Hacker News new | past | comments | ask | show | jobs | submit login
[flagged] Brexit Party Dominates as Tories and Labour Suffer (bbc.co.uk)
22 points by teh_klev 22 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 29 comments

The E.U. would have worked better, if it stayed a free trade union. The pursuit of turning it into a super state evolved the EU into a bureaucratic mess.

-They started with a common market --which is good.

-Then they added a hamstrung common currency (but nations were fiscally independent).

-And finally they're looking to have a super-government atop national governments. I think this one is the main thing which irks people.

That said, I think a common currency with independent fiscal policies and budgets is largely unworkable. Why is Spain or Greece stuck with the same monetary policy as Germany?

> I think this one is the main thing which irks people.

Indeed. France and The Netherlands rejected the Treaty of Lisbon in referendum, yet 2 years later, the Treaty was signed. The UK didn't dare to hold a referendum.

The U.S. would have worked better, it if stayed a confederacy. The pursuit of turning it into a super state evolved the US into a bureaucratic mess.

Beyond using an asinine parody format, this isn’t instructive as the United States was formed from former sovereign holdings and was arguably forced by two major wars (1812 and 1861) to increase its federal power. The EU was formed by sovereign nations, many with long history, in a prosperous time and not in response to existential threats. Unlike the United States, the EU beyond providing a trade zone does not give its members new tools to solve problems as the members already had unlimited power to enact their own policy.

> ... was arguably forced by two major wars...

You may want to read more about the impetus behind the formation of the EU, in particular its origins in the European Coal and Steel Community:


Thank you; that link further corroborates that the EU has its origins in (the re-emergence of) peace-time prosperity and between fully capable nations. There was no risk of a war between Germany and France when the ECSC was proposed.

There might have been no imminent risk of war been present at the very beginning of what we call today the EU. But the history of repeated wars in Europe is surely one of the largest drivers behind all of it [1].

The ECSC was founded in 1951 [2], that is just 6 years after the end of WW2!

> Determined to prevent another such terrible war, European governments concluded that pooling coal and steel production would – in the words of the Declaration – make war between historic rivals France and Germany "not merely unthinkable, but materially impossible". [3]

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pax_Europaea [2] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/European_Coal_and_Steel_Commun... [3] https://europa.eu/european-union/about-eu/symbols/europe-day...

We’ve had over 200 years to work things out —slowly. It was pretty much a diaspora of the same mindset throughout with a common language and body of law.

Two hundred or a hundred years ago people put up with a lot. A modern world doesn’t want to wait for things to work themselves out.

Two hundred years ago, the federal government was tiny and most decisions were made locally. That changed dramatically in the last two generations.

A "generation" in scientific terms is roughly 25 years, right? In 1969, you couldn't drive a truck full of oranges between cities in two different states without permission from a federal agency, if I understand the history here correctly.

There was two big spikes: three generations ago, FDR and WWII caused the federal government to grow from 5% of GDP to 25% of GDP, and dominate economic regulation, and then two generations ago the Warren Court caused the federal government to dominate social regulation. After FDR, but before Warren, you couldn’t drive oranges between states without federal permission, but you could have prayer in local schools conforming to local values. The latter was arguably a bigger destabilizing force than the former.

So it seems to me we sorted that out almost exactly the right way. Parents are responsible for inculcating religious values into their kids, not school administrators, and we don't pay $5 for an orange†.

Either way: it can't be the case that things were more decentralized and local 2 generations ago and more centralized now, because, well, no, they aren't.

I don't like oranges and haven't bought one in years so if it turns out we do pay $5 for an orange pretend I said $50, which I'm pretty sure we don't pay.

Parents have always relied on the community to help inculcate religious values, just as they do with other kinds of values. Talking religion out of schools, where kids spend most of their waking time, and the public sphere generally, cut the legs out from under a key institution that was integral to the fabric of American society. And in the process it created enormous resentment to the folks who had orchestrated that destruction.

Even when you come to the “right” conclusion, imposing rules on people contrary to their values comes at a high price. In Bangladesh, the liberal elite tried to impose ideas like secular government. The common people pushed back, backing a military dictator that made Islam the official religion. 50 years later, the struggle between the two sides continues. You can’t beat people into believing the right things. There is nothing fundamentally different about Americans. You can impose the right answer on issues ranging from abortion to obscenity (and for the most part, I believe we have), but people will resent you for overriding their community’s choices. The cost of correcting injustice is straining the fabric that binds you together.

(How much does a banana even cost? $5?)

> The cost of correcting injustice is straining the fabric that binds you together.

Yes, but bear in mind, the cost of maintaining injustice is also the straining of the fabric that binds you together.

Absolutely but it’s been a very slow creep. Not a sudden imposition.

>We’ve had over 200 years to work things out slowly. It was pretty much a diaspora of the same mindset throughout with a common language.

Not really. Big parts of Pennsylvania and New York we’re speaking Dutch. A lot of the South was speaking Spanish. A bunch of the hinterland was Francophone.

And that’s just the White people.

So you’re saying the EU should be like an XVIII century formational country like the US or even Russia or China or Japan and homogenize?

Maybe let’s start with the French dropping French and let’s have Russia give up some land for eastward expansion.

Once you prove your success there, Africa awaits for unification efforts too.

You say that like you jest, but with the UK out the chances of having a common language have improved.

I don’t know if you’ve looked around, but US political tensions have reached the point where people routinely deny that our President is our legitimate elected leader and a quarter of Americans support secession: https://mises.org/power-market/reuters-poll-shows-hispanics-.... (Fun fact: the percentage of people supporting secession is about the same as the percentage of white people who identify in polls as “liberal” rather than “moderate” or “conservative.”)

It’s possible for states to get too big and peoples’ values to get too divergent for the political system to function efficiently. The US has been stuck in that state for a couple of decades. Until Brexit, the EU was hurtling headline into the same problem.

I don't know if you noticed, but people in the US have been doing that since 1993. It doesn't feel that long ago to me either, but I have to admit, at a quarter century, you have to stop calling it a recent trend.

I agree Clinton is when the wheels came off, and beating the other side into submission became more important than governing. I’d call that pretty recent in the grand scheme of things. (I’d add that I don’t think the trend is necessarily blameworthy. It’s hard to compromise politically with people who sincerely believe are morally wrong. And that’s true of many of the issues that divide the US today. But whether it is justified or not, you can’t have a functioning democracy where half the people view the other half as “the other.” Trump isn’t the end of this problem, he’s the start of it.

Read Perlstein's books on the emergence of the modern GOP, not for the narrative about the ideological sort and the commandeering of the GOP, but for all the little details about how fucked things were in the '60s and '70s. If you go another 25 years back in time, you're in a period where strikes were being broken with private military forces. 25 years further back and you've got what can only be called small-scale civil wars sparked by labor conflicts. Plus ça change.

Nobody knows whether our system is going to work in the long run. Aren't we one of the oldest constitutional republics in the world? And yet we're like the blink of an eye compared to the empires of antiquity. It could all collapse tomorrow or we could chug along like Rome for centuries to come. But I'm not here for arguments that we're somehow uniquely screwed up today. Things have gotten less regulated and more decentralized, and other things have gone the opposite direction. Some people are angrier, others happier (we have a distinctively bad President so we're probably a little unusually hyped up). But if you wanted to be an American at a time of national stability, 2019 would still probably be in the top quartile of years to be here.

Either way, YC should not be pitching "Government 2.0".

The Tower of Babel is among the oldest project management case studies in human history, and seems to enjoy frequent repetition.

People don't scale, no matter what the "homo bureaucratus" minority might wish.

I'm still waiting to see if all of this is for naught, and the UK already left the Union.

Don't EU elections usually favor more obscure parties? There were some BNP MEPs not too far back, no?

Only because a proportional representation system is used.

Back in 2009 Nick Griffin and Andrew Brons were elected as MEP's for one term. After that the BNP's vote dwindled and they lost their seats.

Way to bury the lede, BBC. Another way to look at these results is:

Remain parties: 40.4% | Hard Brexit parties: 34.9% | Conservatives/Labour: 23.2%

as per:


It's a pity that despite the European elections being the closest the UK comes to using a nationwide proportional voting system, some of the media tries to present the outcome in terms of which party won the biggest minority, and how the two main parties fared.

Well, thankfully except for viewers in Scotland :)

Guidelines | FAQ | Support | API | Security | Lists | Bookmarklet | Legal | Apply to YC | Contact