https://theconversation.com/polling-history-40-years-of-brit...

Skepticism is a force, yes, but otherwise your claim looks very much like post-hoc reasoning. This is simply not the case.

The Brexit promise was to leave the EU and open better trading options with the rest of the world. Outside of the EU, there is no issue reducing VAT, customs fees etc. In fact, WTO rules even allow more competitive options between countries if the UK chooses to lower associated fees in the WTO. Additional the UK is able to negotiate trade deals for it's own interests rather than concerns about protectionism for the EU. None of this can be done by the UK in the EU.

>The Brexit promise was to leave the EU and open better >trading options with the rest of the world.

One would think that the EU would be in a better position to get better deals than a single country.

Think of 27 people negotiating, all with very different agendas, versus one person with a clear agenda.

Why do you believe that the EU would be in a better position? It's like a rat king when it comes to negotiating, 27 countries pulling in different directions all with different desires.

Access to the second largest common market in the world ?

Because the EU has a lot more to offer than the UK alone.

It also has a lot wider range of industries to protect, so if the UK would be happy in scrapping food subsidies to let African food be competitive in our markets, but other countries like France want to retain subsidies for protectionism of their farmers, it's no dice.

That scenario is exactly what happened in the Doha Development Round.


The UE? I see just countries struggling with their own economies, and fighting against UE austerity rules.

> One would think that the EU would be in a better position to get better deals than a single country.

The EU has a history of being really slow at negotiating trade deals unfortunately.

Further, the EU enforces VAT fees and implements protectionism with these methods to favour EU-based businesses, even when no EU competitors exist. These fees have a trendency to reduce economic activity within the EU and prevent cheaper alterantives from outside of the EU being effective as they end up becoming a similar prices or more expensive when the customs fees are applied (despite trying to pass on the savings from signficantly lower production/service costs with less gross income than an EU company which results in a similarly priced product that the customer sees).

Even with a worse trade deal than the EU, the UK can stand to benefit because it won't be required to tack expensive fees on top for the purposes of protectionism of industries that may not even be in the UK to begin with.

>implements protectionism with these methods to favour EU-based businesses

Had to look it up, looks like 85:ish % of the UK trade is with the EU.

Sorry, I should have phrased that better.

When I said "reduced economic activity in the EU", I mean as a whole. This is an over simplfiication, but imagine a situation where everything is 20% more expensive than the normal asking price, this leads to less purchases being made as a whole. It doesn't matter if you're purchasing from outside the EU too, because it's still 20% more expensive. The overall economic activity in such an area is simply reduced.

The trade numbers simply are the way they are because importing doesn't really reduce the costs either. It should also be noted that exporting products outside of the EU has additional fees that make us less competitive than the alternatives outside of the EU too, so our exports are impacted too.

It is not. Under half of exports are to Europe, and declining. Trade with EU is important, however.


You mean the European Union negotiates to advantage the Union? Did you know that Scotland doesn't like England having a say in what happens there?

The UK had the benefit of memebership of the EU (the freedoms of goods/services/people) without the hindrance of the Euro on its own monetary policy.

Now people that can't even remember what it was like to be at the end of the British empire think that there was some magical period to go back to. It's pathetic.

One of the biggest exports from the UK is financial services. One of the reasons for that is the EU "passport" given to financial services firms to trade.

The UK is losing that export market. Really really dumb.

> One would think that the EU would be in a better position to get better deals than a single country.

One would think, but the EU has been trying and failing to secure any kind of a trade deal with the US, largely due to Europe's instinctive love of protectionism.


Remember, our cheese doesn't come out of a tube, usually.

If I was French I'd be convinced that our finest Brillat-savarin would outcompete anything that came out of a tube.

I don't think it's a lack of plastic cheese alternatives that has people buying French cheese.

I was going to use Primula as a counter-example, but then I remembered it’s Norwegian.

The Brexit promise was that there would be no downsides, that there would still be frictionless trade with the EU (which so much of the UK economy relies on), that nonUK EU citizens in the UK would have to leave, but UK citizens in the EU27 would be able to stay there.

Except that the UK is a small island off the side of the third largest trading bloc in the world. Why would anyone want to negotiate only with the UK?

Why would Japanese companies want to continue to manufacture vehicles in the UK when it will only support its local market?

The UK is a relatively small market, its only advantages were stability (now lost), having the City (a tax haven, with branches in British off-shore locations), and access to the EU.

You've still got the City, but EU finance will move to other capitals.

That's because brexiter politicians are not looking for a good outcome. They are looking for power. Brexit is a good vehicle for that: make a brand of being a "Brexiter" and sell it as an utopia. Demand it be delivered then point politicians' incompetence when they fail despite trying. Then use your reputation as a "serious" brexiter to gain power and show them "how it is done".

Except when it was time to show "how it's done" they all stepped down and hid away.

> they are trying to camouflage that reality with a bad deal

They're not, May is, and May is not a Brexiter. The Brexiters generally are pushing to leave on WTO terms, not so much as a preferred end state but in recognition of the fact that only a genuine commitment to doing so has any chance of convincing the EU to agree to sensible terms such as Canada+. If the EU can keep the UK under its thumb forever then of course it will, and it would be unreasonable to expect it to do otherwise.

There is no Canada+ on the table and there never was, it's just "Canada" without the "+": a set of trade liberalization measures that cover some physical goods and very few services. It's a bad match for Britain's needs:


It's hard to understand why Germany or France, who stand to gain from excluding the powerful UK service sector from the EU financial markets, would think that adding the "plus" to a Canada type deal is a "sensible" thing. It's sensible only for the brexiteers who peddled Canada+ as a real thing.

Never-mind the fact that, in order to export to the EU market, UK still needs to respect the EU regulations, like any other trade partner of the EU. Only now, they no longer have any say over those regulations.

There's also the "small" problem of the NI border, which would require customs checks in a Canada-style deal, since you'd be leaving the customs union.

> It's hard to understand why Germany or France, who stand to gain from excluding the powerful UK service sector from the EU financial markets

No they don't. Germany and France contain consumers of services as well as providers.

Consumers of services for the most part couldn't care less whether the back end of their trades is carried out by the London, Paris or Frankfurt offices of HSBC or Deutsche Bank.

On the other hand, it's a nice little boost to French or German politicians to be able to talk about financial services industry growth and have a bit more tax revenue to play with.

I concur. One only need look within the number of companies who have opted to move offices to the Continent.

Donald Tusk has repeatedly offered "Canada +++" to Great Britain. (Not to the United Kingdom, as part of their "we're going to annex Northern Ireland as a punishment beating" approach.)

> UK still needs to respect the EU regulations

WHEN EXPORTING TO THE EU, yes. The ~90% of UK businesses that don't do any trade with the EU do not. Those trading with the rest of the world outside the EU - a majority of the UK's trade, and rising steadily - do not.

Let's clarify our terms: https://twitter.com/JamesERothwell/status/104783429588738457...

EU's idea of Canada +++ is not the Brexiteers' Canada+++. EU's version just means no tariffs and some security co-operation, but nothing like as much access on services as EU membership. Sorry to be a bore but I don't think the Tusk tweet is something to go wild over

So, just to clarify, you're arguing that Donald Tusk has offered exactly what you want (except - in the absence of viable alternative solutions - to Northern Ireland in order to honour existing bilateral agreements implying no new customs borders there).

Do you think this offer is more or less likely to still exist if the UK insists that it doesn't need the EU's stinking trade, defaults on its financial obligations to the EU and enrages an Irish government with veto power over any hypothetical future deal by re-erecting customs borders with the north? (Even before considering the UK's ill-preparedness to attempt such a gambit means the direct short term consequences would hurt the country)

What makes the UK follow EU regulation when they export outside of EU?

Most industries which have any significant exports will aim to have their products comply with all requirements in all markets they are exporting to. Generally there is less to be gained by setting up seperate production for each market, even if some of them have more lax requirements, than there is by having one system which can address all markets (this breaks down if there are mutually exclusive requirements, which can cause a lot of pain).

A five-hundred million person first-world market on their doorstep.

If you want your business to say no to that, go ahead - by all means. Most businesses won't, though.

The gains that Germany and France will make in EU oriented financials services will pale in comparison to the loss of a major trading partner.

Remember that the EU is becoming less and less important over time as a financial services market, even the UK's financial services sector has become less dependant on it over time.

The juicier fruit is in the rest of the world.

There's quite a lot of real trade between the EU-UK and that will hurt.

The EU obviously stands to benefit from a pretty strong deal with it's closest 'non EU' partner.

The reason we don't see it playing out so obviously I believe boils down to the other geopolitical factors at play - obviously there's a lot at play.

In other words, if the UK were just now approaching the EU for some kind of participation, without the baggage of the current 'leave' environment, I think we'd see a Canada++ type deal develop.

"Remember that the EU is becoming less and less important over time as a financial services market, even the UK's financial services sector has become less dependant on it over time."

Ah, no?

"The juicier fruit is in the rest of the world." The world is limited.

a) USA. Very little taxes in trade with the EU already. Little to gain with FTA.

b) Canada? Okay, but the UK has this Free trade agreement (FTA) already via the EU.

c) Mersocur? FTA to be signed with the EU soon. Maybe Chile or Colombia could be a play.

d) Japan und Korea? Have FTAs with EU

e) India? Very demanding. Also want easier immigration to the UK in a FTA. Prediction: Will fail.

f) Australia? Ok, easy to get. Point for the UK

g) China? Possible. But only goods, since China loves to export goods. Financial services? Forget about it. Also, trust me, the Chinese have not forgotten the Opium war. Also the recent Ship of the Royal Navy in disputed waters did not help.

h) Africa. Many (economically) small countries. Not all countries have ties to the UK.

i) Russia/CIS. This the UK could get but this they don't want.

They earth is limited. They are leaving the biggest market in the world in hopes of greener pastures. Good luck!

Your comments assume 'FTA' is the key ingredient in the equation - it is not.

The UK is growing financial services exports in almost all of the markets you mentioned, so I don't really see what your point is there. [1]

Third - the UK is not 'leaving' European markets, they are changing the terms of trade. Goods and services will continue to flow.

(Thankfully, 'services' don't face the fundamental challenges that 'goods' do at the border outside of a customs union)

The UK already exports as much financial services to the US as it does to the entire EU [2] and the underlying impetus is fundamentally in the rest of the world.

Similar to your comment about Japan - the UK already exports quite a lot in financial services (3 billion pounds/year and growing).

" Also, trust me, the Chinese have not forgotten the Opium war" No, I don't trust you.

[1] https://colresearch.typepad.com/colresearch/2017/03/trends-a...

[2] https://colresearch.typepad.com/colresearch/2016/08/how-impo...

"The UK is growing financial services exports in almost all of the markets you mentioned, so I don't really see what your point is there."

For serious financial services you need even more than a FTA. Something like passporting rights for the EU, that the UK will lose. And regarding to "financial services" China is very very closed.

By chance I read today that China and Germany want to increase trade in "financial services". This really surprised me since China is playing so hard ball against opening this market.

"(Thankfully, 'services' don't face the fundamental challenges that 'goods' do at the border outside of a customs union)"

Yes. Right. Something like passporting rights, clearance allowance etc, you can just do this without a permit or reliance on another country. Good luck with the Brexit.

> The juicier fruit is in the rest of the world.

The rest of the world has moved on. Australia and other former colonies have no interest in an FTA where the UK gets the better end of the deal. New Zealand already has a comprehensive FTA with China. What do they need the UK for?

> FTA where the UK gets the better end of the deal

FTAs aren't zero-sum. Free trade benefits both parties; neither needs to get a "better end".

Between two countries of equal power, sure, but smaller countries are essentially looking for cheaper export access to larger markets and big countries like the USA do naturally take advantage of that.

There already was a customs union. It was called the EU.

The EU is far more than a 'customs union'.

It's a political union, with an unelected Executive body, and a very powerful Supreme Court (Court of Justice), and so much more - that almost no European citizen ever voted for.

Everyone is for trade, most are for open borders, very few for deep political integration.

To the extent the elites push against the underlying sentiment - there will be problems. Such problems are clearly on the rise all over the EU in various incarnations, it'd be nice if the EU took this time of crisis to re-evaluate it's existence and reconsider a bunch of things.

>>with an unelected Executive body

Simply not true - the executive body is chosen by people that you can directly vote for, so the same as oh I don't know....the prime minister of the UK for instance?

>> and a very powerful Supreme Court (Court of Justice),

Nothing to do with EU. ECJ is a separate institution that UK will be still part of even after Brexit.

>>and so much more - that almost no European citizen ever voted for.

Remind me, when was the vote to elect Theresa May to power? Or the members of the House of Lords? Or the Queen for that matter?

>>Everyone is for trade, most are for open borders, very few for deep political integration.

I'd definitely contest the "very few" part of that sentence. I'd definitely be up for creating a United States of Europe with one federal government and full financial and political union.

The EU is quite popular among most of its other citizens. (Half) the UK citizenry was an outlier in that regard.

No, this is simply not true.

In France, the EU is viewed with even wider skepticism than in the UK.

Just before Brexit - the majority of France, Germany, UK and Spain had negative views of the EU [1]

Popular sentiment towards the EU has been declining steadily until Brexit, during which it's shot up somewhat, as EU-wide press does their best to inject fear into the situation - but without this existential angst, the trend-line is clearly going down.

This is also obvious from recent Eurosceptic political trends.

Consider that just this week, the far right AfD in Germany, has just announced they would like to move Germany out of the EU as a material policy. They have about 15% of the vote. They've always been sceptic, but there has never been discussion in Germany about exit before.

But it is of course nuanced:

+ Wether or not citizens want to 'leave' is a different question.

+ Wether or not people would opt to 'join' were they not members otherwise, is also a different question.

+ Wether or not they can separate the notion of 'EU' and 'Europe' is another question. For example, Italy, Europe's 3rd largest economy has just elected a Eurosceptic party, but they have no real inclination to leave. For Italians, to 'leave the EU' is to 'leave Europe' and because they see themselves as European, they may not chose to leave the EU. (I see that as a false equivalence, that the EU is not Europe, just a body politic and set of treaties.)

+ Nations that have the most direct battles with the EU, for example Poland, have the highest rating!

Make no mistake - though material 'exit' may be stronger in the UK than elsewhere, anti-EU sentiment is strong across Europe, and the overall trend-line is bad news.

Aside from political issues, there are serious economic concerns about the Euro, and that it's a 'trap' for peripheral nations unless there is deeper political integration (there won't be), and even if there was, they would never agree on how to print money anyhow.

And finally - even issues for which the EU can't fairly be blamed ... they will take the heat for in many cases.

The kind of populism you see in France right now with the Gilets Jaunes which is leaderless, has no ideology, there's nobody to negotiate with, nobody to appease, nobody really knows for sure why it's happening, it's just 'angst' ... this is going to spill over into Bruxelles. You'll see arbitrary movements like this.

That most of Europe's current elite are fairly pro-EU, and that the current political bodies are fairly 'on the same page' should not be interpreted as populist favour overall for the EU.

To anyone who thinks that Euroscepticism is a marginal issue, have a look at the Wikipedia entry, it's enlightening, and also gives some insight into all of the different nuances of it.

[1] http://www.pewglobal.org/2017/06/15/post-brexit-europeans-mo...

[2] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Euroscepticism

Ok, You've made reasoned arguments and been downvoted, and for that I'm sorry.

I'm going to attack the core of your argument, but please understand that I'm not attacking you personally.


The EU has an executive body that is not directly elected, they are, however, elected.

They're elected by the representatives that you and I directly elect.

This is a stark contrast to the house of lords, who are truly unelected by any elected representative or even the public directly.


EU popularity is a bit stronger in central europe, even more so with brexit looming.

The thing is: the EU doesn't have PR of any sort, they're a transparent organisation but that makes it opaque for many people since the content isn't distilled- we rely on media to distill it for us. The good news is that the information is always available and you're able to rebuff the media quite easily. That's why brexit lies are easy to debunk but impossible to get a platform for in the UK. (unless you're the guardian, but that is preaching to the choir as guardian readers tend to be pro-EU)

If the EU did have a PR campaign, it would be easy for the UK media to cry about how the EU is propagandizing using our tax money. And that would be true. So they're in a catch-22.

The _good_ thing about brexit for the rest of the EU, is that outside of the UK the media are picking up on _our_ media lies and spreading them. I live in Sweden so I get it fairly full blast. The benefits of being in the EU are incredibly evident from the outside.

I can't imagine the appetite for euroskepticism is at an all time high.


PS; the Yellow Jacket movement was about the rising cost of living and high taxation on things like fuel.

EU excise duties for member states is 3.5% on unleaded petrol.

FR excise duties for unleaded petrol is 64%.

UK excise duties for unleaded petrol is 55% (57.95p/l).

So, are frances problems the EU, or it's own government?

I ask the same question about the UK, we all know Rupert Murdoch owns most of the newspapers and routinely courts the UK Govt.

A lot of people in the US bitch about the "Feds" and talk about "states rights". Same in Canada, same in Australia.

That doesn't mean that secession is feasible for any of those states.

The EU is only 50-60 years old (depending on where you draw the line). It's the result of the worst war in human history. That war also resulted in the decolonization by European states of areas outside Europe.

The UK lost its independence when it won the war. The EU is the best result of that war and now the UK believes it can refight the issues of the post-war world.

How do you have a single market without common rules and hence political integration?

"How do you have a single market without common rules and hence political integration?"

Rules and regulations regarding trade can be negotiated just like any other treaty - but they can be held as that, i.e. treaties - there is utterly no need to devolve national power in order to have frictionless trade and even relatively free movement of labour.

North America has something approaching a customs union, and it's very nearly a common market - but there isn't any remote hint of political integration.

Norway and Switzerland are effectively part of the single market without having political integration, though they have less influence, there's no reason a system couldn't be had wherein they did actually participate.

The real sticking point might come down to commercial courts and arbitration, and for that there can be binding mechanisms put in place, without any need for a Court of Justice which effectively has supremacy in all judicial matters in Europe.

Economic impetus is really easy to argue for and it would be fundamentally easier to arrange for something like this than it would be for political integration.

The EEC is really based on this anyhow.

It's the common market and trade that is really the bedrock of the EU, the political stuff is secondary to the point that were there no economic integration, there wouldn't even be any discussion of political integration.

The UK already has a "Canada++" deal. They have carve outs on all sorts of EU regulations, they're not part of the Euro-zone, they have the natural barrier of the Channel (aside from inflatable rafts) against illegal immigration...

Plus the UK currently has a say in all other EU regulation.

Brexit was a stupid idea by rah-rah Tories that think the UK is still an Empire. Cameron was a mindless twat that thought he could kill off half his party with a dumb referendum.

It stretches credulity beyond breaking point to suggest that the UK reneging on all its existing commitments to the EU in a fit of jingoistic pique whilst suffering the consequences of not having properly prepared for that outcome is a situation likely to lead to the EU offering more favourable trading terms.

"The Brexiters generally are pushing to leave on WTO terms" - to claim that there is a consensus amongst this lot is perhaps a stretch.

WTO terms and the issue of Northern Ireland are fundamentally irreconcilable. So I'd say it's more than a stretch; it's outright inconsistent.

Exactly. I've been voted down for pointing that out. May is not a brexiter.

What does that even mean now though? May was not originally sold on Brexit. Since becoming PM, what evidence do you have that she is not absolutely committed to Brexit? She may not be a True Believer, but she's a human apparently 100% intent on Brexit.

She's all about immigration, otherwise she would have opted for CU/SM integration and called it a day.

That's about the only thing I think she actually believes in. You only need to look at her tenure at the Home Office to see that.

> Somebody needs to own up to that lie

See David Lammy MP's speech on the 10th about exactly this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1XEj64IFzQ8

Some of our politicians are not afraid to tell the truth.

>The Brexit promise is something nobody can deliver on..

I would - respectfully - point out that's not the situation.

It is (was?) a promise in the sense that the government is there to enact the will of the people. The majority of people who voted, voted to leave (personally I was in the minority).

So now (in engineering terms) it's pretty simple. If everyone sits on their hands, the UK will leave the UK as scheduled in March (and so fulfil the wish of the people).

The actuality is the unedifying spectacle of lots of shuffling, muddying of the waters and lining of pockets as anyone with skin in the game scrabbles for whatever they feel is to their own advantage.

Brexit itself can of course be delivered, but the larger promise sold to voters - that the country would be able to negotiate favorable trade deals, that it would directly result in increased NHS funding, that it would lead to reduced immigration without affecting free movement for workers, that customs and border control would be seamless, that European court of justice would stop having jurisdiction in UK affairs etc. - was the lie.

Indeed; a lot of people subscribe to the view that the vote delivered the 'incorrect' result because one side was more effective at lying than the other side.

Very difficult to know where to draw a line; my feeling is that even if history shows the people were wrong the government should not be allowed to (directly or indirectly) do something other than what they were elected to do - i.e. serve the people (on a plate, it seems).

And I write this from the losing side (in the referendum); about the only way it could get worse if it turns I'm on the winning side in the end (cf. Boaty McBoatface; the people were asked to vote for the name of the vehicle, but the powers that be didn't like such a frivolous name so they reneged and called it the RRS Sir David Attenborough instead. The parallel should be obvious).

Edit: toned down the rhetoric.

"Serving the people" can itself be interpreted both ways. Say there was a referendum and people voted to eliminate all taxes. Would they still have a duty to carry it out, knowing that it would most certainly lead to national collapse?

Yes. If people know that it could lead to national collapse, they'd more likely vote for actually sensible policies. If instead they think that "the politicians will figure something out" and that "my politicians are better than your politicians" you get the present political situation, when most votes (both referenda and elections) are less about policies and more about popularity, tribalism and virtue signaling.

See California and taxes. This assumption is certainly not a given.

What would be the point of the vote if they didn't stick to the outcome?

It would be "Advisory".

> Very difficult to know where to draw a line; my feeling is that even if history shows the people were wrong the government should not be allowed to (directly or indirectly) do something other than what they were elected to do - i.e. serve the people (on a plate, it seems).

Governments do this all the time, though. Campaign promises are often just that.

And we see time and time again how ineffectual the population is at getting people into a majority position of power to see the pop proposals of the day enacted.

These direct democracy votes often turn out this way - the people vote on a topic differently than how they vote for representatives. But a large portion of why we don't practice direct democracy in most of the west is because you don't want a mob of opinions dictating national law.

It isn't undemocratic for democratically elected representatives to go against a referendum. They were elected to rule on behalf of their people, even if that is in contradiction to non-binding votes by said people. Its their reelection funeral if they go against popular opinion and turn out wrong, but its their job to do it if they think its right. Its why we have representatives in the first place!

The Brexit Proposal was defeated by an unholy alliance of Remainers and Brexit supporters. Both parties are happy today though the onus will be on the former if they wish to remain in that state. As described by a lawyer (of sufficient status to attract an overnight detailed rebuttal from the Prime Minister's office - followed though, by a similarly detailed overnight rebuttal of a rebuttal (Spectator, December Issues) writing that the Prime Minister May Proposal was "atrocious" - a betrayal of what the Brexit decision should have resulted in, irrespective of the opinions of either remainers or leavers. In other words, in factual terms, the Brexit Proposal was not Brexit as envisaged.

Nothing that May could have delivered would have been at all similar to Brexit as envisioned. That is because Brexit, as envisioned by it's supporters was largely a pack of fairy tales.

The problem here is that they went ahead and voted for it, without actually doing the hard work of drafting a concrete proposal for how Brexit will happen.

"Popular soverignty" has no place in British constitutional history, only in Scotland; the traditional settlement is based on Parliamentary soverignty.

Brexit seem like a short term solution for a long term UK identity crisis.

It is a reaction to the identity crisis, but I don't think it is a solution at all.

All of that remains to be seen. There are two major causes to this particular outcome.

1. Article 50 is an exceptionally poor piece of legislation if your objective is to deliver a smooth and equitable separation from the Union.

2. The Irish border is very sensitive and prone to violence, and the Irish government has successfully ensured that their concerns addressed in the form that they have been, within the withdrawal agreement.

1. It is actually a pretty well written piece of law, the about only problem in it is short timeframes - it wasn't imagined in the spirit of complete political mess but more like an orderly exit option with previous long deliberation. Unfortunately British politicians love to stall and waste time, eventually invoking a fallback clause.

I don't think that was important to Brexit voters. It's an emotional vote, a rejection of something, and they didn't care about the consequences. The favorable deals are only a way to keep the debate going.

More importantly the government cannot deliver both "Brexit" and "business continuity", potentially including such things as "food and medical supplies". This is gradually dawning on even the dimmest Cabinet ministers.

That is not true in general. I accept that this government cannot. It is perfectly feasible to leave the European Union and remain within EEA, gaining control of laws that do not relate to maintenance of European standards and maintaining business continuity.

It was feasible, had the government started 2 years ago.

As for gaining control of laws, the primary complaint was the free movement of EU citizens, the UK wanted its cake (the right to move freely in the EU) and eat it (but control who came from the EU to the UK).

The equivalent stupidity would be for the Scottish devolved parliament to demand free movement of Scottish citizens in England while establishing immigration controls at the Scottish/English border.

The idea that the EU would blockade the transport of medical supplies is ludicrous; or if it's not ludicrous, it is further proof that leaving was the right choice.

It's the geopolitical equivalent of "maybe I shouldn't have divorced my husband, because despite the beatings, at least the insulin was mailed on time."

It's not going to blockade anything, it's just that throughout at Dover-Calais depends on not having any checks. Oh and cross recognition of driver and haulier licenses.

Trust me, if a truck has medical supplies, Britain will respect whatever stupid piece of paper the driver is holding.

The idea that food and medical supplies will disappear is completely wrong and has already been debunked by, amongst other people, the head of the NHS.

This is especially true because being in the EU actually increases food costs due to the common external tariff. The only reason food imports would slow is if the government wanted them to, which it doesn't.

The illogical and ridiculous predictions that somehow the only thing keeping British people alive is huge payments to the EU, is not only factually false, but insulting to boot. The UK survived the rest of Europe trying to literally conquer it. Now there are people who seriously believe the country will be brought to its knees by trading on WTO terms.

So why did the government pay £14m to emergency charter ferries from a company with no ferries?

The UK survived by huge logistical effort and food rationing. It's now led by people I wouldn't trust with the logistics of a trip to Tesco.

I didn't read much into that story but from what I recall, the company in question has no ships yet because it's new, but can quickly obtain them and is run by shipping industry veterans.

Regardless, I don't really know why, because the heads of all the major ports in both the UK and France have said they expect minimal or no disruption. But maybe part of why they're saying that, is the preparations being done.


"Richard Christian, the port’s head of policy, said there would be “regular gridlock” in Kent in the event of a hard Brexit, and disruption to freight traffic on ferries and Eurotunnel services would have a profound impact on Britain’s economy. "

> The UK survived by huge logistical effort and food rationing.

And by having the support of the largest empire the world has ever seen ...

Trade in radiotherapy supplies is currently regulated under the Euratom treaty. When the UK leaves it is required to submit a System of Accountancy and Control for Nuclear Material to the IAEA to continue trading. The current status is "we expect them to be in place to meet international obligations when the UK leaves Euratom" which is perhaps not totally reassuring for cancer patients.

> The illogical and ridiculous predictions that somehow the only thing keeping British people alive is huge payments to the EU, is not only factually false, but insulting to boot

Of course it's false: it's a strawman. Payments to the EU to keep people "alive", really?

> Now there are people who seriously believe the country will be brought to its knees by trading on WTO terms

I am astounded by the number of WTO experts in this country of late. Yet nobody can explain the practicalities, they just say "trade on WTO terms" as the answer to everything. Weird

> The UK survived the rest of Europe trying to literally conquer it.

I don't think you understand the literal meaning of "literally".

The UK chose to join the EU. It has chosen to leave. That means it will have to comply with the rules the EU has for nations not part of the EU.

For some reason, the Brexiters seem to follow the "Fog in Channel, Continent cut off" idea that the UK has control over what the EU has to accept after it has left.

What do you think WW2 was exactly, if not a literal attempt to conquer it?

You're arguing with a straw man. Nobody claims the EU had to do anything, it can ban people who live there from buying British things if it wants. But the idea that this will cause food and medicine shortages is simply silly - the rest of the world manages to buy these things without being in the EU so why does this story keep being promoted?

The government is there to enact the will of the manifesto it proclaimed prior to an election. Representative government does not mean that the wishes of the majority outweight the rights of the minority.

There is no requirement of government that it allows the nation to commit political and economical suicide.

All of the modelling, by all sides, show that Brexit will cause economic damage to the UK (and the EU).

The only answer the Brexiters have is that they have an unfounded belief that somehow, the UK, a relatively small market, with under-developed non-EU export industries, has some sort of comparative advantage in trade negotiations that will somehow lead to greater economic benefits in the long term.

All of the promises during the referendum (not legally binding on Parliament) by the Leave campaign have proven to be completely and utterly false.

So the "Brexit promise" of the Leavers is definitely something that nobody can deliver on. The act of leaving the EU is possible, the promises of the results of that are not.

> a "no deal" outcome, which is clearly bad, is still the best thing brexiters can actually deliver

I don't see the logic here. The deal (let's call it D), is clearly worse than staying in the EU (let's call that option E). From that relation D < E it does not follow that no-deal (N) is better than a deal, i.e. D < N. It may well be that N < D < E. So I don't see how no-deal is the "best the brexiteers can delliver."

They said "can actually deliver", not "could technically possibly deliver".

They could have actually delivered the deal had they voted in favour -- and it would have been better than no-deal -- but many leavers voted against.

Because they can’t agree on D. So they end up with N.

Worse, some of them seem to be deluded into thinking they can get some sort of D+ or D* or D’, even though the EU has made it clear they will not renegotiate.

I believe one MP likened that scenario to the likelihood of Scarlet Johansen riding in on a unicorn.

It's the best deal they can deliever that's still meaningfully a Brexit (i.e. it achieves other political goals that were the reason for it in the first place).

I'm not sure I agree that a no-deal Brexit is such a good idea - given the (now exposed) lies of the Leave campaign, a second referendum seeems pretty reasonable.

At any rate - the idea that there is an alternative deal that someone can deliver on persists even now, which is insane. My favorite quote on this came from Michael Gove:

> “It’s a bit like a load of people in their mid-fifties at a swingers’ party holding out for Scarlett Johansson to arrive,” Mr Gove said.

> Amber Rudd, work and pensions secretary, added: “Or Pierce Brosnan.”

> Meanwhile David Gauke, justice secretary, claimed Labour’s Brexit policy was so fanciful it was “like hoping Scarlett Johansson is going to turn up on a unicorn”.

> A "no deal" outcome, which is clearly bad, is still the best thing brexiters can actually deliver.

It could go much much worse than just "bad".

The UK imports a lot of food from EU neighbors. In case of a hard Brexit, this will just ... stop. The question is whether all supermarkets can immediately redo their supply chains. That is not likely. Especially since the UK will loose all trade agreements with the non-EU countries as well. Because they had been made by the EU with the UK participating.

Our western societies are very efficient but also very fragile. If supermarkets can no longer fill up their shelves, people go hungry fast. If supermarkets can only fill 80% of shelves, people panic and start hoarding food. Those who are too late to the party go hungry. With enough people hungry for a few days, society collapses.

Like ... corpses in the streets.

We know what happened when the Soviet Union went down and shelves went empty. This scenario would end a lot worse for the UK. The Soviets had massive redundancies, inefficiencies and fallbacks that could be exploited. Such as people growing potatoes in their Dachas.

See the material by Dmitry Orlov on how the "soviet scenario" would play out in a western country:




What do you think "chaos at the border" means? Everybody will try to get as much stuff over the border as possible. Everybody will work together. The EU, the UK, the US, everybody. With the best intentions. But this could still go very very bad.

Every truck, train and ship has to get the papers checked where they could just drive through before. But there are not enough qualified officers to actually check all the papers.

So goods will come in at a trickle. Even with the best intentions.

This the UK governments own statement. Chaos at the border for six months:

> Britain’s government has revised its worst-case Brexit scenario estimates for chaos at the country’s borders, which it now expects to last for six months rather than six weeks, the political editor of The Sun newspaper said.


> The UK imports a lot of food from EU neighbors. In case of a hard Brexit, this will just ... stop.

A hard Brexit doesn't mean the EU will impose an embargo on the UK. The EU now happily exports food to WTO members outside the EU, and doesn't impose export tolls or restrictions on those that I'm aware of.

Of course the UK might impose its own tolls, quotas and other import restrictions after crashing out of the EU, but that'll be its own doing.

Edit (since OP updated): It seems implausible that the government would make that self-imposed process onerous enough to result in a literal famine. Which goes to the heart of what you've misunderstood here.

This "chaos at the border" refers to chaos for UK companies trying to export things due to customs requirements the EU has, whereas the UK's hypothetical inability to import something would be due to a purely self-imposed post-EU customs process.

In order to get their VAT back, exporters from the EU also need to get their papers checked against the actual goods and stamped. This takes hours for every truck.

That is irrespective of whether the importing country lifts all tariffs.

> https://europa.eu/youreurope/business/taxation/vat/vat-rules...

If enough trucks with TVs and car parts clog the borders, then the food-trucks (who might get some sort of special treatment) are also clogged. They will be clogged 50 miles before they reach the border.

But of course. I have also heard people seriously suggest that the UK will cease to uphold any human rights without the EU. As somebody who lives outside the EU and still somehow has human rights, I expect this is also an exaggeration...

While I am highly skeptical of the Brexit I don't think any kind of collapse will happen.

"Our western societies are very efficient but also very fragile. If supermarkets can no longer fill up their shelves, people go hungry fast. If supermarkets can only fill 80% of shelves, people panic and start hoarding food. Those who are too late to the party go hungry. With enough people hungry for a few days, society collapses."

This is still true. I think most people have no idea how fragile our societies are. Still remember as a child in Germany how people made fun of old people hoarding food. Really uncool to hoard food. You know what is more uncool than hording food? Having nothing to eat. African countries or even countries like Ukraine may be much less fragile to disruptions of supply chains. But in industrialized countries, a few weeks of supply chain disruptions can lead to melt down of societies. The single households in cities likely have food for 2 or 3 days.

Corpses in the street?

The UK imports around 25% of food-related commodities from the EU. Even with no deal, these imports will continue (as the EU has to sell them to someone.) Even if the EU stopped, there would not be corpses in the street as there happens to be a very wealthy English-speaking country not too far away that happens to produce more food than any country on the planet and is more than willing to trade with the UK.

> The US is currently only the 10th largest exporter of food to the UK. “For the USA to replace the combined food imports from the other nine in the top 10 would require a vast food flotilla and logistics operation exceeding that of the 1940-45 Atlantic convoys.”


Damn that's crazy so it's completely viable? With the increasing in ships and logistical systems it would be even easier then it was back in the day.

It's viable in the long term. It cannot be set up inside a week.

I think you missed the point. The point is that 1) overnight disruption of existing supply chains is very likely, and 2) in today's last-minute food supply infrastructure, it only takes a few days for shelves to empty. Empty shelves = hungry people = riots.

So it's not a question of whether the US will trade with the UK, in the long run. It's a question of whether, 2 days after a hard Brexit, everyone has been well-organized enough to keep food flowing across the border at the same rate as always, despite the massive customs upheaval.

Think this through. If there is a hard Brexit, the only hinderance to goods coming INTO the UK is the UK. Do you really think the UK will stop or hinder food imports to such an extent that there are "empty shelves" and "riots"?

The economic concern of a hard Brexit isn't the imports, but the exports. There might be significant economic disruption if the EU slows down trade of items coming INTO the EU and OUT OF the UK. But, the UK is solely in control of how smoothly goods coming INTO the UK and OUT OF the EU get distributed.

Lots of faces cut of their own noses.

Have you worked with bureaucrats? They won't view it as stopping, but rules and paperwork need to be filed. If processes are followed stuff will flow, but there will be a flow stopping shockwave propagating backward at the rate of tps-1c.

The amount of food the UK imports from the EU is irrelevant, the relevant question is how much food does the UK import ?

This is because, as an EU member, the UK has trade agreements with many countries outside of the EU. After a no deal Brexit, it has none. This affects all UK imports and exports.

I think this is a ridiculous claim. Are you saying the UK is going to stop food coming across its border when it is to the clear benefit of it's citizens? That is ridiculous. The UK will suspend ALL customs operations before it does that. The bureaucratic state is kind of broken but not that broken.

Everybody will try to get as much food over the border as possible. Everybody will work together. The EU, the UK, the US, everybody. But this could still go very very bad.

What do you think "chaos at the border" means? Every truck, train and ship has to get the papers checked where they could just drive through before. But there are not enough qualified officers to actually check all the papers.

So goods will come in at a trickle.

This is the UK governments own statement. Chaos at the border for six months:

> Britain’s government has revised its worst-case Brexit scenario estimates for chaos at the country’s borders, which it now expects to last for six months rather than six weeks, the political editor of The Sun newspaper said.


These comments read like some of the best Y2K and peak oil fanfic.

> What do you think “chaos at the border” means?

Probably not the UK self-imposing a famine on its people in favour of establishing a permit Raj. It sounds a lot more like government officials trying to get attention through hyperbole and extra funding for their departments than anything else. There’s nothing stopping the UK from declaring no duties on all imports and liberalizing incoming trade from Europe and elsewhere even more than it is now if it’s in their interests to do so. A lot of trade policy is unilateral when it comes down to it.

I hate when people use Y2K as some sort of evidence of trumped up claims.

Y2K could have been really bad. The reason it wasn’t as bad was because people took the threat seriously and spent nearly the last 5-10 years in the 90s spending billions of dollars, and many millions of man hours preventing the worst case scenarios.

That doesn’t change my point. Regardless of how serious of an issue Y2K actually was, the level of alarmism from armchair observers was still ridiculous, as was the notion that the problems wouldn’t get addressed.

OP literally predicted corpses on the street because of paperwork issues.

> But there are not enough qualified officers to actually check all the papers.

Starve (and therefore internal anarchy) versus upholding a paperwork check?

The papers won't be checked.

This isn't how things play out. The papers will stop being checked after the riots have started. But will continue to be checked when there are just long lines. Bureaucracies react to things that are actually occurring, not things that will occur.

The government has already announced the paperwork checks will be suspended at the start.

Maybe he was referring to the casket business... the EU produces most of the UK's caskets... maybe that's why there would be corpses in the street.

What about the EUs export custom operations? Exporting to the UK is currently intra-EU. Exporting to the UK post-Brexit is ex-EU.

The rules on VAT alone will be enough to clog the ports. Are the trucks covered by insurance if they leave the EU? Are the drivers licenses valid? What about when the trucks return? Are they being re-imported?

It's not the concept of leaving that is the problem, it's all of the "etc".

None of what you are saying is true, and it is clear that you have no idea how trade works.

The EU and the UK already have a trade deal. It is called the World Trade Organization rules.

Yes, some taxes and tariffs might be higher, but it is a complete lie, born of either ignorance or maliciousness, to claim that a country would literally starve to death.

Once again, go look up the WTO trade rules. WTO trade rules cover most of the world.

I don't think "we probably won't even starve to death" would have gone over quite so well on the side of the bus.

There is also the question of how easy unravelling our membership of the WTO with the rest of Europe will be.

I'm no expert in how international trade works but it's not as simple as WTO becomes the default day one no deal situation from what I've read. For example https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/brexit-trade-...

> “The thing is, checks on non-EU trucks don’t take a couple of minutes,” Burnett told me. “They can take two or three hours.” Post-Brexit, British trucks would be non-EU. A team from London’s Imperial College subsequently estimated those queues could be 29 miles long at peak times on the British side, and there’s no reason to suppose it wouldn’t be the same on the French.


Days of wait time would prohibit fresh/frozen food to make it to the UK before perishing.

> Instead, they are trying to camouflage that reality with a bad deal that keeps Britain shackled to the EU for a number of years while losing all of the (substantial) influence it had over the way EU works. That's an anti-Brexit, the exact opposite of the independence and prosperity promised by brexiters. It was a bad deal and it's good that it failed.

It's a compromise, as all good deals are. Fundamentally it delivers what the democratic majority wants: continued free trade (which means alignment with EU technical regulations but not with general policy), but limited movement of people. It's not unfavourable to either side, it doesn't undermine the EU position (which already has an agreement with Turkey on very similar terms).

I hope that parliament can reconsider once it becomes clear that the alternative to this deal is a hard brexit. The deal was defeated only by an alliance of those who thought defeating it meant hard brexit and those who thought defeating it was somehow going to mean remain. At least one of those is wrong.

A no deal is better than a bad deal.

You can't say that on HN.

Anything remotely pro-Brexit is right out

No. You seem very confused. Brexiters have not been doing any delivering. Brexiters want a WTO exit (aka "no deal"). The government are not brexiters - PM Theresa May is claiming her daft deal is brexit - she and a few of her supporters only - it is not what brexiters want.

The EU has been a deal with the devil; foreigners flooding in, fertility rates dropping, business owners having their businesses traded off for political favors, chunks of the lower classes of society abandoned, government debt. That list goes on and on.

And sure, you can make an arguement some of it existed before the EU but here's the key observation; It's difficult to make an argument the EU is beneficial to its member states because of the political manuvering that goes on behind closed doors is not documented or public and because of that, it's excessively easy to find statistics that blame them for a host of things which they may or may not have any part in.

And that in of itself will be the downfall of the EU. Not just the lack of transparency, but the lack of public involvement in dealmaking and the fact the EU has become one gigantic boot on the neck of the public. And also the kinds of deals made. When you trade your fishermen's business for a political favor, well, why the hell run a business? That act shows a fundemental disrespect for self-interest.

And the public mind you, can react two ways to that; the first is revolution in which, 19 of 20 times you don't get George Washigton. You generally get Pol Pot and Hitler, some group of society gets blamed for all its woes and eliminated, and the new boot takes over and often has a monopoly of force and buries the body count statistics. The second way is their concept of self-respect and dignity is destroyed, people end up with no interest in self-preservation, and without self-interest, they become dis-interested in self-investment. The kings often don't realize they're being drug into idiocracy with everyone else, and that in turn rots society from the inside out. Generally speaking, some foreign power steps in at that point and begins running things for their own profit.

Or they just wipe the whole society out and kill everyone. That happens too.

We've got a whole thread on this board going about Russian involvement. Keep in mind, if the Russians understand anything really well, its what happens when society collapses and what oppertunties that collapse presents.

> you cannot force the EU to accept an unfavorable trade deal


The deal failed inside UK parliament and not at EU.

The "unfavourable trade deal" would be of the kind that could command more support in Parliament, i.e. was more favourable to HMG's position (presumably with the Irish backstop removed, for one).

By definition that would mean the EU giving more in the negotiation, i.e. it would be less favourable to them.

Juncker tweeted about an hour ago that “time is almost up” for the UK. That means that the EU won’t sweeten the proposed deal.

They will make concessions. I'll put money on it.

The UK leaving with no deal would be the beginning of the end of the EU. There is already growing anti-EU sentiment in Italy (4th largest economy in the block), Hungary, Austria, Poland. The UK leaving could set off a chain reaction which would either end the EU project or drastically reduce its size.

The EU simply can't afford to have the UK leave completely, because any measure of success it might have as an independent nation will compel other members to take the idea seriously too.

This is ridiculous Brexiteer fantasy. The UK will have no measure of success in the short to medium term in a no deal scenario; it will be absolutely catastrophic.

It's meaningless to speculate what might happen in a fantasy scenario a decade or more later, but we know for a fact that the UK would be initially hurt much more badly by no deal than the EU.

If anything, no deal should convince Eurosceptics in other countries that they just cannot sell this fantasy to their constituents anymore.

The UK is the EU's second largest single export market for goods. Go figure.

What nonsense. The people most worried about no deal are the Germans. You seem be missing much of what's going on around you. Pro-EU is pro-Titanic.

Living in Germany, nobody here cares about Brexit. They don't show it in the news much. General opinion across my circles is that the UK should do whatever they want (leave or stay), but that they should stop wasting EU's politician's time with it.

So no, Germans at least are not worried about no deal. I don't think anyone talks much about Brexit in the EU, except for Britain. I don't think anyone is worried at all.

In all fairness, why would anyone outside of Britain even care ? Whether Britain wants to stay or leave the EU with or without a deal is entirely up to them. The rest of the EU or the world doesn't (and shouldn't have) any kind of say on that.

If you ask me it's pretty pathetic that Brexit hasn't already happened.

So put your money. Make some short positions on Euro.

And I would argue the opposite - the departure of the UK will leave the EU stronger. People will see what kind of clusterfuck it creates and they will learn that capital investors do not like such a mess.

While countries in the EU (especially Ireland - THE English speaking country successor in the EU) will enjoy the diverted cashflows into their economies.

If there is going to be any domino effect at all, it is going to be the resurrection of the Independence of Scotland which will most likely want to join EU at some point after that.

I would even argue that the EU will find happiness at least in a sense that they got rid of a member that enjoyed exclusive rights (no Euro, no Schendgen) which will make the path easier for the "United States of Europe" model.

Regarding the "afford" bit, the only party that can't afford that is the UK - the UK imports 55% of "stuff" from the EU, and exports 50% to the EU. The EU27 exports to the UK are 16% which puts it behind the US.

Finally, most of those anti-EU movements are a joke as they are tied with outsider parties partly funded by Russian money and some fake-news campaigns. Also, having Poland in that list is a mistake, Poland is one of the biggest benefitors from the membership, and there are no such movements at all. The only thing they are upset is the two-speed EU which is another topic altogether.

- http://time.com/4955503/germany-elections-2017-far-right-rus... - https://www.thelocal.de/20180522/russian-payment-for-afd-lea... - https://www.smh.com.au/world/europe/marine-le-pen-s-brush-wi...


It makes me so happy to read intelligent discourse.

That sort of assumes that the UK is all hunky dory after it leaves. If it gets slammed with an immediate recession/raising unemployment/etc... then that's leverage the EU has to convince other members to stay.

Agreed, and frankly, the whole process has been such a calamity that if I were an EU country leader I wouldn't even attempt to exit without a very strong mandate for a detailed, specific and clear process of leaving.

That's certainly a possibility too, but do you think it's one that EU leaders are willing to bet the future of their superstate on?

The UK has a lot going for it. It might not be hunky-dory immediately after leaving, but there's plenty to suggest that the UK will do just fine in the medium to long term.

> That's certainly a possibility too, but do you think it's one that EU leaders are willing to bet the future of their superstate on?

The alternative is betting it on the idea that giving a departing UK additional special favors won't accelerate centrifugal movements elsewhere in the union. An easy exit is the last thing the EU wants to demonstrate.

> It might not be hunky-dory immediately after leaving, but there's plenty to suggest that the UK will do just fine in the medium to long term.

The immediate term is what has the greatest impact in terms of a rush for the exits, though.

I think tourism will drop drastically, all of my European friends try to go one last time before Brexit - I found that interesting.

That goes both ways. I'm visiting Estonia in March, before we leave, deliberately. After? There are plenty of other places in the world that I haven't seen and I would like to. If the EU continues to be awkward then my family and I will go elsewhere.

Imagine what would happen to Spain or Portugal's economies if tourism from the UK dropped considerably?


But surely the best move for the EU in that situation is to offer the worst deal possible, take it and you get fucked over, making staying in the union more attractive and you have a nice example to show anyone else who considers leaving? I don't get how you think that the EU would offer a sweeter deal to allow the UK to leave easier?

I think there are multiple issues that have led to the UK being in the situation it is in:

1) The UK wanting to negotiate an amicable parting, but the EU actually wanting to punish the UK and negotiated in bad faith

2) Not starting No Deal preparations immediately. Standard negotiating tactic is to have a "BATNA" - best alternative to a negotiated agreement. Not beginning No Deal preparations prevented that.

3) Having a UK civil service that is largely in favour of remaining in the EU

4) Having a Prime Minister that was a remainer.

1) Not true, there were multiple good deals presented including this one which the Parliament voted against - provided Northern Ireland situation is solved in a satisfactory way. This specific point was the keystone and why many early proposals failed.

2) There was no plan and no negotiations before incoming the article or trying the referendum. If the were serious plans before, situation would be different.

3, 4) Yes, but apparently even having someone doing Leave is no good either. It is a mess. The most vocal and radical proponents of it have left the scene.

The deal isn't satisfactory at all, as it offers no legally binding way for the UK to decide to leave without the EU's permission. The EU could string out border and trade discussions for years and the EU would be defacto in the EU but without a vote.

David Cameron tried to discuss reform with the EU before the referendum, but was rebuffed.

Of course it does. The UK only has to guarantee they won't do anything that means "hard border in Ireland".

They choose not to guarantee that.

> The Brexit promise is something nobody can deliver on. It was a lie, you cannot force the EU to accept an unfavorable trade deal. If only for the reason that it would set an exceptionally bad precedent and everybody would want their own deal, to pick and choose the parts of EU membership that are favorable to them, leading the EU to implode.

The EU is not being asked to accept any trade deal at all (hence no deal). A no-deal outcome is actually just fine, under the standard rules, the cost of food and other commodities is likely to decrease for consumers, and the EU is not going to blockade the UK. The UK hosts a considerable number of financial institutions which are crucial to the EU, so if they know what's good for them, they won't mess around with that too much either.

Altogether it seems that the downsides are acceptable, and the upsides are the same as they were when it was called to a vote. I don't really see what the problem is. The UK is going to do just fine, and so are the EU member states (whether they're in or out). I don't get why people have to make it out to be a catastrophe.

As far as I understand it. It won’t be an immediate catastrophe, it’ll just slowly leech the UK influence worldwide and in Europe.

I think that Brexit is more about promoting the UK's influence in the UK, than about promoting it outside the UK.

Your comment is highly misleading to the point that it is possibly the 'lie' you mean to make us wary of.

The evidence against your comment is in plain sight: a 'deal' is on the table right now, which some on 'both sides' just happen to not want for various reasons, but it could very well have passed.

The notion that there is only 'hard Brexit' or 'full EU' participation plainly not true, to even the most casual spectator, to imply such is an ugly, ideological misrepresentation of the facts, tantamount to the lie you're ostensibly loathing.

The 'deal' in place, which you suggest is 'the worst of both worlds' is plainly not. That the UK would be subject to EU rules during a period of negotiation is actually not very onerous. The UK was only one voice of a couple of dozen, to mostly lose that voice for 1-3 years is not a nation 'saddled with the EU' for any degree of time.

If the deal were to have been passed in Parliament - then some kind of trade negotiation would be worked out over the coming years, and then there'd be a fairly orderly Brexit: no UK in the EU, but some kind of 'decent trade deal' as some would want.

The EU has made things difficult in purpose, because they definitely don't want people thinking of leaving their club on purpose.

There is ample evidence of this, but I can point to one suitable clause in the current 'deal' in the table, which is that that the UK would not be able to exit the EU without permission of the EU itself, which is utterly unacceptable. It's a small but important clause, that should not be there.

This small clause has been enough to throw some Brexit Tories against the deal.

This small issue - in addition to the weirdly intractable problem of the 'Irish Border' and it's related backstop, is enough to make it 'hard'.

Without that clause, and without the Ireland border weirdness ... the deal in place would probably have passed.

I voted leave, and would be quite happy with no deal - and the gangsterism of the EU in the negotiations has only stiffened my resolve, and I gather there are plenty of others that feel similarly; this is one of the reasons that some remainers are scared of a second referendum - their is a chance the leave vote might actually increase, and then they'll really be up the spout because any further shenanigans on their part will make it transparently obvious that they don't give a fig about democracy.

> gangsterism

could you explain that a bit?

The EU's plan from the start has been to make the process so painful as to dissuade anyone else from trying. Martin Selmayr was boasting that he has managed to trap the UK.

Of course, why would the EU adopt any other strategy if their goal is to keep the EU together?

Because they have other more important goals like not compromising their core values and undoing 50 years of history of the EU for the benefit of a single country that doesn't even care about the EU.

Because their goal should be what is best for Europe, not what is best for the EU.

Uh? What? As a citizen of the EU, I would be extremely disturbed if the EU cared much about non-EU countries. The EU should care as much about Russia and (soon) the UK as the USA cares about Canada and Mexico.

Following that logic, don’t you think the UK is just a tad hypocritical?

Brexit wasn’t ever any good for Europe. It was always only about the British.

Oh of course, Brexit in particular is for the British and the British alone. But perhaps if you seed similar movements to other EU partners then you could benefit Europe as a whole. That would follow the logic of the above post.

> But perhaps if you seed similar movements to other EU partners then you could benefit Europe as a whole.


> Because their goal should be what is best for Europe, not what is best for the EU.


Those are not the same things. Each country still governs itself. The UK should work on that first.

"still"... for how long?

That's not the reason that the EU has made the process so difficult.

They made it so difficult and so scary to warn the other states to not even try to think about an exit.

How is that democratic?

If the EU is so convinced that the only way is the EU way they should have made it easy for the UK to leave, then watch it as it burned to the ground and groveled to try to buy its way back into the EU then maybe the other states would have thought: Gee, it did not work for the EU but at least now we know and we won't try!

Instead, the EU is trying to make an example of the Uk as a show of force to the other states. The EU is ruling with fear and acting like a bully!

And that's forgetting the fact the EU leaders could have seen Brexit as a wake-up call and maybe changed the course of action and reform the EU from within to give people what they fucking promised when this thing was made in the first place: prosperity, safety, so on and so forth.

Instead, they march forward with more integration, more federalism, more Europe, as if the nations don't count anymore. Free trade is the new God in town and it doesn't take prisoners.

Lets forget the fact the economic growth for the EU is one of the weakest in the world for the last 15 years, that the youth unemployment rate is roughly 25% and that because the wages are so low due to the enormous amount of tax being paid by the companies and citizens, they have resorted to importing people from 3rd world countries in order to fill job vacancies that only exists because nobody can actually afford to work for such a low wage.

A new age of slavery built on top of migrant workers.

Ain't the EU pretty?

God forbid you are against them! 30 years ago if you showed any sign of reservation towards unregulated capitalism you were labeled a communist and shamed by the major political parties, nowadays if you are against the EU, you are labeled as backward, illiterate and racist/fascist/populist.

The words have changed, the technics are the same.

Please excuse me if this comes as overly harsh, but this sounds a lot like a complete misunderstanding of how the world works, if I'm being frank.

Let's try this with a simpler example. Let's assume that the UK and the EU are two people in a monogamous marriage and the UK wants to divorce the EU.

EU: "Sure, we can divorce, but we can still be friends."

UK: "No, I want to break up and still have sex with you, but also with others and I want you to cuddle me at night when I want to, but with no commitments from me."

EU: "No. We can either be friends or we can be married, but you can't have all the benefits with no drawbacks."

How exactly is the EU a gangster for this? It's basically like any other relationship in the world, be it economic, political, emotional. The two sides have to agree. The UK is free to go out without a deal at any time.

Brexit wasn't supposed to include sex. Theresa May wants sex, not the Brexiters. She wants sex, because she wants to keep the door open to move back in. She is not a Brexiter, but she's got the job of executing Brexit, so she's pretending to.

That's not quite right. What was promised in the beginning was a pretty friendly break-up, i.e. a "soft Brexit". The chunk of population that wants Brexit at all costs is very small.

> They made it so difficult and so scary to warn the other states to not even try to think about an exit.

How is it difficult? You trigger article 50 and in two years time you're out, no questions asked.

Whether it's scary depends only on whether you're scared by the prospect of not having the advantages of membership anymore. If all the things you're saying about the EU are true, then leaving the EU should not be scary at all.

Hm, what's the definition of gangsterism then? It seems to me that the EU put up no fight about the UK leaving, the UK simply wanted in on the single market and customs union and also be outside of the regulations that are the single market and customs union, which is the exact definition of a contradiction.

The EU will carry on with a melancholic resignation if the UK does a no deal exit. It'll be just as painful for the EU to do all those border checks, Belfast will tense up again, the queue at Gibraltar will get longer, crossing at Dover and Calais will be simply silly long and all the unmentioned things are even more complicated by default. The EU has rules how to handle them and does it rutinely, the UK can probably dig up a few old rulebooks and then they'll throw them away and will probably start with the EU rules anyway, as those are relevant, contemporary, up to date, known, tested, tried and used already.

And the problem with slowly drifting away from the EU is that the EU ingress points won't know which rules the UK changed, or which new rules the UK forgot to adopt, so checks will have to be performed. Every port, airport, other ingress point will have to treat anybody and anything from the UK as outside EU. Full stop.

If the UK wants to avoid that it has to offer something to the EU to get that special treatment. (It always had special treatment, it had right to selectively implement directives and regulations, but it hadn't utilized that right except in a few important cases, like they opted out of the Eurozone, Schengen area, etc.)

So, all in all, the burden of treating the UK as an important close-to-EU-but-not-EU entity has to worth something to the UK, right? May and co. basically offered nothing except that we'll figure it out later.

All of the problems that the last 2 years of brexit negotiations wanted to "solve" are solved by an 'even closer cooperation'.

As they rightly should! I voted remain and would do so again in a heartbeat but if you have an exclusive members only club what use is it if leaving has no consequences? The UK most certainly should be punished if it leaves the EU. Otherwise you undermine the entire organisation.

You would obviously lose the advantages, but why should it be difficult to leave, or punishable? Next you'll be suggesting job resignations should include a fine.

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