(You can choose or or both)

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Democracy, the sequel

Désolé, touours pas de traduction :)
OK, here we go, here we go, here we go. Last stretch before the big day!

Fasten your seatbelts, this is somewhere between stream of consciousness, brain-dump and random thoughts. There is not necessarily any connection between one paragraph and the next.

Concentration of power is dangerous, even if you like or trust the current holders of it.

Watch Brexit the movie, at least, or if you're more leftwards inclined, the Lexit movie. Guess which one talks about immigration? (Disclaimer, I stumped up $25 for the Brexit movie).

Unchecked, a bureaucracy will only ever grow, and beyond a certain size, it's main aim will be to maintain its own existence.

I find it astounding, disappointing, yet also profoundly encouraging that the level of discussion has been far more civil, reasoned, informative on private blogs than in the 'mainstream' media.

Here is an example of polite, gentle, faith-inspired (and conflicted) personal thoughts: My Brexit Frustrations.

On the topic of mainstream media, it has been pointed out that newspapers don't influence their readers, they publish what they think their readers want to hear. Here is a marvellous bit of Yes Minister on this topic.

Many of the 'experts' who are for remain also advised us to join the Euro back in the day (see Lexit video for that).

Broken promises: Forty years ago, those who warned that the Common Market was going to morph into something far more invasive were called prophets of doom.

On the subject of the Euro, the Eurozone, and what I said in my last post, the technical term to describe my train analogy is apparently 'optimal currency area'.

One argument I have read for Remain which seems incredibly weak to me is "getting out to save ourselves is selfish". Staying on a sinking boat is not selfless, it's stupid.

Which way do you think the Queen would vote, and why? (If you care)

Nearly all Remain arguments are anti-leave, but not pro-EU. This is disconcerting, and disappointing, as one of the big criticisms of Leave is that "nobody knows what will happen afterwards", and this is contrasted to a presumed stability if we vote to Remain. But the EU is not static either, and I don't think anyone can predict what is going to happen in the next 10 years if we stay in. Except that things aren't looking great.

On the subject of "what happens next", here is a Daniel Hannan article about a 'gentle' leave.

And here is Tim Worstall (not everyone's cup of tea): The economic truth about Brexit is really very simple. If we follow sensible economic policies after leaving then we’ll do well. If we follow stupid economic policies then we won’t. The major difference will be that we get to decide, after leaving, which economic policies we wish to pursue. And unless we think that we’re all so damn stupid that we need the European Union to tell us which is which, making our own decisions does sound rather better, doesn’t it?

It seems weird that TTIP and ISDS (a supra-national tribunal) are considered 'bad', but that the ECHR ECJ (a supra-national court) is considered 'good'.

Farage's immigrant poster seems very much like an own-goal to me. The other half piling on behind Jo Cox's murder is pretty low too.

I find it ironic that some of the people who have doubts about whether one can trust voters to do the right thing seem to simultaneously be basing their own decisions on what they don't like about particular faces in the campaign. If that's their version of democracy, I can understand their doubts... To me, the fact that many individuals are agonising over their vote, when statistically-speaking it will "make no difference" is a confirmation that democracy is not dead, nor useless, and it confirms my hope in my fellow democrats.

Reform in our time? I have read several people plaintively hoping that somehow staying in will provoke some kind of reform. 10'000 over-paid functionaries in Brussels says no, as far as I'm concerned. Systems never change unless forced to. And saying 'yes' is not force.

I feel that the Remain camp could also be branded as 'Little Englanders': they have managed to convince themselves that the UK is too puny to survive on its own (fifth largest economy in the world), and that we really need the EU. There is a sort of acquired helplessness which is also reflected in the general population. More than ever, western countries need an entrepreneurial "get up and go" attitude. Some people are warning that the "robots are going to take our jobs". If you are a factory worker, that is not new news. But for the middle class office drone, the next few years are going to be similarly uncomfortable. The days of big companies employing halls of office workers to do the same thing are going. Maybe big employers are just a historical 'blip', and we are heading into a time where people are going to have to be creative and not only create their own jobs, but invent whole new professions? Unfortunately "the government owes me a job" is so ingrained in our collective consciousness (mine included), I fear there's going to be a lot of pain ahead.

People ignoring, downplaying, ridiculing fears about immigration (whether job loss or 'cultural invasion') are playing with fire as much as people playing up those fears. You may consider this inflammatory, but the Cologne attacks were not a right-wing hoax, Rotherham did happen, Calderdale too. Explaining them away helps nobody.

Finally, for a bit of 'balance', here is a link to a video by a professor of EU law, who is totally Remain, because 'unpicking' forty years of lawmaking will just be too complicated. Very instructive, but made me think that this is a reason why democracy is better than technocracy: experts see everything through the lens of their own area of expertise. He maintains that regulations and standards are not about protectionism, I don't buy that: though I concede that they're not solely about protectionism. Another lawyer pulling the opposite way.

Yes Minister is really good:

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