Richard Armitage Brexit blues

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~ by Servetus on April 5, 2019.

24 Responses to “Richard Armitage Brexit blues”

  1. I thought his admission here was HUGE. I wonder if it will be gone by tomorrow?

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    • I don’t think it’s very surprising that he doesn’t pay attention to Rees-Mogg — or did you mean something else? JRM is on the far right of the Tories, he flirts with AfD type political views on immigration, etc.

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      • Well I meant that he “swallowed the pill” which I took that he has resigned that Brexit is gonna happen which I as a foreigner hold out hope that the delays will continue and some sort of re vote will happen to stay put in the EU. I mean his Twitter acct has the EU flag emblazoned on it and he has waffled about it as earlier as December so I thought maybe his itchy fingers were tweeting from a gut reaction and he would delete it soon.

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        • Oh. No, I guess that doesn’t surprise me either. He said earlier that England “has” to leave now. Realistically speaking — chance of any new referendum is approaching zero. Neither major party wants it. Two days of Labour / Conservative negotiations have achieved nothing, so it seems unlikely that they will find a different deal that is majority capable in the Commons, which is the condition for the EU granting any further extension. The Lords held the Cooper Amendment over for discussion Monday, which means the absolute prohibition on a no-deal is getting slim, as they will also need royal assent. The latest reports are that multiple nations in the EU — France, Spain, Belgium are now urging/preparing for an April 11 crashout. France is most important there — France and Germany are the big players in the EU. Merkel has been mildly positive but she spent all day with Varadkar in Ireland yesterday, accompanying announcements of tariffs on Ireland / UK trade. I give medium odds that there may be a short extension. Short of calling general elections (which neither major party wants), I’m guessing the UK will be out by June 1 at the very latest.

          I also looked at what the London bookies are saying, though. They’re giving 5/2 on a second referendum ($5 will get you $7), which is slightly better than yesterday.

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          • I thought that his “has to leave comment” he had deleted and that had cause some uproar or some riptides on Twitter in December? I thought he was sort of well straddling the fence kind of wishy washy but you feel he is now on the Leave side? Or Leave is inevitable. I mean Merkel doesn’t want it right? Macron should tidy up his own house in France. Those are the big EU players so I am hanging my head down that he has drunken the kool aid here and given in. If he truly believes this is the right course or inevitable course ok, but then don’t have an EU flag on your Twitter acct. Then he tweets that JRM makes an great case for Remain… huh??

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            • I think he said that because in fact half the country did vote leave. (And his family is from the East Midlands which had the highest vote percentages for Leave in the UK, so I’m sure he hears a lot in that direction.) If the decision of the majority pro-Leave voters were overturned, they’d have some justification for resentment and it would persist. (A comparison in US politics: Nancy Pelosi arguing that it’s not worth it to impeach Donald Trump, i.e., if they did get rid of him, there’d still be a huge core of incredibly angry people — just not the same people as before).

              I think it’s perfectly reasonable to wish for a different outcome and represent that in one’s Twitter account, while recognizing the mood in reality is not on his side. (It’s like having a Democratic Party bumper sticker in your car in the US at present.) The remark that JRM makes a great case for Remain is pretty obviously sarcastic, since JRM is the leader of the ERG (the Tory faction most opposed to Remain) and would never intentionally make that argument. Armitage is making the point that if even a short extension means a UK attempt to change the EU policy (what JRM is saying), and that is what the UK wants to do, then wouldn’t it be a better choice to stay in the EU to do that? That’s what makes it an ironic comment — because RJM doesn’t want under any circumstances to stay in the EU and he’s talking about messing up the EU, not improving it.

              The thing is that the EU are a 27 country bloc, so it doesn’t matter how Merkel or Macron feel about it personally. It’s also not really an argument to say “well Macron isn’t that great of a leader,” because that’s French national politics, it’s not EU politics. The EU has met in summit after summit with and without Theresa May, they’ve offered a deal that has now been rejected by the English Parliament three times. None of the EU27 including Macron really want the UK out, but they are facing facts and their insistence at this point relates to their growing realization that the UK Parliament is not capable of making any decision without some pressure.

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              • Ok thank you for explaining all of this. He had me pissy at “having swallowed the pill” so his irony went over my head..

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              • half the country didn’t vote leave, 52% of people who voted

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                • well, then half the people who cared enough to vote. That’s still really significant. More than half the people who voted in a particular election voted again staying in the EU. I don’t like it, it upset me at the time and it continues to upset me, but that is a fact. Half the people who cared to weigh in weighed in for the course the government is currently pursuing and which, presumably, the opposition will also pursue.

                  If you just reverse course without doing anything for those people, you’re just taking sides against the majority of the voters. That is not democracy. Until (like Australia) you require everyone who is eligible to vote, that is the the electorate you have. And they voted by a slight majority to Leave. Do they have no right to see their opinion represented in law?

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                  • You know it’s not simple. For a start it was an advisory referendum, so no those people don’t deserve to force the UK to leave. Plus Leave lied massively to accrue votes. It’s a crock of shit the whole thing from the start.

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                    • Whatever happened in the past, at present you have over seventeen million people (give or take, the polls differ on the steadfastness of the Leave voters) who favor departure from the EU. That is more than a third of registered voters estimated at 48.6M, roughly a quarter of the whole UK population if you use the 68M figure (although some of those are children and other non-voters). So it’s not really tenable, politically, to ignore what those people want, no matter what the referendum originally meant, or people thought it meant or think it means now. Whether or not it is fair, it is what you have. You have my sympathies as we have a comparable situation in the US with Trump voters.

                      But that is a significantly large enough group feeling enough resentment to tank every attempt to govern for the next twenty years at least. Do you really want to increase their resentment? What are you going to do about that in electoral terms? Do you really want to delegitimate the democratic process by simply ignoring them? Historically speaking, that works out miserably. Unfortunately a swing right is probably the price we (by which I mean the developed world) are paying for globalism and our failure to deal with powderkeg situations on our borders (Mexico, Syria, Afghanistan). I am not happy about it. But it’s way better than fascism, which is typically the next step. Voters get sick of democracy and do away with it. I don’t like the opinions of the people I disagree with but we have to find a way to incorporate them in our society going forward, or we won’t have a society left.

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                    • I am truly not the most well informed about UK politics, but to my understanding Boris Johnson misrepresented the benefits of voting Leave. So that 52% who voted Leave did so under false assumptions. Wouldn’t that be a reason for another referendum?

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                    • I don’t think choosing for the wrong reason is an actionable ground for another referendum — voters are responsible for informing themselves.

                      A bigger question is what the referendum was for, i.e., what what it supposed to do. It depends on what you think the legal force of that referendum was. (It was done very sloppily, so it’s not clear, it was advertised as “advisory,” and it’s been the object of lawsuits.) Various aspects of the legality of the referendum have been challenged in the UK courts (and one political group found guilty of violating campaign finance laws). In the most important case, the UK Supreme Court required the UK Parliament to pass an act allowing the UK to revoke Article 50, so it wasn’t something that the ruling party (the “government” or we would say “administration”) was allowed to do without Parliamentary approval: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/R_(Miller)_v_Secretary_of_State_for_Exiting_the_European_Union

                      The thing is that Parliament did pass that act. The concrete problem is that even the opposition leadership (not necessarily the grass roots party membership) favors Brexit. It’s hugely contested, but I think as Americans it’s hard for us to understand just how deeply committed many Brits remain to the idea of leaving the EU.

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                    • i actually work with someone who voted leave because they believed Boris’s lies on the bus, they’ve changed their mind now they know the truth

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                    • To me, the best sort of conceptual argument for a second referendum would be to hold it solely on the basis of a deal that Parliament agrees to, i.e., a deal is negotiated and the UK voters get an up down vote. Then they are actually voting on something both new and concrete, as opposed to being asked to express a position on a something they have already voted on. This is what most of the people in Parliament who have been asking for a second referendum have been asking for. It was also a rumored negotiating point in the Labor / Tory negotiations taken place over the last two days — however, the rumor is also that the leader of the opposition, Jeremy Corbyn, can’t negotiate for that because there would be so much dissent in his own party ranks. Corbyn’s position is basically that the only way for the UK to end its general austerity push is to exit the EU so it uses money it would have contributed to the EU to institute a more robust social safety net. So you have this weird situation where all of the leadership wants out, but for very different reasons, which means that it’s often hard to know how to vote in Parliament or what a vote means. You could end up voting against the government but shooting yourself in the foot.

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                    • Yeah I agree Rachel even from a foreigners view like me I think it is a shit show from the start. In my heart I hope delays keep happening and I know that may not be a realistic view but I can hope that by some miracle a re vote happens and a second chance to Remain happens. I think just like we in the US got a raw deal so did the UK

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                    • thanks for the really interesting discussion! RE: “voters are responsible for informing themselves” – add the media into the mix https://fm4.orf.at/stories/2956155/ and you have quite a predesigned picture. Even if a person in general is critical of those tabloid rags – if you live in the UK you inevitably are confronted with headlines like this (and information science finds that some things that you only read at a glance enter your thoughts with fewer barriers than when you actively perceive things – so on your daily commute in the morning, everything is stressy, you read these things without really registering that you read anything and all this becomes “normal” because it’s not unknown anymore)

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                    • I have to differ there slightly. I agree the media is full of misinformation. But I don’t think that absolves one of the responsibility to think and ponder as one reads, to dig for deeper information, to ask oneself about one’s own preconceptions. If all someone reads in the news is the Daily Mail, and they choose badly in an election, I don’t think that’s anyone else’s fault but theirs. There are many other things to read; there are many ways to think about what one reads; there are many ways to ask questions, perhaps more than there have ever been. I started learning to do this as a child; how to think critically was constantly discussed in school and at university. I now teach that as a function of teaching history. So I think the responsibility for self-information and choice still rests primarily on the consumer.

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                    • (why is there no reply link under the post? this is RE: Servetus said this on April 7, 2019 at 4:39 am) I absolutely agree that it’s everyone’s own responsibility to make informed decisions and I also see the irony in posting a link to a media article about misinformation in the media 😉 and personally I always try to get information from more than one source and more than one side of the argument unless it’s a topic that I don’t care about enough to make an effort. However, I’m also quicker than most at finding information as that was part of what I studied (and somehow by habit I never took anything I heard, read, saw at face value, even when I was a child… but this is also an exhausting attitude to have) and as it does get more complicated to find reliable sources (yes there is so much more information available than ever before with open access slowly getting ground in research in many fields but the information literacy of people doesn’t really keep pace) what I see is that many people don’t seem to bother. When you ask acquaintances after an election what they voted and why there is definitely a tendency of being strongly influenced by media and social media. It is of course a dangerous thing to democracy to say (überspitzt) “well the people who voted “leave” were uninformed” as this makes mockery of ANY referendum (“ad absurdum führen”?), but maybe that is the whole point?? I’d read that guardian article with the “timetable” before and UK taking part in EU elections and still leaving is just as absurd as leaving with no deal or any of the other options on the table. Sorry, I’m not good at making a point in few words, unfortunately (or generally at making a point ;-)). What I always wonder is who benefits, what motifs are behind big changes like the whole Brexit thing. But I can very well imagine that whoever that is aims at destabilizing grown structures for some sort of upheaval (Umbruch?) and that was sort of what I was trying to say in my last post: If the completely absurd becomes the new normal, if we get used to all sort of hate speeches and things that personally I would lable as “unthinkable” printed boldly on the front page or spread via social media, I find that very dangerous indeed.

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  2. Anja — at a certain points the page prevents you from nesting comments because they become unreadable. This comment will have a “reply” link again.

    My impression is that most people consume the news they want to consume. Almost the only people I know who consciously consume information that is potentially contrary to their own views are professors and politicians. (Professors b/c they are interested and politicians because you need to know your enemy.) I know a handful of people outside the academy or the professional sphere who intentionally venture outside their own convictions to look for conflicting information. But I still think that’s their choice. It’s not like someone is hiding any of that from them. I look at my own family (all Trump voters): they have all the same information accessible to them that I have, at least in English. They are just not interested in any of it.

    I don’t disagree that it’s dangerous. I notice parallels to the 1930s in the news almost every day. However, we also have to face that the fascist states of the 30s were either what the majorities in those countries wanted, or the majority was not opposed. Yes, those developments were motivated (often in ignorance or blind self-interest) by larger forces and entities. Yes, there were significant minorities who wanted something else. But that’s democracy: the people rule. The ancient Greeks would have said that’s why we should avoid it — because it devolves into mob / mass rule. (I was just reading a book by Ortega y Gasset from the early 20th c. that makes a similar point.) But it’s what we got — it’s what people want or they don’t mind enough to make any effective protest about it.

    re: Brexit — it started as an attempt to defang the right wing of the Conservative Party. Cameron promised a referendum as a 2015 general election plank. The point was to shut up the Euroskeptics, i.e., UKIP. (He had promised a referendum on Lisbon several years earlier but then never fulfilled it.) As to what motivates UKIP — nationalism and far right economic views and probably it appeals to people because the points they make are simplistic and easy to grasp (even if wrong and even silly in some case). And then you have the confluence with Nigel Farage, who was just enough of an *ss that he’d never really be able to exercise political authority in a center-right political party, but apparently has a lot of charisma and is a great schemer.

    I guess what surprises me a bit is that there are so many leading politicians who are primarily self-interested at the moment: I’d put not only Farage but also Johnson, Gove, Rees-Mogg and Corbyn in that group, and Theresa May at times. But the Greeks would have said that was to be expected, too.

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    • interesting comparisons…I’ll think on some of them a bit further but RE “simplistic and easy to grasp (even if wrong and even silly in some case)” – that seems to be a hallmark of right wing parties in Europe. it’s the same with the Austrian FPÖ: I’ve heard a talk by a communications consultant about agendas of the different parties in the run-up to the last general election and the conclusion was that only the one published by the FPÖ was written in simple enough sentences that even someone with reading difficulties and very little education could grasp what was being said. (nevermind facts, it’s all about base emotions…) The speaker argued that the other parties should make more of an effort to communicate in “simpler” ways and I was in two minds because I’m all against “crippling” a rich language on the one hand but on the other hand I completely see the point. About half of my colleagues at university (! at university – so they all have higher education!! and the majority had German as their native tongue) found reading law texts difficult and some party agendas read a lot like law texts. So yes, they could definitely use a touch up and some editing but on the other hand as the world in gerneral simply is not easy to grasp, I’m also not a friend of too much simplification because inevitably some facts get altered by this.

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      • I think that in political communication it’s useful to choose the simplest mode of communication that is also accurate, but a lot of our current political questions can’t be discussed with too much simplicity. That also leads to the popularity of these far right (or potentially far left) politicians — they can reduce everything to one thing, one slogan (there are also a lot of similarities to the 15th c. going on here).

        There’s been a precipitous drop just in the last three years (so teaching the same student population) in the reading comprehension of the students I teach. I would say roughly twenty percent of my students are currently not understanding the course reading. It does make you wonder …

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