Brexit for Australia – And Others!

 

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It’s strange to be in Australia at this particular juncture.   For a start it’s snowing! And then there is the small matter of the Australian elections coming up at the end of this week. But of most fascination is watching the post-Brexit fall out through Australian eyes. I have been reading the Sydney Morning Herald and The Australian as well as being an avid watcher of ABC News and listener to the radio.   Despite the apocalyptic hysteria I observe on social media from home, one thing is clear, the end of the world has not happened, and things will move on regardless of our little local difficulty.

There were different perceptions about what had happened. One commentator called it “a win for xenophobia and economic resentment.” But the main comments were positive – The Australians headline was positive “Britannia Rules again as the Bulldog Bites.” There was some admiration for the way that British democracy worked –

“It seems the British people did not respond well to being bullied. Pause for a moment and consider the magnitude of their magnificent democratic achievement. “

For my Australian friends I thought I would provide the following brief summary of the issues (I hope it will be helpful to others who have been asking as well).

  • Why was there a referendum?

 There had been growing frustration within the UK over the EU. In the 1980’s this was primarily seen through the Left-Wing of the Labour party – for example the current leader Jeremy Corbyn has been a life long Euro-sceptic. (Also the Scottish National Party was strongly anti-EU until they needed something to leave the UK for). But there has always been a Euro-sceptic wing of the Conservative party as well. They got more and more frustrated and when a new party, the United Kingdom Independence Party, came into being, the Conservatives began to hemorrhage voters. In the 2015 General Election UKIP won 12.6% of the vote – 3.8 million votes. They were not only a threat to the Conservatives, but were increasingly picking up votes in traditional Labour areas. So in order to stop UKIP the Conservatives promised a European referendum in their manifesto, little expecting that they would get a majority and have to deliver on their promise.

  • Why did Britain vote to leave?

This is not simple although people have tried to make it so. There are a variety of reasons.   One narrative being spun at the moment is that those who voted for Brexit were old, white, uneducated racists who have robbed the young of their future and created the atmosphere for xenophobic, intolerant country. But things are not that simple. There were 17.5 million people who voted to leave the EU – the largest vote in UK history. Undoubtedly there were some who were supporters of far right groups, after all it was not so long since the BNP got one million votes in a Euro-election, but it is the worst kind of ad hominem attack to accuse those who voted for Britain to be free of the political entity known as the European Union, as being ignorant racists.

So why did the British people, despite most major political parties and leaders, most financial ‘experts’ and almost all the Universities, as well as numerous celebrities, President Obama and the great and good of European society, vote against what their betters told them? Because they don’t trust the ‘experts’ who are perceived as the ‘haves’ who are primarily concerned about what they do have.   The Universities for example were overwhelmingly pro-EU because they receive almost £900 million from the EU. He who pays the piper calls the tune.

Then there was the question of democracy. The late Tony Benn, veteran Labour left-winger, argued that if you cannot elect or remove the people who make your laws, then you do not live in a democracy. The EU is largely governed by its unelected commissioners who are in effect its political executive. Anything between 35% and 59% of Britain’s laws are made by the EU.

A key question was also the question of immigration. The Remain side wanted to portray those on the opposite side as being little more than closet racists. But they were making the simplistic equation that being opposed to increased immigration is equal to racism. Britain, especially England, is an overcrowded island, and with net immigration rising to 300,000 plus every year, there are enormous strains on infrastructure and wages. If you are a lorry driver in Sunderland, a restaurant worker in Coventry, a factory worker in Bradford and are then faced with Eastern Europeans who are prepared to work longer hours for less money, it is little wonder that you feel somewhat resentful. The ‘haves’ tend not to be affected by this – except that they get their nannies, restaurant workers and goods cheaper. I suspect that if it was the middle classes who were losing their jobs and wages then their concerns might be somewhat changed. I find the racism and ignorance of the BNP and other far right groups frightening and disgusting. I love having the Poles, Rumanians, Estonians etc. in the UK and especially in Scotland I think we could do with more not less immigrants. But the failure of the political classes to recognize the legitimate concerns of ordinary working class people, only feeds and fuels the far right.

The bottom line is that Britain voted to leave because in a democratic vote, the people did not just accept what their betters told them.  We did this, not because we are stupid, uneducated, racists, but rather because we can think for ourselves and don’t want to live in a country where we are not responsible for making our own laws, not in control of our own borders, and where we are dependent on euro-elites and corporations for our bread and butter.   We voted leave because we have a more positive vision of a democratic, free, inclusive, diverse and prosperous Britain.

  • What happens next?

We were told that it would be the end of the world. This was Project Fear that of course has not happened.   But it has been the end of David Cameron who announced his resignation immediately afterwards. He had said that he would invoke article 50 (the part of the EU treaty which allows a country to leave) immediately, but like many of this other promises, it was broken. He left boasting that making Same Sex Marriage legal was his greatest achievement.

Jeremy Corbyn the leader of the opposition Labour party is also in severe trouble. Seen as having conducted a lackluster campaign that resulted in many Labour voters voting out, half the shadow cabinet have resigned. Perhaps this is slightly unfair on Corbyn who would surely have been better sticking with his gut instincts, and voting against the EU. However the elites of New Labour think that all they have to do is speak the word and traditional Labour voters will follow, and that is now no longer the case. This vote was a revolt against the elites of all sides, as much as it was against the EU.

In Scotland things were different – but not by as much as the propaganda suggests. Yes it was true that a majority in every council area voted to Remain and that Scotland as a whole voted 62%-38% to stay. But despite the grandiose claims of the SNP the Scottish people did not speak with ‘one voice’. 1.1 million Scots voted against the EU, 1.3 million did not vote at all, and 1.6 million voted to Remain.   The Scottish government does not have the power to call a second Independence referendum and despite press reports, does not have the power to prevent the UK leaving.   But this will not stop what Jim Sillars of the SNP calls ‘Project Deception’ being set in full swing.

There will be an attempt to prevent Brexit – The EU has a habit of rejecting democratic votes of the people and there are plenty within the UK who would like to do that. A petition has been set up to ask for a recall, Article 50 has not yet been invoked, social media is being used to portray a racist nation, political leadership is weak and pathetic (apart from Nicola Sturgeon), liberal news outlets are pointing out that there are some who have regrets (hardly surprising in a vote of 17.5 million), suddenly some MPs are discovering that the referendum was ‘advisory’ and they can ‘for the good of the people’, prevent Brexit. My own view is that Brexit is not certain at all. I think that there has been a move from democracy towards autocracy in Europe and the UK, and that may have gone too far.

It would be a disaster for the UK if the democratic vote of the people was overturned by the elites, backed up by the social media mob. Personally my own opposition to the EU was primarily on the democratic issue. It would be beyond irony and far more serious than being in or out of Europe, if a democratic vote was overturned by the elites ‘for the good of the people’.

  • How does this affect Australia?

a) Financially – $50 billion was wiped from Australian shares – but that is what always happens when the markets face ‘uncertainty’. The money does not disappear. It goes into government bonds and gold. It is not lost and one wonders anyway whether we should have economies and democracies that are governed by the whims and fears of billionaire stockbrokers. The Australian minister for the treasury pointed out that in the long term he did not expect much difference –

“Britain has its own Central Bank, its own currency. There will be no change in financial or banking regulations.”

In other words things will go on. It was interesting that David Cameron was blamed by some for talking up economic consequences and causing a run on the markets.

b) Politics – Brexit is a gift to Malcolm Turnbull of the Liberals who can portray himself as a stable voice in a time of economic turmoil. I suspect it will contribute to his re-election at the end of this week.

c) Trade – The Australian newspapers pointed out that Australia will soon want to start its own trade negotiations with Britain. This is seen as a positive thing, not least because the EU trade negotiations are taking so long. This is one great advantage Britain now has.

d) Immigration – I had not realised that emigration to the UK had become much more difficult because of EU rules. The number of Australians going to work in Britain has dropped from 30,000 to 15,000 as it became much harder to get visas.   In the whole argument about immigration the Remain side projected themselves as being pro-immigrant when in reality they were pro-European immigrants and by definition this means less immigrants from the rest of the world.   Why? Because if an already overcrowded Britain has to have open borders to the 28 countries of the EU, then there is less room and scope for people from other countries. White Europeans are welcome – Asians, Africans, Americans and Australians are not. It’s strange to me that this policy is somehow seen as being anti-racist!  I have to declare a personal interest here. My daughter is Scottish born, bred and educated. She married an Australian and we are here to visit our first grandchild. It would seem an obvious thing that she should be able to return home with her husband and our grandchild, but, because of the immigration situation, this will be very difficult – unless she has a lot of money.   This is the Brave New World that our Remainers want to defend – where if you have enough money you can have freedom of movement, or if you are poor European and are prepared to do the dirty jobs cheaper than the locals, but marriage, kinship and historical ties count for nothing to everyone else. If Britain does manage to get out of Fortress Europe I look forward to more free trade and more free movement of all peoples, not just the wealthy.  And like the Commonwealth Freedom of Movement Organisation I look forward to freedom of movement between the UK and Australia.   Have a look at this very interesting report – http://www.cfmo.org/2016/06/australia-new-zealand-to-negotiate-new.html?m=1

I have one question for the Remainers who are going around screaming racism. Can you tell me why my daughter, born, bred, raised and educated in Scotland could be excluded with her family from living in her native land because she married an Australian, but if she had married a Bulgarian, Italian or Spaniard, she would have been fine. Can you tell me why that is not racism? (discrimination based on race).

England Exit

It was amusing watching Australian news this morning as England did their own ‘out of Europe’ show, losing 2:1 to the mighty Iceland. I thought the Scots were bad at schadenfreude, but the Aussies cannot contain their general rejoicing! I guess there is something within human nature that causes us to rejoice at the defeat and shame of our ‘enemies’. In sporting terms that is relatively harmless…in real life it is shameful.

As I observe the UK from afar I am reminded how immature and shallow a culture we have become.   If people come together and unite to accept the democratic vote of the people, even though we strongly disagree with it, there might be some hope. But if the temper tantrums, elitist snobbery and continual abuse of those who dared to vote differently continue then I can only see more social and political division occurring.

As a Christian I also have to say that without God we can have no real hope for our nations.   Sin is a reproach to any people, but righteousness exalts a nation. It is my view that if the UK, Europe and Australia do not return to their Christian roots then no matter what, we are in deep trouble.   This article that I wrote for the Solas magazine explains – https://theweeflea.com/2016/03/20/the-crescent-the-cross-and-the-collapse-of-european-civilisation/

 

 

 


40 thoughts on “Brexit for Australia – And Others!

  1. “I have one question for the Remainers who are going around screaming racism. Can you tell me why my daughter, born, bred, raised and educated in Scotland could be excluded with her family from living in her native land because she married an Australian, but if she had married a Bulgarian, Italian or Spaniard, she would have been fine. Can you tell me why that is not racism? (discrimination based on race).”

    Well. Unless your daughter has married an aboriginal Australian then is has nothing to do with face. Nor is it really discrimination. Now, as you know, I have problems with the Home Office, Immigration Rules and the treatment of my black Zimbabwean Christian wife (just thought I would virtue signal everything there). So, she cant bring in her husband (children are find, read the rules) unless certain criteria are met. Those criteria are designed to reduce immigration from outside the EU because various brexiters have decided that there are too many non Brits in the UK.

    The fact that various brexiters feel that there are too many non-Brits in the UK will not change when it comes to the immigration system in future. Lets take your optimism that all is well in the UK viz-a-viz immigration now that we have voted out……but of course its not. We have seen, as reported by the actual police, has been a considerable rise in attacks on non UK citizens with the message basically being “we voted out, you can now fuck off”. But lets take your optimism that there will be no desire for anyone else to send people home and some mechanism of normalising people, who have no visa or official documentation other than a passport, into the UK. And that we have rules that continue to allow them to go home and come back without repercussion. We have a large cohort of people who dont want more people here and would like the people here to leave. They are already vocal and will be disappointed at immigration continuing.

    And immigration has to continue. We need them for economic purposes if nothing else. Our workforce is getting older and we will need people to come here and work. So how do we manage that? You have mention the Oz point system (neglecting to mention it to is a fortress). You do know that the state rounds up asylum seekers and transports them to islands where they are abused without repercussion. They even have the army managing the situation – its called Operation Sovereign Borders. Its so bad that government employees are barred from talking about how bad it is by legislation. And this is, apprently, a Christian nation. Another thing – trying bringing a disabled family member into Australia. Have you seen the points penalty for that? You really want that for the UK?

    But lets look at the UK. We need a workforce of relatively unskilled labour. Does the immigration points system cover that. No it doesn’t (holiday visas are exploited for working holidays but not actual long term immigration). A points system has to focus on the skills required – thats how Australias works. The more skills, experience, qualifications, youth (cause this is a system that hates old people – those over 40), the more points and the easier it is to move. This doesnt cover unskilled labour. To get unskilled people into the Uk will either require a vast and expensive bureaucracy or an array of time limited work visas (like the old agricultural visas). The problem with the latter was that is that it never offered a route to staying permanently. Staying permanently needs a spouse earning enough to cover the whole family which, again, restricts immigration to those who are better off. No care workers allowed in this system. The US has an unskilled workforce lottery system – apply and hope for luck. Which isnt useful for families trying to move to a country.

    The system is racist though I agree. We have the Daily Heil (which you have written for) leading the racist hate of people not from the UK. Immigration has been made the cause of all the UKs problems. No house – immigrant. No job – immigrant. Your one – no good jobs cause we dont need good jobs cause the immigrants do the crap ones (I fail to see how the lack of labour force is going to make jobs better when it is how the whole economy and government policy that is responsible for jobs – not immigrants). Hence we have government policies designed to reduce immigration in the headlines if not in actual fact. Thats why they dont work. Blame of the immigrant for everything that people think is wrong with their lives is both widely felt and 100% wrong. That hate, spurred on by the media, is what makes problems for your son in law and my wife. Not the EU. And an immigration points system will not change it one iota.

    And the problem is, its going to get worse. Those are poor and angry who voted brexit cause of immigration are going to wonder why there are foreigners who are still here. They are going to wonder why foreigners are still coming. They are going to ask about council houses even though no-one is building any and people are living longer so staying in them longer. They are going to wonder about job security and decent wages at the same time as the cost of imports rises and investment declines. How are they going to feel that the UK is now a neo-liberal playground? Do you think they will be happy?

    1. Douglas…you need to take a deep breath and listen to what people are actually saying and stop arguing against what you think/want people to be saying. Why do you always have to go to the extremes – which do exist – but then use that to ignore genuine concerns that most people have. There are several major errors in your post – I can only mention two – 1) Its not just Brexitters who have concern about immigration. and 2) The Remainers seem to be ignoring the fact that they are defending a system which discriminates in favour of white Europeans and against Asians and Africans. The Australian system is taking many doctors and nurses from the UK (which we have trained)….why do people want to go?

      PS. And it is ‘racist’ in the sense that most people now use the word race – including those in the Remain camp who refuse to accept the democratic vote and are crying hysteria over the inevitable attacks on Poles etc (which go on all the time and are disgusting) – but you now say these are not racist attacks?! Make your mind up!

      1. Again. The EU system of free movement of people is not the same as the UKs immigration policy. We choose not to have more people from outside the EU because we have enough from inside the EU. It is UK government policy to discriminate against the low skilled from outside the EU. And it is the UK government policy to discriminate against mixed nationality marriages because it fears Daily Mail headlines.

        Furthermore, just because there are have been attacks in the past does not mean there is no reason to highlight official sources saying there has been a spike. People have been let out of the box they were in and its going to get worse as the promises on immigration are not met.

      2. I agree Douglas. But the EU system of immigration does directly affect UK immigration policy. As regards marriages it is primarily because of the devaluation of marriage into just a civil contract which means that it no longer really counts. Money is more important marriage – welcome to the Brave New World of secular humanist values!

        There have always been ‘spikes’ in attacks on immigrants at times of crisis. It is sadly the state of human nature. As is the attempt by those who lost the referendum to portray those who won as anti-immigrant racists. The notion that you want people to be put in boxes is very revealing!

    2. Douglas,

      As someone who was a remain voter I share concern for the right treatment of your wife, David’s daughter and anyone who is an immigrant.

      You wrote,

      ” Immigration rules…are designed to reduce immigration from outside the EU because various brexiters have decided that there are too many non Brits in the UK.”

      Although the referendum result is not the one I chose, I support the decision by the people of the UK in deciding to leave the EU and our leaders in taking the country forward in unity with the challenges and uncertainty that lies ahead. I think the point made that “It seems the British people did not respond well to being bullied. Pause for a moment and consider the magnitude of their magnificent democratic achievement“ is a valid one.

      Your comment claims that “various” ones of us voting to leave have in some way made it more difficult for people from non-European countries such as your wife and David’s son in law to come to the UK by supporting laws that are “designed to reduce immigration”.

      Could you please explain how, as you claim, voting Brexit has been conducive to:

      1. Reduced immigration from non EU countries.
      2. Made it more difficult (not better) for your wife, David’s son in law and anyone with a similar experience to settle in the UK.

    1. Marcus,

      Thanks for this interesting post – but you have several factual errors which undermine your argument.

      1) It was not an opinion poll but a democratic vote. I hope you are aware of the difference.

      2) UKIP did not have a victory. UKIP were not standing. Those who wished to leave the EU (from many different parties and in every area of the UK had a victory).

      3) It was a very high turn out of voters – the biggest vote in UK history.

      4) The EU has not ‘pumped millions of pounds into the UK”. The UK has always been a net contributor to the EU – we currently give more than £8 billion TO the EU MORE than we receive.

      5) It will not be difficult for Britain as an independent nation to make trading agreements – the trouble has been as an EU bloc it has been very difficult – with India and Australia for example.

      As regards a cancer it depends what you mean. If democracy is a cancer then may it spread throughout all of Europe!

      1. That point 4. This is true. But I would bet £100 to charity with you that when we to a stage where these funds are no longer available from the EU that no UK government moves to replace a single penny of them. The fishermen up the coast from you who get EU grants to by boats and nets will not be getting UK grants, the universities in Dundee will not get grants from a replacement research council (and remember, the UK wants to gag researchers it does fund directly) and the communities in Dundee that got £ms to tackle joblessness will not be supported in future. One of the reasons being is that this neoliberal fantasy playground we live in has had one of its key redistributive functions voted away. The UK government spending map shows that it spends more in areas of middle to high wealth than it does in areas of low to very low wealth. The same EU spending map has a direct correlation with poor areas. It recycled UK monies to poor areas in a way that government never will. That new museum in Dundee got EU money at levels the UK government would never give.

  2. “Can you tell me why my daughter, born, bred, raised and educated in Scotland could be excluded with her family from living in her native land because she married an Australian,”

    Because the British Government has decided to set the policy that way. Non-EU migration is controlled by Westminster, not Brussels. I agree it does seem very unfair but it’s not the fault of the EU. At the risk of being pessimistic, I am not sure that a future British government will relax the rules anytime soon, though perhaps they might for Commonwealth citizens.

    1. But it is greatly affected by EU immigration policy. If the UK – already overcrowded – is compelled to allow free access to 500 million people….then it will restrict immigration from everywhere else – which is what is happening.

  3. On the issue of immigration, it is interesting that the aim is for a post-EU Britain to still have access to the Common Market. To do so, it will have to accept the free movement of labour. Just as Norway already does with it’s membership of the EEA.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-eu-referendum-36641390

    So, we could be outside the EU and still have plenty of migration from Eastern Europe. Perhaps the free movement between Australia, New Zealand, Canada and the UK you link to in your post will be realised as well. I certainly hope it comes about. But the result of that will be continued migration from majority white countries, not the welcome to Africans and Asians which you are hoping for.

  4. “If people come together and unite to accept the democratic vote of the people, even though we strongly disagree with it, there might be some hope. But if the temper tantrums, elitist snobbery and continual abuse of those who dared to vote differently continue then I can only see more social and political division occurring.”

    And herein lies the crux. To what degree are our leaders going to listen to the democratic votes made by the people of Scotland that being part of the UK is preferred over being a separate nation and the UK being separate from the EU is preferable and unite with the people in taking the country forward. And to what degree are the “elites” (and these include Hollyrood as well as Westminster) going to fight for their own agendas at the expense of UK unity?

    Fear and hate will always sell newspapers, drive selfish ambition and influence political agenda. We all know this is the way the world operates. “Without God we can have no real hope for our nations.” Well, the German philosopher Neitzche famously once said “God is dead”. Although hijacked by some to be the basis of a polemic for the non-existence of God, in context it was the sense that the period of the Enlightenment had ushered in an era of optimism in human endeavour and having killed off God left a void to fill. His “Will to Power” notes later published by his sister after his death followed on this theme of optimism for human greatness and then was adopted for Nazi propaganda. Before his death Neitzche predicted something worse happening than what had previously been experienced with excuses given for ward being over religious and church dogma. Even Richard Dawkins has said that WWI and WWII had nothing to do with religion.

    Aren’t we seeing now a rise of nationalism? Aren’t we now seeing a “will to power” among various factions? arent we now seeing a rise of right wing extremism? Unless the lessons of history are learend then humanity is doomed to repeat them.

    Project fear, fear leading to hatred leading to factions, the only thing that can overcome this is love. Love casting out fear and perfect love casting out all fear. We cannot determine the decisions of our elites. We cannot determine whether our leaders exhibit faith to imitate or not. But what but the European and Scottish referendums have shown is that people have power and are sick of being dictated to. Thankfully this shows that the “elites” with selfish ambition will be hit hardest if they fail to be representing the interests of the electorate – with loss of their power and influence on UK society.

    Love, kindness rather being weaknesses are powerful. They will always trump hatred and fear.

    Truth and justice will prevail – there is hope!

  5. Marcus said,
    As always we saw and heard many politicians stretch the truth. I do not know if they thought lies would not have legs, on the date after the voting soon the the truth murder came out. Many who voted for leaving the EU also found that those stories they had believed were not worth a button.
    Maybe, maybe not. But consider this:
    “Over the years I have seen some abject political interviewees, but the appearance of Sajid Javid on yesterday’s Andrew Marr Show reached a new level of debasement. As Marr reminded the Business Secretary, he had recently appeared on the Today programme echoing Chancellor George Osborne’s threat that if the British people voted to leave the EU, we would be punished by an emergency Budget which would dramatically cut public spending, increase taxes and perhaps even abandon the state pension ‘triple lock’. So, asked Marr, when will that Budget take place? And, he went on, did the minister stick to his view of only a few days ago, that Brexit would result in 500,000 job losses, a cut of 3.6 per cent in annual economic growth and a collapse in house prices? Mr Javid had no coherent response, except for platitudes about how ‘the fundamentals of the British economy are strong’. Oh, and he airily dismissed all the matters raised by Marr as ‘campaign issues’. So the terrifying of our pensioners was just ‘a campaign issue’? The talking down of the British economy — by the Business Secretary, of all people — as if it were the mere tail of the EU dog: this was just ‘a campaign issue’? Let’s just forget all about it, shall we, and move on? I won’t forget about it and I don’t think many businessmen and women will. They have been deliberately terrified by the Chancellor and his acolyte Javid. The Business Secretary yesterday told Marr that they ‘had no reason to be panicking’ about Britain’s imminent EU exit. This, after spending weeks actively trying to panic them over that very prospect.

    Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/debate/article-3661413/DOMINIC-LAWSON-architects-Project-Fear-pay-shameful-lies.html#ixzz4Ct8NKRxe

  6. Well David I have to say in all fairness, and you know I don’t agree with your position on ‘Remain/Leave’ anyway, but your own article has a fair amount of arguing against what you think people are saying (and of course some people are saying it) but ignoring what other people are actually saying. Probably can’t be avoided to be honest, but as I say, a bit unfair to sharply critcise others who fall (unavoidably) into the same trap. Interesting to get a perspective from Australia though. I think you’d be in your element here just now – for a matter so serious, the level of political comedy has left ‘Yes, Minister’ standing!

    1. Kenny – thanks – but I don’t think it is in all fairness. At least let me know where I am arguing against what people are not saying! I hate doing that – because it is completely pointless and a waste of time. I spend far too much time trying to get and understand the arguments and points of views on many sides. I am really glad that I am not in the UK just now – it seems insane – and the level of vitriol, panic, hatred and opportunism is very revealing. Is there any leadership? (apart from Sturgeon who seems to be doing well…)

      1. Hi David, I didn’t say you were arguing against what people are not saying. The point rather was that you (obviously) pick some things that some people are saying and don’t pick other things. Someone else replies, basically doing the same thing to back an opposing point view – but they are not apparently dealing with things people are actually saying. Well, they’re not dealing with everything that everyone is saying, but they are demonstrably dealing with things that some people are saying. Everyone picks and chooses. There is a mass of comment out there and so my own view is that a great deal of caution is required before proclaiming that ‘Brexiters are racists’, ‘Remainers are elitist’, ‘Brexiters are anti-immigration’, ‘Remainers are un-democratic’, ‘Brexiters are striking a blow for the disenfranchised’, ‘Remainers are establishment and drawn from the chattering classes’ and so it goes on.
        Of course you’re right about the vitriol in politics here, but it didn’t just start after the Referendum. But the (tragi)comedy is there all the same. Sturgeon is a politician, but indeed one who is showing what it takes to lead. I really hope she can avoid the temptation to try and cash-in on the Westminster turmoil merely for the possible benefit to the independence cause and instead selflessly expends herself for the benefit of Scotland as a whole (which I believe may well have benefit for the other parts of the United Kingdom).

      2. Thanks Kenny,

        Again I accept that is a danger. But it is not what I am doing – I am trying to deal with the main issues that people are raising…its too easy to deal with the low hanging fruit!

        I would never argue that Remainers are anything – because there are many different reasons that people vote. However as you know class and income was a big issue – hence big remain votes in Chelsea, Cambridge and Edinburgh.

        Sturgeon is fascinating – a good leader and propagandist. She knows that she is leading the Scots up to the top of the hill and she will have to march us down again. A second indy ref is not going to happen and Scotland will not be accepted as part of the EU whilst still in the UK. She is doing exactly what you hope she would not – cashing in on the Westminster turmoil. But not for the good of Scotland or even the cause of Independence – this is primarily about the SNP and the one party state she is attempting to create in Scotland.

  7. Not sure where the comments from Marcus are. Is he going over pre-vote ground?

    Mr McLellan,

    This is off point and perhaps too personal, so please forgive me, but I hope you don’t seek to undermine your wife’s Christianity in the robust way you do on David’s blog. I, for one, wouldn’t see what you’ve said about her and your marriage as “virtue signalling,” wouldn’t deride your union by such language.

    Although, you don’t want any, regards and blessings Jesus.

    1. Mr Graham

      Thank and if nothing else I can pass them onto my wife. I used virtue signalling as a term as David has started using it as a neat pithy put-down for those who he disagrees with on this blog. I thought I would get it out the way to talk about actual issues of substance.

      Douglas

  8. I don’t deny that there are many issues both for and against being part of the EU. However, I do find it very hard to accept that all of the issues formed a significant part of the campaign. The ‘leave’ campaign was dominated by Boris and Farage, both of whom seemed quite strongly to blame ‘foreigners’ and outside influences for the UK’s problems. You make a valid point about Africans and Asians, but I confess you are the first person I’ve heard raise it. I certainly can’t envisage Boris advocating leaving the EU because it discriminates against Africans or Asians; quite the reverse in fact. Do you deny that Boris and Farage are right-wing? Do you deny that Boris is already one of the front-runners for PM? Surely some of the undecideds were swayed by them? I’m sorry, but it seems to me that far-right politics are headed for a sharp increase in the coming months.

    1. Neil – I don’t think that is a whole or fair analysis. What you or I find hard to accept, cannot be the defining characteristic of what is truth. For my point of view I spent a great deal of time reading as many arguments from different sides as I could – and I tried not to get caught up in the personality politics, name calling and general fear mongering (on both sides). People like Gisela (Labour), Hannan (Tory), Gove, Jim Sillars and many others played a big part in the Leave campaign. I realise that it suits the narrative of Remain to have a simplistic portrayal of its just Right Wing Tories buts its not accurate nor fair. Far right politics flourishes in countries where the elites ignore democracy and tell the plebes what is good for them. If you want to see a real resurgence of far right politics then watch what happens when the Establishment annuls or goes. By the way – in terms of any analysis that has been done, by far the biggest reason given for voting Leave was that of democracy.

  9. I gave out leaflets for the Leave campaign and do you know, the strange thing is that none of them even mentioned Boris or Nigel. And I heard Nigel Farage making the argument about Africans and Asians long before the referendum. And note how neilmckinlay slips so easily from ‘right’ to ‘far right’. That’s another aspect of the losers’ narrative: that the people who voted Leave are somehow connected to ‘far-right politics’, whatever that means. ‘Far-right’ is probably just another of those non-thinking terms of abuse that are used so freely nowadays, like ‘fascist’ or ‘racist’ or ‘homophobic’.

    1. I’m sorry but this blog is factually inaccurate, simplistic and misrepresents the reality here. Yes there are racists who use this as an excuse for their racism but that does not negate the main reasons that most people voted leave – which were for political and economic reasons – most of all because there were those of us who believed that if you can’t elect and reject those who make your laws, then you no longer live in a democracy. People all over Europe share these concerns. Please do not accuse us of being anti-foreigner racists, just because we don’t want to be part of the anti-democratic Euro club for the rich and the corporations.

  10. Good post, David. (Like all of them!)

    I’m puzzled about something, though. You say that Britain is ‘overcrowded’.

    I can see that it is possible to say that one country is more crowded than another – simply by using population density figures. On this basis, the UK is less crowded than the Netherlands and Belgium, and much less crowded than Singapore, but more crowded than France and Germany, and much more crowded than Australia.

    Bu on what basis does one decide that a country is “crowded”? And, in particular, at what point does a country become “overcrowded”?

    1. You look at population density, infrastructure etc. I should have said that England is overcrowded – Scotland, N Ireland and Wales are not…..Singapore is a city state, not a country.

      1. Thanks for that response, David.

        1) Re: Singapore. Singapore could, indeed, be described as a city state. But it is still a independent nation (unlike England) – and hence could be described as a country. How does one define what constitutes a country?

        And even if one were to accept that that there is a difference between a city state and a country, it would be pretty difficult to draw a line between them. How small would a nation state have to be, and how large a population would it have to have, in order to be classified as a ‘city state’. And is Singapore ‘overcrowded’? And if not, why should it be considered by a different yardstick from England just because it is smaller?

        2) Re: Infrastructure: If one looks at rankings of countries by Infrastructure, what comes across is that the UK has got very good infrastructure indeed – ranking 5th in the world according to the World Bank, and 9th according to the World Economic Forum. In other words, it can cope with a pretty high population density. And it does cope pretty well.

        Indeed, if one is thinking in terms of infrastructure (defined as roads, bridges, transport system, electricity supply, water supply, sewage system, telecommunications), England enables its population to have access to these things better than every country in sub-Saharan Africa, and most countries in Latin America and Asia. Does that mean that all these countries in Latin America, Asia, and Africa should be considered “overcrowded”?

  11. i think you may have let your personal feelings about your daughter’s situation fudge the issue here. Your grandchild will have the rights to full British citizenship and your son/daughter in law should have no difficulty with a right to reside beyond the very reasonable two year watershed – put in place to sift out marriages of convenience. My Scottish friend and her Ghanian husband are in the same position and he manages to live in UK with no difficulty, even tho for some time he was a student, not earning and paying no taxes.

    You also miss the point of why it is different for Poles. We belong to a grouping of countries where free movement is the quid pro quo for trade benefits. You might not like the rules, but to call a different set of rules for those countries not signed up to the EU ‘racist’ is misleading. We belong to a number of other international groupings, e.g.NATO and the Commonwealth. Is it racist to exclude Poland from competing in the Commonwealth games?

    1. Jenny – there is no right to reside. What is needed is proof of income over £23,000. My son-in-law will have considerable difficulty. Money matters more than marriage. Politics more than history.

      I have no problem whatsoever in Poles being in the UK – in fact in my own city they have been a great blessing and I love the Polish shops. What I do have a problem with is that it is limited to only EU countries, and the price we pay is too high – the negation of our democracy.

      Your analogy about the Commonwealth games would only work if the Commonwealth games excluded athletes from competing in other competitions…The EU prevents the UK from doing trade deals with countries outwith the EU.

      1. But it’s not the EU that restricts your son in law’s right to reside; that is a UK ruling.

      2. That is true….but its not quite that simple. The question is why has UK immigration law become much tougher for those outside the EU – its because the government is trying to meet its ridiculous target of 100,000 net immigrants per year (currently running at 330,000) – that is impossible if you have open borders for 500 million people. So they hammer everyone else. Fortress Europe is NOT pro-immigration. It is pro Big Business.

  12. Lets remember of course that restrictions on ‘trade deals’ is not the same as preventing trade. I know you haven’t said that David, but a number of conversations indicate that many people have come to believe that that is just what happens as a result of being a member of the EU. Which is simply not the case.

    1. Thats precisely the point. Everyone was freaking out about not getting a trade deal with the US because we were out of the EU – forgetting to mention that we have never had a trade deal with the US and still manage to trade! What Britain has not been able to do is negotiate favourable trade deals with lets say India or Australia because we are bound to the EU – and the last I heard the Italian view of tomatoes were holding up the India trade deal for the seventh year!

  13. Pingback: Post Brexit Blues
  14. Hi David
    I have not left a reply until now because I was unsure whether I had anything to contribute. I am a Christian who voted remain albeit from the perspective of wanting to see Britain take the lead in initiating serious reform of the EU if we had voted remain. I know that would at best have been an up hill struggle even if remain had won.
    In my area of the country I think being in the remain camp and a Christian was something unusual. I should add just one point and as someone who tends not to involve himself in social media I have not witnessed some of the vitriol some Brexit folks appear to have received and I have stayed away from giving any out myself. As a Christian I hope we should look for the best way forwards with other Christians and none Christians a like. However, I have found myself on the receiving end of a good deal of stick from some of my friends who discovered my remain tendencies when they asked for my opinion about the progress of the referendum debate. Oh well, it was and remains an emotive subject on both sides.
    Looking at the last couple of entries perhaps I should add the following link.
    https://www.google.co.uk/url?sa=t&source=web&rct=j&url=http://churchsociety.org/docs/churchman/114/Cman_114_3_Catherwood.pdf&ved=0ahUKEwi69IWzur7PAhWfHsAKHb9tBxkQFggfMAI&usg=AFQjCNFMoZpYbamF03ozqp5pKKPTAcPmZQ&sig2=Nmy1U6SVtXYyXfrXltN3eA

    I hope the link has worked.
    Sir Fred Catherwood wrote this article in 2000. He wrote about his view of the EU and his experience of negotiations prior to the UK’s entry into the EEC.
    I hope and I continue to pray that this time around the UK is able to do better in its trade deals and its overall trading performance than I seem to remember us doing in the sixties and early seventies. Sir Fred passed away in 2014 so I have no idea what his view would be following the referendum result. We can only guess.
    As far as the arguments about democracy are concerned. I can see why people wanted some power returned to Westminster. However, I have argued for a very long time that the UK, in or out of the EU is not democratic enough. The UK needs a written constitution with basic rights for citizens enshrined within it and properly negotiated settlements for devolved powers for England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. The British parliament also needs a serious overhaul so it becomes more representative.

    Well we shall see how things fair as the government beat a path for Brexit and I will continue to pray for them as they prepare for the negotiations.

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