Report from the chaotic UK

June 27, 2016 • 8:30 am

Posting will be sparse today, as I’m working hard on a book review and also must make plane reservations to Singapore and Hong Kong and also Poland. Fortunately, our British correspondent on the ground, Matthew Cobb, sent a short report on the tumoil that is the UK since the Brexit vote:

It is complete madness over here. The Leave campaign admitting a) they have no plan, b) the promises they made were lies and c) many Leave voters (including prominent journalists) saying they regretted everything. Labour Party deciding it will have a civil war. Pound at a *31 year record low* against the dollar. Silly petition for a second referendum at > 3 million signatures, but turns out to have been set up by a Leaver before the vote! Satire is impossible in this mess.

It looks increasingly like we won’t even leave, because it’s complicated and the deal we’d get from Europe would be crap (as the Remainers said).

Spate of reports of people with dark skin/not speaking in English in public being abused and told to leave the country. Polish cultural centre – set up during WW2 in London by Polish refugees fighting with Allies – daubed with racist graffiti.

What a horrible mess. Unbelievable. Very hard to concentrate on anything but the endless flow of mind-boggling information.

Matthew asked that I also add these five tw**ts summing up the Big Mess:

This comes from a BBC journalist born in the UK. “P**i” refers to the derogatory term “Paki.”

To read more about this mess, see today’s New York Times article. An excerpt:

Britain’s political crisis intensified on Sunday after its decision to leave the European Union, with the opposition Labour Party splitting into warring camps, Scotland’s leader suggesting that its local Parliament might try to block the departure and many Britons wondering if there was a plausible way for the nation to reconsider its drastic choice.

The hostilities in the Labour Party broke out as the battle lines became clearer among the governing Conservatives, left in turmoil by the vote on the European Union and the subsequent announcement by Prime Minister David Cameron that he would resign once his party chose a successor.

Michael Gove, the justice minister and one of the leaders of the Leave campaign, threw his support to the former London mayor Boris Johnson, the most prominent figure in the anti-Europe movement. Aides to Theresa May, the home secretary, who backed the Remain side in the referendum on Thursday, were calling legislators to seek their support to take on Mr. Johnson.

The British news media reported that close allies of Mr. Cameron were also working to stop Mr. Johnson, reflecting the sense of betrayal on Downing Street over Mr. Johnson’s decision to tie his political ambitions to the movement to leave Europe. Other cabinet ministers were considering whether to run, including Nicky Morgan, the education secretary, and Liam Fox, a former defense secretary.

213 thoughts on “Report from the chaotic UK

    1. How could it be complete madness? All the best bad is utterly sane and utterly sure of itself.

      And it is a democratic step down from the throne of the ‘Great’ Britain to … Little Britain of England and Wales? We’ll see.

      “If I had a world of my own, everything would be nonsense. Nothing would be what it is, because everything would be what it isn’t. And contrary wise, what is, it wouldn’t be. And what it wouldn’t be, it would. You see?”

      1. And it is a democratic step down from the throne of the ‘Great’ Britain to … Little Britain of England and Wales?

        Interesting to note that Gibraltar also voted for remain – and are now in talks with Scotland about how to re-partition the former United Kingdom into and In and Out segment. No rumours of discussions with Northern Ireland/ FATLAD, but that won’t surprise me when it comes.
        I wonder … if there are film crews heading to the Falklands for a vox pop, and if they’re heading out from Britain or Argentina?

    1. I am proud to be a British and an immigrant. If I am to be a Little Englander, so be it.

      Better to be a citizen in Little England than a subject in new European Empire.

      Brexit is why my father volunteered to join His Majesty’s armed forces in 1940. His death on active service in Germany was part of the price our family paid to liberate the Germans and other Europeans from tyranny, not to shackle themselves to a new imperial power based in Brussels.

      The English and Welsh voted to leave and not because of antipathy towards the Germans or French. As Mr Farage said to the President of the EU: Who are you? We don’t know you and we don’t want you.

      The Scots and Northern Irish may want to be ruled by EU Commissars, but the English and Welsh have rejected rule by an unelected junta.

      My reading of US and UK media in the aftermath of Brexit is that they have still not understood the message.

      If you wish to rule the English, the Welsh, the Americans, the Canadians, and others still to be heard from, first you must commit yourself to democracy.

      This is not negotiable.

      Since 1957, a series of British Prime Ministers have lied and cajoled and threatened their fellow citizens as they knocked down one by one the pillars of the British Constitution.

      Mr Cameron’s latest concessions to the EU would have surrendered the last vestiges of sovereignty and with it, British democracy.

      US media attempt to draw lessons from Brexit to apply to the upcoming US election. But it doesn’t work because the media has not understood. You can tell because the US media is simply parroting the claims of the Remain Campaign with all its lies and slanders.

      Mr. Trump has been compared to Boris Johnson and Nigel Farage and perhaps there are some parallels related to disaffection with elites.

      But the issues are not at all similar. There are no foreign statesmen imposing laws upon America. And no matter how successful NAFTA or any other US-led trading bloc might be, there is no chance whatsoever that over 50% of America’s new laws will originate in Ottawa or Mexico City.

      Nor is there any possibility the a court in Toronto could ever overrule the US Supreme Court.

      Finally, it’s not necessary to rely on the media to discover the issues raised by Brexit leaders. Boris Johnson, Nigel Farage, and David Owen have all made the issues clear and their views can all be heard on Youtube. Just search for their names.

      I personally was most impressed by David Owen, former leader of the Liberal Democrats.
      I regret never voting for him when I had the opportunity. He might have been a better prime minister than any of those who served.

      1. I get sick of people trying to take the moral high ground via ancestors, albeit recent, and their sacrifices in world wars, and what they fought for.

        I too can relate in that way to both wars. I like to think that both were an attempt to resist tyranny, and that especially the second war was to prevent a type of thinking that arose from excessive xenophobia. I like to think that those who fought would have approved of the concept of the countries of Europe coming together in cooperation, and be appalled at what’s happened with Brexit, and its xenophobic implications.

        1. +1. My ancestors fought in the world wars too. Europe coming together in a spirit of cooperation makes it less likely future generations will have to make the same sacrifice.

      2. My surviving friends from WW2 all voted Remain, as they see an integrated Europe as the best way to avoid WW3. The EU is not “an unelected junta”. If you want to understand how the EU works I suggest doing a little more research – there are excellent MOOCs on the subject on both the Coursera and FutureLearn platforms. These give a far more balanced picture the the Sun or the Daily Mail!

      3. Your description of the EU is totally false. This is probably not your fault: you have been fed lies for years by the print media and Lever politicians.

        By the way, David Owen was never leader of the Liberal Democrats. He stepped down as leader of the Social Democrats when that party merged with the Liberals.

      4. Hi Frederick Colbourne, I recommend that you watch Youtube video, “Professor Michael Dougan on the EU Referendum” ( liverpoolslsj= school of law and social justice channel)

        Michael Dougan, Professor of European Law at the University of Liverpool, provides his viewpoint on the EU referendum, and discussed the facts and figures circulated by both the ‘Leave’ and ‘Remain’ campaigns.

        In summary he points out that when U.K courts sometimes bow to E.U. courts it is because U.K parliament instructs them to do so.

        Dougan says that in much of U.K trade related to the E.U. the U.K acts as a middleman between countries who are not in the E.U. to give access to markets in Italy & Spain etc. To do this it is necessary to be part of the E.U. club or at least the E.U. single market. This means that the if the U.K proceeds with hitting the article 50 button then it will end up with a Norway type deal with more immigration and far less say in the E.U.

        In the video Dougan says there has been industrial scale dishonestly by the leave campaign and he says he feels like how an evolutionary biologist must feel when he hears people trying to assert creationism as reality.

  1. A friend of mine of Tamil extraction had some no-mark toerag shout ‘Bet you’re not happy with the result. Leave!’ at him in the middle of the department store which he manages. It really feels like the bigotry is unmasking itself.
    The only potential (very slight) silver lining is that we might get a new opposition leader out of it i.e one that has a chance of winning.

      1. I’m hardly surprised that the country seems to be swarming with knuckle-dragers.

        The only surprise is that it took so long for them to get found out.

        1. Yeah. It’s like the result has given them permission to expose themselves – if it’s okay for politicians to behave like this, it’s okay for me. Now that IS the Trump Effect.

          1. The bigoted attackers are bullies, and bullies are cowards who hide their aggression unless and until they sense a target is vulnerable. Even then, they prefer to work in packs, like wolves, outnumbering their targets.

      2. I’m disappointed, ashamed and embarrassed to be British right now.

        I notice that “surprised” is not in your list of emotions.
        I’ve been watching the rise of the British Nazi Party’s new face in UKIP with dismay – and vocal opposition – for years. Now the masks are coming off, and soon the jackboots will be going on.

    1. Take a look to Germany. We have the same problems here with the AFD and Pegida. Even the President of Germany Gauck was heckled and insulted during a visit in Sebnitz, Saxony, by right-wing protesters as “Volksverräter” (a Nazi term).

      And the rest of Europe? Wilders in the Netherlands, Front National in France, PiS in Poland, Fidesz in Hungary. You could despair about the ignorance and stupidity of humankind.

        1. Not only the EU.
          Populists and nationalists are on the rise in several countries: Trump in the USA, AKP in Turkey, United Russia in Russia, Swoboda in Ukraine (to name a few other groups)

        2. Blame neoliberalism and a global capitalist system that has gone out of control.

          The world as a whole has never been wealthier, and yet en enormous amount of that wealth is held in the hands of a tiny number of people.

          I think something like 50% of the world’s wealth is currently held by <80 individuals.

          People are graduating with very good degrees and still finding that it's hard to get an entry level job that pays well, wages as a whole have been stagnant (in real terms) for decades, whilst the cost of living in (particular rent) has gone through the roof.

          The vote to leave the EU was a mistake, and I don't believe that it actually had much to do with the EU itself – it was simply an abused people lashing out in anger against the establishment.

          I believe that the current rise of right-wing nationalism and racism/xenophobia has its roots in the same soil.

          1. “…an abused people lashing out in anger against the establishment.”

            I think this is correct. It is the same fuel that has given us Donald Trump.

  2. Former editor of Murdoch’s Sun now regrets exit:

    Folks that I know have already been seriously affected by the nonsense (pay cuts, possible job losses).

    And this was posted 20 minutes ago on a Facebook group for my local neighbourhood:

    You’re going to bring your National Front, racist bullshit to Lewisham?
    3 twats (2 with National Front T-shirts) on the bus.
    They’re at the back and not even being quiet about their racism.
    We could clearly hear them saying ‘What’s with all these n*ggers and p*kis. Thought we voted to get all this vermin out’
    Luckily, these pond dwellers must not’ve known that the bus stops outside Lewisham Police Station.
    A few people quickly flagging down some Police who were coming out of the station + a recording of their abuse and they mysteriously are not on our bus anymore.”

    I’m not 100% happy about all this.

      1. That’s happened in England before. The king owed the Jewish moneylenders heaps of money so they were demonized to turn the population against them. Then, in 1290, all Jews were expelled. And the king never did pay them back.

        1. And that’s only one example. There were others, too many to count, on various scales of size. Israel probably better prepare for a fresh influx.

          1. I vaguely remember a Netanyahu speech from last year reminding victims of anti-Semitism in Europe that they could move to Israel. It didn’t go down too well. Might have been in the wake of the supermarket attack at the same time as the Charlie Hebdo massacre.

  3. I too feel ashamed to be labelled ‘British’. I think every single politician with any integrity must now be asking themselves how we reverse the referendum result without committing political suicide.

    Well done David Cameron, you gave us a referendum nobody really wanted, and the country certainly didn’t need, then jumped ship when your plan backfired. Thanks very much!

    1. Committing political suicide may, perhaps should be the price paid for this major screw-up. I think it may reveal if they are in it for the people and country or for self serving self-interest.

    2. I think every single politician with any integrity must now be asking themselves how we reverse the referendum result without committing political suicide.

      Surely you mean “I think every single politician who campaigned for Leave with any integrity”

      Well done David Cameron, you gave us a referendum nobody really wanted, and the country certainly didn’t need, then jumped ship when your plan backfired.

      Probably just clearing his desk for a future in Middle Eastern “peace consultancy”.

  4. A post Brexit poll suggests that 7.1 % of Leave voters regret their decision:

    That’s over a million, which would give the result to Remain, if they switched. Intriguingly, 4.4% of Remain voters also regret their vote, which would give the win back to Leave! However, that depends on why those voters regret their Remain vote. If it’s down to the well known losers’ regret effect, then they wouldn’t swing it back.

    Not sure if winners’ regret is yet a ‘thing’.

  5. I can confirm unprecedented (in my adult lifetime) levels of madness here in the UK. Both main political parties seem intent on tearing themselves apart and there is a distinct lack of leadership or ideas. Going into this referendum I was hoping for a remain outcome but expecting a leave vote and, given that outcome, was hoping that the end result would be UK membership of an improved EU. Unfortunately the early signs are of a rudderless UK drifting away from European ties without the strong leadership required to steer a new, better, path and of an EU doubling down on their status quo without any admission of failings in how they are run or showing any stomach for change.
    Oh well, at least we are living in interesting times.

    1. How old are you? When I was a child in the 1980’s in the UK, before coming to the States, we had violent mass strikes, utter leftwing meltdown over Thatcherism (including a Morrissey song about killing her), skinheads openly terrorising racial minorities, and race riots (including non-white ethnic groups against one another). And you think this is bad?

      What I see in this is just how hubristic and detached from the lives of ordinary people many journalists, academics, and global elites are.

      1. Really? And you think that the people behind the Leave campaign AREN’T elitists themselves?

        If you think that they are looking after you… you are sadly mistaken. A good number of the Leave campaign promises have already been rolled back. These guys are the idiot wing of the Tory party, and chancers to boot, supported by the oh-so-NOT-elitist mass print media.

        EU isn’t perfect, no, but have you actually thought about the people who have sold you the Leave vote?

  6. Those leave campaigners were deceitful indeed. However there won’t be a re-run of the referendum. Like it or not a majority voted for leave. There are actually good arguments on both sides but just because you voted leave that does not make you a fascist. Tony Benn, the late great parliamentarian, had very sound arguments for leaving, based on the unaccountability of EU government. He articulated his views on power in five questions (which he articulated many times) –

    “The House will forgive me for quoting five democratic questions that I have developed during my life. If one meets a powerful person–Rupert Murdoch, perhaps, or Joe Stalin or Hitler–one can ask five questions: what power do you have; where did you get it; in whose interests do you exercise it; to whom are you accountable; and, how can we get rid of you? Anyone who cannot answer the last of those questions does not live in a democratic system.”

    It is a sorry mess but democracy is messy.

    1. I think – unusually for me – that we should be positive rather than moaning – we can make the world a better place! If we start with a little selflessness… 🙂

    2. “what power do you have; where did you get it; in whose interests do you exercise it; to whom are you accountable; and, how can we get rid of you? Anyone who cannot answer the last of those questions does not live in a democratic system.”

      Err, The Queen? The House of Lords?

        1. I have a lot of resect for Tony Benn.

          Weirdly I do not think that he would have supported the Leave campaign as it was absolutely run with the right wing of the Tory party controlling the message.

          Corbyn, who I kinda want to like but he has made some weird decisions, has also had this failing.

          The Leave campaign was run on fraudulent and xenophobic lines. There is no way in my ideologically anarchist lefty heart that I could support it.

          1. Sorry, Chris, but Jeremy Corbyn? A man fit to be a Secretary of a rural parish council, who signs his own apples, who declares, “I am not a personality”. A leader tongue-tied during PMQs at the answers to his own questions: the Don Quixote, Oblomov, Charles Pooter, Chauncey Gardiner and Alan Partridge of the Labour Party; a man who permanently gives the impression of living behind a gauze of disengagement; a man who subtracts from the energy in a room by entering it; a man who exudes his deep unhappiness at the job he is in; a man who claims a kinder, gentler politics while his acolytes hurl abuse around worthy of Mao’s cultural revolution; a man happier holding a placard rather than a debate.

            Yet a man with a reputation for honesty, sincerity and integrity.

            The ‘Socialist’ whose surgery is in an Islamist mosque; the ‘leftist’ who supports the murdering IRA: who calls the genocidal anti-Semites Hamas his friends; and Hezbollah, the trainers of al-Qaeda in suicide bomb techniques; the man who thinks that the death of Osama bin Laden is morally equivalent to the murder of 3,000 people in 9/11; the man who works for Iranian Press TV; the man who celebrates the Khomeiniist regime at rallies (below); the man who defends Suliman Gani, the supporter of al-Qaeda; the man who responds to a caller proposing the killing of all Jews “Thank you for your call”; the man who fills in for George Galloway, the Saddam-worshipper, on Russian state-propaganda TV; the man who itched to oppose the first Gulf War after the UN had voted for it and after Saddam had bombed Israel and Saudi Arabia and annexed Kuwait; the man who dares to set up Stop the War and oleaginously imply that he is a pacifist; the man whose StW says nothing about the continuing genocide in Syria by Assad backed by Russia and Iran; the man whose StW organization publishes rabidly anti-Semitic posts and then deletes them as if they had never happened; the man who, on having his Labour Party exposed as secreting crazed anti-Semites, sets up an inquiry to root out the nonsensical Islamist meme ‘Islamophobia’ in the party; the man who surrounds himself with dumb posh boys flirting with the most repulsive régimes on the planet; North Korea, the USSR, Iran, Syria, Gaza; people who are so supine and incompetent that they can’t even be bothered responding to daily political events; and whose animus against the MSM is so great that they prefer to snapchat among themselves rather than engage.

            Honest, sincere, honourable, competent?

            None of the above: it’s time we moved into the post-Corbyn Labour Party era.


      1. “Err, The Queen? The House of Lords?”

        This illustrates what I meant in my previous comment about lack of understanding of the Brexit issues.

        1. The Queen does not exercise power to make or unmake laws nor does she exercise any executive power.

        2. The House of Lords lost its veto power in 1911. Since then the House of Commons has unseated various classes of peers. More recently, the Law Lords have been transformed into the Supreme Court.

        All of this was achieved by elected governments.

        Parliament would still be supreme except for the EU treaties that give precedence to EU institutions.

        1. All the Commissioners are appointed by elected Governments, and removed when those Governments are voted out of office, and the Commission President can be removed by voting for the other side in the European Parliament elections.

          The UK Parliament remains sovereign, as can be seen by the fact that those EU treaties are given force in the UK by the European Communities Act 1972.

    3. So running away was better than fixing the EU, was it? To me, it looks like we took the cowards way out.

  7. “Silly petition for a second referendum at > 3 million signatures”

    Why silly? Now almost 3.75 million and rising. It looks like a genuine expression of outrage at the tissue of lies spouted by the Vote Leave mob, who are now, of course, furiously backtracking on every promise they made.

    Large numbers who voted out are now saying they regret what they have done.

    In addition, there are numerous reports of racial abuse and even violence from all over the country since the vote. My wife was subjected to the worst racial abuse she has experienced in decades within 3 hours of the announcement of the result (at the school gates). She came home saying it’s like going back to the 1970s all over again.

    There is a mass movement brewing here that just simply isn’t going to accept this.

    1. The “genuine expression of outrage” seems to be a marvellous scam.

      According to a German political & social science blog only 354 000 out of 2 222 000 signatures (25 June) could be attributed to UK addresses (ah, and the Pope also seems to give strong support to the Remain Camp as 41 000 signatures came from Vatican City).

      For those without command of the language of Goethe:

    2. The “genuine expression of outrage” seems to be a marvellous scam.

      According to a German political & social science blog only 354 000 out of 2 222 000 signatures (June 25) could be attributed to UK addresses (ah, and the Pope also seems to give strong support to the Remain Camp as 41 000 signatures came from Vatican City):

      For those without command of the language of Goethe:

      1. You must be kidding! is not serious political blog but simply right-wing propaganda. It cannot be trusted.

        1. “ is […] simply right-wing propaganda. It cannot be trusted.”

          The blog is hosted by social scientists and widely acclaimed (Nr. 1 in a ranking of German-language science blogs). The sources refered to concerning the petition scam are mostly British.

          Any rational argument to bolster your accusation? (Or is it just that you only “trust” decidedly leftist sources?)

          1. “The blog is hosted by social scientists and widely acclaimed (Nr. 1 in a ranking of German-language science blogs)”.
            Well, I return the ball. Any sources to bolster this assertion?

            But you speak German, right? A simple google search (Sciencefiles Michael Klein) revealed:

            And I have read some articles on the blog. They are neo-conservativ at best, but most of them are spiteful right-wing propaganda. Other politcal opinions (liberal, progressiv, leftist) are not criticized, but only denigrated.

            1. There’s nothing rational or becoming about rejecting a site because it has a conservative viewpoint. PCCC(E) cites conservative media when appropriate, often because the neoliberal media is too wrapped up in various narratives itself to honestly report the news as actual events.

              The petition does appear to have a massive percent of fake signatures. Railing about the messenger will not change that reality.

            2. The link you provided (“simple google search”) is a leftist rant mostly ad hominem (in an online-forum) against one of the hosts of the blog. It has nothing to do with the petition scam. – So what?

              As for the parameters of the ranking click on the provided link.

              1. @Bethlenfalvy
                Strange, only sciencefiles and heatst are reporting a petion scam. And serious media (BBC etc) are suppressing this important news. The system press are lying! That sounds like conspiracy theory and propaganda.

                A conservative viewpoint is not bad. FAZ is conservative, Die Welt is conservative. Both are serious newspapers, whose opinions I do not always share. But they perform serious research. But sciencfiles is quite simply a spiteful right-wing propaganda blog. You only have to read the articles.

        2. RPGNo1:I am fluent in the language of Goethe (well, of German “as she is spoke” in the 21st century), and my admittedly rather short look into the site supports your view.

          1. “Strange, only sciencefiles and heatst are reporting a petion scam. And serious media (BBC etc) are suppressing this important news. The system press are lying!”

            RPGNo1: Stop making false assertions & turn down your emotionalization.

            The House of Commons has meanwhile acknowledged fraud.

            You can get this information – inter alia – from the BBC and “Der Spiegel” (I hope it’s not an organ too spiteful-rightist):


            1. Concerning the Spiegel-Link: You are correct, serious media are also reporting now. However, you have to read the whole article and not use a selective quoatation.

              Petition Committee: “We have removed about 77,000 signatures which were added fraudulently.”
              About 3.7 M people voted already for a second referendum, i.e. only 2.1 % of the votes are fraudulent. To cite the Spiegel: “Ihr Ziel haben die Manipulatoren aber in jedem Fall erreicht: Die Anti-Brexit-Petition ist nun mit einem Makel behaftet.” In English: “The manipulators reached their goal. The anti-Brexit-petition is stigmatized yet.”
              Is the course of action of the hackers unacceptable and casts a cloud on the petition? Yes.
              But is it marvellous scam, as you insist? No.

              1. Does the unravelling of the lies and deceit coming from the Leave camp cast a shadow over the legitimacy of their campaign? Yes.

                Do the limited but unacceptable actions of hackers in any way legitimise Leave’s propaganda? No.

    3. The petition is silly because, to my opinion, people regretting their vote and wishing to reconsider it on the next day are not behaving like responsible adults.
      The pro-leave campaign was lying? Earth to regretters: all campaigns for a vote lie! There is a cute ability of our brain called “critical thinking”; use it the next time you vote!

      1. The re-Brexit proposal won’t go anywhere because the reason for the referendum was that, apart from UKIP, all of the party leaders supported Remain. And that split the parties.

        The Remainers were certain they would bury UKIP and Mr Farage and discredit the Leavers within their own parties. And Brexit blew up in their faces.

        There will be a general election sooner or later. If the Prime Minister reneges on Brexit, whoever he may be, and whether or not it is as a result of Brexit-2, thereis no way to predict the impact on the Conservative and Labour Parties.,

        Ruling parties in the UK win with 35% of 60% turnouts. a little over 21% of the electorate. But for Brexit the turnout was 75% and in England and Wales and in England and Wales, most Parliamentary constituencies voted Leave.

        1. Sorry, lost the conclusion.

          There is simply too much risk from UKIP, the party that won in the last EU election.

          UKIP won 15% of the popular vote in the last UK election.

          Tony Blair once won with about 35% of a 45% turnout, about 16% of eligible voters.

          MPs are not our swiftest or bravest. However, the ones who can’t do arithmetic have calculators.

          The political arithmetic says we cannot put Brexit back into the Box. So we better set our minds and hearts to ways and means of building a new future.

          We are about to set sail upon the world ocean under our own power and with our own crew.

          It was a huge blunder to rely on the tugboat that is the EU. There is no way the Commissars who captain it will succeed in building a top-down empire in Europe where so many others have failed.

      2. Sadly, as far as I can tell, critical thinking is not innate to the human psyche – it is a learned behavior.

  8. I hope this is a lesson to be learned by the followers of Trump in the US.

    The ‘leavers’ are isolationists (as well as the bigots and racists contingents) who were led by lying, scheming morons who have little understanding of government, economics or foreign relations. These leaders preyed upon the uninformed and now there is a disaster.

    Trump will do the same thing, but it will be a bigger disaster.

    1. I have no wish to get into a fruitless argument but that is one very broad brush you are wielding!

      1. Nevertheless, as regards Trump, American voters would be well advised to scrutinise very closely the sloganeering of a demagogue and his ability to deliver on his promises.

    2. The ‘leavers’ are isolationists …

      I’ve never heard of a “leaver” who wanted to stop free-trading with and amicably cooperating with Europe and the rest of the world.

      It’s the EU who will demand such a stringent price for that that it may not happen.

        1. I have listened to and argued the trade issue since 1964 when I was a graduate student at the LSE.

          The argument of those who opposed the Common Market, including me, was that it was a project with high tariff walls, a moat and a drawbridge.

          We Brexiters were, and still are, global free-traders.

      1. Free trade requires shared product standards. Leavers, as epitomized by Frederick Colbourne above, reject shared standards because of lost sovereignty. I cannot see how the desires of Brexit supporters for sovereignty over toaster standards etc can be reconciled with free trade.

        1. Why does free trade require shared product standards? And what does it have to do with sovereignty or toasters?

          1. Because to export a country must meet the standards of the larger country it is exporting to. That is why Norway, outside the EU adopts the EU standards (but has no say in setting those standards.)

            1. Free Trade requires only that the exporter meets the standards of the importing country. You don’t need a common standard – although some will argue that EU standards were set to protect EU industries against competition.

        2. Trade works because buyers and sellers wish to trade.

          The Common Market was misnamed because it real purpose was to erect trade barriers at a time when global tariffs were high. That world is gone, leaving the protectionist trade bloc as an anachronism.

          Look in detail at the standards-setting behaviour of the EU and you will find that so many are inreality non-tariff constraints on trade.

          As for standards, most countries cannot afford to maintain the elaborate standards institutions of the US and the EU. So, whether you have noticed it or not, there are already de facto global standard.

          In respect to trade it is the EU that is isolationist and has been isolationist from the start.

          You mistake the EU empire-building project for globalization.

      2. Just as people have rightly said that it is wrong to claim all Leave voters were motivated by xenophobia or isolationism, it is wrong to claim all Leave voters are pro-free trade and amicable co-operation. People voted for a range of reasons, some genuinely wanting to pull up the drawbridge/turn back time.

    3. I hope this is a lesson to be learned by the followers of Trump in the US.

      True Trump followers are incapable of learning. But perhaps independents and others on the fence might take note.

      1. European companies will, regardless of who they are buying from, require that products come with appropriate certification in terms of ROHS, recyclability, product safety, provenance of materials, etc. So, anything that British companies try to sell into Europe will have to abide by those regulations (or tighter, which they’ll have to negotiate on a case-by-case basis). Of course, Britain has no got no voice in setting those regulations. Contracts will be lost because Britain is isolated from the decision-making processes in Europe.

          1. That did not happen right away. Likewise, the job losses, business exodus and higher prices resulting from Brexit will come later. The impact on finance comes first.

            1. Jobs have already been lost – good engineering ones as well. My son’s flatmate is an engineer working on the expansion of London Bridge and has told him that some friends have already been sacked as the money will no longer be there for the projects they were working on. He had a somewhat heated conversation with his parents who ad voted leave. Myself I am still furious over this.

          2. People’s pension funds are linked to it. I can see it being very bad news… and not just to the friends I have in the UK building industry who have already suffered pay cuts due to exchange rate movement & client loss on Friday.

          3. Everyone around the world with retirement savings lost an average of thousands in the $2T the markets lost. The tens of thousands of those due to retire do not have time to wait for the markets to stabilize and recover. This decision has made ordinary people all over the world poorer.

            1. On the positive side I am going on 6 months sabbatical to the UK in a week – just transferred the rent money and a very favourable rate.

              1. I’m thinking I’ll be buying from instead of for a bit!

    4. If that’s a call to “get out and vote, even if you think the side you dislike are sure to lose”, then that’s a very good lesson to put under the noses of anyone anywhere that claims to be a democracy.
      Is it Australia that has compulsory voting? How does that work out in terms of spoiled ballots?

      1. It’s not compulsory to actually vote in Australian elections. It’s compulsory to turn up to a polling station and register that you were there. Whether you actually vote for anything or anybody is optional. You can vote “informal”, meaning you turned up to the polling station, thus avoiding a fine, but chose not to vote. I expect that system does still lead to a higher percentage of people voting, although I don’t have numbers to hand.

        However, making voting compulsory doesn’t automatically lead to more informed voters. There’s no reason to believe the people voting in Australia are better informed, and therefore better able to make an informed choice than a non-voter would be in any other country. The call should not just be to “get out and vote”. The call should be to get interested and get informed. If we can make that happen the voting will naturally follow.

        1. The “getting out” is easier to manage and monitor than the “get informed” step. FFS, there was a Christian Scientist in my graduating class in geology, who managed to pass the exams and get a job as a civil servant managing water resources (i.e. Flood- compatible geology). Any system can be gamed.

    5. The issues before the US are not the issues faced by the UK. Some analogies are false, others simply fatuous.

      Which unelected foreign statesmen run the Washington political system?

      Do most US Federal laws originate in the US or are they proposed by an unelected Council of NAFTA Commissioners in Toronto?

      Does Brexit oppose or support global free trade more or less than Mr Trump?

      Does a foreign court have the power to overrule the US Supreme Court?

      Does the UK have a bigger or smaller problem than the US with uncontrolled/illegal migration?

      On this last point, the population of the US is five times that of the UK. So 1.7 million annual total immigrants to the US scales to 340,000 for the UK compared to 400,000 actual.

      Not so bad, it seems.

      But illegal immigration to the US is about 400,000 per year, which scales to 80,000 for the UK compared to about 200,000 actual.

      That is the part of the problem that has won Mr Farage criticism as a racist for urging that the UK adopt selective immigration as both Canada and Australia have done. I believe that legal immigration into the US is mostly selective.

      Mr Farage claims that the UK cannot provide infrastructure and social services for more than 50,000 immigrants per year. I think this figure is too low for long-term migration.

      But as a temporary measure for five to ten years, this policy would allow housing and schools to be built to accommodate the current backlog. And would allow the energy, education and health sectors to expand sufficiently to recover from the present critical supply situation.

      If you are unaware of the electric power situation, the Government has directed hospitals to prepare to support the national grid with their diesel generators to avoid brownouts and blackouts. This is a a direct consequence of reducing reliance on fossil fuels in line with EU policy and directives.

      So many comments here mention the UK as a madhouse because of Brexit. It seems to me they have been living in an EU madhouse but have been unaware of it.

      1. +1

        Additional anecdote:
        The UK industry I worked in more than 10 years ago had many buildings with standby diesel generators – and they were used on cold dark winter evenings in a government organised schedule to take the load off the public supply.

        1. The problems in the UK power industry have nothing whatsoever to do with the EU or immigrants.


          The problems are caused by successive UK governments’ cowardice with respect to building new power stations.

          Nigel Farage’s claims are simply false.

  9. Friday morning was a depressing time. There were tears in this household. We have, however, been buoyed by the unfolding situation over the weekend.

    Fortunately, Britain does not have a written constitution, so it will be possible to fix the situation without breaking the system.

    Britain has stumbled to the edge of the abyss because too many voters took directions from people who now admit that they don’t have a map or any knowledge of the locality.

    We still have the opportunity to step back.

    My greatest hope, at this stage, however, is that the good folk on the other side of the pond sit up and take notice of what happens when you blindly vote for someone simply because you like what they have said, despite many others demonstrating that they are lying.

    The United States would not have the constitutional opportunity to step back from the abyss.

    1. And how would you “fix the situation without breaking the system”? Any practical suggestions? Please elaborate.

      1. Article 50 has not been enacted, which means that Britain is still in the EU, at least for now. David Macaroon has resigned, meaning that there is nobody on place to trigger Article 50.

        The referendum is not legally binding, but merely advisory. Parliament can choose to ignore the result, just as Greece did, without causing a constitutional crisis. That is not to say that it would not a further political crisis.

        There will be a vote for a new leader of the Conservative party, probably the Labour party, too.

        The leave / remain campaign has been extremely divisive and remains so. We’ll soon see what happens to party policies, but I think that we will see a fresh general election and it is inevitable that the main campaign issue will be membership of the EU.

        It’s almost as if it would be easier to just run the referendum again, this time in the light of the ‘Leave’ camp backtracking on their earlier claims.

        1. David Cameron hasn’t resigned yet. He intends to carry on until another Prime Minister has been nominated.

          There are even politicians in the EU arguing that the Referendum result should be treated as if it were an Article 50 notification, although I think this is unlikely to be accepted.

          1. It can’t be accepted. There is a legal process in place for triggering Article 50 which must be adhered to. Currently Britain is part of the EU and will be until two years after Art. 50 is triggered unless an earlier exit is negotiated.

            1. Article 50 can only be triggered by an elected Prime Minister either writing to the EU President, or by making a publicly broadcast speech, stating that Britain wishes to leave the EU under Article 50. That will kick off the (at least) 2-year process.

              Macaroon has offered his resignation and remains PM, at least nominally, until a successor is elected.

              The timing of his resignation was interesting, in that previously, he had stated that he would trigger Article 50 immediately, in the event of a ‘leave’ vote. By resigning, he can dodge the issue without repercussions, handing the onerous responsibility to a.n.other.

              I think that this was quite an astute move on his part, since he knows that, even without the “silly petition”, the search for a new party leader will trigger intense Conservative Party and Parliamentary debate of the issues. The Worm Boris and Farbage won’t be involved on the latter, as neither is a Member of Parliament.

              Speaking of Boris, it is pretty clear that he is driven more by a desire to occupy No.10 than by honestly held misgivings about membership of the EU. See how far the Worm turns in just 8 years.

              1. I’m not sure Boris ever did anything where his own ambitions weren’t uppermost in his mind. And Farage’s speech in the European Parliament yesterday proved what a complete a-hole he is too.

        2. It takes an act of Parliament to trigger article 50.There may well be a general election before that.Unhappy times.

          To add to the gloom England lost to Iceland at the European Championship

      1. Were the voters of UK ever actually told that they were surrendering their sovereignty? Or was it more like, “Our PM must put a signature on a sheet in order to have free trade with other European countries”?

        1. It was worse than that. PMs lied about the fact that they were making radical changes to the British Constitution.

          Clearing out the Augean Stables was a morning’s work compared to what must be done to restore British institutions.

          Take the European arrest warrant. Police of Italy or Romania will have the power to extradite British citizens to their countries for questioning without laying any charges.

          Sweden has already won an extradition order merely to question an Australian without any charges being made.

          This is but one example. Apple varieties grown in Britain for a thousand years cannot be sold from a cart in a farmer’s market because not on the EU list of fruits and vegetables that may be lawfully sold.

          There are thousands of such regulations that apply, not merely to cross-border trade and behaviour but to local business and private affairs which the UK Government must enforce but has no say in formulation.

          Such intrusion into local affairs and the expansion of the powers of foreign police are highly resented by peoples in most counties were life is not at all like like in London or other big cities.

    2. Fortunately, Britain does not have a written constitution, so it will be possible to fix the situation without breaking the system.

      Hmmm, in the future, people may look back on that as a lost opportunity.

  10. On the bright side of any comparison to Trump and his gang, the fanatical poll takers latest numbers show Trump beginning to drop. This is just the beginning. As the Bernie folks wake up and jump on the wagon the numbers for Trump will continue to go down. The self inflicted damage will continue as it does every time this guy opens his mouth.

    In the end, I predict the mouth will be lucky to carry 5 states. As for Britain – sometimes you have to endure a lot of pain in order to learn. Take it from us Yanks, we should know.

  11. The EU was not a good deal for UK or other states. Brussels is a massive UNELECTED bureaucracy, which meddles in every detail of the members (apparently a proposal to regulate power of toasters, hair dryers and teapots was in the works but was kept quiet before the vote.)

    The narrative of ‘racism’ or ‘islamophobia’ might be minor components ( though migrants rioting in Calais while Brussels demands UK accept them probably did pay a part).

    It’s always a risk to stand against the establishment,but sometimes it’s necessary.

    1. So always Throw the baby out with the bathwater?

      Think of Johnson or Trump as Hammers. Everything looks like a nail to them.

      1. Brussels is a TINY adminsistrative system; the British Civil Service is ten times as big!
        And why shouldn’t there be a limit on the power of toasters? It would save EU citizens money on wasteful energy-inefficient appliances, and encourage innovation from manufacturers who would make their stuff do more with less power.
        Even that bastion of free-market waste, Formula 1 Racing, has restrictions on engine output and so forth to encourage innovation.

        1. “And why shouldn’t there be a limit on the power of toasters?”

          If an Army General says there is a limit on the power of my toaster and I am in the Army, fair enough.

          But if Council of unelected Commissars orders my elected government not to allow toasters above a certain power, I am going to ask how we are going to get rid of the Commissars.

          (They are actually called Commissioners.)

            1. Or quality standards. Or health and safety regulations. Or human rights legislation. It’s so much better in the US with no maternity leave (let alone health care for all), hardly any annual leave, and the government controlled by climate change deniers and anti-abortion zealots. Oh, and a corrupt political system that’s so trusted half the people prefer Donald Trump (though his popularity is waning thank goodness).

              And I’m not sure what all thus “unelected” stuff is people have been saying. The European Parliament is elected by universal adult suffrage. Nigel Farage unsuccessfully campaigned to be a representative.

              1. + lots.

                and more to the point the idea of national sovereignty is an illusion unless you want to be North Korea and totally isolate yourself. If you want to interact and trade with the world you will be subject to a vast range of international constraints. The US can get away with quite a bit by bully-boy tactics but is still constrained.

              2. I think Farage was successful in his campaign to become an MEP. He used the opportunity to hob-nob with various right-wing nut-jobs, until he relied that he was neglecting the lunatic fringes in UKIP and had to come back to regain control from … some humanoid whose name I’ve forgotten.

    2. Despite being called out for lying again and again, the anti-EU lobby’s disregard for facts continues unabated.

      Official EU voting records show that the British government has voted ‘No’ to laws passed at EU level on 56 occasions, abstained 70 times, and voted ‘Yes’ 2,466 times since 1999.

      In other words, UK ministers were on the “winning side” 95% of the time, abstained 3% of the time, and were on the losing side 2%.

      How does that square with “Brussels is a massive UNELECTED bureaucracy, which meddles in every detail of …”

      You guys have just got to stop doing it.

      1. The statistics I have seen on UK appeals over EU regulation are entirely different from these.

        The story they tell is opposite to your claim.

        So this is part of the problem. The EU system of governance is too opaque. Hardly anybody understands how it work.

        1. Hardly anybody understands how it works.

          Because the political structure is designed to ratchet every decision along the ‘ever closer union’ lines and if a referendum or national vote veers from this course it is ignored or worked around. The EU doesn’t always follow its own treaties. Arguably this is a contradiction between Roman Law and Common Law.

        2. Let APPLES equal “the British government has voted ‘No’ to laws passed at EU level” and ORANGES equal “The statistics I have seen on UK appeals over EU regulation are entirely different from these.”
          Remind me again how to compare APPLES and ORANGES ?
          Actually, both APPLES and ORANGES may well be sensibly correct, and for a reason congruent with both statements.
          If 95% of EU regulations are ones that the UK government representatives agreed to (or did not vote against or abstain from voting on), then approximately 95% of EU regulations are ones that an appeal by a British body would be on a matter which British government representatives have previously agreed to enact.
          Unless you consider the UK government representatives (or MEPs, if it’s them) to be always badly briefed idiots, then you would expect the large majority of appeals agains regulations already agreed to by the UK government to fail.
          This is why you spend the time negotiating the regulations and setting the standards BEFORE enacting them, instead of throwing something together and then appealing the bits you don’t like.
          I don’t know about you, but I read contracts before I sign them, and if I don’t like the terms, I continue the negotiations instead of signing and then trying to renegotiate.
          Is this possibly the difference between Roman Law and Common Law that someone referred to above?
          Anyway, I don’t expect to convince you.

    3. As a general rule, I’ve always found it a good idea to regard any ‘fact’ that is delivered with the opening word “apparently” as something that someone, somewhere made up on the spot, and therefore worthless.

      How do you like your bananas, straight or curved?

    1. …or anyone else. It is an uncertain world – there are no right or wrong decisions, & no black or white answers. Some of us are less well informed than others. Some argue that referendums (I anglicise the plural) are undemocratic & populist. I thought about it a lot before I placed a cross – I suggested that as well as an ‘in’ or ‘out’ there should be a ‘shake it all about’ for those of us who were uncertain!

  12. It’s a godawful mess, but it’s been years in the making. At least thirty years of cutting training and apprenticeship schemes for the young, because business didn’t want the higher taxes, and could import trained labour from elsewhere in the EU; result is an under class who blame foreigners for taking all the jobs.
    Years of blaming the EU as the bogeyman for any and all frustrations and inconveniences, from banning bendy cucumbers to making children sing ‘Baa Baa Green Sheep’ to making us wear those freedom-restricting seatbelts when out driving.
    Six years of a government which has seen massive wealth redistribution away from the lower income groups to the upper; huge cuts in the budgets for public services, but with a populist yellow press endlessly running scare stories about ‘benefit cheats’ and ‘health tourists’ who are stealing from the noble, upright honest British.
    And a campaign of outright lies from the Leave camp.
    If England does leave (i say that deliberately; Scotland will secede, and i don’t blame then one bit. We don’t deserve you.) the economy will tank so badly it will take generations until we’re prosperous enough to re-apply. But the EU will make us jump through hoops to get back in; adopting the Euro and driving on the right at the very least… 🙂

    There is a hope that parliament will see sense and not ratify the vote,but i’m scared. The right-wing press are already running stories that ‘the will of the people’ is going to be subverted by the ‘political and financial elite’.

    I know i’ve lost the argument by invoking Hitler, but there are strong parallels with the ‘betrayed by the bankers’ myth of post-WW1 Germany.

    I think our politicians have maybe spent too long playing their games of Westminster Chess amongst themselves for too long, and i hope they wake up quickly and realise there are real-world ramifications of their in-fighting.

    1. I like your comment.

      I’m very much pro proportional representation. If we had it then UKIP would have had a stronger presence.

      Now… I don’t like them. They aren’t all racists but a whole lot of their members & pols are. If this was out in the open then we would have avoided the whole referendum (which was a sop to the Tory right to stop them jumping ship to start with).


    2. Adopting the Euro and driving on the right at the very least

      I don’t have a problem with those. After all, the last time a country changed from driving on the left to driving on the right, it didn’t turn out too badly. And swapping currencies – or not is just one of those things everyone has to deal with.

      1. Hey, here’s a funny idea; if the Brexiters are all so keen on this Free Trade business, they should insist that all currencies should become legal tender in Free England, because, y’know, freedom and all that.
        My guess is it’d be a mixed Dollar/Euro economy within five years.

        1. [Mffpg] [Mmmprg]
          Sorry – sticking a dollar-printing press together from dead mice and Limburgh-brains. Have they added a second colour yet?

  13. The Leave campaign admitting a) they have no plan, b) the promises they made were lies…

    I must have missed that announcement. Or maybe it was not meant to be taken seriously?

    Sorry, but I couldn’t let that pass unchallenged. If those 2 statements can be substantiated then I’ll withdraw my remark.

    And for the record, I’m in the remain camp.

      1. I can’t tell whether that addresses any part of my point or not; there’s insufficient information. The 350 million was discussed at length before the vote and I’m not aware of anybody pledging they would spend that money on the NHS and it certainly was not announced as policy by the leave campaign (not that they are a cohesive group). Likewise, I think it’s fair to say it was common knowledge that a lot of the 350 million found its way back to the UK in some form.

        I was looking for evidence of “the Leave campaign admitting they have no plan” and/or “the promises they made were lies”. Somebody distancing themselves from a statement the interviewer claims was made by somebody else is not the same thing.

        Perhaps I’m being pedantic; the more important subject is what happened last week and what happens next for Britain, the EU, and the world economy. None of that is helped by (as far as I can tell) inaccurate statements (as I pointed out, above), possibly made in anger, or the wave of angry accusations on social media and in the comments sections of this post that people who voted “leave” must be racist, thick, or some combination of various insults. I have friends who voted leave and I don’t hurl insults at them just because they wanted something different than me. They’re intelligent people, they have their own reasons for how they voted and I don’t believe for a moment that racism played any part in their decision.

        1. It addresses the part where you queried “the promises they made were lies”. Statements were made by proponents of the Leave campaign which they are now admitting were false. Unless they deluded themselves beforehand, they must have known that what they were saying was false, which in my mind constitutes a lie.

          1. …which they are now admitting were false.

            That’s the part I’m disputing. I don’t dispute that politicians of all persuasions lie, or at least leave out information that doesn’t fit with their message. We all know that’s a given. But where are they admitting that they lied?

        2. Absolutely no plan going forwards.

          Apparantly Oliver Letwin has been prodded for it. The EU aren’t going to negotiate before an Article 50 declaration so good luck to him with that one!

          1. Absolutely no plan going forwards.

            Agreed. Boris and Gove looked like deer caught in the headlights after they found out they “won”.

  14. It wasn’t just the elderly and the racists who voted Leave. For many people, this was one poll in a lifetime where each vote really counted. A lot of them took the opportunity to stick two fingers up at the whole of the Establishment: politicians, bankers, the metropolitan elite, you name it. As a result, we are in serious sh*t, for the time being, anyway. But the sun is still shining, and England are playing Iceland in the Euros tonight. We’ll survive.

    Meanwhile, an excellent article by Nick Cohen:

    1. Perhaps, but they chose to follow yet another Etonian, and a former commodities broker. That’s the same faulty logic employed by the anti-establishment Trump supporters in the US. They ARE the establishment, not the antithesis of it.

      1. People in depressed areas of the UK who are attracted by UKIP are not voting for “a former commodity broker”. If Farage is perceived at all, it is as a plucky outsider who has spent years tweaking Brussels’ nose. And Boris has spent his entire adult life working out what people want to hear, and telling them, whether or not what he’s saying has any basis in fact. Most people hear the message and see Boris’s cheeky-chappie persona rather his old Etonian background.

        Another Grauniad article that casts some light on why people are desperate enough to vote Leave in such numbers:

        Just to be clear, I voted Remain.

        1. …and I should remind myself never to look forward to an English soccer match, since we’ve now just LOST to Iceland!

          Well, I’m really a rugby fan anyway.

          1. Normally losing the footie would really annoy me but I’m not feeling terribly patriotic right now!

  15. The Stay side only have themselves to blame. Instead of giving us proper explanations of why we should remain they merely gave us sound bites and scaremongering. I never heard any explanation why leaving would be bad for British industry, and I am certainly not willing to take Cameron’s word for it, or even an Economist’s – they couldn’t even see the credit crunch coming, so I doubt if they can accurately predict the future for the economy now.

    1. I wouldn’t trust a seismologist’s word on how earthquakes work, they can’t even predict earthquakes.

      I wouldn’t trust a meteorologist to explain the weather, they can’t even predict tornadoes.

      I don’t believe economists “predict the future”. That might be psychics that you’re thinking of.

      1. So we are agreed then, economists serve no useful purpose. If they cannot tell us what the effects of a financial action will be then they are not worth consulting, are they?

    2. It doesn’t take a genius to understand that the “price” the UK pays for access to the free market (open borders and EU dues) are both positive for the UK economy. Importing labour helps keep prices down and the UK competitive as population growth has not been high enough. EU dues, less than £200 per person per year, are returned in the form of investment and subsidies. Where else did you think it goes? Did you think it was spent on cocaine and hookers in Brussels?

      Closing the borders and not paying EU dues is bad for the UK economy. Doesn’t take a genius to understand that either.

      1. If Brexit is bad not only for the UK but also for the rest of the EU because of these trade barriers then why not simply scrap them?

    3. It will be bad for the immediate future, like any major abrupt change. Then, it can be bad or good or all the same – as you said, it is impossible to say now. To me, the doom-and-gloom predictions remind too much of the similar predictions in my Eastern block country in 1990-91 – namely, that we would deeply regret dismantling socialism.

  16. More news about Boris Johnson.

    Additionally, Boris Johnson has no hurry to leave the EU. He thinks, that GB can keep his privileges in the European SIngle Market without being a mamber state anymore.

    Who wants to count the contradictions?

  17. NPR interviewed a man who said one reason he voted Leave was because when he goes to his local park, he doesn’t hear any other English speakers. But, of course it has nothing to do with racism…

    1. What a great reason to learn another language. To have so many people in the park to practise with.

      1. Yes, sounds a great place to live. I have to talk to my wife to practice my Russian and French, I only have the phone for practising my German, and have to talk to Miguel the barman to practice my Spanish. I really need a park where I can practice my Swahili.

  18. I don’t know much about politics, but it seems to me that those who called for the referendum are the ones responsible for having plans to implement either outcome.

    If they didn’t plan for both outcomes, they do not deserve to be leaders.

  19. What a great indictment on British society that it has failed to elevate a large proportion of its population above the level coal-mining, steel-working racists.

    That the British Isles are infested with slack jawed, mouth-breathing bigots is now impossible to ignore.

      1. And hookers. Don’t forget the hookers.
        But no whiskey (apart from poteen and Tullymore). Or “Fuselfrei Akkavit” (it’s Norwegian).

    1. What a clever satire.

      Oh wait, you were spewing unabashed bigotry in total seriousness to show how superior you are to other alleged bigots.

        1. I’m sorry but P. Puk is expressing naked bigotry against Britain and Britons and I’m the one receiving a warning?

          1. I haven’t seen his/her comment. I’ll go look, and if it’s a Roolz violation I’ll issue that person a warning as well. All of us should refrain from name-calling, even if it’s in response to an uncivil comment. I don’t always see every comment immediately.

      1. I’d just like to point out that Scotland has managed to improve its society to the point that it was able to vote sensibly in both the IndyRef and the EUref.

        It is abundantly clear that there has been a massive societal failure south of the border.

  20. In the mean time on this side of the pond the self proclaimed spokesperson of a left wing “racist” group is all over the media bragging about having violently disrupted the protest of a white nationalist group in Sacramento with a permit. She went on to accuse cops of racism because they were defending the constitutional rights of the white nationalist protesters.

  21. Am I correctly understanding that there was apparently a pool of low-information voters who thought a winning vote for “Leave” simply meant that foreigners would have to “Leave”?

    1. Pretty much.

      Our popular print media is massively right-leaning. They’ve been bashing Europe and immigrants for decades. Leave has been pushed hard (with a lot of additional bad stats and blatant racism).

      Since the result they have now been telling the same readers that Leave could make life tough for the same readers that they extolled Leave to.

      Additionally the politicians fronting the Leave campaign have been frantically rolling back their promises (includng immigration, funding health service, etc).

      It would be glorious if it wasn’t so depressing.

  22. Here’s Lord Ashcroft’s exit poll from the EU referendum.

    To place a few facts before you:

    ‘Nearly half (49%) of leave voters said the biggest single reason for wanting to leave the EU was “the principle that decisions about the UK should be taken in the UK”. One third (33%) said the main reason was that leaving “offered the best chance for the UK to regain control over immigration and its own borders.” Just over one in eight (13%) said remaining would mean having no choice “about how the EU expanded its membership or its powers in the years ahead.”’ Labour and Tory Leavers shared exactly the same reasons for voting Leave and in the same order.

    Here’s the link:

    Worth skimming to provide evidence that the UK hasn’t turned into Nazi Germany. Yes we’ve had some well-publicized examples of racist attacks but I do not know that these are spikes, black swans or merely part of the background pattern.

    1. So, when people were asked whether they made a decision for good or bad reasons they reported that they had made it for good ones? Must be true, then.

      1. Hey, I voted ‘Remain’: I just don’t believe that Britain has suddenly turned into a land in which 52% of the population is racist. Because it ain’t true.

        Yes some people may cover their real reasons for their vote but in this febrile atmosphere, in which I see that entire sub-sections of the working class have been labelled bigots, I think a few attempts at finding out why people voted the way they did is entirely in order.

        And yes, there were entirely rational and rigorous reasons for voting Leave.

        1. The way to put it is that 52% aren’t racist, but the racists think that 52% are.

          We’re going to have problems for years after this.

        2. I agree with much of that, including there being good reasons to vote Leave. I’m just sceptical that anybody who voted Leave out of xenophobia would necessarily admit to it when there was a more palatable reason on offer. Was “because I don’t like brown people” even one of the options?

      1. Yes, P. Puk. there has been an increase in reports, but I would want to see if they are true.

        This report quotes approvingly the TellMama organization, which Nick Cohen, in my opinion, mistakenly lionises. Reports of racism on say, Polish people, in recent years are unheard of, but that does not mean that they have not been happening. Maybe, in the hypothetical example of Poles, they are more willing to report them in the special atmosphere over the last few days.

        The report says, ‘This (an increase in hate crime – DC)is similar to the trends following other major national or international events.’

        It is disappointing in this sentence to see the National Police Chiefs’ Council referring obliquely and giving credence to TellMama, an organization advised by Nathan Lean, which inflates the figures for anti-Muslim attacks and presents statistics in such a consciously distorted way that their funding was withdrawn by the government. To give them their due they did employ some academics to conduct an independent statistical analysis but their definitions of attacks were inaccurate and again misleading, and their conclusions exaggerated and misrepresented to an unrecognisable degree their stats.

        What we do know is that the idea of a rise in anti-Muslim attacks after a major Islamist atrocity is largely a myth: this post-Brexit reaction may be a different form of bigotry and therefore may be greater. I’d be a bit more sanguine in my language when describing huge sections of a population.

  23. Looks like they’d lose Scotland if they leave. If they’re going to change their mind they should do it before Scotland has another Eexit vote.

  24. What would Harry Potter do (WWHD)? For one, he would never own a mobile phone, which, I think is poisoning everyone. They think life is like texting or emailing or Tw**ting or F**eBooking. And yes, we all make a few online engagements we regret saying, but it’s rare to see a nation treat voting like its a teenage sleepover without parents and expect the next day to be without repercussions.

    1. Splendid metaphor.
      You touch on the dreadful mistake of Cameron gaining power by promising a referendum. Not having the Ukip front to say: Vote for us and we will get you out of what you hate. But only having the pusillanimous balls to offer a referendum. On Cameron’s head lies the full responsibility for all the horrors that await us.

  25. Many of the comments here are just painfully lacking in self-awareness. You don’t like the results of a democratic referendum? Fair enough, but the vindictive, classist, and histrionic remarks actually validate “Leave” as a rejection of an increasingly detached class of ‘world citizen’ elites.

    Many of you evince literally no empathy for working-class people threatened by low-wage labour market competition. You morally stigmatise them as ‘racist’ and act as if that absolves you from having better answers for their concerns.

    The fact hundreds of thousands of ethnic minority Britons also supported “Leave” for various reasons is of course scrubbed from the narrative. And of course these Twitter reports are believed uncritically.

    Since many of you at other times join Professor Ceiling cat and others in expressing concern for this Regressive Left tactic vis-à-vis Islam, why emulate that mentality in this instance? Is the EU really that sacrosanct?

      1. I’m responding in the same tone and manner as many other people not receiving a warning. The only difference is that my political position on Brexit differs from the prevailing view. I respectfully suggest you are being unfair and emulating the sort of conduct on the left which you often condemn.

        1. No, you are responding by dissing another commenter. Yes, some people have vilified the Brits in a manner I don’t like, but that’s not a Roolz violation. Calling other commenters stupid or bigoted is. I respectfully suggest that you apologize for lumping me with the regressive leftists and calling me unfair, and that the apology be a real one rather than a notapology. I don’t give a rat’s patootie whether or not you agree with me or the other commenters on Brexit; I do care that you are civil in your remarks.

          1. I am sorry to say, but the way you moderate people I find sometimes a bit aggressive and disrespectful, although I am sure it is not meant that way. A wonderful website irrespective. All the best.

    1. “empathy for working-class people threatened by low-wage labour market competition.”

      After I’ve finished playing a tiny violin for the “ethnic minority Britons” I will ponder why you seem to think they deserve job protection above any other ethnicities in a global marketplace.

      And don’t point fingers at the Poles for doing backbreaking work for minimum wage, blame their very British employers for hiring them. None of the Whinging Poms I know will be picking cabbages for diddly when the Poles are put on a train back home. Who will pick the cabbages then?

      And if we do manage to make cabbage picking pay £15/hour who will be buying those cabbages which now cost twice as much? Not the British. And Certainly not the rest of the world that Britain thinks can’t wait to bail them out of their stupidity.

      1. >”I will ponder why you seem to think they deserve job protection above any other ethnicities in a global marketplace.”

        He did not say they deserve job protection, however being citizens of Britain their plight deserves consideration.

        I trust you have your violin handy to play a serenade for the poor in other parts of the world who are unable to compete in a globalized world.

    2. I don’t blame the working classes; I blame the nativist demagogues who’ve appealed to low-information voters’ basest instincts.

  26. Brexit provides an insurance policy for Hillary. Her biggest vulnerability comes if the economy tanks between now and November. But now, even if it does, she can blame it on Brexit, which her dummkopf opponent, the Trumpster fire, supported.

    Makes her even harder to beat come the general election.

  27. Sorry, completely off-topic comment here—

    Jerry, I noticed that you mentioned in your post you will be in Hong Kong. It may be that your schedule is already full but if you have some time I would love to meet you. You may reach me at In the meantime, safe travels…

    1. Particularly since this post has so many other comments Jerry may miss yours. You may want to send him an email.

      To find his email click on the link “Research Interests” just under “About Jerry Coyne” at the top right side of this page.

  28. The problem with the European Union is that it’s not a union. We have 28 countries competing with each other governed by some soviet-like politburo.

    I’m in favor of making the EU one country, even with only one language, but there is no real right or wrong in these kind of matters.

    Money isn’t everything.

    If a large part op the citizens of the UK don’t want to be part of the EU, should we really force them? Maybe it’s better to be temporarily out of the EU, it’s not the end of the world.

    We can be sure of one thing: nobody knows.

  29. Now that the UK and US are in internal political turmoil, I believe the world will be a lot safer, at least for a few months. If you think I am wrong, please keep score.

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