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Brexit — The Ultimate “Triumph” Of Voter-As-Consumer

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borisbarney

We’ll be seeing lots of more of this kind of thing, I would assume:

Mandy Suthi, a student who voted to leave, told ITV News she would tick the Remain box if she had a second chance and said her parents and siblings also regretted their choice.

“I would go back to the polling station and vote to stay, simply because this morning the reality is kicking in,” she said.

“I wish we had the opportunity to vote again,” she added, saying she was “very disappointed”.

Khembe Gibbons, a lifeguard from Bury St Edmunds in Suffolk, also said she had regrets about her decision after Mr Farage said he could not guarantee NHS funding.

“We’ve left the EU, David Cameron’s resigned, we’re left with Boris, and Nigel has just basically given away that the NHS claim was a lie,” she wrote.

“I personally voted leave believing these lies, and I regret it more than anything, I feel genuinely robbed of my vote.”

A woman calling into an LBC radio show echoed the sentiment, saying she felt “conned” by the claim and felt “a bit sick”.

A voter who gave his name as Adam told the BBC he would have changed his pro-Brexit vote if he knew the short-term consequences it would have for the UK economy.

“The David Cameron resignation has blown me away to be honest and the period of uncertainty that we’re going to be magnified now so yeah, I’m quite worried,” he said.

“I’m shocked that we voted for Leave, I didn’t think that was going to happen. I didn’t think my vote was going to matter too much because I thought we were just going to remain.”

I don’t know how many Brexit voters fall into the remorseful category. But I remember seeing somewhere (HELP ME BROCKINGTON) that a large majority of Brexit voters assumed that Remain would win. For what was surely a decisive number of Brexit voters, the vote was not a considered view that leaving the EU would be better than remaining, but rather was a vehicle for sending a message to British elites.

To be clear, the biggest villains here are not ordinary voters. David Cameron’s entirely unnecessary gamble was astoundingly incompetent and grossly irresponsible. The reaction of Boris Johnson — the proverbial dog that caught the car — should make it pretty clear that the anti-EU faction of the Tories were more trolls than revolutionaries. And the way you deal with trolls is to ignore them, not to try to shut them up with a binding referendum with huge downside risks. Needless to say, Johnson and Farage and the pro-Brexit tabloids are absolutely shameless liars mobilizing racist resentment, and they deserve all of the criticism they receive and worse. But Cameron knew what they were, and he empowered them to try to gain a short-term advantage within his party.

But if you want to know why I spend so much time criticizing people with prominent platforms trying to convince people the ballot box is not a place for collective political decisions but for life-affirming consumer choices, well, Bregret is why. In the American context, the consumerist arguments from the nominal left for refusing to support Democratic candidates even as the consequences of a Republican victory get increasingly dire generally don’t even really pretend to be tactical; they’re just statements that certain individuals are too good for coalitions that require sharing political space with people who fail to see your unfailing wisdom. This stuff seems harmless until it isn’t. If you want to know when I’m going to stop criticizing pundits who try to encourage this kind of thinking, or the Ralph Naders and (now, apparently) Jill Steins willing to play with fire to stoke their own egos, the answer is “never.” Elections are literally life-and-death matters.

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  • ploeg

    Hell, Nigel Farage said before the counting began that he thought Remain would win. Fortunately it looks like Britain will get a chance at a mulligan by way of a snap election or another referendum, but you can never count on it.

    Edit: should have read the whole thing before posting. I agree, Boris did look like the dog that caught the car.

    • it looks like Britain will get a chance at a mulligan by way of a snap election

      I don’t think the election is a sure thing yet, but if this all ends up with PM Corbyn well, that might be the one thing that redeems Cameron’s reputation.

      • ploeg

        Agreed that it isn’t a sure thing. That being said, Thursday’s vote is just the start of the process. It’s hard to see anything being done without a major shakeup of the government, with elections likely to follow.

      • Mrs Tilton

        Hard to see how PM Corbyn happens, given that he’ll likely be gone from his post before Cameron moves out of Number 10.

        And good riddance, frankly. By no means do I want to see the Blairites back at the wheel, but Corbyn was tits on a bull during the referendum campaign.

        • CD

          Not a bad man, but in the wrong job. Even the bacon sandwich dude would have been better.

        • EliHawk

          And given how tits on a bull he is, hard to see how PM Corbyn would be anything other than a complete disaster. When you put a moronic incompetent in power (See, W), he tends to fuck things up to the point that your opposition comes back in landslide fashion.

    • addicted44

      They’re already hurt by the vote. The EU has dropped the sweet heart deal they promised Cameron earlier this year.

      Any new negotiations are going to hurt the UK.

      I don’t know what’s gonna happen but I wouldn’t be surprised if the UK ends up remaining in the EU but with even more of the stuff they hated about it and less of the stuff they liked.

      I think all the economic analyses did not account for, or underestimated the political incentives for the EU to make the UK pay for this vote even if it comes at a cost to the EU.

      And that does not consider the personal incentives of the people who have Cameron a better deal less than a year ago. There’s almost certainly a lot of pissed off EU leaders who want to make the UK pay.

    • Pseudonym

      Not being familiar with British politicians, I keep wanting to spell his name as Nigel Falange for some reason.

  • What do you have against Barney Rubble?

    • Colin Day

      And who would be Fred Flintstone?

      • Snarki, child of Loki

        I want to know who would be “Bam-bam”

        • Ask Me Gently

          Angela Merkel is Mr. Slate.

  • hamletta

    Tony Kushner had a great interview about this:

    Listen, here’s the thing about politics: It’s not an expression of your moral purity and your ethics and your probity and your fond dreams of some utopian future. Progressive people constantly fail to get this.

    • vic rattlehead

      I’d also like to highlight this bit

      I have said this before, and I’ll say it again: Anyone that the Democrats run against Bush, even the appalling Joe Lieberman, should be a candidate around whom every progressive person in the United States who cares about the country’s future and the future of the world rallies.

      And yet plenty of chuckleheads had the gall to whine about Kerry. Not every candidate is going to be as inspiring and preternaturally charming as Obama. Suck it up buttercup.

      • Phil Perspective

        That’s always a recipe for success. The “vote blue, no matter who.” And when you get Joe Manchin and Ben Nelson with that? People who don’t inspire anyone, and instead dissuade people into showing up to vote. Real bright that.

        • IS

          And yet they presumably won their respective primaries. So whoever the alternative was, they weren’t inspiring enough to win a primary.

          • Davis

            Phil wants to be “inspired”, which is exactly what Scott is talking about.

        • I always know when Phil is around, because of all the WHOOOOOSH noises emanating from just above his head.

          • sharculese

            He might actually be the dumbest person who comments here. Including Jenny. Jenny at least knows he’s malicious.

            • wjts

              I am honestly a little surprised that Phil hasn’t come out in praise of the Brexit vote for “sticking it to the Banksters” in some ill-defined way.

              • Give it time…

                • wjts

                  I see Jill Stein is on the case.

        • NewishLawyer

          I think it depends. I would not vote for a Joe Manchin or a Ben Nelson in California or New York but I wouldn’t have to in those situations. In NYC or SF, you can vote for a Jane Kim or a Bill DeBlasio and win. Though I voted for Scott Weiner in the primary. If I were in NYC, I would have voted for DeBlasio in the primary.

          But Nebraska and West Virginia are not San Francisco or New York or even Rhode Island. And a Senate with Nelson or Manchin is still more liberal than a Senate without them.

          Frustrating but reality is often is.

          • advocatethis

            Even in California we can get into the rut of sending uninspiring middle of the road plodders to the US Senate.
            I’ve been dismayed by Diane Feinstein for decades and my low opinion of her was reinforced recently when my ex-wife, who is voting for Trump, said she wishes Feinstein was running for President so she could vote for her.

        • Yossarian

          I wasn’t aware that Nelson and Manchin were running for President. I thought they were Dems in deep-red states who were JUST conservative to hold on to their seats by their fingernails where the only alternatives are unapologetic right-wingers (as we’re already seeing in Nelson’s case).

          • Manny Kant

            To be fair, Manchin is a considerable downgrade from Robert Byrd and Jay Rockefeller, who were totally reliable mainstream to liberal Democrats. But West Virginia has been getting increasingly conservative and no Democrat that liberal who was not named Rockefeller or Byrd was going to win. And once you get to the general election, Manchin is still clearly superior to whatever Republican possibilities there are.

          • efgoldman

            I thought they were Dems in deep-red states who were JUST conservative to hold on to their seats by their fingernails

            And both of them (and Heitkamp, too, who is otherwise reprehensible in lots of ways) are/will be reliable confirmation votes for Obama/HRC cabinet, ambassadorial, and judicial nominees, among other things.
            Interesting how the purity ponies, who want these senators dumped, usually live, and vote, in safely deep blue states. Right, Phil?

            Nebraska and West Virginia are not San Francisco or New York or even Rhode Island.

            RI is totally blue. The pretend Republiklown Chaffees have left the party and left politics. Two reliable Democratic senators, two reliably liberal Democratic congresscritters, one of whom is a gay Jew with an Italian name, go figure.

            • Schadenboner

              Wait a second, James Langevin is a Jew?!?

              :v:

        • Hogan

          Forty seconds?! I want it now!

        • econoclast

          I feel like people like Phil genuinely don’t understand how democracy works. You need 50% + 1. You can add all kinds of bells and whistles, and votes can be weighted differently with different levels, but on some level you have to get 50% + 1. If you have 50% + 1, then you can the policies you want. Otherwise, you have to compromise.

          • Nick056

            Well, in American democracy, you need to get 51% in the House and in a sufficient number of states to win the presidency. Then you need to maintain the former in off-years while getting 60% in the Senate, and, when all the stars align, you get your policy.

            That was, after all, how we got the ACA. It’s why we can’t get Garland on the bench. Or any gun control.

            So if you’re someone like Phil, “consolidate and get the policy you want” gets you, under the best circumstances, a brief governing majority to push through watered-down versions of policies you support (or that co-opt elements of those policies while retrenching the status quo) in exchange for a much, much longer period during which you’ve cede power willingly to a coalition you dislike intensely.

            It’s not that I disagree with Scott. Brexit IS the best example of why the atomic voter is deeply destructive, because there is always a choice between less-then-ideal and actively hostile, between people who will bargain with you and people who want destroy you.

            But there are reasons why people don’t rush to give loyal support to those they perceive as Vichy accommodationists to a technocrat governing class, and the gap between those who identify as redistributionist-socialists and those who are comfortable with a global finance regime that promotes open borders and trade cannot be bridged merely by saying that voter-as-consumer behavior is dumb and impractical.

      • ASV

        It’s OK, plenty of chuckleheads have whined about Obama, too.

    • NewishLawyer

      I don’t know if it is just progressive people who fail to get this. There are plenty of people on the right-wing who fail to get this as well.

      Most people are not political and non-ideological. I would say that people who do pay attention to politics can be divided between pragmatists and idealists/utopians.

      I am a firm non-utopian but I can often see how incremental reform is extremely frustrating and heart-breaking because it often feels like you are getting crumbs of what you want and are powerless. I voted for HRC in the California primary and will vote for her again in November but even I can find Clintonian triangulaism/splitting the difference to be frustrating.

      • Phil Perspective

        Did you watch the platform committee last night?

        • Steve LaBonne

          Political party platforms ought to be written on toilet paper for all they’re worth.

          • I’ll say again that the poly sci literature suggests that platforms and campaign promises do influence administrations. Obviously, they can’t make impossible things happen. But they are worth something.

            They are part of the coalition process. It’s not magic. So sneaking something on isn’t going to make it work out.

        • kped

          I heard it was awful, Hillary’s side didn’t unilaterally accept the entire platform of the guy she beat! It’s like she is trying to lose!

          • wjts

            As Obama ran in the general on Clinton’s exact platform and as Kerry ran in the general on Dean’s exact platform and as Gore ran in the general on Bradley’s exact platform and as Clinton ran in the general on Tsongas’ exact platform and so forth to the beginning of time – shame on Hillary Clinton for breaking this proud tradition!

            • kped

              Yes, it’s a proud tradition, and it’s shameful that Clinton isn’t following suit. I’ve read many a blog post the past few days showing the error the democrats ways by not adopting Bernie’s platform whole cloth.

  • Dr. Waffle

    Some on the left seem incapable of understanding that there has never been, nor will there ever be, a politician, leader, political party, or institution that isn’t a “lesser evil.”

    • Snarki, child of Loki

      ome on the left seem incapable of understanding that there has never been, nor will there ever be, a politician, leader, political party, or institution that isn’t a “lesser evil.”

      Sure there is. They’re called a “greater evil”.

      Cthulhu/Sithrak 2016!

      • junker

        Don’t blame me, I voted for Yog-sototh

        • LittlePig

          +1

      • Halloween Jack

        I still think that Sithrak should be at the top of the ticket. “An Insane God for an Unjust World” is a slogan that we can all get behind.

    • cleek

      they probably understand that just fine. but actual policy outcomes aren’t the goal. the goal is to be able to pose as being above and outside the ‘establishment’ and ‘the system’. it’s adopting a posture of cynical nihilism in order to avoid participating. because participating in ‘the system’ is for squares.

      at least, that’s what it looks like a lot of my friends are doing.

      • I just had to coach a co-worker through this discussion, which she is having with her husband, whose only monomania is, apparently Israel (he’s so pro he was raised on a kibbutz). She is furious with him even though his failure to vote for HRC is not going to matter here in MA. But from what I see of his stance its a mixture of a reliance on Herd Immunity (enough other people will vote for the Democrat this his vote isn’t needed), and moral cowardice (he fears Trump but hates the idea of being complicit with other decisions that Hillary might take in the future that he wouldn’t like.) Some of the noisiest assholes out there about how special and pure their vote is, and how revolutionary they are, are simply people who are unable to face up to the fact that votes/political matters have consequences which are never ideal. And our only choice is to participate and be damned for some consequences, or refuse to participate and be damned for some other consequences. But lots of people think they can escape responsibilty by not signing the check, or by not giving their name, or by not voting. Like you can escape responsibility for being a US citizen and benefitting from that, exploiting that, by simply refusing to vote every two years.

        • Sly

          There are people who view sex, as a Catholic friend of mine put it, as a dirty and disgusting act that you should only ever do with the one person who you’ll truly love forever and ever. That if you just “give it away” willy-nilly, then you’re just a bad person with corrupted morals who should be derided and shunned. This friend also told me that these people end up masturbating a lot.

          Do with that metaphor what you will.

        • cleek

          yes indeed.

  • Crusty

    Forgive me if this is too elementary, but what was the mechanism whereby the referendum was called for in the first place, and can they call another referendum as a sort of are you sure referendum?

    I think these referendums (referenda?) are stupid, whether in the UK, California, or anywhere else.

    • Snarki, child of Loki

      Mechanism?

      Are you assuming that the UK has some sort of “written constitution” or something?

      Well, even if they did it would be very short, allow me to quote it in full:

      Just muddle on through

      • runsinbackground

        So they actually could call a referendum saying “wait, we changed our mind, we love the Union” and Brussels would just let them back in? After all the trouble they’ve caused by their public disloyalty?

        • Phil Perspective

          Dodgy Dave hasn’t actually invoked Article 50 yet. I have no idea what happens if he doesn’t, other than the UKIP and other hardcore racists getting really pissed and maybe getting violent.

          • NewishLawyer

            Cameron is not going to invoke Article 50. Who knows whether his successor as PM will or not. I think Johnson must be shitting himself right now though.

            The best bet for the UK right now is that everyone treats the referendum vote like an unfortunate drunk text from a friend or lover. It happened but we will pretend that it did not. Cameron resigns, the next PM/Parliament refuses to invoke Article 50, and the EU pretends that nothing happened.

            • Amanda in the South Bay

              Having a country backtrack from leaving the EU would also be a good propaganda move for Brussels. Especially if its one of the world’s largest economies. That should also help dampen enthusiasm for leaving amongst the smaller EU states.

        • gmack

          The referendum does not mean that they are “out” of the EU. The referendum has no legal weight whatsoever. It does, of course, place significant pressure on the government to initiate the withdraw process (i.e., to invoke article 50 of the EU treaty), but there’s no legal requirement that they do so.

        • Murc

          So they actually could call a referendum saying “wait, we changed our mind, we love the Union” and Brussels would just let them back in?

          They haven’t left yet. In fact, they’ve done nothing, legally speaking, to even begin the process of leaving. The referenda established the democratic legitimacy of the “Leave” camp but legally speaking it is no more binding than a straw poll.

      • ITYM

        Keep calm and carry on

        nicht wahr?

        • LittlePig

          Jahvol!

    • deptfordx

      Act of Patliament

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/European_Union_Referendum_Act_2015

      Technically they could just overrule if they want. Parliamentary sovereignty is the defining principle of the British constitution. No Act can bind the decision of a later Parliament, if they’ve changed their mind*. Now this might set off a public and media furore, but they could still do it.

      *Yes I am over-simplifying slightly, but it certainally holds true here.

      • busker type

        yeah, seems like if they give it a couple years and everyone hates it, another referendum would be a no brainer. But doing it too soon would be a disaster. Either way, they’ve shot themselves in the foot, and it’s gonna take time to heal.

        • Captain Oblivious

          Politically, it might make more sense to have a referendum on the terms of leaving.

          • Lurker

            You will not have a referendum on the terms of leaving. After invoking article 50, you can remain a member only if other member states unanimously agree on it. If you don’t accept the terms of exit, you will leave without any terms after two years. After that, you will not have any access to the Union: No freedom of movement, no mobility of capital, no trade relations whatsoever. Not even a treaty allowing British airplanes to land on European airports or cross European airspace.

            So the referendum would be between approving what EU is willing to give to you and an absolute catastrophe, not between exit and remain.

            You have now decided to leave. Cameron will be made to invoke Article 50 next Tuesday at the Council summit. After that, we will get rid of the Brits as soon as possible, because the EU is definitely not willing to prolong the Brexit any longer than absolutely necessary.

            You fucked it up. No own your mess.

            • N__B

              Asking from ignorance: how does the Council force a member state to invoke Article 50?

              • Lurker

                Legally speaking, it is neigh impossible, but in fact, we could actually devise a legal interpretation that UK has, in fact, already invoked the Article by deciding to hold a referendum, and having yea votes win after repeatedly threatening other member states on leaving, unless the UK makes a clear statement to the contrary.

                That is a political question. No court would interfere and unless Cameron makes a definitive statement that UK remains in the EU, there is very little the UK can do about it.

                • N__B

                  Thanks.

                • econoclast

                  That’s a completely ridiculous legal interpretation. I mean, if people with power collectively decide to do something, they can usually do it, but it’s absurd. Article 50 says “according to its constitutional requirements”. The constitutional requirement of Parliamentary sovereignty in the UK is longer and better established than any legal principle on the Continent.

                  And if they do it, if they deliberately ignore the actual inner workings of the UK, then the EU genuinely deserves to be destroyed.

                • a_paul_in_mtl

                  “we could actually devise a legal interpretation ….”

                  No you can’t. Article 50 clearly states that withdrawal from the EU is decided upon by a member country “according to its constitutional requirements”. There is no constitutional requirement in the UK to abide by the outcome of this or any other referendum.

                  That said, it is surely not in the interest of the British government to leave the issue in limbo, since the lingering uncertainty is bound to hurt the British economy.

                • Lurker

                  There is nothing in the British constitution requiring a parliamentary decision. The referendum act of 2015 does not stipulate any followup on a leave vote. Therefore, other member states are allowed to assume that the British Government is at liberty to invoke Article 50, and at liberty to ask Parliament not to invoke it.

                  What Britain is not allowed to do is to keep other member states waiting. That is essential a hostile act. Every hour that Britain spends getting its shit together is waste. You have legislated a system where the only decision mechanism for a leave decision was a up-down popular vote, with no prospect on parliamentary ratification afterwards. That is your constitutional procedure, as currently written. Essentially, the popular vote was a direct invocation of Article 50, and any attempt to claim otherwise is simply malicious interference in the workings of the Union which you have already decided to forsake.

                • addicted44

                  Does the UK have a constitution? Wouldn’t the EU be able to reinterpret “constitutional requirements” for a nation that doesn’t have a constitution.

                  That being said I’m not sure if the EU would want to give referendums binding power. That may screw them in other nations.

                • Steve LaBonne

                  Under the British constitution it’s a royal prerogative, thus de facto it’s the PM and not Parliament that must initiate the Article 50 process.

                • Amanda in the South Bay

                  There is nothing in the British constitution requiring a parliamentary decision.

                  This is exactly eh opposite of what people much better versed in the intricacies of British political life have been saying.

                • Lurker

                  Which article in the British constitution calls for a parliamentary ratification after the referendum? Please show statute constitutional law, not just vague references to traditions.

                  For us outsiders, the only written law governing the British exit is the Referendum Act of 2015. It does not require any further measures. Therefore, it is reasonable for us outsiders to assume that you actually intended to invoke Article 50 directly by the referendum, without any further discussion or possibility for elite intervention.

                  At least, this is how Cameron may and will be pressured to invoking Article 50 next Tuesday. We Europeans are not going to let an indecisive, maliciously stupid UK to hamper the activities of the EU for an indeterminate time.

                • sibusisodan

                  . Therefore, it is reasonable for us outsiders to assume that you actually intended to invoke Article 50 directly by the referendum

                  Art. 50 needs to be communicated to the Council of Ministers. A referendum doesn’t do that by itself.

                • Which article in the British constitution calls for a parliamentary ratification after the referendum?

                  I’m afraid this shows a rather profound ignorance of the British system. There are no articles in “the” British constitution. The UK does not have a written constitution.

                  Please show statute constitutional law, not just vague references to traditions.

                  “Vague references to traditions” *is* a, perhaps the core, mode of British constitutionalism.

                  In this particular case, if you read the act, it doesn’t specify any particular subsequent behaviour. It just says “hold a referendum”. It doesn’t say, “and then follow the results of the referendum”.

                  There is nothing in the referendum that forces anything. It easily could have (‘And upon a “Leave” Vote the minister will invoke article 50).

                • econoclast

                  Fortunately, the legal standard laid out in the treaty is not “uninformed interpretation by a guy on the Internet”. Britain has an unwritten constitution, which is not news to any EU lawyers. The only two actors that matter in the British constitution are the Crown (which really means the PM) and Parliament. Since it’s a matter of foreign policy, Article 50 notification has to come from the Crown.

        • efgoldman

          seems like if they give it a couple years and everyone hates it, another referendum would be a no brainer. But doing it too soon would be a disaster.

          Yeah, but there’s always the possibility that the EU, especially Germany and France, look across the channel with some diplomatically-couched version of “fuck you, you asked for this, now live with it.”

          • Hogan

            Not too diplomatically, I hope. Maybe we’ll learn the French or German equivalent of “Oi, you frightful lot, piss off back to Dunkirk and clear the fuck off.”

          • John Revolta

            Merkel, at least, seems to be willing to be the grownup in the room at the moment. As far as the French are concerned, well……….(shrugs, eats a snail)

            • michael8robinson

              Mmmm. Snails. Could I trouble you to pass the dipping sauce? Very much obliged.

            • addicted44

              It could be good cop bad cop.

              This vote was a big FU to Merkel as well with her being one of the strongest defenders of immigration and refugees.

              I don’t think she’s gonna take this to lightly.

        • Amanda in the South Bay

          I think the point here is that taking their time to hold another referendum won’t allow anything to heal. If anything it’ll get worse.

    • N__B

      The mechanism exposed.

    • ochospantalones

      The referendum was created by an act of Parliament. Holding the referendum was one of David Cameron’s campaign promises, despite his opposition to leaving. Legally-speaking the referendum is non-binding, it is up to Parliament to actually invoke Article 50 and commence the process of leaving. If current MPs really wanted to they could just not do that, and the UK would remain in the EU for the moment. The problem of course is that they may all get wiped out at the next election and replaced with people who will actually “Leave”. Setting up what is seen by the public as a conclusive referendum and then ignoring the results is generally bad politics.

      Basically, the problems with blocking Leave are political, not legal. They have plenty of legal ways out of this if the political will is there.

      • Manny Kant

        Is it up to parliament to invoke Article 50 or to the Crown/Government?

        • Lurker

          Referendum Act of 2015 does not seem to require any further parliamentary actions, so I would consider that the Crown is free to invoke Article 50, unless the referendum result itself was that invocation.

          • Manny Kant

            Nobody in Britain seems to take the referendum result itself to be that invocation. Nor does anyone in Europe – they’re all saying the UK needs to invoke Article 50 immediately, not that it’s already done so.

          • sibusisodan

            Referendum Act of 2015 does not seem to require any further parliamentary actions

            That’s because it is advisory only, not binding, and the EU knows this.

        • ochospantalones

          To be a little clearer, Article 50 is invoked by the Prime Minister rather than Parliament more broadly. So the PM can just not invoke Article 50, and if a majority of Parliament backs him on this (e.g. votes down a no confidence vote) there doesn’t legally need to be a new election until May 2020.

          Parliament has some other opportunities as well. As I understand it, the final negotiated exit terms need to be approved by Parliament. This is interesting, as I believe the EU takes the position that once Article 50 is invoked and negotiations begin there is no going back. So if Parliament rejects the exit terms who knows what happens next.

          In order to exit the EU Parliament would also need to overturn some of the enabling legislation that effectuates the UK-EU relationship, like the European Communities Act of 1972.

  • I imagine someone is working on a survey to gauge the level of bremorse, but for now the term that comes to mind is muggins.

    • Warren Terra

      I like: Vote in haste, repent in Leicester.

  • vic rattlehead

    Perhaps the Brexiters simply have different priors.

    • LoL

    • N__B

      You misspelled “prions.”

    • sharculese

      bravo

    • Dilan Esper

      Funny snark but that’s an analysis that only applies to sub-coalitions (many left wingers don’t see liberals as allies but rather as obstacles to their desired political outcomes), not to a majority vote.

  • LosGatosCA

    Some person/group in the UK has to develop a roadmap to the complete execution of the exit and devolution/break up.

    And include ratification points that provide options to halt or roll back.

    The whole idea that you’re in the EU one day and out the next was pretty stupid. This message of dissatisfaction could have been sent just as resoundingly with a measure to develop an exit plan in 12 months with another referendum to approve/disapprove Brexit at that point.

    There seems to be a factor of extreme stupidity among the UK elite that they also exhibited during the Scot separation campaign. Duh, like what currency will we use after independence?

    The criminal stupidity of people running nations is best exhibited by their inability to see events that are not just predictable but matters of absolute inevitability in less than 90 days after a catastrophic decision.

    New currency in Scotland? nation building in Iraq? UK breakup?

    It’s a global problem – seems like the global elites must get their bottled water from Flint.

    • Dr. Ronnie James, DO

      We’re seeing this now in the Republican Party: every time they’re given a choice between “make the smart tactical long-term course correction” vs. “flog the horse that’s gonna win the next election a few more times” they invariably choose column B. It happened with the 2012 defeat (make peace with women/ Latino voters vs. nominate That Guy), and we’ve seen the choice. It’s arguable something similar happened to the Democrats in the late 70s early 80s; getting such massively entrenched institutions to change typically takes a catastrophic defeat like Goldwater/ Mondale (Dukakis) to get them to smell the coffee. That, or a generational handover.

      • NewishLawyer

        I don’t know if Goldwater is a good example because even though he lost, the GOP did not get moderate. If anything, Goldwater’s loss made the hard right-wing more adamant and less flexible.

        • Sly

          Maybe over the long-term, but the resurgence of the far right in American politics in the latter half of the 20th century depends on a lot more than Goldwater. Certainly the immediate effect of the 1964 election was catastrophic for the far right.

          • NewishLawyer

            Nixon in 1968 might not have run to the right of Goldwater but he ran to the right of Nixon in 1960. If anything, the right-wing had a pretty quick comeback in some ways. Reagan became governor of California in 1966. The Moral Majority began flexing their muscles in the 1970s with more strength and manage to destroy Ted Kennedy’s pre-K bill. They defeated the ERA, etc.

            • Thom

              All true, but we still have Medicare, Medicaid, the Civl Rights Act, the Voting Rights Act (minus automatic enforcement–but don’t try to claim this is the same as before 1965, awful though it is).

    • Sly

      The whole idea that you’re in the EU one day and out the next was pretty stupid. This message of dissatisfaction could have been sent just as resoundingly with a measure to develop an exit plan in 12 months with another referendum to approve/disapprove Brexit at that point.

      Yeah. Despite the widespread romanticism surrounding the American Revolution itself, the Declaration of Independence came at the tail end of a year-long process during which the question of how to achieve independence was vigorously debated and planned (and, it should be noted, that the colonies and the British Empire were already in a state of war the whole time, if only de facto). It’s not like the members of the Continental Congress woke up on July 4th, 1776 and said “We’re out. Peace.” But this is basically what the Brexiters have done, and I’d probably find it a whole lot less humorously bizarre if I wasn’t looking at it from the outside.

      • michael8robinson

        Looking at it from the inside, and as an American, it’s pretty much bizarrely humourous along the lines you’ve laid out here.

        Bravo.

    • Murc

      Some person/group in the UK has to develop a roadmap to the complete execution of the exit and devolution/break up.

      And include ratification points that provide options to halt or roll back.

      It’s worth noting that there are two parties to this discussion. There are certain points of no return in any process of getting out of the EU, and if the British want to establish ratification points that let them halt or roll back they’ll need the cooperation of the EU.

      • LosGatosCA

        No, not really.

        The EU doesn’t need to cooperate with or approve of UK plans to exit or participate in any breakup coordination.

        it’s like a spouse planning a divorce. Get the financial house in order, plan the division of property, plan on custody of the kids, etc. before filing any legal papers. Discussions with the spouse may/may not be helpful, but it’s legally unnecessary

        The EU only gets involved at the point the official divorce papers are filed.

        • Murc

          The EU only gets involved at the point the official divorce papers are filed.

          Which is one of the first steps, because there are a lot of things the UK actually can’t do prior to leaving. It can’t start negotiating non-EU trade deals, for example.

          • LosGatosCA

            It (filing the papers) shouldn’t be one of the first steps is my exact point

            It’ should be at best an intermediate step

            • Murc

              It shouldn’t be one of the first steps is my exact point

              Well, it is, and that can’t be changed without the EU agreeing to certain things.

        • lizzie

          it’s like a spouse planning a divorce. Get the financial house in order, plan the division of property, plan on custody of the kids, etc. before filing any legal papers. Discussions with the spouse may/may not be helpful, but it’s legally unnecessary

          I don’t understand this. How do you plan the division of property and custody of the kids without discussions with the spouse? Who are you planning with? If you mean come up with your own plans for what you’re going to ask for, well, sure. But that doesn’t really move the ball all that much, does it? You still have to get the spouse to agree or else win in court, in which case all your planning might not amount to much.

          Which comes back to Murc’s point: there’s another party to the discussion.

          • LosGatosCA

            Ok – this just a comment on a blog, not a term paper but since the divorce analogy isn’t working for everyone let’s try assisted suicide.

            Things are desperate, your future regarding your poor health is bleak, you don’t want to be a burden to your friends and family, your quality of life is approaching zero.

            You take rational reasonable evaluation of the options. You take care of the loose ends. You make sure all your affairs are in order, etc. Then you share your plan with the family, adjust it as necessary. They directly or indirectly remind you that there are some additional things to be addressed. You then take care of those items. Everything is complete, the stage is set.

            Then you execute the final act.

            If you execute the final act first you put unexpected burdens on others to react after the fact, in an unplanned, likely misunderstood way.

        • Lurker

          The British are now engaging in playing time. From EU perspective, they have now solemnly decided to leave the Union and are only playing time. In oarticular, UK is trying to get a trade deal with EU before formally filing an Article 50 notice. This is not going to happen. EU is not going to allow itself being played for fools. Britain will first negotiate for an exit via Article 50 and any trade deals with it are comsucted with it only later.

          Why an earth should we allow an island dictate its terms to a continent?

          • LosGatosCA

            The same way you get the Mexicans to pay for the wall.

  • Dr. Ronnie James, DO

    Alternate title: “WE BEAT THE SMART KIDS! WE BEAT THE SMART KIDS!”

    How soon until they can have a referendum on rejoining? Or can the next election simply pivot on that issue, with a potential new government making it happen?

    What’s interesting is it seems likely we’ll see a lot of negative outcomes in the short term (financial markets & specific classes of investors/ workers who get screwed), and long-term effects 1-5 years out (the economy suffering), but relatively little medium term effects of the type that would, say, be relevant in November. IIRC Cameron’s not even leaving office until October…

  • jim, some guy in iowa

    Scott, as always, thanks for your work on this kind of thing

  • Spiny

    Brexit has had me thinking about when if ever it is right for elected officials to just say “fuck that” to referendum results. My California-bred heart says referendums are generally bad ideas and legislators need the space to actually legislate without 20 contradictory mandates laid at their doorstep year after year. And yet I can’t help but feel it would be really corrosive to just ignore the outcome of a highly public and controversial vote like Brexit, like some UK parliamentarians want to do. Or even just delay actual implementation, like Johnson no doubt wants to do.

    • I’ve always disliked the many stages that things have to go through to get,say, to an amendment. But now I really see the wisdom. I lived in California long enough to see how awful referenda are as a method of doing politics. There has to be a better way, like making it a two stage process and grasping that the first stage, the referedum itself, is the most easily demagogued and therefore the most likely to be a total cock up.

      • Spiny

        I’d like to see something like that, in practice I imagine it would be open to criticism from the money-out-of-politics crowd, since a two-step process would probably require an extra level of funding behind a referendum to get it through.

        And I’d still wonder if there should be, or can be, a credible mechanism for those referendums to be set aside by politicians. Even if the courts can do it, it seems worse for politicians to have that power.

    • Manny Kant

      I think that, practically, you’d need to either hold a new referendum, or hold a new general election with Brexit at the forefront, to get out of it without looking like you’re just ignoring the will of the people.

      • Ken

        Wouldn’t that mean that the parties have to take a position on Brexit? UKIP’s set, but I have the (possibly-wrong) impression the other parties are split.

      • Spiny

        What’s the justification for saying there should be a new referendum, though? From the outside, at least, it would seem like a pretty transparent “wrong answer, try again” stunt by elites.

        The only way you avoid these questions is by never holding referendums in the first place, and that sounds like an incredibly depressing own goal by democracy.

    • And yet I can’t help but feel it would be really corrosive to just ignore the outcome of a highly public and controversial vote like Brexit, like some UK parliamentarians want to do. Or even just delay actual implementation, like Johnson no doubt wants to do.

      It’s not great. They should have put in a supermajority condition from the start, for sure.

      But…the alternative is pretty disastrous. So, needs must.

      The problem I have is that it probably won’t work.

      Maaaaybe if Boris falls on his sword. Points out the lies. Points out the dreadful consequences, etc.

      But that’ll never happen, so.

    • MyNameIsZweig

      My California-bred heart says referendums are generally bad ideas and legislators need the space to actually legislate without 20 contradictory mandates laid at their doorstep year after year.

      Yes, and when you live in a state with a more-or-less functional government, that makes a lot of sense. However, growing up in Florida, I remember when voters got so sick of the legislature not doing dick (this would probably have been the early 1990s) that they started engaging in direct government via referendum, specifically by amending the state constitution to reflect what should have been legislative priorities instead.

      And I will be the first to admit that this resulted in sub-optimal outcomes (like the pregnant pig amendment, for example). But I also remember the frustration that most voters had with the state lege at that time (which was just starting to solidify as a GOP stronghold), and that was basically the only option available to people who wanted anything to get done.

  • jamesepowell

    Complaints about politics as consumer products predate my birth. We live in a consumer culture. It inhabits and defines everything we do. Wouldn’t it be strange for our politics to be otherwise?

    I’m not endorsing, just wondering what model would replace the consumer model & how we go about that process.

    • MAJeff

      This is part of the longer trend of attacking the idea of citizenship and replacing it with a consumer model, be it in terms of government services or voting.

      We need to reinvigorate the idea of citizenship, and not denigrate it by turning into mere consumption.

  • i couldn’t agree more, Scott, and this is also, largely, at the root of my antipathy to the Sanders supposed project of “pushing Hillary to the left.” Because it was a detail free set of exciting fantasies designed to whip voters to a fever pitch. Like the promises that Farage and the others made to the mouthbrexiters these promises are long on tasty and short on nutritious. The politician is well aware that he will never have to deliver on these promises–the only people who are unaware and the voters. But in Bernie’s case, specifically, he left a pile of checks that he can’t back. And his angry creditors/supporters are now pissed at the Democratic Party for not being able to cash them. At least the Breixiters are becoming aware that they were lied to and they made a stupid decision. But we will have to deal with Bernie and his Buster’s poisoning the well for Hillary Clinton and the rest of us for a long time.

    • Phil Perspective

      Because it was a detail free set of exciting fantasies designed to whip voters to a fever pitch.

      Detail free, how? You damn well know that’s not true. What detail are you talking about? That even if he was the nominee that the party elite would sabotage him?

      • Bernie’s numbers did not add up. And his insistence now that HRC put things in the platform that she can not bring about–like banning fracking–is just another example of his luftmensch campaign of ice cream candy and treats for everyone.

        • a_paul_in_mtl

          “And his insistence now that HRC put things in the platform that she can not bring about–like banning fracking–is just another example of his luftmensch campaign of ice cream candy and treats for everyone.”

          If you’re going to say that any honest Democratic candidate for President should limit their platforms to proposals that would actually be passed by a Republican dominated House of Representatives, why not just come out and say it? And then denounce Hillary Clinton in turn for promising what cannot be delivered.

          • a_paul_in_mtl

            For example, Hillary Clinton’s health care proposals, while more modest than that of Sanders, are actually no more realistic. When is Congress going to pass a “public option”? They didn’t even do that when Democrats held the House and the Senate! How is a Clinton administration going to induce Republican-controlled states to sign on to the Medicaid expansion. And so on.

            People need to understand that in the current context, an electoral platform is a wishlist, not a binding contract.

            • GeorgeBurnsWasRight

              They didn’t even do that when Democrats held the House and the Senate!

              The Democrats held the 60 Senate seats necessary to defeat Republican filibusters from July 7, 2009 when after much Republican obstruction Al Franken was finally sworn in after being elected the previous November, to August 25, 2009 when Ted Kennedy died.

              That’s a total of 7 weeks, in the middle of Summer when Congress is basically in recess. I can’t blame the Democrats that much when the Republicans formally decided before his inauguration to oppose everything Obama did, and except for those 7 weeks they had the power to do so.

              • Regardless of how brief a time it was, if they couldn’t do it with 60 senators (or 59, or 58) they’re not going to do it with 50-52.

      • Well, right, it wasn’t entirely detail-free. It included the $15 minimum wage, which is obviously great policy because everything works in nice increments, so it was better than $14.75 or $15.25!

        But there were a couple problems. First, the highest the national minimum wage has ever been, adjusted to today’s dollar, was about $10.50, for a short while in 1968 or 1969. Every time there’s been a proposed minimum wage increase, no matter how modest, the low-wage industries like fast food predict ruin, and they’ve always been full of crap, because the increases were modest and didn’t even catch up to the highest it had previously been, where it appears to have caused no real job losses. But $15/hour, as a national minimum wage, is an incredible leap beyond not just what we’re at, but beyond what we’ve ever had. It’s why Alan Kreuger, who did the most important research on the minimum wage in the 1990’s to debunk all those predicting doom, opposes going that high. It would almost certainly result in a ton of job losses, in particular outside the high wage areas like the cities of the West Coast, the Northeast corridor, etc.

        One of the underlying problems here is Bernie’s as serious about policy as most Republicans. It’s all catchphrases. Did he offer up a plan with staged increases, maybe with some mechanism to adjust for regional differences, so NYC’s wage isn’t held down by what the Mississippi Delta could sustain, or the Upper Peninsula of Michigan isn’t losing jobs because it has to pay what makes sense in Seattle? No, because he just adopted a catchphrase from an advocacy effort that makes sense in some big urban areas, but would be a disaster in places with lower costs of living.

        Oh, btw, I think a lot of liberals overestimate the popularity of $15/hour. PPP–no tool of the US Chamber–recently did a great question, where the options were (iirc) eliminate the minimum wage, keep it where it’s at, $10/hr, $12/hr, or $15/hr. Almost everyone was in favor of raising it. But only 22% supported $15/hr.

        I worked on living wage amendments in the late 1990’s. Looking back, I wonder if there was some long-term damage done by the phrase “living wage,” because the reality is the lowest sustainable wages alone probably can’t be high enough to provide a reasonable standard of living covering basic housing, food, incidentals, without causing a big loss of jobs, or–and this is key–in the absence of a stronger welfare state. Focusing on expanding the EITC, fixing welfare, doing something about afordable housing, getting Medicaid expanded in every state, doing a better job on public transportation, providing or subsidizing child care, you have to do all of those things. You’re not going to have a national minimum wage high enough to provide for all of that without wiping out lower-paying jobs and making things worse.

        [FWIW, I favor doing something over $10 nationally, maybe as high as $12, probably phased in over a few years, with some mechanism to try to find a good level, and then peg it to inflation. But, of course, also allowing (and maybe encouraging) units of government under the federal level to go higher than the federal minimum (as many already do).]

        Long way of saying: Bernie isn’t a serious person on policy. He didn’t even have a policy staff on his campaign until January or February, when he brought one of the staffers from his senate office over to the campaign. He never had a serious group of policy experts, and his prescriptions are almost all nothing more than catch-phrases, which are important, but insufficient, and sometimes harmful to what you’re trying to accomplish.

        • John Revolta

          If you want 12 you ask for 15. If you want 15 you ask for 20. Anybody over the age of 10 should understand this.

          • Manny Kant

            No.

          • a_paul_in_mtl

            Only if $15 would actually be seen as a serious offer. In some contexts, it could signal that one is not serious about negotiating.

        • a_paul_in_mtl

          “Did he offer up a plan with staged increases?”

          Not in detail, no. Here’s what his website says:

          “We must increase (the minimum wage) to $15 an hour over the next several years.”

          This clearly indicates a phased-in increase. Are the exact details such as over how many years, how many phases, etc., necessary at this point? As it turns out, no. Bernie is not going to be the nominee. But in any case, it is not as though he was going to be in a position to dictate the terms of any increase unilaterally, so if any such increase were to take place the details would be subject to negotiation.

      • efgoldman

        Detail free, how? You damn well know that’s not true. What detail are you talking about?

        The details that the Daily News asked him about, and for which he had no answers.
        That interview made him out to be a politer version of Combover Caligula on policy.
        “How are you going to do x?”
        “I haven’t thought about it”
        “Well then, how are you going to accomplish y?”
        “I don’t know.”

        NOT (nor should it be) a winning strategery in any campaign, especially a presidential one.

      • JMP

        He could have, for instance, not inspired conspiracy mongering by his cultists that lead to fact free idiotic whining about “the party elite sabotaging him” even thought nothing at all like that happened to try and delegitimize Clinton’s victory, as if she didn’t win because the majority of Democratic voters preferred her.

    • Murc

      i couldn’t agree more, Scott, and this is also, largely, at the root of my antipathy to the Sanders supposed project of “pushing Hillary to the left.”

      There was nothing “supposed” about that project. It existed, and it worked.

      • My favorite heightening of the contradictions this cycle is this cluster of beliefs, typically held by the same people:

        1. Hillary is craven & only does things for votes
        2. There’s widespread support for the policies espoused by Bernie
        3. Only because of Bernie’s candidacy did Hillary have to move to the left in the primary.
        4. Hillary is now lined up with the policies Bernie espouses, which are popular

        If you take #’s 1 & 2 as givens, why is #3 necessary for #4? The first two contradict the third.

        [Note, btw, contrary to what some have said, Hillary has not embraced the $15 minimum wage. She said she’d sign it if it got to her desk. That was easy to say, because she knows that would never happen.]

        • Murc

          Nothing of what you said has anything to do, at all, with “heightening the contradictions.”

          As for your list, points two, three, and four seem indisputably true to me, and can exist independently of point one being manifestly untrue.

          • Manny Kant

            I don’t see any particular reason to believe three is true, and certainly it is not “indisputably true.” Clinton was moving left long before Sanders became a serious challenger. There may be a few issues where Sanders prompted her to move to the left, but the idea that it’s all in response to Sanders is nonsense.

            • Murc

              You don’t think that a leftward challenger who gathered massively unexpected levels of support and momentum prompted Hillary to realize that the Democratic Party electorate was more leftward than she’d thought and adjust accordingly?

              Because that seems pretty obvious to me.

              It didn’t necessarily require specifically Sanders, mind you.

              • Manny Kant

                The statement that you said was indisputable was “Only because of Bernie’s candidacy did Hillary have to move to the left in the primary.”

                What you are asking me in your most recent post is quite different, though I’m not particularly sure I agree with it. Hillary mostly moved to the left before Bernie became a serious threat. What are notable areas where she has moved to the left since it became clear Bernie was gathering “massively unexpected levels of support and momentum”?

                • Hillary mostly moved to the left before Bernie became a serious threat.

                  So often missed. The main area where Bernie may have pulled her further is immigration, an issue on which he’s seldom shown any interest, and on which he was taking a position untenable for an executive office holder. There was that one debate where Hillary worked her butt off to say something that wouldn’t come back at her.

                  As for “heightening the contradictions,” I shouldn’t have assumed people would realize I was using it ironically.

                • EliHawk

                  So often missed. The main area where Bernie may have pulled her further is immigration, an issue on which he’s seldom shown any interest, and on which he was taking a position untenable for an executive office holder.

                  It’s also worth pointing out that a decent chunk of her movement on immigration wasn’t because of Sanders, but because O’Malley staked out a strong position on her left and they moved to counter it before it could get going.

                • I was thinking of the Florida debate where Bernie essentially said he wouldn’t enforce immigration law because he wouldn’t deport any undocumented immigrants without criminal records, and Clinton tried to not fully follow him down that path. I think she’d probably be very happy pursuing that policy–and I’d be happy if that was our legal policy–at least toward undocumented immigrants currently in the US (as opposed to an open border policy, which isn’t going to happen and shouldn’t). And it’s consistent with the Obama administration’s enforcement priorities. But in the absence of comprehensive immigration reform that’s just disregarding the law, and it’s probably a bad idea for a presidential candidate to declare she won’t enforce federal laws she doesn’t like, especially when we’re trying to draw contrasts with an opponent who talks like an autocrat who views laws as whatever he wants them to be.

        • a_paul_in_mtl

          Oh dear, it’s straw man time again. Here we go, point by point.

          1) Hillary has, in fact, changed her positions over the years. One does not have to endorse the caricature suggested by the claim that she “only does things for votes” to understand that she does take note of what is, and is not, going to fly politically within the Democratic coalition.

          2) Depends on what you mean by “widespread”. I would say support for them (at least in principle) is widespread though not universal among liberal and left-leaning voters.

          3) One does not actually have to claim this in order to argue that, by showing that there is considerable support for more progressive policies, Sanders’ campaign has been an important factor in moving Clinton to the left.

          4) I’m not sure who is actually saying this. The “heightening the contradictions” people are saying the opposite- they say Clinton hasn’t really moved to the left at all and so anyone who supports her is a neo-liberal sellout, just like her.

          • Hillary has, in fact, changed her positions over the years. One does not have to endorse the caricature suggested by the claim that she “only does things for votes” to understand that she does take note of what is, and is not, going to fly politically within the Democratic coalition.

            Claiming she moved left because of Bernie implies she didn’t need to move left to win the nomination until he came along, that she would have done some kind of triangulation. I think that’s wrong, very wrong, but that’s the premise of the “she only moved left because of Bernie.”

            • Pseudonym

              Claiming she moved left because of Bernie implies she didn’t need to move left to win the nomination until he came along…

              Not necessarily. It could also be that the unexpected popularity of a candidate to Clinton’s left showed that policy positions to the left were politically viable and could gather a substantial amount of support from voters. In other words, Sanders’s platform (in its themes if not its particulars) could serve as a sort of trial balloon for Clinton and the Democratic Party as a whole.

              • I think polling for the general election is a more likely explanation. Plus, it was always assumed Hillary was more liberal than Bill. Maybe this is who she’s comfortable being now that it’s electorally viable.

                • Dilan Esper

                  Except Hillary was big free trader at the State Department and repudiated her own trade treaty as a candidate. No way was that shift principled. Most likely it was to cut off her left.

                • Oh, as always Dilan, you’re so right. I mean, she came out against it because by that point, three weeks in to Bernie’s candidacy, he had closed to within 60 or 50 points her. And at that time her perceived toughest opponent, Joe Biden, had no association with TPP, and it was certainly a coincidence that she came out against it two days after the House Dems voted to tank the deal.

                  So yes, of COURSE it was to “cut off her left,” with “her left” meaning Joe Biden, and further defining “the left” as almost every Democratic member of Congress. Which when you add it all up, means it was totally because of the guy polling like 12% at the time, Bernie Sanders!

        • addicted44

          Also, #5) Bernie has pushed Hillary to the left where she has adopted his positions but he hasn’t heard what he needs to endorse her

          • Dilan Esper

            He wants her to go as far left as possible. He is negotiating.

  • bluefish

    Can you explain why we need an international capitalist rent seeking bureaucracy? IE the EU?

    • Sly

      The choice of the referendum wasn’t between having and not having an international capitalist rent seeking bureaucracy. The choice was between having an international capitalist rent seeking bureaucracy or a national capitalist rent seeking bureaucracy.

      • IS

        And having a say in what the international capitalist rent seeking bureaucracy (that you’re still going to need to deal with a hell of a lot!–you still plan on having trade relations with the EU, right?), or, well, not.

        • Sly

          It depends on whether you take the minarchist view that the more “local” an institution is (in a political sense, not a geographic one) the easier it is to control, or at least hold accountable. Frankly, I think this view is not borne out by the practical reality of politics as a collective act. The less local an institution is, the greater number of people there are to get pissed off at what its doing and start reaching for stray bricks lying around.

          • Manny Kant

            Anyone who says that local governments are more accountable has never actually had any connection with actually existing local governments. The federal government is overwhelmingly more responsive to popular opinion than local government are.

            • GFW

              While I agree that this is true in practice, what is the reason? I doubt that “larger = more responsive” is the fundamental reason. I would suspect that it has to do with the prominence of the issues that are federal matters vs the the issues that are local matters.

              • EliHawk

                Also: More people vote for national offices, and especially nowadays, there are more still profitable media outlets that cover the federal government. Your local paper can’t afford a stringer to cover your state house, much less a dedicated investigative reporter policing City Hall.

              • Pseudonym

                I can look at any news or political site online and get a good sense within minutes of how Trump and Clinton differ. It was next to impossible to find that information for the candidates for county supervisor, particularly as it’s a nonpartisan office.

      • michael8robinson

        Bravo. Could not have said it better.

    • Lurker

      The EU is capitalist, indeed. It does have a bureaucracy that engages in the usual self-preservative activities of organizations, yes. But as a whole, the European Union and its administrative machinery are checks on capitalist rent-seeking behavior, not enablers.

      The EU has a strong left, and its agenda is well represented in the parliament. The Commission does take e.g. environment and chemical safety really seriously. Indeed, no single member state could hope to oppose the rent-seeking by great corporations as effectively as the 500-million-citizen Union. The Union is one of the staunchest safeguards for civil and worker rights in Europe.

      • Davis X. Machina

        This is what I couldn’t figure out about Lexit.

        • Lexit folks were, in a word, idiots.

          Exit doesn’t further any progressive cause in the UK or in the rest of the EU *probably*. The EU MIGHT react with deeper integration which might help fix some Euro problems…but those are pretty tough to fix.

          • EliHawk

            Speaking of Lexit idiots

            Stein calls Britain Vote a Wake-up Call

            NEED TO UNITE WORKERS AND IMMIGRANTS

            The vote in Britain to exit the European Union (EU) is a victory for those who believe in the right of self-determination and who reject the pro-corporate, austerity policies of the political elites in EU. The vote says no to the EU’s vision of a world run by and for big business. It is also a rejection of the European political elite and their contempt for ordinary people.

            Unfortunately, the rejection was also motivated by attacks on immigrants and refugees, which must be opposed. That is a defeat.

            The Brexit vote is one more sign that voters are in revolt against the rigged economy and the rigged political system that created it. People want change and they will get it one way or the other.

            The austerity policies pushed aggressively by the EU bankers in the wake of the 2008 economic collapse have harmed the economies of European nations. It has also led to the kind of divisions between the working class and immigrants that fueled the Brexit. The increase in anti-immigrant, anti-Muslim and anti-refugee sentiment expanded because of the EU’s economic policies, and was a key driver in support of the UK’s departure from the European Union. Counterproductive austerity policies, cuts in government spending and loss of government jobs having created similar hateful, nationalist rhetoric promoted by my Republican opponent Donald Trump.

            We must build a culture of inclusiveness and respect, and challenge the anti-immigrant, anti-Muslim pronouncements of demagogues who divide and distract us from the real source of economic distress – the economic elites throwing us all under the bus.

            Government spending and job creation has historically led the United States out of recessions. I have proposed a Green New Deal which would fund a green energy transition and create millions of jobs. I also call for cancelling student loan debt – as we did for Wall Street after it crashed the economy in 2008. Liberating the younger generation to lead the way to a new economy is perhaps the most powerful stimulus package imaginable. The divisions promoting hateful xenophobia will not occur if the economy grows from the bottom, the wealth divide shrinks and people see hopeful futures.

            The challenge now is to expand the political movement in the United States, Britain and beyond, that opposes austerity and the rule of bankers – including destructive corporate trade agreements like the Trans Pacific Partnership and the TTIP. We must also defend the rights of workers and immigrants, and adopt sustainable economic policies that lift up the quality of life for all while transitioning to 100% clean energy as an urgent priority to avoid the worst impacts of climate change. And we must reject the catastrophic military adventures that have caused so much of the immigration crisis to start with, while simultaneously bankrupting our economies.

            We will continue to work with our fellow Greens in the UK who are already leading the way in Britain, and with Green Parties throughout Europe and beyond, to promote these urgently needed changes in all countries.

            Britain has spoken for much of humanity as it rejects the failed vision of a world that prioritizes profit for the few amidst hardship for the many. Now we must build on this momentum. Together we can create a world that works for us all, that puts people, planet and peace over profit. #ItsInOurHands

            • This is as stupid a thing as I’ve seen in the past two days. Christ!

          • addicted44

            Also wouldn’t a very likely Scottish exit after A Leave vote lead to a hard right lurch for the British?

            • Yes.

              We lose all sorts of EU protections for workers and the environment and consumers, off the bat. The schmoes who will be in charge were pretty up front about wanting to kill all that. Farage was tweeting his contempt of recent EU extensions to maternity leave.

              So even before a Scottish leave, we’re in baaaad shape.

      • Sly

        When someone asks “What do bureaucrats in Brussels care about the plight of workers in Liverpool?” the appropriate answer is “More than bureaucrats in Whitehall care about the plight of workers in Seville.”

        The problems of international institutions are most effectively met by international organizing, not retreating within national boundaries and trading one master for another.

        • Davis X. Machina

          There’s some guy right here who keeps writing about precisely this when it comes to worker safety and a living wage…

      • michael8robinson

        Indeed, no single member state could hope to oppose the rent-seeking by great corporations as effectively as the 500-million-citizen Union. The Union is one of the staunchest safeguards for civil and worker rights in Europe.
        Reply

        For the most part, insofar as the threat to civil and worker rights within Europe arises from the United States.

        The EU is, and has been, much more effective at defending European businesses from encroachment by American pseudo-hegomonic concerns, than it has been in protecting the European consumer from predation by EU businesses.

        (Which is not to say that the EU has been entirely ineffective at protecting European consumer interests from predation by EU businesses; only that there are priorities, and protecting EU businesses from American businesses is prioritised according to institutional interests. C.f. RyanAir.)

    • Murc

      Can you explain why we need an international capitalist rent seeking bureaucracy? IE the EU?

      The EU is largely responsible for maintaining and promoting the peace and prosperity of Europe for the past half-century.

      It’s done some deeply shitty stuff and even some stuff I’d be comfortable labeling as “evil.” But by and large it has been a force for good in the world.

      • CD

        +1

        The trouble with these arguments is they assume burning stuff down will make things better. Which is a big part of Trumpism, if you think about it.

    • a_paul_in_mtl

      “Can you explain why we need an international capitalist rent seeking bureaucracy? IE the EU?”

      In principle, you don’t. The practical question is, what are the likely consequences of trading in the EU bureaucracy for a bureaucracy and political culture that is actually more hostile to constraints on capital and state power such as environmental and labour regulations and human rights covenants? The political question is, what are the implications of a vote based primarily on the notion of the need to take one’s country back from an influx of migrants? Neither of those things are likely to advance any kind of social democratic and humanist agenda, let alone a socialist one.

  • Peterr

    Again and again, both before and after the vote, I have been reminded of Charlie Pierce and his classic book on American political culture entitled “Idiot America.” In it, he identified The Three Great Premises that justify and explain the title of his book:

    1. Any theory is valid if it sells books, soaks up ratings, or otherwise moves units.

    2. Anything can be true if someone says it loudly enough.

    3. Fact is that which enough people believe. Truth is determined by how fervently they believe it.

    Clearly, the UK has been infected by this colonial disease.

  • Joe_JP

    The lesser evil comments reminds me of my suggestion at another blog that a pro-choice voter had a real choice in the LA governor race even though the Democrat was pro-life, especially since Medicaid expansion was on the line. Didn’t say a voter HAD to vote for him, but just saying.

    One person just couldn’t grasp the logic of it. So, I said — what if we were talking an election pre-Roe v. Wade. NEITHER candidate was for legal abortion (since it simply wasn’t a thing) really. One was some reprobate racist. Who’d would you pick? The person couldn’t conceive my point.

    [The person said as much. Didn’t understand my point. Also, basically, thought I was a reprobate for wanting women to vote for an anti-choicer. Purity is tiresome … among other things.]

    My favorite clip so far is a leader for Brexit being asked about the claim how voting for it would allow a large influx of cash to the health service. He says, well, yeah, that was wrong. The interviewer was like “hey! that was a major reason some voted for Brexit!” And, he said, uh yeah, well that was a mistake. Sorry!

    • Manny Kant

      To be unnecessarily fair to Farage, who is despicable, my understanding is that the 350 million for the NHS claim was being made by the more mainstream Tory Brexiters like Johnson and Gove, and that Farage’s UKIP was mostly just focusing on straight up racism and didn’t make that claim.

      • Manny Kant

        Well, never mind. No defense of Farage is necessary.

      • MacK

        To which my answer is that I heard Farage denouncing “Tom Cobley and all” as liars for 6 weeks – but he stayed very very silent about the £350 million, indeed he denounced as liars people who denounced the £350 million claim and that I heard.

        • Manny Kant

          Yeah, Farage is just being a dishonest asshole, it would appear.

          • Farage is just being a dishonest asshole

            This is always the safe bet.

  • Murc

    The reaction of Boris Johnson — the proverbial dog that caught the car — should make it pretty clear that the anti-EU faction of the Tories were more trolls than revolutionaries. And the way you deal with trolls is to ignore them, not to try to shut them up with a binding referendum with huge downside risks.

    I’m going to potentially do something very idiotic here and offer a qualified defense of Cameron on this score.

    We talk a lot on this blog how all politics is the work of coalitions and that political leaders often are, counter-intuitively, often forced to follow their electorates rather than the other way around. This comes up a lot during Clinton-related sturm und drang; people will say “They put the boot into the welfare state and ran on making poor people poorer and locking up black people” and they’re not wrong, but then others will come back with “the political atmosphere of the Democratic Party and the national mood as a whole at that time required them to make compromises with the no-more-handouts and tough-on-crime wings of their own party, to say nothing of the Republicans” and they aren’t wrong either.

    Or, in a more British context… there’s been a lot of talk about how Cameron is going down as “the worst PM since Neville Chamberlain.” Chamberlain is reviled by history for his appeasement… but it is ignored that Chamberlain was representing the will of the vast majority of his party, the opposition party, and most of the British electorate. If he’d tried to drag Britain to war in 1938 there’s a very good chance his government implodes.

    Like it or not, there’s an enormous part of the British right that is anti-EU, and that greeted the Brexit vote with robust celebration and don’t give a fuck about the consequences. These people are a non-trivial part of Cameron’s electoral coalition, because of their threat to vote for the far right and thus throw seats to Labour. (I bet Cameron really wishes he’d gotten behind voting reform now, because that would go a long way to obviating the possibility of that happening.) He is, therefore, required to make concessions to them in order to obviate that possibility, and one of those concessions was this referendum.

    It can be argued that a responsible leader would have told the further right to go fuck themselves on this issue and court electoral failure rather than run this hideous risk. But politics doesn’t really work that way. In the context of the Tories actually existing, believing they should govern, and willing to make certain compromises en route to governing, the referendum was a necessary choice.

    This in no way makes Cameron not a horrible person. But the Tories don’t view themselves as villains; they view themselves as engaged in the business of winning elections and then governing. From that perspective it can be hard to fault him on the politics. On the policy, certainly.

    • michael8robinson

      Like it or not, there’s an enormous part of the British right that is anti-EU

      37% of Labour voters voted Leave.

      Which I understand is not germane to your specific point about Cameron’s political options, but should not be overlooked, regardless.

      • Murc

        Right?

        Like, even if you assume that one-half of total Brexit voters didn’t really mean it, that’s still a shit-ton of people remaining. Those people have electoral priorities that need to either be accommodated or defeated.

        It is very easy to say “well, the Tories should have drawn a line and lived with the consequences.” I absolutely agree with that line of reasoning; it’s the responsible, statesmanlike thing to do, the sort of thing that, if you’re truly a good leader, you are sometimes required to do; saying “it is better that we not win than win than make this compromise.”

        But that’s super, super hard. Political parties and political leaders are often unwilling to do that, and for good reason.

        • The perception I had in 2015 is that it was a pretty unnecessary pledge and pretty obviously a bad idea. Now it’s easy to see why he would hedge his electoral bets at the time, but it was pretty poorly thought out.

          And, well, fuck him. Yes, he represent a coalition, but this is the deluge. He knew it. He blew it.

          He could have stood pat. If UKIP was required to form a government, he could have screwed them like he did the LibDems on AV.

          • michael8robinson

            Indeed.

    • Manny Kant

      I think the criticism is basically that he probably didn’t need to agree to the referendum in order to win in 2015. It was taking a huge downside risk for a very limited upside gain – high risk, low reward.

      • MacK

        Or he could at least have inserted a double lock like the tories imposed on the Scottish devolution referendum – a minimum poll and a minimum majority. Or a triple lock – majority in England, Scotland and Wales (or even Northern Ireland.)

        He even had a justification for the Scottish requirement – the promises and positions made about the EU in 2014 – that having kept Scotland by playing the EU card, Scotland had to agree to leave the EU too. In Northern Ireland he could have used the referendum on the Good Friday Agreement which explicitly includes membership of the EU.

        • Murc

          Gosh, you and I are agreeing a lot today, Mac.

        • Murc

          In Northern Ireland he could have used the referendum on the Good Friday Agreement which explicitly includes membership of the EU.

          … oh, Christ, I glossed over this part of your post at first. I didn’t know this.

          Is… I’m not an expert on the Good Friday Accords, the Irish parts of my family left over two centuries ago. Would Britain leaving the EU and dragging Northern Ireland with them be a categorical violation of them? Because that seems like a really bad fucking idea.

          • Lurker

            I don’t think it is a categorical violation if the letter. Instead, it changes the landscape in which the agreements were made. To maintain the viability of the concept, it is necessary that all pepop!e born on the Island of Ireland have free movement and chance to choose their residence and occupation without regard to citizenship. That can be done without EU but EU was the strongest guarantee for it.

            • Ronan

              Yeah, it’s not a categorical violation afaik, but the eu is vital to its smooth running on a number of levels (ie funding, the importance of various eu institutions such as the ECHR, the continuation and expansion of north south links which are facilitated by eu membership etc)

        • michael8robinson

          +1

    • addicted44

      He didn’t need to double down and say he would go with the voters vote whichever way it went.

      In this whole Brexit drama I don’t believe Cameron was being evil. I think he was exhibiting his other great quality. Exquisite stupidity.

  • MacK

    You know what is very interesting. Usually after a political campaign the politicians who won the winning side are out taking a victory lap. Has anyone noticed who is invisible, who’re not giving any interviews at all – which might have something to do with being asked about categorical statements about £350 million for the NHS or stopping immigration that are now admitted as lies, or predictions that the pound or stock market would not drop:

    Boris Johnson
    Pritti Patel
    Michael Gove
    Professor Patrick Minford

    The list is much longer – but they all seem to be in hiding from the microphones they fight to get in front of before the 24th of June.

    • michael8robinson

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uyZ9b29nxkQ

      “And after that, OMFG. I need a drink. Don’t call me. I’ll call you.”

      • MacK

        Holy shit they really don’t want to answer questions….. they are terrified.

  • MacK

    Two criticism of Corbyn

    • He refused to appear on any platform with Cameron even though numerous other Labour politicians did – which is just a precious effort to show moral purity (up there with divorcing wife No. 2 for sending their son to state supported grammar school rather than a disastrous sink comprehensive);

    • he denounced Osborne for saying that in the event of Leave there would have to be an emergency budget – and guess what, it was obvious to anyone with a functioning brain that there would have to be, and it would either have to cut spending or raise taxes to deal with the revenue impact. But the beardy was too precious to do that.

    Frankly I have a lot more contempt for Corbyn than for Cameron right now….

    • Murc

      Frankly I have a lot more contempt for Corbyn than for Cameron right now….

      This seems misguided. Whatever Corbyn’s failures, Cameron was the architect of this disaster and deserves the lions share. And I say that as the guy kind of, sort of defending Cameron upthread.

      • MacK

        Nah!

        Corbyn is just politically precious – refusing to appear with Cameron was because what, he might get ‘conservative cooties’ and have to shave off the beard he needs to hide his weak chin? By the way that was essentially his explanation.

        Cameron made a mistake, but he made a hard good faith effort to get a Remain vote, Corbyn faked it, dialled it in, semaphored he did not believe it, and made that clear because he could not bring himself to appear with Cameron or any tory pretty well … which would have gone a long way towards saying, hey on this Cameron is telling the truth, it would be a disaster.

        I don’t want to be physically near Corbyn because I really would feel a huge urge to punch him in the mouth.

      • Manny Kant

        They have both been pretty terrible throughout this.

        I’d agree that 2013 Cameron bears most of the blame here. 2016 Cameron, though, seems to have been much more serious about pushing Remain to a win than Corbyn was.

        And I really do think that Labour would be perfectly justified in dumping Corbyn over this fiasco.

        • Murc

          And I really do think that Labour would be perfectly justified in dumping Corbyn over this fiasco.

          Only if it comes from the Labour voters, not the MPs.

          Sidebar: I’ve been reading about the process of replacing Cameron as leader of the Tories, and it’s pretty jaw-dropping to me as an American; there’s a whole bunch of maneuvering among MPs and multiple votes to winnow the field and establish a winner, who they then present to the party at large for ratification.

          And that just seems astoundingly ass-backwards to me. The Tory MPs exist to represent the will of their constituents, not the other way around. The Conservative Party as a whole should be the first stop in the process of picking a new leader, not the last one.

          • Manny Kant

            Until quite recently, leadership elections were entirely done by MPs. And, to be honest, that’s a system that works much better. Otherwise you potentially get leaders like Corbyn, who are incapable of actually leading their own parliamentary majority.

            Whatever one may think of the cravenly centrist politics of New Labour (and I’m not a fan) a left wing revolt that entirely consists of choosing a leader who is openly reviled by the vast majority of the parliamentary party is bound to be a disaster. Leaders of parliamentary parties need to actually have the confidence of their own parliamentary parties or they’re going to be completely ineffectual.

            If anything, the current systems used by Labour and the Conservatives rely too much on the will of the voters. The “MPs choose leaders” system worked much better.

            • Murc

              Leaders of parliamentary parties need to actually have the confidence of their own parliamentary parties or they’re going to be completely ineffectual.

              This seems wrongheaded to me. “The MPs will tell the people the voters choose to go fuck themselves, so better not give the voters a choice!”

              From my perspective, the solution to that isn’t “let three hundred people ignore the will of millions” but rather “remove their ability to do so.”

              • sibusisodan

                But the leaders of caucuses in Congress aren’t chosen by the electorate. And it would be pretty disastrous to try it that way.

                • Murc

                  The leaders of caucuses in Congress don’t wield executive power and aren’t responsible for leading the party as a whole. If the leader of the Democratic Caucus in the Senate were in charge of managing national elections and would get to run the executive branch if the Democrats won, as a voter I would damn well demand a voice in their choosing regardless of whether or not I lived in their state.

                • The leaders of caucuses in Congress don’t wield executive power

                  So? What’s magical about executive power?

                  aren’t responsible for leading the party as a whole.

                  Again, so what?

                  On a practical workaday level, they have to lead the MPs. The PM isn’t nearly as separate as the President is.

                  This just seems like parochial bias. Very much like your strange believe that legislative supremacy means you don’t have a constitution. The way you’re used to isn’t the only way to do it.

                • Murc

                  So? What’s magical about executive power?

                  Executive power represents enormous governing power over all the people within its reach; a nation, a state/province, a city, etc. Executives have wide latitude in applying, enforcing, and often even making the law, in most cases far more than any legislator in the same polity. It is therefore, in my opinion, proper for all the people who will be governed by the person that power vests in to have a direct say in choosing them.

                  Similarly, the leader of a political party exercises great control over the agenda of the party and how it will run itself and elections. It is therefore, in my opinion, proper for everyone in the party to get a say in that.

                  I can’t speak for everyone, but I wouldn’t have a lot of patience for a political party that said “You should join us and support us and give us money and vote for our dude… but, uh, you don’t get any ability to decide who our dude will be unless you’re lucky enough to be one of a tiny group of people who clawed their way to the top.” It would be like “no, fuck YOU.”

                  Very much like your strange believe that legislative supremacy means you don’t have a constitution.

                  The debate came down to arguing over what “constitution” means, and I still think the definition you gave is unsatisfactory, because its so broad as to not actually be a useful term.

              • Manny Kant

                The voters can choose by voting for other parties. A parliamentary system doesn’t work if parties get leaders imposed on them that the parliamentary party can’t stand.

                I guess I’m basically dubious of intra-party democracy. It barely works in a presidential system like the US, and it doesn’t seem to work at all in parliamentary systems.

                • Murc

                  I guess I’m basically dubious of intra-party democracy.

                  Whereas I regard it as an essential part of democratic legitimacy.

                • Hogan

                  It’s more a matter of direct democracy vs. representative democracy.

              • EliHawk

                The bigger problem, by far, is that it isn’t the will of millions. At all. In May 2015, Labour got 9.35 million votes. Turnout in the fall leadership election was 423,000, of which 251,000 supported Corbyn. Of people who backed Labour, even in a landslide loss, only 2.7% of them supported Corbyn, and only 4.5% of them voted. By comparison, in 2008 36 million voted in the Democratic primaries and 69.5 million voted Obama in the fall (52%), even though it was a landslide win. Even this year, you had 29.5 million Democratic primary voters, which would be 45% of the 65.9 million votes Obama got four years ago. In both cases, more than 1 in 4 November Democrats directly backed the party’s nominee with their vote.

                The system as it stands isn’t about empowering the voters, it’s empowering party activists who aren’t even very representative of the party itself. We’ve had a lot of discussion about primaries and caucuses this spring, and all agree caucuses are absurdly undemocratic. Unless you could actually have high participation primaries with a representative party electorate, I’m all for leaving it up the MPs, because having less than 3% of you party’s electorate enforcing a leader on the MPs and the country is nonsensical.

        • michael8robinson

          Labour voters were 63% behind Remain, and he gave it 63% effort.

          What’s the problem? He was representing his constituents proportionally.

    • efc

      In the event of an economic downturn the only possible countermeasure is to cut spending and raise taxes? So Osborne’s austerity budgets have been right all along.

      “There are quite enough dangers in Brexit already without adding more. What the Chancellor should do is the exact opposite: prepare an emergency stimulus of 1.7pc of GDP if need be, targeted at critical infrastructure and strategic investment that pays for itself over time.

      The money should be borrowed. As of today the Treasury can raise funds for five years at 0.66pc, for ten years at 1.12pc, and for thirty years at 1.94pc. These are lowest yields in our history, and they have been falling steeply over the last three weeks. ”

      and

      “I have in the past fretted about Britain’s debt level but Keynesians such as Paul Krugman, Olivier Blanchard, and Larry Summers have won the macro-economic argument. Post-Lehman alarmism over public debt in the US and Europe overlooked deeper forces at work. Collapsing global bond yields are the proof.”

      http://www.telegraph.co.uk/business/2016/06/15/osbornes-punishment-budget-is-economic-vandalism/

      Even strong remainer Simon Wren-Lewis in defending Osborne says:

      “As a Chancellor you know this is fantasy. You know the OBR will take account of consensus opinion after Brexit and revise down their projection of UK trend growth over the next decade or two. You know that will inevitably mean lower tax receipts, so you will have to raise taxes or cut spending at some point. But you also know that if you try and add realism, by saying this might not have to happen immediately (and should not happen immediately if Brexit causes a short term recession), you just muddle the message. So to bring home to people this is not just ‘another forecast’, you talk about an emergency budget immediately after Brexit.”
      “http://guerillawire.org/politics/defending-george-osborne-on-brexit-once-again/”

      And FYI, Gilt yields declined even further meaning borrowing has become cheaper still.

      • MacK

        This is not accurate. Osborne stated that there would need to be an emergency budget in about 3 months after a Brexit vote – Ed Balls agreed. he did not say it would be immediate, but he said that the impact of a Brexit vote would force choices – and so far, well he looks to have been right. I may disagree with the choices he said would need to be made (and I do) but he was spot in that an emergency budget would be needed, and by the way, based on what happened on Friday, you bet your bippy the UK will need one.

        So yes Oborne said at some point – 3 months, which looks about right to me.

      • MacK

        Oh and the Telegraph – a propaganda broadsheet for Leave. I would not treat anything it said as credible.

      • Gilt yields declined even further meaning borrowing has become cheaper still.

        But our bond ratings have slipped. Do you know the net effect?

    • michael8robinson

      disastrous sink comprehensive

      Elitist Tory scum! Die!

      (disclaimer: this is sarcastic and ironic, and should be entirely disregarded by anyone under the age of 9 and anyone otherwise suffering underdeveloped metacognitive skills)

      • MacK

        It really was a disaster. The school the kid was randomly assigned to was one of the 3 lowest ranked schools (all equally awful) in England and Wales – it was beyond description at the time a terrible school (it remains pretty bad, I know where it is) with kids being stabbed, every disfunction imaginable. His second wife, the boy’s mother (who had fought Pinochet and ended up on death lists), had the kid sit the exam for a selective state funded grammar school (the sort of school Corbyn in fact attended) and he got in. She decided, ideology or child … and the kid won. By the way, back then, the Soviets who he greatly admired also had selective state schools.

        Consider that one of Corbyn’s key allies, Diane Abbott, was pilloried for sending her son to a private school rather than a school in Tower Hamlets that was actually better performing and less dangerous than where he wanted to send his own son.

        I don’t believe in private education – but the reality is that many sink comprehensives don’t just suck, they are really terrible and dangerous to the point of being deadly (and were even worse in the 80s and 90s. I have watched colleagues who are solidly left wing desperate over the schools situation in the same catchment area – really worried about the school their kids are lined up to attend.) He wanted to sacrifice his son to prove he was politically pure and when his wife disagreed divorced her over it (and he admits this by the way.) That, to me, makes him an unmitigated asshole – and extreme ideologue.

        And that is entirely consistent with his refusal to appear with Cameron or any other tory – he’s too pure and precious (but he will appear with frothing at the mouth antisemites.)

        • michael8robinson

          @MacK, I am sincerely dismayed that you, of all people, failed the 9-year-old metacognitive irony disclaimer.

          I’d like to think we’d be able to lift a pint over the messed up tribalism of UK educational culture. But seriously, dude, disclaimer, eh?

        • Pseudonym

          But at least Corbyn wasn’t being hostile to the spirit of Brown v. Board of Education.

    • Dudefella

      Those contradictions aren’t going to heighten themselves.

  • After listening to these “consumerists” on the Internet, I’ve come to the conclusion that they want all of their actions to follow seamlessly from the core of their personality. And they view voting as just another form of self-expression. Whatever the world makes of their actions isn’t really their concern.

    So they refuse to compromise their personal uniqueness to “express” something they just don’t “feel,” “deep down.”

    (Not that this is necessarily the case with the Brexit vote, I think. An advisory referendum sounds like something people might reasonably see as having little real direct effect.)

  • Regulust

    If you want to know when I’m going to stop criticizing pundits who try to encourage this kind of thinking, or the Ralph Naders and (now, apparently) Jill Steins willing to play with fire to stoke their own egos, the answer is “never.”

    I for one welcome your eternal analysis.

  • Remember this when the Trumpers say they’re just voting for Trump to shake things up. There will be no do-over if Trump manages to win.

    • Dennis Orphen

      No do-over, just a comb-over.

  • LeeEsq

    Most of us recognize the dangers of voters-as-consumers just like most of us see the pitfalls of student-as-consumer when it comes to education. There might not be anything we can do about it. Western society has grown increasingly individualistic rather than community oriented with detours here and there since the 19th century. It was always more oriented towards the individuals than other societies. You can find driving forces for this increased individualization in practical any ideology possible. In a very individualized society than people are going to see voting as matter of personal preference over community needs and will vote for what they see is in their personal interest or to suit their worldview consequences be damned.

  • MacK

    By the way, the petition on the parliamentary website is getting very interesting. It ha she about 2¼ million, the next highest petition was around 800k so this is 3 times as large – in about 1 day, with numerous crashes of the site.

    This is seriously unprecedented.

    I wonder if someone could start a new petition, that the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards conduct an investigation into statements made and activities on their part (to cover the battlebus slogan) by Michael Gove MP, Priti Patel MP and Boris Johnson MP to determine if they mislead the public prior to the 23 June Referendum.

    It only takes 5 signatures to start one.

    • MacK

      Revised

      That Parliament direct the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards to investigate and report as to whether Members of this Parliament explicitly or implicitly (by unambiguous acts) endorsed misleading statements between 13 April 2016 and and 23 June 2016 which had as their intent or obvious effect influencing voting members of the public as to their voting intentions in the referendum carried out under the European Union Referendum Act 2015.

      Implicitly so as to capture riding in a battlebus with the £350 million for the NHS promise on the side – which gets around the Farage excuse (but I did not actually say that.)

      • michael8robinson

        In fairness to Nigel Farage (a clause which I never expected to hear myself utter, but which I nevertheless have in the past few days), the Leave campaign kept him at arms length or better throughout their campaign, and it is simply unfair at this point to hold him to account for the actions of those who did so.

  • Bruce Vail

    Jill Stein for is not a follower of the Democratic Party or of Scott Lemieux. I’m supposed to despise her because of that?

    • Murc

      … Bruce, I love you and your writing, but what the heck, man?

      Despise is a strong word, but Jill Stein is to be regarded as deeply problematic because she’s taking actions that she knows, or should know, increase the possibility of Donald fuckin’ Trump getting elected, and because her views on how political progress is achieved are wrongheaded at best and dangerous at worst.

      None of that has anything to do with whether or not she’s a Democrat. Bernie Sanders spent decades not being a Democrat but also being a productive member of the body politic.

      • Despise is a strong word,

        But appropriate:

        The vote in Britain to exit the European Union (EU) is a victory for those who believe in the right of self-determination and who reject the pro-corporate, austerity policies of the political elites in EU. The vote says no to the EU’s vision of a world run by and for big business. It is also a rejection of the European political elite and their contempt for ordinary people.

        Unfortunately, the rejection was also motivated by attacks on immigrants and refugees, which must be opposed. That is a defeat.

        The Brexit vote is one more sign that voters are in revolt against the rigged economy and the rigged political system that created it. People want change and they will get it one way or the other.

        Britain has spoken for much of humanity as it rejects the failed vision of a world that prioritizes profit for the few amidst hardship for the many. Now we must build on this momentum. Together we can create a world that works for us all, that puts people, planet and peace over profit. #ItsInOurHands

        Despise is a weak word in response to this.

        • jim, some guy in iowa

          wow. “reach” doesn’t begin to describe that. it’s like using a telescope to see a sliver of silver in a thundercloud and saying “look at the pretty sun”

          • I don’t quite hate her as much as Corbyn, but she is awful.

        • Scott Lemieux

          Even by pundit’s fallacy standards, the idea that Brexit was an anti-austerity or anti-corporate vote is nuts. Most Brexit voters will also be voting for more austerity, and capital will be pleased that EU labor standards no longer apply.

          • Even by pundit’s fallacy standards, the idea that Brexit was an anti-austerity

            The Ashcroft exit poll from 2015 shows this pretty clearly. Look at question 10:

            10. Thinking about the state of Britain’s economy and the amount the government spends and borrows, which of these statements comes closest to your view, even if you don’t completely agree with any of them?

            [1] The national economy is not yet fully fixed, so we will need to continue with austerity and cuts in government spending over the
            next five years

            [2] While a period of austerity was needed to fix the national economy, we don’t need another five years of cuts in government
            spending

            [3] Austerity and cuts in government spending were never really needed to fix the national economy, it was just an excuse to cut public
            services

            I added the bracketed numbers to make referencing a bit easier. [1] + [2] got 46 and 30% of the vote for a 76 approval of austerity as a technique. [1] got 84% of conservatives and 46 of UKip. [2] got 14% con and 34% UKIP. [1] got 14% lab but [2] got 43%.

            This populace has bought austerity lock, stock, and barrel.

            • Davis X. Machina

              Apparently on the hustings ‘making people’s lives worse and letting me watch’ is a broadly acceptable substitute for ‘making people’s lives better’ — provided ‘people’ means ‘other people’, of course.

              The fundamental depravity of mankind is a solid foundation for a politics.

              Augustine/Calvin 2016!

          • Morat

            Yes, they are openly salivating at all the EU-mandated worker and environmental protections that are going away. And that they no longer have to keep blocking new EU bank regulations.

            Not to mention that the EU pays for investments in poorer areas, like, say, Wales, Cornwall, Devon… A bunch of people in places that are not doing well economically are going to lose their jobs. Boris and Farage promised up and down that they’d make up the funds, but any vaguely sensible person could have told you that was an obvious lie.

            It would be one thing if she were talking about Greece leaving the euro and being forced out of the EU. But all of the UK’s cuts to the welfare state and increasing reliance on big finance are homegrown, and the winners of this vote are excited to do more of it.

            And Doctor Jill Stein is excited, except for all the xenophobia.

        • Davis X. Machina

          Britain has spoken for much of humanity as it rejects the failed vision of a world that prioritizes profit for the few amidst hardship for the many

          She seems to be following the 1945 general election…

      • Bruce Vail

        You are always so agreeable when you disagree with something I’ve written! I appreciate it…

        I’m having a hard time embracing the argument that the only choice any of us has is Clinton. Nobody here wants Trump to be president, but Scott’s is the same old sterile argument that we must vote for the ConservaDem because the ConservaRep is worse. Yes, Trump is worse than Hillary, there is no argument there. But refusing to back a third party candidate under any circumstances also means that we never get anything better than what the Dems are willing to offer us.

        I guess I am resigned to voting for Hillary. But I’m not finished grumbling along the way…

        • Murc

          I’m having a hard time embracing the argument that the only choice any of us has is Clinton.

          Well, we just got done having a big old fight over who the not-Trump choice would be. The Democrats (not “the Democratic Party” but the Democrats, the millions of people without whom that party doesn’t exist as an entity) chose Hillary. I’m not too thrilled with that but its what happened.

          Scott’s is the same old sterile argument that we must vote for the ConservaDem because the ConservaRep is worse.

          I’m not sure an argument that’s absolutely and completely correct can be “sterile.”

          But refusing to back a third party candidate under any circumstances also means that we never get anything better than what the Dems are willing to offer us.

          Yes? This is true, and it is a problem.

          The solution to that problem is to get the Dems to offer up better candidates. Win some primaries!

          I mean… if you can’t get one-half of one-half the country to support your person, you have a bigger problem than the Dems offering bad candidates.

  • shah8

    Okay, looking at early comments?

    I’ve been pessimistic about the probable nature of Clinton’s presidency, and have grown more pessimistic as time goes on.

    I think the concept of “lesser evilism” has to be pushed back some. Specifically in the sense that people *do* have to have floors of expectations for conduct and policies. It’s one thing to vote for lesser evilism when it comes to policies you disagree with. It’s quite another when it comes to…more fundamental things. And the main reason for that is that you invite campaigns over who will protect you from what, instead of any sort of affirmative campaign that addresses the public’s concern along with a show of strength that the change the voters ask for, will happen. That’s a long term trainwreck because sooner or later you have a pair of politicians who are both unacceptable for good, if different, reasons. Even before you get to that point, you promote political accidents. In our immediately recent politics, going back to 2010 or so, it’s the tendency of newly elected left-ish politicians to be easily persuaded/pressured to move right when there is no true political space for them there. And we have a term, today, for the result. Pasokification. And today, you have what happened to Dilma, to Hollande, you have Blairites who’ve effectively refused to believe that their mandate has been rejected by both the right and left fringes of the traditional party, and are determined on a rule or ruin path for Labor.

    Going on with that thinking, remember, I’ve basically rejected both Bernie Sanders and Hilary Clinton out of hand because both are too damned old for the job. This has real consequences–it means that at some point, someone we haven’t elected is going to take much of the load of the task, make more of the decisions than wise, etc, etc, like GWB and Cheney. It’s not good not because we oppose Cheney’s policy preferences. It’s not good because the organization chart can get really messed up, de facto, with silos everywhere and people playing power games and leaking shit, and generally making the Executive visibly dysfunctional as hell.

    And we haven’t gotten to her clearly terrible political instincts. Ezra Klein’s little syrupy tribute sez it all. Clinton is such a great transactional and relational politician, it’s okay that she isn’t good at retail politics! We’ve gotten way too far along the usual pathways of football fans trying to talk themselves into believing that clearly inadequate white quarterback can do a good job, despite not having a good arm, or being unathletic, or having poor instincts. ‘Cuz the great RB (Ponder-Adrian Peterson/Percy Harvin) or WR (Everyone-Deandre Hopkins) can carry him, and we’ll be alright!!!1! Because guys? Politicians have to use their skilz POST-elections to promote policies and get people to believe in their executive processes. Remember, FEMA was a big part of the downfall of both Bushes-especially in the sense that neither could successfully promote confidence in the agency; even if FEMA was a shitstorm–they had to promote the idea it could be fixed, and fast. Do you really think Clinton is going to be as good as her husband was, both in putting great people in charge and in backing them up in extemporaneous settings? 1993 flood response was night and day to Hurricane Andrew, even though both featured great fuckery (like the dude sabotaging a dike), suffering, and loss.

    All of this is not to say that we shouldn’t vote for Clinton. We don’t have a choice. It’s simply to say that this is a *toxic* state of affairs that is rather different than Tom Harkin vs Bill Clinton or Gary Hart and Mondale, etc, etc. Moreover, that toxic state of affairs *will* cause real nastiness downstream. We can’t be having “lesser evilism” if said lesser evil is below a certain floor. I mean, Lieberman?!? No. We can and should push back against democratic party elites (not by pretending that no-hopers like that socialist, Bernie Sanders, actually represented a serious competition). Coronation shit’s gotta go. Even if Clinton does turn out well, sooner or later, a disastrous person will be crowned.

    • Murc

      We can’t be having “lesser evilism” if said lesser evil is below a certain floor.

      I think hilzoy said it best; if you’re not voting, you’d better have a moral case that the time has come for extralegal action, up to and including violence, to overthrow the existing political order.

      If you don’t think we’re at that point, then lesser evilism becomes your only viable option.

      I mean, Lieberman?!? No.

      If Lieberman were the Democratic nominee this year I would vote for him.

      We can and should push back against democratic party elites

      I could care less whether someone is an elite in the democratic party or not. I care what their policies and their politics are.

      (not by pretending that no-hopers like that socialist, Bernie Sanders, actually represented a serious competition).

      The numbers Sanders put up establish conclusively that he was, in fact, serious competition.

      Coronation shit’s gotta go.

      Then it’s a good thing nobody is being coronated.

      • michael8robinson

        if you’re not voting, you’d better have a moral case that the time has come for extralegal action, up to and including violence….If Lieberman were the Democratic nominee this year I would vote for him.

        If your objective is to make molotov cocktails appear to be the relatively attractive political option, then well done. Keep up the good work.

      • I don’t know what hilzoy’s argument was, and actually I agree with her, but it’s entirely possible to have the attitude that the existing order should be overthrown, and you’re not going to go out of your way to support it, or even to obey the laws if they inconvenience you and you can get away with it, and not be committed to violence or even nonviolent overthrow. You can believe all governments are immoral and you’re not obliged to consider them legitimate. Among other options. Maybe that’s covered by her “you better,” but there are an awful lot of people who aren’t philosophy professors like she is, and who might not be as strict as all that when it comes to philosophical consistency.

        In general, I like there to be a steep barrier to someone telling me I’m morally obliged either to change my mind or to admit I support violence against the state and the people who support it.

        • Murc

          I don’t know what hilzoy’s argument was

          The context, if I recall correctly, was that she was asked in what context she would not vote. Her answer was that the only circumstance she could see herself not voting in would be if she were engaged in an insurrection, because otherwise she was obligated to make the best choices she can within the system.

          It’s entirely possible to have the attitude that the existing order should be overthrown, and you’re not going to go out of your way to support it, or even to obey the laws if they inconvenience you and you can get away with it, and not be committed to violence or even nonviolent overthrow.

          It’s possible to have any kind of attitude. But the attitude you’ve just described, which seems to be “the state should be overthrown… only not if I have to participate” is not one I’d ever take seriously.

          • Yes, it’s kind of an attenuated “should” in that case, but not unimaginable.

    • GeorgeBurnsWasRight

      Your exclusive focus (at least in this post) on who is President ignores the fact that what that person can accomplish is limited primarily by what they can persuade Congress to pass.

      If the House, for example, is controlled by Tea Party nihilists even some imaginary perfect Democratic President is going to accomplish little. And since a lot of voters agree with your focus on the Executive, his/her Party will probably do poorly in the next midterm.

    • If you are a Democrat, you vote for who wins the primary. That’s part of being a member of a political party. And being a liberal means that your choice is always going to be the lesser evil, because that’s what it means to be progressive. The best you can hope for is to shift the country in a leftward direction. You can either accept that and be a part of the solution, or you can not accept that and be part of the problem.

    • Pseudonym

      We’ve gotten way too far along the usual pathways of football fans trying to talk themselves into believing that clearly inadequate white quarterback can do a good job, despite not having a good arm, or being unathletic, or having poor instincts.

      Worked well enough for Denver[ite].

  • Ronan

    Here are your “consumer voters” with buyers remorse

    https://mobile.twitter.com/Frances_Coppola/status/746778674918207488

  • MacK
    • Murc

      The referendum campaign showed the only arguments that matter now in England are on the right. With the Labour leadership absent without leave and the Liberal Democrats and Greens struggling to be heard, the debate was between David Cameron and George Osborne, defending the status quo, and the radical right, demanding its destruction.

      Jesus wept, this is all the more horrifying for being true.

      • shah8

        Blame Nicholas Clegg. It feels like, on recollection, that he was the fulcrum that tipped UK into it’s current path.

    • econoclast

      That was a great article. The idea that careers in political punditry trained them to advocate simplistic policies makes a lot of sense.

      • MacK

        Well the Oxford Union had a role too.

        • michael8robinson

          By the way, and this is my duly considered (and well qualified) opinion, Fuck the Oxford Union.

          • MacK

            With a large pine dildo, splinters unremoved

  • On Boris this was very good. Cameron poisoned the well.

    https://mobile.twitter.com/GlennF/status/746808327321968640

    • Manny Kant

      I really hope so. It certainly seems like the Brexiters have been left in an incredibly difficult position.

      • MilitantlyAardvark

        Well, it’s certainly interesting that Gove and Johnson have vanished from the scene, just when you’d expect a victory lap. I would guess that they are hearing reports of popular rage as people realize they were duped and are wondering just how they can get out of this fine mess they’ve gotten the UK into to advance their own careers. This is why you don’t send a Bullingdon boy to do a man’s job (exhibit part the hundredth).

        I wonder whether in fact Johnson and Gove have destroyed their own futures as well as wrecking Cameron. It’s starting to look quite likely.

  • MacK
  • MilitantlyAardvark

    Two notes:there is apparently a petition to Keep Corbyn, which has so far reached 161,000 signatures, although I suspect that the presence of the names Cameron, D, Johnson, B and Gove, M on the list of signatures* is not entirely coincidental.

    *Joke

    Also: some of the far right have now taken to the streets (in small numbers so far, but still…) to demand not just a stop to immigration, but the start of repatriation.

    Heckuva job, Leavers. This is why you don’t follow a worthless little fascist like Farage, ever.

    • Ronan

      Were/are the NF mainly a north England organisation ? My father says he remembered them when he worked on building sites in London in the 70s, and when I lived in Leicester I heard they were quite popular there in the past (my house got canvassed by the bnp for the 2011 election, which seemed a little unusual as leicesters not really a northern city, and is quite multicultural.)
      Is support for these groups more regional specific, or all England?

      • MilitantlyAardvark

        They had little patches of support all over, but never amounted to much because they were generally crass, violent and aggressively thuggish whenever they appeared. Generally speaking, in recent years, such groups have mostly appeared in the northern sections of the Midlands, or small areas of London. Apparently west Yorkshire has a network of the more dangerous groups, who seem to be in contact with their American spiritual brethren, or so it was claimed after the death of Jo Cox. Most of their fellow-travelers linked up with UKIP, who very aggressively recruited them, despite denying any such activity in public (another #FarageFalsehood).

  • Ronan

    Anyone know about this, as asked by a commenter at crooked timber

    “The role of the devolved legislatures in implementing the withdrawal agreement:

    We asked Sir David whether he thought the Scottish Parliament would have to give its consent to measures extinguishing the application of EU law in Scotland. He noted that such measures would entail amendment of section 29 of the Scotland Act 1998, which binds the Scottish Parliament to act in a manner compatible with EU law, and he therefore believed that the Scottish Parliament’s consent would be required. He could envisage certain political advantages being drawn from not giving consent.

    We note that the European Communities Act is also entrenched in the devolution settlements of Wales and Northern Ireland. Though we have taken no evidence on this specific point, we have no reason to believe that the requirement for legislative consent for its repeal would not apply to all the devolved nations.”

    Eta: page 19 paragraph 70, here

    https://mobile.twitter.com/IPR_NickP/status/746768779384852480

  • MilitantlyAardvark

    From the Daily Telegraph:

    Ukip is far from over, says Nigel Farage as he reveals the party wants to help negotiations with Brussels

    • michael8robinson

      Where is that smug derisive chuckle emoji when you need it?

  • Ronan

    Just turned on the television to find the future president of the United states being “roasted” by Jersey shores Mike “the situation” on comedy central.

    • Hogan

      My world and welcome to it.

  • MDrew

    So your critique of coalition-rejecting voting-as-consumption goes as far as it is regretted by those who do it in light of its practical effects, and where it isn’t regretted, you don’t critique it on that basis? Or what?

    Because otherwise I don’t really see the analogy between voting for, say, Nader (and hence against coalition with Democrats) and voting for Brexit. Brexit was a referendum on policy, there was no coalition or association at issue, at least not in the sense there is when one votes for a person running for office as the nominee of a political party. Did those who voted Leave and don’t regret it regardless it do this thing that you are describing that’s akin to voting for Nader? And did those who voted Leave and do regret it do the thing that’s akin in the way you say it is to voting for Nader – even if we’re comparing their action to voting for Nader and not regretting it?

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