Record majority now think Brexit was the wrong decision


Democracy is not some sort of absolute good. The whole point of representative democracy is that even the will of the people has to be tempered. Constitutionally, in the UK, Parliamentary supremacy is the very core of the governing system. In Britain, as with the other Westminster countries, the people choose the Parliament, and the Parliament chooses the Government, but it is Parliament from which all fundamental lawmaking flows. The MPs have a higher obligation to the national interest than even to the voters, and if the voters don’t like the laws and policies Parliament enacts, then they have a General Election to voice their displeasure.

Leaving the EU is a monumentally catastrophic decision that will harm Britain’s economy, threaten it’s internal unity, and even the social cohesion within England itself. The entire referendum was nothing more than a stunt by Cameron to try to quell the MPs that John Major once referred to as “the Bstrds”, a bloc of Eurosceptics in the long tradition of anti-Continental sentiment.

If the Conservative Party, the oldest democratic political party in the world, has ever stood for anything, it is continuity and constitutional supremacy, and Brexit undermines all these things. From a geopolitical point of view, it abandons a policy that has been at the core of British statecraft for five centuries, that no single power should ever hold dominion over Europe. By leaving the EU, Britain essentially hands Europe over to Germany and junior partner France, abandoning its critical position as the economic and political counterweight to the German behemoth.

For historical context, the Athenians democratically voted to go to war with Sparta. By the end of the Peloponnesian War, Athens was subjugated and occupied, and its position as the pre-eminent Mediterranean power was over. So please spare me this notion that democracy in and of itself is a panacea. Democracy is more than a vote. The Westminster system’s delicate balancing of powers is one way in which democracy is balanced against the other necessities of government. The Framers of the US Constitution knew it, and were as skeptical of voters as they were of any other aspect of government, and by creating non-elected and indirectly-elected institutions, sought to check the popular will just as much as any other part of the political system.

And finally, quite simply, the referendum was non-binding. The Leave majority is a political problem, but not in and of itself a constitutional issue. Parliament remains supreme, just as it has since James II tossed his Royal Seal in the Thames and fled to the Continent in 1688.


I’m far from read up on the whole situation, but I disagree. I think it will be painful for a short period of time and then everything should even out. Other European countries either need England’s trade or they don’t; they will continue to need their trade or not post-Brexit.

When I was growing up I was taught that the three things that define a country are:

  1. Its borders
  2. A common language
  3. Its own currency

I think regaining control of its borders (and its sovereignty) is a good thing.


The EU is Britain’s largest trading partner by a country mile. The continued importance of the City as one of the world’s major financial centers in no small part rests on the frictionless movement of money and trade between Britain and the EU. The notion that Britain can recreate some sort of Anglosphere trading zone, a sort of new mercantile empire, is absurd. No mere trade deal, not even one with countries like the US, Canada and Japan, will ever replace the frictionless nature of the Common Market. Why do you think all the Brexiters and Soft Leavers are suddenly all singing the praises of the Norway model? Brexit will not see British sovereignty increased, it will see it diminished, as it becomes a beggar, hat in hand, going to Washington, Tokyo, Adelaide, Ottawa, and yes, to Brussels itself, trying to remove as many trade barriers as possible. It will no longer have a seat at the table of the entity which has dominated its commerce since the end of its Empire?

And that’s not even talking about what it internally means for the UK. The threat to the Good Friday Agreement is visceral, and will either lead to a new round of Troubles, after such a hardwon peace, or see Ireland united. And if the backstop remains, and an open border exists between Northern Ireland and Ireland, then Scotland will rightly demand that its border with the EU also remain open. Brexit inevitably means the dismemberment of the United Kingdom, one of the most successful political unions in history. And for what? Some Romanian nurses and Polish carpenters? As it is, Britain has a challenge fulfilling its labor needs, and now suddenly a hard border appears that not only raises the costs of doing business with its chief trading partners (and sees the flight of many companies to either Ireland or the Continent so as to not lose their advantage), and Britain has to enter the world of immigration competition, competing against nations like the US?

Brexit is bad. There’s nothing good about it. It doesn’t make Britain more free. It doesn’t build its economy. It doesn’t solve a single problem. It started as part of the endless war of entrenched anti-European sentiment within the Conservative Party, and now threatens not only the British economy, but the very existence of the United Kingdom itself. May has delivered the only possible deal that has any chance of preventing the worst consequences of Brexit, and guess what, it’s a horrible deal, with its only virtue resting on the fact that all the other potential outcomes either being impossible (Norway does not want their limited influence within the common Market diluted by the much larger British economy), or so reckless that it’s hard not to see how you couldn’t describe such options as insane.


Other European countries don’t need our trade as much as we need theirs. I think it’s going to be a lot rougher than what people are expecting. Take industries that rely on just-in-time strategies, for example. They’re going to struggle massively, and if they haven’t already, they’ll be moving production out of the UK. This is going to decimate some towns.

We always had control of our borders. We just didn’t implement those controls as much as we could have done, which people are now blaming on the EU.


France has over the years exerted some control over borders in defiance of Schengen, and honestly, the worst that happens is a bit of a “tut tut” from Brussels. The EU is fairly pragmatic, so even this notion of Brussels as some sort of Soviet-style slavemaster is nothing more than hyperbolic and hysterical fantasy by Eurosceptics.


Two examples of what Britain could have done but didn’t include expelling EU nationals who are still unemployed six months after entering the country and requiring them to register.

The idea we didn’t have control was used as a scare tactic. The idea Turks would flood the EU was never going to happen and yet milked for all it was worth at the time.

Also, EU migrants pay more towards Britain than they take. We’re cutting off our noses to spite our face, especially when we consider the masses of EU nationals working in the NHS and the health sector.


On the Turkish issue, it’s interesting to note that it was Britain that was the chief advocate of the Eastern European countries and Turkey entering the EU. Throughout the 1990s and early 2000s, Britain was a strong advocate for bringing in those Eastern Bloc nations and Turkey into the EU, even as other members of the EU were a bit more cautious. And yes, at this point, with Erdogan becoming more despotic at every turn, the likelihood of Turkey ever gaining EU membership fade. If Turkey ever does join the EU, it’s decades away.


As a side issue, I would query “a common language”. Certainly England was a country before it had a common language, and indeed I suppose the United States was, too. So was India (so is India, in fact).


There are longstanding historical divides within England itself that date back to the early Anglo-Saxon kingdoms. Even now there are dialectal and cultural differences, in particular between Northern and Southern England, and these have persisted for centuries. Those divides at least in part explain the parts of England that voted most strongly for Leave or Remain. That’s what I refer to when i see there are serious risks to social cohesion within England, apart from the risks to the larger Union. The North has long felt neglected, this has been a part of the English cultural tapestry dating back to the Middle Ages (it’s an interesting historical footnote, but Richard III, while despised in London, was well-loved in the North from his time as Lord of the North).


Indeed, and not only the Anglo-Saxons/Danes/Norse. After all the Cornish language was spoken up to the 18th Century.


It has always been my position that lacking remedies to the huge problems facing the EU, the EU will split up and the split is not that far off. The UK really is better off not getting dragged down with the EU, but the political class has long since thrown its lot with Brussels. There were Brexiteers in key positions in May’s Cabinet, but one should notice they’re all gone as May herself was never a Brexiteer, she was a Remainer from the beginning and it was her job to hamstring the entire process. So yes the Remainers will ultimately win, but time from now, it will be looked back on as a pyrrhic victory.


No they’re not — indeed, unfortunately Dr Fox himself is still international trade secretary, still failing to sign up those lucrative trade deals that we were promised nations across the globe would be queueing up to agree.

I’ve asked this of @abucs, but perhaps I could ask you too: what is your preferred solution to the Ireland problem?


The predictions of an EU breakup (and before that an EC breakup) have come so frequently that I put them in the same category as Armageddon and the Looming Zombie Apocalypse.


Is that a Corbyn government?


Elites in the context being discussed are people who have a disproportionate say in the running or influence of society.

Being elite doesn’t make you a bad person, it is simply a commentary on your power.

So politicians, judges and media have more power all other things being equal than hairdresser, truck drivers and shelf stackers.

If we look at the Brexit voting, the elites are overwhelmingly against it and yet it is from the ‘class’ of elites that 'Brexit is being negotiated.

This is the deficit of democracy that I speak of.


The preferred solution is for there to be an exemption on the Irish border to any restrictions between the UK and the EU.

The thing is though a hardline British nationalist would use the importance of Britain to the EU to negotiate from a position of strength because he wouldn’t be afraid of a short term British isolation from the EU but would turn the tables and be more demanding of the EU.

The EU needs a friendly and economically successful Britain and Britain needed to recognize this and negotiate from strength.


The preferred solution is for there to be an exemption on the Irish border to any restrictions between the UK and the EU.

The thing is though a hardline British nationalist would use the importance of Britain to the EU to negotiate from a position of strength because he wouldn’t be afraid of a short term British isolation from the EU but would turn the tables and be more demanding of the EU.

The EU needs a friendly and economically successful Britain and Britain needed to recognize this and negotiate from strength.

Remainers, because they really don’t want to go too far from the EU are beholden more to it and therefore are negotiating from a weaker position.


Well unless you are arguing for a customs wall between GB and NI, you are arguing for the UK to remain in the customs union. Is that it?


No. I am saying there can be a loophole. Ireland is on the periphery of Europe and dispensation is an option.


I’m not at all sure what a “dispensation” would look like. A soft, customs-free border in Ireland is not something the government should have been tough with the EU about: it’s something the EU is committed to. The question is how to square (1) a tariff-free border in Ireland; (2) UK outside the customs union (and therefore free to strike all those non-existent lucrative trade agreements with the rest of the world); and (3) no tariff border within the UK. No Brexiteer seems to have come up with a solution. You don’t seem to have a solution, either.

@Zzyzx_Road got any ideas?

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