Hey Scalzi, Do You Have an Opinion on Brexit?

Why, yes! Yes, I do!

Bear in mind that the United Kingdom is not my state, and there may be some subtleties to the arguments for and against the UK leaving the European Union that I don’t get. Nevertheless I’ve been following the back and forth for a few months, not only out of my own interest, but because a great number of my friends are British and it’s of interest to them as well — not to mention the UK moving out of the EU would have repercussions that would would likely reach to the US, primarily economically. So, just as UK folks might have an opinion on the US presidential race, so too do I have an opinion on Brexit.

And it is: Were I voting in tomorrow’s referendum, I would vote for the UK to remain in the EU.

Much of that vote, I would note, is based on negatives out of the leave camp, more than a great affinity for the EU. One, the leave camp seems to be playing rather fast and loose with facts, regarding the benefits of leaving, and it’s the sort of obvious lying and exaggerating that doesn’t even allow one to admire the craftsmanship of the effort. I dislike this both as someone who likes his facts truthful, or at least with effort put into their spin.

Two, while not everyone who might vote “Leave” is an appalling racist and/or low-information nationalist, it’s pretty clear that nearly every appalling racist/low-info nationalist is voting “Leave,” and that the people engineering the Leave vote are perfectly happy to leverage those folks to get what they want. If you find yourself on the same side as appalling racists/ignorant “patriots”, you might ask yourself why, and additionally whether you might be more appalling and/or ignorant than you’d like to admit.

Three, it seems to me that near the heart of the Leave vote is an internecine struggle for the soul of the UK’s Conservative party, which, while probably important to David Cameron and a few other folks, is also almost certainly not important enough to have created this particular referendum. The Brexit vote solidifies my opinion that Cameron is not especially canny as a politician; he’s likely to have to resign as Prime Minister if the “leave” vote succeeds, and it’s not entirely out of the question he could be made to resign even if “remain” wins, but only by a small margin.

Fourth, and most significantly, it does seem that even if the UK wants to extricate itself from the EU, it will still have to deal with the EU and conform to EU standards and practices if it wants to trade with the EU, which it will, because the EU is one of the largest single markets on the planet. So essentially the UK gains nothing with respect to the EU, and the EU still gets to dictate to the UK, with the only difference being the UK no longer gets a hand in making the EU policy.

There are other things to think about as well (the possibility of the UK breaking up as Scotland decides to stay in the EU, the Brexit encouraging other EU defections, possibly destabilizing Europe, what happens to the millions of UK citizens living in Spain, France, etc), but the sum up is: Leave seems dishonest, courts bigotry, and doesn’t actually appear to have any real benefit to anyone whose name is not Nigel Farage, Boris Johnson or Michael Gove. The fact that the latest polls show the UK population evenly split on it is a little frightening.

That said, Donald Trump is the presumed nominee for president for the Republican Party, so far be it from me to cast any stones.

And of course, both Trump and the “Leave” initiative seem to be two strains of the same virus, i.e., a few massively entitled folks harnessing for their own benefit the furious yawp of a group of people for whom things are not currently going well, who want to find someone to blame, and who just want things to go back to a time when they are certain things were better — if not in general, then at least for them. In both cases this larger group is very unlikely to get what they want, even if they get their way at the ballot box.

In any event: Remain would be my vote, if I got a vote, which I do not. Hopefully enough folks in the UK will vote that direction anyway.

115 Comments on “Hey Scalzi, Do You Have an Opinion on Brexit?”

  1. Leave is like Donald Trump in a lot of ways: so many smart people are against it I’ve basically resigned myself to it’s inevitable success.

  2. Looking forward to casting my Remain vote tomorrow, though sadly expecting unpleasantness between both sides to continue for some time, as after the Scottish independence referendum. I couldn’t vote in that as I’m a Scot living in London, but I’m going to make sure I get my say this time.

  3. I take an interest. Although I am a naturalized Canadian, I was born in the UK and have a British passport.

    I alternate between bemused and horrified. A divided Europe created the greatest mass slaughters since Genghis Khan. More than once over the past few centuries. To risk a return to that state of affairs because you don’t like Polish plumbers taking jobs is just nuts.

    The thing I’ve been thinking about lately is the role of David Cameron. I’ve mostly leaned towards a sort-of Marxist view: that history it consists of large groups contending, and sometimes cooperating, with each other — aristocrats and merchants, industrialists and factory workers, the free and the enslaved. But tomorrow’s vote tells me that personalities do count.

    If David Cameron had had the balls to defy the Tory backbench dinosaurs that were openly flirting with defecting to UKIP in the run-up to the last election, Britain wouldn’t be teetering on the brink of a sheer drop. But he didn’t. Instead, he kicked the ball down the road two years by promising the referendum. Well, now we’re down the road, the ball is in play,and all bets are off.

    History is turning on one man’s cowardice.

  4. I don’t think it is a matter of being better for them. I think it is a matter of the gap between how good it is for them and for others being bigger. They aren’t thinking that things used to be better (well they might be but they are wrong) but that it used to be more better for some than others and that difference is shrinking.
    Things are constantly improving for everyone on a big scale (individuals yes, things are different, I’m talking statistically).

  5. People who want a revolution have likely never had to live through one.

  6. The greatest strike against the “Leave” side, at least for me; the leaders of the movement are an idiot (Micheal “All schools can be above average” Gove), an empire-building buffoon (Boris Johnson), and the intellectual grandchild of the blackshirt Oswald Mosley (Nigel Farage). Not decent company in the least, and you can’t brush them off as hangers-on because they’re at the front of it, conducting the band.

    But what do I know, as a Canuck who had to pull up stakes thanks to Quebec’s little “Leave” campaign? (I acknowledge that this may also bias me against the movement…)

    — Steve

  7. Democracy works best when people are closest to the people making decisions over their lives. The EU represents the antithesis of this, with the members of it so far separated from the voters that it’s ridiculous. I not only support Brexit, but also devolving power as much as possible to Scotland, Wales, Ulster, Catalonia, and so forth, if not full independence.

    The Irish fought for independence for a long time, and mostly got it (Ulster aside), and have been doing rather fine with it. I’m sure that if the vote for Irish independence were to happen today, just as much scare mongering on the Remain camp’s side would take place.

  8. I kind of wish you’d have farmed this piece out to Charles Stross. That would have the potential to be an epic rant.

  9. For similar reasons I’m hoping they don’t leave the EU, but what I dislike most about this whole Brexit thing is the name mashup. Like couple naming such as Brangelina and Hiddleswift, it’s like some alternate universe of subordinate conjunctives gone horribly wrong.

  10. I’m certain we’ll remain. For good or bad, we’re not a nation given to revolution, even a conservative one. There’s a lot of people talking a big flag waving game but they’ll have seconds thoughts soon as they enter the booth.

  11. A lot of the “leave” push has come from the Syrian refugees and the chaos at Calais from the French letting refugees/immigrants/brown people storm the lorries and the trains to get to the UK. I think the “leave” vote would be a lot less likely to win if the current wave of immigration wasn’t so large, noticeable or non-white. That’s really been the motivation to vote leave, a desire to take control of the borders.

    Remember, the UK is nearly 90% pasty white (well, 87% white, 7% Asian, 3% black, 3% mixed) so there are a lot of areas which really aren’t ethnically mixed so non-white faces are not common. The Poles got away with it a bit more as they’re mostly white, too.

    Boris Johnson is a lot smarter than he looks. He is out for himself, however.

    The point about Cameron being spineless to Tory back benchers who might have gone UKIP is well made – an internecine war in the Tory party might have huge implications.

  12. You would think that the Mexicans, poor b*stards, have enough to worry about with the Overcomb over their northern border, but life in the global financial markets isn’t that simple.

    The peso is screwed because traders are using it to hedge Brexit sterling risks, and that never ends well.

    So there’s time to make one last impassioned plea to vote for Remain: if you won’t do it for the sake of your children, and your children’s children, then do it for the Mexicans!

  13. I’ve been talking up Remain mostly by challenging anyone saying Leave to actually come up with a single reason why.
    Mostly, it’s purely race! However, two people had, you know, actual reasons. One was that the EU wasn’t democratic. I explained that she voted for her MEP same as her MP, and she asked about the Commissioners. Of course, most EU countries select theirs, but the UK (MPs) decided to have MPs vote for someone.
    My dad complained about the EU causing massive issues with me regulations. Again, that isn’t so much Brussels as the overly enthusiastic implementation and embellishments of the basic regs by Whitehall civil servants – who in the UK literally write the laws.
    So everyone else for Leave seems to be racist, or won’t give a reason – which makes you think they just won’t admit to being racist. :-/
    Of course if we #brexit then a lot of those closet racists won’t be so closeted any more…
    It’ll tear the country apart.

  14. I find it a good corrective to privileged ruts in my thinking to consider the fact that if I lived in Britain, I would basically be in the same position Latinos are here.

  15. Tonight I will walk to my local polling station and cast my vote to leave the European Union. My fellow citizens will chose whether or not they do likewise, but at the end of the process we will have collectively reached an agreement through democratic consensus and we will move forward together.

    My reasons for leaving are simple to understand and are thus;

    1. Sovereignty, our elected European Members of Parliament (MEP’s) can neither propose, alter or reject EU regulations, this function is performed by an unelected body of EU ambassadors. The role of an MEP is therefore reduced to endorsing or rejecting the modus operandi of the higher echelons. As the UK can only repeal EU law through our Supreme Courts, we typically encounter ‘death by a 1000 cuts’ with wave after wave of minor regulations becoming statute as each on the own would be too costly to defend.

    2. Immigration, in my view it is not possible to manage the services or infrastructure of a country without visibility over the expected future population. I fully accept that migrants pay their way financially, but in these matters supply always lags demand and it is the indigenous and migrant population both who suffer from failing schools and hospitals and a chronic shortage of housing. Additional to this, high immigration requires immediate capital expenditure to provide the aforementioned amenities. Critics who are quick to mention that the above functions are within the remit of the U.K. Government are correct but they should refer to our growing national debt to understand why these haven’t been provided. I therefore favour a points based immigration system as a control mechanism to counter these issues.

    3. Elitism and Classism, because I have chosen to ‘vote leave’ the assertion by many in the remain camp is that I am either a racist or a dullard, or both. Personally I have reached my decision through hours of research and study and my view is that there is an absence of character and morals at the top level of the EU Governance structure and many of these people are not fit to hold office. If you are in any doubt as to my assertion then some research on Jean-Claude Juncker would be an enlightening starting point. From my perspective elitism and classism are on a par with racism yet both are perpetrated on a daily basis without a single word of recourse from the media.

    Whilst much of the debate has focused on economics, I personally would not surrender our democracy at any price. That said, I believe that both the EU and the U.K. would prosper should they decide to part. The U.K. could slowly redress the imbalance between services and manufacturing, and the EU would be free to pursue a much needed fiscal union required to repair broken economies such as Greece.

    These are my reasons, and if leave are successful I look forward to a more confident, optimistic and global facing United Kingdom in the years ahead, based on free trade and collaboration.

  16. Ambassadors above should of course read Commissioners; I claim sleep deprivation as an excuse. It’s almost 2am this side of the pond.

  17. Brexit seems to me to be one part xenophobia and one part short sighted selfishness and one part idiot economics.

    Then again, 70% of Americans supported the Iraq War in March 2003, so if Brexit goes the same way, folks will vote for the split, a year or so will go by with the economy getting worse as a result, at which point moderate folks who voted for it will regret it but will silently change position, and the extreme xenophobes will celebrate as the ship sinks, with all manner of retconned histories that they’re correct.

    In other news, it seems like I’m running out of places to go to in case of Trump presidency.

  18. John Scalzi and Stephen King are unexpectedly very politically sophisticated. Which of course means they agree with me. Or is it the other way around? The gestalt collective mind sometimes thinks alike.

  19. Your point about the xenophobia involved in the pro-Brexit camp is well-made.
    I also agree that the potential for strife within the UK is an underappreciated danger, and one with long, long roots… The UK is not just England, and the Brexit folks would do well to remember that.

  20. I can’t vote – wrong side of the world.
    But if I could, at the moment I’m probably 51:49 in favour of leaving.
    Why: – 1. Migration. Why are these people moving to Britain? In many cases they are fleeing a failure of their own government. The consequence of not confronting this failure is migrants.
    2. The fear mongering by the Establishment. The economy will collapse if the vote is to Leave. How many CEO’s have said how much their profits will fall by? None, because all there will be is a temporary fainting spell by emotional share traders. Once they see nothing has changed things will revert to business as usual. Although that is dependant upon both parties – EU and UK not going all vindictive and petty with the other.
    3. Keeping it local. This is that hard to pin down idea about just how much should be localised and how much centralised. The US has this issue with states vs federal power. The UK has it with Scotland and Wales vs England. Here in New Zealand I’d never vote to become just another Australian state.
    4. Democracy. A good chunk of the EU bureaucracy is not democratic and can’t be removed if unpopular. If the UK stays inside the tent they cannot change this (even if they wanted to) because EU change requires consensus. With the UK on the outside and saying if this, this and this were different we’d happily rejoin, including adopting the Euro, then I think if the changes sought were non-partisan then it may effect changes the EU should have already made.
    5. Other stuff that doesn’t come to mind.
    So as I said 51:49. Not a lot in it – just like the polls.

  21. Thanks for commenting, Scalzi. It’s been pretty bad, watching our descent into demagoguery, with the Remain side having pathetically little to say about any benefits of remaining in the EU, and the Leave side playing on people’s worst natures. And it all happened because Cameron decided to make a party political problem a national problem as well (the Tories have been seriously split on Europe for a long time). Oh, and he wanted to win the general election last year when Ukip – the main Leave people – seemed to be threatening a hung Parliament. Neither being good reasons for a referendum, or good timing (there’s no *EU* reason for a vote). Sigh …

  22. I’m voting remain. Free movement of people works both ways. While it means people can come to the UK to work and study, so British people can go to Europe to work and study- and millions do. Personally, I have friends in Portugal, Spain, Netherlands, Brussels and Germany. Secondly, places such as Tyneside, Wales, Cornwall and Liverpool- areas of deprivation- have benefited hugely from EU regeneration money. Thirdly, I work in a university. We carry out research with European partners, funded by EU research councils. Given the Tory government attitude to universities, I doubt that research money will be available from the government here.

  23. One of the ongoing things which amazes me about the whole Brexit thing is the way the “leave” campaign appears to be under the impression that all they’ll have to do is leave the EU, and things will magically revert back to the way they were back at the end of the 1890s, when Britannia ruled the waves, and the Commonwealth trading bloc was at its strongest.

    Speaking as an Australian, I have to wonder what it is they’re drinking, and whether they’d be willing to share it.

    (My apologies to any Brits reading if this isn’t something they’re pushing back home. It’s certainly the angle they’re trying to use to influence British voters living in Australia on the matter).

  24. @Matthew Hughes

    I was talking about Ireland leaving the UK, not the EU. As I said, home rule and then independence has worked out pretty well for them (joining the EU perhaps less so), despite a hypothetical Remain camp in the late 19th and early 20th centuries being able to make the exact same arguments about the economy, how complicated home rule would make everything, and so forth.

  25. I’m a Canadian/UK dual citizen, living in the UK, and voting Remain. My reasoning is here: http://blog.iainroberts.com/2016/06/please-vote-remain.html

    Answering a concern raised upthread — I agree that decisions are best taken locally where possible, but the EU is already very decentralised. The EU’s population is 742 million; but its institutions are far less powerful than the elected governments of the USA (320 million) or India (1252 million). It’s far from obvious to me that the EU is too big to function well.


    European Members of Parliament (MEP’s) can neither propose, alter or reject EU regulations

    Incorrect. The European Parliament can do all of these things: http://www.europarl.europa.eu/aboutparliament/en/20150201PVL00004/Legislative-powers

    in my view it is not possible to manage the services or infrastructure of a country without visibility over the expected future population

    Really? Ask Germany or the Netherlands. They are also members of the EU, and their infrastructure is handling it reasonably well. This is the responsibility of the UK government, which chooses to keep taxes low instead of spending more money on services.

    because I have chosen to ‘vote leave’ the assertion by many in the remain camp is that I am either a racist or a dullard, or both.

    The insults have been flying on both sides. Two days ago, both Gove and Johnson compared economists warning about the dangers of Brexit to Nazis. It’s not hard to find people who call Remain supporters traitors or worse. This doesn’t strike me as something which should affect our votes one way or the other.

    there is an absence of character and morals at the top level of the EU Governance structure and many of these people are not fit to hold office

    The solution to bad individual leaders is to replace them with better ones. President Nixon was not a good reason for Texas or California to declare independence from the USA.

  26. I will be voting Remain. I am slightly left of centre, and so there is an element of schadenfreude watching the Tories eat themselves alive (John Major’s “bastards” remark always comes to mind).
    I find that the campaigners voting Leave are pretty much without fail people who I would hate to be in the same room as – Gove is a revolting turd who caused vast harm as education secretary, Farage is a proto fascist, dishonestly playing the “ordinary working bloke in the pub” while he’s an ex- commodity broker. And their entire campaign seems to degenerate to “keep the wogs out” which is both despicably racist, and pretty much bugger all to do with being a member of the EU.
    When pressed on Radio4 the other morning, Priti Patel’s promised (Oh, we’ll save boatloads of cash and spend it on all these good things) turned out to be hollow promises with no authority or mandate to keep up to, based on pretend figures and lies, which didn’t even add up. Jam tomorrow, FFS.
    The Remain campaign has been dull and short on body, but better than xenophobia. UKIP’s Goebbels inspired posted was just the icing on the cake.
    KiwiSteve – if those leave bastards win, and your country would let me in, I’d be there like a shot.

  27. It should have been easy for the Leave campaign; the grass is always easier on the other side, after all. Remain had the difficult task of trying to show how much better off we are now as a result of being in the EU. Instead, Leave resorted to, well, lets say misrepresentation, and promising the (alleged) savings several times over, and Remain tried to scare us all with worst-case scenarios that amount to the same tactics. Disappointing in the extreme.

  28. I have cast my vote for “Leave” today, after much deliberation. I don’t consider myself a xenophobe (I am myself an immigrant, in fact) and I find the rhetoric on both sides equally distasteful (IMHO, George Osborne’s blatant scaremongering isn’t much better BoJo’s demagoguery).

    The main reason I voted “leave” is my concern about the inherent flaws in the construction of the EU as it exists today. I believe that, in its current format, it’s likely to set back the European peace and prosperity project for which it was originally created by decades, if not centuries. While it’s all a matter of deciding among counterfactuals, I believe it would be better to dismantle it before more permanent damage is done.

  29. Never seen my polling station so busy – at least the whole ‘one vote that actually counts’ – yes/no – in/out – has ignited the youngsters and lazy people into making use of and understanding the importance of their democratic right to a vote :)

  30. Everything I’ve seen from “Leave” about what would happen afterwards is reminiscent of the South Park Underpants Gnomes…
    1. Leave the EU
    2. ???
    3. Profit!
    I used a postal vote weeks ago and have long reached the “Is it over yet?” stage…

  31. Well said. Though I’d dispute your comment about the “soul of the UK’s Conservative party”. That was mortgaged to their masters long ago.

  32. Wrt shakauvm.
    “Democracy works best when people are closest to the people making decisions over their lives”.
    Really? Have you evidence for this? Often a distance provides better perspective.

    “The EU represents the antithesis of this, with the members of it so far separated from the voters that it’s ridiculous.”
    It provides a vital layer to check the nationalistic stupidity of countries.

    “I not only support Brexit, but also devolving power as much as possible to Scotland, Wales, Ulster, Catalonia, and so forth, if not full independence.”
    In what way is that incompatible with blocks such as the EU? In fact a blend of the ten-state and thousand-state model could be ideal.
    Further such smaller states would be easy prey for more aggressive (economically or militarily) neighbours.

    “The Irish fought for independence for a long time, and mostly got it (Ulster aside), and have been doing rather fine with it. I’m sure that if the vote for Irish independence were to happen today, just as much scare mongering on the Remain camp’s side would take place.”
    And yet Ireland is a very strong supporter of the EU and federalisation.

  33. “And of course, both Trump and the “Leave” initiative seem to be two strains of the same virus”

    As a person who only casually follows European politics, I don’t have much to say. I will say that it seems to be a good idea. Decentralization and checks on authority are always good. Plus, many people in multiple EU nations want to break off.

    But this “virus” of which you speak is a revolt against destructive Political Correctness. We saw just recently, an example of where it is literally killing us; and I don’t use “literally” casually or without knowing what it means. I mean because the Islamic Radical had been repeatedly reported by coworkers that he wanted to do this. A gun store owner refused to sell him armor and large amounts of ammo. And the Obama Administration removed a warning about Islamic terrorists wanting to attack gay night clubs from an FBI warning.

    It was all ignored because, like the Fort Hood shooter, the Orlando shooter belongs to the most privileged group in America and the world: the Muslim male.

    After the shooting, we had redactions of the phone records to remove references to ISIS and change “Allah” to “God”. We had disgusting bigots blaming Christian culture in the U.S. for this tragedy (https://stream.org/gay-muslim-terrorist-slaughters-gays-straight-christians-get-blamed). And AG Lynch’s DOJ has stated “we may never know the motive for the shooting” (Orwell is spinning in his grave about now).

    Why do I bring it up? Because I know Trumpettes and Political Correctness is the *main* reason for their support of him. Now, I am not a Trump supporter and won’t vote for him. I simply cannot vote for a con-man and a bully (I can’t vote for Hillary either since she’s a treasonous criminal); but I can understand the disgust and frustration.

    Oh, and “a few massively entitled folks harnessing for their own benefit the furious yawp of a group of people for whom things are not currently going well”. Yeah, the lowest labor force participation rate in my lifetime (http://data.bls.gov/pdq/SurveyOutputServlet) is “not going well”. Having less money and not being able to afford health insurance only to have the government show up and say “you can’t afford HI? Well, we’re here to help. All we’re going to do is force you to buy now inflated insurance or fine you on your taxes”

    And it doesn’t help all the left wing violence against Trump supporters (San Diego, Chicago). Hell, a leftist tried (and failed) to assassinate Trump this week. In the midst of all this left wing violence, stupidity, and bad policy can you not see why Trump seems good to people? People of all faiths, races, and sexual persuasion.

  34. @Passing Stranger: Not so much sold as rented. :-)

    The struggle is between reasonable, pragmatic Tories such as John Major, David Cameron, and Ruth Davidson; and swivel-eyed fanatics such as Michael Gove and Iain Duncan Smith.

    The former are conservatives. They will be generous to business and harsh with the poor, because that’s what they do. But it is at least possible to reason with them. They don’t believe government is always and everywhere evil. The latter don’t care about anything except their ideology. It’s not dissimilar to the gap between old-school Republicans and the Tea Party.

    I don’t place Boris Johnson in either camp. He will simply say or do anything to advance his own career. A year ago, as Mayor of London he was in favour of the EU; now he directly compares it to Hitler. Boris would happily burn the UK to the ground if he got to be Prime Minister of the ashes.

  35. While everyone is condemning Gove, let us all take a moment to remember that Iain Duncan Smith also backs leave. A man who thinks the main thing the Nazis got wrong was to make the state have to organize mass executions instead of merely making life so intolerable that the poor and disabled took their own lives instead. A man who objects to the EU on the grounds that it gets in his way of doing as he wishes to anyone who wishes, a man who literally laughed when he was told his policies were killing people. This man thinks leaving the EU is a good idea. He also wants to take back the position of Tory leader post vote too. Leavers, think about that. Do you really want to put a man like that into power with a mandate to sweep away all checks on his own personal power?

  36. The leave campaigners are basically a bunch of fruitcakes, and my initial view was an automatic vote for Remain. However, after listening to the Remain campaign it’s pretty clear the right side of an argument is the side they aren’t on, so the answer is Leave.

    Vain is the hope of man, but I suppose it’s just possible that if we leave the EU we’ll eventually get politicians who have some interest in the UK. At the moment, “Europe” is the go-to excuse for any vicious and idiotic policy they can think up.

    C W Rose

  37. I am not sure this came up earlier, but the vote is non-binding, meaning the Conservative Government can theoretically ignore it and carry on with the status quo. If Leave passes, the question would become does Cameron and his faction have the will to weather the storm? (Cameron’s personal career is already pretty much dead if Leave passes regardless of how he implements the result.)

    Some readers might also not know that membership in the EU was one of the carrots/sticks being used in the Scottish independence referendum. You cannot leave; you’d have to reapply to join the EU. Think about how terrible and costly that would be. Many of the people making that argument AGAINST Scottish independence are now FOR Leave. Irony? Or just dopery?

  38. @CW Rose:

    The Remain campaign includes (among others) Conservatives John Major and David Cameron; almost all of the Labour Party including Tony Blair, Gordon Brown and Jeremy Corbyn; Nicola Sturgeon and the Scottish National Party; Tim Farron and the Liberal Democrats; and Caroline Lucas and the Greens. It includes Stephen Hawking, the Confederation of British Industry, the Trades Union Congress, and the British Medical Journal. It’s a broad spectrum of everyone from British public life, with the notable exception of the right wing of the Conservative Party.

    Why is it so bad to be on the same side as them?


    Theoretically yes, the government can ignore the referendum vote. In practice it won’t do it. But the devil is in the detail, and we have no idea when the UK will formally notify the EU it is leaving, or what kind of international deals it will try to negotiate afterwards. That depends on the outcome of the post-referendum power struggle within the Conservative Party.

    Many of the people making that argument AGAINST Scottish independence are now FOR Leave. Irony? Or just dopery?

    In my opinion, both.

  39. As a Brit I’m most definitely voting Remain, the Leave campagin have used every possible half truth and even outright lie that they can to back their cause.
    Whilst it sticks in my throat to vote for anything that Cameron supports, the Leave campaign is led by people I (and many others) positively loathe.

    I don’t particularly like the way that the EU is run, it seems deliberately inefficient in many ways, but the benefits such as common standards and a level of protection for workers and public makes me think it’s better in than out.

    One of my big bugbears about this whole thing is that it’s been coming for decades, as none of the Conservative leaders has ever had the balls to stand up to the small number of (admittedly influential) members who have never wanted to be in the EU, so we as a country are basically facing leaving the biggest easy to access trading block because of what comes down to party politics and an unannounced leadership challenge.

    The only positive thing about it is that if we do remain in the EU (as I sincerely hope we do), it’ll hopefully put an end to the careers of some of the most reprehensible and cynical politicians we’ve had since the start of WW2,
    No matter what it seems unlikely Boris will become leader of the conservatives as whilst they’ve got a long history of stabbing each other in the back to become the leader, it’s rarely the person who orchestrated and wanted the job enough to do the stabbing that has got it.

    Crypticmorror, IDS has a special place waiting for him in the afterlife.
    Probably making suggestion to make things worse for everyone, giving Sisyphus a ruptured disc for example and adding a scratchy record of Agadoo inter spaced with “you can do it, don’t let your injury stop you from holding down a job, you’ll thank me later”.
    He’s got a talent and ability to make people whose lives are already hard often through no fault of their own, go from difficult to impossible.
    Gove is just as bad, unfortunately so are Hunt and Osborne.

  40. Like all arguments, there are two sides. I’m a little uncomfortable with the notion, however subliminal, that all “Leave” voters are in some way predisposed to racism, xenophobia, bigotry, and selfishness.

    Fair enough, you can make the claim that all bigots, racists and xenophobes will be voting “out” but even then I think that’s a little naive: wealthy capitalists and businessmen, not to mention the well-to-do aristocracy are almost inclusively voting remain, as the system has so far benefited them, and why would they want to rock the boat, and I think you’ll find not all of these people are adverse to views and opinions that have been exclusively, and unfairly, attached to the Brexit supporters.
    My father is Irish (“Foreign Immigrant”), my mother’s side of the family stem from all across Europe (Russia, Germany, etc.) and feature some non-geographical blood (Romany Gypsy, Jewish.) My spouse, though born and bred in Britain, has parents born in the Caribbean (Dominica and Nevis). Much like ourselves our children are a by-product of immigration, a melting pot of cultures, and for this I am grateful. However, like any parent, I have to question what life will be like for my children in the future, and what their prospects in this country will be like by the time they themselves have children. I’ve agonised and analysed over this point since the referendum was announced, and ultimately both parties are spewing propaganda and scaremongering as best they can in an attempt to sway votes, mostly for their own ends – Boris: for his own career, and Cameron: for his business assets.

    I’m not particularly comfortable in siding with a group of people who want to vote “leave” for no reason other than their own ignorance and misplaced hatred. Neither is standing in the same camp as Britain First, Nigel Farage, and any other people who hold questionable views, a reassurance. But, I cannot let others make me question my own beliefs, and sway to vote in favour of something I don’t believe in, simply to distance myself from people who I have no other shard beliefs with. (Britain First and all the other Bigots.)
    The EU was founded on solid principles, and has benefited every member. But, like many things we seem to hold dear, I feel it has had its day; the Syrian migrant crisis, the economic crash, and the constant looming threat of terrorism has shown the fragility of the Union. This, does not even take into account the constant stress and strain on our public services, and the lack of infrastructure we have to support the rapidly growing population that we do not have the power to control due to being a member of the Union.

    What it comes down to, for me, in a torrent of conflicted opinions (no one can say for certain the true ramifications leaving will have; it’s just speculation.) is a survival instinct that has benefited man for thousands of years: Gut Instinct. For me, I truly believe, staying on the course we’re on, that nothing will change, at least nothing positive. Whereas, for better or worse, leaving the EU gives us a chance for change, a chance to improve the prospects of my children, and their children, and yes it may be a massive mistake and might well lead us all to the precipice of shit mountain (which overlooks Shit City), but it’s the prospect for change, it’s the active, rather than passive, root, and ultimately it offers me something that remaining with the status-quo does not: hope.

    That’s why I’m voting Leave.

  41. Many of the people making that argument AGAINST Scottish independence are now FOR Leave. Irony? Or just dopery?

    In my opinion, both.

    Lets not rule out deliberate malice here. A large number of Leavers have always regarded Scotland as a colony of England and being able to deprive Scottish people of both independence and the protection of the EU ( make no mistake, Scotland has a lot to gain from the EU and much of it involves being protected from the full impact of Westminster polices) is icing on the cake to them. They’ve never quite got over Scotland getting a devolved parliament in the first place. Scotland has become a substitute for a lot of English folks for the colonies lost with the break up of the Empire and the Scots treated accordingly.

  42. If it weren’t for the fact that there’s a serious change of a leave vote screwing over the entire country, I’d be enjoying a good dose of schadenfreude at the moment watching the Tory party implode. The latest one I heard yesterday was that the Scottish conservatives are threatening to leave the national conservative party if Boris gets the job of PM. Which makes a lot of sense – one of the key factors in deciding the Scottish referendum was membership of the EU, because Cameron threatened the rest of Britain would veto any membership application from an independent Scotland. So in the event of Britain leaving, Scotland’s likely to go for independence sooner rather than later, and would then have veto power over us joining again once we realise we made a mistake!

    In the event of a leave vote, we won’t have that extra money to spend on all the things the leave campaign are promising to spend it on (actually many times over, which seems a bit mathematically incompetent of them), and their promises of spending it all on the NHS ring particularly hollow given how every single one of the leaders of the leave campaign has previously gone on record as wanting to gut the NHS, sell it all off to private companies and move us all over a US style system, not least because we’ll have considerably less money available for public spending in a post-exit economy. Leaving the EU won’t do a thing about all the non-EU migrants who most of the leave voters seem to be most worried about – in fact, the leave campaign are advocating strategies to bring in more non-EU migrants and use them to force wages down – and they’ve already agreed that EU migrants currently here can stay. We’re likely, however, to get all of the elderly ex-pats coming back once they no longer have access to the local health care systems free of charge through the EU. The homes they’ve bought overseas will be worth less too as soon as there aren’t enough people seeing any advantage to living in a dwindling ex-pat community, so they’ll be coming back needing the state to cover most of their living costs. They’ll be a much greater drain on resources here than those energetic, economically active migrants who pay into our economy, help our businesses to be more productive, and then go home to their families as they get old or sick. We’ll also have to carry on following most of the rules and paying in, without having a say on those rules and payments, if we want to carry on trading with Europe. And we’ll be sidelined and cut out of academic research, and no longer attract EU students coming over to study for a year or two, before going home with links and networks in Britain. For the first time anyone can remember, all 103 university vice-chancellors are in agreement on the fact that it’s better to stay. I recently went to a debate staged on science and the EU, and the best the leave side could come up with was a guy who whined that his clinical trials for a vaccine got halted because of EU regulation and big pharma! Now there’s a dog-whistle phrase!

    As for suggestions that the EU is undemocratic, I would give that more weight if the people making those claims were also campaigning against an unelected house of lords where seats are given as a reward for party supporters. The EU is more democratic than our own second house, and provides a much better check on making sure parliament doesn’t create too much legislation that treats the general population unfairly. Someone’s going to have a say in what our politicians can get away with, and I’d rather it wasn’t someone who stands to personally profit from bad decisions. Your choice on those checks and balances is between democratically elected politicians who want to improve things for all Europeans, or a combinations of former politicians, party donors, bishops and hereditary peers, half of whom went to school with cabinet ministers relatives, and Rupert Murdoch, who’s on record as saying he wants us to leave because Downing Street will do what he wants, and Brussels won’t.

    And there’s so much more I’d be tempted to add, but think I’ve already typed quite enough. That’s what I get for avoiding political discussion on my personal social media – it turns out I’ve got lots to say that I finally couldn’t hold in!

  43. Or then again – just one more point I realised I missed out – the EU would be a whole lot more democratically representative if certain Brits don’t keep voting for UKIP MEPs who like to claim their full salary and expenses without ever actually turning up to vote or negotiate on their constituents behalf!

  44. @Joe Turner: If I understand correctly, you are voting Leave because the UK’s situation is so bad that any possibility of change is an improvement. I disagree.

    I’m thinking of the mob boss Falcone, speaking to Bruce Wayne in Batman Begins: “You think you got nothing to lose? … People from your world have so much to lose.”

    If you want to see people who are really desperate, take a good look at the refugees leaving Syria. I know very well the UK has its problems, but in the scheme of things it’s a safe and prosperous country.

    @crypticmirror: Sort of, but I think it’s slightly more clever than that. They’d never admit it in public, but a lot of Leave campaigners would be pleased if Scotland left the UK. It would take with it a large chunk of generally left-wing voters, and cement a Conservative hegemony over England (and Wales, and Northern Ireland, if they stayed).

    In the event of Brexit, it’s plausible the Scottish National Party could hold and win another independence referendum.

    Contrariwise, it may be that England will vote narrowly to Leave, but votes from Scotland/Wales/NI tip the balance to Remain. In that case some very ugly English nationalism would rear its head, even more so than it already has.

  45. I’m a UK citizen – I placed my vote this morning at my local polling station I voted to REMAIN in the EU. Why? Because it makes more sense, it’s not perfect at the moment but then again what is? We are stronger as a unity rather than a singularity. The LEAVE campaign do have some valid points that need addressing however I don’t think making such a drastic change of leaving the EU will help/solve the matters at all.

    Immigration will always be an issue. My parents migrated over to the UK in the 70’s and it wasn’t an easy move they worked hard and helped the economy of this country. Migrants coming over now most of them want to come over and work and live a better life. Whats wrong in that? I am aware of those who abuse the system but there are structures in place to deal with that. Concentrate on what you have already achieved rather than having to re-create everything and starting all over again?

    Even more so now with the refugee crisis. But you cannot blame them for the all the problems our own country is facing. They have no choice. Where else can they go? where would you go if you were faced with their horrible situation? its nice to know that there is an establishment such as the EU who are there to support and do what they can.

    Common Sense prevails.

  46. Did #catsagainstBrexit have anything to do with your thinking? Perhaps the scamperbeasts should chime in.

  47. I’m waiting for the rain to ease before I go to vote; since there are only around 7000 people living in the City of London itself I don’t expect a long queue.

    Of course, 300,000 people commute into the City of London so they will be queuing where they live; the vast majority of them will be voting Remain because they are painfully aware that if we vote to leave the only people profiting will be speculators, as George Soros has pointed out.

    I was at the memorial gathering for Jo Cox yesterday in Trafalgar Square; a much loved woman murdered as an act of terror because she had devoted her life to trying to help those less fortunate than her. I would like to think that Brexiter Michael Gove has stepped back from his claim that the scientists opposing Leave were just like the Nazis in the 1930s because he realised that it was a vile lie, but I suspect that he did so because he didn’t like the backlash.

    So here we are in the City of London, with a lot of jobs at stake, including those of the guys demolishing the building opposite my apartment; we depend on inward investment, and up until now foreign capital has come in because the City of London is the most dominant player in the global financial markets, and they want a piece of the action.

    If we vote to leave it will come to a grinding halt; no sane person puts capital into a country determined to commit economic suicide. Boris Johnson, following his recent claim to have been pretty humble about everything, has offered to apologise if the country goes into recession following Brexit; he obviously feels that channelling his inner Uriah Heep will make investors trust him, but of course it’s had the opposite effect.

    It’s made it clear that he’s completely clueless as to how markets in general, and financial markets in particular, actually work, and that he’s prepared to bring the economy down in ruins in pursuit of his personal desire to become Prime Minister. I have no doubt that the Central Banks have a war chest and plans to try and provide liquidity in the aftermath of a vote for Brexit, but equally I have no doubt that sterling will go into freefall; it will be a Black Friday.

    I think it’s worth pointing out that the people hit hardest by Brexit will be those already disadvantaged in one way or another. I am retired and economically privileged; the devaluation of sterling will make my Hermes bags and my cruises in the Med more expensive, but I can still afford them. And after all, Hermes imposes a quota; you can only buy two bags in a year and I’ve already bought two.

    If the value of my apartment in the City of London falls it’s fine by me because it reduces the Inheritance Tax my daughter will have to pay. If the massive redevelopment of the City slows it will result in less noise, more light and better views, improving the quality of my life.

    All in all, it’s not me I’m worried about; I’m worried about the people who do not have my privilege because they will be the ones suffering as prices go up and jobs go down.

    In some ways BRexit looks very much like the Iraq war; it was easy winning the war, but nobody had given any thought as to what they would have to do after they had ‘won’ it. Iraq is still the site of bloody conflict, all these years later, notwithstanding the claims at the time that it would result in the shining beacon of democracy spreading out across the Middle East.

    According to the BRexiters, leaving the EU would do the same thing for Europe; the concept of learning lessons from history seems to have passed them by. I can only hope that my fellow voters and I are not doomed to repeat them…

  48. The main reason I’ve voted to remain is that for every century in the recorded history of Western Europe, some of us were fighting some of the others. My father, my SO’s father, and our grandfathers had to put on uniform for one or both World Wars.

    I haven’t had to do that; and while a good share of the credit is due to NATO being a credible opposition to outside threats, it’s the political will of the members and citizens of the EU that we would not go to war with each other again that provides the foundation for that.

    It’s the same for my kids too.

    I know there are people who have good reasons to vote leave. For me the reasons to remain outweigh them.

  49. To clarify: I didn’t mean to imply that The Powers behind Leave messaging were unaware of the contradiction. It might still be “dopery” with respect to most of their long term interests.

  50. Some of the Leave writing has claimed that the UK (or whatever remains of it) will get a better deal from the EU from the outside than it does from the inside. As a close observer of political Berlin, I can say with confidence that this is completely wrong. German governments will not go out of their way to make things difficult for a post-Leave Britain, but indifference and the end of special UK privileges will have that effect anyway.

    The EU works better with the UK on the inside, and working to improve the Union, and proffering ideas about how to make Europe a better place. But a European Union of 28 member states and 500 million citizens is vastly different from the European communities representing six states that the UK (along with Denmark and Ireland) joined in 1973. The latter needed the UK; in the former, it is nice but by no means necessary. In contemporary Europe, the UK is inter pares, but by no means primus. Sorry.

    I hope that UK voters will choose Remain, because membership in the Union is a really good deal for the country as a whole. The UK could have much more influence within the EU; unfortunately, a significant faction of its leaders have spent the last half century being out, being half-in/half-out, being half-heartedly in, or wanting out. The Union has given significant concessions to the UK, all to no avail in winning over that faction. Is it any wonder that the willingness to make still more concessions is waning? Is it any wonder that European partners wonder about UK counterparts’ ability to bring their country along in making a better Europe?

    After a Remain vote, the UK will still have work to do, most of which will fall on the Tory side of the aisle. If UK leaders want more influence in the Union’s future — something that Poland, for example, has gained in the 12 years since its accession — they will have to demonstrate that they really are in for good, and not just hanging around, sniping, with one foot still outside the door.

  51. The motivation here, just as with Trump and the other fascist movements around the world, is racism. In the UK, a major faction has been persuaded it doesn’t want lots of Scary Brown People immigrating to England, and never you mind that the alternative is to leave them to the mercy of one of the most brutal political movements of our time. That alone is reason enough to vote “Remain.”

    Beyond that are things like destablizing Europe, economic disaster, and just general crazy. “All of history is a growing together / You want pure you’re going to have caves again.” It makes no sense. Which, in modern fear-based democratic politics, means it has a one-in-two chance.

  52. @Iain Roberts: So the fact that we in the UK do not fear for our lives, or are not destitute, means that we should not have any desire for improvement over our situation? It’s all relative, and while I do not claim that we are oppressed or are in such a state of affairs the we are likely to implode any minute, I do feel we could benefit from leaving the EU and I don’t think the old rhetoric of “it could be worse” is a healthy argument, because on the flip-side “it could be better.”

  53. Democracy works best when people are closest to the people making decisions over their lives. The EU represents the antithesis of this, with the members of it so far separated from the voters that it’s ridiculous.

    Well, I’d note every qualified elector in the United Kingdom gets to vote for members of the European Parliament and they elect the Government that represents them on the European Council and the Commission. If they can’t be arsed being informed participants in the process, then to use a technical term diddums.

    Otherwise, your argument is about as absurd as the more rabid Scottish Nationalists saying the current Government of the United Kingdom is somehow illegitimate because Scotland only returned one out of 59 MPs who belongs to the governing Tory party.

  54. @Joe Turner: Of course we should desire improvement, but a high-stakes gamble is not a good way to go about it — and that’s what Brexit would be, at best. I desire improvement in my financial situation, but I’m not taking my life savings down to the racetrack.

  55. I assume you’re questioning me?

    For the perceived benefit (because there is no factual benefits or deficits at the moment: those will come with the decision, and time) that house, and rental prices should drop, allowing me – and I’m sure many others – to finally be in a position of home ownership, or at least with a more realistic prospect in the future. Due, in part, to the laws of supply and demand: less people vying (foreign investors and migrant workers) for properties should stop the ridiculous rate in which house prices and rental rates have risen in this country: which the rate in wage rises can never hope to compete. I don’t know for certain, nor does anyone else for that matter, that this will happen. But I think we can all agree that remaining in the EU means it definitely won’t. So I have to favour an option that gives me a chance over one that almost certainly puts it out of my reach.

    That is a (potential) benefit to me.

  56. Hunh? I mean, hunh? That all assumes your income will hold up in the chaos that would follow on leaving the EU. Seems like a hell of a gamble. Also, you sure that immigration and foreign ownership are the main influence on real estate pricing where you live?

    What’s the basis for that economic model?

  57. @IainRoberts: You label Leaving as a gamble, but I in turn label sitting by ideally waiting for a change to implement itself as a gamble. I’d rather die by my own decisions than live in fear of change, however “potentially cataclysmic”

  58. No one’s asking you to agree with me, just as I’m not thinking of changing my opinion based on your “witty” responses.

  59. Not quite sure why your Point #3 is a strike against Leave. Just seems like a related sideshow.

    Most potent reason for Leave that I’ve heard is self-governance. The EU has a dummy Parliament, but the actual administrators of the actual policies can’t be voted out.

    But I don’t know enough about the issue to opine further than that. I just hope for the best, whatever the best happens to be.

  60. I think one thing at work is that many “leavers” truly don’t understand how much worse things can get. A 2% drop in GDP (and this before the banks leave London) would be horrible. You would have people pushed out of their homes in job lots, people literally wondering where the next meal would come from, and this after the British social insurance programs have been shredded as “too expensive.” If they’re “too expensive” now, what will they be after a drop in national income?

    And then there are the wildcards: war, terrorism, environmental disasters which no-one can afford to respond to.

    Most gamblers die broke.

  61. @Joe Turner: You seem to be arguing there is no possibility of fixing the UK’s problems if we remain within the EU.

    In the case of housing, we could just build more houses. Rates of house building are a tiny fraction of what they were in the 1960s and 1970s. Yes, it would require a significant change in policy, but such things have happened before. This is a decision for the UK government, the EU would have nothing to do with it.

    You sound like you would burn down your house for the insurance money, because finding a reliable plumber is too much trouble. If so it’s your decision, and as you say arguing with you is unlikely to change your mind, but you really haven’t presented a sound argument for voting Leave.

  62. @iainrobertsblog:

    Thank you for your observations.

    With regard to the role of MEP’s:
    I concede that the language used in my explanation could have been cleaner on this issue. However reading the information contained in the link that you provided, I did not see anything which would allow an MEP to table or alter any legislation without the permission of the council. I therefore hold my premise that the their function closely resembles a rubber stamping exercise.

    With regards to services and infrastructure:
    Your comment that these are the responsibility of Government is a reiteration of what I originally said. With regards to the UK being a low tax country this is contrary to what I have concluded. Yes we have lower tax rates for single people with no children as one example, but overall the ranges in the UK are similar if not higher than other European countries.

    With regards to my reason to ‘vote leave’:
    I posted on my reasons for voting I cannot speak for others, and I hope that I have not insulted anyone in anyway. I think we can all agree that racism is abhorrent, however I find it strange that others believe that judging people on both their perceived class and intellect is acceptable; especially when the inference has been drawn from how someone intends to vote. It is your right to not take these attitudes into consideration however for me this is an important element when making a decision.

    With regard to EU Governance:
    We are in agreement that the solution to bad leadership is to “replace them with better ones”, but I am perplexed as to how this can be achieved given that they are not elected in the conventional manner.

    Like a proportion of other leave voters I am not against the idea of a European Union, I simply can’t support this one in its current form.

  63. Charlie Stross, in his Brexit discussion: “The Brexit camp are asking for a no-fault divorce and it hasn’t occurred to them that their ex is going to try to hang onto the house, the CD collection, and the cat — and leave them sleeping in the car if they’re lucky.”

  64. Also it isn’t a no-fault divorce when one side (the British side) has been metaphorically slapping the other partner around for years before wanting to run off with other people. The UK has been a deeply abusive and neglectful partner in this marriage for a long time.

  65. @IainRoberts: My intent was never to produce an argument worthy of changing people’s minds, or in justifying my own decision. It was to combat the unfair generalisation that people voting leave must be from one of the following catagories: Racist, Xenophobic, Bigoted, Thick, Protesting (against the PM). As for the housing, I genuinely feel that unless we can regain control of our own boarders, and stem the influx of people, then we stand very little chance of building enough properties to match the steep rise in population; so I do feel that remaining in the EU has an affect on housing, particularly in London.

    As for burning down my own house for the insurance money? It would be flippant of me to say: I can’t afford a house because we’re in the EU, so I won’t. But, I don’t see how opting for a choice that is not the one you see sense in, must by proxy, make it a foolish, irrational, or wrong decision. We’re entitled to our opinions, and we’re free to exercise them: democracy.

  66. For our friends across the Atlantic perhaps an analogy is in order. Imagine for a moment that congress took it upon themselves, without the consent of the electorate, to enter into a union between America, Canada, and Mexico to defer the creation of laws, for this they decide the American tax payer must contribute $500 million a month (£350 million a week – the non-guaranteed rebate, said rebate also contains clauses on how it can be spent.)

    In addition to this it is deemed that an open door policy will be put into effect to allow the free movement of people. It isn’t long before your population increases (UK announced today another rise of 500k, reaching a record 65.1million)

    The people start to feel the effects of this, health care services struggle, school placements become an issue; you go to your congressman and they agree to fight your corner in the Unions court. Only they have no real veto power (72 veto attempts, all blocked)

    If you had a choice to leave the above, you would.

  67. The British were all so much better off under Mary I. Maybe they could go back to that setup. It would certainly be reflective of the attitude behind Brexit.

  68. @Kendo:

    In addition to this it is deemed that an open door policy will be put into effect to allow the free movement of people. It isn’t long before your population increases (UK announced today another rise of 500k, reaching a record 65.1million)

    Naughty, naughty Kenzo – more than half that number was “natural growth” (births minus deaths), and that net-migration number draws no distinction between migrants from within or outside the EU. (My source: http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-33266792)

    You’re entitled to your own opinion, but you’re not entitled to your own facts. And a lie my omission or distortion is still a lie.

  69. @Joe Turner:

    We’re entitled to our opinions, and we’re free to exercise them: democracy.

    Of course. Voting Leave doesn’t make you a bad or foolish person.

    But for me, this is not like the Scottish independence referendum. In that case, I strongly agreed with No (to independence) but could appreciate the strength of some of the arguments on the Yes side.

    This is not so for the Leave campaign. I have concluded that anyone voting Leave is either misinformed, or has very different priorities to my own.

    If it’s the second one, then it is your democratic right. It doesn’t alter my firmly held conviction that you are mistaken.

  70. @IainRoberts:

    Fair enough.

    I do not feel misinformed, and I can concure that indeed we must have different priorities.

    You’re entitled to feel I’m mistaken, as I’m entitled to feel you’re mistaken if you think we can keep doing the same thing we’ve done, and expect an alternative outcome.

  71. @tonynortheast:

    The EU Parliament (elected by the voters) can and does hold the Commission (executives appointed by the elected national governments) to account. In 1999 the Parliament forced the entire Commission to resign, and since then its powers have been strengthened by the Lisbon treaty. It is considerably more than a rubber stamp.

    (The above is also relevant to @Sanity Inspector’s remarks.)

    overall the ranges in the UK are similar if not higher than other European countries

    Not if you look at all taxes as a percentage of GDP. The UK takes 39.0%, Germany 40.6%, France 44.6%. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_tax_revenue_as_percentage_of_GDP

    we can all agree that racism is abhorrent, however I find it strange that others believe that judging people on both their perceived class and intellect is acceptable

    If you vote Leave, some people will call you a stupid racist. If you vote Remain, other people (some of them very highly placed in the Leave campaign) will call you a traitor or a Nazi. I don’t think it is acceptable to do either, purely on the basis of voting intention. It seems to me that you’re choosing to take offence at the insults of one side, but not the other.

  72. I know several people who live in England and I will check in with them later for thoughts. My thoughts, because this event will not affect me directly and I couldn’t change it if I tried, are more “macro.”

    First: “Democracy works best when people are closest to the people making decisions over their lives”. Actually no. Historically, it is the governing or controlling bodies closest to their constituents who are most likely to indulge in corrupt and/or violent methods of profiting themselves at the expense of said constituents. See: the City of Bell scandal in Southern California; see also: the Mafia. It is easy for someone in a local office to arrange contracts favorable to friends, or to approve projects with sketchy permits, or to waive environmental reviews. It is also easy for someone in a local office to sound well-informed and reasonable about local issues and to find the right thing to say to pacify people who aren’t being well-served, while continuing to hand out benefits to the chosen few. There is often very little oversight at the city, county, or even state level because nearly all small governments are always short on cash *and* nearly all small governments make few decisions that are considered newsworthy in the celebrity-gossip news age.

    On the federal level, we in the U.S. see the same effect because of lobbyists. Lobbyists exist for one reason only: to influence lawmakers and regulators into doing something that benefits those who *do not actually have a legitimate legal grievance* and just want things made easier – or more profitable – for themselves. But because of the federal nature of our government, and the multi-layered system of law, active constituents are often able to block or reverse lobbied decisions that benefit one at the expense of many. It is not a perfect system but it sure beats the Mafia. And there is incessant oversight.

    Second: one thing I wonder about w/r/t the EU is, how many people look at the EU in terms of security? If I lived in Europe, I would want as many people and nations to belong to the EU as possible because I would feel like that was the best bet of surviving with my national integrity intact, over the long term, against a Putinized Russia. The existence of the EU will not prevent another world war, but the more economic power can be concentrated in the EU the better its members’ chances are of surviving one.

    Third: immigration has always been destabilizing, and will always be destabilizing. There is no getting around the difficulty of integrating ethnic and cultural populations. Those who fear immigration often have very legitimate concerns. I myself am concerned about failure to integrate: it’s bad for the immigrants, and it’s bad for the existing population. Language is the key to economic success, and separation of church and state is the key to legal success. You cannot permit large populations to decline to integrate – by continuing, for example, religious practices that are contrary to the nation’s laws, or by failing to learn the dominant language – without the expectation of ghettoization, mass unemployment, frustration, and the inevitably resulting violence. But you also cannot permit other human beings to be killed en masse just because you are afraid of someone who doesn’t speak English or who wears a head scarf.

  73. @IainRoberts

    Thank you again for your observations.

    With regard to Commissioner Accountability, I accept your evidence that commissioners can be forced to resign by the Parliament Members and I stand corrected. It would be interesting to see how workable this would be in practice when looking at the voting requirements and the size of the main party. Given that MEP’s can still not initiate legislation I am still reticent to upgrade their status from ‘rubber stampers’ however.

    With regard to tax rates, As I stated UK Tax Rates are in the same range as other European Countries, and this is supported by your supporting evidence. Indeed your other originally quoted example of the Netherlands has a tax rate of 39.8% compared to the UK’s 39%.

    With regard to taking offence, you are correct that I do not take personal offence at remarks that are not directly aimed at me, it would never occur to me to do so. That doesn’t mean that I can’t recognise that comments on both sides can be offensive, and like you I would never seek to condone this type of behaviour.

  74. I should preface this comment by noting that my daughter is a junior hospital doctor here in England; so far she has put in almost 12 years of training, and in another 15 months or so she will be fully qualified as a dual specialist consultant. She has no doubt that, purely as a question of fact, the NHS depends on people from the EU and elsewhere to help staff it; it cannot exist without them.

    Again, I should declare an interest; a couple of years ago a surgeon from Eastern Europe hauled me out from under the wheels of the proverbial ten ton truck, and I am, of course, grateful. The BRexiters have claimed that the NHS is safe in their hands, but given their previous track records the former Prime Minister, John Major, was perfectly correct when he noted that the NHS is about as safe with them as a pet hamster with a hungry python.

    Privileged people like myself have private health insurance; there are, of course, private hospitals, and so we are, to some extent, shielded from this. It’s worth bearing in mind, however, that those private hospitals transfer really sick patients to NHS hospitals which have the strength in depth that the private hospitals lack. In the end we are all at the mercy of that hungry python.

    People have raised questions about housing, and the hope that a BRexit triggered fall in house prices would let them buy a home of their own. I can certainly understand and sympathise with that desire, but I don’t think BRexit is going to help. When house prices fall people become more, not less, reluctant to put their homes on the market; they don’t want to make a potential loss a real loss, and for people with negative equity selling is the last thing they would do.

    That leaves buying a newly built property, but that isn’t going to work either. Residential as well as commercial building companies have cut back because they fear the results of a BRexit vote. In order to build new homes they need capital investment, and that capital comes primarily from outside the UK; investors do not put money into a country committing economic suicide.

    I appreciate that those leading BRexit have been careful to slide over all of this, interspersed with the occasional downright lie, but that doesn’t alter the facts; the financial press – the Financial Times, Reuters, Bloomberg, etc – have been reporting this for months. I very much hope that we vote Remain, for all our sakes, but if we vote out it will be the vulnerable who suffer the most.

  75. If leaving is from racism, and if the neighbouring French were aware of that, and if the French desperately wanted Britain to stay, then wouldn’t the French, with EU help, be moving heaven and earth to secure their borders at the English Channel?

  76. And just at the moment, because of the storms (from the Guardian’s live reporting):

    The problems at London transport hubs could potentially affect the ability of thousands of people to vote.

    Waterloo [Station], where there appears to be no service at all, alone serves 90 million passengers a year, which is about 250,000 a day on average (although the average obviously includes weekends, holidays etc).

    Canon Street, Charing Cross, London Bridge, Victoria, and likely other stations have also been affected. They are all major commuter stations with many people likely to have left for work this morning before polls opened.

    The Rail Delivery Group says among the train operators affected are Abellio Greater Anglia, Gatwick Express, Southern, South West Trains and Thameslink.

    Others who can’t get back to the UK because of today’s French transport strikes have been told their circumstances aren’t such to qualify them for an emergency proxy ballot.

  77. One ugly detail. Boris Johnson spent his years as The Daily Telegraph‘s Brussels correspondent trashing the EU as much as he could. In other words, he helped to entrench and inflame the low-information Brexit mindset that he’s now milking.

  78. It’s just another sign of humanity getting dumber and dumber. Refreshing to see it happen somewhere OTHER than in the US.

  79. tonynortheast

    It’s worth bearing in mind that the 2008 financial crisis was caused by making housing loans with the express purpose of creating financial instruments, rather than for people buying their homes. Fixed rate mortgages were bundled together so that the capital sum could be stripped from the income streams and sold separately.

    Stripped bonds are notoriously volatile; as far as I know the world record for a loss on one single trade still stands at a quarter of a billion dollars. That was back in the 1980s when the savings and thrifts debacle resulted in massive losses and government bailouts; 2008 was just déjà vu all over again.

    It’s difficult to draw meaningful comparisons on housing prices from a financial crisis which was directly caused by property loans to people who couldn’t possibly service the debt, to a financial crisis caused by other factors.

    And yes, I’ve lived in the City of London since the 80s, and I do understand why people in the financial markets can’t wrap their heads around the idea that a country would deliberately destroy its own economy. Usually it’s accidental…

  80. John Oliver had an excellent suggestion for an alternative to a full Brexit:

  81. John Lorentz

    Thank you! It was so good to see ‘Ode to Joy’ delivered in such style; (a lot of my friends are musicians, and, for the benefit of people unfamiliar with professional musicians, I should note that a singer’s instrument is his or her voice)

    They really nailed it, didn’t they? That’s certainly brought Joy to me, and I’m pretty sure to many others. I do, however, have to declare yet another interest; my daughter sings, in her copious * free time, whenever she gets the opportunity.. She loves it, and luckily she has a good voice so lots of people love it too. Thank you once again for posting this comment; it’s cheered me greatly🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

    * copious, in this context, means very small indeed.

  82. Early vote counts are leaning towards “leave” and the British pound is crashing as a result.

    Yay, freedom at any cost!

  83. Stevie:

    My condolences to you and the other Brits.


    Those who fear immigration often have very legitimate concerns. I myself am concerned about failure to integrate: it’s bad for the immigrants, and it’s bad for the existing population.

    No, they really don’t have legitimate concerns. They make up shit in order to obtain more political power through fear mongering and bigotry. Immigrants routinely strengthen economies, increase productivity and agriculture, are more focused on education, help with labor shortages, and start valuable businesses. Countries with immigrants are more robust on average.

    Immigrants don’t fail to integrate — they’re blocked from being allowed to be part of the community they’ve entered. They’re blocked from jobs and forced into low paying jobs and unemployment welfare, blocked from education and assistance in education, from housing, from business loans and mortgages, from participating in networks that help ruling natives, from healthcare, etc. You name it, we block immigrants from it as much as possible, and threaten them with violence and vandalize and steal their stuff while exploiting their labor for lower pay. Even the white ones in white supreme countries. But some immigrants are blocked more than others (white ones in the west being blocked less,) and thus are often given quasi status as the “good” immigrants while ignoring the obstacles to the groups they’ve designated “bad” immigrants. And then those in charge try to set immigrant groups against each other, get them to fight over resources.

    So immigrants do form their own communities within their own groups, with extended family, friends, religious groups and so on, to be able to get jobs, build businesses and get education for their children, and sometimes trade with other similar immigrant groups. To outsiders that may look like refusing to integrate. To the immigrants, it’s making the best of a bad bargain to survive while they try to improve their situation and remove blockages by those in power. Over time, as those immigrant communities continue to survive, as their children get educations and spread out, those groups may get “good” immigrant status. But skin color will always play a role in countries run by a ruling group of mainly one race/ethnicity. And even when you’re a tenth generation descendant of immigrants, as native a citizen as anyone else with only the accent of the country in which you live, those who find it politically useful will still call you an immigrant, because the immigrant is the outsider and the handy scapegoat.

    The idea that immigrants need to integrate to the ruling society — usually white culture in the west, rather than add parts of their culture to the variety and strength of the society, that they are resisting, is simply a brand of colonialism. It’s painting the picture of the immigrants as inferior, simple savages who have to be schooled how to live in a civilized manner. So that the ruling groups can exploit them and take their stuff.

    They’ve found that after a severe financial crisis — not a simple recession but a big scare like the 2008 recession — far right sentiment increases during a ten year period afterwards, even if the economy recovers and does well. Nervous that they will be deprived of resources and power and determined to blame it on social progress and equal rights, authoritarian efforts increase. And part of that is accusing immigrants of taking jobs, trashing the country, committing crime, refusing to be part of the main culture, etc., as a political power grab which then fuels financial power grabs. This happens whether the immigration population in the country is low or high at the time.

    And that’s what is happening in Britain and in the U.S. and Europe and Australia, just for starters. Immigrants are easy to target for blame — vulnerable, often poor, willing to work for much less, few advocates, no power to protest when their members get killed or beaten up or cheated. You can easily block them from opportunities and then claim that it’s their own fault. And that they are guilty of the most heinous crimes and biggest threats. And now the people willing to do that are in charge of the British government. The bigots whose own home-grown terrorist killed a woman over this bill are the leaders of the U.K. And they will happily trash the economy and make money off of it and consolidate power from it.

    And over all of this, Putin is smiling his ass off. So no, it’s not immigrants and their ability to “integrate” that’s the problem. It’s power hungry bigots that are the problem, as usual. Pick-pockets working in gangs will have some of their group create a distraction while other members pick the crowd’s pockets. That’s what the Brexit folk just did to Britain by shouting “immigrants!” It’s the oldest game in the world.

  84. Important to note that the parliament needs to vote on the non-binding referendum, and if they have balls and the world markets panic sufficiently (odd to be rooting for a panic…) they could actually overturn the anticipated final vote of 52% Leave. As I’m going to bed it’s 52:48, and the pound sterling is down 8%, HBSC is down 8% in Hong Kong, FTSE is anticipated opening down 120B pounds loss in value, and world markets are opening down 8-10% all over.

    Those who voted Leave to avoid austerity are in for something of a wake up call. Being a good world citizen and global neighbor has amazing network effects, and the opposite is also true — being a bad neighbor and putting up the Channel Wall means we all suffer.

    My best hope is that this is a cautionary tale to the nativist, nationalist, racist, anti-immigrant, isolationist idiots in my own country (US) who are rallying under the fascist Trump (http://www.nytimes.com/2015/12/03/opinion/campaign-stops/is-donald-trump-a-fascist.html?_r=0), and brings something of a wake up call.

    One can dream…

  85. Oh please, Trump is not Fascist. Original insult though. I mean, it’s only been used against literally EVERY GOP presidential nominee for the last 70 years (and against pretty much every GOP nominee down to local town boards).

    But, “original” though.

    I doubt you can come up with a cogent and logical argument for Trump’s “fascism”; but at least Jonah Goldberg has against the Treasonous Criminal Hillary Clinton.

  86. it’s officially Brexit by 51.9% to 48.1%. Cameron has announced he will step down (not immediately) and the party should elect a new leader by the time of the party conference in the autumn. Sterling was at $1.37 to the £ last time I looked on the BBC website. If you’re coming to the UK on holiday this summer you might want to get pounds while there’s still uncertainty..

  87. LAJ,

    Every great change comes with suffering and temporary (or not) bad effects. Look at it as a birth (or rebirth), and we all know how dangerous birthing is.

  88. Let’s have a look at what (so far) this “rebirth” has accomplished, shall we?

    – The British pound crashed from 1.5 to 1.3 in 6 hours, the lowest value in 30 years, which in turn affected the US dollar which affects all other global currencies. I wish I was joking but I’m not: South Africa, Poland, Norway, Mexico. Hungary, Australia, Switzerland all saw their currencies plummet. Countries that don’t rely on exports as their means of production cannot have a devalued currency. Not good. The Japanese Yen which has been strengthening reached an all-time high which is terrible because Japan is trying to reverse its deflationary state. The Bank of Japan is now out of options and Japan literally stopped trading British stocks and investments.

    – A devalued GBP means that the Bank of England is going to have to hike interest rates to prevent inflation (domestic prices going up even further), with the end result of causing a recession and concomitant financial crisis.

    – The UK leaving the EU means its market has gone down a LOT in size making them a less attractive destination for trade partners/investors. They’re going to have to draw up new trade agreements with basically the whole world since all their trade was previously tied to the EU. This will be tricky because countries liked having a market with a population of ~500 million compared to the UK’s size of ~50 million.

    – GDP will go down. Retirement income will go down. The British economy is in a state of panic. The global economy just took a huge hit. And it’s not likely to get better any time soon.

    So how could it still get worse?

    – Scotland showed an overwhelming majority of votes to remain in the EU. It’s likely that they’re going to call for a referendum (again) to leave the UK so that they can join the EU as an independent country.

    – Northern Ireland also wanted to stay in the EU. It’s likely they’re going to join the Republic and subsequently the EU.

    – Not sure about Wales. They could say “haha feckit m8” and potentially leave the UK too.

    – David Cameron has just announced that he will be resigning in 3 months which means that extreme conservatives who managed to sway the vote in favour of Leave could come to power, meaning boors like Farage and Johnson are potentially next in line. These guys make Donald Trump seem like a warm, huggable puppy of a man

    – Brexit triggered a lot of nationalist/extreme right-wing movements in the rest of Europe: “Frexit” (France), “Itexit” (Italy) and..”Dexit” (Denmark). This could lead to European instability, which could make way for an aggressive Russia to take advantage of weak/vulnerable European states. An aggressive Russia will trigger US skepticism (except, you know, for those so-called conservatives whio admire it so much and have expressed their love for it repeatedly in the press, but that’s a whole other long winded comment), and we all know how that goes.

    But it’s okay that millions, if not billions, should suffer what could have been easily avoidable aftershocks. Because this will make Britain great again. Somehow. Eventually. Surely.


  89. Brexit makes no sense when analyzed in standard economic/materialistic terms (“Don’t do it, you’ll only crash yer economy”). When viewed from the perspective of simple emotional self-interest, it makes perfect sense.

    When elites Disrespect the dominant culture for long enough, the dominant culture will Disrespect back. It really is that simple.

  90. If by “disrespect back” one means throw a gigantic ill considered and childish tantrum that has the potential to destabilize an entire continent flagrantly done in the face of all facts and rational thought, then sure, why not. That’s never caused irreparable harm before. Surely. Truly.

    Also, “dominant culture” is quite the blatant dog whistle. You may want to go for subtler rhetoric else you’re be talking about “savages” next.

    But this is to be expected.

    “Man is the only Patriot. He sets himself apart in his own country, under his own flag, and sneers at the other nations, and keeps multitudinous uniformed assassins on hand at heavy expense to grab slices of other peoples countries, and keep them from grabbing slices of his. And in the intervals between campaigns, he washes the blood off his hands and works for the universal brotherhood of man, with his mouth.”
    –Twain, “The Lowest Animal

  91. Pedro,

    If acting like a pillock is the dominant culture, then it deserves disrespect.

  92. Mysteron,

    The Northern Irish vote looked roughly split along sectarian lines to me, although I’m no expert on Northern Irish demographics. I’m afraid a return of The Troubles is more likely than reunification of Ireland.

  93. I can’t imagine a reunification of Ireland is even remotely likely; Northern Ireland (and more likely Scotland) leaving the UK and joining the EU on their own is much more likely. With the UK leaving the EU, Northern Ireland now as a border with the EU, something no other member of the UK has to deal with and after the Troubles, the last thing they want to deal with is this mess.

  94. The “leave” result is UK cutting its own throat. This is an utter and complete fuckup, with no positive aspect to it whatsoever.

  95. waytoomanyUIDs, I was basing that on Martin McGuinness calling for a poll on a United Ireland, as the North was stronger on Remain–56% I believe is the final fiigure, which is pretty significant compared to the 52% Brexit positive vote in Britain. However in reading more on the subject I have to agree, it’s more likely Northern Ireland will vote to go its own way . . . which should be interesting (in the ancient curse sense) in and of itself.

  96. One final comment while I’m thinking of it: Emotional self-interest is more commonly referred to as “narcissism” and/or “solipsism.” So there’s that to consider.

  97. A boat fashioned out of steel plates riveted together floating in the middle of the ocean. One plate throws off the shackles of its rivets shouting “Freedom!” while water gushes into the boat and the plate itself sinks.

    Look, if you want to be a hunter gatherer, totally independent of everyone around you, thats fine, but hunter gatherers didnt invent the internet, or internal combustion engines, or open heart surgery. You get a spear and some animal skins and you die by the age of thirty. Thats how it works.

    When it comes down to it, every fascist wants everyone to live like cavemen because they have caveman brains and cant understand modern economics.

  98. Mysteron: if you keep people from all other options at “striking back at the Man,” you should not be surprised if they grab even the worst, least useful implement that has actually been made available to them. Sure, it’s low manufacturing quality means that it will probably spring back and hit them in the eye, but they get hit in the eye every day and this time they actually got to hit someone back. The right someone…maybe, who cares? It was human contact, damn it.

    I agree that they would have been better off voting Remain, but a lot of them would still be miserable under Remain, just less so. Yesterday gave them a chance to feel like they mattered. People will do a lot of crazy, unfocused shit to feel like they matter. The big question is can we integrate these people and give them a stake in our vision? So far we have failed on that point and it’s only recently that we have even taken the question seriously.

    On an unrelated note, hearing Reaganisms from commentators in other cultures just makes them sound even more empty and revolting. Sorry for that, Britain. If it’s any consolation, it hurt us bad too.

  99. As you might guess from my comments upthread, I am very unhappy at the result. My immediate reaction is here (warning, contains very NSFW language): http://blog.iainroberts.com/2016/06/on-stupidity-of-david-cameron.html

    In large part that post agrees with PrivateIron, but with more swear words.

    @Kat Goodwin:

    There are certainly barriers to immigrants becoming part of UK society, but on the whole it is reasonably open and welcoming. That’s based on my experience as an immigrant to the UK, and accounts from many international friends who have settled here.

    The greatest exception is probably the Pakistani/Bangladeshi communities. This is partly because they originally came for lower-status jobs and so were lower down the social/economic ladder; and also because the custom of arranged marriage (often with a partner from the “home” country) means they are less likely to intermarry with other groups. Obviously, Pakistan and Bangladesh are not in Europe so this is nothing at all to do with the EU.

    Having said all that, there is an ugly current of anti-foreigner sentiment which seems to be on the rise, thanks in large part to the tactics of the Leave movement. Even very-privileged white English-speaking Canadians like myself run up against it sometimes.

    @Shava Nerad:

    parliament needs to vote on the non-binding referendum, and if they have balls and the world markets panic sufficiently (odd to be rooting for a panic…) they could actually overturn the anticipated final vote

    In theory, yes. But Cameron has resigned and the Conservatives are effectively without a leader. The Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn faces a motion of no confidence as well. The Scottish National Party aren’t interested because they’d prefer to push ahead with Scottish independence. So it’s highly unlikely anyone could construct a large enough coalition of MPs to do this.


    A depressing but accurate analysis.

    Not sure about Wales. They could say “haha feckit m8” and potentially leave the UK too.

    Wales voted narrowly to Leave, by about the same margin as the UK as a whole. But if things are looking bad enough, they might start pushing for independence too — either alone, or in some sort of confederation with Ireland and/or Scotland.

    There is also talk, only half-joking, of London breaking away as an independent city-state. As a resident of Cambridge (which also massively supported Remain), I’d be happy to join the Republic of Greater Greater London.

  100. PrivateIron: “I agree that they would have been better off voting Remain, but a lot of them would still be miserable under Remain, just less so. Yesterday gave them a chance to feel like they mattered. People will do a lot of crazy, unfocused shit to feel like they matter. The big question is can we integrate these people and give them a stake in our vision?”

    Hehe, first off, saying they’d be miserable under Remain, just less so? 2 points for taking the concepts of “better versus worse” and turning it into linguistic mush.

    Second, am I mistaken in thinking that the UK already had a privileged position with the EU as part of their membership negotiations? How much more “stake in our vision” do they have to have?

    How much better off than everyone else do they have to be before they feel like equals?

    I mean, isnt that the basic gist of Trump supporters? They are so used to being in such a privileged position over everyone else, that moving towards equality feels to them like they’re being discriminated against?

    Fascism: the belief that equality is achieved when you are more powerful and more wealthy than everyone around you.

  101. Iain Roberts:

    That’s all bigoted bullshit and does not match actual U.K. history. Or did you forget that the Brits called them Pakis and any manner of slurs and accusations and pretended they were all low-skilled? You lucked out because you had a similar culture and were white and probably well off enough to get through the process. So you got to be part of the “good” immigrants who got less blocked. And you bought the hype about immigrants who weren’t so lucky from Asia and Africa. England is no worse or better than any other country on escaping racism (they invented the concept of races after all,) and it’s been playing the immigrants are suffering due to their own fault game for centuries. While keeping the top jobs and education for well off white British families.

    As John Oliver so adroitly explained, Brexit from the EU will not stop migrants from entering Britain nor solve any of the imaginary immigrant problems UKIP dreamed up. They don’t care about immigrants, they care about power and so they lied their asses off and older white Britons bought it as they tend to do, especially in rural areas where they have few immigrants.

    I don’t like a lot of things about many cultures and far right religious groups in regards to women, slavery, gays, etc. whether it’s secular Russia persecuting women and gays, or child brides and rape in India or debilitating sexism in the U.K., North America or Japan. I don’t like the Catholic Church’s attempt to kill millions of women over centuries. I don’t like Quiverfull groups selling their children as property. I don’t like how Orthodox Jews treat women either. Or female circumcision. Or libertarian atheist technocrats claiming women aren’t as rational and so can’t have tech jobs. Or France trying to regulate women’s clothing, etc. But I also know that there are numerous versions of Islam, including in Pakistan, that don’t all have the same beliefs, just like Christianity and Hinduism, and that intermarrying with the native population — if that doesn’t get you killed by that native population, as many beaten Pakistan immigrants can attest — isn’t integration and doesn’t have to be required for immigrant groups to be vital parts of a society.

    Bigotry doesn’t care what excuse is used to justify its existence in society, law and the workplace. It’s a taught tool that creates a long con used for the short term goals of groups for power and money. It is used to control populations, exploit their labor, keep most of them poor and from resources legal and financial. UK white workers who voted for Brexit are concerned immigrants will take their jobs, not about their culture. And there are Pakistani Brits who’ve been in the U.K. for fifty years and intermarried and their children still aren’t considered “British enough” and face slurs and blockages on jobs and opportunities. It’s not about whether they obey the laws or not.

    So when you’re rehashing tired stereotypes about why Pakistanis and Bangladeshi groups had a tough time getting ahead mostly due to their own fault, that’s for me a ridiculous claim. Every country does this stuff to immigrants, every country uses it as an excuse. Global corporations use it as an excuse because it means cheaper labor, at least in the short term where execs can scoop out their profits.

    More than half of Briton voters who turned out, mostly rural, mostly older, mostly working class white guys, decided to follow their neo-fascist openly bigoted minority political party into economic disaster. That had nothing to do with immigrant integration. But it did have a lot to do with keeping people out of what they feel are their benefits and resources, and claiming those people had it coming, one way or another.

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