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Sunday Independent Stupid Statement of the Week June 26, 2016

Posted by Garibaldy in Sunday Independent Stupid Statement of the Week.
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Kudos to the commentator here who predicted that the result of the UK referendum would be an appeal for a unity government in the Republic. The Sindo editorial comes close enough

In that regard, and to use that much abused term, now really is a time to put on the green jersey. The tentative new administration here should be afforded every support by those progressive parties and members of the Opposition who must surely understand that, in the round, Ireland’s membership of the EU has been to the good, and, further that this country’s economic, cultural and social relationship with the UK must also be preserved insofar as those two ideals remain compatible.

Eoghan Harris meanwhile had this to say about how Cameron should have responded to the vote

Second, Cameron has shown further weakness by stepping down instead of stepping up to the plate.

The result of the referendum is not legaly binding. Parliament is sovereign.

Cameron should have rejected the result as too close for a national consensus and put the matter to the House of Commons.

There’s the defender of democracy for you.

But even on it’s own terms, it’s a crazy argument (and it’s disturbing to see Labour MPs like David Lammy making similar ones): the referendum revealed a large disconnect between the political elite and democratically-expressed popular opinion. The idea that ignoring democratically-expressed popular opinion would be a sensible thing to do is fanciful, and would have extremely dangerous consequences. Stupidity indeed.

Comments»

1. fergal - June 26, 2016

Anybody else here get the feeling that the word ‘progressive’ doesn’t mean what some people think it means.
I could be wrong but progressive in politics for me means- of the left, left-leaning etc.
I think the Sindo uses it to mean new, modern, fresh, open…

Liked by 1 person

Dermot O Connor - June 26, 2016

I’ve never seen such open contempt across UK & irish media for voters – or in this case, the working classes. They actually dared to get out and vote – and worse – they voted the WRONG WAY!

E.G., a plethora of crudely manufactured stories about voters who didn’t understand what they were voting for. Hell, these are easy to do, just pull some quotes from the Daily Mail comments section or youtube videos, and you’ll be dreaming about sterilising the human race, never mind nullifying a referendum. These stories don’t signify. One could as easily construct them out of idiots who voted to remain.

The liberal party line is forming around “we need a second referendum, to let the middle class come out and vote the RIGHT WAY.”

Also, the argument (assertion rather) that the electorate was motivated by racism or stupidity, repeat ad nauseum.

Also, the argument (assertion rather) that the vote was null because it was “old people voting for issues that will affect the young for years”. Uhhhh, you mean like EVERY OTHER ELECTION WE HAVE EVER HAD OR WILL EVER HAVE? Why don’t they apply this logic to previous EU laws that were passed by parliaments elected by old people?

The wurlitzer really is cranking up now. And some of the stuff on RTE/Newstalk is horrendous high-handed middle class twaddle.

Funny to hear old man Hook telling us how we owe Europe everything in this country. Well yeah, George. We owe them 42% of all Eurozone debt, so we do owe them everything, though not in the way you meant.

The Blair Herald (aka the Guardian) is also in full-on stuff-Corbyn mode. In spite of the fact that in latest polls Labour is now level pegging with the tories on 32%.

God forbid a man who actually tilts left might end up in #10.

The horror.

The

horror

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WorldbyStorm - June 26, 2016

The anti-Corbyn stuff is risible (and it’s important to keep in mind he was pro-Remain and vocally so and that LP votes overwhelmingly went Remain). That said, while there’s definitely a strand of ‘the working class disgraced itself’ in some quarters there are valid questions as regards motivations in the UK vote (not valid enough to go for a rerun – I agree that’s simply undemocratic. On the other hand, I’ve no problem with the Scots delaying or blocking it until they’re satisfied with the outcome – that’s the democratic setup established there, if people work it the way it is that’s fair enough in my view). For a start the working class is riven between the LP and the Tories and UKIP, and the Ashcroft polling that dmfod usefully linked to does suggest some huge concerns in relation to the prioritisation of issues for those who voted Leave – with reactionary approaches to feminism, multiculturalism, immigration and so on being evident in the expressed opinions of those polled extensively. But… and this is key, I’ve said it many times before and will again, the mood music in the UK through its reactionary media has been such as to completely blanket people with anti-immigration rhetoric, etc, etc. The surprise to me is not that some in the working class were influenced by that but that how relatively few were, that, as it were there was space for more progressive views to hold sway. And there’s the point that traditional labour bastions in the cities remained solid. So it’s not all doom and gloom and ‘blaming’ the working class is wrong, while at the same time a progressive pro-immigration message is crucial to convey.

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gendjinn - June 26, 2016

What’s the great value in democracy when it repeatedly throws up counter-productive, self-harming decisions like this?

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WorldbyStorm - June 26, 2016

I hope that it doesn’t really, that this is the exception rather than the rule. But democracy is also open. It’s adaptable. Or at least it should be both of those things. Whatever else something will come out of this. If this wasn’t so serious for workers here and in the UK and elsewhere (and for immigrants and for those who are currently bearing the brunt of the xenophobic furies that appear to be waiting in the wings) it would be hugely entertaining to see Johnson and Gove et al twist and turn as they try to square circles they brought into being. As it is it will be educative to see how much they believed their own rhetoric or how far they go in fulfilling it. Certainly it’s difficult not to see them as acting in considerable bad faith and massively in regard to personal ambition (Gove perhaps to a lesser degree…but…).

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Pasionario - June 26, 2016

For once I don’t think Harris is being stupid. 52-48 is a tight margin for such sweeping constitutional change, which will adversely affect nations/”autonomous political entities” — NI, Scotland — that voted overwhelmingly for the status quo.

This referendum, which was only about settling an internal Tory dispute, should never have been held and the responsible course is now either to run another vote (possibly with a mechanism mandating 40% of the total electorate must vote Leave for it to have effect) or to vote down any legislation in Westminster.

Note that any Leave legislation would inherently clash with the freedom of movement provisions in the GFA. So what are we going to do — hold another set of referendums in Ireland and NI in order to amend that? Why should the Brexit referendum take precedence over those referendums?

Simply saying the people have spoken and we must respect that simply doesn’t wash here. It’s way more complicated than that. In a liberal democracy, the rights of the majority (a very slim majority here) must be balanced against the rights of the minority. In this case, the majority verdict will have such a negative impact on the rights of various minorities — Scots, NI nationalists — that it ought not to be upheld. The British establishment isn’t good for much of anything, but I’m glad it seems to be flexing its muscles here.

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WorldbyStorm - June 26, 2016

That’s a very interesting point re the GFA, do you have a reference for it because if Exit does breach it that’s hugely serious. Not that I doubt you, I think that aspect alone is massively problematic.

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gendjinn - June 26, 2016

We strongly disagree on exception. GWB. Climate Change. FG. Democracy is repeatedly getting it wrong, far more often than it gets it right.

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WorldbyStorm - June 26, 2016

Perhaps not! I was thinking you meant specific cases of votes, specific referendums etc, but I agree completely re your list. Overall bourgeois democratic states aren’t getting those issues right (though neither are other sorts of states either).

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Pasionario - June 26, 2016

Under the GFA, the people of NI are entitled to both British and Irish citizenship.

If an individual from NI decides to exercise only Irish citizenship, then, under Brexit in the absence of any other specific agreement between Britain and Ireland, that individual, possessing only an Irish passport as is his right, could in theory be denied access to Northern Ireland.

Then there are provisions in the GFA relating to the European Convention of Human Rights, which, though not technically an EU convention, acquires much of its force in this case through shared membershipp of the EU.

I also wonder whether constitutionally NI is obliged to submit to the verdict of Westminster concerning EU membership.

One way or another, those are three big cans of worms.

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gendjinn - June 27, 2016

Exactly! In theory, under decent (not even ideal) conditions democracy should be delivering progressive improvements. And for chunks of time it has.

But since the rise of Reagan/Thatcher it hasn’t.

People have been systematically turned off politics and no one shows up. I am at a loss as to address it.

What if climate change is an existential threat and the only way to survive is for a Stalin figure to unite the world but at the price of 20% of the current population. The alternative being runaway greenhouse and the end of all organic material. Is undemocracy unethical then?

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Aonrud ⚘ - June 26, 2016

On the narrative about Leave voters having been confused and changing their minds, the media is full of anecdotes about this, but presumably it’s easy to cherry-pick a few vox-pops.

The only figures I’ve seen don’t bear it out at all (though I couldn’t find the below on the ComRes website).

It’d be interesting to see some proper data, but at least thus far, it does seem to be a manufactured narrative – and one that has been played heavily across the media. That’s not to deny there have been some clear confusions evident in some of the reasons for voting leave I’ve heard expressed. (7% of UKIP voters were voting remain according to polls, so there are definitely always gaps in our understanding🙂 ).

And +1 re the Guardian. It’s been nothing but contemptible on Corbyn since he was nominated for the leadership race. That a purportedly left (however loosely) newspaper would consistently lead with anti-Corbyn articles and images while the Tory party is falling apart and in veritable civil war is ridiculous.

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Aonrud ⚘ - June 26, 2016

Actually, this tweet was the more useful one:

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WorldbyStorm - June 26, 2016

Odd though that the media which skews heavily to pro-Brexit in its print incarnation would push that narrative. Though perhaps they think it sells papers.

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Aonrud ⚘ - June 26, 2016

Fair point. And since ComRes seem to be the pollsters of choice for the Mail, perhaps the above represents that. I saw a link to that tweet and nothing else, so it’s not much to go on.

However, the BBC radio news and various bits on the Guardian have been keen to give examples of regretful Leave voters, which does seem to feed a push towards ‘it was all a big mistake’.

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