Brexit-Feelings on the Ground

Discussion in 'Politics and Society' started by StevePame, Jan 9, 2019.

  1. StevePame

    StevePame Administrator Staff Member

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    I don't live in Britain, but I have been following the news about Brexit intently. I was interested to learn of the (tiny) test of trucks going through Dover the other day.

    I know we have a few members who are from the UK. What are your senses of the feelings in the country as the Parliamentary vote draws near, as opposed to the snippets I get from Twitter and the traditional US media? What's the long-term vibe feel like?
     
  2. Thomas

    Thomas Well-Known Member

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    Yep. Apparently the Europeans are doing the same thing in France (Calais), the Netherlands (Rotterdam), as they prepare for the possibility of extended border delays.

    Well, this rather depends on which side of the debate one falls on.

    I am a remainer.

    To me (despite my reservations about the European Union) it's pretty clear. The benefits outweigh the drawbacks, you can't influence change from the outside, etc., and most significantly, nigh-on every economist globally has suggested the UK will be worse off for leaving the Union. What they all agree on is that leaving would open up an era of uncertainty. There were no guarantees.

    With an increasingly aggrssive US, Russia and China on the world stage, reducing the power of the European Union can hardly be a good thing.
    So how did it come about?

    The idea of a referendum on European membership was floated by the then Prime Minister David Cameron to placate a vociferous Euro-sceptic element in his own party that was destabilising his leadership. Basically he assumed a remain vote was obvious, and that the referendum would silence the dissenters and head-off a leadership challenge. That's all it was ever supposed to be. It never dawned on him that people might vote leave, even though his European counterparts were wary and told him he was being overconfident. He assured them it was OK.

    At the run up to the Referendum, the argument for remaining in the Union was simple. It was common sense.

    That might well be true, but it's not a very emotive argument.

    The argument for leaving was in a difficult position – they had no coherent policy for what relations with Europe and the wold would be like in the event they won the vote. The honest answer is no-one knows, not then, not now.

    Enter UKIP – The UK Independence Party

    UKIP reflects the European radical right. It promotes a nationalist agenda, its principle message was about the damaging effects of uncontrolled immigration as a result of the European Union's policy of free movement of labour across borders. It opposed multiculturalism and especially the "Islamification" of Britain. In effect it was a message of 'make Britain Great again', without acknowledging the fact that our 'greatness' depends on having an empire ...

    So in the Referendum debate, cultural and social issues came to the fore. Immigration was the key issue. Because of the European open borders policy, we would be flooded with foreigners stealing our jobs, increasing crime, causing a housing crisis, endangering the National Health Service, undermining pay through cheap labour, the spread of drugs, an open door to terrorists ...

    The Leave campaign focussed on stoking xenophobic fears, and promised a return to the Great Britain as it was in the Age of Empire, when we governed most of the world, etc., etc.

    It's all terribly sad.

    There's not one leaver argument that stands up to inquiry. When you ask them to back up their claims, they can't, they just bang on about 'everyone knows' and if you press for details you're as bad as 'them'. All the claims are specious, if not lies then exaggerations, fed by the popular press that seems more intent on affirming populist nonsense than the truth.

    And now the Far Right is growing even more vociferous. Just yesterday we had a female Member of Parliament, a remainer, called a nazi by a group of leave supporters outside the Houses of Parliament. (Odd, really, as the group in question is really very, very right wing and campaigns for racial purity, etc).

    The leader of this particular group, was seen raging at the police trying to maintain order, calling them "fair game" and saying "if you want a war, we will give you a war" — he then pointed at a policeman of (I think) Asian origin: "You're not even British".

    His message declares that there can be no peace while Islam exists in the West, that terrorist outrages are being covered up by the govt. and the media, and that the Govt is riven with paedophiles.
     
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  3. Thomas

    Thomas Well-Known Member

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    A good sum-up of where we stand now:


    Quite honest, quite bleak.

    Bleaker when the agreed position that the Leavers won a vote based on lies, 'epic ignorance' and xenophobic fantasy.

    The position now is that whatever happens, neither side can 'win' without setting up an intransigent 'them and us' at the very heart of the society.

    All we can hope for now is a 'least-worst' scenario of a middle-ground deal.

    Nothing good can come out of this.
     
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  4. RJM Corbet

    RJM Corbet Deus Pascus Corvus

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    In the UK the immigration issue is not about Islamist migrants from the middle east but migrants from other EU countries, Poland, etc. Non-EU migrants have to apply through normal channels, or request refugee status. The right-wing arch brexiteers deliberately confuse the two, to try to stir xenophobia.

    I'm a remainer too. Brexit is becoming about either leaving the EU with no deal, casting health, agriculture and the motor industry etc, into an abyss -- or else holding a 2nd referendum, now that the real problems of Brexit have become obvious. The leavers fiercly resist it.

    The other morning on the radio I heard an arch-leave politician saying, with a straight face, that a second referendum would weaken public faith in poiticians. I heard it with my own ears.

    I hope there's a 2nd referendum.

    Brexit is just a big bl**dy disaster imo.

    EDIT: But I've decided not to talk about it, at least not here in the UK. It's too upsetting. You don't know who you're talking to and there's nothing I as an individual can do about it anyway.
     
    Last edited: Jan 9, 2019
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  5. RJM Corbet

    RJM Corbet Deus Pascus Corvus

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    I'll just be reading from now on, guys ...
     
  6. Thomas

    Thomas Well-Known Member

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    Was that the 'Today' news programme on Radio 4? If so, I heard the same interview. Thought exactly the same thing: God forbid that we should ever lose our faith in politicians! And if so, you must be very, very old. :D

    So do I.

    Isn't it just!

    I can't stay either. 'The Archers' is just about to come on.
     
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  7. Thomas

    Thomas Well-Known Member

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    (Now, in case RJMs wondering, I am actually listening to The Archers while I write this.)

    If it might appear that RJM and myself are somewhat partisan, have a go at explaining the logic of this:

    There is a risk that a 'Leave' without a negotiated customs agreement will mean lorries crossing the Channel will have to undergo customs checks at either end. The current Dover-Calais route is liable to become clogged with waiting traffic. So the Govt decided to open up a disused and mothballed port up the coast at Ramsgate, to run a back-up ferry service between Ramsgate and Ostend.

    Just before Christmas, a company called Seaborne Freight was awarded a £13.8 million contract to run ferry services between Ramsgate and Ostend.

    Seaborne's founder and Chief Operating Officer, Glenn Dudley, was imprisoned for two months on a possessing of a firearms charge. He ran a cattle exporting company which was the subject of protests by animal welfare activists. Dudley said he borrowed the shotgun to have "what you’d call a backstop" against protesters who picketed his house.

    The company's chief executive, Ben Sharp, previously ran Mercator, a ship chartering business, that was forced into liquidation following court petitions from HM Revenue and Customs. The amount of unpaid tax was not stated, but the former company had a total of £1.78m in unpaid debts.

    The contract was awarded without prior publication of a call for tenders on the relevant Govt. website. This is technically illegal, but the reason was the "extreme urgency brought about by events unforeseeable for the contracting authority and in accordance with the strict conditions stated in the Directive".

    Quite how 'events unforeseeable' could arise when the departure from the EU had been in the spotlight for the passed two years ...

    Govt. Transport Secretary Chris Grayling defended the decision to award the contract as an example of the Govt helping "a new start-up business" and insisted "there is nothing wrong with that". OK, but the awarding of a £14m contract to a new start-up required to hit the ground running in two months seems a tad ... optimistic.

    Reporters were told "Before any contract was signed, due diligence on Seaborne Freight was carried out both by senior officials at the Department for Transport, and highly reputable independent third party organisations."
    The relevant industries are totally sceptical, especially when Seaborne has no history.

    Bearing in mind the company should be up and running by the end of March 2019:
    Seaborne Freight does not own any ships.
    Seaborne Freight has never operated any ships.
    Seaborne Freight has not, so far, contracted any ships or subcontracted ferry services to any other company.

    The port at Ramsgate will need to be dredged before it can accommodate ferries.
    The infrastructure at the Port has been dismantled and that which remains is derelict. It is by no means in any fit state to run a ferry service.
    The Mayor of Ostend has said Ostend was in no position to manage a ferry services in the short term.

    On 3 January 2019, it was revealed that Seaborne Freight's terms and conditions, published on its website, were cut and pasted from a Pizza takeaway company site. I kid you not.
     
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  8. RJM Corbet

    RJM Corbet Deus Pascus Corvus

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    That was it. It was a woman. She was a serious brexiteer. Do you remember her name? I was thinking : I'm actually listening to someone saying this!
     
  9. wil

    wil UNeyeR1

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    Watching the PM stand before Parliament,.state her case and get grilled...makes me wish we could did that regularly here!
     
  10. StevePame

    StevePame Administrator Staff Member

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    I appreciate the additional insights.

    Thomas, thank you for laying out so much of the the details surrounding the situation. The news about Seaborne Freight is all new, and horrifying, to me.

    RJM, I appreciate you commenting even though it is a difficult subject. My purpose of this thread was simply to gain more knowledge from real people. I’m sorry if I struck a nerve by asking about such a sensitive topic.
     
  11. RJM Corbet

    RJM Corbet Deus Pascus Corvus

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    Oh no, Steve, I'm not that sensitive, lol. The strange thing is that here in the UK -- apart from endless media discussion -- people on the ground really don't seem to like to talk about it much because it is so divisive: you can be working with someone quite happily, then get into a Brexit discussion and start really resenting each other -- really-- either for bringing all this down on us and our children, or else for wanting to 'sabotage the will of the people.' It would be unwise to bring it up in a pub.

    The issue now is whether to hold a 2nd referendum. To me this is a reasonable and democratic thing to do. People voted Brexit for all sorts of reasons. People voted Brexit because they were against gay marriage, or abortion, or health and safety rules. All sorts of reasons.

    Few really understood the full consequences. So the only thing those opposing a 2nd referendum have to fear is that the majority have changed their minds since the 1st vote.

    If the majority no longer want Brexit, that is democracy. But the remainers fiercely resist, shouting about flouting the will of the people. But if the 'will of the people' still demands Brexit, why are they worried? They should welcome a 2nd referendum to confirm how right they are. Sorry, pun unintentional.

    It's really quite sad and mad. If there is a 2nd referendum and the leavers lose, it will give right-wingers their justification.

    I was talking to a Polish girl I know yesterday, a friend, married to an English guy, in their young thirties, they've two young children and the neighbours are bullying them, a neighbour asking her why she talks to her children in Polish. They had to call the police to prevent neighbours interfering with them.

    They're so upset. It's not their fault. They just want to get on with their lives. It makes me furious. It makes me want to go round there with a shotgun and sort things out that way. This in a quiet little village in Devon.

    Brexit is deeply wounding, Imo. It has cut a wound that may never heal, whatever way it finally turns out.

    The most disgusting aspect is the politicians jockying for position crawling over each others backs like rats in a cage, biting and snarling, without the slightest real belief in anything at all really, just themselves, using the issue. It's really not pretty. Imo

    * post edited
     
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2019
  12. RJM Corbet

    RJM Corbet Deus Pascus Corvus

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    It's like The Wall. Mexican illegals are not the greatest or even much of an issue, really. But xenophobia is good for getting a populist platform. In South Africa there's xenophobia against North Africans, Somalians and Nigerians: 'they take our jobs and bring drugs and rape our women'.

    Wherever you go the worst type of politicians play on it. Hitler played on it. Trump plays on it. At least with Hitler it was a deep pathological driving force. For Trump it's a way to power/money that's all. If the opposite worked for him, he'd go there. Brexit is just the same: populist xenophobia.

    But ordinary good people are hurt. I despise these politicians. It's the hypocrisy I despise.
    Imo.
     
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2019
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  13. wil

    wil UNeyeR1

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    That's what I think. With parliament discussions and your pub arguments in think the vote would differ this time.
     
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  14. StevePame

    StevePame Administrator Staff Member

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    Yeah, my agreement, too. If the people’s will is still for it, nothing to fear. But if not, oh no, those Leaver politicians just lost their power and no politician deals well with that.
     
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  15. RJM Corbet

    RJM Corbet Deus Pascus Corvus

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    Nor the rich business people who poured millions into the leave campaign
     
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  16. wil

    wil UNeyeR1

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    If another vote occurs,.either way would the outcome be better accepted and parliament move toward a solution?
     
  17. RJM Corbet

    RJM Corbet Deus Pascus Corvus

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    It's all up in the air, imo. No-one really has a clue.

    But doubtful the leavers would accept a 'remain' result to a 2nd referendum. Hell to pay, probably.

    Remainers on the other hand would have to accept if a 2nd referendum again gave a leave consensus. I think? There's media speculation now of a parliamentary coup against the (Conservative) government to give ordinary MPs (ie: Parliament) power to overule the government -- weird days.

    There's also the fact that the government is reliant on 10 Northern Irish MPs for its majority in Parliament. They lost their majority in the 2017 election and had to bribe/buy the Northern Irish DUP with £1 billion to prop them up in parliament.

    There are lots of strong leave supporters.
     
    Last edited: Jan 13, 2019 at 10:17 PM
  18. RJM Corbet

    RJM Corbet Deus Pascus Corvus

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  19. Thomas

    Thomas Well-Known Member

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    Just to echo ...

    It's become one of those things that if you introduce into a conversation, everyone groans.
     
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  20. Thomas

    Thomas Well-Known Member

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    If more evidence of the fantasy world in which politicians reside was required, Theresa May is now pushing the line of:
    A "paralysis in Parliament" if her deal is rejected.
    (No, if anything you have sought to paralyse government by sticking to your deal in the face of almost universal disagreement, or alternatively, demonstrated your own paralysis in the face of difficulty — such as a second vote for a deal which was comprehensively rejected the first time round.)

    She has said that anything other than Brexit would have a "catastrophic effect" on the electorate's faith in their elected politicians.
    Does she seriously think anyone in the UK actually has any faith in their elected leadership?
    That boat sailed long ago ...

    Meanwhile, a new Leave tactic is to suggest, in commentary pieces in journals last week, that any reversal, delay or watering-down of Brexit will result in a backlash by hardline right-wing elements (in other words, they never actually said it, but what they mean is riots, etc. In short: domestic terrorism) — The Politics of Fear.

    Watch this space ...
     
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