/ Five referendums

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The grown up approach to such a huge strategic decision as leaving the EU should have been taken over a long period of time. The people should have been asked in 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019 and we would have had a final say in 2020. 

It would have been quicker, people would have been more informed and it would be democratic. The cost would be miniscule. 

Our leaders have acted like children. Our political system is like the last days of the Austrian - Hungarian Empire. Full of men in silly dress, saying silly things in a silly building - an anachronistic nonsense where you are not allowed to clap but you can bellow. 

We are now being lead by a clever lying clown with the most right wing cabinet since the term was invented and the most important string puller, Cummings, is essentially a revolutionary anarchist. 

And people complain about another referendum. They should have a few more. 

1
rogersavery 06 Sep 2019
In reply to Heartinthe highlands:

If we ever have another referendum for anything then we should only ever do anything if there is a clear winner ie 75% and above - the EU referendum result was so closely matched that implementing it was always going to be difficult and upset almost half of the people.

better still, don’t have anymore referendums ever - we elect people who should be informed and wise to represent our interests and take these difficult decisions for us. I bet less than 0.1% of the voters in the Eu referendum knew the consequences of voting either way. (I include myself in the “not knowing” group)

1
GridNorth 06 Sep 2019
In reply to Heartinthe highlands:

I can't disagree with any of that.  Hindsight is a wonderful thing but it doesn't take us any further forward with the current situation.

Post edited at 16:01
In reply to GridNorth:

Yeah, just needed to vent my spleen after a busy week!

baron 06 Sep 2019
In reply to Heartinthe highlands:

Maybe if we’d had one in 2006 or 2008 we wouldn’t have ended up in this mess.

In reply to baron:

> Maybe if we’d had one in 2006 or 2008 we wouldn’t have ended up in this mess.

If we had proprtional representation back then, had got the Brexit party in Parliament under scrutiny instead of on Question Time, we might still have had a moderate Conservative Party that wasn't getting madder by the week. 

Jezz0r 06 Sep 2019
In reply to Heartinthe highlands:

The Swiss like a good referendum. In fact they've been trying to join the EU for a while, having a referendum on each detail that would be required. And each time they have a detailed booklet explaining the options and the analysis of experts. They'd never dream of having a simple in/out decision without specifying what the future relationship would actually be.

2
jimtitt 06 Sep 2019
In reply to Jezz0r:

> The Swiss like a good referendum. In fact they've been trying to join the EU for a while, having a referendum on each detail that would be required. And each time they have a detailed booklet explaining the options and the analysis of experts. They'd never dream of having a simple in/out decision without specifying what the future relationship would actually be.


Rubbish, do you just make this up on the spot?

Switzerland rejected joining the EEA in a referendum in 1992 and no further negotiations were held until 27th July 2016 when Switzerland officially withdrew it's application to join the now EU. Popular referendums to re-open negotiations have consistantly been rejected by ca 75%.

wercat 06 Sep 2019
In reply to GridNorth:

Why is it hindsight?

Perhaps for the politicians.  I posted on this forum even before the 2014 Independence Referendum that there should be qualifying threshold to filter "noise" and made noise about that before the 2016 debacle

Only hindsight for dimwitted politicians or infants.

Whole thing stupidly conceived, improperly executed, dishonestly campaigned in particular by Leave and incompetently by Remain with a big Hollow Corbyn.

Forwards?  Revoke Article 50 and learn the lessons for the future.  Reform our feeble constitution and work to reform aspects of the EU that don't work

Post edited at 17:13
GridNorth 06 Sep 2019
In reply to wercat:

I would not disagree with most of that but the EU has demonstrated time and time again that it is not open to reform. They displayed that fairly arrogantly when Cameron tried to negotiate prior to the referendum. For many I think that may have been the final straw.

9
dread-i 06 Sep 2019
In reply to Heartinthe highlands:

>Cummings, is essentially a revolutionary anarchist. 

He's not an anarchist, he's not the antichrist. I don't know what he wants, but he knows how to get it.

1
wercat 06 Sep 2019
In reply to GridNorth:

I think the political shifts across Europe in the last few years have made an impact at the centre of Europe and the mood may be changing.   Reform will be necessary for the EU's health if not survival in the era of mass migration caused by global warming and other upheavals.

Post edited at 19:43
Pan Ron 06 Sep 2019
In reply to Heartinthe highlands:

> Our leaders have acted like children. Our political system is like the last days of the Austrian - Hungarian Empire. Full of men in silly dress, saying silly things in a silly building - an anachronistic nonsense where you are not allowed to clap but you can bellow. 

The women in our political system haven't exactly shone with glory.

birdie num num 06 Sep 2019
In reply to Heartinthe highlands:

There’s no point in continuing to have referendums beyond the point that the right answer has been achieved 

8
Jezz0r 07 Sep 2019
In reply to jimtitt:

?

Switzerland has had 12 major referendums about relationships with the EU, the key ones being voting against joining the EEA but voting to join the Schengen area, and a couple about whether to open full negotiations on joining the EU (which failed). But you can bet if there had been proper negotiations there would have been another vote on the resulting agreement, which is in stark contrast to what we got: a blind in/out vote that must be seen through come what may, and was bizarrely, without basis so far as I can see, taken to mean cutting off all ties with all EU institutions.

1
jimtitt 07 Sep 2019

In rwply to JezzOr:

"The Swiss like a good referendum. In fact they've been trying to join the EU for a while, having a referendum on each detail that would be required. And each time they have a detailed booklet explaining the options and the analysis of experts."

That's what you wrote.

Switzerland have made no moves to join the EU for 37 years, all referendums to open negotiations have been roundly defeated and their application to join was withdrawn. In other words exactly the opposite of what you wrote.

The New NickB 07 Sep 2019
In reply to GridNorth:

> I would not disagree with most of that but the EU has demonstrated time and time again that it is not open to reform. They displayed that fairly arrogantly when Cameron tried to negotiate prior to the referendum. For many I think that may have been the final straw.

I think that Cameron got a great deal, the EU have always been more than fair with Britain, although I am sure some of them are regretting that now. You need to look elsewhere for the arrogance.

2
Pefa 07 Sep 2019
In reply to Heartinthe highlands:

How is Cummings a revolutionary anarchist when he has been supporting and advising for ' most right wing cabinet since the term was invented'? Which is not something an anarchist (which is very far left) would ever do.

I think he is more like one of those libertarians that always bangs on about how we don't need government only capitalist free markets until someone points out to them that they both go hand in hand so they then start calling you names before blocking you. 

Post edited at 08:18
In reply to Pefa:

> How is Cummings a revolutionary anarchist when he has been supporting and advising for ' most right wing cabinet since the term was invented'? Which is not something an anarchist (which is very far left) would ever do.

> I think he is more like one of those libertarians that always bangs on about how we don't need government only capitalist free markets until someone points out to them that they both go hand in hand so they then start calling you names before blocking you. 

The very far left and the very far right have a lot more in common than either wishes to see. Each groups' certainty would be quaint if it were not frightening. 

I was quoting John Major, the former prime minister, in describing Cummings as an anarchist. 

The New NickB 07 Sep 2019
In reply to Pefa:

> How is Cummings a revolutionary anarchist when he has been supporting and advising for ' most right wing cabinet since the term was invented'? Which is not something an anarchist (which is very far left) would ever do.

Tell that to Claire Fox.

Cummings sees himself as a disrupter, the principles are similar, you have to break down society, before you can re-build it to your particular vision.

Eric9Points 07 Sep 2019
In reply to Heartinthe highlands:

Those enraptured by referenda should have a read at this article: https://www.nytimes.com/2016/10/05/world/americas/colombia-brexit-referendum-farc-cameron-santos.html

“The idea that somehow any decision reached anytime by majority rule is necessarily ‘democratic’ is a perversion of the term,” Kenneth Rogoff, an economics professor at Harvard, wrote after Britain’s vote to leave the European Union.

“This isn’t democracy; it is Russian roulette for republics,” he added.

Gordon Stainforth 07 Sep 2019
In reply to Eric9Points:

Spot on. The whole idea is crap. That's why we evolved parliamentary democracy.

1
GridNorth 07 Sep 2019
In reply to Gordon Stainforth:

> Spot on. The whole idea is crap. That's why we evolved parliamentary democracy.

I agree but the latter is not shaping up too well either is it?

Al

Gordon Stainforth 07 Sep 2019
In reply to GridNorth:

Indeed. That's just why we're stymied, and most desperately now need a) a written constitution, b) proportional representation.

2
GridNorth 07 Sep 2019
In reply to Gordon Stainforth:

I sincerely hope that if any good is to come out of this sorry mess that it will be a re-alignment of the whole system.  One thing we all seem to be agreed on is that it's simply not working. Perhaps that is where we could reunite. One can only hope.

1
baron 07 Sep 2019
In reply to GridNorth:

Has there ever been such a major issue which has crossed party lines and in doing so has exposed the weaknesses in our parliamentary system?

Has having to deal with a third party, in this case the EU, just added to the difficulty?

Would proportional representation have helped in this case?

Would a referendum in 2006 or 2008 have dealt with the EU issue?

GridNorth 07 Sep 2019
In reply to baron:

> Has there ever been such a major issue which has crossed party lines and in doing so has exposed the weaknesses in our parliamentary system?

No

> Has having to deal with a third party, in this case the EU, just added to the difficulty?

Yes

> Would proportional representation have helped in this case?

Isn't a referendum an extreme example of PR?

> Would a referendum in 2006 or 2008 have dealt with the EU issue?

Don't know.  What I do know is that if our Parliament and the EU had listened to  our concerns over the years we would have avoided the EU issue.

Gordon Stainforth 07 Sep 2019
In reply to GridNorth:

> Isn't a referendum an extreme example of PR?

? !!! It's absolutely unproportional. The huge 48% who wanted to remain are completely overridden by this system, and are left with NO say whatever, except by other means (e.g. our standard parliamentary democracy, media, social media, protest marches, etc etc) A referendum effectively turns 52% into a 100% 'win', and the 48% to zero.

2
Pefa 07 Sep 2019
In reply to baron:

> Would a referendum in 2006 or 2008 have dealt with the EU issue?

No an EU referendum could only be successful a good few years after the collapse of capitalism in 2007.

The billionaire capitalist classes PR arm which is the Tory press barons media needed time to whip up hate against the poor and immigrants to deflect from the corruption and thievery by the capitalist class which was then under the spotlight. 

GridNorth 07 Sep 2019
In reply to Gordon Stainforth:

Educate me then. 52% is 52% and 48% is 48%.  Surely any system has a similar "effectively" effect. If it truly was 100% win we would be out now?

3
Robert Durran 07 Sep 2019
In reply to Gridnorth

> Isn't a referendum an extreme example of PR?

Surely you mean an extreme form of FPTP.

Post edited at 14:24
2
elsewhere 07 Sep 2019
In reply to baron:

> Would proportional representation have helped in this case?

It could be highly unifying if parties had an interest in getting votes in every constituency. Parties should not be able to safely ignore the safe seats held by other parties. Neglect of your opponent's safe seats should be punishable by the voters. This is so bad in the UK it has been almost formalised as the North South political divide. 

Less cynicism if  voters could vote positively for who they want rather their second or third choice who is the challenger in that constituency. Little or no need for tactical voting.

It might also train politicians in making compromises that reflect reality than just appealing to party ideological purity.

Too many (400-450) MPs are in safe seats, they only have to appeal to party members who select the candidate. PR makes more MPs vulnerable and responsive to changes in national opinion that don't change FPTP safe seats.

Post edited at 14:54
GridNorth 07 Sep 2019
In reply to Robert Durran:

If the referendum had been an election with two parties, lets call them, for the sake of argument Remain and Leave, and there were 100 seats going, Leave would have got 52 and Remain 48. That sounds like proportional representation (with a small p and a small r) to me. I accept that is overly simplified but have I got it wrong?

2
elsewhere 07 Sep 2019
In reply to GridNorth:

> If the referendum had been an election with two parties, lets call them, for the sake of argument Remain and Leave, and there were 100 seats going, Leave would have got 52 and Remain 48. That sounds like proportional representation (with a small p and a small r) to me. I accept that is overly simplified but have I got it wrong?

You have it wrong because haven't specified a political process that deals with that split.

In PR it would multiple parties (not two) rmore realistically representing multiple opinions  (not two) of the voters. Those elected then have to find a mutually acceptable compromise or consensus. 

2
GridNorth 07 Sep 2019
In reply to elsewhere:

Perhaps I should have said over simplified. Oh wait a minute I did. I'm not quite sure that that qualifies as wrong.

2
elsewhere 07 Sep 2019
In reply to GridNorth:

What is the point of saying something sounds like pr when it doesn't include key features of pr such as representing multiple opinions in the electorate much more closely, non-binary choices and consensus building to reach a decision?

2
GridNorth 07 Sep 2019
In reply to elsewhere:

OK I concede defeat.  I thought that by saying simplified and using a small p and small r my intentions were clear.  Obviously not.

3
jethro kiernan 07 Sep 2019
In reply to GridNorth:

"Educate me then. 52% is 52% and 48% is 48%.  Surely any system has a similar "effectively" effect. If it truly was 100% win we would be out now?'

No in PR you would have had  

remain 48%

hard Brexit 15%

Norway model 10%

Swiss model 10%

unspecified negotiated deal 17%

*figuires pulled out of thin air for illustrative purposes 😀

PR gives the remain side a clear majority putting the various Brexit camps under the requirements to come up with a unified position before being able to move forward with Brexit 😀

which would require far too much negotiating and far too few committing  meaningless sound bites for them ever to achieve consensus 

Post edited at 16:42
1
jimtitt 07 Sep 2019
In reply to baron:

> Has there ever been such a major issue which has crossed party lines and in doing so has exposed the weaknesses in our parliamentary system?

> Has having to deal with a third party, in this case the EU, just added to the difficulty?

> Would proportional representation have helped in this case?

> Would a referendum in 2006 or 2008 have dealt with the EU issue?


Well the formation of the coalition government for WW2...... 

Naturally if the UK had PR then the spectre of UKIP would have been a major factor, nowadays it'll be Brexit raising it's ugly head.

In reply to Eric9Points:

> Those enraptured by referenda should have a read at this article: https://www.nytimes.com/2016/10/05/world/americas/colombia-brexit-referendum-farc-cameron-santos.html

> “The idea that somehow any decision reached anytime by majority rule is necessarily ‘democratic’ is a perversion of the term,” Kenneth Rogoff, an economics professor at Harvard, wrote after Britain’s vote to leave the European Union.

> “This isn’t democracy; it is Russian roulette for republics,” he added.

I agree with your position on referenda. My original five referenda post was more a wail against the gridlock and seemingly disfunctional governance. 

I believe a referendum can be occasionally useful. The Scottish referendum on independence somehow allowed for a more informed debate. The people were informed before they voted. 

I would prefer a root and branch reform to Westminster including PR. 

Eric9Points 07 Sep 2019
In reply to Heartinthe highlands:

> I believe a referendum can be occasionally useful. The Scottish referendum on independence somehow allowed for a more informed debate. The people were informed before they voted. 

Were they? A huge amount of rubbish was talked in 2014. I think the point made in that article that rather than try to educate themselves by finding out the details, people rely on what their politician of choice has to say on the matter was spot on.

In reply to Eric9Points:

> Were they? A huge amount of rubbish was talked in 2014. I think the point made in that article that rather than try to educate themselves by finding out the details, people rely on what their politician of choice has to say on the matter was spot on.

Some sensible stuff too, many people liked the idea of Scottish independence but were worried about the economic issues. 

Your article does go on to say that referendums need to reflect the popular will and therefore need a high voter turn out and a high threshold to instigate change. For the EU referendum it would have been more sensible to have a 60% threshold. No remainers could have complained then. 

If you rely only on Parliamentary democracy without a referendum it is arguable that Scotland should simply be independent because of the majority of MSP's and Scottish MP's are SNP! 

elsewhere 07 Sep 2019
In reply to Eric9Points:

> Were they? A huge amount of rubbish was talked in 2014. I think the point made in that article that rather than try to educate themselves by finding out the details, people rely on what their politician of choice has to say on the matter was spot on.

The indyref did feel very different. There was a defined thing to vote for/against - a six hundred page document from the Scottish govt you could specifically agree or disagree with.

Post edited at 22:21
1
Robert Durran 08 Sep 2019
In reply to GridNorth:

> If the referendum had been an election with two parties, lets call them, for the sake of argument Remain and Leave, and there were 100 seats going, Leave would have got 52 and Remain 48. That sounds like proportional representation (with a small p and a small r) to me. I accept that is overly simplified but have I got it wrong?

But that's not what happens with a referendum. It's winner takes all (theoretically), the very opposite of PR.

birdie num num 08 Sep 2019
In reply to GridNorth:

> If the referendum had been an election with two parties, lets call them, for the sake of argument Remain and Leave, and there were 100 seats going, Leave would have got 52 and Remain 48. That sounds like proportional representation (with a small p and a small r) to me. I accept that is overly simplified but have I got it wrong?

Where the rules of a vote state that a simple majority wins, then that’s what happens. Even if it’s close. No arguments.

If in 2016 the referendum result had been 52% remain and 48% leave, then remain would have declared the result a resounding success and Britain would have remained in the EU and it would have all been forgotten about now.

1
Lusk 08 Sep 2019
In reply to birdie num num:

> If in 2016 the referendum result had been 52% remain and 48% leave, then remain would have declared the result a resounding success and Britain would have remained in the EU and it would have all been forgotten about now.

That's the funniest thing I read all day on UKC

wercat 08 Sep 2019
In reply to birdie num num:

Very poor argument indeed.   The country has a position and a status and in that case a majority against change does not need any qualification as the constitution is a going concern.

It is accepted practice to require a much greater majority for change in legally constituted bodies, from nation states down to sports and social clubs, and of course corporate entities.

1
birdie num num 08 Sep 2019
In reply to wercat:

It wasn’t an argument. Poor or otherwise.

Gordon Stainforth 08 Sep 2019
In reply to wercat:

Yes, intelligently run countries usually require a supermajority of 65 or 66% for such a major constitutional change. Also, of course, our  2016 EU referendum had an advisory status not a legally mandatory one.

1
Robert Durran 08 Sep 2019
In reply to birdie num num

> If in 2016 the referendum result had been 52% remain and 48% leave, then remain would have declared the result a resounding success and Britain would have remained in the EU and it would have all been forgotten about now.

Obviously not literally forgotten about, but yes, that's the difference between voting for something definite and known rather than something which could come in a myriad different forms, some of which are far closer to the status quo than others.

1
Jenny C 08 Sep 2019
In reply to birdie num num:

>........ Britain would have remained in the EU and it would have all been forgotten about now.

Of course, just like Scotland where the SNP are no longer asking for independence or campaining for a second referendum. 

birdie num num 08 Sep 2019
In reply to Jenny C:

Yeah well that’s the way it is when you don’t get the right answer. 

Robert Durran 09 Sep 2019
In reply to Jenny C:

> Of course, just like Scotland where the SNP are no longer asking for independence or campaining for a second referendum.

Well I'm glad they are, because Brexit has the potential to make the situation very different from what it was in 2014. I for one would like the opportunity to hear the arguments in the new context and possibly vote differently second time round.


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