Sunday, 18 February 2018

Democracy?




If we believe the exit polls, probably a significant proportion of the 52% who voted "leave" in June 2016 have died now.  It was the Boomers+ who mainly voted to leave.  Well, I must point out I'm a 66 year-old Boomer-Remainer and know very few Brexiteers even amongst my age group.  Just so we're clear about who I am.  I buck the trend a little. I guess that's down to the circles I move in: people who speak other languages, academics, writers and people who sing in choirs. 

The polls also tell us that many young people who are now old enough to vote would vote Remain.
How far are we now between 48% and 52%? 

A referendum differs anyway from an election. If an election came out with that split, the opinions of the 48% are still represented by the MPs who sit in parliament. Stupid decisions can be reversed. The referendum is an irreversible yes or no on a single issue and it strikes me as foolhardy to make such a dramatic change on such a narrow margin.  It screams "find a third way".  My suggestion is stay in the EU but address all of the problems the Leavers perceived. Some of these, of course, were totally unfounded; there is no £350,000,000 a week available for the NHS, we always did have sovereignty and the NHS actually benefits because of immigrants.  I have already written about similar issues elsewhere on this blog.  

A lot of people who live, work and pay taxes here weren't allowed to vote. The world hasn't got this right yet.  In my opinion, expats should be allowed to vote either in their country of residence, in the country where they pay taxes or the country where they were born, or split their voting rights proportionally across these places. I have similar concerns about taxation.  Yes, there are reciprocal agreements so you can choose to be taxed where you are domiciled yet we rage against the multinationals that choose not to be domiciled in our country.  I actually think I should pay a little tax to the US. Their fire-fighters would put out the fires in the Amazon offices and thereby protect my interests. Again, it should be proportional and I should get the same proportion of voting rights. Maybe I'd have even had a little say in the latest presidential elections. Goodness, if such an international law existed, the US might have had a female president.  Now add those who live and work here but couldn't vote to the 48% - is it already 50 / 50? 

There are those who have changed their mind, those who were having a go at Cameron, those who did not realise that we need our current - or June 2016 - level of net migration to support our welfare state. It does not undermine it. Are we already 51 / 49? 

Then there are those who believed the lies. Okay so that old joke: how can you tell when a politician is lying – his mouth is moving. "It's normal," some say. "We were duped. Our bad luck." Well we all have to learn how to understand critically what a politician says for even if s/he tries to talk without bias he / she will have a bias. The lies this time though were blatant and huge and the consequences of the decision taken as a result life-changing and irreversible. 52/48? 

There is a little light, and I think social media helped. Madam May tried to bring into effect something akin to the Enabling Act that gave Hitler a lot of power.  At least our MPS had the guts to throw this one out. 

I hope they will also have the guts to stand up to May or any other Tory – and in fact Cameron was the first to bring this up – who tries to tinker with Human Rights. And that is one of the most worrying aspects of losing the protection of EU laws and the European court.    

Let's hope that they know what is right and will have the guts to act on that. They have been democratically elected to look after our best interests.  

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