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Brexit: An Outsider’s Perspective

This is more a reflective piece on a personal quandary than anything else, but I hope it provides some food for thought.

Brexit has become, since its inception in 2016, the issue of British politics. It toppled a Prime Minister and even brought the Queen into politics. It is such a divisive issue, with calls for second referenda coming thick and fast.  There is one aspect of the issue that has not been considered, at least that I have seen. This will be controversial, but I hope to provide maximal clarity for my position: Brexit needs to Happen.

Explanation, Part One: They Voted for It

This may seem like a copout, but the British people ultimately did vote for this. If the term Democracy is to have any meaning at all, its results must be carried out, no matter how terrible they may be. If the political class were to overrule the electorate and scuttle Brexit, what is to stop any other election result from being similarly overruled if the political class deemed it unpalatable? Politics, like the law, is built on precedent. Overruling an election result voted on by the people sets a very dangerous political precedent. A vote is a vote and a political class that overrules its people may well find itself on the receiving end of pitchforks and torches. Democracy is, as Churchill said, the worst form of government there is except for all the others.

Explanation, Part Two: Rebutting ‘They Were Lied To’ 

One argument you hear against Brexit is that the leave campaign was a tissue of lies, particularly around the NHS. It is true, the campaign deceived the people. But this also sets a dangerous precedent.

Think about it: every contested election campaign is, to some extent or other, based on lies. Strawmanning your opponents, inflated policy promises and so on. If dishonesty in campaigning is grounds for invalidating an election result, no government would ever be elected. I am afraid I do not buy the notion that since the leave campaign lied to the people, the result of the referendum is somehow invalid. The argument against ‘they were lied to’ boils down to ‘all politicians lie in campaigning and the result still stands. why is Brexit any different?’

Conclusion: Reflection

Detractors of this piece might see me as a Democratic extremist – and perhaps I am. However, I cannot get past the precedent that a second vote or simply scuttling Brexit sets. A Democracy where results only stand if the political class approves is a Democracy in name only.

To end, a disclaimer: like Smith in his Wealth of Nations, I am appalled by the argument that I have set out here. This is not what I personally want to happen, or even believe should happen, but principles trump any one man. If Britain claims to be a Democracy and not an oligarchy with meaningless voting, this result must be implemented.

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13 comments

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  1. Jack Cade

    I have just had visitors from the UK, my sister-in-law and my niece. They are from Southampton and rabid Conservatives, and each voted ‘leave’. I was a bit surprised because my understanding was that the South, principally London and its environs, were ardent remainers, and that the leavers were in the former industrial cities laid waste by Thatcher.
    They were quite circumspect when admitting to their reasons for voting to leave, but I got the impression that immigration was their main gripe, and the racial aspect of it paramount.

  2. Glenn Barry

    Ironic that a nation which grew wealthy invading and forcefully colonising peoples all over the planet for centuries now justifies nationalism as a facade for their racism

  3. Flogga

    Wouldn’t it be nice if for some reason they did have another referendum, voted to stay and the EU said no, you go!

  4. Robin Dewar

    This is so much rubbish, when are people going to wake up to the fact that this is all about tax evasion of the wealthy and nothing to do with the welfare of the country . It has been very cleverly orchestrated for this purpose only, and there is more than enough evidence been published to prove it. Brexit will not change the country for the better and that fact will remain .

  5. mark delmege

    There are good arguments for getting out of the EU. Perhaps the smaller countries have even more good reasons to leave. Unlike the Brits they have lost control over monetary policy. Keeping the pound and the ability to set their own interest rates (I think) was a smart move.
    Those who identify with Europe it seems will be happy with a one world government and that form of globalism but not me. As someone wrote recently internationalism and globalism are not the same thing.

  6. New England Cocky

    I am reminded that in 1933 Germany elected a fascist government in a democratic vote, had a suspicious Reichstag fire and became the Fuhrerstat under a strange Austrian working class orator with the support of German heavy industrialists particularly and industrialists generally. The ultimate consequences are too well known.

    The UK Brexit Dilemma has an upper class ‘person’ elected in a democratic vote that put a Conservative government into power, and kept them there in a second election with the support of the middle class dreaming for the greatness of a long lost Empire to provide jobs that were lost under a previous Conservative prim monster.

    Perhaps the best thing that may come out of Brexit is the re-unification of Ireland in some form that the Irish people can accept, and the independence of Scotland that has made London wealthy for centuries. Then England will have to rely upon the City because there is much history of past greatness but little evidence of future economic prospects.

  7. Glenn K

    one of the great things to come out of the entire Brexit fiasco is that here in France the French no longer talk about Frexit. The clusterf***k happening in the UK has shown the French the folly of what a Frexit would do to France. Thank you Tories (about the only thing I would ever want to thank them for)

  8. Terence Mills

    As an expatriate POM of many years I believe that they do need a Confirmatory vote on Brexit, ideally scheduled to take place on 12 December with the national election : just another box to tick and no major costs involved. If that confirmatory vote shows a positive shift in favour of remaining then a final referendum could be scheduled for the new year : a 52% to 48% vote was certainly not determenative.

    It does seem that the Brexiteers are a little paranoid about having a second vote on such an important and fundamental matter and clearly Bojo is opposed to any second vote. Labour, however, are campaigning to have a second referendum if they are elected but their Leader’s lack of popularity will work against them.

    Whilst I agree that the Brussels-centric autocracy needs breaking up, the Brits can only really achieve this from within rather than cutting off their collective noses to spite their faces.

  9. Andrew Smith

    Brexit was not an election but a referendum based upon sentiments.

    Not aware of any EU nation’s majority of citizens wanting to leave but some ‘illiberal’ leaders claim they want to, while accepting EU financial transfers.

    Best description of what overcame the UK according to Goldsmith’s research, especially England, was ‘collective narcissism’.

  10. mark delmege

    Can someone enlighten me as to why the EU is so popular with so called lefties?
    Is it not run by and for the bankers and aristocrats of big business from Germany (the third/fourth major world economy) and France and their big business mates from elsewhere in Europe?
    And do they not support the wars of Empire?

  11. George Theodoridis

    What was missing at the time that UK (and all the other 26 nations) joined the EU was a Laocoon. The Trojan priest who had warned the Trojans about that wooden horse. Were one to paraphrase his admonition to fit the brexit situation, or, rather Britain’s joining of the EU, I daresay, he’d put Virgil’s words like this,”Equo ne credite, anglicus viros. Quidquid id est, timeo nummulariis (Bankers) et dona ferentes» (Aeneid, II, 48-49, Virgil 29-19BC).
    “That horse, I don’t reckong it’s a horse and whatever it is, Men of England, fear the blodody bankers even when they’re carrying gifts for you.”

    The EU was and indubitably still is, a gang of thieving, marauding bankers who, like all powerful, thieving marauders had rolled out a gorgeous, glittering wooden horse which promised victory and wealth and easy travel and jobs galore and escape from mothers-in-law, but all the while, was bloated with thieves and marauders armed to the teeth and ready to open the gates to No 10..

    The English bankers and thieves and marauders welcomed it because they were certain to get their sweaty hands onto more wealth, more political power, more security for their ill-earned coin. The people, well, they were given some trinkets, the sort of trinkets that colonisers usually give to the indigenous of a land before they slaughter them. Mirrors and beads and dunny paper.

    In short, the bankers and industrialist (a euphemism for bastard and mongrels and savage slave traders) had made up yet another tax haven, another money laundering tool, another slave yard, another casino for them to play in.

    No one should have taken the bait. No one should have accepted that Wooden horse. No one should have listened to the bankers. They are, to use a metaphor, the snakes with the deadliest venom.
    Pity the priest Laocoon wasn’t there, or if he was, he was certainly killed by the Goddess Athena (Minerva to Virgil).

    Should the Brits then keep fighting, while staying in war with the EU bankers or should they say no, no thanks and fluck the fluck off, we’ll fight our own bankers?

    Frying pan and fire choice.

  12. Joseph Carli

    Years ago. George, when I was working for those Greeks, I would say that the biggest mistake we “ethnic” migrants did was in NOT getting more of us into Parliament and chucking the Anglos out!
    I also had an idea of forming a : “Federation of Mediterranean States”, with all those nations around the rim of the Mediterranean Sea…but there was that one terrible hurdle to overcome…..: Israel….One just knows THEY wouldn’t want to be part of anything!

    Here you go, George….one for the poet in you..

    A Little Bit of Greek Wisdom!

    We rise, good company these Greeks!
    And the laughter~…what, ho!
    And the coffee…; syrup of Arabia.
    A novelty to me, custom to these.
    We rise, and matter of course, (or custom?)
    Did I take my cup to the servery,
    While, without thought they left theirs table’d.
    “Ah, so!” She cried in mock accusation…
    Her supple white arm lifted thus,pointing,
    Her other hip’d, tea-towel clutched.
    “You can see which are the Greeks!
    Their dishes left for me to clear!”
    They halted, inquiring, eyebrows raised.
    For a moment, siding with the woman,
    Seeking to appease, seeking feminine approval,
    I thought to challenge them; “Clear the table fellows!”
    But experience held my tongue, instead I spoke thus:
    “Raise me not above my equals, my Lady,
    With such visible flattery, lest…outside, beyond thine eyes,
    In vexation they should smote me to the ground”.
    She turned to me her eyes,
    Greek eyes, Deep eyes, dark Greek eyes.
    That hold the secret of the Trojan wars.
    And whispered thus:
    “I would come to help thee”.
    Oh! the eyes, the voice, the breathless whisper;
    The three together promised delight,
    Men have risked all for such promises,
    Where now; Troy? where Marc Antony? and Eden’s garden?
    For the moment I paused, pondered,
    To consider the foibles human;
    But Ahh..damm!
    Too old am I now to doubt it thus:
    The tyrants always walk with the women.
    (The poet, only,.. is left in the dust.).

  13. george theodoridis

    Sounds more like a fantasy than a poem, Joe!
    And I’ll have you know, I ALWAYS take my dishes to the bench!

    But I do love the exhortation: “Raise me not above my equals, my lady… lest they should smote me to the ground!”
    Good one.

    Still, all eyes are just eyes and all are beautiful… until they start fading.

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