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Referenda

Referenda

Postby dls » Tue Nov 01, 2016 10:40 am

David Attenborough:
There’s confusion, isn’t there, between populism and parliamentary democracy, . . I mean, that’s why we’re in the mess we are with Brexit, is it not? Do we really want to live by this kind of referendum?
What we mean by parliamentary democracy is surely that we find someone we respect who we think is probably wiser than we are, who is prepared to take the responsibility of pondering difficult things and then trust him – or her – to vote on our behalf.
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Re: Referenda

Postby daffy » Tue Nov 01, 2016 10:47 am

The problem with simple majority decisions as I see it is that minority interests are not protected.
Hence the wiser and more informed the decision makers are the better.
In this particular referendum those most affected minorities did not even have a vote.
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Re: Referenda

Postby atticus » Tue Nov 01, 2016 10:48 am

Yes. To both posts above.

And it is worth re-reading the first few points from that article I found a few weeks ago giving a Canadian perspective.

The decision of the last Prime Minister to hold a referendum is without equal as an example of hubris.
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Re: Referenda

Postby Hairyloon » Tue Nov 01, 2016 11:03 am

Hubris is far too polite a word and doesn't cover half of it.
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Re: Referenda

Postby shootist » Tue Nov 01, 2016 11:59 am

If anyone thinks that there was any other way of settling this issue that would keep everybody happy I'd love to hear it.

What we mean by parliamentary democracy is surely that we find someone we respect who we think is probably wiser than we are, who is prepared to take the responsibility of pondering difficult things and then trust him – or her – to vote on our behalf.


A lovely idea from a lovely man, I'm sure. What of the people who respect Nigel Farage and trust him to do difficult things, posted against those who respect Tony Bliar and trust him to do difficult things. Or those miners who trusted Arthur Scargill, or who trusted their corrupt, false expensed claiming criminal members of parliament? Whichever way you choose, on important issues it can be equally divisive. I'll not go on to trusting church ministers as not all of them are necessarily into politics.

Parliamentary democracy, IMO, is a system of governance where the public at large gets together at intervals to elect someone else to do all the crappy jobs that need doing if we are not to revert to cave dwelling, with the unfortunate side effect that the people we elect are inevitably the ones who want to be elected, which, again IMO, is no great grounds for trusting them in the first place and can easily be grounds for the very opposite.
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Re: Referenda

Postby atticus » Tue Nov 01, 2016 12:38 pm

Do you suggest that the referendum kept everybody happy?

Do you think that there is a way that everybody, in a varied and diverse population of more than 60 million, can be kept happy on every question of any significance?

The answers are of course "no". That is why we have a representative democracy, and Sir David's point (also made by numerous others) is a good one.
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Re: Referenda

Postby miner » Tue Nov 01, 2016 2:21 pm

Much as I have always had a great liking and admiration for David Attenborough and most of what he has done, I simply cannot agree with his statement that "... we’re in the mess we are with Brexit".

We are not, in my view, in any mess. We all knew that the £ would fall in the event of a Brexit vote. But what many folk forget is that in anticipation of a Remain vote, the £ had risen significantly in the lead-up to the Referendum. So the "fall" in its value is only a snapshot between whatever dates one want to take as being the relevant ones.

Taking a longer-term analysis, the £ was worth CAD $2.24 as I recall around February 2001 and the CAD$ was worth about CAD $0,65.

During that 15 years, the £ has been as low as CAD$ 1.50, and (very temporarily) the CAD$ has been as high as CAD$1.09 against the US$. Today the £ is worth about CAD $1.64 and the CAD$ stands at just under US$ 0.75.

Personally, I can see the Euro falling dramatically in value over the next 2 years, and I would be surprised if it exists at all in meaningful form a decade from now.

My point is that currency values fly around considerably due to a host of factors, and Brexit is simply one of the recent factors. (Alluded to recently elsewhere by dls.)

The FTSE is a measure taken by many as an indication of the current and anticipated future direction of the UK economy, directly connected as it also is to the state of other stock markets around the world. The higher level of the FTSE post-Brexit suggests that the UK is far from being "in a mess" - rather the opposite in fact, as the Markets see the major advantages for the UK economy being unshackled from the rest of the EU, with the UK able to act with the state of independence which had been denied it under the bureaucratic and protracted processes of the EU - which has been such an abysmal failure in everything it has done.

Yes, there has been relative silence on how we go about Brexit, and rightly so, via Theresa May. It would be crazy for the government to declare its hand in negotiations at too early a stage, placing us at a disadvantage in exit negotiations. This is utterly uncharted territory we are entering, and we should not be pressurized by the Brussels Brigade or anyone else in making premature statements or rash judgements. We are dealing with Brexit and Article 50 in precisely the manner we are constitutionally required to under EU law. It is the UK and the UK alone which has the absolute prerogative to decide when to implement Article 50, whatever the windbags at the EU and elsewhere may think.

True, there have been skirmishes between politicians, but probably no more than in a non-Brexit situation, and TM has rightly rapped some of her own party over the knuckles to avoid giving too much away too prematurely as to our intentions.

Anyway, the great David Attenborough has spent his life as a naturalist, an excellent one at that, but he is not in my view someone whose viewpoint on Brexit should be taken too seriously. Inevitably the UK is as of now in a state of limbo, but we are certainly not "in the mess" that our revered and respected naturalist has stated. In fact, nothing much has changed fundamentally since 23 June, except that the UK's post-Brexit future looks extremely rosy.
Last edited by miner on Tue Nov 01, 2016 2:27 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Referenda

Postby miner » Tue Nov 01, 2016 2:26 pm

atticus wrote:Yes. To both posts above.

And it is worth re-reading the first few points from that article I found a few weeks ago giving a Canadian perspective.

The decision of the last Prime Minister to hold a referendum is without equal as an example of hubris.


It was also without equal as a referendum which had been promised but never granted by numerous previous Prime Ministers.

DC's stupidity was that he attached himself to a particular side - the wrong side, as it turned out. He should have offered us the Referendum and then stayed out of it personally from that point.
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Re: Referenda

Postby atticus » Tue Nov 01, 2016 2:34 pm

Surely what you say about Sir David by reference to his experience applies to you, to me, to virtually everybody.
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Re: Referenda

Postby miner » Tue Nov 01, 2016 3:14 pm

atticus wrote:Surely what you say about Sir David by reference to his experience applies to you, to me, to virtually everybody.


Yes, but Sir David is a VERY public and VERY well-known figure, and you and I are not! He gains publicity for his views on Brexit through his public name recognition, you and I do not! Thus, he is able to promote his views on Brexit much more publicly than you and I can. In my book, it's a sort of abuse of his revered status as a naturalist, for an entirely unrelated purpose, perhaps with some political leverage lurking behind it. One must question why he used his status to say anything at all about Brexit, particularly since it demeans the UK and is unpatriotic.

We should all (Sir David included) now be supporting our Government to secure the best possible exit arrangements for the UK, not undermining the the process in what is uncharted territory.
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