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Friday Philosophy – Brexit July 26, 2019

Posted by mwidlake in Friday Philosophy, off-topic, Private Life.
Tags: , ,

I don’t really do politics on this blog, it’s often just too damned divisive. But not only am I angry (and vicariously ashamed) of Brexit but I have a strong suspicion of how things are going to go from now…

I’ll lay my cards on the table first. I did not vote for Brexit. Like the vast majority of people I get on well with in the UK, I wanted to remain part of Europe. Half of my anger with Brexit is that I feel there should never have been a public vote in the first place, for three main reasons:

  1. It has been heavily speculated that the issue of us remaining part of Europe was offered as a public vote as the Conservative party wanted to shut down the growing popularity of the more right-wing, xenophobic parties such as UKIP. Thus it was a waste of time, money, and effort to prove a point that I think could have been done in other ways. There was never any expectation by the people who instigated the referendum that a large percentage of the population would vote for leaving…
  2. Whether we are better off being within the EU and what we lose/gain from it is a very complex issue. I’d say 99% of the population knew nothing like enough about it to make a sensible decision. I think I understood more about the influence of the EU on us than the majority of people in the UK. This comes from me having an interest in environmental matters, workers rights, health & safety, and control of big business. An awful lot of our legislation in these areas came from the EU and were good for the majority and poor for the rich and powerful. However, I don’t think I had enough knowledge to make an informed decision, it was more a gut decision. And the political fight over the vote was almost devoid of sense, reason, even honesty, and was more a campaign based on fear, uncertainty, and doubt. It was a vote by the ill-informed on the ill-defined.
  3. The final reason is that our media and politicians have used the EU as a “distant enemy” to blame or ridicule for decades. It’s almost a national hobby. We had stupid stuff like claims the EU said we had to sell straight bananas or that barmaids would have to completely cover their bosoms. Neither were true. But there has been a consistent blaming of the EU for things that UK politicians thought would be unpopular or that the tabloids felt they could sell copy on due to outrage. It’s just like how businesses blame “the computer system” for anything that goes wrong (“Computer says No! – *cough* “) whereas in fact it’s often nothing to do with the computer system. Thus the EU already had an unfair bad press due to all this political cowardice and media tripe. In many respects, we reaped the crop grown from the seeds of our own stupidity.

Anyway, we had the vote, it was really tight, it gave “the wrong” result. And it seems that far more people have swap from “let’s leave” to “let’s stay” than the other way around, when they got a better understanding of the impact – but we are not getting a second vote. That is despite 6 million plus people signing a petition for a second vote and the biggest public protest march we have ever had in this country.

So what do I think will happen from here on in?

Something I have expected to happen for a couple of years now, but has not really, is an attempt by UK politicians to start trying to blame the EU itself for the mess the UK are in. Basically to start saying “Well, we could leave the EU and it would all be fine – but the EU are being mean to us! The EU won’t let us do X or let us have Y! Because they hate us now and they are not being fair!!!”. We are going to see an escalating number of occurrences where the Conservatives will tell us that the EU negotiators have blocked an utterly reasonable suggestion or are making demands that threaten our sovereignty, or are trying to control us. They will announce that the EU is trying to stop us being the great nation we know we are. I fear that Boris will start turning to Trump to be our best friend in the playground.  

From what I have seen so far, I think the rest of the EU have basically been “You want to leave? Are you mad? OK, if you wish, off you go. But I’m sorry, if you are leaving the club you no longer get the club discount at the shops, you no longer have access to the club house, and you don’t get any say in the club rules. And yes, you do have to pay your outstanding club membership until you actually leave.” Which is all very, very reasonable and, if tables were turned, it is what we in the UK would be doing.

I predict that from here until Boris and the Tories do whatever they do in respect of our fundamentally xenophobic “we are still a mighty empire and are too good for you” walking off in a huff, more and more they are going to try and blame the innocent party, the EU. We are going to hear endless stuff about how they won’t be reasonable in negotiations and are bullying us. I don’t think the EU will do that, but really it’s what we actually deserve for our childish behaviour.

End of Rant



1. oraclebase - July 27, 2019


2. Narendra - July 28, 2019

You didn’t mention about your prediction on how (or whether) we will leave EU… :). I am just wondering what if EU somehow, does buckle and provides, what brexit-supporting people feel, a better deal…
Unfortunately, it looks like the “data” doesn’t appear to support the effects of referendum results. And yes, it seems people are growing more and more divisive over this. It seems no matter what anyone says (against brexit), it seems to harden those who support brexit. Brexit or not, I really hope the nation becomes less divisive….in the interest of everyone.

mwidlake - July 28, 2019

I think we will leave the EU unless the Conservatives lose a forced general election, and even then a labour-led coalition do not seem to be supporting a second vote.
I think you are right that the division between those who wish to remain part of the EU and those who do not have become entrenched. I know I am biased but to me it seems the leavers within the general population stick to an argument of two parts “Leave means leave” and “We must return to being the British Empire”. We are not an empire, we are a small country which has lost most of our power, mostly as we are no longer lording it over other countries as colonial masters. The “Leave means leave” argument is utterly fallacious, it is basically saying once you make a decision you cannot change your mind when more information comes to light or the situation changes. Otherwise, we would only need to vote in a government once for ever. Or at least once per generation.

I really do think that if 6 million people, 15% of the voting population, have gone to the trouble to sign a petition asking for a vote, it is immoral to not have another vote. We did not actually ask for the first vote, I think we are asking for the second. I don’t personally know anyone who has swapped from thinking we should stay in Europe to wanting to vote we leave, but I know 3 or 4 who have said they would now swap from leave to stay.

Why do I think the current government want to leave still? I think they all see potential for personal financial gain and their own political power and they don’t actually care that much what impact it has on the general public. If it makes them more money or advances their career, they are for it. After all, how many of the Tory leadership are associated with companies that have been moving investments out of the UK and into Europe, based on the financial sh*t-storm coming our way?

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