How the super-rich bought their Brexit victory

One of the undying Brexit myths is that it was a people’s revolt, a spontaneous anti-elite rebellion against a pro-European establishment. Yet we now learn that up to two-thirds of the cash that paid for Brexit came from just five extremely wealthy anti-European fanatics.

Source: InFacts How the super-rich bought their Brexit victory – InFacts

Colour me unsurprised.

Half of Leave voters want to bring back the death penalty after Brexit

The YouGov survey also found 42 per cent of those who opted to part ways with the European Union want corporal punishment back in schools and 30 per cent want inefficient light bulbs to return to shop shelves.

Source: Half of Leave voters want to bring back the death penalty after Brexit | The Independent

Make Great Britain “great” again? How Brexit reawakened England’s dormant imperialism

But the reactionary side of these islands was always there, sipping tea, grumbling about foreigners, hankering after the good old days—a resentful hinterland that has never quite accepted our lost pre-eminence. That’s why Brexiteers no longer care that they are cheering on a fantasy, by Jingo, so long as it’s a fantasy wrapped in the Union flag.

Source: Make Great Britain “great” again? How Brexit reawakened England’s dormant imperialism — Quartz

More on Empire 2.0.

 

Empire 2.0 is dangerous nostalgia for something that never existed

The empire, even at its height, never came close to absorbing the majority of our exports or providing the bulk of our imports, and neither will the Commonwealth, no matter how good a trade deal we win. Empire 2.0 is a fanciful vision of the future based on a distorted misremembering of the past. It’s a delusion and, like all delusions, has the potential to lure us into a false sense of security and lead us to make bad decisions.

Source: Empire 2.0 is dangerous nostalgia for something that never existed | David Olusoga | Opinion | The Guardian

Leavers claim they are looking forward, but I don’t believe them either. Unfortunately, they are looking backwards through rose-tinted spectacles.

How do you defeat President Donald Trump? 

Here are 20 lessons from across the fearful 20th century, adapted to the circumstances of today.

A terrific answer from Eugenia Stonecroft. Some of the 20 lessons also apply to opposition to the way Brexit is being handled, like:

2. Defend an institution. Follow the courts or the media, or a court or a newspaper. Do not speak of “our institutions” unless you are making them yours by acting on their behalf. Institutions don’t protect themselves. They go down like dominoes unless each is defended from the beginning.

Remember the Brexshitter screams about judges when the Supreme Court ruled that our unelected Prime Minister could not sideline Parliament, after all the bollocks about taking back control.

4. When listening to politicians, distinguish certain words. Look out for the expansive use of “terrorism” and “extremism.” Be alive to the fatal notions of “exception” and “emergency.” Be angry about the treacherous use of patriotic vocabulary.

BoJo, Gove and Farage certainly vomited a lot of gung-ho crap.

8. Believe in truth. To abandon facts is to abandon freedom. If nothing is true, then no one can criticize power, because there is no basis upon which to do so. If nothing is true, then all is spectacle. The biggest wallet pays for the most blinding lights.

£350 million… No more need be said.

9. Investigate. Figure things out for yourself. Spend more time with long articles. Subsidize investigative journalism by subscribing to print media. Realize that some of what is on your screen is there to harm you.

Too hard for some people: “I don’t care about statistics” was the retort I received from one Leaver I tried to enlighten

Source: How do you defeat President Donald Trump? – Quora

 

Populism Versus the Media

In this respect, British journalists have much to learn from their US counterparts. Since the Brexit vote, the British press has not, for the most part, stepped up to try to save our democracy from being swamped by majoritarian sentiment. On the contrary, most of our printed tabloids and even one of our more traditional newspapers – which used to regard itself as a paper of record – have reinforced populist prejudices, much as Fox News has done in the US.

Source: Populism Versus the Media by Chris Patten – Project Syndicate

Not too hard to understand which newspapers Chris is writing about.

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

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.