Dare we speak about "Brexit?"

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Haesten

Ad Honorem
Dec 2011
2,865
But is that right? When the campaigning was on in 2016, I don't recall anyone actively pushing the notion that the UK would not only leave the EU, but would also leave the Custom's Union, the Single Market and would not seek to join the EEA. "Leave" was sold on the basis that we would undoubtedly get the best of both worlds - free trade with the EU but no need to give them any money or abide by EU legislation. Anything less was just Project Fear.

I accept that there was little specfic debate about these institutions, but the whole point of what Johnson and his sort repeatedly called our "great free trade deal" was that trade would be frictionless and that the EU would bend over backwards to make sure there were no barriers. Anyone voting Leave could therefore have been forgiven for thinking that Brexit was going to be extremely soft.

It was only after the result that this whole debate about hard and soft Brexit came to the fore. The hardline Brexiteers have been extremely good at building on the nationalism that underpinned a significant part of the Leave vote by arguing that anything other than a complete withdrawal from anything which the EU is involved in is a betrayal of the British people. This is a distinct shift in the narrative.
Both sides said leaving the EU meant leaving the customs union and single market, that was whole basis of project fear.
Too many hardline Remainers have mudded the waters now, best to leave on WTO terms and then negotiate an FTA.
 
Likes: Habakkuk
May 2018
17
GTF
Linschoten: ‘No, leave voters would regard it as a betrayal (as such I regard it as worse than staying in).
Peter Graham: ‘But is that right?
But is that wrong?
Should the United Kingdom remain a member of the European Union or leave the European Union?
• Remain a member of the European Union
• Leave the European Union
Basic question: in/out; nothing about retaining a cat’s cradle of ties with the EU. Sovereignty is what was voted for, not EU-lite.

And while I cannot speak for every one of those 17,410,742 Leave-voters, I have a better claim to than those in the Remain camp who are still trying to subvert the largest democratic mandate in Britain’s history.
 

AlpinLuke

Ad Honoris
Oct 2011
24,671
Lago Maggiore, Italy
Linschoten: ‘No, leave voters would regard it as a betrayal (as such I regard it as worse than staying in).
Peter Graham: ‘But is that right?
But is that wrong?


Basic question: in/out; nothing about retaining a cat’s cradle of ties with the EU. Sovereignty is what was voted for, not EU-lite.

And while I cannot speak for every one of those 17,410,742 Leave-voters, I have a better claim to than those in the Remain camp who are still trying to subvert the largest democratic mandate in Britain’s history.
Technically the EEA is not the European Union ... And UK can sign the EEA Agreement without being member of EU [like Norway has done]. So that, starting from the question of the referendum, I don't see how we can infer from its result that who has voted to leave was intending also to avoid that UK would have signed the EEA Agreement.

It's all evident that, since the EEA Agreement involves the "four freedoms" [ the free movement of goods, services, persons and capital ], it would mean that UK would join a kind of "European Home".

To be accurate the EEA Agreement is not about ...

  • Common Agriculture and Fisheries Policies (although the Agreement contains provisions on various aspects of trade in agricultural and fish products);
  • Customs Union;
  • Common Trade Policy;
  • Common Foreign and Security Policy;
  • Justice and Home Affairs (even though the EFTA countries are part of the Schengen area); or
  • Monetary Union (EMU).
The alternative to the EEA Agreement is a set of bilateral agreements, like the one which exists between EU and Switzerland.

P.S. A brief note about "populism": there is also the difference between social and technical populism. I'm not interested in the social one, I'm interested in the technical one [the one I'm observing at work in Italy].
 

tomar

Ad Honoris
Jan 2011
12,547
That's because you are conflating "populist" with "popular". They aren't the same thing. All political parties have to be popular, or they win no votes. But populism is something different. It is all about providing very simple answers to very difficult questions, and this is normally achieved by wild stereotyping and blaming either out of touch elites or minority groups (especially ones who can't kick back, like migrants) for all of your woes.

Populists like to set themselves up as being the voice of the people, or the voice of common sense. They are usually neither or, at least, are the voice of a pretty limited sub group of 'the people'.

Given that wild stereotyping and 'othering' is often (although not always) nothing more than bigotry and prejudice dressed up in a cheap suit of respectability, it is perfectly reasonable to call out populism. To use your football analogy, it'd be like criticising the Crazy Gang (Wimbledon FC's legendary hard-nuts) for playing dirty. Which they did.
I still do not see the difference... One party might blame migrants, another one might blame "racists", a third one might blame "the 1%" or "the rich" and so on...

All will offer "simple" solutions (because voters, well, have a hard time with complicated solutions ) ..... It seems to me this is just a label used to try and drive out the competition by claiming their product is somehow tainted while one's own product is of course so much superior... And all will claim to be the voice of the people.....which all claim to love and care about.... (but only before elections)
 
Jun 2016
1,614
England, 200 yards from Wales
Linschoten: ‘No, leave voters would regard it as a betrayal (as such I regard it as worse than staying in).
Peter Graham: ‘But is that right?
But is that wrong?


Basic question: in/out; nothing about retaining a cat’s cradle of ties with the EU. Sovereignty is what was voted for, not EU-lite.

And while I cannot speak for every one of those 17,410,742 Leave-voters, I have a better claim to than those in the Remain camp who are still trying to subvert the largest democratic mandate in Britain’s history.
No, what was voted for was leave. " nothing about retaining a cat’s cradle of ties with the EU", as you say, but nothing about not retaining them either. There's nothing about EEA, single market etc indeed, so the vote is not about retaining OR leaving them.

A thought that occurred to me half an hour ago while driving to town - so not really thought out. But - there is no mandate for leave. Well, there is but it is futile, for 'leave' is an impractical abstraction. 'Leave' is not possible, we can only have a particular form of leave, whether no deal, Canada, Norway or some form of Chequers, yet 'leave' includes all of those and we can't have all.
I wonder if the campaign had been just one of those, with conditions specified, against remain how it would have gone? If it took votes for all of them to win, could a particular one have done so?
 

Linschoten

Ad Honoris
Aug 2010
15,096
Welsh Marches
Obviously nothing was stated on the form about the terms on which we would leave, but both sides conducted the debate on the assumption that we would be leaving the customs union, I remember that quite clearly. The distinction between 'hard Brexit' and 'soft Brexit' was invented by remainers after their side lost, and int involved a very clever use of language, suggesting as it does that the 'hard' alternative must be something nasty.
 

AlpinLuke

Ad Honoris
Oct 2011
24,671
Lago Maggiore, Italy
I still do not see the difference... One party might blame migrants, another one might blame "racists", a third one might blame "the 1%" or "the rich" and so on...

All will offer "simple" solutions (because voters, well, have a hard time with complicated solutions ) ..... It seems to me this is just a label used to try and drive out the competition by claiming their product is somehow tainted while one's own product is of course so much superior... And all will claim to be the voice of the people.....which all claim to love and care about.... (but only before elections)
This is the problem when we discuss social populism: it's undefined ...

Technical populism is a different thing: it's a way in which a democracy tends to work. And it's not that difficult to understand what's it:

in the conceptualization of state of the Enlightenment, with the division of the powers, there was the idea of something like a "contract" ... that is to say the citizen / elector delegates, according to written rules [a Constitution which is actually a kind of collective contract] to the institutions [composed or controlled by elected citizens] the defense of the personal rights [and all the rest]. This means that there is only one way to conceive the political activity of a system: it has to work by democratic mandate.

Technical populism is the contrary: the citizen has got the right to exercise directly his sovereignty [in democracies sovereignty belongs to the People, this is why a "democratic Monarchy" is not exactly a democracy ... there is still a "Sovereign" somewhere ...]. The most diffused instrument of direct democracy around is the referendum.

More a system allows citizens to directly substitute the Parliament and more the system is populist.

** It's a totally different matter to say that a politician is populist because it sustains to listen to the people and to follow its will when he takes decisions. That's a social populist.
 
Jun 2016
1,614
England, 200 yards from Wales
Obviously nothing was stated on the form about the terms on which we would leave, but both sides conducted the debate on the assumption that we would be leaving the customs union, I remember that quite clearly. The distinction between 'hard Brexit' and 'soft Brexit' was invented by remainers after their side lost, and int involved a very clever use of language, suggesting as it does that the 'hard' alternative must be something nasty.
No wonder it's such a mess now, a vote on an assumption, rather than a defined policy. (Do you mean Customs Union or Single Market, or both?)
If the leave campaign wanted a real mandate they should have published a manifesto with their intended form of leaving set out, which their spokesmen would have had to stick to, as parties do for a general election. (Whether they stick to it after winning is another matter of course).
In fact it was not that clear, different people said different things, often pretty unclear (not necessarily only leave people).
Is Brexit really incompatible with the single market? The referendum campaigns revisited

Maybe the terms 'hard' and 'soft' were invented later, and have the implication you mention, but what they describe is a real distinction.
 
Last edited:
May 2018
17
GTF
johnminnitt: ‘There's nothing about … single market’ The government’s pamphlet, delivered to every household in the country (in contravention of the Venice Commission’s guidelines), intended to persuade people to vote for remaining in the EU, stressed the benefits of remaining in the Single Market on its fourth page. Clearly, by voting against the government’s wishes, we were certainly voting against the Single Market.

johnminnitt: ‘there is no mandate for leave ’ Good luck with that; good luck with telling 17,410,742 people that they were not voting for what they were voting for, but were actually voting for what you wanted them to vote for instead.

No deal and WTO-rules is what we want.
 
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