Friday, 24 June 2016

A Tale of Two Islands



So, we're to leave the EC. Not the result I was hoping for. Or expecting – I was in Winchester yesterday afternoon, and saw almost exclusively "remain" posters and campaigners, which surprised me. The barricaded feel of the assemblage above is more what I associate with the Tory heartlands. Here in comparatively poor and grimy Southampton, banners for either side are conspicuous by their absence, but immigration has been a long-standing issue (one tenth of our population is East European, mainly young, many with children in local schools), and I'm not surprised, if disappointed, that 54% voted to leave. Weirdly, even bigger "leave" votes came from areas like Wales and the North-East, major recipients of EU regional aid funding, and relatively unaffected by the free movement of labour from EU countries. From here, that looks like desperate political self-harm.

Where do we go from here? Who knows? I'll let you know when I find out. Depressing, isn't it? Especially for the young, whose future is at stake, and who mainly voted to remain. The infuriating thing is that this referendum was totally unnecessary, a foolish gamble by David Cameron to outflank UKIP and settle a long-standing civil war within the Conservative Party. And yet, as it seems to have turned out, it was not so much the Tory voters who swung the "leave" vote as disaffected Labour voters, allegedly rebelling against the metropolitan certainties of the political class. If true, that is a very bad sign indeed. I have shared my thoughts on these issues before, and this does nothing to change my mind.

And, while we're still on the subject, the plural of "referendum" is "referendums". I'm surprised at the number of faux-posh types in the media who insist on "referenda". Look it up, guys.

Traffic island
(that's King Alfred's traffic island)

8 comments:

Graham Dew said...

I was so proud of our country during the Olympics, inclusive, multi-racial, welcoming, vibrant. And now I'm ashamed, xenophobic and divided Little Britain. Soon to be little england ...

Zouk Delors said...

Looked it up (Chambers, 1988): both given, referenda first. Bloody Romans, coming over here with their fancy plurals ...

Zouk Delors said...

More than 60% for "leave" here in Stevenage.

Preparations are doubtless even now starting for the campaign to throw off the shackles of Whitehall ("bloody London") and return Control to its rightful seat: ... er ... Stevenage Borough Council?

amolitor said...

When the southern states decided to leave the Union over here the industrial northern components of the operation decided to hold a war to discourage this.

Thomas Rink said...

Incidentally, today's Dilbert strip seems to be quite fitting, if slightly misantropic.

Best, Thomas

Thomas Rink said...

I just read that there is an online petition to demand a rerun of the referendum - it seems to have more than 3 million supporters now and still counting. The supporters claim that a referendum needs at least 60% acceptance if the turnout is below 75%. Is this a legal stipulation in the UK? I also understood that a referendum is noncommittal for the government. So, unless the exit procedure is finalised, a future government could at least in theory halt the entire process. Of course, this is extremely hazardous as it would cause a further disruption of the society.

Best, Thomas

Zouk Delors said...

Thomas

That is not a legal principle. We don't have a written constitution in the UK -- more usually expressed as having an unwritten one. Essentially the consitution is whatever Parliament (so in effect -- usually -- the governing majority party of the day) decides it is: "Parliament is supreme". There is in general no special quorum or minimum majority needed to enact changes of a constitutional nature. If Parliament voted not to accept the referendum result there would, however, surely be a (unwritten) constitutional crisis -- or a lot of grumbling at a minimum.



That trigger for a rerun was a proposal made, it seems, by a 'leave' campaigner when it looked likely 'remain' would win, who now complains his petition has been hijacked by the disappointed opposition, according to this CNN report, which also gives the context and a link to the petition itself.

Zouk Delors said...

Errata:

nearly 60%

This CNN report