Richard Dawkins: Ignoramuses should have no say on our EU membership—and that includes me

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by Richard Dawkins


“Are you an Inny or an Outy? A Keeper or a Brexiteer?”

“Well, at first I wanted to leave, to punish David Cameron. But then Boris came out as a leaver and I can’t stand his hair so I’ll be voting to stay in Europe.”

That is approximately the level of discourse which will momentously decide Britain’s future.

My own answer to the question is, “How should I know? I don’t have a degree in economics. Or history. How dare you entrust such an important decision to ignoramuses like me?”

I, and most other people, don’t have the time or the experience to do our due diligence on the highly complex economic and social issues facing our country in, or out of, Europe. That’s why we vote for our Member of Parliament, who is paid a good salary to debate such matters on our behalf, and vote on them. The European Union referendum, like the one on Scottish independence, should never have been called.


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157 COMMENTS

  1. I, on the other hand know rather well what I need for my eco-businesses. I need us to remain because increasingly we need coordinated action across borders to drive standards and legislation to manage climate change and the need to transition quickly to sustainable business models. The loss of channels for such high level coordination is not to be countenanced at this highly critical time.

    On the other hand other powers need further devolving down to manage unique local issues.

    Ultimately our identity should be entirely contingent on the problems we are addressing.

    Personally I don’t want to share an ever littler bit of the UK with Little Englanders. My secret plan should the Hair and Speccy Gove prevail is to move to Scotland like a bunch of others, vote for separation and then re-join the EU. Moving to the high bits may be a useful move, And if we can get the little englanders to pay for a rebuilt Hadrians wall all to the good.

  2. @OP – My own answer to the question is, “How should I know? I don’t have a degree in economics. Or history. How dare you entrust such an important decision to ignoramuses like me?”

    This was never about the interests of the country or the general population.

    It was a wild gamble by Cameron to placate the nutty fringes of the Tory party and hold together the potential split!

    Brexit is being promoted by buffoons like Gove – the Tory Minister who managed to accumulate a record number of votes of no confidence in his ministerial capabilities from professional bodies.

    I see one of their more educated MPs has just swapped over to “Remain” because of the blatant dishonesty of the Brexit campaign!

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-eu-referendum-36485464

    Tory MP Sarah Wollaston has quit the campaign to leave the EU and will vote for Remain instead, she told the BBC.

    Dr Wollaston, chairman of the health select committee, said Vote Leave’s claim that Brexit would free up £350m a week for the NHS “simply isn’t true”.

    She told the BBC she did not feel comfortable being part of the campaign.

    But the Totnes MP, a former GP, said: “For someone like me who has long campaigned for open and honest data in public life I could not have set foot on a battle bus that has at the heart of its campaign a figure that I know to be untrue.

    “If you’re in a position where you can’t hand out a Vote Leave leaflet, you can’t be campaigning for that organisation.”

    Dr Wollaston said she thought there would be a “Brexit penalty” on the NHS because leaving the EU would hit Britain’s economy.

    “The consensus now is there would be a huge economic shock if we voted to leave,” she said. “Undoubtedly, the thing that’s most going to influence the financial health of the NHS is the background economy. So I think there would be a Brexit penalty.”

    The Brexit campaigners have cherry picked figures to present misleading information in the style creationists and of climate-change deniers.
    In fact some of them ARE long standing climate change deniers!!!!

    In any case, a long list of professional expert bodies have described Brexit as a disaster!

  3. I entire agree; we employ elected representatives to deal with matters on our behalf, both at home and abroad, through the channels of Parliament.

    They should familiarize themselves with their briefs and get on with the job, not ask us what they should do; after all, we pay for their long lunches and sticky drinks.

    Concerning referenda, On May 18, 1945, in a long letter to Churchill, Clement Atlee wrote: “I could not consent to the introduction into our national life of a device so alien to all our traditions as the referendum, which has only too often been the instrument of Nazism and Fascism. Hitler’s practices of referenda and plebiscites can heardly have endeared those expedients to the British heart.”.

    As I say, it was a long letter, but this was its nub; Churchill had been trying it on, by calling for an election before the war with Japan had finished, and while his glory still glistened brightest, in order to ditch the coalition government; but Atlee was having none of it; as it turned out, by the time the dust had settled Churchill lost the election.

    And in any case, what an unedifying spectacle this has been! All heat and no light; not glimmer. Squabbling like children.

    Although I’m glad that the true attitudes of some of our politicians have been revealed; not that they couldn’t have guessed at.

    Hello! The colonies are lost dear.

  4. Richard; and anyone else confused or disgusted by the puerile level of debate, You have as much right as anyone to rise above the loonies and the experts, because the EU is not about administration, it is not about economics; it is about politics. Are you a lumper or a splitter? Are you a nationalist or an internationalist? Do you believe god is an Englishman or that he is a figment of an immature imagination.

    The outers disguise their morbid racism behind a camouflage of economics and “sovereignty’. They deny the EU has been the single biggest component of european peace for 2000 years and say it is NATO that keeps the peace. And ludicrously and bewilderingly they have no fear of surrendering “sovereignty” to an unelected, multi-nation military machine.

  5. Phil @ # 5.

    “Scotland will vote out of the UK next available chance.”.

    Of course they will.

    As Hilaire Belloc said:

    “And always keep a-hold of Nurse
    For fear of finding something worse”

  6. With this vote, will the final outcome be dependent upon the public’s vote, or do your administrators have the final say, using the public’s vote as insight? Had Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka been decided by a local public vote, I imagine the schools would have remained racially segregated.

  7. I agree that if it were purely an economic debate, it would be too complex for the general public to decide.

    But the EU has become a political union to an extent that few envisaged when we joined. Key legislation is driven by an unelected commission. I think the British public has every right, and sufficient competence, to determine whether or not it wants it’s laws to be set entirely by elected representatives in our own parliament.

  8. But the EU has become a political union to an extent that few envisaged when we joined.

    Yet the original 1975 referendum pamphlet (which is available online) makes it quite clear that it was never just about trade:

    “The aims of the Common Market are:

    To bring together the peoples of Europe.

    To raise living standards and improve working conditions.

    To promote growth and boost world trade.

    To help the poorest regions of Europe and the rest of the world.

    To help maintain peace and freedom."

    Key legislation is driven by an unelected commission. I think the British public has every right, and sufficient competence, to determine whether or not it wants it’s laws to be set entirely by elected representatives in our own parliament.

    You’ve phrased this carefully, Simon, but I want to use your comment as a springboard to make a few things clear to anyone who’s not aware of how the EU works in this respect.

    First, while the EU Commission can and does propose EU legislation, it has no vote on it. Only the directly elected MEPs and the Council can accept or reject the proposed legislation. The Council is made up of elected representatives of the 28 national governments. So the voting is all done by people who have been elected.

    Secondly, because there is no EU government as such, the EU works as much as possible on the basis of consensus. What this means in practice is that, before putting forward proposed legislation for MEPs and the Council to vote on, the Commission spends a great deal of time consulting each of the 28 member governments, which gives each of the member countries an opportunity to influence the legislation being proposed. Far from having EU legislation foisted upon us, we (and every other EU member state) are fully involved in the process of creating it right from the start. This might explain why, over the last 6 years, the UK has agreed with 97% of all EU legislation passed.

    Thirdly, for all areas of major significance – new members, for example, or changes to membership arrangements; trade deals; new or modified treaties – the EU can only act if the action is approved by the EU Parliament, the Council AND each of the 28 national governments. That’s not just some govt representative in Brussels: it means those plans have to be approved (or rejected) in our Houses of Parliament. Several member states have even opted to make their approval of such major policy areas subject to a national referendum. It only takes one national government to reject the proposed policy for the whole thing to fall through.

    Fourthly, the EU only legislates in policy areas that have been either wholly or partially delegated to it by the member states. There is also a fundamental principle built into the EU (and being emphasised more and more in recent months and years) that decisions should be taken locally wherever possible and at EU level only where necessary for greater transnational effectiveness. The key policy areas affecting our day-to-day lives – housing, welfare, health, defence and foreign policy – are all entirely in our own hands.

    Finally, even if we vote to leave the EU, our laws will still not be set entirely by elected representatives in our own parliament. When did any of us last elect anyone to the House of Lords? When did we elect our Head of State? Nor did we directly elect the Cabinet – each individual member of the Cabinet was elected as an MP, but was then appointed to a government position by the Prime Minister. None of us had a say in Jeremy Hunt becoming Secretary of State for Health, for example (and I daresay most of us would choose to kick him out if we could). And we certainly don’t get to elect or even influence the choice of Permanent Secretaries in the Civil Service. What’s more, thanks to our First Past the Post electoral system, not even the House of Commons genuinely reflects the actual numbers of votes cast for any given Party. The European Parliament, being elected on the basis of Proportional Representation, is a much fairer and more democratic reflection of the votes cast by the citizens of the EU.

  9. Well, I see economists from opposed political parties. and with opposed philosophical perspectives on society´s functioning (pro and against EU).
    Piaget (please, don´t get bored if I am repeating what you may be aware of) the same quote that stated the idea that, when it comes to a “human path” there is no reason without philosophy. For more difficult that it must be to “decide”, were you an economist instead of a biologist, you could either be a brixteer or keeper ( with more competences of course). Revereding I guess is consulting opinion, not exactelly legislating accordingly .
    I would try to do my best to “decide” too.
    I think I would prefer to leave, not even if I had to eat grass everyday, which is of course deciding with “guts”.

  10. UK leaves EU. Scotland leaves UK.
    Hadrians Wall is refurbished, a grand job-creation scheme to rival Trumps Canadian Wall.
    The Northern Ireland border becomes the EU frontier, with all the potential to revitalise the time honoured tradition of smuggling. Or does NI follow Scotland’s lead? Poor Wales.

    Or, is this referendum not actually binding? It’ll just go to a Select Committee who will delay and delay and finally slip out a do-nothing report on Christmas Eve…..

    It was news to me that Hitler used referenda, plebiscites, to put the popular seal of approval on (some of) his policies. I need to read more about that.

  11. Marco

    You make some good points. There are compromises in all areas of politics and democracy, of course. With the EU, though, I think there is a particular tendency for smaller, weaker nations to often ultimately agree with the policies promoted by the more powerful countries, because they don’t want to risk losing the subsidies they receive.

    For me, the main problem with the referendum is that we haven’t been given the right choice. The UK government and the EU are both mean to represent us. So they both ought to have worked out in advance (whether in their interest of or not) what the consequences would be (particularly with regard to freedom of movement and trade) if we were to leave. As it is, we’re stuck in a sort of hole where we cannot make an informed choice that ought to be perfectly possible.

  12. Simon Tuffen #11
    Jun 9, 2016 at 6:24 pm

    I agree that if it were purely an economic debate, it would be too complex for the general public to decide.

    Key legislation is driven by an unelected commission.

    All competently drafted legislation is worded by civil servants trained in administration, and by specialist committees with expert advisors. Elected representatives essentially decide what is compatible with their ideologies and the social groups they identify with.

    I think the British public has every right, and sufficient competence, to determine whether or not it wants it’s laws to be set entirely by elected representatives in our own parliament.

    In the group of MPs advocating Brexit, the incompetent self deluding and dishonest are well represented!

    Bodies of expert opinion, already assessed the levels of competence of the likes of Gove (more votes of no confidence than any previous minister), and Farage (who exhibited his forward planning capabilities by landing in a plane with a UKIP banner, – upside down in a field, and then lighting up a cigarette next to the crashed fuel tanks!) Most of these people cannot even negotiate constructive agreements with members of their own parties – let alone with separately with numerous countries ! (You will note there are two rival “out campaigns”).

    I think the British public has every right, and sufficient competence, to determine whether or not it wants it’s laws to be set entirely by elected representatives in our own parliament.

    Unfortunately, most of the British public has no way of telling the difference between those with vested interests, or self-deluding incompetents, spreading carefully contrived deception, and expert opinion from people who have studied the subject in depth.

    This is akin to the creationists who want children or the uneducated to “debate the pseudo- controversy” about evolution or global warming!

    Reforming and developing a better Europe by negotiation, has nothing to do with Little-Englanders, recklessly doing their own thing without regulation or restraint, while deluding themselves about their negotiating capabilities, or wishfully thinking they are going to be able to independently dictate to foreign governments!

  13. Simon Tuffen @ # 11.

    “British public has every right, and sufficient competence, to determine whether or not it wants it’s laws to be set entirely by elected representatives in our own parliament.”

    Only if they evidence that that is what’s happening.

    Do you know of any Simon?

  14. “I think there is a particular tendency for smaller, weaker nations to often ultimately agree with the policies promoted by the more powerful countries, because they don’t want to risk losing the subsidies they receive.”

    (Simon on comment 16)

    I couldn´t help to notice the terms “smaller weaker nations”, and that popular ideas make ignorance popular too.

    I´ll just post a link.
    ( well, you have to translate the page if we´d like to read, Are you aware of these sanctions?/ or, were you aware how much “smaller and weaker nations” had “subsidsed” other countries wth no return, whatsoever?)

    http://rr.sapo.pt/noticia/56018/adriano_moreira_ameaca_de_sancoes_a_portugal_e_sinal_de_desagregacao_da_ue?utm_source=rss

  15. Mark Woodward #19
    Jun 10, 2016 at 5:49 am

    When people take the question seriously enough,

    How can anyone take a complex issue seriously without considerable study? – and I don’t mean reading contrived deceptive crap in newspapers!

    “The Wisdom of Crowds” guides democracy.

    The levels of whizz-dumb of crowds which have been intensively fed media garbage is astounding!

    http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2014/07/22/3462690/us-number-one-climate-denial/
    The poll found that 52 percent of Americans agreed with the statement “The climate change we are currently seeing is a natural phenomenon that happens from time to time.” India was tied with the U.S. in this belief, and China came in a close second, with 51 percent of respondents agreeing.

  16. Mark Woodward #19
    Jun 10, 2016 at 5:49 am

    “The Wisdom of Crowds” guides democracy.

    The levels of whizz-dumb of crowds which have been intensively fed media garbage is astounding!

    http://www.gallup.com/poll/170822/believe-creationist-view-human-origins.aspx

    PRINCETON, NJ — More than four in 10 Americans continue to believe that God created humans in their present form 10,000 years ago, a view that has changed little over the past three decades.

    Competent views come from informed researched studies, not collective ignorance!

    “The Wisdom of Crowds” only works when the informed opinions, hold the balance of numbers, over the chaotic ignorance of the uneducated.

    I think the British public has every right, and sufficient competence, to determine whether or not it wants it’s laws to be set entirely by elected representatives in our own parliament.

    Large numbers of the British public, don’t even know who their MP or Euro MP is!

  17. “politics” is just a euphemism for “self serving, lying bollocks”.
    Period.
    P.S i’m voting “in” because as has been proven over the past few decades – Europe has become less and less violent and more and more tolerant…..
    and less and less religious……

  18. 19

    When crowds are educated enough to know when they do not know about X or Y and need help and guidance from experts, when crowds even understand that there need to be experts in the first place, when crowds have not been hoodwinked with ideologies or sold short on their education, when crowds accept that their feelings are not necessarily decent for merely being theirs, then they may deserve the epithet wise.

    Now whilst a crowd of, say, scientists may well be wiser than the sum of its parts, a crowd, say, of Americans may well vote Trump into power…

  19. I am in two minds whether this have should have been put forward for a referendum or not

  20. @Mark Woodward
    Couldn’t disagree more. History is replete with examples of crowds being manipulated out of fear to send their country down the wrong path. The crowds decision is only as good as the information they receive. In the UK the majority of the newspapers have sided with the Brexit crowd and have been howling scare headlines about immigrants for weeks in advance of the vote. It is questionable whether the average person is aware of the growing mountain of evidence from economists of how this will hit us financially as this has been hidden under simplistic sound bites about taking our country back or that the European Court of human rights is not the same as the EU.
    I also think its fallacious to suggest that either way is advantageous and will be good for the country. To give an example the leave campaign are saying they will put all the subsidy money we spend into the NHS. Most of that money comes back into the country as farming subsidy (55% of a farms income) and EU projects. Are we saying we don’t want our farming sector any more or fisheries? Not to mention whats left of our manufacturing sector when large companies like Nissan pack their bags. Brexit claim that only 12 % of our businesses export to Europe but they are counting all businesses! Including those that don’t export. The ONS puts the statistic of those that actually export at 40%
    Unlike Richard I feel reasonably well informed about what’s at stake and I feel we are hanging over a cliff with Boris Johnson as bookies favourite to be the next PM in the coup that will inevitably follow leaving. Then recession followed by the break up of the UK when Scotland demand to leave project UK.

  21. @ #25.

    Phil, whilst there might be crowds of Americans voting Trump, I too if I were an American be voting Trump.

    Not because I think he is worthy of the position or that I like anything that comes out of the clown mouth, my reason would be to wind up the already hysterical, over acting, special snowflake, safe space (self segregating) , whinny, emotionally weak cry bullies.

    If Trump were to do the unthinkable and win the election, I think he would more likely have attempts made on his life than his predecessor and that speaks volumes as to the state these retards have fallen into.

  22. Responding to the OP:

    Am I being elitist? Yes of course I am, and why not? Notice that I’m counting myself out of the elite. You want your surgeon to know anatomy … You want your plumber to know one end of a drain from the other …

    On that logic we should only vote economists and former civil servants to serve in Parliament. I wonder what we should do if no Practice Manager is elected – outsource management of the NHS? Yet whenever this option is mooted the Proposer is shouted down.

    By definition a representative democracy returns a small group of people to govern – none of whom can be counted on to have the necessary skills because the work of modern governments ‘must’ (or so we are told) be a wide-ranging ‘management’ role.

    Another, separate, problem is attracting candidates who are qualified in anything. A significant number (significant enough for me to notice that they make up a sizeable minority at the very least) of those who stand for Parliament studied politics. This makes them skilled in diplomacy? finance? treasury? defence? legal principles? transport? trade? healthcare? pollution? productivity? race relations? business? … no, can’t think of one.

    When I first became interested in politics (aye, in living memory, just) one of the most common questions (or so it was reported) that a Prime Minister might ask of a Minister was: “Do they have a good grasp of their portfolio?” Nothing to do with gripping file folders, everything to do with learning the ins and outs of the relevant subjects, understanding the arguments, having the facts at their disposal in an argument and so on.

    My understanding (for it is so reported) is that a modern Prime Minister will ask: “What’s their standing with the Media?”

    To summarise:

    It is impossible to equate democracy with appointment-by-expertise
    Over-reach by the elected means that Government incompetence has grown, and continues to grow
    The media have grown in power to the extent that the electorate no longer asks for expertise
    The media have grown in power to the extent that the electorate votes on the basis of a feel-good factor (no facts required)
    The media have grown in power to the extent that the politicians kowtow

    Why would you entrust your country’s economic and political future to know-nothing voters like me?

    In what way are modern Ministers better qualified than you? It seems perfectly obvious to me that the opposite is true in most cases – most citizens have some form of expertise while many, if not most, politicians have no expertise worth mentioning – and if they do, chances are, they’ll be employed doing something which does not match their expertise.

    The recent evidence of the campaign rhetoric on the EU referendum, I submit, stands as evidence that facts being in short supply is no handicap in a modern political campaign – which leads me to my next point.

    Given that some of those spouting nonsense are Ministers … whence came their ‘privileged access’ to information?

    … we live in a representative democracy not a plebiscite democracy

    Few things get my blood pressure up more than the assumption that representative democracy requires that the citizenry be less well educated and informed than plebs.

    I confess I am at a loss: In what way is a democracy with a citizenry that is as well educated and informed as possible not a better democracy?

    As it happens the dial has been turned, in my lifetime, the other way. This Site has been at the forefront of reporting on the devaluation of education, and tertiary education in particular.

    The leaders of both campaigns show their contempt for us when they debase the argument to the populist level of Hitler-invocation

    I’m tempted to say that such a comment is evidence of … a less than clear understanding of why there was a campaign to have a referendum in the first place.

    Knowing that other political constituencies could be harnessed (more than one political party is split on the issue), that a one-issue election could be pressed into service as a way to cut across those millions who do not vote in general elections due to the ludicrous first-past-the-post voting system and that they could win kudos with media interests that are powerful in Britain – but not based in Britain – indeed, have no interest in the British people, except for one group in the North …

    No, such considerations can have no influence I’m sure. [/sarcasm]

    Which begs the question: Why would politicians want to make the pool smaller – aren’t they, supposedly, eager for power? One of the outstanding consequences, I observe, of the so-called ‘professional-isation’ of politics (how unqualified incompetents get away with it is another question that begs to be asked, but is beyond the scope of this discussion) is that they’re happy to be a big fish in a smaller pool – providing the pay and benefits remain good. The pay and benefits remain, indeed, handsome.

    … is that a reason to abstain from voting? Certainly not

    We agree.

    … as I listen to advocates from both sides I notice that, for all my lack of expertise, I am qualified to judge that most of the arguments for leaving are emotional

    There you go: Representative democracy based on ill-educated, ill-informed* citizens who therefore vote on the basis of their ‘gut’ thinking, rather than using that organ specifically evolved for thinking. They have done so now for half a generation at least – and the unelected powers-that-be now have small-minded, charismatic puppets to dance, promote, dissemble, even to lie for them.

    Some of us would argue systematically and mischievously misinformed for decades by those who have no connection with the people, and don’t have to live with the consequences.

    Frankly I’m surprised that any thinking person, from the start of this campaign, might have thought it would be conducted in any other way than as an emotional roller-coaster with appeals to nationalism, passive-aggressive racism and nonsense. A case in point: A friend and I just discussed Dr. Wollaston’s change of heart. Apparently the Brexit camp are saying she was some kind of ‘fifth columnist’. When your default position is conspiracy you’ve not just lost sight of fact-based politics, it isn’t even on the radar screen.

    The evidence-based arguments tend to be the ones for remaining in Europe, whether they come from professional economists, historians, business leaders or powerful foreign politicians

    People in Britain look at the United States and think: That’s our future if we don’t get them to see the error of their ways.

    No, no, no: That future is here, that future is now.

    Peace.

  23. @Phil (29)

    Too funny. And here I thought extreme ironing was what I did after hitting snooze too many times on a work morning. Who knew it was a “thing”?!

  24. In my opinion a big part of the problem with the EU is Germany. And I say that as a German. When I am looking at europe and the eu, I am shocked and I am embarassed because Frau Merkel tells all other EU partners what to do. I can only talk about my own personal opinion and about my family and friends. We in Germany feel that Frau Merkel is a big force in Europe and she wants to design Europe at the will of herself. A fully agree with Prof. Dawkins. His vote to stay in the EU is very reasonable. But I must say that I can understand so many countries in Europe. The EU is a abstract thing that makes laws about how much sugar is allowed to fill in a bag. Or how much voltage or watts is allowed to have in the vacuum cleaner.
    But Europe respectively the EU is so much more. We as the young generation is grown up at the time of enormous peace and wealth. We must understand that this is a privilege and we can only face up the future together. It is important to bring the Motto of the EU in mind: United in diversity. (In Vielfalt geeint.) Europe is not allowed to act on the will of one country. But when we reflect what is important about europe and the eu and why to stay in it, it is the most rational thought in this way.

  25. were you aware how much “smaller and weaker nations” have “subsidized” other countries wth no return, whatsoever?

    me on comment 20

    Well I have, when someone in a class of African studies?? (I guess, I am not sure what class it was) put me a paper in hands with the real numbers, and at the time I was really amazed, only remember to have had a special look at Mozambique (where I was born).

  26. Regarding the question of Britain’s membership of the European Union from the safety and serenity of my perch on the other side of the planet, I presume to take the view that belonging to the EU would be more attractive to Britons if the processes whereby EU legislation and regulation are formed and decided were more transparent than they are. There seems to be a lack of accountability and a lack of confidence in the EU institutions as means of safeguarding the rights of all member-state citizens from encroachments of vested interests — a problem already familiar at national level. This state of affairs is made worse by the history of the formation of the EU first as an economic union and then gradual increases in administrative and regulatory agreements. Many of the problems the EU has been facing arise from the fact that it has tried to become a united economy without also becoming a united polity. At present, too much of the important decision-making is determined by nonpolitical entities such as large European corporations, because there is no political entity comparable to a sovereign government. It seems to me that the EU has now reached the point where its members need to get serious about becoming politically united, forming a single sovereign European polity. This is the only way the EU will be able to rectify the flaws in its present economic and regulatory arrangements. Britain is at present faced with the question of which continent, Europe or North America, it belongs to more, and the answer to that is obvious: Europe. This is where I know I get a little idealistic, but I do not think it entirely fanciful to hope that the time will come (after the gods only know how many generations) when Britons will see themselves first as Europeans and second as Britons. Apologies for my antipodean presumption.

  27. Marco @ # 12.

    Thank you for that Marco; I’ve bounced it on to my neighbours and can now discuss the matter with them.

    At present we disagree, so it could be quite interesting.

  28. @#2 – In any case, a long list of professional expert bodies have described Brexit as a disaster!

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-36505736
    Leaving the EU poses a “key risk” to British science, a group of 13 Nobel prize-winning scientists have warned.

    The group, which includes Peter Higgs, who predicted the existence of the Higgs boson particle, and geneticist Sir Paul Nurse, say losing EU funding would put UK research “in jeopardy”.

    “Inside the EU, Britain helps steer the biggest scientific powerhouse in the world”, the group claim.

    In a letter to the Daily Telegraph the group said science should be “front and centre in the EU debate” as it was a key driver in health, innovation and economic growth.

    The EU contains a critical mass of expertise, with more than one in five of the world’s researchers moving freely within its boundaries.

    EU decisions about scientific policy, funding and regulatory frameworks affect science the world over, and are influenced by British scientists. On the inside, Britain has access to people and funding and wields global scientific influence, far greater than we have alone.

    The signatories also include Sir Martin Evans, awarded for his work into stem cells and Sir Andre Geim who won a Nobel prize for groundbreaking work on graphene, a material expected to revolutionise manufacturing.

    The letter comes as MPs urged ministers to draw up contingency plans to protect the UK’s science sector in the event of a vote to leave the EU on 23 June.

    The Commons Science and Technology Committee said the UK benefited “significantly” from access to EU research budgets and would have to seek other sources for funding if it was withdrawn.

    It highlighted the “cautionary example” of Switzerland, which was denied access to science funding programmes when the EU imposed sanctions in response to a vote to curtail the freedom of movement.

    Switzerland is perhaps a cautionary example, for those howling about independent action on immigration from within the EU!

  29. Hi Cairsley [#35],

    I presume … that belonging to the EU would be more attractive to Britons if the processes whereby EU legislation and regulation are formed and decided were more transparent than they are

    I think the answer is yes. Noboby knows, because it is speculative. Although I have been a Stay person from the beginning – and after listening carfully to the Leave ‘arguments’ I’m a far more commited Stay – I believe I’m not alone in saying that the EUs lack of transparency and accountability troubles many people.

    It is, of course, designed to be confusing on purpose. The Council of the EU – not to be confused with the completely seperate Council of Europe which is not an EU organisation and also not to be confused with the European Council which sets broad EU policy – the Council of the EU is as powerful as the European Parliament (they legislate together). The European Parliament is directly elected by us, EU citizens. The Council of the EU is made up of ministers from the governments of the member countries – making them, in theory, indirectly elected by us EU citizens because we vote for the politicians who then appoint those ministers from with the ranks of the elected.

    Crystal clear, right?

    In practice, despite what may be fine intentions, the Council of the EU and its activities are never – and I really do mean never – reported in the media. It is effectively, if not intentionally, a Star Chamber that alters the course of EU legislation entirely without reference to EU citizens and thus gives the impression of being an opaque way for politicians to strike backroom deals with pretty much anyone. If you go to the Council of the EU’s Net site, Publications Page, the first document presented for public consumption is a European Flags Colouring Book. This nicely summarises the powerful Council of the EU’s accountability to EU citizens.

    If the Council of the EU is a Star Chamber, then it really isn’t over-blown to charaterise the European Council as a Secret Society. It’s a quarterly meeting of the Heads of EU States to decide on strategic policy. It is even less transparent than the Council of the EU except that, to be fair, they issue a lot of press releases on some of their decisions. Is their stream of press releases on Ukraine transparency, or a smoke-screen for unreported discussions on domestic policy?

    Nobody knows …

    If asked: Who is the President of the EU? most Britons wouldn’t know. The EU is rarely reported in the British media, it is just there to be blamed and/or attacked – despite the fact that it does really great work … most of the time. The few who know anything about the EU might answer Jean-Claude Junker, but Jean-Claude is President of the European Commission only. Oh, sorry, did I forget to introduce the European Commission? Sorry, no time, I have to move on. The President of the European Council is Donald Tusk – as far as I can ascertain this means that Mr. Tusk is also President of the European Council, but the EU Netsites are not clear on even this elementary point – and the President of the European Parliament is Martin Shulz. There is no President of the European Union.

    If you’re not confused yet, it gets ‘better’ the more you study it. Imagining yourself as a European Citizen, how much time are you prepared to spend exactly … ? You may say: “But these people make important decisions that directly affect citizens”. How many people in Britain know who the British Minister for Transport is? How many people in Britain know who their MP is? How many people can name their Local Councillor? The time we all set aside to actually work out how government works is small – having an overly-complex structure makes it appear opaque even when trasparency is the goal.

    Add to this that those of us elligible to vote for the European Parliament are in huge constituencies. Where the British Parliament has 3, 4 or even 5 constituencies the European Parliament has one – with two seats each. After an election they almost literally disappear although, to be fair, if you write to them they are always very responsive and friendly. My impression is that they’re far more approachable than my Westminster MP because so few people actually contact them.

    By contrast; my Westminster MP restricts herself to sending me pro-forma letters setting out her Party’s line on the questions I raise. It’s customised … it has my name and address on it. [/sarcasm] The overall presentation effect being: She’s in power and she’s only responding because I have the disgusting temerity to question The Commitee – bloody peasant. The EU isn’t home to the only political institution that needs to clean up its act.

    The British Media must take a big chunk of blame for this – constantly hammering the European Parliament as a talking shop [wait, it is a parliament, am I right?], unless they get it ‘wrong’ in the eyes of the media in which case they’re massively powerful, unaccountable and overweening, which switches people off getting involved in the one institution in the EU which is outstandingly transparent, in my experience, and directly accountable to them.

    There seems to be a lack of accountability and a lack of confidence in the EU institutions …

    NO! How on Earth do you work that out? [/sarcasm]

    This state of affairs is made worse by the history of the formation of the EU first as an economic union and then gradual increases in administrative and regulatory agreements

    You can be forgiven, as you’re not an EU citizen, for this misunderstanding. The EEC – the precursor to the EU – had the same strategic goals as the EU, see Comment #12. The EEC was reformed as the EU precisely because those goals were not being achieved and the obvious reason was a lack of co-ordinated effort that can only be provided by institutions.

    Many of the problems the EU has been facing arise from the fact that it has tried to become a united economy without also becoming a united polity

    I’m not sure about your description. I think a better way to put it is that change engenders fear and that some of those fears are reflected in the sclerotic nature of what European politicians, at all levels and in all countries, call subsidiarity. There is a fear that handing previously national powers to the EU is a compromise too far. This is reflected in the complex structure I have summarised above – the EU countries are in a long dance of trying to balance national interests with collective interests. This is, to me, a nonsense discussion. Now that we’re in the EU we have the same goals – duh!

    Therefore: A large part of the reason that the EU is unpopular is due to idiot nationalist politicians. Wow. Who would ever have guessed that, eh?

    At present, too much of the important decision-making is determined by non-political entities …

    Agreed. Also, although you mention corporations, we don’t actually know most of the time who has influence and who doesn’t – or how much.

    It seems to me that the EU has now reached the point where its members need to get serious about becoming politically united …

    Yes. This is why the vote will be so close in Britain. Many people simply don’t have the time to understand that the current political compromise is just that, a bad, unwieldy, partly unelected mess – because of the politicians’ fear that political unity would mean losing something … something difficult to define that they’ll eventually get around to in oh, I don’t know, maybe the year 3000 … hmm, that might be a bit early. In addition Britons are not served by their media. Privatly held media has been greatly agglomerated in the last 50 years, reducing free speech and access to facts (some British newspapers eschew facts altogether – darling, truth is so last century!). This has allowed Private Media’s partners in international capital to press for less super-national organisation. We see it in attitudes towards the United Nations, we see it in the undercutting of UNESCO, we see it in the increasing promotion of little-nationalism, we see it in the constant refarin in US politics of States rights, we see it in the increasing re-emergence of racism and religio-fascism and in Europe we see it in the continuous undermining of the EU.

    … forming a single sovereign European polity. This is the only way the EU will be able to rectify the flaws in its present economic and regulatory arrangements

    I’d be far happier if we had a single European PBS, a single European Convention on Media and Free Expression, a single European Convention on (scientifcally advancing) Education and a European Parliament in sole charge (i.e. a fully-citizen-accountable legislative body) and I’m not alone in thinking this is the one really good argument for leaving – because there is no plan in place to even begin discussing these. That’s another reason the vote will be close, abstentions.

    Britain is at present faced with the question of which continent, Europe or North America, it belongs to more …

    You’re welcome to your opinion. It looks as if you’ve seen some of what is hilariously called the EU ‘debate’. Britain has not been a part of the North American continent since the 19C, arguably much longer. British people confuse the fact of our purchasing a lot of US-made TV, film and music with a large cultural overlap. In my experience such people have not travelled to the US. We are not two peas in a pod – we’re more like a pea and an escalator.

    Any British citizen who has travelled to Europe, on the other hand, immediately recognises cultural parallels and links – even some homogeneity.

    I do not think it entirely fanciful to hope that the time will come (after the gods only know how many generations) when Britons will see themselves first as Europeans and second as Britons

    All Europeans have proud national identities and, given the nature of politics, some people will never rise above the level of cheering for political parties – and nationalist political parties in particular – in the same way they cheer for their football team. Personally, I think diversity is a good thing – and we should learn to celebrate it.

    Apologies for my antipodean presumption

    It was good to get an outsiders view. Thank you.

    Peace.

  30. ADDENDUM to #39

    Sorry, but the post editing function has been removed.

    para. 3
    … making them, in theory, indirectly elected by us (EU citizens) because we vote for the politicians who then appoint those ministers from within the ranks of the elected.

    para. 8
    The President of the European Council is Donald Tusk – as far as I can ascertain this means that Mr. Tusk is also President of the Council of the EU, but the EU Netsites are not clear on even this elementary point – and the President of the European Parliament is Martin Shulz. There is no President of the European Union.

    [Note: In a description that I wrote specifically to try and reduce confusion, I managed to confuse myself. Food for thought.]

    para. 23
    … we see it in the constant refrain in US politics of States rights

  31. Stephen @ # 39.

    Although extremely complicated, dog’s dinners are preferable to dog fights; which is what very much characterized European history prior to the setting up of the European Community.

    I’m struck by the fact that apart from Nigel Farage almost all those who’ve actually worked within the European framework have been or have become in favour of it; I think they’re usually accused of “going native”.

    Well, perhaps, but that’s what tends to happen when people get to know and trust each other: “And therefore are they very dangerous.”. Act 1, Scene 2, of Julius Caesar.

    I submit that the principal tactic of a dictator is to divide and rule; very difficult, if not impossible in Europe at present.

    But, oh look, there’s a bald man with porcine features, stripped to the waste, and ridng a bear; and he’s coming this way! What can he possibly want?

    Just my little joke!

  32. Hi Stafford [#41],

    Yes, as Winston Churchill said: Jaw-Jaw is better than war war.

    I hope that they Stay vote wins.

    I have already said to several people … well, let me tell you what I told my Daughter:

    If there is only one reason, and there are many more than one – but if we were only allowed one reason to choose which way to vote here is my reason which I believe to be so powerful that even if I allowed the Leave campaign all their arguments against my one – I would still vote Stay. Here is my reason:

    My Great-Grandparents lived in a Britain that went to war. My Grandparents lived in a Britain that went to war. My parents grew up in a Britain that was at war – and they know the real meaning of loss and privation.

    I have lived for more than half a century in a Europe that did not go to war.

    The difference between my generation and all those other generations is that I lived my life in the European Union. Continuing the European Union does not guarantee anything – you and your generation must be on your political toes – but it has clearly demonstrated its use. If we continue to support the EU it is far more probable that you and your generation will not go to war in Europe either.

    I gave that argument to friend of mine. A Brexit type, he responded by saying something incoherent about atrocities during the break-up of the former Yugoslavia being an EU failure.

    My response at the time was less than conciliatory – and I regret that now.

    Yet, soberly examined, this claim is complete tosh. Quite apart from the fact that the break-up of the former Yugoslavia was a UN / NATO / Russia / former USSR problem on the EU’s doorstep – and therefore not the EU’s problem and a failure by those other institutions – it is actually supportive of my one reason.

    In 1914 a teenage Serb Nationalist shot dead the Emperor of Austria-Hungary in Sarajevo, Bosnia as part of the ethnic conflict there. Within 6 months all of Europe was ablaze. In the ensuing five and a half years instability and conflict spread across the World. Many millions died. Millions more were made homeless, jobless, fatherless and poor.

    In 1991 the breakup of the Soviet Union allowed Slovenia and Croatia to secede from the former Soviet State of Yugoslavia. When the multi-ethnic Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina tried to follow their lead the ethnic groups disagreed. In 1992 this impasse crashed into a war – the Bosnian War, centred on the very same Sarajevo.

    But in 1992 Europe didn’t go to war. Hundreds of thousands died, true – but not 17 million. The EU must take pride in that. It’s internal strength easily withstood an external pressure that less than a century earlier had shattered it.

    Your right Stafford, the EU is by no means perfect – but given the alternative I’ll vote Stay, so that future generations in Europe can also know peace, as I have.

    Peace.

  33. Stephen of Wimbledon #42
    Jun 11, 2016 at 3:16 pm

    the EU is by no means perfect – but given the alternative I’ll vote Stay, so that future generations in Europe can also know peace, as I have.

    I have already used my postal vote in favour of the UK remaining in a cooperating Europe, and have also distributed hundreds of leaflets supporting that view.

  34. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-eu-referendum-36508464

    Jeremy Corbyn has urged Labour voters to support the UK staying in the EU, saying it will protect workers’ rights.

    Campaigning in Aberdeen, the Labour leader acknowledged that the EU should be more accountable and democratic.

    But he said voting Remain would protect “paid holiday, the anti-discrimination legislation, the maternity leave, the paternity leave and particularly environmental protection”.

    Leave campaigners say cutting workplace regulation would help create new jobs.

    Most of the party’s MPs back staying in the EU, although the Vote Leave campaign is chaired by a Labour MP, Gisela Stuart.

    A vote to stay in the EU was “not an endorsement of every bureaucratic excess of the European Union”, Mr Corbyn said, suggesting that what was important was “a principle about working with people across national borders”.

    Leave campaigners say cutting workplace regulation would help create new jobs – and many of the rich elite sponsors of Brexit, would love to have profit boosting third-world heath, safety, environmental, and employment standards in these “new jobs”!

  35. I will share my experience from central/eastearn Europe perspective. It might be interresting to british readers. I think that UK should vote to stay in he EU and I will tell you why – I believe that UK is very important country in Europe and from my perspective if UK will leave EU it will lose the influence over EU development. Many people in countries like mine (Czech rep.) are very sceptical towards EU, however we are also feeling dangerous threat of russian interrest in the EU. I think without UK it will be much more difficult to reform EU to a more democratic organisation. I still believe idea of EU is good, it just needs an adjustments and a bit of reform. I think UK has big allies in central/eastern Europe for such reformation and therefore I believe if UK will stay this voice will be stronger than if UK would leave. I also do not agree with current EU, but I believe that leaving it does not solve a problem – the only way forward is to stay inside and try to reason against the mainstream , reform it and make more democratic. UK is important country in EU especially for us in central/eatern Europe…. I think UK should stay inside mainly because it should fulfill it’s duty to defend freedom/democracy and it will be easier when UK is inside EU than outside. So even though I am an eurosceptic I believe the best for future of EU is that UK will stay there and help to reform it together with countries like mine. We need UK in the EU. And you should be also aware that so called New Europe – post soviet countries are not what they have used to be. In my opinion and experience living in some EU countries – overall quality of life, freedom of speech and overall economic/social situation has shifted significantly so that former commmunist part of EU is now much better in new Europe than in many western parts of EU (not necessarily economically, but from freedom point of view and overall quality of life = for sure). I believe in UK/US principals are so important that if UK would leave it would have far more devastating effect to Europe than if UK would stay and with help of “New Europe” it will encourage changes which will be win-win situation. I would say that countries like Czech rep. , Poland, Hungary, Slovakia do need UK as an ally in the EU more than ever. I think isolating from continent would strike back in future as in the end UK is part of Europe and is tightly bounded with Europe through history.

  36. Where does the issue of lack of expertise end? This is primarily a referendum about our democratic aspirations. Never mind the arcane economic arguments in either direction. This is about whether Britain feels a sufficient level of identity to want to have a government that represents our interests. The ability to directly hire and fire those who govern us is the very cornerstone of democracy. Yes, we have to compromise with our trading partners, and subject ourselves to clauses in those agreements that we don’t like. But they are our decisions, made be rperesentatives that we vote in. And we can hold them responsible.

    Better a bad parliament than a good king. And that’s not a decision that requires exprtise, just an appreciation of the importance of democracy.

  37. Michael G #46
    Jun 11, 2016 at 6:43 pm

    But they are our decisions, made be representatives that we vote in. And we can hold them responsible.

    Better a bad parliament than a good king. And that’s not a decision that requires exprtise, just an appreciation of the importance of democracy.

    So which “bad parliament” of elected members, (MEPs – MPs) are we talking about?
    The European one or the Westminster one?

  38. @Alan4discussion

    Of course the British system of electing our government is not perfect. But it is vastly more direct and democratic than our ability to hire and fire EU law makers. I don’t think that’s realistically up for debate.

    Even if we were able to vote more directly for a European government, though, the sheer size of the political unit is also an issue.

    For one thing, the variability of social values is what defines a self-identifying population. Different groups can, and do, see social problems and solutions through the lens of their own cultures, and govern their societies accordingly. (Societies can of course observe the benefiits or shortcoming of other societies policies, and adjust their views over time.)

    Secondly, the governors of smaller political units can represent their electorate more directly. It may well be that an EU decision is to the detriment of some of its members, but to the benefit of the majority. Maybe (maybe!) that averages out over the longer term, but how does one hold one’s government accountable for acting in the best interests of a group with whom one doesn’t closely identify? The bigger the political unit, the more remote the democratic process, even if there is such a process.

  39. Michael G

    The bigger the political unit, the more remote the democratic process,

    And yet we, increasingly interdependent and sharing much the same resources, need to solve problems at an appropriate scale. This is why big scale problems need big institutions commanding effective and fair legislation and other small scale problems should be devolved to their most effective scale. This isn’t about monolithic governement. it is about blended and scaled governments. Our job is to organise the scales at which decision making should happen. Climate change legislation needs to happen at scales where decision making may well feel remote…

  40. Hi Michael G. [#46],

    This is primarily a referendum about our democratic aspirations

    Well then I learned something new today. I hope people are hurrying up to get to that argument because, so far, I’ve heard diddly about that – it’s been all about identity and politicians wrapping themselves in the Union Jack.

    Never mind the arcane economic arguments in either direction

    They seem arcane to you? They seem pretty straightforward and in-my-face to me. If I vote leave even the Leave Campaign is saying my Daughter won’t have a job when she leaves university next year and as for me, I have one foot on the redundancy ladder already. Of course if I trust the Government and the vast majority of economists (to quote the Financial Times) I’m looking at the Brexit World through rose-tinted specs. Arcane my pretty pink posterior!

    This is about whether Britain feels a sufficient level of identity to want to have a government that represents our interests

    Wait, what?!

    I thought you just said … oh, never mind …

    So it’s about how selfish we want to be?

    The ability to directly hire and fire those who govern us is the very cornerstone of democracy

    Since when did I have the ability to recall my MP?

    Let me think, have I ever voted for someone at Westminster and then they went and did somethin’ stoo-pid? Duh, like every single one. Okay Stephen, be fair, did you ever vote for someone at Westminster and then they did something they said they wouldn’t do? Wow, that’s a good one, let me just count those up …
    … sorry Michael I took my shoes and socks off, but then I ran out of toes …
    How about I think of it differently; has a Westminster politician ever done stuff that no-one voted for and then I voted them out of office? Yes, all of them – and no, never – and that includes going to war against the wishes of the majority.

    This is better than the EU how exactly?

    Can we drag this discussion out of the rabbit hole – pretty please?

    Yes, we have to compromise with our trading partners, and subject ourselves to clauses in those agreements that we don’t like

    [GASP!] Sound the alarm! Agreement means compromise! Agreement means compromise! Resistance is useless! All hands on deck! Set phasers to stun!

    Perhaps I don’t understand you well Michael. Are you saying, perchance, that being members of the EU we don’t get the opportunity to do deals as well? We should, perhaps, exercise our right to be selfish and just do what’s right for us?

    So China receives the EU Trade Delegation – representing half a billion people.

    The next day they receive the Brexit Trade Delegation – representing 60 million people.

    Yeah, I can totally see how our deal is going to be so much better already.

    But they are our decisions, made by representatives that we vote in

    O-kay, it sounds like your saying that we vote for politicians on the basis of what they say they’re going to do at a trade negotiation?

    When did that happen Michael – and I mean, like, ever?

    And we can hold them responsible

    Sounds like a neat trick. Tell me how you do that. I’ve never done that before.

    Better a bad parliament than a good king

    I’m guessing history isn’t your strong point Michael? This is just a friendly suggestion you understand: Look up 1660.

    And that’s not a decision …

    Sorry that, which that, what that?

    Better a bad parliament than a good king. And that’s not a decision that requires expertise, just an appreciation of the importance of democracy.

    Basically Michael I’m in over my head here. What do you mean?

    Peace.

  41. Being an Italian common people it may seem preposterous that I pretend to give an advice to Prof. Richard Dawkins. Nevertheless I have one.

    Political choices aren’t all about economy, and democracy requires that citizens make a choice also if they aren’t all knowing. Voters do not know all about candidates and political parties.

    In a statement about the phenomenon of unchristening that happens in Italy today released to adnkronos.com (25/05/2016) by theologian Paolo Ricca the theologian says:

    “Europe must return to discover its Christian roots. Christianity has
    had a decisive role. Is all that nothing? The relationship between
    Europe and Christianity should be re-established on the bases of a
    Christianity integrated into the systems of power. So it might
    reconquer its function of to be ‘chaplain of the power’.”

    And it is not a dream of a lunatic it is a precise project in progress. Do you remember the visit of Pope Francis to the European Parliament and the behavior of its President in that occasion? Do you see what is happening in Poland?

    So now you know what EU is going to be like and you can decide if to be in or out.
    Would you like to be “citizen” of an EU under the ‘chaplain of the power’?

  42. Marco, I would like your permission to refer people to your comment @ 12 please.

    I’m thinking in terms of citing it on the Times Online website.

    I’ll fully understand if you object.

    I look forward to your response.

  43. Fiorenzo #52
    Jun 12, 2016 at 4:40 am

    In a statement about the phenomenon of unchristening that happens in Italy today released to adnkronos.com (25/05/2016) by theologian Paolo Ricca the theologian says:

    “Europe must return to discover its Christian roots. Christianity has
    had a decisive role. Is all that nothing? The relationship between
    Europe and Christianity should be re-established on the bases of a
    Christianity integrated into the systems of power. So it might
    reconquer its function of to be ‘chaplain of the power’.”

    Given theological preoccupations with proselytising, and circular thinking from cognitive biases, it should be no surprise that he prescribes more god-delusion as a solution to all problems!

    Americans have similar “prophets” fumbling around in politics!

  44. Stafford Gordon, #53
    Please feel free, Stafford! You don’t need my permission – it’s already fully public now I’ve posted it on the internet.

  45. This first assumed that you trust the member of parliament that was voted in to represent the people and not the interest of others.

  46. How should I know? I don’t have a degree in Theology or history. How dare you entrust such an important decision to ignoramuses like me? That’s what the church is for, to tell us what is true.

    I don’t think ignorance is really an excuse.

  47. bigvern #57
    Jun 13, 2016 at 7:15 am

    How should I know? I don’t have a degree in Theology or history.

    Actually, theology and reputable studies of scientifically supported history are usually in conflict with each other!

    How dare you entrust such an important decision to ignoramuses like me? That’s what the church is for, to tell us what is true.

    Nope!
    Churches tell you what they would like you to BELIEVE is true.
    That’s why it is a failed way to seek truth, by asking the parrots who can only offer repeating ideological chants.

    Science and scientific methodology is the best system to confirm or refute claims. – and that includes historical, propagandist and religious claims!

  48. @Alan4discussion

    Clearly sarcasm is lost on you.

    My point is if we were never skeptical of the church who incidentally are our original ‘politicians’ – we would have never escaped it’s tyranny.

    I can’t understand how Professor Dawkins can suggest the British people are too busy/lazy or stupid to have an informed opinion on something so intrinsically important.

    Where would we be if we observed the same laissez-faire attitude regarding the church?

  49. bigvern #59
    Jun 13, 2016 at 8:00 am

    @Alan4discussion

    Clearly sarcasm is lost on you.

    Sorry! Sometimes it’s hard to tell sarcasm from some of the delusional stuff which theists bring here.
    Poe’s Lawhttp://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Poe's_Law

    My point is if we were never skeptical of the church who incidentally are our original ‘politicians’ – we would have never escaped it’s tyranny.

    Very much so.

    I can’t understand how Professor Dawkins can suggest the British people are too busy/lazy or stupid to have an informed opinion on something so intrinsically important.

    The sad truth is, that many of them are, and will just let themselves be manipulated by charlatans, liars, and scaremongering hype, from bought news-hounds!

    Where would we be if we observed the same laissez-faire attitude regarding the church?

    Unfortunately many are still mind-slaves of churches and swallow stories fed to them without questioning.

    We are all ignorant of many complex technical issues which require detailed study and expertise.
    The point Richard is making, is that while the well educated can recognise areas where they lack expertise and knowledge, the profoundly ignorant are happily fed garbage which massages their egos, and allows their self-deception to take up know-it-all poses on important issues.
    They are more likely to follow some simplistic small-minded agenda, than try to understand complex matters!

  50. Mark Woodward #60
    Jun 13, 2016 at 8:24 am

    The people crying doom, on ether side, are selling snake oil.

    You really don’t have any idea about that claim of false equivalence or the contrast in levels of expert opinion, or standards of argument involved!

    A popular vote will be “right” because it is the popular vote.

    Didn’t the Germans acquire some fellow called Hitler that way?

  51. @Alan4discussion

    “The sad truth is, that many of them are, and will just let themselves be manipulated by charlatans, liars, and scaremongering hype, from bought news-hounds!”

    To a certain extent I agree (the media have a lot to answer for), although I am hesitant to be so broadly pessimistic regarding great swathes of society as I feel we all possess the same basic hardware and it’s just a matter of application. I’m certainly not swayed by the belief a cognitive elite that hold all of the answers, especially on issues of society, or that these issues are ‘too complex’ as to hinder the general public incapable of decisions on their/our own fate.

    “We are all ignorant of many complex technical issues which require detailed study and expertise.
    The point Richard is making, is that while the well educated can recognise areas where they lack expertise and knowledge, the profoundly ignorant are happily fed garbage which massages their egos, and allows their self-deception to take up know-it-all poses on important issues.
    They are more likely to follow some simplistic small-minded agenda, than try to understand complex matters!”

    Educated or not, most of what we know is received wisdom, it’s more a matter of how we interpret the information we are fed and having a healthy skepticism of so called authority, this is why I was quite shocked at Professor Dawkins’ comments.
    If your argument is indeed true, surely the answer is education rather than handing our power to the few, hoping they have our best interests at heart?

  52. ” Paradoxically, it will change everything and yet most things will seem not to have changed at all….”

    (comment 60 by Mark Woodword)

    Perhaps the formula “everything will be different, at the same time , everything will remain the same” is not quite right for UK leaving (I guess this was a formula as Spain defined their country after elections), at least it seems too much indifferent.
    Well, World trade would be affected, and yesterday I have been looking at a graphic of a study for the european economic matters, which gives a list of the more affected countries with the Netherlands in first place, Irland secondly, Chiprus in third place, Portugal comes in the fourth. For the less affected countries, would be Romenia ,Italy, Croatia and Slovenia….. not to mention the 11,5 million that UK contributes for the European budget?

  53. bigvern #63
    Jun 13, 2016 at 9:22 am

    Educated or not, most of what we know is received wisdom, it’s more a matter of how we interpret the information we are fed and having a healthy skepticism of so called authority,

    The skill is in recognising reputable expert authorities (such as professional science bodies making statements about a concensus of expert opinion, and being able to tell them from paid propagandists and delusional stooges.

    this is why I was quite shocked at Professor Dawkins’ comments.
    If your argument is indeed true, surely the answer is education

    There is no way to educate the population at large in international economics, or the effect of legislation on trade arrangements. Most of them have neither the time nor the interest to engage in this.
    The best we can do is a ask reputable expert authorities about the effects on their areas of work, and add these up.

    We can also discount the claims of those whose track record is of deception, delusion, gratuitous contradiction, and incompetence!

    This is not foolproof, but it is probably the best we can do.

    Hence I take seriously the views of Nobel scientists about the effect on scientific research and high-tech industry, the views of leading economists on economics, and chairs of specialist bodies communicating a consensus of expert views in their subject areas.

    Those who are full of hype, denial, and rhetoric, with a past record of stupidity ( Tredinnick Farage etc) can be recognised as the babbling buffoons that they are.

    rather than handing our power to the few, hoping they have our best interests at heart?

    Hoping is very speculative – especially in politics. Using evidence based information and expert opinion from reputable sources is the best option.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-eu-referendum-36515680

    European Council president Donald Tusk has warned that a UK vote to leave the EU could threaten “Western political civilisation”.

    Mr Tusk said a vote to leave the EU would boost anti-European forces.

    “As a historian I fear Brexit could be the beginning of the destruction of not only the EU but also Western political civilisation in its entirety,” he told the German newspaper Bild.

    Mr Tusk said everyone in the EU would lose out economically if Britain left.

    “Every family knows that a divorce is traumatic for everyone,” he said. “Everyone in the EU, but especially the Brits themselves, would lose out economically.”

    Likewise the sort of replies produced to informed statements reflects on the standards of information and depth of thought.

    Leave campaigners have regularly accused Remain of scaremongering after repeated warnings from high-profile figures against leaving the EU.

    However I am reminded that climate change deniers with media assitance, have been falsely accusing climate scientists and the IPCC of “alarmism” for years, and that many of the same political climate-change deniers, are leading members of the Brexit campaign, as well as being sponsored stooges of the coal, oil, and gas industries!

  54. Mark Woodward #67
    Jun 13, 2016 at 11:46 am

    The social impact would be interesting, “A strong United Kingdom” vs the UK as a member state, will be a factor for nationalist pride.

    This is just the rhetoric of a false dichotomy, and says nothing about working relationships. There is no evidence of a stronger UK outside the EU.

    Leave or stay, the inertia of the bureaucracy in any government will continue on unless the institutions are destroyed.

    All bureaucracy is not the same. – to suggest it is, is simply a statement of a lack of understanding.

    Governments and administrations do not just function by magic. They require work, effort and competence.
    Handing over power to the village idiots to wreck regulatory mechanisms they don’t like, does have consequences.

    That’s not going to happen. Parliament will not be dissolved.

    The European Parliament is not going to be dissolved, but an opted out UK is no longer going to have ANY say in its decisions!

    So, in hard reality, what does it matter? Stay or go, it will make no real difference.

    Relationships or a lack of them, with international partners make a very real difference to standards of life, legislation and trade.
    Differences do not go simply away just because some people fail to recognise functionality or consequences.

    Think about it.

    Better late than never, but it is already late in the day!
    After initially turning down the chance of UK membership when the EC was first set up, it took years to negotiate our way in!
    There are probably no second chances or quick fixes, if the out campaign produces a disaster, as some experts predict!

  55. “Leave or stay, the inertia of the bureaucracy in any government will continue on unless the institutions are destroyed

    (MarkWoodward)

    Can you make any idea of the violence suggested here?
    From any anthropological point of view, Man is an institution maker by defintion.

  56. Mark Woodward #71
    Jun 13, 2016 at 1:45 pm

    I don’t think I suggested any violence. It was certainly not my intention. By destruction, I merely meant that it was abolished or dissolved.

    Isn’t that the objective of the “out campaign”?
    To abolish the Europe-wide regulatory mechanisms which preserve rights and standards for citizens, so right-wing ideologists can better exploit the rest of the people – “liberating” money for multimillion pound executive bonuses, while the ordinary folk struggle to achieve the minimum wage in dangerous sweat-shop conditions without job security?

    We know how such “entrepreneurs” operate in the third world, where weak and corrupt governments allow them free reign!

  57. After Brexit succeeds, Scotland secedes and rejoins the EU.

    The UK is united no longer, the part that isn’t Scotland becomes known as the Former UK,
    just like the Balkans states were known collectively as “The Former Yugoslavia”,
    and it gets abbreviated to FUK.

    And the population of the Former UK become known as FUK-ers.

    Oh, wait, that’s what the Scots call them already…..

  58. I think you are confusing science and scientific “truths” with political and economic opinions (guesses, theories, conjectures, estimations?). It would be absolutely crazy to let a scientific issue be decided by popular vote -like the teaching of creationism or evolution at schools- but that is because there is a scientific consensus about that, and virtually all scientists accept that consensus. In politics and economics there is almost never this kind of universal agreement amongst experts. Political and economic experts often disagree over the most basic points of the matter under discussion. In these ocassions the best thing to do is let the popular vote decide (the role of the experts here should be to explain, clarify matters, etc. If a scientist can explain evolution to lay people [TGSOE, WEIT] surely economists and politicians can do the same in their respective fields). It is a sure receipt for disaster to let the “experts” decide because, when there is no consensus amongst them about what is the right way to go, the issue is invariably settled by the wealthy, by the ones in power whose main concern is to maintain and increase that power. This is why democracy works (in politics, not in science!).

  59. MrPickwick #74
    Jun 14, 2016 at 10:03 am

    I think you are confusing science and scientific “truths”

    I think there is more basis for comparing campaign untruths and rhetoric in the absence of substance in evaluating sources.

    with political and economic opinions (guesses, theories, conjectures, estimations?).

    It is however possible to identify gross errors, spurious arguments, reputable and disreputable information sources. and loony fringe advocates of courses of action.

    It would be absolutely crazy to let a scientific issue be decided by popular vote -like the teaching of creationism or evolution at schools- but that is because there is a scientific consensus about that, and virtually all scientists accept that consensus.

    It would be equally crazy to let economic issues be decided by the political equivalent of creationists, IDers and AGW deniers!
    On the “AGW denier front, there is also the equivalent disinformation campaign from opportunist vested interests who see profit in de-regulation.

    In politics and economics there is almost never this kind of universal agreement amongst experts.

    Actually on many development and accounting issues, there is considerable agreement among experts, (although not with politicians) but as with scientists and creationists, certain levels of understanding are required, to distinguish experts from posing charlatans and the sponsored stooges of vested interests!

    This is why democracy works (in politics, not in science!).

    Democracy is a very ambiguous term which is manipulated by politicians to support their agendas.
    There are historically many examples of democratically supported disastrous decisions.
    Within bodies of expert professional opinion, many decisions are democratically taken –
    Such as the record succession of conference votes of no confidence, in Michael Gove as an education minister – before he moved on to be a Brexit advocate!

    On complex technical issues, collective ignorance driven by manipulative media is very inferior to representative democracy, within legal frameworks where expert advice from reputable competent sources provides inputs.

    Large scale public votes, are about seeking support for policies, not about putting together functioning legal administrative frameworks.

    Most people have no idea who or what they are voting for, while most parties dump large sections of their manifesto policies once in power. – Apart from the likes of UKIP – which did not have any coherent policies in the first place!

  60. That old national identity fetish is a thing to reconsider. It served the UK ill in the first half of the twentieth century. The second half was a great improvement.

    Some want to move on to a more blended set of identities related to the scale of the problems to be solved, with legislation at the appropriate level. Legislated and standardised common markets create great levels of competition to drive consumer value as you know from your own 300m strong home market.

    Why doesn’t Texas fight to be free again…again?

  61. Mark Woodward #76
    Jun 14, 2016 at 10:44 am

    What does membership in the EU give the UK that can’t be solved with a few treaties, as needed?

    It gives agreed standards for manufactured products so industries do not have to produce 20 or more customised products for each separate country.

    It has European arrest warrants for catching cross border criminals.
    It has movement of people between states, as in the USA.

    It has employment and health and safety laws, so opportunists cannot seek competitive advantage by engaging in a race to the bottom, but have to compete on a level playing field!
    (In the third world, citizens and workers, have no such protection.)

    It has a European Parliament with elected members, where international differences are resolved by debate.
    .. . .and many other features, – as does the Federal government of the USA. where similarly various nutty locally elected state representatives would rather be free to teach creationism etc. and do their own thing, – while showing deep resentment of being restrained by a higher authority of law from a supervising central government.
    Europe has a looser type of higher level of supervising elected representatives, but the “Little Englanders” are very much like the rebellious politicians of the Southern states of the USA.

    In essence, that is all any of this really is, a bunch of treaties.

    The European Community system was set up in the first place because of the difficulties in trying to coordinate numerous separate negotiations and harmonise arrangements.

    I also take into account, that many of the “We will negotiate lots of separate superior treaties”, brigade, are self-deluders, who cannot even negotiate agreements on policy, with their fellow members in their own political parties!
    UKIP and the right-wing of the TORY Party are noted for in-fighting among themselves, and denial of science!

  62. Mark Woodward #79
    Jun 14, 2016 at 11:47 am

    nothing will change for the U.S.A. We’ll still have great air-fares to London, we’ll still get the cheap powdered milk cadbury chocolate that you guys send to the U.S.

    I have some bad news Mark!

    Cadbury Schweppes plc. de-merged into separate companies of Cadbury and Schweppes, with Schweppes being taken over by Dr. Pepper shortly afterwards.

    Cadbury plc. was then taken over by Kraft Foods Inc. in 2010 with recipes being changed to improve profitability.
    It is only a matter of time until you are eating Hershey bars in Cadbury wrappers!

    As an impartial observer, I just see it as an interesting question. I have NO DOUBT that what ever happens, the UK will be fine.

    Back in the days you mentioned earlier, Britain had an empire and a navy which ruled the seas. After blowing these positions on the bankrupting costs of world wars, it is now dependent on international co-operation for trade!

    (Bush apparently learned nothing from this, or from Vietnam, before borrowing $trillions to waste in Iraq and Afghanistan! – but at least it kept his supporters in the munitions industries happy!)

  63. From a young man on FaceBook!

    A good friend of mine came up with a great idea. If you don’t have the time/inclination to find out all the facts about the EU referendum (I don’t blame you) and are possibly unsure which way to vote, perhaps knowing how other notable people are thinking could help out.
    Here are a few that strongly believe the UK should remain a member of the EU:
    • Governor of the Bank of England
    • International Monetary Fund
    • Institute for Fiscal Studies
    • Confederation of British Industry
    • Leaders/heads of state of every single other member of the EU
    • President of the United States of America
    • Eight former US Treasury Secretaries
    • President of China
    • Prime Minister of India
    • Prime Minister of Canada
    • Prime Minister of Australia
    • Prime Minister of Japan
    • Prime Minister of New Zealand
    • The chief executives of most of the top 100 companies in the UK including Marks and Spencer, BT, Asda, Vodafone, Virgin, IBM, BMW etc.
    • Kofi Annan, the former Secretary General of the United Nations
    • All living former Prime Ministers of the UK (from both parties)
    • Virtually all reputable and recognised economists
    • The Prime Minister of the UK
    • The leader of the Labour Party
    • The Leader of the Liberal Democrats
    • The Leader of the Green Party
    • The Leader of the Scottish National Party
    • The leader of Plaid Cymru
    • Leader of Sinn Fein
    • Martin Lewis, that money saving dude off the telly
    • The Secretary General of the TUC
    • Unison
    • National Union of Students
    • National Union of Farmers
    • Stephen Hawking
    • Chief Executive of the NHS
    • 300 of the most prominent international historians
    • Director of Europol
    • David Anderson QC, Independent Reviewer of Terrorism Legislation
    • Former Directors of GCHQ
    • Secretary General of Nato
    • Church of England
    • Church in Scotland
    • Church in Wales
    • Friends of the Earth
    • Greenpeace
    • Director General of the World Trade Organisation
    • WWF
    • World Bank
    • OECD
    Here are pretty much the only notable people who think we should leave the EU:
    • Boris Johnson, who probably doesn’t really care either way, but knows he’ll become Prime Minister if the country votes to leave
    • A former Secretary of State for Work and Pensions who carried out a brutal regime of cuts to benefits and essential support for the poorest in society as well as the disabled and sick
    • The guy who was Education Secretary and every single teacher in the country hated with a furious passion for the damage he was doing to the education system
    • Leader of UKIP
    • BNP
    • Britain First
    • Donald Trump
    • Keith Chegwin
    • David Icke
    So, as I said, if you can’t be bothered to look into the real facts and implications of all this in/out stuff, just pick the list that you most trust and vote that way. It really couldn’t be more simple.
    And if you are unsure about leaving, don’t.

  64. Olgun #76
    Jun 16, 2016 at 10:41 am

    From a young man on FaceBook!

    A good friend of mine came up with a great idea. If you don’t have the time/inclination to find out all the facts about the EU referendum (I don’t blame you) and are possibly unsure which way to vote, perhaps knowing how other notable people are thinking could help out.
    Here are a few that strongly believe the UK should remain a member of the EU:

    Thank you for expanding so eloquently on my comment @#2 !

    Alan@#2 – In any case, a long list of professional expert bodies have described Brexit as a disaster!

  65. This is a great list Olgun.

    I do think a slightly more honest Brexit list would be more powerful.

    Brexiters J.C.Bamforth (JCB), James Dyson (Dyson) It would seem a particular breed of self-made man sees an appeal, but most of industry is against it.

    My own list of friends and acquaintances split into in and out, with a 100% match to friends and acquaintances, and a further match to clever and not so clever…..Who’da thunk?

  66. Lets be clear about the phobic little englanders and the rest of their likely mindset-

    https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/jun/16/brexit-voters-almost-twice-as-likely-to-disbelieve-in-manmade-climate-change

    18% of leave voters and 10% of remain votes disagreed with the statement: “human activity is causing climate change.” Some 3% of leave voters said they didn’t know, versus 1% of remain voters.
    Among leave voters, 68% agreed that “the media exaggerates the level of scientific agreement there is on human activity causing climate change”, compared to 52% of remain voters. But several studies have shown around 97% of climate scientists agree climate change is manmade.

    The polling also found 44% of leavers thought scientists had too much influence on British politics against 25% of remainers, and 46% of leavers agreed that people who question the theory of evolution “have a point” compared to 36% of remainers.

    On energy, leave voters were more likely to oppose onshore windfarms in rural areas (36% versus 21% of remain voters), and more likely to support increasing the use of fracking to extract shale gas (40% versus for 35%).

  67. To Stephen of Wimbledon #38, 39

    Many thanks, Stephen, for your meticulous exposition of EU institutions. The EU is even more confusing than I was aware, but your comments are very helpful. I may be able to read around more on the EU without becoming lost in the thickets. Thanks for your time and effort in responding.

  68. Cameron has taken a reckless gamble and lost!

    The next question is:-
    As all of the major parties and most of the expert bodies advised voters to vote remain, have the MPs got the bottle to remind people that in responsible organisations, a 60% or 70% majority vote is required to make constitutional changes.

    The manipulated ignorant and protest voters have spoken.

    Is this the way to make competent major planning decisions? – Or should our government be seeking and acting on expert advice?

    I hope that our politicians have the bottle to kick this into touch and leave it there, but the standard political jelly-spine could be a factor!

    One of the ironies of this, is that many “out votes” seem to have come from areas where the poor are suffering from austerity measures, so in protest they have voted to support freeing up the wealthy elite who are exploiting them from the restraining effects of European social and employment legislation!

  69. Or should our government be seeking and acting on expert advice?

    The DK voters’ attitude to experts is fostered as much by the media “paradigm” of “balance”.

    There’s decades of fixing to do, not least the inequalities of our societies. The dispossessed are a soft target for those selling simple solutions…..most often to their own further disadvantage.

  70. phil rimmer #84
    Jun 24, 2016 at 4:28 am

    Or should our government be seeking and acting on expert advice?

    The DK voters’ attitude to experts is fostered as much by the media “paradigm” of “balance”.

    That is indeed the problem!

    Those with absolutely no idea about the workings of the Westminster parliament or the European Parliament (or local councils), can be expected to have formed some “middle-ground opinion”, based on the media’s false equivalence of campaign views.

    Those with realistic views on responsible planning, are likely to have included some unpalatable realities, and recognised some human failings in administrative structures, whereas those marketing whimsicality without ANY coherent policies, have been free to indulge in concentrating on disparaging others, and offering “pie in the sky” images of the future!

  71. hope you are feeling better and such. you are good people.

    ok, if your up to it, perhaps england could use your help as their newest prime minister! =)

    cheers from a field in canada

  72. I see that the business sector is anticipating the “benefits” of the fanciful improved business prospects promised by the “Leave Campaign”!

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-36611512
    The London stock market has plunged in the wake of the UK’s referendum vote to leave the EU.

    In the opening minutes of trade, the FTSE 100 index fell more than 8% before regaining some ground by mid-morning.

    Banks were hard hit, with Barclays and RBS falling about 30%, although they later pared losses to about 17%.

    Earlier, the pound fell dramatically as the referendum outcome emerged. At one stage, it hit $1.3236, a fall of more than 10% and a low not seen since 1985.

    “This is simply unprecedented, the pound has fallen off a cliff and the FTSE is now following suit,” said Dennis de Jong, managing director of UFX.com.

    “Britain’s EU referendum has been a cloud hanging over the global economy for the past few months and that cloud has got very dark this morning.

    “The markets despise uncertainty, yet that is exactly what they’re faced with this morning. The shockwaves are likely to reverberate for some time and the warning lights are flashing brighter now than ever.”

    The FTSE’s slump was its biggest one-day fall since the collapse of Lehman Brothers in October 2008.

  73. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2016/06/23/leave-or-remain-eu-referendum-results-and-live-maps/
    London has voted heavily to remain in the European Union in an expected result in the capital city. – Remain 59.9%, Leave 40.1

    It would seem that Londoners have previous experience of Boris’s reassurances, from when he was their mayor, so have not bought into his propagandist drivel!

    It’s a pity many other areas were not as street-smart!

    The final result nationally is:- Remain – 48.1%, Leave 51.9%

    The chaos from applied stupidity has begun!

  74. @OP – Richard Dawkins: Ignoramuses should have no say on our EU membership

    I have just been watching the TV news, showing the sickening celebrations of the media-fed village idiots – (according to turn-out % figures, many of whom don’t even bother to vote in most elections), claiming “their democracy has been restored to them”, now that we will no longer have Euro MPs representing the UK in the European Parliament, or elected members on the European Council of Ministers!

    It would be nice to think that the business lobby will kick the Tories up the backside, and have parliament stop this stupidity going any further!

  75. As with most stupid decisions taken in haste, extended repentance at leisure is now beginning, as reality kicks in, and Europe wants the UK out quickly, to remove uncertainties and further economic damage to them!

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-36618796

    The Spanish government has called for joint sovereignty over Gibraltar in the wake of the UK’s vote to leave the EU.

    The British overseas territory of 30,000 voted overwhelmingly for remain, with 95.9% opting to stay in the union.

    “The Spanish flag on the Rock is much closer than before,” Spain’s acting Foreign Minister Jose Manuel Garcia-Margallo said on Friday.

    Gibraltar has been a British territory since 1713 but Spain continues to claim sovereignty over the enclave.

    At the entrance to the Mediterranean, Gibraltar relies heavily on its shared EU border with Spain for trade.

    In a radio interview, Mr Garcia-Margallo said: “It’s a complete change of outlook that opens up new possibilities on Gibraltar not seen for a very long time.

    Gibraltar’s Chief Minister Fabian Picardo campaigned for a remain vote.

    Julie Girling, the Conservative MEP for South West England and Gibraltar, said; “I am deeply sorry that the people of the UK have chosen this leap in the dark.

    “I believe future generations will question our wisdom.”

    The Scottish Parliament is also planning a new referendum on independence as a large majority of Scots voted to remain in Europe, and do not wish to be forced out!

    @BBC – Scotland has voted in favour of the UK staying in the EU by 62% to 38% – with all 32 council areas backing Remain.

    Northern Ireland also had a majority voting “Remain”.

    Little England could become very little now the Little-Englanders have wilfully opened the can of worms and perpetrated this stupidity!

    Perhaps I should start a campaign to move the Scottish border South!

    ( Now – Should that be from the Humber to the Mersey, or from The Wash to the Severn?)

  76. Laurie

    These house coated, hair netted women of little Britain were the ones (some of them anyway) who kept me at the doorstep and called my friends to talk to me. Must have been my Afro like hair that might have contaminated their ‘purety’……..these are the people that will be empowered by all this. I don’t know how far it’s going to go but justifying their prejudice will be easier. Perhaps they want to emulate Muslim countries 🙁

  77. Olgun

    justifying their prejudice will be easier.

    Yes, I can see that happening already and you’d be gagging if you could see Trump crowing all over our CNN station about how he had it right the whole time. “People want to control their own borders!!!” etc. Then on to parading around his ostentatious Scottish Golf resorts. I don’t even dare to click onto FUX news and see what they’re up to. I can’t do it. This is a victory for the hairnet bunch, Trump & co. and every right winger redneck American too. Again; worried. 🙁

    For future reference –
    Muslim fundamentalism is to beards as Brexiters are to hairnets.

    We have the beards and we have the hairnets. ~sigh~

  78. LaurieB #93
    Jun 24, 2016 at 3:16 pm

    Yes, I can see that happening already and you’d be gagging if you could see Trump crowing all over our CNN station about how he had it right the whole time. “People want to control their own borders!!!” etc. Then on to parading around his ostentatious Scottish Golf resorts.

    Trump obviously has difficulty understanding the Scots’ English language!

    From the noises coming from the Scottish Parliament, the Scots want to control their own borders from inside the EU and independently from outside of the UK, if that’s what it takes!
    Unfortunately I live about a hundred miles south of the Scottish border!

  79. In the safety and serenity of my perch on the other side of the planet, I am very much saddened to see the United Kingdom being taken backwards by Britain (England and Wales) in this tribalistic direction. Surely this is the beginning of the end of the United Kingdom. The Scots now have even more reason to leave the UK, and likewise the Northern Irish may now deem the political order of the Irish Republic sufficiently de-Catholicized, secular and modern to consider rejoining their fellow Irish in a reunited Ireland. Thus reduced to its original Roman extent, Britain cannot expect to maintain the prominence and influence it has hitherto been accustomed to have in international affairs, and it has already lost almost all of the considerable influence it had in the EU. One hopes that Britain does well in future, but henceforth it will always be less than it might have been.

  80. @OP – Richard Dawkins: Ignoramuses should have no say on our EU membership

    I see in the social media, some of the ignoramuses are waking up to the consequences and proclaiming “I didn’t realise I was voting for this!“, while the chronically stupid, are saying they gave Europe a good kicking because they don’t like the austerity measures the Tory UK Westminster government minister Brexiteers inflicted on them!

  81. Those “benefits” promised by Brexiteers, just keep rolling in!

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-eu-referendum-36626201

    The UK has had its credit rating outlook cut to “negative” by the ratings agency Moody’s after the country voted to leave the EU.

    Moody’s said the result would herald “a prolonged period of uncertainty”.

    Meanwhile, PM David Cameron is under pressure to speed up “divorce” talks with the EU after Brussels said exit negotiations should start immediately.

    Predictably, the other EU countries want rid of their disruptive problem member to minimise damage to their economies!

    EU head Jean-Claude Juncker said it was “not an amicable divorce”, but it was “not a deep love affair anyway”.

    Moody’s said the referendum result would have “negative implications for the country’s medium-term growth outlook”, and it lowered the UK’s long-term issuer and debt ratings to “negative” from “stable”.

    It added: “In Moody’s view, the negative effect from lower economic growth will outweigh the fiscal savings from the UK no longer having to contribute to the EU budget.”

    It also said the UK had one of the largest budget deficits among advanced economies.

    Colin Ellis, chief credit officer at Moody’s, told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme the UK’s credit rating could have an impact on UK households in the long term.

    “The government borrowing rate is normally the benchmark – it is the rate at which other interest rates in the economy are set,” he said.

    “A lower rating would typically correspond to higher borrowing costs, and that would be felt not just by the government but by businesses and households in the longer term.”

    I see the media manipulated ignorant, are still celebrating how much they have shown all those experts “how much THEY know better”!

  82. Perhaps the UK parliament should start to take its responsibilities seriously, take back control from the media manipulated ignorant, and start to act on expert advice in the best interests of the country and its citizens!

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-eu-referendum-36629324

    A petition calling for a second referendum on UK’s membership of the EU has gained more than one million signatures following the vote to leave.

    The petition will be considered by Parliament as it has passed the required 100,000 threshold.

    The UK voted to leave the EU by 52% to 48% in Thursday’s referendum but the majority of voters in London, Scotland and Northern Ireland backed Remain.

    David Cameron said he would stand down as prime minister by October.

    The petition, set up by William Oliver Healey, states: “We the undersigned call upon HM Government to implement a rule that if the Remain or Leave vote is less than 60%, based on a turnout less than 75%, there should be another referendum.”

    Thursday saw a 72% turnout, significantly higher than the 66% turnout at last year’s general election, but below the 75% mark suggested by Mr Healey as a threshold.

    The Scottish independence referendum in 2014 had a turnout of 84% – but there has not been a turnout above 75% at any general election since 1992.

    The parliamentary petitions system is overseen by the Petitions Committee, which considers whether petitions that receive more than 100,000 signatures should be raised in the House of Commons and debated.

    The committee is due to sit again on Tuesday.

    In a separate petition more than 100,000 people have called on London Mayor Sadiq Khan to declare the English capital independent from the UK and apply to join the EU.

    I suggest any dissatisfied UK members sign!

  83. I was just getting my head around the actual vote let alone how to vote. Anyway we are out we need to get on with it. Democracy at work not one drop of blood spilt so let us be proud of that. The UK has shown how to do this sort of thing again and It does not come any bigger than this.

    @Olli Not everyone who voted out is a 70 year old BNP supporter please try and consider that.

    Everyone I know who voted out did not use lists of people either they used facts.

  84. Pin

    Democracy at work not one drop of blood spilt so let us be proud of that

    This is quite a low standard for any pride.

    My pride in an English out of Welsh heritage vanished with my stripped EU citzenship.

  85. Pinball1970 #99
    Jun 25, 2016 at 6:40 am

    Everyone I know who voted out did not use lists of people either they used facts.

    I think they are going to discover a long list of the facts they failed to spot in the next few weeks!
    That is what usually happens when people are persuaded by ideologists to ignore expert advice on serious practical issues.

    Here’s one for starters:- Retailers and the AA motoring organisation warned that petrol prices were likely to rise by 2p-3p a litre because of the pound’s fall against the dollar.

  86. I’ll see you all in North Cyprus for your hols next year. Sterling seems to be relatively stable compared to the Lira. Is that good ? ????

  87. ps. My son only out of uni two years was fuming yesterday. His age group and younger, 71% Remain, say there is going to be riots as they will be most effected.

  88. @Olli
    Not everyone is 23 or 24 Olli.
    If they riot then they do not know enough about democracy.
    Sit him down, democracy is not about getting your own way and demanding another vote if it does not.
    My son voted stay too, he is still in uni.
    Perhaps the people who lived in times before we joined, just after the war, have just as much of a say and have some wisdom to offer.

  89. Having a say with knowledge rather than experience is the way I would go. Having a one issue policy, immigration, without the real facts is not democracy. Cameron came out with that crap yesterday. His problems with his own party is not democracy. In effect a confidence vote he lost and left us all losers. We still need a 160,000 immigrants a year to pay for our pensions. This crap about not being able to control our borders is just that, crap. In order not to be accused of social engineering or having British people put a stop to something that is for their own good, we played the: we can’t control our borders rubbish. One lie lead to another and now, it is as plain as the nose on our faces. Wonder what Farrage or Johnson is going to call these people. I think Farrage hinted at ‘common wealth’ workers. What a crock of shit. We still need them.

  90. Pinball1970 #105
    Jun 25, 2016 at 7:39 am

    If they riot then they do not know enough about democracy.

    This is not about “democracy”!
    It is about the stupidity of holding a referendum on major issues without having the safeguard of a minimum threshold size of majority, as most responsible organisations do. (see#98)
    This was always about patching splits in the Tory party to stop their nutty fringes defecting to UKIP!
    The nutty fringe politicians don’t understand or care about causing splits in the country, and will probably sit in denial, trying to blame other people for negative consequences, while the Tory Party will probably split anyway when they have to sort out the details of the mess they have made.

    The real issues of expert warnings which brexiteers dismissed as “a fear campaign” and “scaremongering”, are going to keep on popping up to have negative effects on British citizens, British industries, and UK standards of living.

  91. BTW. I am not a massive fan of the EU. I am at this moment sitting on a beach in North Cyprus where the land has been taken into the EU, against their own rules, but all the peoples membership’s have been suspended until an agreement is reached. They might ask us to hover above the ground but, we could be accused of invading their air space I suppose. Both my nationalities are in the air now but I still know we are better off in the EU for so many reasons.

  92. To export to Europe, UK industry will still have to comply with EU rules and standards: – it’s just that the outside the EU the UK will no longer have any say in drafting or approving these!

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-36628918

    Britain must strike a trade deal with Europe as soon as possible to protect the country’s multi-billion pound car industry and avoid high tariffs.

    David Bailey, professor of industry at Aston University, warned of a “big uncertainty” for the sector following the UK’s vote to leave the EU.

    Without a deal, he fears a return to the days when the industry faced a 10% tariff on exports.

    The UK exports 77.3% of its car output, 57.5% of which goes to Europe.

    “What we don’t want in two years’ time is to go back to [World Trade Organisation] rules which involve 10% tariffs on car exports,” he said.

    Prof Bailey added: “Remember, the car industry has had about £8bn investment in the last four years – companies coming here to produce cars largely for the European market. We do not want to deter that.

    “So, we need to make it clear to those companies as quickly as possible that free access to the European market is still in place and we will have a good trading relationship with Europe.”

    Almost 1.6 million cars were built in the UK last year, up 3.9% on 2014. Industry analysts predict car output to reach record levels of around two million units by 2017, overtaking the 1972 record of 1.92 million.

    Ford, which employs about 14,000 staff in the UK, warned on Friday that it would “take whatever action is needed to ensure that our European business remains competitive and keeps to the path toward sustainable profitability”.

    The boss of Nissan, which produces cars at Sunderland plant, has previously hinted that a vote to leave the EU could impact investment.

    “There are going to be a lot of questions about (whether) you want to continue to invest in the UK for Europe if the UK is outside Europe,” Mr Ghosn told CNBC before Thursday’s referendum.

    The EU is unlikely to be sympathetic to requests for special treatment from those who ceased to contribute and selfishly left in the huff!

  93. Alan

    Farrage said that Germany would not dare do that as we would then put a tariff on their cars. Tariff wars. Great! Then again, we should inform him that Germany is not the EU.

  94. Ireland is set to do very well out of this as the EU gateway of choice for US companies rather than the UK. Though the corporate tax incentives may be cracked down on for the larger US companies, smaller hi tech companies will find it particularly attractive. A number of financial institutions are ready to move to Dublin others to Paris and Frankfurt. A couple of acquaintances have indicated that they will relocate a major part of their businesses to Ireland to rescue much of their previous investment in products for the European market.

    Whilst blaming people for this disaster, I must rope in George Osborne. By insisting on austerity and that the poor should increasingly pay for the cockups of the super rich he built a perfect storm of a righteous grudge whilst the remainder of his party allowed the build up of an unreasonable resentment towards a more visible culprit in foreign workers. A neat deflection that ricocheted rather.

    Being fairer to people results in political stability and that is good for long term investment. Nor are we going to see too much of that for quite a few years until the extent of the damage has been bottomed out.

  95. Olgun #110
    Jun 25, 2016 at 8:40 am

    Farrage said that Germany would not dare do that as we would then put a tariff on their cars.

    I would not place much credence on ANYTHING Farrage says! – He makes it up as he goes along.

    He’s the “party leader” who goes into elections with no credible manifesto, and no vision of the future, apart from a Little-England utopia which will miraculously emerge from its splendid isolation – as foreigners rush to its doors to do business!!!

  96. @109 link – The boss of Nissan, which produces cars at Sunderland plant, has previously hinted that a vote to leave the EU could impact investment.

    “There are going to be a lot of questions about (whether) you want to continue to invest in the UK for Europe if the UK is outside Europe,” Mr Ghosn told CNBC before Thursday’s referendum.

    Part of the tissue of wish-thinking Brexit lies, spun to con voters, was a claim that manufacturers would stay in Britain come what may!
    If it was not so ironically sick, it would be laughable!
    They spun the myth that Nissan supported Brexit in a pamphlet entitled “MYTHBUSTER”!

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2016/06/21/nissan-takes-vote-leave-to-court-over-brexit-claims/

    Nissan Motor Co. has begun legal action against the campaign for Britain to leave the European Union after the car-maker’s logo was used in Brexit pamphlets.

    Nissan, which employs 8,000 people in the UK, said it was taking its claim to the High Court in London in order to prevent the Vote Leave campaign from making additional false statements about company’s position on the European Union.

    Leaflets titled “EU Myth buster” produced by Vote Leave identified Nissan and five other multinational companies that it claimed would “stay in the UK whatever the result of the referendum.”

    Apparently in a foot-shooting exercise, Sunderland – where the massive Nissan factory is based, voted by a majority for “Leave”.

    Nissan’s manufacturing and exports, are cross co-ordinated with their factory in Spain, transportation system to and from japan, and under a co-operation deal with Renault in France.
    It remains to be seen how Brexit will affect these arrangements, but their management did give warnings!

    A spokesman for the company said it had been “extremely disappointed” to discover that the Nissan logo had been used by Vote Leave without permission. The firm decided to take legal steps after requests for the Nissan logo be removed from Vote Leave literature and its web site. Toyota is also considering legal action over its association with the Leave campaign, with the company insisting “We offer no such endorsement.”

  97. All that money which was paid into the shared pot was not lost to Britain – as suggested by some brexiteers! – What a surprise!

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-eu-referendum-36628906

    The government should guarantee English councils will still receive the £5.3bn they had been allocated from EU funds, the Local Government Association says.

    It said councils in England had been expecting to receive regeneration funding from the EU by 2020, before the UK voted to leave the union this week.

    Councils must also take part in talks to rewrite EU laws, the LGA said.

    Tory MP David Davies, who supported Leave, said an extra £9bn a year would be available once the UK leaves the EU.

    In June 2013, then business secretary Vince Cable announced how the £5.3bn from the EU would be spent from 2014-2020.

    The money comes from the European Social Fund (ESF) and European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), to help economic growth in certain areas.

    More than £600m was allocated to London, while £400m was allocated to Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly.

    The LGA called for the UK government to guarantee that the councils would still get that money even if it is no longer provided by the EU. It said this was vital “to avoid essential growth-boosting projects stalling and local economies across England being stifled”.

    The organisation – which represents 349 English councils – said local authorities must now play a “central” role in bringing communities back together, following the vote.

    It said EU regulations impacted upon many local services, including waste and environmental services, and councils “need a seat around the table when decisions are taken over how to replace EU laws”.

    “There cannot be an assumption that power over these services is simply transferred from Brussels to Westminster,” the LGA said.

    “Decades of centralised control over funding and services has distanced our residents from the decisions that affect their everyday lives. With greater control in our areas we can improve services and save money.”

  98. It looks like there will be impacts on science and innovation.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-36622842

    UK science will have to fight to make sure it is not an after-thought as Britain renegotiates its relationship with the EU, say research leaders.

    The science establishment expressed its “disappointment” on Friday with the referendum’s outcome.

    It had been in the “remain” camp.

    The decision to leave the EU now means new structures will have to be put in place if the science sector is to continue to enjoy favourable access to the union’s programmes and funding*.

    Britain’s science sector has done increasingly well out of the EU in recent years, receiving €8.8bn in research funding in 2007-2013 versus the €5.4bn it paid in over the same period. And UK-based scientists have won about a fifth of all the grants, in terms of value, from the top-tier programmes run by the European Research Council.

    This funding flow-back has been described as being akin to having another Research Council to go with the seven national bodies that presently distribute UK government monies.

    To maintain access to the EU stream, Britain will likely now have to get itself some kind of “associated country” status, similar to the positions held by other non-EU countries such as Norway, Switzerland and Israel.

    Associated countries pay a GDP membership fee to “join the club“, after which, in principle, their scientists can bid for support in the same way as those from full EU member states.

    But the exact arrangements will need to be worked out, and are going to depend on wider economic and political factors.

    Switzerland, for example, only has “partial” associated status currently because it is not allowing Croatian citizens free access to its labour market.

    And having free movement to work collaboratively is central to the way modern science is done.

    Silly immigration laws could easily hamper joint scientific ventures.

    Likewise, the chair of the House of Commons Science and Technology committee, Nicola Blackwood MP, wanted to highlight the care now needed to ensure the commercial science sector was properly supported.

    “My committee’s recent report into EU regulation of the life sciences pointed out that this sector alone comprises almost 5,000 companies employing 200,000 people in the UK, generating an annual turnover of £60bn. The Science and Technology Committee will want, in the coming weeks and months, to look at the consequences of this vote for British science,” she said.

  99. Phil

    I agree with your Osborne and fairness response wholeheartedly. He made it much worse than it was. The system needs a good shake up however. What I object to is the speed he wanted to do it. Most people felt hard done by, on the many council estates I worked in, no matter what. The black family next door with the nice car. The disabled person who had three televisions etc… Always gave people reason to complain their lot was worse. It didn’t seem like a fair system even at its best. So much has to be done but not Osbornes way.

  100. Alan

    Never given Farrage any credence but if he does have a say in these things, it was just the way this idiot would handle things. The guy is a liability.

  101. @alan yes he took a chance did he not? It back fired and now he has quit and we are out of the EU.

    The vote should have not gone to vote maybe- this is what the post is all about.

    How about now focusing on the fact we have an opportunity to build something different.

    We wont turn into an Island over night.

    Doom and gloom guys come on!! Chins up what are the next steps? The commons are full of lawyers and they had better get to work.

    You not going to ask how I voted?

  102. Not exactly the same Dan but if I ask you if America is in the United States it might help? Off for some food now. Not sure if I can get internet there.

  103. @119 yes that seems to be the way things have gone Dan

    I need to get a new passport so I could opt for an Irish one.

    there is some stuff about business too, money and stuff.

  104. Pinball1970 #118
    Jun 25, 2016 at 12:04 pm

    @alan yes he took a chance did he not? It back fired and now he has quit and we are out of the EU.

    He has not quit yet, and his proposal to remain until October, suggests he had not studied the timetable of the exit process in the first place.

    The vote should have not gone to vote maybe- this is what the post is all about.

    Of course it should not. It is like the YECs who shout, “Let the children (in their ignorance) listen to “both sides” (of the false dichotomy) and let them decide if they want to believe in evolution”!

    How about now focusing on the fact we have an opportunity to build something different.

    Mmmm – A bit like the opportunity to build a raft after running the ship aground!

    The magnitude of the consequences of the decisions and the falsehood of the brexiteers claims, are now coming to light, as the various specialist experts and business leaders who warned against this, are forced to take real world actions to cope with it.

    We wont turn into an Island over night.

    Nope! The problems will persist for years or decades.

    Doom and gloom guys come on!! Chins up what are the next steps?

    The best “next steps” would be to press ahead quickly next week, with the petition to hold a second properly organised referendum, but with the relevant safeguards.
    This would nip the stupidity in the bud before any more dam,age is done!
    The exit process is going to take 2 years or more so it would make sense to take 2 weeks to let the reality of the situation sink in, and then re-evaluate the decisions after a cooling off period!

    The commons are full of lawyers and they had better get to work.

    I’m sure the brexit campaign, can provide them with 20 years worth of problems to sort out and lots of unnecessary work which is counter-productive for most other people, but this stupidity is still avoidable if the politicians have the bottle to tackle it!
    It took years to negotiate the UK into the EU after waffling and declining when it was first set up.

    There is no reason to expect to be sympathetically readmitted later if we cause this sort of massive disruption to everyone else and leave!

    The UK or bits of the present UK, are going to be going cap-in-hand to negotiate some new arrangements for trade agreements.
    After this fiasco, there is no reason to believe that the European competitors are going to let their governments give us anything but worse terms.

    If the Scots go independent and stay in Europe, lots of businesses may relocate to Edinburgh or Ireland.

    If we want to export to Europe we are still going to provide products which comply with European standards, but will no longer have any say in writing those standards.

    You not going to ask how I voted?

    You can tell if you like – plus give reasons if you wish.

    The comments from many voters about why they voted the way they did, confirm Richards OP title that ignoramuses who have no idea what they are talking about, should not be treated as sources of wisdom in making important far-reaching major decisions.

  105. Pin

    Doom and gloom guys come on!!

    Aaaaaaargh!

    I have spent the last two years of my life developing circular economy products to gel with new Euro requirements and the Euro market. Don’t you understand the loss in specific investments here? I don’t have that many years to spend either. I also refer you to post #1 in this thread.

    I….I need time to grieve….dammit. And some of that Brancott Estate Savignon Blanc in the fridge….

  106. Hi Olgun,
    “Is Europe in the EU?”
    Just an attempt at some levity, which can be construed as imbecility. Comment was deleted expunged, upon my request, thanks to the superb mods.
    Question: how much does all of this have to do with nationalism and xenophobia, in your opinion? Anyone? Pinball? Phil?
    Phil, you’ll be okay. I promise. I hate to see you like this.

  107. Pinball1970 #118
    Jun 25, 2016 at 12:04 pm

    @alan yes he took a chance did he not?

    I pointed this out in comments @#2, written before the vote.

    It back fired and now he has quit and we are out of the EU.

    We are not out yet! The process official process has not yet been approved by parliament to begin.

    Political parties dump manifesto promises which got them elected all the time, so especially something this stupid, which was obviously only put forward to placate Tory fringe nutters in the first place, should be reconsidered, especially as deception was involved in campaigns and the majority was marginal.

    A majority of MPs campaigned for “Remain” on the basis of making the informed judgements they are paid to make, so perhaps they should take responsibility and vote for what they know is the right choice for Britain.
    There is nothing about “democracy” which says stupid mistakes cannot be corrected!

    Perhaps they should also hold a judicial inquiry into the false claims made by Brexiteers to wilfully mislead the public!

  108. Dan #123
    Jun 25, 2016 at 2:14 pm

    Question: how much does all of this have to do with nationalism and xenophobia, in your opinion? Anyone?

    Just about everything! The out campaign was full of fringe nutter , ideologs, self deluders, vested interests and Little- Englanders, most of whom had reputations for wish-thinking, financial cluelessness, lack of forward vision, making up nonsensical claims, and incompetence.
    (Farage of the upside-down landing of a UKIP aircraft and publicity banner – who lit up a cigarette next to the crashed fuel tanks while he thought about what to do! – Michael Gove – the Government minister with a record number of votes of no-confidence in him – need I go on!)

    As I pointed out earlier – many were noted for in-fighting and could not even negotiate agreements with members of their own parties, but were assuring everyone of the wonderful new post-brexit trade-agreements they were going to make with other European countries!

  109. Alan 125

    Thanks, Alan. I wasn’t sure, and I trust your judgment. I am sorry to hear that. This is more serious than I thought.

  110. Dan #126
    Jun 25, 2016 at 2:34 pm

    Thanks, Alan. I wasn’t sure, and I trust your judgment. I am sorry to hear that. This is more serious than I thought.

    I suppose I could could look at Scotland!
    My wife’s Scottish, and we only live a hundred miles south of the border.
    (You know – those borders which we are told have to be defended! 🙂 )

  111. Dan,

    Thanks for the concern, but, I’ll be fine. Its my kids that will take most of the knock back, in a world a little less able to take concerted action.

  112. MPs must not let themselves be swept along by the media hype which was substantially responsible misleading the people in the first place. Nor must they let themselves be rushed by foreign leaders who assume this is a settled matter.
    There are plenty of signs that the Leave campaign’s assurances and dismissals of warnings from experts, were false!

    The magnitude of major serious problems which were kept hidden, are now appearing!

    Hopefully the opposition parties which opposed Brexit will vote in favour of a debate and against brexit.
    If Tory MPs are firmly told by the businesses which sponsor them, that they are wrecking their business prospects, and that future sponsorship will not be available to brexiteers, there could be enough defections joining the other parties in a vote to block this!

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-eu-referendum-36629324

    More than two million people have signed a petition calling for a second EU referendum, after the vote to leave.

    It has more signatures than any other on the parliamentary website and as it has passed 100,000, Parliament will consider it for a debate.

    This is a legal requirement.

    The UK voted to leave the EU by 52% to 48% in Thursday’s referendum but the majority of voters in London, Scotland and Northern Ireland backed Remain.

    David Cameron has previously said there will be no second referendum.

    It’s time for the MPs to start to do their job, sort out this mess, and tell Cameron they have had enough of his stupidity!

    A House of Commons spokeswoman said the petition was created on 24 May. There were 22 signatures on it at the time the referendum result was announced.

    She said the petition site had temporarily gone down at one point following “exceptionally high volumes of simultaneous users on a single petition, significantly higher than on any previous occasion”.

    The petition’s website states it was set up by an individual called William Oliver Healey, and says: “We the undersigned call upon HM Government to implement a rule that if the Remain or Leave vote is less than 60%, based on a turnout less than 75%, there should be another referendum.”

    It’s time for parliament to take back control from the media muppets and the brexiteers!

    There is no reason to let the in-fighting of the Tory Party spill over into Britain and Europe.

  113. Nice analysis from Tristram Hunt focusing on Corbyn’s failure but also what we’ve lost.

    https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/jun/25/labour-leadership-jeremy-corbyn-must-go

    I helped crash the government petition site last night. It seems a little less desperate with the numbers its attracted for a rerun referendum with higher standards set for change and with Alan’s info.

    It seems to me referendums need running twice, like taking a mock exam to see the result and think again.

  114. phil rimmer #133
    Jun 25, 2016 at 7:29 pm

    I helped crash the government petition site last night. It seems a little less desperate with the numbers its attracted for a rerun referendum with higher standards set for change and with Alan’s info.

    I sent an email drawing attention to the petition to my MPs office, and expect to be discussing it with him on Thursday.

    I consider Jeremy Corbin’s email to party members appalling!

    He says he will “respect the decision of the people”, when he should be explaining to them, the deceptions and cons which generated the perverse vote!
    Essentially he is asleep on the job, as he has a leadership strategy of “don’t rock the boat, roll over, and surrender without putting up a fight!
    He then plans to waste everyone’s time fighting a no confidence motion, to stay as leader on a sinking ship!

    If Cameron and Boris want to tear apart the Tory Party, that is the party’s business.
    If they want to tear apart Britain apart and tear apart Europe, to patch the Tory Party together, everyone should be fighting them tooth and nail!

    On my link @#130:-

    It wasn’t only Boris who saw the attractions of a second referendum. So did Nigel Farage. Speaking to the Mirror he said this:

    “In a 52-48 referendum this would be unfinished business by a long way. If the remain campaign win two-thirds to one-third that ends it.”

    It’s fair to say he meant a 52-48 win for Remain rather than that very vote for Leave. But, you may think, what’s sauce for the Goose

    It appears that Corbyn is not even as bright a Farage – and that is setting a really low bar!

  115. @alan
    It turns out the European powers that be would like us to wrap things up sooner rather than later. Also half the labour cabinet seem set to resign also.
    Big change
    Phil will probably blow a gaskit but I did not vote. Sorry, perhaps us undecideds messed it all up.

  116. Pinball1970 #135
    Jun 26, 2016 at 5:25 am

    @alan

    Phil will probably blow a gaskit but I did not vote.
    Sorry, perhaps us undecideds messed it all up.

    It’s the Dunning-Kruger “no ideas”who DO vote, who cause the problems.
    It’s even worse when they elect fellow clueless “no ideas” to take decisions for them, or buy into the sales pitches from con-men.

    That’s why it is important to have a properly conducted second referendum, when people have had time to reflect on the consequences of their earlier actions!

  117. Pace Pin

    There is no faulting the don’t knows.

    And you musn’t mind me. I’ve always had a taste for melodrama.

    There is probably more to come…

  118. @alan and Phil
    The dust has not settled yet and for once this is really not a cliche.
    Labour now is not a viable party and it seems not to represent anyone either.
    The Tory party are split and will soon be leaderless. The UK may split up starting with Scotland (again)
    So, before they (powers that be) look into the mess regarding Europe we will probably need two further referendums a general election and a couple of inter party elections.
    ….and then another referendum..?

  119. Pinball1970 #135
    Jun 26, 2016 at 5:25 am

    @alan
    It turns out the European powers that be would like us to wrap things up sooner rather than later. Also half the labour cabinet seem set to resign also.

    Europe is trying to deal with a global economic crisis and a massive refugee problem generated by the stupid military interventions in Libya, Syria and Iraq, which undermined the governments which were maintaining law and order and keeping jihadists in check.

    The last thing needed, is further economic turmoil in Europe, and British politics in a disabled state and in chaos!
    The levels of stupidity are going off the scale! – As was to be anticipated when this can of worms was opened!

    European leaders are worried both by the economic implications, and from the possibility that their own nutty factions may try for referendums in their countries!
    There are also foreign powers who would like to see Europe fall apart in petty squabbles!

  120. A rather disturbing consequence of Brexit was the number of scientists who abandoned all semblance of critical thought, scientific rigour and rational discourse in favour of behaving like spoilt little brats; throwing tantrums all over social media and shouting “racist” until they were blue in the face and the word lost all meaning. This attitude is even reflected in the comments on this thread.

    When the so-called “Left” is behaving more like the far-Right, what are the ordinary public to think? It is an absolute disgrace, an embarrassment, and a very sad reflection on the state of modern academia.

  121. Really waiting to get the part where I say, “See I told you it would not be all that bad!”

    I think I am the only ignoramus who did not vote but was quietly pleased about the outcome, then gained some real knowledge of the situation when it was all too late and thought this could be quite bad actually.

    Anyway that aside, immigration may be part of the deal with free trade which is hilarious because the far right who voted out to get rid of Johnny foreigner may have outed us all for nothing.

    Just to be clear – I did not vote because I did not understand the economics of situation, still don’t understand enough because things seem to be changing on a daily basis.

    Score on the doors: Cameron soon to be out; Boris ruled himself out and Corbyn down and out.

    Still up beat and I can’t help it- sorry.

  122. Stew282 #142
    Jun 29, 2016 at 8:56 pm

    A rather disturbing consequence of Brexit was the number of scientists who abandoned all semblance of critical thought, scientific rigour and rational discourse in favour of behaving like spoilt little brats; throwing tantrums all over social media and shouting “racist” until they were blue in the face and the word lost all meaning. This attitude is even reflected in the comments on this thread.

    Not really! It appears that their views are based on the evidence of the funding figures and mobility of scientists on projects within Europe, which you don’t seem to have looked at.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-eu-referendum-36499790

    Leading scientists have been particularly vocal in arguing against the UK leaving the European Union.

    UK science, has thrived in this collaborative, internationalist environment, emerging as Europe’s scientific powerhouse and punching well above its weight in terms of research papers published, citations, university rankings and Nobel Prizes.

    All of which helps to explain why 13 of Britain’s leading scientists, including the physicist Professor Peter Higgs and the President of the Royal Society Sir Paul Nurse, added their voices over the weekend to the chorus of dons, dames, knights and Nobel laureates who have come out emphatically for “Remain”.

    In a letter to the Daily Telegraph, the group said science should be “front and centre in the EU debate” and that losing European funding would put UK research “in jeopardy”.

  123. Pinball1970 #144
    Jul 1, 2016 at 3:43 am

    Really waiting to get the part where I say, “See I told you it would not be all that bad!”

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-eu-referendum-36678222

    The European Union’s top trade official says the UK cannot begin negotiating terms for doing business with the bloc until after it has left.

    “First you exit then you negotiate,” Cecilia Malmstrom told BBC Newsnight.

    After Brexit, the UK would become a “third country” in EU terms, she said – meaning trade would be carried out based on World Trade Organisation rules until a new deal was complete.

    A recent trade deal with Canada took seven years to negotiate.

  124. Olgun #143
    Jul 1, 2016 at 3:21 am

    Oh Richard. Please don’t leave it all up to these ignoramuses.

    This link shows a clearly psychotic headline which is just the same type of arguments of blame and personal attack, coming from Corbyn supporters.

    @link – Hodges later wrote on Twitter about the “viciousness” he expected to see from Corbyn supporters in the wake of the coup, but seemed completely oblivious to the vicious nature of his own words.

    Corbyn supporters are indeed psychologically projecting their attempted coup and take-over of the Labour Party on to the MPs warning of leadership failures.

    They still have no plan for defending the employment rights and trade agreements provided by the EU, but regard Jeremy as a great success as he is recruiting ignorant UKIP supporters into his loony-left faction of the Labour Party.

    They have plots to have trade union officials and others, publicly make personal attacks on the MPs (who passed the no-confidence vote in his failed leadership and lack of effective plans to defend rights and trade-deals), at any public gatherings or media events, encouraging their constituency parties to de-select them.

    The story is that Jeremy having been directly elected by members, has a “mandate” to dictate to MPs, who it is claimed by some “have no mandate” from members to criticise Jeremy’s failures!

    The fact that MPs are elected by, and expected to act as representatives of, and in the best interests of their constituents, using expert advice, appears to have escaped their notice. – But then the anti-authority loony left, was never interested in the practicalities of using expert advice anyway! – They don’t need expert advice because they have stock answers from ideology!
    There is much repetitive chanting about Jeremy’s “new approach” to defending workers jobs and rights, while he sits on his backside “respecting” the ignorance based brexit decision and leading the surrender on Europe!

    Despite calling for support, Corbyn will inevitably eventually go!
    It is just a question of how much damage he will do to the country and the Labour Party before he does!

  125. Pinball1970 #144
    Jul 1, 2016 at 3:43 am

    Really waiting to get the part where I say, “See I told you it would not be all that bad!”

    https://richarddawkins.net/2016/06/britains-shaky-status-as-a-scientific-superpower/#li-comment-206441

    The US secretary of state has raised doubts about whether Brexit will ever happen, suggesting most leave campaigners do not truly believe in Britain’s divorce from the EU and do not know how to achieve it.

    Claiming there were a number of ways in which Thursday’s vote could be “walked back”, John Kerry, who visited Downing Street on Monday, said David Cameron was loth to invoke article 50, the EU exit procedure.

    He said he British prime minister felt powerless to “start negotiating a thing that he doesn’t believe in” and “has no idea how he would do it”.

    Apparently referring to Boris Johnson, one of the frontrunners to replace Cameron, Kerry added: “And by the way, nor do most of the people who voted to do it.”

    Cameron was worried that Britain would be forced out of the EU at the end of the two-year negotiating period without a trade deal,

    Boris Johnson is streetwise enough to dodge being in a leadership roll, if the Tories back-track on their referendum promises, or if they have to accept a much worse deal or no deal at all!

    He has already tried for assurances of being given a shot at the leader’s roll, at the end of this parliament, after someone else has tried to sort out the mess he helped make, and probably failed!

  126. Stew282 #182

    the number of scientists who abandoned all semblance of critical thought, scientific rigour and rational discourse in favour of behaving like spoilt little brats; throwing tantrums all over social media and shouting “racist” until they were blue in the face and the word lost all meaning.

    An illustrative example of this behaviour from a scientist here might help fend off a riposte of “bollocks”. Why might scientists be such emotional dunces, do you think?

  127. Stew282 #142
    Jun 29, 2016 at 8:56 pm

    When the so-called “Left” is behaving more like the far-Right, what are the ordinary public to think? It is an absolute disgrace, an embarrassment,

    It is indeed a disgrace, but it is the natural consequence of the ignorant far-left trying to win back support from the ignorant extreme right of UKIP! Both are simply rebellious and anti any “authority” so wish to show “those academic and professional experts”, (empowered by ideology), how much “THEY know better”!
    They may succeed in this to everyone’s detriment – as usually happens when ignoramuses override expert advice, or take decisions out of the hands of professionals!

    and a very sad reflection on the state of modern academia.

    The machinations of the far left and UKIP, have nothing to do with academia!
    Most of them have no understanding of divisions of political responsibility, the workings of institutions, finance, economics, trade agreements, or even the basics of framing or understanding regulatory legislation and its functions.

    It is the opinionated blind leading the blind!

  128. The CEO of Nissan is “reasonably optimistic” that the UK government will be able to negotiate to retain key features of existing arrangements (Which begs the question:- “Why throw them away in the first place only to try to get them back?).
    However, should they fail to do so, the majority of the people of Sunderland who voted for the “Emperor’s New Clothes” style “wonderful benefits of brexit”, will find the investment in one of their major employers, has gone elsewhere!

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-36981182

    The chief executive of Renault-Nissan has told the BBC he is “reasonably optimistic” that the UK will be an important partner with the European Union, despite its vote to leave.

    Carlos Ghosn said Nissan is not ready to make decisions on plans for its Sunderland plant, which employs 6,700.

    Investment there depends on the outcome of UK-EU talks on Brexit, he said.

    In November, Mr Ghosn warned Nissan would reconsider investment in the UK if Britain voted to leave the EU.

    “We are reasonably optimistic at the end of the day, common sense will prevail from both sides,” Mr Ghosn said.

    The Nissan boss thinks that the UK will continue to be a “big partner” for the European Union, but he said: “The question is what will happen to customs, trade and circulation of products.

    That will determine how, and how much we will invest in the UK,” he said.

    Mr Ghosn described Nissan’s Sunderland plant as a “European plant based in the UK”, as most of its production is exported to Europe.

    The plant made 500,000 cars last year, making it the biggest car plant in the UK, according to Nissan.

  129. There is now an expert report on the shambolic mess and lack of integrity, which characterised the campaigns to mislead the UK public on brexit!

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-37238641

    The EU referendum campaign was dogged by “glaring democratic deficiencies” with voters turned off by big name politicians and negative campaigning, a report says.

    The Electoral Reform Society attacked both sides of the referendum campaign, saying people felt “ill-informed” by the “dire” debate.

    The society said the impact of political leaders had been “minimal”.

    It called for a “root and branch” review of the way referendums are run.

    Recommendations made by the society in its report include having a public body intervene when “misleading” claims are made by campaigns, reviewing broadcasters’ role and publishing a “rule book” to govern conduct by campaigns.

    A government with any sense would conduct such a review BEFORE making any further moves on brexit, and would probably conduct a second referendum under some new rules which required honesty and integrity!

  130. A government with any sense would conduct such a review BEFORE making any further moves on brexit, and would probably conduct a second referendum under some new rules which required honesty and integrity!

    However! Brexiteers clearly are not bothered about evidence, or for that matter the rule of parliamentary representative democracy!

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-37219143

    The government will “push ahead” to triggering Brexit without Parliamentary approval, Downing Street says.

    In a statement after Theresa May’s cabinet gathered at Chequers, Number 10 said ministers agreed on the need for a “unique” deal for the UK.

    This included controls on EU migration as well as a “positive outcome” on trade, Downing Street said.

    Mrs May told cabinet colleagues the UK would not stay in the EU “by the back door”.

    It will be interesting to see if significant numbers of MPs have the integrity to hold the government to account!

  131. Alan4discussion #147
    Jul 1, 2016 at 5:16 am

    Olgun #143 – Jul 1, 2016 at 3:21 am

    Oh Richard. Please don’t leave it all up to these ignoramuses.

    This link shows a clearly psychotic headline which is just the same type of arguments of blame and personal attack, coming from Corbyn supporters.

    The ideological thinking and personal attacks on rational thinkers, is a feature of Corbyn supporters, and particularly the Momentum faction which manipulated him into such political power as he has.

    I see they have sacked their Jewish vice chair, for trying to have a rational discussion about claims of “anti-Semitism” thrown at anti-Zionists, and those who look at the wider groups of ethnic victims of the Holocaust.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-37547873

    The vice-chairwoman of the Labour left-wing grassroots group Momentum has been sacked from the role amid a row over comments she made about anti-Semitism.

    The organisation said it viewed Jackie Walker’s behaviour as “irresponsible”.

    It said remarks on Holocaust Memorial Day and Jewish school security at a party training event were “ill-judged and offensive” but overall she did not appear to be anti-Semitic.

    Ms Walker, who is Jewish herself, has said she is not an anti-Semite.

    She was suspended by the Labour Party in May over comments made on social media in which she claimed that “many Jews (my ancestors too) were the chief financiers of the sugar and slave trade” but was re-admitted following an investigation.

    She was suspended again from the party last week after a leaked video emerged.

    It showed her saying at an anti-Semitism training event: “I came here… with an open mind and I was seeking information and I still haven’t heard a definition of anti-Semitism that I can work with”. She also questioned why Holocaust Memorial Day was not more wide ranging.

    Speaking to Channel 4 News later, Ms Walker said she was not challenging the definition of anti-Semitism but rather “wanted to be clear what we were talking about”.

    Asked if she would describe herself as an anti-Zionist and not an anti-Semite, she said: “Yes. I certainly wouldn’t call myself an anti-Semite as I am Jewish and my partner is Jewish.”

    In a statement, Momentum, which was set up following Jeremy Corbyn’s 2015 election as Labour leader, said its steering committee had voted seven to three to remove Ms Walker as its vice-chairwoman.

    “Jackie’s actions at Labour Conference, in her subsequent Channel 4 interview, and by not understanding concern caused by her statements, have led the steering committee to view her behaviour as irresponsible and lose confidence in her…

    “Having read reports of what Jackie Walker is alleged to have said, listened to the leaked video, and heard Jackie’s version of events, the committee does not regard any of the comments she appears to have made, taken individually, to be anti-Semitic.”

    It seems, that while Corbyn’s antics to hold on to his personal position, have given the Brexiteers a free ride for months in the absence of any effective opposition, these ideological personal attacks, are the best “Momentum” can manage “to unify the Labour Party”, during the Tory Party Conference!

    The ignoramuses seem to firmly in command of both major UK parties as the pounds falls yet again in response to Tory brexit announcements.

  132. So after months of ducking, dodging, and trying to evade the parliamentary scrutiny required in a representative democracy, the brexit non-plan is still as vague as ever, but the secret meaning of the term BREXIT is coming out!

    Most voters still have no idea what they voted for, but it is becoming increasingly obvious as parliament searches for some details to scrutinise!

    B rain-dead
    R idiculous
    E nglish
    X tremely
    I diotic
    T wits!!

  133. We should look deeper than the superficiality of brexiteer hyped drivel about “democracy”, repeatedly parroted by the muppet newspapers!

    As I pointed out in earlier posts, the people who were asked to vote, were told lies in one of the most incompetently and fraudulently conducted referenda of all time!
    As the linked analysis from the Electoral Reform Society shows, there was no “coherent will of a majority” about anything – not even about which European organisations were to be exited or what alternative arrangements were to be put in place!

    Democracy is about voting on a manifesto, or for representatives to propose and scrutinise legislation!

    The brexit votes meets NONE of these democratic criteria. People voted on “emperor’s new-clothes” type, utopian, dreamland, fantasies, with most having no idea whatever about what they were voting for!

    https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2016/sep/01/electoral-reform-campaigners-slam-dire-eu-referendum-debate

    Electoral reform campaigners slam ‘dire’ EU referendum debate

    The EU referendum debate was dominated by “glaring democratic deficiencies” that left voters disengaged and confused about contrasting claims, the Electoral Reform Society has said.

    The pressure group said voters felt both the leave and remain campaigns turned increasingly negative as the race wore on and many high-profile political figures including party leaders Jeremy Corbyn and David Cameron were a turnoff.

    In a report entitled It’s Good to Talk: Doing Referendums Differently After the EU Vote, the society called for a “root and branch review” of how future referendums are carried out.

    It comes after the prime minister, Theresa May, again pledged that “Brexit means Brexit” as her cabinet began devising plans for leaving the EU.

    Katie Ghose, the chief executive of the ERS, said: “This report shows without a shadow of a doubt just how dire the EU referendum debate really was.

    There were glaring democratic deficiencies in the run-up to the vote, with the public feeling totally ill-informed. Both sides were viewed as highly negative by voters, while the top-down, personality-based nature of the debate failed to address major policies and issues, leaving the public in the dark.

    The findings contrast with analyses of the Scottish referendum which showed there was a well-informed public engaged with the key issues, Ghose added.

    There was NO plan, for parliament to scrutinise, and there is STIll no plan, for parliament to scrutinise!

    Three judges have now confirmed that the UK is a representative democracy, with disclosed and explained proposals to be SCRUTINISED by PARLIAMENT, so the brexiteers in the government are going to have to actually write and discuss a material plan, examining methods, implications, and likely consequences.

    “Brexit means Brexit” – or more explicitly – “Brexit fantasy, means any utopian Brexit fantasy anyone wants to believe,” – but in the real world, it means nothing and explains nothing!

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