The only thing to look forward to with Brexit is reading his account, some time next year, of the current antics.
It has left me wondering, are all administrations this shambolic - we are all humans after all - and this book is just a rare glimpse into what goes on behind the scenes, or is this just an exceptional circumstance? Maybe a bit of both. It would be interesting to read about what goes on behind a really well run government - should one exist..
He retired.... years later we sent in a ton more troops and arguably never accomplished the goal and it is still a mess.
Did we know what we wanted in Iraq? Does anyone know what they want from Brexit?
I'm not convinced any of this was well thought out..
But why did set these objectivea in Iraq, we could have picked so many different places, with lot worse people than Saddam.
Just saying, there is not of examples of wheels starting to spin and being hard to stop.
With Iraq the issue was just the lack of manpower to maintain control security and manage various factions (providing them a sense of security). In Iraq more troops did actually (for the time being) provide a lot more control and stability that was sorely needed.
Long term it may have been doomed to fail no matter what.
I agree, the goals of both were not thought out and likely not attainable, ever.
All top military and tribal people should have been bribed to go along. Democracy is hard and USA can't do it everywhere. Not that democracy yields great results everywhere. In a lot of countries it's two wolves and a sheep deciding what's for dinner.
If we invaded then for a 100 years, maybe.
And the war that was fought was more even.
Did the US every win in Iraq or did most of the Iraqies refuse to fight?
Note. I not suggesting war is ever a solution to anything :)
It always seemed to me that this is what the referendum should really have been. Not "should we leave the EU" but "what should our relationship with the EU be?". The problem was that the politicians who proposed the referendum were convinced they could win and there would be no consequences.
It's easy to say "leave the EU" as rallying call.
It's much harder to say: "tweak the EU so that this and that is a little different".
But good things come when we improve them.. it's not always a solution to move you kids to a better school, when you could just improve the school :)
Saddam was a dictator with a history of reneging on promises, playing the international community for a fool, terrorizing his own people, who might be harboring WMDs , and who is vulnerable to an attack with overwhelming force. There was no competent planning of what to do after removing Saddam from power, though.
 In retrospect, we know he wasn't. But at the time, he was definitely trying hard to play up the idea that he might have them, probably to try to gain leverage in international negotiations. Even the UN weapons inspectors had to conclude their report with "we couldn't find anything, but the Iraqis are being so shifty we can't be sure."
That would certainly seem fairer to the Scots, who rejected their independence vote largely because they weren't sure that they would be able to remain in the EU if they left the UK.
Brexit has driven another, othogonal, wedge through the UK population. In fact it's quickly becoming several: remainers, "soft" brexiteers, "hard" brexiteers and various flavours of each. In comparison with the Scottish referendum, it has been marred by illegal campaigns, fanciful claims and a complete lack of accountability by the main protagonists.
It has also split the political spectrum in 4: the pre-existing left/right split, and now a horizontal brexit/remain split. Each of those quadrants is moving away from each other, creating a sanity void in the middle. That, in turn, is being amplified by media gorging on the extremist personalities (Reece-Mogg etc.).
I live in Scotland. I have never felt less represented by the Westminster Government or Parliament. My personal values are far more aligned with those of the wider Europe. So I am emotively attracted to solutions that see Scotland retaining affinity with Europe in preference to the neoliberalism that seems inherent in Brexit.
And yet, I also know that some kind of European Border between Scotland and England is as impractical and damaging - both economically and socially - as a hard border between the UK and Europe.
The entire situation is a mess that is destructive, damaging and divisive. Whatever the outcome, the social and political rifts will take years to heal.
Which is appalling in itself.
It is unconscionable in a wider context where the big questions of global warming and globalisation are the real challenges we should be confronting.
I have never felt so angry at, and unrepresented by, Westminster politics.
I’d be interested to know whether people on here think I’ve strayed into a very plausible conspiracy theory or whether this is something real and of concern. I feel I could accept a result in which there was not some effective psy-ops campaign being run, but cannot accept a result which is “not the will of the people”.
[Edit: spelling correction]
It's also putting too much credit on a foreign state, and is used to abdicate responsibility. We all laughed when Saddam, Gadaffi and Mubarak claimed the west were manipulating their population and elections.
Why dont we laugh when our politicians say the same about the Russians? To me it feels like the new bogey man. Some evidence but the impacts are grossly overegged.
(Edits, worth saying that in its not our politicians in power that are claiming this though, which is different)
Brexit: Vote Leave broke electoral law, says Electoral Commission
Leave.EU donor Arron Banks 'must explain Russia link'
Brexit: Leave 'very likely' won EU referendum due to illegal overspending, Oxford professor to tell High Court
But in my opinion the main point to your concern is that even if there was some evidence that Russia interfered in the referendum and if there was for example a medium sized probability that this changed the outcome: It should not matter.
Elections are a tricky thing because they are _the_ constitutional element of the whole system. If people don't trust the outcome of the voting, there will be no trust in the system as a whole. But trust in the election system is what keeps the whole thing running. Questioning the outcome of a democratic process should therefore only be possible if there is a clear violation, it should only be done by an independent Court and there should be a clear time limit.
Considering that the referendum has been held two years ago, that there is circumstantial evidence at best and that it has already immensely shaped British politics, I think it is not reasonable to go back and talk about the validity of the vote. Elections are not a scientific method to determine the true "will of the people". They are an event where people cast there vote and the democratic process gets an outcome to work with.
My takeaway from the possible Russian interference would rather be that there have to be measures in the future that prevent meddling and also to prevent the perception that there could have been meddling.
The problem is that nobody knows if that influence affected the outcome. There’s little popular movement to push back against the result on that basis, which has led us to the current clusterimpasse.
Define "effective". How do you know it was effective? If we invalidated results based on some peoples' assumed effectiveness of external interference, we'd invalidate all results.
> but cannot accept a result which is “not the will of the people”.
How do you define "will of the people"? How do you know that the result is not the will of the people? If another vote comes up and I find significant campaign spending by outsiders, can we assume it was not the will of the people and get another vote?
I find the dichotomy strange. On one hand it is said that people are so easily externally influenced, then on the other they assume that the next election that won't be the case. Which is it? Can people be trusted to think for themselves in the face of a constant barrage of "scary EU" or "scary Russia" or not? If you believe they can, you have to accept the results and if you believe they can't, no number of elections will change it.
Yet to say that this is not the will of the people look like a bit of a stretch. Nigel farage isn’t a russian spy, trump didn’t invent the issues with taxes and immigration at the mexican border.
What russian sponsored media only need to do is to let local people whose opinion are generaly banned from the mainstream media speak freely and reach the general audience.
It forces mainstrem political party to stop being lazy, and talk about the real everyday issues, instead of relying on what’s morally right or wrong to think.
Call me an optimist but i truelty think that it could in fact save europe and democracy in the long run.
However, there seems to be some agreement, driven by May and her party, that a second referendum would be even more disastrous to democracy, since in any case the outcome would be close and keep the UK divided (as polls indicate) and at the same time a second referendum would cause people to question the legitimacy of the whole process.
Foreign involvement in elections or referenda is a tricky thing, as it happens everywhere in one form or another and the legality of it is often in a grey zone rather than it being clearly illegal.
If it was found that Russia interfered in some capacity, would/could anything be done?
One of their most high profile cases: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Erlam_%26_Ors_v_Rahman_%26_Ano...
I don't think either of these apply for nebulous "external interference", but certain actions such as running unlawful electoral advertising should count.
Vote leave have been fined and referred to the police: https://www.electoralcommission.org.uk/i-am-a/journalist/ele...
BUT: these apply to elected positions. Referendums don't really have a strong constitutional place in the UK, and the Brexit referendum was "non-binding": the result did not legally oblige anything specific to happen.
Brexit is a choice of the government. No-Deal Brexit is also a choice of the government, made two years ago when sending the A50 notification without a viable plan.
I'm not convinced that the idea that Russia interfered is worth taking that seriously though. You don't need to go very far to find real people who are very pro-brexit. IMO it's the newspapers (rupert murdoch, etc) that had more influence, but I'm not sure what you can do about that.
For the Brexit referendum, there is no need to invalidate it, as it was an advisory opinion poll rather than a binding public vote for the government. The UK government could ignore the results or call for a new referendum if they wished to.
I feel like watching old documentaries from the 50-70's, where everything bad hapening was because of the communists. And nobody questioned it. They had evidences. And certitudes.
What about when obama openly campaigned against brexit? What about when our politicians and business moguls openly campaigned against brexit? What about the billions spent by US/Europe politicians against brexit. Is that foreign influence?
There was obviously foreign interference in brexit and the US election. Most of it didn't come from russia, a country with an economy the size of australia or spain. It came from the anti-brexit side.
The russia narrative is simply propaganda by the powerful pro-globalism state and corporate institutions. Also, the idea of brexit is a pipe dream. The EU and corporation powers will never let britain leave.
The US, EU, China, Saudi Arabia and every major corporation has come out against it. It will never happen. Everyone knows what is going to happen. The EU will force a revote like it has done every time they didn't get what they wanted.
What our "state" propaganda on both of the atlantic have been saying is something all states do when things don't go their way. Blame the "other". The chinese do that to crackdown on muslims, falun gong, etc. The russians do that for separatists. The turks do that. The nazis did it. The japanese did. We did it many times. Everyone does it.
The simplest and most effective way to manipulate and control the public is to present an external threat. It's propaganda 101. But of course, we only call it propaganda when others do it. When we do it, it's news/facts/truth.
But maybe I'm just naive. I'll wait with bated breath to see how a relatively poor country like russia has taken control over the politics of regions that are collectively nearly 40X as wealthy as russia. It's a notion as absurd as dirt poor north korea controlling china, but anything is possible.
Sure, we'll see how flimsy this is once everything comes to light
That a country with a GDP the size of australia is dominating britian and american politics seems laughable to me. But perhaps that's just me being naive.
The GDP of the country has not much correlation with their geopolitical capabilities
"I'm not going to drive us face first into the ground because of a referendum the promised somethings that can't happen with a brexit. We're going to come out with the short end of the stick here if we're not smart. We need to work out a new deal where we stay but address some concerns."
Hopefully the EU could be adult about it and throw them a bone or two and let things settle.
Sometime you have to loose something to perceive it value.
I think there is a possibility that this whole thing improve the state of the rest of the UE. Making the EU citizens understand more the fact they are part of something beautiful.
Something that allowed us to come from a time where my grandpa had a number tatooed on his wrist, to a time where my brother made a kid with a german girl.
The best benefit of Europe is not the money, the passport or the common laws. It's how it brought people together.
And I really hope brexit will make people wake up to this, because we heard a lot of anti-euro sentiment lately. And they exist because problems exist, problems that can be solved only if we work together, not if we build walls.
Party survival is obstructing finding a common solution.
Tony Blair had a reasonable proposal on the radio this morning: a series of free ranked-choice indicative votes to produce a shortlist of possible outcomes, eg no deal, loose FTA aka 'Canada+++', EEA/EFTA membership aka 'Norway+' or Remain. Whichever wins, you would still need to put the result to a 2nd ref.
The XXXXing frustrating thing is, this should have been done 2 years ago, without all the political mayhem driving it.
May has negotiated the only practical set of terms. If Corbyn was as serious about ruling out a no-deal Brexit as he claims, his party would've voted for May's deal. The part I find incomprehensible is that the remain lobby refuses to acknowledge that if we vote down every possible deal then the result will be no deal.
A vote was held, and the decision was to leave. That’s fine - we should not have run that referendum in the form it was, but we can’t deny the result.
The problem is, Brexit was an entirely empty vessel into which voters’ fantasies were poured. The outcome in no way resembles any of the ideas that were articulated before the referendum. There is now a concrete plan that basically everybody hates, because it’s the worst of both worlds.
There are three realistically possible options right now. The UK either exits with the agreed deal, exits with no deal in a disorderly fashion, or cancels Brexit and remains in the EU. The first option is bad because nobody wants that deal. The second is bad because it would be obviously catastrophic. The third is terrible because it directly contravenes the outcome of the referendum.
In short, all the options are fucking awful. There’s no real democratic legitimacy for any of them. Under these circumstances, having a second referendum that says “this is what we were able to negotiate, now do you want to go through with it or forget the whole thing” is possibly the least shit option. I hope it will be cancelled, but at least if it’s not I can be sure that it was voted for with knowledge of what was to come.
> The problem is, Brexit was an entirely empty vessel into which voters’ fantasies were poured. The outcome in no way resembles any of the ideas that were articulated before the referendum. There is now a concrete plan that basically everybody hates, because it’s the worst of both worlds.
I don't see any material change in circumstances that would justify redoing the referendum. The deal on the table looks to be very much the kind of deal anyone who thought about it for a few minutes at referendum time would have expected. It may well be the case that some of those who voted leave were hoping for no deal and some were hoping for a deal like this, and neither alone would have got a majority - but the proper time to address that was when drafting the referendum question. I agree we shouldn't have run the referendum in the form it was, but as you say, we can't deny the result.
> There’s no real democratic legitimacy for any of them. Under these circumstances, having a second referendum that says “this is what we were able to negotiate, now do you want to go through with it or forget the whole thing” is possibly the least shit option.
There's no democratic legitimacy for a referendum that includes remain - we already had that vote. If we really wanted democratic legitimacy we could have a referendum between the proposed deal and no deal, but you'll notice that no-one's arguing for that, because none of the people pushing for a referendum actually care about democracy.
Other than, as noted elsewhere:
1. It was an advisory vote, not constitutionally binding
2. The leave campaign broke the law
3. To quote the parent post "Brexit was an entirely empty vessel into which voters’ fantasies were poured. The outcome in no way resembles any of the ideas that were articulated before the referendum".
If that's not 'material'...
Parliament can't bind itself, so all referendums in the UK are advisory; indeed the UK has no constitution as such. In any case, what would be different in a re-run?
> 2. The leave campaign broke the law
You're talking about the breach of spending limits? Those limits are important and those who break them should be punished; at the same time small-scale breaches of the limits are relatively normal occurrences that we've never redone an election over. I'm pretty sure all the main parties have broken them at some point or another (and been duly fined for doing so).
> 3. To quote the parent post "Brexit was an entirely empty vessel into which voters’ fantasies were poured. The outcome in no way resembles any of the ideas that were articulated before the referendum".
Like I said, what do you think has changed? The predictable consequences of Brexit now are much the same as the predictable consequences of Brexit at referendum time. The no deal outcome is the same as it ever was, the deal on the table is the deal anyone who thought about it would have predicted.
Implying that the majority of voters thought about it for a few minutes? Of the people I've spoken to, it seems that ~90% of them voted based on whether they read pro-EU or anti-EU newspapers, without any thought given to the specific details of this particular situation...
There are many and various extremely good reasons for the backstop, but its very existence is anathema for many Brexiters, since it would force the UK to follow EU regulations indefinitely. Alternatively, the UK could put a customs border in the sea between NI and the rest, but that would put NI in a different regulatory regime, and that's anathema to the Tories' partner in government, the Northern Irish DUP, which will not accept anything that could move NI closer to the RoI. So 1) most Brexiters don't like a customs union and don't care about NI 2) the DUP don't want any borders on either "side" of NI (but want Brexit anyway).
The actual contours of the UK/EU relationship after Brexit would otherwise be mostly up for negotiation. If you didn't mind a possible permanent customs union, then exiting with May's deal followed by a bunch more negotiations would seem like a sane thing to do...
There's also the Good Friday Agreement, which brought peace to Northern Ireland. A hard border would easily be seen as a betrayal of it and could plausibly cause it to collapse.
The whole thing is just an impossible trilemma. Can't have a border on the island, because RoI will not let the EU sign that deal. Can't have one in the ocean, because the Tories need the DUP votes in Parliament (they don't have a majority, and the government will fall if the DUP pulls out). Can't have a backstop because it could mean a permanent half-in half-out twilight where the UK stays in the customs union forever and hard Brexit parliamentarians can't swallow that. Three totally incompatible red lines.
The default, if no deal is signed, is a hard border on the island. Which is bad, but not obviously that much worse for the RoI than a deal with a hard border. So the RoI won't settle for a deal without a backstop.
They certainly don't seem to want a hard border with RoI, but they will sooner chop an arm off than accept a hard border between NI and the rest of the UK, so given the choice I think they'd take the former. They're the Democratic Unionist Party, keeping NI an integrated part of the UK is literally their entire reason for existing.
It would defeat the purpose of a common market. What stops UK from doing so is EU laws.
But I agree it won't be catastrophic. UK will survive, the EU will survive.
But jobs will be lost in the process, economies will be affected, quality of life will be lowered.
And people voted for this to happen.
I have a startup in the UK. We employ EU citizens, sell products and services to EU customers, buy products and services from EU suppliers, and receive EU grant funding. A disorderly Brexit will affect us in unknown, possibly terminal ways.
Aside from that personal issue, I t’s possible in the worst case that hundreds of people may die due to lack of medication. The economy will be affected to the time of 10% of GDP over 15 years, by the government’s own prediction.
I think that counts as catastrophic.
At the very least there should be a second referendum, but even better, the referendum should be discarded completely--there's a reason things like constitutional amendments require 2/3rds majority in the U.S.
If the government and parliament can't agree a deal I think the only sensible way forward is another referendum.
Before the referendum Norway "was out" and it was all good for them, recently any form of CU agreement is "in" (like May's deal). Funny how leavers forget that, seems like comprehension of anything besides "in" or "out" is too much for them.
"result clearly rules" hilarious, just hilarious. Even Farage said a close result would end up in more discussions. But of course they like to "forget" that.
We agree on Corbyn being a waste of space though.
It wasn't leavers who voted down May's deal. Or do you think Parliament has a 230 majority for leaving with no CU agreement?
A 230 majority de facto voted to leave without a CU agreement. I don't know which possibility is more worrying: that they did so by mistake, or that they did so on purpose.
> Or do you think Parliament has a 230 majority for leaving with no CU agreement?
Well, at least against that deal, that is a fact, more than 400 votes were against May's deal.
Do you think there is any deal that the remainers who voted against May's deal would vote for? Do you think they want a no-deal outcome? Do you think there's any other plausible outcome?
I think a lot would vote for a "Norway" deal if it were available, but that would mean May and the anti-immigration faction surrendering.
My hypothesis is the "meat grinder": what has to happen is the slow wearing down and obliteration of options. The only way to get to Remain is for all the other options to be infeasible. Eliminating the deal raises the chances of both "no deal" and "remain". Similarly, "extend" would greatly increase the chances of "remain".
A slim chance.
Voting for that would have been a political vote though.
It is not the will of the people if the chosen leave option is the one liked by a small group, it is the contrary.
Agreed, but having asked the question and got the answer we have to implement it if democracy is to have any credibility.
> and was itself already the 2nd referendum on the topic.
Hardly. The EEC was a very different institution from the EU (indeed I'd say the closest modern equivalent is the EEA or EFTA).
To paraphrase a famous quote, democracy is not a suicide pact.
With respect to Brexit in particular, the government made a grave error in triggering Article 50 prematurely. May then called an early election to strengthen her negotiating position which actually weakened it instead. There is substantial cover for saying "We clearly need more time to figure out how to do this, and the March deadline is too soon to get this done. Let's pause this process for now." Sure, a lot of people will be pissed, but we're at a stage where any action (including inaction) will piss off at least 30-40% of the population.
Agreed; we should never have had the referendum in the form we did. Nevertheless, we can't undo it now.
> There is substantial cover for saying "We clearly need more time to figure out how to do this, and the March deadline is too soon to get this done. Let's pause this process for now." Sure, a lot of people will be pissed, but we're at a stage where any action (including inaction) will piss off at least 30-40% of the population.
I think delaying Brexit at this point has far less credibility than any kind of leave (even no deal). There's no way for it to not look like an elite stitch-up.
This is virtually impossible. To change the treaties, one needs the agreement of the 28 members. What one country sees as an issue (e.g. not properly taxing big tech companies) another sees as a great thing. That has nothing to do with being an adult or not. Each country is protecting its own interests.
It doesn't have to be some huge issues, some symbolic stuff to give the UK politician some cheap political points.
I think it's significant that we didn't. In the run up to the Scottish independence referendum the political establishment went for maximum compromise, promising that "devo max" would offer everything that independence advocates wanted whether they left the UK or not. By contrast those pushing the EU referendum had no interest compromise; the referendum was set up to deliver a minimally-nuanced result that would make a clear victory for one side over the other and allow those on the winning side to pursue whatever policies they wanted. Which backfired when the public refused to give them the result they had intended.
This was, of course, not meaningfully delivered. Including all the promises that the only way to remain in the EU was to vote no.
There are two un-appeasable factions, one of which wants out of the single market so they can turn us into the 51st state(+), and one of which wants out of free movement so they can deport anyone born east of Vienna or south of Gibraltar.
Those in power would absolutely prefer a troops-on-the-streets fiasco to anything so contemptible as compromise.
The callups are already starting: https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/no-deal-brexi...
(+) in reality we'd be more like Puerto Rico: subordinate to US power but with none of the benefits and intermittent electricity
But where is the opposition saying that the referendum was nothing more than a protest vote against immigration, 52-48% is a narrow split, we can't possibly have our cake and eat it too (eg on freedom of movement) and that pursuing some Norway like model combines the worst of both worlds (eg maintaining membership of the EU customs union and being subject to its rules without having the power to vote on and control the EU agenda as a member would).
The backstop is nothing more than kicking the can down the street and the ultimate result is probably reunification with Ireland, which is why the DUP in particular and the Conservatives in general don't want it.
The only alternatives are hard exit and remaining.
Why hasn't the opposition been more vocal about this? All I see is hand-wringing and non-committal rhetoric from Corbyn.
The Liberal Democrats are pro-remain I think? But they're an irrelevance at least parliamentarily.
I think it might be something like an idea that if your reaction to a protest vote by people who feel like they aren't being listened to, is to turn around and say "we're not going to take your vote at face value, and we're going to do something else anyway", then they (quite justifiably imo) might not take it very well.
It's tricky, because I agree with you that a good proportion of the leave vote doesn't care specifically about leaving the EU, but associates it with other issues (although I think a fair chunk of the leavers actually did vote leave knowing what they were getting). And I also think that Corbyn vould have done more than he has.
I don't really know what I'd like to see.
1984 but with lots of stats.
I hate phrasing like this