The Forgotten Referendum – Ireland 1998 353


The problem with making decisions by the blunt and heavy tool of referenda is now very apparent. One self evident difficulty is how to cope with contradictory results. Scotland had two referenda in two years. In the first the Scottish people voted narrowly to remain part of the United Kingdom, in the second they voted heavily to remain part of the European Union. The two results are now incompatible. So how did the referenda help to set the legitimate course of political action? They did not.

There is another incompatible referendum which has gone virtually unmentioned in the UK. Following the Good Friday agreement, Ireland had a referendum in 1998 to amend its constitution to allow it to subscribe to the terms of the Good Friday Agreement. Ireland amended its constitution to remove its unfettered claim to its entire historic territory, in favour of a contingent peaceful process. Mutual EU membership and no border control was absolutely intrinsic to that agreement and to what the Irish voted for in their referendum. The vote, incidentally, was by much the same margin as Scotland’s vote to remain in the EU. So in resiling from its EU accession due to its referendum, the UK is negating referendum votes in Scotland, in Northern Ireland and in the Republic. The UK cannot arrogantly claim its referendum is more important than Ireland’s. The famous “backstop” is to maintain at least the shadow of the arrangements on the basis of which Ireland voted in 1998.

The other reason referenda are not useful is they are insufficiently detailed. The Brexit referendum said nothing whatsoever about the UK’s continued relationship with the EU. It said nothing about the Customs Union, about EEA, or even about freedom of movement. The referendum was called by David Cameron to buy off party splits in the Tory Party, but failed spectacularly even on those sordid terms. as someone who wants the UK to fall apart, personally I am enjoying the chaos, but it was not the planned result by those behind the referendum.

I am probably a horrible elitist. I dislike direct democracy and am quite profoundly Burkean. I believe democracy should work through the people electing representatives they trust, to use their judgement and experience and adaptability to make the decisions of government. This is not a popular position given the appalling calibre of politicians currently. That is partly due to the UK’s antiquated electoral and governance systems; but something else is in play as it appears to be a worldwide phenomenon. It is to do with neoliberalism eating away at societal bonds and institutions, and requires a great deal more thought to delineate. But of one thing I am quite sure: referenda are not the answer to the West’s malaise of government.


353 thoughts on “The Forgotten Referendum – Ireland 1998

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  • Node

    … and in other non-news today, helicopters have fired tear gas at gilets jaunes protesters. To spell that out – a European state has launched an aerial attack on its own citizens, metal canisters raining from the sky onto unprotected skulls, yet it is so far unmentioned by the MSM and at this time a Google search of “yellow vest helicopter tear gas” returns one link :
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E8v8sONTn6g

  • N_

    Hat tip to Ian Blackford for saying we’re all Jock Tamson’s bairns. I’ve always liked that expression and sentiment!

  • Stu

    The idea that the UK or Northern Ireland is bound by a referendum in a foreign state over 20 years ago is absurd.

    • Jo1

      “is absurd.”

      Only if you ignore the detail of that referendum and it’s connection to the Good Friday Agreement.

  • Loony

    What a strange argument that a referendum in Ireland should somehow be interpreted as a limitation on UK sovereignty – naturally devoid of reason and logic but no doubt plays well to the globalist war mongers who you claim not to like.

    A much more relevant question would be for the Irish themselves. In 1973 Ireland joined the EEC solely because the UK joined and the UK was deemed central to the Irish economy. What then has changed in the intervening years. If Ireland and the UK continue to be inextricably bound then why is Ireland not leaving the EU. If the 2 countries are not so bound then why should Ireland care about what the UK does.

    People making the arguments that you make should also explain why there were no riots. protests, or dissent of any nature in 1973 when Ireland, by its own admission, joined the EEC purely because the UK had joined.

    • ricardo2000

      Reading history, and the news, even in Canada it is apparent that there are many limitations on UK sovereignty based on military, economic and human rights necessities. The complacent assertion that there aren’t reveals the ignorance and backward stupidity of most Brexit supporters. So let’s start with the Geneva Conventions on War, the UN Declaration on Human Rights, NATO, the Commonwealth (where revulsion for South Africa led to its fundamental change despite contemptible British support), WWI, WWII, and any other war so-called Great Britain has engaged in since before Napoleon. Brexiters need to understand that it is a multipolar world based on long-term agreements.

      So let us now consider the puerile argument for Ireland remaining with the UK. It won’t happen because they fear and despise the UK, and for good reason, starting with the the Battle of the Boyne, religious bigotry, the Potato Famine, the Black and Tans, Bloody Sunday, etcetera. Ireland now has a principled partner in the EU that won’t commit any self-serving crime, or ignore Irish opinions and rights. Ireland has a reliable economic partner that can’t abuse the Irish, and do listen carefully to their needs and concerns. What Brexiters don’t wish to understand is that the world NEVER NEEDED UK arrogance, and we won’t miss it when the UK leaves the EU.

      Northern Ireland will find that the DUP can’t defend the economic interests of Ulster when the Brexiters get their so-called independence. The irony is that Reunion with Ireland will look unstoppable because it is so obviously in the best interests even of religious bigots.

      • Loony

        Given that Canada is one of the largest basket cases in the world I would pay too much attention to anything that you may read that has a Canadian origin.

        However just to help you out. The question is not whether Ireland or its population likes or detests the UK or its population. The question is the degree of linkage between the two economies. In 1973 that linkage was deemed sufficiently strong by the Irish to them join the EEC because it considered that its best economic interests were served by shadowing UK actions.

        Today that linkage must either still exist or not exist. It is a binary choice. If it does exist then logically the Irish should leave the EU. If it does not exist then the Irish should be completely sanguine as to the actions of the UK.

        None of this has anything at all to do with the Battle of the Boyne, religious bigotry, the potato famine, the Black and Tans or Bloody Sunday. I can only assume that you are a fully paid up anarchist in order to introduce such obvious, but emotive, irrelevancies into the argument.

        • Brian c

          There is still a very strong link with the UK economy. But the fact there is scant support in Ireland for leaving the EU surely must have given you some pause before declaring it a logical step. Or do you believe you know better than the Irish themselves?

          • Stu

            Their entire economy is based on ripping off other EU members on corporation tax so they can’t leave.

      • Mary Paul

        “Ireland now has a principled partner in the EU….” .ha ha I love that. Canadian irony at its best.

    • Laguerre

      “What a strange argument that a referendum in Ireland should somehow be interpreted as a limitation on UK sovereignty”

      Bizarre logic. What affects Britain is the GFA, not the Irish referendum.

  • Republicofscotland

    “The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has revealed that over 21,000 sick and disabled people died waiting for it to give them benefits. That’s nearly 12 people a day dying.”

    The total amount of people who died whilst waiting on the DWP to issue benefits between 2013 and 2018, is 95,000. How many of those folk died at the hands of Tory austerity?

    https://www.thecanary.co/trending/2019/01/14/the-dwp-has-admitted-21000-people-died-waiting-for-benefits/

    • Charles Bostock

      ” How many of those folk died at the hands of Tory austerity?”

      An how many would have died anyway?

    • Charles Bostock

      “The total amount of people who died whilst waiting on the DWP to issue benefits between 2013 and 2018, is 95,000.”

      How many people overall died in the UK between 2013 and 2018?

    • Loony

      I wonder how many people may have died in Greece as a direct consequence of EU imposed austerity? I wonder why the deaths of Greeks is of so little interest.

      Given your avowed desperation to be in an economic and political union with Greece surely you be as equally concerned with Greek tragedies as with British strategies. Or could it be that you do in fact perfectly represent the guiding principles of the EU by having identified certain groups of Europeans as ubermensch and others as untermensch.

      This analysis is likely in error and hopefully you will reconsider and find justifiable pride in your fellow countrymen who voted so decisively to remove the iron heel of oppression from the throats of the very weakest. Should you not heed my advice and continue to undermine the heroism of your fellow countrymen then you will need to rely on the altogether more rough house tactics of the French.

      One way or another we have entered the end game and the snarling beast that is the EU is firmly in the sights of the people. I recommend the British way as preferable to the French way.

      • Republicofscotland

        “I wonder how many people may have died in Greece as a direct consequence of EU imposed austerity? I wonder why the deaths of Greeks is of so little interest.”

        Austerity is never a pretty sight no matter where it’s imposed. As in the Greek government on its people. A counter balance to this of course is that the EU has saved untold amounts of lives through its taking in refugees and immigrants.

        Of course your beloved Britain has been forcing out those (Windrush scandal etc) that is sees as inferior to British Imperial ideals. Brexit is an ideal scenario for the far right xenophobes to crawl out of the woodwork in Britain, which they have, and spew their odious bile. I suppose in your eyes they’re just being patriotic and as you put it displaying heroism.

        Thankfully the British states days are numbered, like the cracking icesheets under global warming, the cracks in the union are enlarging. You’ll soon have your isolationist dream, and you’re most welcome to it.

        • Loony

          You are doing it oh so wrong.

          In general terms I despise the UK – but I despise the EU so much more. Churchill did not support the USSR because he was an admirer of Stalin, rather he supported the USSR because because they alone were capable of destroying the Wehrmacht.

          Assuming that the British fail in their immediate quest I remain confident that in a few years time you will wish that British had succeeded as it would have been so much more civilized than the route the French will take. Nonetheless if it proves necessary to hand the baton to the French then they will have my full support.

          • Republicofscotland

            Incoherent ramblings Loony, what has Churchill got to with Brexit?

            What quest are you on about?

            The French will have yourfull support for what exactly?

            You despise the UK Loony might I gently enquire where you come from? As it will at least give me a point of reference.

            Thanks in advance.

          • nevermind

            Churchill also loved the idea of a federalist Europe, as he explained to Swiss students in 1949 Genevre.

            Churchill is one of the fathers of Europe and the club of Rome ideas, whether he was put up to it by the CIA is amother question.

          • Loony

            I support British attempts to leave the EU and consider the British to be capable of slaying the beast in most humanitarian way possible.

            If the British fail then the people of Europe will be reliant on France – a country that with a long and bloody revolutionary history. I am not fond of revolutionaries but just as Churchill supported the USSR in pursuit of a greater aim so will I support French revolutionaries if that is necessary to defenestrate the EU.

            “I come from a long way away and I know a life giver over a life taker” – Think about that and remember that once there was a way for the UK to produce such clarity of thought. Oh what happened?

          • Republicofscotland

            More gibberish from Loony who prefers to quote a Clash lyric to revealing where he/she comes from.

      • Dungroanin

        “Snarling beast!”!

        Ooh you are rattled. The UK had the best deal in the EU – full access, rebate, veto, fiat currency, plenty of cheap holiday resorts without visa’s …

        We should be happy to be stuffed with shitty yankee chicken, beef, pork, and GM soya and maize product?
        And probably their over priced health service – twice the gdp and no universal coverage?

        Just because some billionaire aristo types bought and twisted a few votes in a nebulous referendum?

        Lol – it ain’t over till it’s over!

      • Garth Carthy

        @Loony @ 15.43 pm
        As I understand it, the Ne-con influenced IMF were mainly were responsible for worsening the Greek austerity crisis – not the EU.

        You say: “the British way is preferable to the French way”.

        I say that British austerity measures (`a la neo-con measures) are not preferable to anything on this planet – they are an abomination -like the rest of the Tory ideological cesspit. I suggest you re-read @Republic of Scotland’s recent comment on this subject.
        The “iron heel of oppression” as you put it is already being pressed on the throats of the poor by the US and their Neo-Con hegemony and leaving the EU will not change that – it will surely make it worse.
        Any ideas that Britain can have sovereignty if it leaves the EU is complete fantasy and anyone with an ounce of intelligence should be able to see that as plain as day.
        Nearly everyone is focusing on Brexit but the real focus should always be on the greedy 1% – the Neo-con psychopathic parasites who ruin so many lives.

        • Stu

          The Troika imposing austerity on Greece is the European Commision, the European Central Bank and the IMF.

          The European institutions are the driving force.

          • Republicofscotland

            Yes the austerity in Greece is rather unfortunate, and hurts those most who have little. Though I’ve read that the Greek economy is now in recovery.

            However Greece refused to go after those who failed to pay proper taxes, including personalities and sports people. Indeed French finance minister Christine Lagarde furnished the Greek government with knowledge of the whereabouts of thousands of tax dodgers HSBC accounts.

            The Greek government instead of acting on the information, first claimed to have lost it, then threatened journalists who attempted to reveal it with a prison sentence. One such journalist was arrested Kostas Vaxevanis, was though found not guilty.

            Of course in the end the list was found to contain past and present Greek politicians and ministers.

        • Loony

          Hey Garth – have you ever heard of the word “hyperbole”?

          You write “I say that British austerity measures…are not preferable to anything on this planet…”

          Really so you think that life in the UK is somehow materially worse than present day life in the Congo? Tell me exactly how the average person in the DRC is somehow better off than the poorest person in the UK.

          In anticipation of your failure to answer the question your opinion is manifestly worthless as the actions of around 250,000 people per year prove beyond all doubt that these immigrants to the UK consider the UK to offer them something more than they can be offered in their countries of origin.

          But go ahead prove me wrong and relocate to downtown Kinshasa.

          • Ken Kenn

            Blimey Loony you sound like Victoria Derbyshire and her ” Count your blessings ” program on BBC two every daytime.
            Wherein they get some poor beleagured sod to come on an recount their problems/troubles to the viewers with the result that they end up saying:

            ” At least I’m not that badly off so I’ll continue to appreciate my lowly pay and short hours before nipping to church to praise the Lord and the current Tory government.” Allelujah!

            Katie Hopkins holds the same view as yourself and she should count her blessings as should you.

            I’ll tell you what though I do have to admire the refugees that attempt to get here in dodgy dinghys and under aircraft landing gear or underneath the axle of a speeding truck.

            It shows great courage and bravery when compared to your reluctance and fear of changing your energy supplier or bank account.

            I’l give them that at least.

            I don’t doubt their determination but I doubt your acceptance of the status quo.

            By the way – Brexit appears to be over.

            All stand for the British National Anthem:

            ” Oh say can you see – by the dawn’s early light…………

          • Loony

            Ken I have to confess my ignorance in that I have never heard of Victoria Derbyshire – not sure I learned anything useful by looking her up.

            You are free to admire refugees. And I am free to point out that if you agree with the view that “British austerity measures are not preferable to anything on the planet” then you must also hold refugees in dripping contempt. After all where ever they come from they must by definition be coming from a better place than the UK. Just to think they run all these risks travelling on unsafe transport just to arrive in the worst place on the planet. Man these people must be so stupid that they find independent breathing a problem.

            Alternatively of course there is no austerity in the UK and the poorest person in the UK is materially better off than the average person in places like the DRC. Feel free to check out the theory by moving to the DRC yourself – just think how much your life will improve once you are all set up in Kinshasa.

        • Sharp Ears

          I heard it was Goldman Sachs that did for the Greek people.

          PS Ivanka is choosing the next World Bank head.

    • Doghouse

      It’s a shameful disgrace extending beyond imagination.

      I am blind, struck unexpectedly so in my prime, there is no cure and until that date had never had a days unemployment or claimed benefit.

      Since 2012 I have been required to have filled out on my behalf savagely long and incomprehensible forms (last one 2018 – 48 pages long I believe). I live in a very rural area, 6 miles from the nearest bus service. I have been demanded on each of the above occasions to attend 3 separate job centres or whatever their current title is, each more than 20 miles away in a town I have never been to, for imaginary jobs that will never be offered and that I could never get to let alone carry out. This alone is daunting and scary enough to fill my pants.

      On one occasion the forms were returned well within time but mislaid by them and they cut off my disability benefit immediately and without consultation taking weeks to get it restored. That was 2017 and when eventually resolved, less than a year later, here we go again. My GP has been required to write reports for them which they have lost and then required the busy doctor to repeat and they have lied to my MP.

      Incurably blind for fecks sake, dumping reams and reams of material I can neither read or fill out, doing that when they absolutely know that to be the case (!!!!) 2012, 2014, 2017, 2018, and that does not count the occasions my DLA has come under similar scrutiny.

      It is a nightmare beyond all proportions and I am here to tell you that if it were not for my wife filling all this shit in on my bhalf, if I were alone, then I too would have beyond question, either starved to death because my support would have been cut off because forms would not have been returned or the stress would have killed me – or I would have like many others freed myself of this wicked infliction. It is unbelievably stressful, frightening and worrisome for anyone let alone for people whose lives are already turned upside down or destroyed through no fault of their own. They are shameless grief mongerers, tormentors and causers of death, and they know it.

      • Republicofscotland

        Doghouse.

        I’m very sorry to read of the callous and uncaring way in which the DWP has treated you.

        I believe it’s within the Job Centres remit to reach hidden targets of sanctioning and in general make life a misery for folk. Through policies based on Tory ideology, an ideology that doesn’t care, an ideology that saw the UN report on the widespread poverty and ill will by the British government towards the sick, disabled and less fortunate in society.

        That in my opinion has led “indirectly” to the deaths of many people in the UK. Unfortunately I only see things going from bad to worse once we leave the EU.

      • Sharp Ears

        I too am very sorry about the way you have been treated Doghouse and am ashamed and angry about what has happened in this country.

      • nevermind

        You have been hard done by, Doghouse, being struck down blind and being confronted with a runaround DWP rigmarole sounds like double trouble.
        Keep your mettle, accept help and get served by these lazies as you deserved to be.

        Thanks for coming here and chiming in with us, we all are a unit, humane communitare, real and the feeling of being universal sufferers is growing.
        take care and keep in touch.

      • Doghouse

        Thanks for the kindness all, sincerely. But my sole purpose in posting was to illustrate that it really is quite bad for many, drains the mind, body and soul. It definitely, without question, kills people who are already battered. One understands a necessity for review and sifting out etc, but there is a callousness and brutality behind it all. In 2017, I like many others were told I was in a group where no further review would be necessary for several years, then within a year, fill that 48 pages in – all information they already had been given in 2017 and before that in 2014 and again in 2012 and before that even. Each time it seems a different company making both a metaphorical and literal killing on tax payers coin and refusing to refer to previous records so as not to exclude a single head they can claim for. Nor do any of the govt depts. share records. Really insane, and massive, massive amounts of money are being gobbled up by private concerns in the process. Its not about saving money, its not about getting people off lists whom GPs were encouraged to put on lists in order to massage unemployment stats, its about making money, making money from misery. Yup.

  • Republicofscotland

    I can see why the hardline wealthy Brexiteers want leave the EU. Its not because they care about Britain per se.

    “The Anti-Tax Avoidance Directive contains five legally-binding anti-abuse measures, which all Member States should apply against common forms of aggressive tax planning.”

    “Member States should apply these measures as from 1 January 2019.”

    “It creates a minimum level of protection against corporate tax avoidance throughout the EU, while ensuring a fairer and more stable environment for businesses.”

    https://ec.europa.eu/taxation_customs/business/company-tax/anti-tax-avoidance-package/anti-tax-avoidance-directive_en

    • Stu

      Yet the EU allows corporations to pay close to zero tax in Ireland, Holland and Luxembourg…….

      • Laguerre

        Is that different from what Singapore-on-Thames permits (though perhaps by different methods)?

        • Loony

          Yes it is materially different in ways so obvious that, if you require an explanation, you will likely not understand.. Why even bother posing such an inane question?

  • fwl

    Suspect MPs might consider proposing that a referendum is tacked onto a general election ballot paper?

    • MaryPau!

      Do the opinion polls indicate a large swing to Remain? Is thst what Second referendum camp are counting on? Only it seems to me that the UK’s sovereignity has become more of an issue than it used to be.

  • Sharp Ears

    Apparently the DUP lot will keep May in power tomorrow in the No Confidence Motion debate.

    • Ken Kenn

      Apparently thatcher had six goes at Labour in the Seventies.

      Why stop at one try?

      Keep going until it happens.

      We don’t have a government but the BBC doesn’t know that.

      Fortunately for May no-one still wants her job.

    • Dungroanin

      It was always about getting a ‘dirty dozen’ tories to do right by the country.

      How could any, one nation tory, MP carry on believing that their minority government should carry on in power, when their flagship policy has been so defeated, will be a contortion to behold.

      Any true democrat would have expected the PM to resign and call for a replacement leader and a general election.

      • Bob

        tomorrow will see the end of constitutional law in this country as the arrogant treasonmay wins the vote of no confidence – the tories are not going to give up power – the national interest EQUALS the tory interest

  • Vivian O'Blivion

    Theresa May’s deal has just been rejected by a majority of 230. This is the largest loss by a sitting government in modern history. This is a much larger defeat than was being touted earlier in the day. My guess is that the unprecedented size of the Nae vote was intended to send a clear message that any further attempt to put May’s Withdrawal Agreement to a Commons vote is a complete nonstarter.

      • fwl

        But cable market seems to have been wrong footed expecting a no vote to tank sterling, but it has instead shot up.

  • Trowbridge H. Ford

    Theresa May isn’t a terrible elitist at all. She thinks that the House of Commons should just support referenda and what the people want.

  • Iain Stewart

    “The UK cannot arrogantly claim its referendum is more important than Ireland’s.”
    Craig is confusing “cannot” with “should not”. Whether arrogantly or humbly, the UK (otherwise known as England) will of course do exactly what it likes with Ireland, as it ever has done without the slightest misgiving or twinge of conscience.

  • Mary Paul

    anyone able to summarise for me 1. why Labour voted No to Mays proposal 2. why Tory Remainers voted No and 3, why Tory Brexiteers voted No.

    and as an addendum how a second referendum is going to fix things.

    • Greg Park

      Every news site in the past six weeks has continually provided the answers to your questions.

      • MaryPau!

        Not really as the forecasts were that the Whips were aiming to keep No votes to under 100 . There must be compelling reasons why it went down to such a huge defeat.

        • Dave

          The bigger the defeat the better, that was the plan. Promote a ‘Brexit Deal’ (no one can support) to honour the referendum result, and following its crushing defeat, declare a crisis, and say back to square one.

  • Dungroanin

    The melt down in the brexit msm psyche is a grotesque funny theatre tonight. LBC jocks and vox poppers calling for automaticbrexit and HANGING while they are at it. Hillarious.

    • Dungroanin

      The setup is in – no no-confidence, a dodgy coalition that neuters Labour is their final hope.

  • SA

    I thought the pantomime season has ended but not apparently in the HoP. Was the vote on Theresa May’s deal not a vote of no confidence on this Tory government? Did the Conservative party not express thier own non confidence in her not so long ago but failed to replace her because their own internal divisions? How can those who voted against her shoddy deal now continue to vote for her?
    So we now have defiant Tories who failed to replace a leader many of whom have no faith in, just because they do not want a GE. They would rather muddle on than trust the same electrote they swear by to have come with the definitive answer concerning Brexit. Why can’t thy not trust again in the will of the people? Such selfish arrogance of an incompetent minority government propped up by a bribed self interested self important group of NI politicians is beyond belief.
    And the DUP in their stupidity can they not see what happened to the Lib Dem’s following the time they propped up David Cameron? The electors revenge was pretty clear.

    • Vivian O'Blivion

      The DUP are blinded by their religious, ideological fanaticism. The No deal Brexit they strive for will destroy them. Easy for us to presume that the UUP has ceased to exist. Not so. The UUP has 10 MLAs to the DUPs 27. The UUP still functions and will gain the vociferous support of the business sector in coming elections.

  • SA

    Loony’s methodology is flawed. Whenever he argues his case he brings in the tragedies of the DRC or whatever other 4th world country that he chooses as an example for his particular post. His posts are classic cases of whataboutery. If I am correct I believe that Loony is a huge supporter of DT and also is an Atlanticist rather than a supporter of Europe. Loony and others fail to see two things:
    1. The rot that set in the EU has come about in large part because an initially social democratic idea has been subverted to neoliberalism. The EU is not an ideal institution but is better than the alternative. Brexit Britain will not be sovereign but just an offshore airstrip aligned completely with US policy complete with GM food and chlorinated chicken with yards, pints and pounds back in use. This apparent conceit is based on the fact that now things like The Golden shower dossier, made in U.K. is what is blatantly attempting to subvert US democracy and not Russia, not that US ‘democracy ‘ has not always been subverted. And again through the II another Made In UK attempt at subversion not only of US but of Europe and who knows where else..
    ‘There is something very rotten in the state of Denmark ‘ but unless the Tories are unseated this rot will continue.
    2. The true choice here is not what it appears to be. There are two choices within Brexit itself one is true U.K. independence and the other is a full blown five eyes realignment that the Tories are salivating at. If we have a Corbyn Brexit we could have something different and that is why a GE now is so important.

      • michael norton

        Corbyn is going nowhere.
        His pathetic virtue signalling to bring down the government,
        will not work,
        he knows it will not work, as far as he is concerned,
        it is just about clinging on by his fingernails to his present position as Labour Leader.

        What is more difficult to predict, is will May cling on by her fingernails?

        • SA

          You blame Corbyn’s virtue signaling while ignoring the blatant hypocrisy of those who have no alternatives whatsoever and who also voted her down.

      • SA

        Not nesscessarily now but a more reconciliatory approach might have produced a more satisfactory Brexit. Corbyn would at least deliver a Brexit less aligned with US and the Atlanticists.

    • Loony

      Let me help you out here

      If someone writes “British austerity measures are not preferable to anything on the planet” then it is reasonable to compare Britain with any country on the planet so as to examine the likely truth of such a statement. In order for the statement to be true then life in the DRC must be objectively superior to life in the UK. If this is not the case then the statement is false.

      Donald Trump is a deeply flawed human being. However Trump understands that the greatest threats to world peace come from the war mongering element ensconced in the deep state together with the naked mercantilism of China and Germany.

      The forces ranged against Trump are extensive in both depth and breadth. Some headway has been made with the removal of such odious figures as Comey, McCabe, Clapper et al. Policies are in place to seek to reign in the Chinese, but less headway has been made with regard to Europe. The desire to protect European criminality partly explains the ongoing lies regarding “Russian collusion” See for example how Trump’s expressed desire for the US to withdraw from NATO is spun by the NYT

      .https://www.nytimes.com/2019/01/14/us/politics/nato-president-trump.html

      Naturally some people who dedicate much of their time to act as professional opponents of war suddenly become arch war hawks when faced with the genuine prospect of destroying a major plank in the global war machine.

      If the British fail in their quest to weaken the EU then next up will be the French. Here you will be dealing with the revolutionary legacy of France – a legacy that means that the likely next President of France will be Marine Le Pen. One plank of Le Pen’s policies are to withdraw France from the EU and another plank is to turn France into a more or less Fascist state.

      People trying to frustrate Brexit and hobble Trump should at least have the honesty to admit that they actively prefer a return to old style fascism in Europe than to support either Brexit or Trump. That they will not do so indicates little more than their unswerving devotion to the new religion of cowardice. This is maybe the first time in recorded history that cowardice has been elevated to a virtue, but that same cowardice acts to prevent any public recognition of the virtue of cowardice.

      Do you really need an explanation as to how this will all work out?

  • michael norton

    Brexit: Nicola Sturgeon says another EU referendum ‘only credible option’
    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-scotland-politics-46869773
    Nicola Sturgeon was speaking after MPs voted by 432 to 202 against the deal, which sets out the terms of Britain’s exit from the EU on 29 March.

    Now let’s say Nicola is on to something here, what could go on the paper, not Mrs. May’s deal as that is dead in the North Sea.
    Maybe
    remain as we are 1)
    Leave without a deal 2)

    Leave without a deal

  • Chris Barclay

    Is it really a coincidence that the calibre of politicians has fallen while power and responsibility has been transfered with their agreement to supra-national or non-Parliamentary bodies? I’m not just talking about the EU and its institutions. I am also talking about military policy being dictated by NATO, management of monetary policy handed over to the Bank of England, the lack of devolution of powers to Scottish and Welsh Parliaments. This has occurred due to a consensus within the Conservatives, Labour, Lib Dem and arguably also the SNP. Too much of what today constitutes politics is grandstanding because the politicians have relinquished responsibility. As the demands on them have become less, so have the abilities required of them.

    • michael norton

      Chris you have a very good point there.
      If we are to Cliff Edge it, then statesmen/women
      will have to evolve.

    • Blunderbuss

      It’s subcontracting. Get elected as a government but don’t do any governing. Subcontract governing to companies.

  • Robert Harneis

    “… representatives they trust,”
    Quite, but how can you trust someone like Dominic Grieve who got elected on an election manifesto saying one thing and is now frenetically trying to sabotage what he was elected for, complete with infantile statements about the disastrous consequences of a WTO Brexit.

  • Joe

    I agree that in general referenda are blunt intstruments, but I do like the optional referenda they have in Switzerland. If 50,000 signatures are gathered then a referendum can be held on whether to allow a law passed by parliament to stand.
    I think it’s a good way of putting manners on parliament to make sure they don’t pass laws that a majority of citizens reject.

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