( A troubling seven minute read)
Since ancient times, philosophers have tried to devise systems to try to balance the strengths of majority rule against the need to ensure that informed parties get a larger say in critical decisions, not to mention that minority voices are heard.
The Brixit vote is a case in kind.
Originally the European Community was supposed to be a trade agreement to ease all the tariffs and taxes, lower the cost of goods and improve the efficiency of the European member’s economies. The British voted overwhelmingly voted yes by 67.2% (historic high) for this in 1975.
The real lunacy of the United Kingdom’s vote to leave the European Union was not that British leaders dared to ask their populace to weigh the benefits of membership against the immigration pressures it presents. Rather, it was the absurdly low bar for exit, requiring only a simple majority. Given voter turnout of 70%, this meant that the leave campaign won with only 36% of eligible voters backing it.
Does the vote have to be repeated after a year to be sure? No.
A parliamentary petition for a second referendum has attracted more than one million.
Does a majority in Parliament have to support Brexit? Apparently not.
Did the UK’s population really know what they were voting on?
Absolutely not. Indeed, no one has any idea of the consequences, both for the UK in the global trading system, or the effect on domestic political stability.
This isn’t democracy;
Mrs May’s phrase “Brexit means Brexit” has become a tired cliché.
What exactly, is a fair, democratic process for making irreversible, nation-defining decisions?
Is it really enough to get 52% to vote for breakup, in a country that has three devolved parliaments that voted to stay in.
The idea that somehow any decision reached anytime by majority rule is necessarily “democratic” is a perversion of the term.
Modern democracies have evolved systems of checks and balances to protect the interests of minorities and to avoid making uninformed decisions with catastrophic consequences. The greater and more lasting the decision, the higher the hurdles.
The current international standard for breaking up a country is arguably less demanding than a vote for lowering the drinking age.
What we do know is that, in practice, most countries require a “supermajority” for nation-defining decisions, not a mere 51%. There is no universal figure like 60%, but the general principle is that, at a bare minimum this would be the required percentage.
Brexit should have required, say, two popular votes spaced out over at least two years, followed by a 60% vote in the House of Commons.
In this way if Brexit still prevailed, at least we could know it was not just a one-time snapshot of a fragment of the population.
The current norm of simple majority rule is, as we have just seen on TV with her speech on what Britain wants in the upcoming negotiations is a formula for chaos.
I am afraid it is not going to be a pretty picture.
Talks on Britain’s political divorce from the EU and a possible free trade agreement are going to be complex, lengthy and difficult.
So difficult that there will be no agreement that will satisfy both sides.
You don’t have to blind and deaf to realize that The European Union is an economic and political union between 28 member countries that covers more than four million square kilometres. It spans countries with more than 508 million citizens, which means it has the third largest population in the world after China and India.
Turkey and the Balkan states of Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia and Albania are now the next in line to join the EU. In addition, Kosovo and Bosnia and Herzegovina have also been promised the prospect of joining when they are ready to. Turkey, alone would add an additional 75 million EU citizens.
The new unelected Prime Minister Theresa May plans to trigger Article 50 – the step that starts the timer on two years of Brexit talks – by the end of March 2017.
Britain, I believe, had the best of all possible deals with the European Union, being a member of the common market without belonging to the euro and having secured a number of other opt-outs from EU rules. And yet that was not enough to stop the United Kingdom’s electorate from voting to leave. Why?
There is no doubt many in England feel the EU is a “bureaucratic monstrosity”, But what exactly do they mean by this? But most of these relate to the terms of UK membership of the Single European Market, where standardisation is needed to ensure a level playing field for trading nations.
None of these, it seems to me, are reasons to go to war with Europe, and deny the benefits of the single market which has undoubtedly boosted prosperity. Trade within Europe has doubled since 1992, thanks to the abolition of tariffs and barriers to the free movement of goods and services in Europe.
What has changed?
European Union (EU) has remained at heart undemocratic, protectionist, centralist and over-bureaucratic. The EU launched a single currency and the organization now acts as a parliament passing regulations and laws while maintaining an overblown and expensive bureaucracy.
Simply put, unless there was uniformity across all member countries, the aspiration of a single currency and economy, could never hope to be realised.
Here are some hard facts:
On the day of Brexit, the Great Repeal Bill will come into force and end the supremacy of EU law over Britain’s own legislation.
SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon has raised the prospect of a second Scottish independence referendum because most Scots voted to remain in the EU.
Spain’s Government has also called for joint control of Gibraltar and Sinn Fein has demanded a vote to unite Ireland and Northern Ireland.
There is ongoing uncertainty over what will happen once Britain leaves the EU because it has to make new trade agreements with the rest of the world. Under EU rules the UK cannot negotiate a trade deal until after it leaves the bloc.
The Brexit vote has led to higher import costs but was good news for exporters who had struggled with the high value of the pound.
Now Britain has voted to leave the EU, it will no longer have to contribute billions of pounds a year towards the European Union’s budget.
Britain is now free to take back control of its borders in order to curb immigration and increase security. The UK will no longer have to accept ‘free movement of people’ from Europe if this country leaves the EU’s single market.
Companies based in the UK may decide to relocate if they can no longer access the single market.
Eurosceptic populist parties across the Continent have delightedly seized on Brexit in an attempt to further their own campaigns for independence.
Scare tactics and rumours will intensify from both sides and it will be hard to find clarity.
As a result Brexit negotiations will be made more difficult because EU bosses will want to discourage other countries from following suit.
It looks just as likely Scotland Wales and Norther Ireland that voted to stay could find themselves out of the EU by staying in the UK.
The EU has said that Britain will have to allow the free movement of EU workers if it decides to stay in the internal market. Mrs May looks set to take Britain out of the EU’s single market in order to end the free movement of EU workers that goes with it.
There will be a saving ( depending on which contribution figures you believe of about £136m a week. This equates to less than 40% of the amount splashed on the battlebus.
You may rest assured no matter what way these negotiations go they will be very expensive (both politically and economically) and they will “mostly amount to hot air”, rather than concrete plans for the future of the European Union or the United Kingdom’s.
“Whatever the UK vote is in the end , we must take long hard look on the future of the European Union.
The election of Donald Trump as the next US President means that Britain is now at the “front of the queue” for an US trade deal. If you believe that
May also said that “no deal for Britain is better than a bad deal for Britain.”
Making threats to the rest of Europe and cozying up to Trump (I hope she wears a cricket box for that first meeting).
It’s the sheer arrogance of the current government to say it’s all about taking back control of our borders and laws.’
Having her cake and eating it. Not on your nanny.
There will be what the EU want and you can bet your life they have their demands.
And if she isn’t going to have her own way – and for the ‘no deal is better than a bad deal’ yeah – try to get those FTA’s if they know you’ll walk out of them when your toys thrown out of the pram – that means anything she signs isn’t worth the paper it’s written on.
Ignoring the fact that, schools and hospitals struggling with budget cuts , a pound worth 20% less than it was in June 2016 and a Scotland that would appear to be now set yet again on the road to independence.
I think the cleaner the break the better.
Change hurts and change is happening at a faster rate than ever before.
In effect you are being sold down the river. Your lives have now been designated as “negotiation capital”. Britannia does not rule the waves.