Isn't the margin in favor of Remain 8-10% lately? Aren't the devastating downsides of Brexit that have gradually become apparent over the past couple years a call to Parliament to carry out their leadership responsibilities and do what is best for the country, regardless of how the electorate voted in 2016?
It is this blind adherence to the 2016 referendum, including some dunderheaded idea that an issue can only be voted on once, that is a big part of the problem. The members of Parliament know a Brexit vote today would be far more informed than the one in 2016, and they should make sure it happens.
In all representative governments it is reasonable to ask, "If the electorate voted for the country to jump off a bridge, should the government do it?" In my opinion we elect our public officials not to blindly do our bidding but to represent our best interests, even when we have a misguided understanding of what those best interests are. Unfortunately most representatives today care most about getting reelected. Rather than leading they slavishly mold their behavior to public opinion in their district. Love of country must take precedence over love of holding office, even when it means you'll lose that office. Integrity demands this kind of behavior, but little of it exists today.
Optimism is nice, and if things don’t eventually sort themselves out they do at least settle down, but those who died in the Civil War or WWI or WWII or Vietnam or the troubles or the African famines or the Congolian rebellion or whatever are still dead. Wrong choices do have consequences, sometimes dire ones, and the thought should lend some urgency to getting things right.
Foresight is often pretty good, too. A united Europe is a more prosperous and peaceful Europe, and a Britain within the EU is better off than a Britain without. A general, optimistic and unspecific, "But one never knows what will happen and it could turn out fine in the end," seems to ignore what we do know. You could look at the prosperous Europe of today and say, "See, WWI and WWII turned out fine in the end," but that wouldn't be true. It is evidence only of human resilience in the face of unspeakable calamity.
Churchill's foresight was correct that appeasement would only delay war with Germany under less advantageous conditions. Had Hitler been contained we would not have the Europe we have today, but we might have a better Europe, especially since Eastern Europe wouldn't have spent 45 years under communism and wouldn't be nearly devoid of their Jewish populations, the Soviet Union might never have emerged as a world power, the cold war might never have happened, and there might not be a communist country off your state's southern coast.
Generally, the universe unfolds as it should.
Isn't that the same thing as, "Whatever happens happens"?
People are imperfect, so hindsight and foresight are both imperfect. Neither are 20/20, and it depends upon the subject.
Since we know from hindsight that free trade and open borders are better than the alternatives, we therefore have the foresight to know that abandoning them is bad. And we also know from hindsight and are therefore forewarned (to return to the example upon which you did not comment) that peace is better than war, and that a world where WWI and WWII had never happened would leave us a different Europe but an undoubtedly better Europe, not to mention a better Middle East with no Israel, at least not as we know it today. These cannot be dismissed with, "We cannot know for sure what would have happened." Ruin, devastation and death on an unthinkable scale are always worse.
Generally, the universe unfolds as it should.
Isn't that the same thing as, "Whatever happens, happens"?
Not exactly. Whatever happens, happens implies there is no control over the scenario.
"The universe unfolds as it should" implies a plan, not control, and it doesn't even really imply a plan since it's just looking backward and saying, "Well I guess that's the way it was supposed to happen" without having any idea if that is the case or not. Death and pestilence and slavery and suffering and wars are not the universe generally unfolding as it should.
The inability of accurately predicting what the world would look like or how Europe would currently look is precisely the point as to why foresight isn't an accurate predictor.
"War bad, peace good" is a pretty good predictor.
Peace is better than war, but the decisions leading to war are not always well thought out. As mentioned, the British sought peace at all costs in the lead up to WWII.
"Capitulation bad" is also a pretty good predictor.
Regarding the Middle East, they have been in a civil war for our a thousand years. Shia versus Sunni is not a modern phenomenon any more than Protestant and Catholic. So there are no guarantees one way or the other how the Middle East would have turned out. Had WWI and WWII not occurred, the world's thirst for oil would still persist. And various powerful nations would still be vying for control over the region regardless.
This is just the "There will always be wars so no course of action is better than another" argument. I reject the premise. For example, a united Europe means Germany is a productive contributing member of a community instead of an engine of discord and war. Some actions are inherently better than others because they have better outcomes that are foreseeable.
You seem to be making an argument parallel to the creationists, that because some things cannot be foreseen or at least not foreseen in detail that therefore nothing can be foreseen.
What I am implying is no plan, but the tendency for things to sort themselves out because it is in the inherent best interest of society and the species that situations get resolved and that the best of breed solution comes to the forefront.
You're repeating yourself, so I will, too. You could look at the prosperous Europe of today and say, "See, WWI and WWII turned out fine in the end," but that wouldn't be true. It is evidence only of human resilience in the face of unspeakable calamity. Sure, things "sorted themselves out" I suppose, if that's what you want to call it, but that doesn't make WWI and WWII good things. And we knew that going in. "The lights are going out all over Europe," wasn't spoken by someone with mistaken foresight.
And that is ultimately the point I am making. That in the end, human resilience triumphed in the face of adversary. That's the only point I was making with the "universe unfolds as it should" statement. Which ironically, wasn't meant to offend in any way. I was attempting to provide reassurance to those in the UK and Europe.
Sure, human resilience has been the foundation of recovery from all types of calamity, so human resilience is a constant. What isn't a constant is the number and degree of calamities we suffer, and the greater our foresight in avoiding or reducing the impact of these calamities the better off we'll be.
Pertaining to 'war bad, peace good'. Sure. I can state that is likely accurate. But to avoid derailing the Brexit thread, the notion that Brexit will 'for sure' be bad might not be as cut and dry.
That it absolutely is cut and dried is the most important point. Joining together into larger and larger political and economic units is the way we avoid the human impulse of "Same as us: good; Not same as us: bad" that is the cause of so much conflict and war. That, fundamentally and very briefly, is why "EU: good; Not-EU: bad."
Ultimately, since I would like to keep this thread on topic, maybe you can state what exactly you feel would be the appropriate next steps for the UK to take?
I wouldn't pretend to have any suggestions for how Britain can extricate itself from its current mess. The best outcome would be remaining in the EU.
You don't cite a source, but I did find an article that seemed to be about the same thing: Brexit Party Has More Support Than Britain's Main Parties: Poll. It was about the EU elections, so this poll is about how Britains might vote for representation in the European parliament. It implies that pro-Brexit representation in the European parliament might increase. I don't understand EU politics and so don't know whether this is significant or not, i.e., that it might play a role in how Brexit plays out.
But the article mentioned another poll about how people would vote in a British general election, and that came out differently:
quote:A separate poll by the same organization, asking how people would vote in the event of a general election, also makes grim reading for May’s administration. The Conservatives, on 22%, trail Labour in that survey by six percentage points and lead the Brexit party by just one point.
The paragraph is remarkably sparse on figures, but filling in the blanks we get this:
My interpretations of the article could be off because such articles have a variety of names that I'm not familiar with that they use to refer to the different political parties. For example, I think Tories are the Conservative party, but I could be wrong. I think Farage's party is the Brexit party, but I could be wrong.
But if I correctly picked up the gist of that article, and if those poll figures hold up, then after a new general election the Conservatives and the Brexits would form one alliance, and the Labour party would try to find common cause with enough Liberal Democrats and Other to take control of Parliament. If Labour takes control of Parliament would that make a cancellation of Brexit possible?
Sorry if I'm way off. It would be welcome if someone could clarify. I know a lot has been written here and I should understand this better, but I don't.
Thanks for all the info. Some of it was overload, but generally it was very helpful, especially where you explained how the parties aren't necessarily unified within themselves around some key issues.
Given that a Tory/Brexit coalition is an iffy thing, does that mean the Labour party has a good chance of controlling Parliament if there's a new general election? And if they did would they work toward finding ways to end Brexit?
I see in the news that May has lost the support of her cabinet and is expected to resign on Friday. What happens after that? Does this guarantee a no-deal Brexit?
Viewed from afar and through the filter of American reporting, May seems a politician of honesty, integrity, determination and extraordinary persistence who sincerely believed she could shepard Britain through the intricacies of Brexit. In retrospect maybe it was too impossible an undertaking for anyone.
The British people declared they wanted Brexit in an open and fair election, albeit the information they were provided upon which to base their decision was a bill of goods. Brexit still seems wrongheaded to me, and in reaction to what's been happening in both Europe and the US over the past few years it's almost appropriate to repeat the "lamps going out" comment from nearly a century ago.
This column from the New York Times but by a columnist for The Times of London was helpful in lending some perspective to the Brexit history: Theresa May Meets Her Lonely End
It says that in the end May was defeated by her own myopic single-minded pursuit of a single course at a time, never able to change paths until the current path ran into a hard dead end. At each stage of her journey she lost allies until finally she was left with no one.
Is it a fair question to ask whether navigating these waters to end up anywhere but a hard Brexit is even possible? Is there any flavor of soft Brexit that would have gotten enough votes in Parliament? May's independent sort of soft Brexit failed several votes in Parliament, but would a very soft Brexit (maintaining very close ties with the EU through treaties) have mustered enough votes? And would the EU even agree to it?
May stepped down because she was unable to negotiate a Brexit deal with the EU that would pass parliament, meaning that the UK would exit the EU with no deal. But no matter who is elected PM the UK will still crash out of the EU. So isn't the only difference between May staying and May going that now the head of government will likely be a lunatic?
I often miss many of the nuances of British government, but if I've got this right then what was the point of May stepping down?