Letter to my MP

Dear Mr Stewart,

I write to you as a Beckenham constituent concerned that the country will be railroaded into a hard Brexit by a Prime Minister who seems more concerned to pander to the Leave faction of the Conservative Party than consider what is best for the country as a whole. Removing ourselves from the world’s largest trading bloc and customs union, while relying on the aspiration to attain trade deals elsewhere is reckless and irresponsible, especially considering that most of our non-EU trade is already covered by trade agreements agreed by the EU. Pushing for a hard Brexit ignores both those who voted to Remain entirely and many millions more who voted to leave but for a so-called ‘soft Brexit’.

The argument that there is a mandate for Brexit is feeble. No major country would make a change to its constitution or deprive its citizens of important rights on anything less than a supermajority—60% or 66%—two-thirds of the electorate, or of those people who voted on the day of a referendum. Only that would be regarded as sufficient for making a change of this importance. The advisory nature of the referendum was made clear in the House of Commons Library Briefing Paper 07212 issued on 03 June 2015:

Section 5 says, “This Referendum is advisory only. It doesn’t bind either Parliament or the Government to act on its outcome.”

Section 6 of that document says, “If there were any suggestion whatsoever, that there would be a change such as leaving the EU would involve—a major constitutional change, a change in the rights of the citizens of the UK—then a supermajority would be required.”

This is a document that was sent to MPs in advance of the debate in the House of Commons on the 2015 Referendum Bill.

The result of the referendum means that only 37% of the electorate voted to leave the EU; many voters were persuaded by the lie that £350 million per week would be saved and spent on the NHS.

The view propounded by Boris Johnson and David Davies among others seems to be “it’ll be all right on the night” and the foolish notion that the UK holds the stronger hand in negotiations. The world does not owe the UK any favours.

Personally, I would prefer that the majority of MPs who want the UK to remain in the EU will have the guts to stand up for what they think is best for the country and not kowtow to the false notion that Brexit is the will of the people. However, I doubt that this will happen despite the fact that ours is a representative democracy with a sovereign Parliament and where these things have to be discussed by that Parliament. And discussed in a way which is properly and genuinely informed and in the interests of the country and not of MPs keeping their seats.

Brexit does not have to happen. I urge you to fight against it, failing that I urge you to do all you can to avoid a hard Brexit. Staying part of the Single Market and customs union is the option that is very much more likely to ensure the future prosperity of the country and its citizens. I urge you to act in the best interests of your constituents.

I look forward to receiving your confirmation.

Regards,

Roger Cavanagh

The Brief: Trump’s ‘Muslim ban’ raises doubts over EU’s unity

There is already a special place reserved in Hell for Donald Trump. If Theresa May isn’t careful she will find herself next to him, his hand clasping hers, as they endure an eternal, infernal press conference.

May’s refusal to condemn Trump’s US travel ban on people from seven Muslim majority countries, which, like Peter denying Jesus, she repeated three times, ruined the afterglow of her visit to Washington DC.

May makes great play of being a vicar’s daughter. What would her father think of such squirming appeasal?

Source: The Brief: Trump’s ‘Muslim ban’ raises doubts over EU’s unity – EurActiv.com

Make Votes Matter – Parliamentary Petition for PR: Tim Ivorson responds to the Government’s Response

Make Votes Matter team member, Tim Ivorson, started a Parliamentary Petition calling for Proportional Representation near the end of 2016. The Government formally responded on it reaching 10,000 signatures. This is Tim’s reply to the Government response.

Source: Make Votes Matter – Parliamentary Petition for PR: Tim Ivorson responds to the Government’s Response

 

The Principles of Critical Thought

My DayOne journal reminded me that I wrote this entry two years ago today. Given what’s happened in the world this year, it seemed appropriate to make it the first post for this year. I’m quite sure that this is not my original material, unfortunately, I carelessly omitted to note the source in my journal. So apologies to whoever it is I am ripping off and and Happy New Year to everyone.


Critical thinking is:

  • Questioning information rather than merely receiving it (trust but verify),
  • A constant skill applied to all knowledge and belief (not to be compartmentalised).
  • Not an exercise; but a tool for belief testing and filtering (defence against false beliefs).
  • Must be applied to yourself as well as others (self-question, self-test, self-critique).
  • Not radical scepticism (work out when information is enough to settle a conclusion).

Step 1: Check the facts (check multiple sources and evaluate their reliability).
Step 2: Check for biases and fallacies (your own and those of others).
Step 3: Consider alternative explanations of the evidence and test them.

  • Find the best defences of either side of a dispute and compare them.
  • Consider your existing background knowledge and endeavour to acquire more of it.
  • Rely on facts & evidence, not assumptions.
  • Update your beliefs when evidence goes against them.
  • Restate all your beliefs as probabilities; then justify those probabilities (or change them if you can’t).

Merry Christmas

carolersHave yourself a merry little Christmas,
Let your heart be light

From now on,
Our troubles will be out of sight

gettree

Have yourself a merry little Christmas,
Make the Yule-tide gay,

garlandFrom now on,
Our troubles will be miles away.

Here we are as in olden days,
Happy golden days of yore.
Faithful friends who are dear to us
Gather near to us once more.

agreement

Through the years we all will be together
If the Fates allow

phototime
Hang a shining star upon the highest bough.
And have yourself a merry little Christmas now

waiting-copy

America, The Disgraced Super-power

For the choice of Trump reveals most Americans as immature and prone to juvenile behavior. To vote for Trump is the ultimate act of political immaturity. There are, of course, identifiable reasons why many were drawn to the flamboyant candidate, why his demagoguery resonated, why his exaggerated imagery struck a receptive nerve. However, for that emotional response to translate into the actual selection of this man to be president crosses a critical threshold. Children – at times – let emotion rule their conduct. Children only weakly feel the imperative to impose logic and a modicum reason on their impulses. Children disregard consequences. Children overlook the downside in their implicit weighing of the balance in giving in to those impulses or not. Grown-ups do not.

Source: America, The Disgraced Super-power | The Huffington Post

To be strictly accurate, more Americans voted for Hillary than The Donald, but I can’t help thinking, “For US, read UK; for presidential elections, read Brexit referendum.”

Leavers are angry, for their lies will return to haunt them

The only thing worse than sore losers are sore winners. They have the victory, the field is theirs, but still they scream bitter abuse at the defeated.

Source: Leavers are angry, for their lies will return to haunt them | Nick Cohen | Opinion | The Guardian

How you can turn a lie into a truth (according to the sinister Brexit playbook)

What Kahneman and other researchers have empirically confirmed in their work is that the majority of people are ‘System One’ or ‘quick’ thinkers in that they make decisions on impulse, feeling, emotion, and first impressions, rather than ‘System Two’ or ‘slow’ thinkers who seek information, analyse it, and weigh arguments in order to come to decisions. System One thinkers can be captured by slogans, statements dramatised to the point of falsehood, and even downright lies, because they will not check the validity of what is said, but instead will mistrust System Two thinkers whose lengthier arguments and appeals to data are often regarded as efforts to bamboozle and mislead.

Source: How you can turn a lie into a truth (according to the sinister Brexit playbook) – Top Stories – The New European

I sure that not everyone who voted leave is a System One thinker, but I guess these are the ones who keep claiming that they’re not stupid, but can’t provide any explanation for their decision based on evidence and reason.

How a US PR company conned UK voters into voting for Brexit

Run out of words…

Pride's Purge

gunster-brexit

Sorry Brexiters – but you’ve been conned. By an American. And he’s not even hiding the fact.

PR executive Gerry Gunster has been boasting about how his firm was behind the successful Brexit campaign – and how he used sales techniques instead of facts to trick British voters into voting for Brexit.

Gunster claims he was behind the successful slogan “take back control” and was the person who directed the Leave campaign to run a campaign free of facts which played on voters’ emotions, in particular fears about immigration.

Gunster even employed the services of a hypnotist to work on Leave campaign videos.

The extremely expensive services of Gunster’s Washington firm were bankrolled to run the Brexit campaign by multi-millionare UKIP backer Arron Banks.

gunster-winning

In the past, Gunster’s firm has helped big US corporations fight unpopular public health measures such as sugar taxes.

It’s ironic the very voters who…

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MPs should not vote for Article 50 until they are sure what it means

⭐️

Flip Chart Fairy Tales

If you give notice to your landlord or your employer, you trigger a process which, if you don’t do anything else, will leave you homeless or jobless after a given period. Furthermore, even if you do take some action, the decision is still partly in the hands of others. You need to find a house you like and a landlord that will let to you or a job you like and an employer that will have you. For this reason, most people don’t give notice to their landlords without having another home to go to or notice to their employers without having another job lined up. The only people who do are those who have enough money behind them to give them other options. Or those who are extremely reckless.

Something similar applies to the triggering of Article 50. As we understand it at the moment, once triggered, Article 50 is irrevocable…

View original post 2,005 more words