Brexit Vote Free Fire Zone

The last (and only) time we mentioned the UK vote on leaving the European Union was Discoveroids, British Independence, and Darwin, and that was because the Discoveroids made a bizarre analogy of the EU to the “bullying” behavior of evolutionists. Somehow it generated an ark-load of comments.

There’s no other news going on today, and the UK is voting right now. Results will soon be in, so go ahead and discuss Brexit — if you like. If not, we hereby declare another Intellectual Free-Fire Zone.

We’re open for the discussion of pretty much anything — science, politics, economics, or even astrology, theology, mythology, and sociology — as long as it’s tasteful and interesting. Banter, babble, bicker, bluster, blubber, blather, blab, blurt, burble, boast — say what you will. But avoid flame-wars and beware of the profanity filters.

We now throw open the comments to you, dear reader. Have at it.

Copyright © 2016. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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49 responses to “Brexit Vote Free Fire Zone

  1. It seems as if, in Wales, the very people who’re doing best out of EU membership are voting against it because they blame the strictly UK-bound, completely ruthless austerity politics of Conservative chancellor George Osborne on the EU.

    How could they be so completely [redacted] stupid? Step forward that champion of democracy Rupert Murdoch, whose widespread media have consistently misrepresented the debate. He campaigns against climate science, vaccination science, science in general.

    Oh, hi there, Dave Luckett, Murdoch supporter.

  2. Dave Luckett

    I don’t support Murdoch, realthog. I don’t buy his papers or watch his TV channels. I suppose he has fingers in more pies than I know about, but still, I don’t like him, not that he could give a toss. OK?

    In a day or less, we’ll know about Brexit. I think the British will vote to stay, and you’ll have your way. Now, are you willing to discuss the effect and impact of EU membership on Britain for good or ill, or would you prefer to continue as above?

  3. docbill1351

    I’m watching the results now. Fifty fifty. If it goes for Leave than Cameron is out. And good riddance to that [edited out] [edited out] [edited out] who set up this entire fiasco. But if England goes for Leave it will be like the US voting in Trump. Total insanity!

  4. Agreed, docbill. It is Don McLeroy redux – stand up to the experts.

  5. Leave will win. Next Scotland will leave the UK. What about Northern Ireland? Wales is siding with England. Will London demand more autonomy?

  6. This is a dark day for the UK and for Europe. This was a contest between Emotion and Reason, and Emotion won.

    michaelfugate notes

    Apparently all the smart people voted to remain….

    But alas, here as everywhere, smart people are a minority. A notable feature of the unpleasant political campaigning here has been the rampant alacrity with which people genuinely possessed of specialist knowledge of business and economics have been dismissed as ‘experts’, which the Brexiteers use as a pejorative term.

    This is the triumph of petty nationalism, tribalism, insularity and narrow-mindedness. The Discoveroids will be delighted…

  7. Dave Luckett challenges realthog:

    Now, are you willing to discuss the effect and impact of EU membership on Britain for good or ill, or would you prefer to continue as above?

    Given the result of the vote, I think it instead falls to you to itemise all of the benefits you believe will now flow as the UK as it ends a political alliance which you characterised (on our Curmudgeon’s previous thread on this topic) as “intolerable.” And a note on the timeline you expect all these wonderful results to obtain would also be appreciated, as the short to mid term situation is a chaotic sh*t-storm.

  8. Dave Luckett

    That’s it. I’ve just heard Cameron’s concession, and he foreshadowed his resignation, effective before the Tory conference in October. He’ll be allowed a dignified exit, it seems.

    So Britain will be out. Further comment by me would seem superfluous.

  9. docbill1351 observes

    But if England goes for Leave it will be like the US voting in Trump. Total insanity!

    Brexit is worse.

    As disgusting as a Trump presidency would be, it would at least be for only 4 (or, if you’re really unlucky, 8) years. Brexit is permanent.

    Well, Democracy does not mean always getting your own way. A bigger factor has been a generalised desire to kick the establishment, and that’s understandable (heart over head). But I marvel how delighted the American Right is by this result, for much of the ‘kicking’ here has been aimed at capitalism and the play of a free market–and perhaps that is also a factor in Trump’s campaign (but I really don’t have a clue about Trump).

  10. TomS considers the regions:

    Next Scotland will leave the UK. What about Northern Ireland? Wales is siding with England. Will London demand more autonomy?

    Pressure for a fresh referendum on Scottish Independence will be very great but such would also be fraught with problems. If Scotland were able to leave the UK, it would have to apply, if it so wished, in order to re-join the EU, which is a potentially lengthy process (an applicant nation has to fulfill 35 entrance criteria, and not be vetoed by any of the existing 27 members). And the membership would not be on the special, favourable terms (largely negotiated by a previous Thatcher government) currently enjoyed by the UK (e.g. retention of own currency, exemption from Schengen Zone, &c.). Also, the current (and probably long-term) depression in global oil price has sharply reduced Scottish revenue, and that alone has lessened the appetite for independence.

    In other words, Scotland is to be dragged against its collective (and democratically-demonstrated) will out of the EU, lose considerable benefits thereby, and have no available path for changing things–and this has come about in the name of asserting UK ‘sovereignty’ and ‘democracy.’ So we can expect Holyrood’s resentment of Westminster to reach new levels, and who can blame them?

    Northern Ireland has voted Remain 56% to 44%, decisive as a whole, but what’s significant (though not unexpected) is that the split has been along the old sectarian Nationalist/Unionist line, and the last thing anyone needs is reopening that fault line. It is hard to see how Brexit cannot re-ignite more strident Republicanism in NI, though one must ardently hope this does not really blow up.

    London, as you noted, was very solidly Remain. Quite apart from the EU referendum, there are long-standing tensions between London, a global capital, and the regions, but this issue has heightened those. Crucial will be the extent to which London’s share of international financial services is curtailed by Brexit, and how many non-EU companies, which have previously favoured London for passporting into the European market, now migrate. Even if the damage is minimal (we can hope), ‘autonomy’ from the regions is not what is desired; the Brexit result is IMHO a symptom of too great a political disconnect between the capital and the regions already.

  11. Dave Luckett

    I can’t predict, Megalonyx. It will depend upon imponderables. Will a future British government do enough to repair the lack of investment in training to produce the professional, semi-professional and skilled people that Britain needs, rather than import them? Will there be immigration controls, will they have the effect of limiting immigration of unskilled or semi-skilled people willing to work for low wages, and will this cause a rise in the basic British wage, thus encouraging more people to move into employment again? Will Britain quickly access cheaper world markets for food, fertilisers and pesticides, and will that cause food prices to fall? Will the EU be prepared to continue free trade with Britain? I think not, so imports from Europe will become more expensive. What would be the reaction of a British government to that? Countermeasures? Will it negotiate free trade arrangements with, say, Canada, Australia and the US? What about China, South America, Japan, Korea? I think it will.

    On what will Britain spend the money it now spends on the EU? I don’t know. I do know that it will have it to spend, and that the decision will be its own to make.

    I also know that a British government will be able to take those decisions for itself in the interests of Britain, and will be accountable to the British people for the results. You think this is not a good thing. I think it is. Further, I think it is alone enough of a good thing to outweigh the benefits of membership of the EU. I would continue to say that, even if post-EU British governments made wrong decisions.

    Now, as to using the word “intolerable”.

    The European Commission is the real source of coercive power and regulation in the EU. The so-called Parliament is an impotent facade. The Commission is not accountable to anyone, and its members cannot in practice be removed, not even by the Council, the heads of state who appointed them. Nor need it heed any request from them. The Commissioners are not meant to work in anybody’s interests when they legislate – in fact, they are sworn not to, and to work only for the benefit of the EU. The result is government by an elite group of placeholders whose first, last and only interest is essentially the same as their own. These arrangements are what I called intolerable, and so they are.

  12. Ken Phelps notes

    It is Don McLeroy redux – stand up to the experts.

    Bingo! Well said. 9 out of 10 economists (across the political spectrum) have stated the UK economy would be weakened by leaving the UK–to which strident Brexiteer Michael Gove simply said, “People in this country have had enough of experts” and–in a notorious demonstration of Godwin’s law–compared them to Nazis. And of course, the Brexiteers had their own small number of anti-EU economists to trot out, just like the DI’s signers of the ‘Dissenters from Darwin’ or climate-change skeptics’ short list of their own ‘experts.’

  13. @ Dave Luckett: Thanks for your comments; I’d like to respond in detail, but a bit later (been up all night following the results and, having got the kids to school, really need to catch some zzzzzzz’s)🙂

  14. We know what happened with the UK between 1945 and 1973. It’s quite safe to predict that that will happen again.

  15. @Megalonxy – I will have to agree with Dave. You mention the disconnect between London and the regions. The whole campaigns by both sides reflected that. The Remain concentrated on the economic aspect. Where the regions were quite prepared to take an economic hit if it meant we could tackle the two main points that really concerned us. Immigration and unelected, totally corrupt, EU civil service, that has failed every audit attempted on it. That The politicians have said we have to remain in Europe to fix for the last 20 years and nothing has ever happened. So how long would it take to reform at this rate.

  16. @Dave Luckett

    On what will Britain spend the money it now spends on the EU?

    A far more pertinent question is: What is Britain going to do without the money it has been getting from the EU?

  17. Dave Luckett

    According to this http://theconversation.com/fact-check-how-much-does-the-uk-actually-pay-to-the-eu-58120 the net UK contribution to the EU (ie its contributions less all returns) is about ten billion pounds per year. I agree that the Leave campaign – or some of them, anyway – made inflated claims. But I can find nobody who thinks that the UK receives more from the EU than it gives. So by leaving, the UK will have about ten billion pounds per year more to spend. Or it might cut taxes. I don’t know what a future UK government would decide, as I said.

  18. Dave Luckett writes:

    I can’t predict, Megalonyx. It will depend upon imponderables.

    So now you tell us?

    Sorry, that ain’t good enough. We’re not talking about a pending football match or a coin toss. It’s not even an election in which one may, after an interval, make a different choice the next time around. This was a one-off and irreversible step, and was not even prompted by any pending change within the EU (those treaties were negotiated and ratified years ago) requiring an urgent decision. The Brexiteers did not campaign for an option for which they said they could not ‘predict’ the results due to ‘imponderables’; they campaigned on the promise that the specific risks the Remain camp predicted (if the Brexit option was taken) will not materialise, and on firm and specific pledges for palpable benefits from leaving which must now be delivered.

    And no, I’m not going to make a big deal about Sterling and the FTSE falling over a cliff this morning, and substantial drops on other international exchanges—I’ll grant that financial market volatility is bound to be very high in the short term. It’s a tad worrying that Morgan Stanley have just now announced that 2,000 jobs are moving from London to Dublin and Frankfurt…but never mind, maybe that’ll be the end of that…

    But please, let’s just ponder a few of your ‘imponderables’:

    Will a future British government do enough to repair the lack of investment in training to produce the professional, semi-professional and skilled people that Britain needs, rather than import them?

    I doubt our Curmudgeon would agree that it is a role of government to invest public money in such skills-training of the workforce—but put that discussion to one side. Can you point me to some data which shows how it is the EU which has inhibited either private business and/or the public sector from making such investment? Even one teensy little directive or other legislation from the EU which prevents anyone from investing whatever they wish in training? Or—as it might seem—is your objection here to the operation of a free market, preferring instead that supply and demand of skilled workers and professionals be carefully controlled by government?

    Will there be immigration controls, will they have the effect of limiting immigration of unskilled or semi-skilled people willing to work for low wages, and will this cause a rise in the basic British wage, thus encouraging more people to move into employment again?

    Yes, there will be immigration controls—and that can one can be answered emphatically for the simple reason there already are controls, albeit you deem them insufficient. The UK has always retained (as does every other member of the EU) absolute control over visa, entry, residence and work permits for non-EU citizens within its own borders. If it wished so to do, the UK has powers to legislate to seal its own borders against all non-EU citizens—but not (and here’s the rub) against EU citizens. But remarkably, over half of net migration to the UK is from outside the EU, so why doesn’t government at least shut that down if this is such a peril? No, wait, once again your objection seems to be that governments should control the supply of–and thereby manipulate the demand for—labour. As for the willingness of such immigrants to work for “low wages”: you mean, willingness to work for at least the statutory minimum wage, which is (legitimately, in my view) set by the government (the national government, not the EU). And if it really is the case (though I do not believe so) that significant numbers of native British workers refuse employment because that basic minimum wage is too low, then it is entirely within the powers of the UK government to raise it and/or reduce social security payments without reference to Brussels.

    Now, the Brexiteers have made the very specific claim that, with the end of the free movement of labour within the EU, British wages will rise—and perhaps they may. But it is at least as likely that, absent an affordable workforce, a number of businesses (particularly in agriculture) will be unable to afford such wage increases and simply go under, diminishing overall growth of the economy. And what is not uncertain is surely that any significant increase in wages must also result in an increase in prices—but oddly, the Brexiteers didn’t talk about that.

    I could go on—and (apologies!) probably will🙂

  19. Dave Luckett notes that

    by leaving, the UK will have about ten billion pounds per year more to spend.

    That’s using the £350m per week figure which–as you noted and which even Nigel Farage backpeddled on this morning after the result–is inflated, but let’s not quibble. Even taking that figure of 10 billion, we’re talking about 0.3% of annual GDP; the reality is probably half that. But yes, the UK was one of the members that was a net finacial contributors.

    The question is, whether that financial cost was worth the non-financial benefits. But that’s a whopper of a question on which we are certain to disagree, and would probably bore the other readers of this worthy blog even more than I have already done.

  20. I haven’t commented at all on Brexit because I’m not well informed on the issue and its consequences. In the next several years, we’ll see what happens to the British economy — jobs, incomes, production, etc. But that will depend not only on withdrawal from the EU, but also on the policies of the government — taxes, spending, regulations, etc. So even when the evidence becomes available — with good numbers or bad — it will still be debatable as to whether Brexit was the key factor.

  21. mnbo notes

    We know what happened with the UK between 1945 and 1973. It’s quite safe to predict that that will happen again.

    And if–as seems possible, but not certain–Brexit precipitates the unravelling of the EU (as many Brexiteers openly wish), then we will see a Europe reset as a continent of protectionist and fractious nation states as it was at the beginning of the 20th century. And we all know how that played out…

  22. Our Curmudgeon notes that national governmental policies will also shape developments in the UK and Europe.

    So even when the evidence becomes available — with good numbers or bad — it will still be debatable as to whether Brexit was the key factor.

    Agreed. Brexit is now a fact, and the decision has been made by democratic means with which one cannot quarrel. Democracy means you don’t always get your own way. We are where we are, and have to make the best of it.

  23. Brexit is now a fact, and the decision has been made by democratic means with which one cannot quarrel.

    Andy Borowitz at the New Yorker has useful commentary on the subject.

  24. docbill1351

    Well, I called it. I always call it. In fact, it isn’t even it until I call it.

    Cameron is out. I guess he didn’t pray hard enough. At least he’s earned enough money to retire to the country and open a pig farm.

    Farage was High-Larry-OUS on TV claiming that the 350 million pounds a year going to the EU that would be redirected to the NHS was a “mistake” and he’s sorry if people were misled.

    Meanwhile, Boris Johnson, the UK’s educated and highly articulate version of Trump, has odds on to become the next PM. Years ago I called that, too, but before Boris started experimenting with mercury vapors.

    I said, “That boy’s going to go somewhere!” I didn’t realize it would be to [edited out] in a hand basket.

  25. But I can quarrel with the means.
    What little I know about the British constitution is that it is Parliament which makes the laws. Resorting to a plebiscite is an extraordinary extra-constitutional means. A democracy is supposed to be ruled by laws, and it is not proper to make up rules on an ad hoc basis. Switzerland has a long tradition of deciding things by plebiscite, not so the UK.
    Therefore, I propose the proposition that resorting to plebiscite in the UK is not truly democratic. But I am just an uninformed outsider.

  26. michaelfugate

    My son pointed out that perhaps people shouldn’t be allowed to vote past a certain age; old people keep trying to drag us back to a past that never existed.

  27. Dave Luckett

    Ten billion pounds per annum, net, paid to the EU, is a little more than half the figure of 350 million pounds a week claimed by Boris Johnson but it is as accurate as the accounting allows.

    If there is a supply of skilled workers available from some source, why would industry spend money to train locals? Hence, the free movement of labour – an EU requirement – can shut down training opportunities in the target economy. The EU’s policy of expanding into eastern Europe where there can be quite well-skilled workforces, but which remain depressed, has produced this effect without a word of regulation.

    Brexit was not precipitated by any specific event within the EU, true. Rather, it was slowly forced upon a very reluctant British government by pressure that steadily increased over years as the EU grew ever more intrusive.

    I suspect that there will be economic pain and dislocation, and I grant that if this is not very well handled, it could be bad. I think that there will be lower food prices, in time, and a possible improvement in real wages for the lowest-paid, but other outcomes may not be good. I hope that the British learned their lesson after WW2, and won’t repeat those errors.

    But better that than be taxed and ruled from Brussels by a disdainful bureaucracy of apparatchiks, unresponsive, obstructive, obsessed with regulation, not elected, not to be held to account, and above all, immune to removal.

    You say that the EU doesn’t cause much loss of sovereignty. (You also say that losing some sovereignty is acceptable, and it doesn’t mean that the nation is no longer sovereign. I say it isn’t acceptable, and that it means exactly that, but put that aside.)

    There are now over 600 000 pages of EU regulations that are binding on member states. They reach into every transaction, every production process, every trade, every part of the minutiae of the lives of every person. You say this is trivial, and to be accepted. I say it isn’t trivial, and that it is unacceptable. The effect is to remove a people’s right to be ruled by institutions that are responsive to their will, and that effect is progressive. The laws, decrees, directives and regulations multiply and proliferate, becoming ever more prescriptive, onerous and ubiquitous. Eventually, they become intolerable. A breaking-point is reached.

    I think the British people read the sad forecasts and dire warnings of the financial institutions, the economists, the think tanks. I think they knew that this might be a hard road. I think they took that road anyway and were wise to take it.

  28. Dave Luckett

    TomS, the British constitution being unwritten, is difficult to pronounce upon, but I believe that although it treats Parliament as sovereign, this does not imply that Parliament may not put specific matters to a referendum. That is, Parliament may decide that it doesn’t know and needs to know the country’s mind, and it may ask. It must do so by passing special legislation specific to each such referendum. The required legislation was passed, and is fully constitutional.

    Even so, the referendum is not binding on Parliament unless Parliament has made it so and this provision is not repealed. That was not done in this case. Thus, even now, the government may ignore the result, call it non-conclusive or advisory and set it aside. I believe this particular referendum can be disputed because the majority was thin and the turnout in some parts was low, even though at 72% of eligible electors overall, it was higher than at the last general election. There is actually a petition going on at the moment urging this course. If that gets 100 000 signatures, Parliament must debate it, according to recent legislation.

    But Cameron has indicated that he and his cabinet and Ministry accept the result and consider it binding upon them. Any reversal now would be to launch out into completely uncharted waters. There’s no knowing what could be the outcome.

  29. michaelfugate

    “The effect is to remove a people’s right to be ruled by institutions that are responsive to their will, and that effect is progressive. ”

    You could say this about any government – anywhere at anytime. Name one government of more than 50 people where that statement is even close to true. Hell, the US Congress hasn’t been responsive to US citizens for a long time, if it ever was.

    I think one needs to look at this from more than one side. Regulations wouldn’t be needed if corporations and governments acted in the public interest, but they often don’t. Do regulations hurt? Yes, but a world without them would be disastrous. What one wants is a more organic way of regulating – not just responding to catastrophes, but planning and correcting – more like a homeostatic mechanism. Once again this would require acting in the public interest.

  30. The Brits are now free to join the Curmudgeon’s Hegemony. There are no taxes or regulations. All they need to do is recognize me as the Ultimate Sovereign.

  31. True to form, the Scots voted by 2/3 to stay IN the EU. Now they are also saying another breakaway from the UK vote is in the works, this one not to lose.

  32. longshadow

    The Curmudgeon wrote:

    [blockquote]The Brits are now free to join the Curmudgeon’s Hegemony. There are no taxes or regulations. All they need to do is recognize me as the Ultimate Sovereign.[/blockquote]

    Ahh, you are just dying to don your ceremonial cod-piece again, aren’t you?

  33. Nature has a useful piece on the likely impact of Brexit on UK science. It doesn’t make reassuring reading.

    And the import for climate change is likewise concerning.

  34. Longie says: “Ahh, you are just dying to don your ceremonial cod-piece again, aren’t you?”

    Unlike you, I don’t need to wear mine all the time.

  35. Dave Luckett

    Sovereignty is a fact; democracy an ideal. The one can exist, barring only physical constraints, and has existed. The other does not, and never has. It can only be approached.

    But the only approach to democracy is the genuine sovereignty of institutions that are answerable to the demos – which means, “the ordinary people”, not just those who are smart or young – or rich, or gently born, or owners of land, or military veterans or whatever. Some exclusions exist – convicts, perhaps; certainly the mentally incapacitated, and those not of responsible age. You can set that last where you will, and it can be debated: but I doubt that you would assert that six-year-olds should vote.

    Parliament is answerable to the demos. You can say that this happens only every five or whatever years. Perhaps so, although there are other obvious forms of communication. But it is in principle and in fact answerable. Its members are accountable to their constituents for what they have done and said in Parliament, and they can be and are dismissed for what they have done or said, or not done and not said.

    The European Commission, the true sovereign authority within the EU, is not answerable. It is not elected. It has no constituency. It requires no mandate to legislate. Its members are not held responsible for what it does. They are not required to account for their acts or words – indeed, their deliberations are secret. Once installed, they are not even answerable to the heads of state of Europe who appointed them, nor are they bound to comply with their requests. The most those heads of state, combined, can do is to request the Commission’s attention – and even that, the Commission can effectively ignore by applying the simplest of bureaucratic tools: obfuscation and delay.

    This is intolerable. It is not merely an imperfection of democracy; it is profoundly and pointedly anti-democratic. It is true that each successive step in the evolution of this apparatus was negotiated and accepted by the governments involved, each step being held to be preferable to balking, and only a small concession, a minor accommodation, a trifling compromise of principle. We, of all people, should be aware of the cumulative effect of small steps. They can lead to wonderful things. And also to chiggers and ticks and cholera bacilli and Guinea worms.

    It should not have been allowed to happen. But at least those governments are accountable, and one of them – Cameron’s – has now been held to account.

  36. Dave Luckett says: “This is intolerable. It is not merely an imperfection of democracy; it is profoundly and pointedly anti-democratic.”

    But it was intelligently designed.

  37. The much-missed Longshadow notes that our Curmudgeon is

    just dying to don your ceremonial cod-piece again

    As Olivia tearfully told me, the unspeakably disgusting part of the ‘ceremony’ isn’t when he puts the cod-piece on

  38. Our Curmudgeon notes that, with all its flaws, the EU

    was intelligently designed.

    Yep–just like automobiles are intelligently designed but horses are not.

    I know which form of transport I prefer for journeys of longer duration….

  39. I’ve been fighting off the urge to continue posting on this topic, for fear of exhausting everyone’s patience even more than I have already. But, like Wilde, I can resist everything but temptation, and this is a dead thread others may easily ignore now. Soooo…to continue:

    Dave Luckett wrote:

    On what will Britain spend the money it now spends on the EU? I don’t know. I do know that it will have it to spend—

    Actually, you only think you know that, but it is far from certain. The Brexit campaign certainly claimed as much (“We can build a new hospital a week” was actually suggested–though since retracted–by Farage). But even using the inflated cost you previously quoted, it is unlikely that there will be any ‘Brexit Dividend’ once you account for the substantial costs of Brexit itself, e.g. increase in trade tariffs with our single biggest market, reduction of tax revenue as overall UK economy shrinks, &c. &c.

    But if there is indeed a modest sum remaining, once those costs are absorbed, you are correct in stating that the UK government will dispose of it in a decision that it

    will be its own to make

    –precisely as it has always been its own decision to make. So, if any additional funds do arise from not paying the membership fee, the UK could decide to spend them trying to stave off the Brexit-triggered constitutional crisis now unfolding (the accurate prediction of which by the Remain camp was dismissed as ‘scare-mongering’ by the Brexiteers) over Scotland and Northern Ireland.

    Well, no need to argue here about our respective opinions and predictions when time will give us some data; let’s reconvene in 12 and 24 month to compare annual balance sheets for the UK and put a figure on the ‘Brexit Dividend’, if any.

    You further say:

    I also know that a British government will be able to take those decisions for itself in the interests of Britain, and will be accountable to the British people for the results. You think this is not a good thing.

    I never said anything even remotely of the kind, that is a pathetic and dishonest distortion unworthy of you.

    The British government—our elected representatives, acting on our behalf—negotiated the UK’s entry and, at the juncture of each amending treaty, the continuing terms of the UK’s terms of membership. At every point, these actions have been in what was believed (rightly or wrongly) to be the best ‘interests of Britain’, and at every point Parliament has been accountable to the British electorate alone. Now, we clearly disagree on whether or not EU membership has been in the UK’s best interest (though that argument is now an historic one), but no one challenges the right and power of Parliament, by periodically renewed mandate by the British electorate, to have undertaken those actions.

    But I do think the above rather weakens your rigid definition of ‘sovereignty’ (more anon on that, maybe): the absolute power of the UK to now invoke Lisbon Article 50 to dissolve its membership demonstrates that the UK never surrendered ‘sovereignty’ in any meaningful sense. Mind you, it’s a bit like saying that marriage today (unlike previous times) is not a form of lifetime bondage because both parties have the power to divorce—but the only way to prove that is by actually divorcing! But that is by the by.

    Continuing: you state again your belief, but still without substantiating your reasons for so believing, in the primacy of your quaint and absolutist view of the national ‘sovereignty’:

    I think it is alone enough of a good thing to outweigh the benefits of membership of the EU. I would continue to say that, even if post-EU British governments made wrong decisions.

    But you have not yet explained why, on your definition, we should not emulate North Korea, which keeps its sovereign ‘essences’ pure, and defying any polluting notion of international agreement in its development of a nuclear arsenal, all the better to preserve its supreme national sovereignty. All hail Kim Jong-un, Champion of National Sovereignty!

    In other words: you maintain it is more important to retain every inch (or centimetre, as we’re talking Europe) of our precious sovereign Essence, in the name of definitional purity, than to pragmatically weigh up benefits arising from pooling portions of it with other nations. Who needs treaties or any nascent concept of international law to settle disputes between nations when you can always just send in the gunboats? You insist on a concept of absolute national sovereignty that prevailed in the 19th century but which I do not think sufficient or appropriate for the fully globalised economy of the 21st century (where so many challenges to our prosperity—if not, indeed, to our survival—are beyond the power of individual nation states to solve unless they find more co-operative and mutually beneficial structures of pooling power). I simply don’t understand why you wish to make of ‘sovereignty’ such a shibboleth, but we’ve already agreed to disagree on this one.

    But I know understand better why Klinghoffer is in agreement with you on this one, seeking as he does to take us back at least to the 19th century (well, at least before 1859, if not further).

  40. michaelfugate

    Dave is just blowing smoke here. Playing with words to get his desired conclusion – that “the people” have no say in the EU and other international bodies.

  41. Dave Luckett continued:

    Now, as to using the word “intolerable”.

    Yes, that needs some elucidation. It’s an appeal to emotion (or, dare I say it, ‘intuition’) over reason, and it took it to apply to your objection to the notion of any divisibility of our Precious Sovereign Essences. But you go on to additionally apply it to your distaste for the

    European Commission is the real source of coercive power and regulation in the EU. The so-called Parliament is an impotent facade. The Commission is not accountable to anyone, and its members cannot in practice be removed, not even by the Council, the heads of state who appointed them. Nor need it heed any request from them.

    Well, that’s a cute caricature — but if you were to exaggerate it by an order of magnitude, you’d have a remarkably accurate portrait of our beloved House of Lords! For chrissake, that wholly unelected body wields vastly more power than the EU over the UK and is composed of such jolly unelected folk as the Lords Spiritual (CoE Bishops), heredity peers (i.e. the great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great grandson of someone who, for example, pimped for Henry VIII), a clutch of Dukes (who voted for them?), and periodically stuffed with fresh batches varying number of appointed ‘life peers’ appointed by the governing party of the day, &c. &c. But presumably this grotesque governing legacy is to be tolerated as it is, after all, an instrument of our Precious Sovereign Essences…

    Please show me on the map where I can live and be governed only by a legislature and laws which I intuit to be “tolerable.”

    Better: show me on the map a nation that values and practises ‘tolerance’ as an essential prerequisite for a just and democratic society. I previously believed the UK to be working toward that ideal. But last week’s murder (in a rare instance of gun crime here) of the highly-regard Jo Cox, MP, by a nutter shouting “Britain first, death to traitors” has rather shattered my illusions on this. The unnecessary and damaging Brexit campaign has loosed the dogs of nationalism, and the victory of our Little Englanders will do enormous damage, and not just to the UK. It is to be regretted, deplored — and is far closer than your cartoon picture of the EU to something that is “intolerable.”

  42. Aaargh! Multiple typos in above post, but no need to fix them–it’s a symptom I’m ranting and over-posting.

    Don’t shoot, officer! I’m putting the keyboard down and stepping away…

  43. Dave Luckett

    Since I have no regrets at all in stating that I am not about to engage in a sneering contest with either Megalonyx or anyone else, I have nothing more to say.

  44. michaelfugate

    A nice match to Dave’s over-emotive “leave” comments.
    https://www.theguardian.com/books/2016/jun/25/philip-pullman-on-the-1000-causes-of-brexit

  45. Dave is just blowing smoke here. Playing with words to get his desired conclusion – that “the people” have no say in the EU and other international bodies.

    Thank you, michaelfugate. I can’t help feeling that debating DaveLuckett falls into this category.

  46. @Megalonyx
    I asked my wife what the term “Precious Sovereign Essences” might possibly mean, and her answer was very rude indeed.

  47. docbill1351

    I hadn’t considered the ramifications of my essences being “Precious Sovereign” but I like the idea! Pull my finger, squire!

  48. realthog notes

    I can’t help feeling that debating DaveLuckett falls into this category. [link to SC article: ‘Debating Creationists is Dumber Than Creationism’

    Aaarrrgghhhh! You don’t know how hard I’ve struggled to not say that!

    But you’re right, it’s impossible to not conclude as much when he vomits out statements like:

    There are now over 600 000 pages of EU regulations that are binding on member states.

    I mean, what a scary number! Just look at all them zeroes! Why, it looks exactly like one of them whopper numbers the Creationists pull out of their own Seventh Planets for the odds against Molecules to Man Evilution!

    And about as meaningful as well. No source, no context, no comparisons—in short, no evidence at all. I could go on—but there’s no end to shredding such twaddle, so we’ll let it go.