Multiple Crises in Democracy 398

There is a strong strand of belief among the political class that Boris Johnson has no intention of taking the UK out of the EU. His aim was to see off Cameron and install himself in No. 10, after which he will discover that leaving the EU is proving far too dangerous and call for a second referendum. I suspect that this credits Johnson with a Machiavellian genius he is far from possessing, though as a prediction of future events it is in with a chance. (Personally I am hoping for Theresa May, the reaction to whose elevation will speed up Scottish Independence).

The United Kingdom’s democracy is far from perfect. The massive anachronism of the House of Lords, the vast executive powers based on Crown prerogative, the blatant unfairness of the first past the post system, the lack of a pluralist media… I could go on and on. Referenda are a rare bolt-on to what is already a mess.

The demonstrable public contempt of the public for the political class has been mirrored these last few days by the demonstrable contempt of the political class for the public. This has been obvious in the response to the Brexit vote, and in the Labour parliamentary party’s move against Corbyn. Both are evidence that the political class feel that they should not be directed by a wider public. Alastair Campbell in discussing Brexit effectively dismissed the public as stupid and gullible.

I am not just pro-EU, I am an euro-federalist. But we have a referendum result, and it is not being respected. Article 50 of the Lisbon treaty should, in respect to the verdict of the people, be invoked in weeks not months. For the Conservative Party to view its leadership election as taking priority disrespects both the British people and the rest of the EU, who are kept in uncertainty.

The voters should be obeyed with facility. When there is a general election, the incumbent PM moves out in the early hours of the morning. There is no sign of haste to obey the public here. It is not a good attitude.

However, opinion can change. The truth is that by the time leaving the EU becomes effective in a bit over two years, over 1 million of the electorate will have died and over 800,000 new people will have come on to the electoral roll. If the margin of victory had been 5 or 6 million that would not have been relevant. But as it is the churnaround will be greater than the majority. That is not perhaps in itself sufficient argunent for a second referendum, but if the opinion polls show firm evidence of a switch in public opinion during the next 24 months, it could become important.

The question of when a second referendum on a subject might be held is a fraught one. But however the idea of further public ballots might be described, it is not undemocratic. Which leads me on to Indyref2 in Scotland. The idea is being mooted that Nicola Sturgeon may be able to secure some deal for Scotland with the EU, whereby Scotland is still part of the UK outside the EU but retains its EU privileges.

I have been puzzling over this one. I have a strong background in the subject, having been for four years First Secretary (Political and Economic) in the British Embassy in Warsaw with the specific responsibility for Poland’s EU accession. I cannot for the life of me think of any really substantive such arrangements that could work without Scottish Independence. If Scotland remains in the Union and the UK leaves the EU, there is nothing Scotland can gain by way of special relationship which is other than window dressing.

Besides which, even if a unique bargain could be struck and some special status obtained, it is indisputable that this would still constitute a “material change”. In respect for the mandate on which the SNP were very specifically elected, if the UK leaves the EU, that must still trigger a referendum on full independence.

Indyref2 must now be a given.

The Labour crisis is a result of that party’s lack of internal democracy. In the SNP, every MP and MSP must seek reselection as the candidate for every election. Sitting MSPs and MPS can be and are regularly deposed by party members without fuss.

In the Labour Party, the system has been designed to put in MPs for life. Members have no right to challenge them. An extraordinary number of the right wing MPs were parachuted in from HQ and have no connection whatsoever to the northern constituencies they represent. It is fascinating that two thirds of the Shadow Cabinet members who resigned yesterday ostensibly over Corbyn’s insufficient EU enthusiasm, represent constituencies which voted for Brexit. This might call into some doubt their own campaigning effectiveness.

Everybody knows that the Labour parliamentary party is well to the right of both the membership and the trade unions, and has been itching to get rid of Corbyn from day one. For those who have constantly stabbed him in the back for a year to criticise his effectiveness in fighting their opponents is ridiculous.

For England and Wales, Corbyn represents the only challenge to the neo-liberal values of the political class, which has succeeded in capturing an important institution. Corbyn represents a chance that democracy may have meaning, in the sense of actually presenting alternative views and policies to the electorate. The establishment is now in the end game of removing this “threat” to ensure that the next general election again just gives the English and Welsh a choice of which colour of Tory you want.

Those who see the Labour Party as just a career path (90% of its MPs and employees) really don’t care what it stands for as long as it gets into power. Power means money. Ask Tony Blair.

I do hope Corbyn hangs on. Even if he does lose the general election (by no means a given) he can provide an invaluable service by reawakening the notion that democracy should present the voters with a real choice, not just a change of troughing promoting the same ideology.

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398 thoughts on “Multiple Crises in Democracy

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  • Mick McNulty

    I think if they try an anti-democratic second referendum then at the polling stations massive unrest will break out. We could tell during the count how high feelings were running but at least by then we’d all gone home, whereas at a second election hotheads from both sides will start trouble. Those without the right to ask demanding to see ID’s; one side demanding we use pen, the other pencil; demands of those who have voted have their hands stamped; accusations and observations of rigging and so on. It will not pass off peacefully. The best they could hope for is it burns itself out after a few days but with insufficient police to contain it it could be the start of something big.

    • Clark

      A re-run doesn’t seem to be anti-democratic since the referendum rules said

      “that if the remain or leave vote is less than 60% based on a turnout less than 75% there should be another referendum”

      • fred

        No, the rules didn’t say that. That was what a petition called for the rules to say not what the rules actually said.

        • Republicofscotland


          David Cameron has ruled out the possibility of a second EU referendum.

          “The Prime Minister’s spokesperson said that holding another vote was “not remotely on the cards”. The clarification comes amid a petition calling for a re-run in the event of a close result and following speculation that the government may go to the country again once the terms of Britain’s new relationship have been agreed.”

          • fred

            Cameron is looking more and more like an honest politician.

            We could use one of those in Scotland.

          • Republicofscotland

            It’s easy to be wise after the fact.

            Anyway Fred as I said earlier on, in this thread to you, let us put our differences behind us, let us unite and vote yes in indy ref 2. Lets us remain in the EU and show them that we’re a welcoming, trading forward thinking nation.

            If you really do live in Scotland Fred, as you often profess, then put Scotland’s future within the EU to the fore, many no voters appear to have said that they’ll vote yes now, hopefully you’ll be one of them Fred.

            A independent Scotland will have independent political parties, many will vote for the party with the best policies, the SNP won’t have it all their own way.

          • Mick McNulty

            Wouldn’t it be a delicious irony if Cameron says there will be no second referendum because he has no plan to honor this one or maybe that one too, but the undemocratic EU from which we voted to leave insists he withdraws…albeit because they’re pouting and are taking the ball home.

        • lysias

          It would have been very reasonable if the referendum rules had said that, but they didn’t. And it would be unfair to change the rules after the fact.

          • Republicofscotland

            Good question I’ve no idea, I’m reasonably sure some would have been of a fraudulent nature.

        • Habbabkuk (encouraging interesting and diverse views)

          That still leaves a rather large number of genuine signatories doesn’t it? Almost three million, it seems.

          Many, many times the number of signatories of the petition calling for the arrest of PM Netanyahu to which certain commenters ascribed such importance.

          • Republicofscotland

            Yes, but there’s a vast difference between remaining in the EU, something we might be able to achieve well Scotland anyway. And seeing Netanyahu arrested and prosecuted for persecution of the Palestinian people, something that’s very unlikely to happen, not because he’s innocent, but because there’s no political will to do so.

            That’s why there’s such a disparity in the numbers, wouldn’t you agree?

        • fwl

          The 1979 Devolution Acts required 40% of the electorate, which was widely criticised at the time as being too high a bar being based on the electorate rather than the turn out.

    • Habbabkuk (encouraging interesting and diverse views)

      Would you endorse such “massive unrest”, Mick?

      And could you spell out what you mean by ” it will not pass off peacefully” and “it could be the start of something big”?

      Are you thinking of violent revolution?

      • Loony

        Strange to see this kind of remark being of instant attraction to the anarchists among us!

        Just be patient – your wish may be fulfilled.

        • Habbabkuk (encouraging interesting and diverse views)

          Thanks for responding on behalf of Mick, Loony. Are you two members of the same extreme left wing cell?

      • Mick McNulty

        Yes I would, but I don’t see the need of the brutality of Menachem Begin’s Irgun Zwai Leumi or Abraham Stern and his Stern Gang. I doubt we’d have to murder British soldiers who would generally be on our side, nor bomb Palestinian politicians whose side we’re on anyway. We couldn’t invent aircraft hijacking and letter bombs…Israel’s already done that…but then, we’re not trying to steal somebody else’s land. We ‘re just after the self-determination we all voted for. If we don’t get it we must take it to the next stage.

  • RobG

    If I see another bloody resignation letter I shall scweam and scweam and scweam.

    Cameron is due to address the House of Commons in less than an hour’s time, which should be interesting.

    • Mick McNulty

      Hopefully Cameron will take Osborne with him. Two bird-brains with one stoned.

  • RobG

    The ersatz outrage being pumped out by the presstitutes is hilarious (RE: Corbyn should have done more to prevent a Brexit).

    • Shatnersrug

      They don’t seem to understand that the majority of public wanted Brexit, so blaming Corbyn for it will only make him more popular! Idiots.

    • bevin

      Truth is that it is the media who might have “done more”, by treating the electorate as grown-ups instead of attempting to stampede them with fear and demagogery. Every morning The Guardian had six or seven editorials or columns making points that were easily refuted. These included the old favourite “the Common Market stopped wars” amongst others. They were not rational arguments so much as cues for emoting.
      I suspect that it is not cocaine but good old smelling salts that fuels the opinion shapers at The Guardian- the last outpost of real Victorianism.

    • Republicofscotland


      As I said on another thread, it wouldn’t have mattered what side Corbyn had campaigned for, the EU referendum was an ideal opportunity to try and remove Corbyn. They want him out, his left leaning thinking isn’t in line with the careerist Blairites that subvert the parties original founding policies.

      The media are against him as well, most asking the first question of when will you resign. I hope Corbyn can weather the storm, of discontent, maybe that’s what the Labour party really needs a good clear out, and a fresh start with Corbyn at the helm.

      • RobG

        Good points, Republicofscotland.

        Whilst I might be labelled as a ‘Corbynista’, I wouldn’t describe myself as such.

        It’s just that Corbyn is about all we’ve got south of the border at the moment.

      • Mick McNulty

        If Jeremy Corbyn for all his efforts is forced out of the Labour leadership he should consider forming a new left-of-centre party (not everybody who wanted out is UKIP . Far from it). Then take his base with him.

        He knows now he’d have a solid platform to leave the EU, which some say he might prefer anyway. Then we’ll see what support he really has, and how much the right wing vote will be split between the corrupt establishment parties. Let’s see how the vote-share goes round between them after promising to kick the disabled first (Tory). hardest (UKIP) and longest (Labour).

  • James

    Following last week’s success, I’ve got the referendum bug!

    I think there should be a Scottish Eudependence referendum….only this time the English, Welsh and Northern Irish get to vote. Not the Scots.

  • Ben Monad

    How does the behavior of the electorate reflect the fascination with Trump?

    Is it more like a lynch mob than a constituency?

  • Alan

    “I am not just pro-EU, I am an euro-federalist.”

    In other words an imperialist.

  • DrNobby

    Not above a little back stabbing here, Craig.

    Forget a second referendum, both for the Scots and the British. You’re “people” are smarter than you imagine and won’t vote to be, effectively, a Celtic Albania. Except poorer.
    Get a grip sonny, reality always trumps ideology.

  • Republicofscotland

    Well according to news reports the new Tory PM will be in place by September, with opening rounds for candidates to begin this Wednesday. Front runners include Boris Johnson and Theresa May.

    I take it article 50 cannot be implimented until a new PM is appointed? No doubt EU big wigs will see the delayed period as a snub, putting the Tory party before EU negotiations, it’s not wise to poke a sleeping lion with a stick, but when have the Tories ever been wise.

    • Loony

      Republic – I see RBS share price is now down 16% on the day. Whatever happens it needs vast amounts of taxpayer money. How will that all work out if England and Scotland are separate countries with separate currencies and separate Central Banks.

      Your politicians need to answer a lot of questions before y’ll get too carried away with independence.

      • Alan

        As the Scots want Independence from the UK, let them borrow money from the IMF to stop it crashing.

      • Republicofscotland


        RBS is a taxpayer owned bank if I’m not mistaken? The taxpayer has already lost millions of pounds by bailing out RBS. Add to that, George Osborne made noises about selling of the more lucrative sections of the bank to the private sector.

        However to be clear although RBS ‘s headquarters is in Edinburgh, most of its business is done outside Scotland.

        As for your second question Scotland would still use the pound on independence, until it needed to adopt the Euro. A lender of last resort would need to found, as every nation on earth borrows.

        • Loony

          Republic – Oh dear. Most of the business of RBS is outside of the UK – but its HQ is in the UK, so the UK is (sadly) responsible. You can safely ignore Osborne – the whole entity is a basket case.

          Things have changed. If the UK withdraws from the EU, and Scotland gains independence and joins the EU then its currency will be the euro and its central bank will be the ECB.

          The ECB is inflicting policies on the periphery of Europe (and Scotland is on the periphery) that makes Thatcher seem like a caring socialist. Is this what Scotland wants?

          • Republicofscotland

            “Republic – Oh dear. Most of the business of RBS is outside of the UK – but its HQ is in the UK, so the UK is (sadly) responsible.”


            Looney re your above point, I recall, I may be wrong, that actions taken by RBS outside Scotland ie Europe etc, are the responsibility of those particular sectors. Your above question arose during the Scottish referendum, I’m sure someone can clear the matter up.

          • David Wilson

            Loony, some of your facts are dubious

            Most funding for the UK bank bailouts came from the Fed Reserve:


            ‘British banks account for $640 bn of Federal Reserve bailout money’

            Banks were bailed out globally, not on location.

            Secondly, there is no EU mechanism to force an existing EU member or indeed a new one to adopt the euro as their currency. if you want to use the euro, you must join the ERM, which is voluntary. While the EU does state that all countries must adopt the Euro, in reality, if you don’t join the ERM, you can’t use the Euro. It’s how Sweden has avoided it for so many years.

            You can read about it here :


          • Loony

            David – The corruption and the desire to hide the truth with regard to the financial system is all consuming.

            The article you linked to refers to US Fed liquidity provision – this is different from bail out money or recapitalization of banks. Although I agree there would be an effective overlap. Central Banks are addressing a liquidity crisis when the real problem is a solvency crisis. This leads to a plethora of bail out programs and consequent confusion.

            With regard to the EU it is my understanding that any new EU members (which Scotland would be) are required to adopt the Euro. Like the UK Sweden and other non euro using EU states were grandfathered through. and so avoided this obligation.

          • Republicofscotland

            “Like the UK Sweden and other non euro using EU states were grandfathered”



            The only nation to remain in in ERMII is Denmark, Sweden will have to adopt the Euro. Sweden voted to remain outside the ERM mechanism but EU members are required to join the ERM, which leads to the eventual adoption of the Euro through the rules of the Maastricht Treaty criteria.


        • Alan

          I once earned 700 quid just by taking a computer part to RBS Edinburgh. I didn’t even have to install it. I can see why they haemorrhage money.

    • MJ

      “I take it article 50 cannot be implimented until a new PM is appointed?”

      I’ve been wondering about that. Perhaps an MP, or a Privy Councillor or a Leader of the Opposition can do it. Jeremy Corbyn is all three and I believe he has offered to do it.

      • Alan

        “I take it article 50 cannot be implimented until a new PM is appointed?”

        They are discussing that in The House right now, as can be seen on BBC parliament.

  • Alan

    My daughter is waiting for that housing crash, promised by Project Fear, to start, so she can buy a house.

  • Don Denier

    This is really extremely semantic denial. We all really know what allows a maxwell or green to run riot over pension funds in broad daylight for years. Or a krapf to transfer a whole towns jobs to Poland. Or a janner to bugger boys inside Parliament. Or a savile to have his pick of corpses. All with complete impunity over the monkeys.

    • michael norton

      Or Ford to move Transit after 60 years from Southampton to Turkey
      for dirt cheap labour/conditions.

  • James Chater

    Craig, I agree that Corbyn’s removal is the last thing we need. However, the question of the referendum is not as clear-cut as you imagine. It was advisory, not binding; and the result is too close to call to serve as the basis of a momentous decision. Did not Nigel Farage say that if the Remain campaign won by 52% against Leave’s 48%, there should be another referendum? By his own logic, therefore, another referendum could be justified with the results the other way round. I think what should happen is that MPs should vote against pulling out (this could well happen) and another referendum be held in a few years.

  • James Chater

    Craig, I agree that Corbyn’s removal is the last thing we need. However, the question of the referendum is not as clear-cut as you imagine. It was advisory, not binding; and the result is too close to serve as the basis of a momentous decision. Did not Nigel Farage say that if the Remain campaign won by 52% against Leave’s 48%, there should be another referendum? By his own logic, therefore, another referendum could be justified with the results the other way round. I think what should happen is that MPs should vote against pulling out (this could well happen) and another referendum be held in a few years.

    • Loony

      The question of the referendum is clear cut. There was a vote to leave the EU and Parliament is obligated to take steps to comply with the instruction it has received from the British people.

      The “advisory nature of the referendum” is not likely to prove a compelling argument. Those that think it is, and who intend to rely on it have an obligation to put their theory to the test of law, and preferably as quickly as possible. The opinion of Nigel Farage is irrelevant.

      Should MP’s refuse to authorize withdraw from the EU then they would likely be engaged in treasonous activity.

      We are in danger of entering very dangerous waters, and it would be helpful if everyone agreed to abide by the rule of law. To do otherwise begets anarchy.

  • SmilingThrough

    Two things from today’s papers on the attempted Corbyn coup struck me.

    One, David Miliband has just flown in from NYC.

    Two, the touted Corbyn stalking horse is John Spellar, neighbouring MIdlands MP to Tom Watson and former aide to very pro-US union leader Frank Chapple of the EEPTU many moons ago.

    Spellar has been mixed up in US operations in the Labour movement pretty much since he left Oxford.

    Washington clearly doesn’t like the Brexit decision and would welcome a fresh general election offering the chance to reverse last Thursday’s vote in a second referendum or have a pair of main party leaders more amenable to US wishes on EU membership in other ways, perhaps even assembling a cross-party parliamentary coalition voting to ignore last week’s vote.

    If rumours about opportunistic Johnson having second Brexit thoughts are right, the US would love Corbyn replaced by a much more Atlanticist/European integrationist leader such as Miliband or the Man on Horseback, Dan Jarvis. That would be a win-win for the US and largely smokescreen the Chilcot verdict on July 6.

    This may be a long shot, but seems more plausible to me than the scripted reason for the coup being repeated almost word for word by the choreographed PLP Remain resigners.

    • D-Majestic

      It is a long shot. And very plausible. For the reason that we do not really have knowledge of the extent of the infiltration of neoconism in the Labour party-or any other party or place, for that matter.

  • Republicofscotland

    I was left rather bemused by Tom Watson remarks to Jeremy Corbyn.

    “the deputy leader told Mr Corbyn he would have to decide whether he wanted to endure a ‘bruising’ internal battle before the prospect of a ‘very tough general election”

    Now I realise why he was coming across all cryptical.

    “Tom Watson and Lisa Nandy are emerging close favourites to emerge victorious in a Labour leadership battle if Jeremy Corbyn is forced out.
    Both are already prominent senior MPs within the party, having served as deputy leader and shadow energy secretary.”

    “They also have impressive resumes – with Tom Watson getting involved in Operation Fairbank arrests and Nandy’s work with youth homelessness.
    And even the bookies like the look of them, giving them both odds of 5/1 to take the leadership.”

    I hope Corbyn can see the challenge off.

    Read more:

  • Alan

    When Scotland gains Independence, will we be able to remain on British Summer Time, because we’ll no longer have to cater to those Scottish farmers? Scotland could then stay on GMT to keep them happy, and we could all change our watches as we cross the rebuilt Hadrian’s Wall fortifications.

    • fred

      I feel someone crossing the border into Scotland would need to set their watches back at least 20 years.

    • Alan

      And if anybody doubts me about the fortifications, and believes Craig with his talk of a “soft border”, you only have to take a look at the miles of razor wire erected by the EU racists in order to keep out refugees during the past year.

      • Alan

        Pictures of what we can expect from the EU racists when Scotland leaves the UK and joins Europe.

        “Turkey, Greece, Bulgaria, Macedonia, and now Hungary have all built their versions of the anti-immigrant fence along parts of their borders. Some are flimsy enough to be easily trampled, others are intricate tangles of barbed wire. In essence, countries are building actual pieces of infrastructure to stop the flow of people crossing borders.

        We’re watching Europe change before our eyes in ways that we haven’t seen since the end of the Cold War.”

        The fascist and racist European openly state that “They don’t want to be like Multicultural Britain”, so we must expect razor wire and fortification at the border.

        But its PM says he’s done it to avoid multicultural Britain’s mistakes… and his popularity is soaring.

        • Alan

          Jean-Claude Juncker has links with the Nazis through his now deceased father in law. His own father Joseph was an unwilling Hitler recruit, one of more than 10,000 Luxembourgers forced to serve the Nazis after the country was overrun. Joseph was made to fight for them in the Ukraine, where 2,800 of his countrymen fell for a cause they did not support but had no choice but to die for. Today, the idea he could be accused of being a Nazi still draws a tear to Joseph’s eye.

          However, Juncker’s father-in-law, father of Juncker’s wife Christiane, was a more willing participant. Louis Mathias Frising was a school teacher before the war. But when the Nazis arrived, he turned sympathiser, working for their propaganda arm. Among the tasks he was called on to complete was to ban the speaking of French in the bi-lingual country. Far worse was the role he played in enforcing the Nuremberg Laws, stripping Jews of their rights – the first step on the path to the gas chambers.

          More evidence of the fascist and racist nature of the EU that they would give such a man a governing position.

          • Laguerre

            “Jean-Claude Juncker has links with the Nazis through his now deceased father in law.”

            Oh wow, we’re into the sins of the fathers now, aren’t we? Not even his own father, but that of his wife. I didn’t know that Hilary Benn secretly has the views of his father, although he proclaims the opposite.

    • Tony M

      With all the extra UKIP Summer Time, they’ll be able to extend the working pattern for the plebs, to 14, maybe 16 hours per day, as the sun sets on delusions of empire, finally and darkness descends on Englnad-shire.

      • Tony M

        Where the oligarchs will own the roads and drive around in reproductions of early Land-Rovers, or Ferarris, and towing gas-bags.

        • Habbabkuk (encouraging interesting and diverse views)

          Well Tony, the UK did have double summer time during the war.

          I also recall that there were a few years (was it in the 1970s?) when British Summer Time applied all year round.

          • Alan

            Yes! 1968 it started:


            They told us that we had to return to GMT because of these poor highland farmers having to get up at 4 AM.

            My grandfather was a farmer, and he worked by the sun. No farmer I knew back then worked by the clock unless it was cattle market day, but they said these strange Scottish farmers were suffering, the poor little darlings.

          • Rob Royston

            Alan, I don’t know where you got that story from but it is total nonsense. In the north of Scotland the sun does not rise until 0900 GMT in mid-Winter, that’s 1000 BST.
            The reason was not over farmers, it was about children leaving home for school in the dark, no school run back then obviously.

          • glenn_uk

            That one seems nonsense too, Roy. Children have a tendency to go directly to school, but dawdle and meander on the way home. It therefore would be preferable for them to spend the journey home in the light, with the clocks adjusted for daylight encompassing the late afternoon rather than early morning.

  • Aim Here

    > I cannot for the life of me think of any really substantive such arrangements that could work without Scottish Independence.

    Whether that’s true or not, it’s a political necessity for Indyref 2 to work. In order to win over No voters, the Scottish government has to make a good faith effort to keep Scotland in the EU while remaining in the UK. One of the fun things about this civic nationalism stuff is that all those middle-class No voters who voted for what they see as pragmatic, economics-based reasons are now soft independence voters – but before those people get won over, you first have to convince them that it’s not possible to have Scotland in the EU inside a Brexitted UK.

    You do that by demonstrably trying with the help of all the eurocrats and every elected national official in Scotland (all but one of whom are Europhiles) to make it happen. If it happens – fine. It’ll slowly prise the UK apart in the long run. And if it doesn’t – you wait until the major unionist parties have given up trying, then follow suit and call for Indyref 2, bringing a whole pile of despairing former unionists with you.

    • MJ

      “before those people get won over, you first have to convince them that it’s not possible to have Scotland in the EU inside a Brexitted UK”

      Of course that’s not possible. The main stumbling block will surely be convincing them that having the euro as their currency is a good idea.

      • Aim Here

        I suspect that in the short to medium term, the currency exchanges and the Financial Times Share Index between them might make a convincing argument for not touching sterling if you can help it.

  • RobG

    Incredible stuff going on in the House of Commons this afternoon.

    Stone faces on both the Conservative and Labour benches.

    Corbyn, amidst all the turmoil in his own party, coming out like a terrier dog. Cameron still pretending that the UK will go against Washington’s wishes; and Angus Robertson, as always, putting in a great performance.

    We certainly live in interesting times.

    • Habbabkuk (encouraging interesting and diverse views)

      I believe that when the Chinese say “may you live in interesting times” they mean it s a malediction.

  • Republicofscotland

    Nicola Sturgeon exploring all possibilities with regards to the EU, she will hold talks with Gibraltar’s Fabian Picardo, on the prospect of EU membership, Gibraltar voted to remain in the EU, as did Scotland.

  • Pyewacket

    The little piece of Comfort Blanket the current Government is holding onto, but is never widely mentioned, is the fact that the Referendum was only ever Advisory. They don’t actually have to stand by the mandate offered by the result. This in itself provides plenty of wriggle room to extract the UK from its embarrassing situation.

    • MJ

      Yes. Article 50 has been kicked into the long grass. Cameron has talked about it being triggered in the New Year. It should have been on June 24th. Contingency plans for a leave vote should have been in place before the referendum was even called. There were only two possible outcomes.

      It looks like we’re heading for an EU-style fudge, where inconvenient democratic verdicts from real people are simply ignored. This is the very thing from which we voted to extricate ourselves.

  • Tom

    Sadly, everything that’s happened since the referendum has been entirely predictable. But there will be no resignations from the newspapers who lied to the public to get this result, of that you can be sure.

  • Dave

    Why, whenever referenda go against the EU, are more held? Would there be the same clamour if Bremain had won, even if by 250,000? General questions, not necessarily directed at you, Mr Murray.

    I agree about the PLP. Presumably those in the coup all did more than Corbyn – let he who is without blame cast the first stone – but still they lost in their seats. I see Corbyn as the first chance we’ve had for decades to challenge Thatcherite dogma, and will vote for him again despite voting to Leave.

  • Leonard Young

    I agree with almost everything Craig says here. But just as the apparent mandate for the Iraq war was based on a whopping lie, the almost 50/50 outcome of the referendum was based on multiple lies issued by both sides. That doesn’t mean one set of lies cancels the other set out. They were still lies. One could therefore argue that the result on either side would not be anywhere near a reasonable mandate, especially with such a small margin. I am reasonably certain that if a re-run happened tomorrow the result would be reversed, because after the event there is evidence that many who voted Leave, including even those that campaigned for it, did not expect the result they got, and many have stated they now regret their decision.

    • Mick McNulty

      Meanwhile, all those who claim to have voted for the other side (yeah…right!..), and who bet on that result have already got their stake money back from the bookie? But a second vote assumes the Leave figures will remain the same but how many of them didn’t bother voting because they thought the vote would be rigged so was pointless? Or they didn’t take pens and their vote to Leave was changed?

      Many believe vote rigging went on but the Leave vote was too big to and so would be higher than the figure declared. 72% turnout seems low for such a historic vote, I’d have thought 80+%, so the difference between whatever any real percentage was there’s the rig.

  • K Crosby

    Good comments until you contradict yourself with sophistries, just like the fascists attempting to subvert the lexit vote. You can’t have it both ways.

    • Habbabkuk (encouraging interesting and diverse views)

      Sorry, Crosby, but who are those “fascists” you refer to? Do they have names?

    • michael norton

      Personally, I do not want any negotiation.
      We have left, now fuck off Europe.

      • Republicofscotland


        So tell me Michael, how many British jobs will it cost if we can’t export our goods to Europe ?

        Add to that very little scientific research will now be carried out within the UK due to no EU funding, the Hadron Collider, could never have been funded by just one EU nation alone.

        The Airbus A380 aeroplane, was also another grand EU project along with Airbus.

        • MJ

          “So tell me Michael, how many British jobs will it cost if we can’t export our goods to Europe ?”

          So tell me RoS, how many German jobs will it cost if they can’t export their goods to the UK?

          Petty trade disputes won’t last long. They’re in no-one’s interest.

          • Republicofscotland


            I’m concerned over German jobs, my priority is of course British jobs, Germany can still export their wears all over Europe, far more easily than British goods will be allowed to do so in the future.

  • Alan

    Oh good, young people have complained about being abused by terms such as “Little Englander”

    Hmm, interesting:

    The National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) has said that there has been an increase in reports to True Vision, a police online hate crime reporting site.

    Oh look:

    What is hate crime?

    Hate crimes are any crimes that are targeted at a person because of hostility or prejudice towards that person’s:

    race or ethnicity
    religion or belief
    sexual orientation
    transgender identity

    This can be committed against a person or property.

    So I guess that means that anybody using the term “Little Englander” is guilty of a hate crime, n’est pas?

    • nevermind

      far worth than name calling is the harassment, verbal and by clandestinely messages left to little Polish boys.
      I really don’t begrudge anyone having a go at the Krauts regards to what they did in WW2, and the Poles are the first to have a few good points to make about Germans, most loath them because of the second great unpleasantness.

      But for the British, who relied on Polish volunteers to pilot some of their aircraft, who helped them defeat the right wing fascists, to leave hate mail for a little Polish boy here and whose parents pay taxes l;ike everyone else is quiet astonishing.

      What antisocial elements can store this hatred in their tiny brains.


      • Alan

        I was thinking of somebody who used that term in The House, but I guess he is covered by Parliamentary Privilege. I don’t know why people hate Poles. I don’t know why people hate anybody.

    • Mick McNulty

      Business moans that us oldies robbed the young ‘uns. Would this be the same business which has robbed young’ uns of 7 years’ full pay because they don’t pay them a full wage until they reach 25? Most of us here earned our full pay at reaching 18.

      Or maybe supermarkets sell groceries cheaper to the under-25s? And landlords charge them lower rent?….No, I didn’t think so!

  • Tony Woolf

    People buying shares on a false prospectus isn’t the free market, and people voting based on lies isn’t democracy, just dishonesty. Have you seen the film about the NHS put out by the Leave campaign? If not I suggest you do. That’s if you can bear to watch it right to the end without throwing something at the screen. It ABSOLUTELY promises MUCH better funding for the NHS after Brexit. No mention that if all of the UK’s current EU contribution was diverted to the NHS, funding for deprived regions (where many of the worried targets of this propaganda live) and all other EU grants would be abolished. No mention that if the tax base reduced by even a small amount as a result of Brexit, the extra money would vanish into thin air, and NHS funding could even be severely reduced (as seems likely to happen.) It played on old peoples’ fears in the most shameless and dishonest way imaginable. If it had been a company prospectus, the police would now be involved.
    And a prominent Leave campaigner insisted that Britain would not have a veto on Turkey joining the EU, contrary to simple fact.
    However I agree that trying to pretend the referendum hasn’t happened isn’t an option. There are very serious problems with our society. It’s deeply divided, basically between those who think that things will be better for them in the future, and those who think their future will be worse unless a drastic change is made. I shall start to hope for some reconciliation when I see a top politician addressing this, in a way that the dispossessed can understand.

  • lysias

    Justin Raimondo on the talk of holding a second referendum:

    I would not be in the least surprised if the David Lammys have their way and a second referendum is called, or the first is simply nullified: Britain, as I have said in the past, is today a profoundly authoritarian state in spite of its glorious classical liberal heritage.

    • Laguerre

      Although I would agree that some kind of second vote, stronger, would be necessary to create the necessary democratic legitimacy, I doubt that the Brits would go for a simple repeat. That would be too obvious. A General Election, however, is quite likely, as it would confuse all the current issues.

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