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A response to the Department for Exiting the EU

27 Mar

Reading the DExEU response to the largest petition in the history of the Parlaimentary Petition website gives a good clue as to why the UK is in such a calamitous postion. It is full of false assumptions, factual inaccuracies, misdirections and arithmetic errors.

We will honour the outcome of the 2016 referendum and work to deliver an exit which benefits everyone, whether they voted to Leave or to Remain.”

Well, that’s going really well, isn’t it!

Theresa May’s abysmal deal is universally hated and Leave are so divided over what they want from Brexit that we are in dire danger of crashing out with the very “No Deal” that everybody claims not to want and which benefits nobody except for a few very wealthy shysters!

“…close to three quarters of the electorate took part in the 2016 referendum, trusting that the result would be respected.”

Nigel Farage certainly wasn’t about to respect the result if Leave lost and many Brexiteers vowed they would fight on if they lost by a narrow margin.  And they were not alone.  One poor sap went so far as to start a petition calling for a second referendum if the result was less than 60:40, and was horrified when it was (in his words) ‘hijacked’ by Remainers after Leave had won by only a slim margin. It went on to become the most popular petition with more than 4.1 million signatures, until it was overtaken this month by this petition, which the govenment so disdains.

This Government wrote to every household prior to the referendum, promising that the outcome of the referendum would be implemented.”

First of all, thanks to Theresa May’s vanity election, in which she lost her majority, this is not the govenment which wrote to evey household. Second, no government can be bound by the promises of their predecessors.  Third, it only did so because David Cameron was cocksure he was going to win, just as he had in Scotland.  Fourth, the leaflet also said that voting leave would involve leaving the Single Market and Customs Union, which Brexit campaigners denounced as ‘scaremongering’, claiming that no-one was seriously suggesting any such thing. Yet, funnily enough, this government, which wants to claim the leaflet, also wants to take the UK out of both the SM and the CU. A bit of cognative dissonance there, methinks.

17.4 million people then voted to leave the European Union, providing the biggest democratic mandate for any course of action ever directed at UK Government.”

A sly mixture of truth with gobbledegook.

True, 17.4 million people voted to leave the EU in 2016 – a result obtained by chicanery, trumpery and criminality. But as usual, the 16.1 million Remain voters are cast into the oblivion of history (along with the 12.9 million who didn’t vote), their wishes nullified by majoritiarianism. It is highly embarrassing to this government that Remain have not slunk away as demanded by their rivals.

Nor is it the “biggest democratic mandate…ever directed at a UK Government” as the mandate in the 1975 referendum, albeit on a slightly smaller turnout, was more than 34% – almost double the current mandate [sic] claimed by this government.

However, more importantly, the mandate is not, and never was, 17.4 million (just 37% of the electorate, Remain achieving 35%) but 1.3 million (17.4 – 16.1) or a scanty 4% difference (over 8 times less than in 1975).

28% of the electorate did not vote, some (as is always the case) because they just couldn’t be arsed, but some because (like the Tory MP Kirstie Hair) they didn’t feel they had sufficient knowledge or understanding of the issues to make an informed decision on the basis of what the two mediocre campaigns were churning out.

Furthermore, there is absolutely no recognition that had the referendum been binding, the result would have been overturned under the Vienna Convention because of the electoral fraud and criminal activity used to gain that result.

It also falsely assumes that not one single Leave voter has changed their mind since 2016, which is patently untrue gven that there were Leave voters expressing their regret the following day and the polling evidence from the intervening years shows a far larger swing to Remain from Leave than vice versa.  Indeed, the most recent polls all show a win for Remain were there to be a second referendum.

Moreover, it also ignores those Leave Voters, who given the stark choice between crashing out with a No Deal (not what they were promised in 2016) and Revoking Article 50, have signed this petition for what they see as the lesser of two evils (given that another application can be made in the future, as long as it is in good faith).

“British people cast their votes once again in the 2017 General Election where over 80% of those who voted, voted for parties, including the Opposition, who committed in their manifestos to upholding the result of the referendum.”

This really beggars belief!

Given that the UK political system is based on a two Party system, it is disingenous to ignore the fact that there is little or no choice, especially when both those parties back the same policy (albeit with mionor differences), for the voter who wishes to oust the sitting government.

Furthermore, it is based on the clearly false assumption that voters all vote for a Party because they embrace every single item in the manifesto, rather than the reality that many voted for Labour because of their social policies and despite Brexit, just as there were Europhile Tories who voted for aspects of their party’s manifesto other than Brexit.

While it can be argued that the Referendum and the 2017 General Election gave a mandate to leave, the argument is profoundly weakened by the fact that the Referendum was only Advisory and not binding and in May’s failing to retain, let alone increase, her majority in an election which polling had suggested she would win by a landslide.

Additionally, May has has broken two key pledges from her 2017 manifesto.  First, her promise to “strengthen and improve devolution for each part of our United Kingdom”- she has deliberately sidelined and ignored both Scotland & Wales throughout the whole Brexit process; second, her infamous, “no deal is better than a bad deal”, which she has failed to deliver, preferring instead to bring back her bad deal for repeated “meaningful votes”, which at the outset she had sought, through costly legal battles, to avoid ever having to face.   Clearly, manifesto pledges are not graven in stone and may be set aside at the whim of the Prime Minister.

On top of this, there were clear instances of tactical voting (eg the Liberal Democrats in Gordon voting Tory to topple Alex Salmond), for which their pro-Remain party is reaping its just rewards.

In short, to claim that 80% of voters backed Brexit at the last election is nothing short of sleight of hand – the kind of deception that we have all come to expect from Brexiteers.

Revoking Article 50 would break the promises made by Government to the British people, disrespect the clear instruction from a democratic vote, and in turn, reduce confidence in our democracy.”

As I have shown, the clear instruction is not as clear as the government wish to make out.

As for ‘reducing confidence in our democracy’, that has been achieved by this government all on its own, through its incompetent handling of Brexit, thus far (and there is little hope of any change at this late stage), and with its incessant calls to bring a heavily defeated and highly unpopular deal back to Parliament for a third time in the vain hope that it will be passed out of sheer desperation, all the while denying the very voters, who they claim to respect, any chance to voice their wishes.

Unless there is a miracle, Brexit is going to turn out to be a disaster for the UK, and what little confidence remains will be damaged by the outcome as Brexiteers feel betrayed by when they don’t get the unicorns on the day they were promised.

Weird Weather

5 Jun

Let me start by saying I work in a wine distributors in a small city.  The city lies on the Castillian meseta but within a stone’s throw of the Sierra Gaudarrama.  Usually, the weirdest weather we get is snow in June (and that only but once in a blue moon), but today was perfectly normal; warm (28ºC) and sunny with a scattering of puffy, white cumulus.  So the weather phenomenon I experienced this morning came as a complete surprise.

It started while I was out in the bodega, stacking a pallet for this morning’s deliveries.  As I was immersed in selecting the boxes of wine listed on the delivery notes, I heard a strange sound.  I couldn’t work out what it was it, so I went out into the shop to investigate.

My first thought on entering the shop was that someone was cleaning our window with a high pressure hose as that is what it both looked and sounded like.  Naturally, I rushed to close the door to avoid the inevitable flood. But as I got closer I could see that it was sand that was blowing in, not water.

When I reached the door, which I rapidly closed, I saw a mini-whirlwind (complete with vortex – about 2m high) sucking all the sand up out of the area in front of the shop and spinning it around.

It lasted less than 2 minutes and vanished as quickly as it had appeared.  The only sign that it had ever been – apart from the mini-desert that had taken refuge in the shop – was the rocky nudity of our normally, sand clad tow-away area.

That’s the first whirlwind (or dust devil) I’ve ever seen; and I got to see it right up close too.  However,  I certainly don’t want to see one any bigger than that,  at least, not anywhere that near.

A Pleasant Surprise

31 Aug

Last night I saw something I’d never seen before.

I was strolling alone through what was once called “the blind man’s holiday”[1], the usual walkers having long gone home to be replaced by dragonflies which skimmed low over my head and pipestrelles [2] that zigzagged their way round me in hot pursuit of the insects that shelter under the trees.  As I ambled along the path at the side of the embalse[3],  something caught the very edge of my sight.

It was a brilliant light shining through the canopy and reflecting indistinctly in the waters.  I couldn’t see it clearly until it had fallen below the treeline, when I was able to see that it was a small ball of fire with a blazing tail streaming behind it.  As I gazed, it started to break up, small pieces falling away in a shower of huge sparks that quickly faded to darkness.  Then, just as suddenly as I’d become aware of it, it was gone.

A meteor!  A beautiful meteor. The first I’d ever seen.

 

 

[1] the time of evening when it is too dark to read but too bright to light the candles

[2] a very small bat that is common in this area

[3] a reservoir caused by damming a river