We’ve all seen this. You’re sitting on a committee, you have successfully and efficiently dealt with all the business needing a decision and the chairman is mumbling a perfunctory ‘Any other business?’ At this point the member from hell, who has been biding his time, looks up. ‘Excuse me. Looking back on item 3 I now realise we missed some points. I strongly think we need to reopen the discussion.’ Hearing an angry shuffling of papers, he adds: ‘I’m sorry, but I must insist. I know you all have work to do, but nothing in the rule book says we can’t change our mind, and it’s important that we take a properly informed decision.’ This is a technique nearly always practised in bad faith, by someone who lost the previous argument, hoping to turn to his advantage not the judgment of those present, but his own political brinkmanship and their impatience to get the matter out of the way.

Essentially this is Tony Blair’s tactic on the second Brexit referendum. For all his honeyed words on the Today programme last week about popular sovereignty and the right of the people to have the final say, his faith is as bad as anybody’s. He made no secret of his views on June 23, 2016. He has no time for the judgment of any group he and his friends can’t control; he openly desires to stop Brexit at any cost; his attitude is ‘Let’s have another vote and hope the voters are feeling so heartily sick of Brexit that they’ll just to put an end to the whole process.’ And, of course, if you then ask whether he would regard a Remain vote in a second referendum as equally provisional and open to revision you know what answer you’d get.

But this attitude of contempt for one of the largest popular votes ever garnered in the UK isn’t simply a matter of committee gamesmanship. It’s worse, in two ways.

First, it undermines a fundamental premise of any democracy worth the name. Elected governments receive a mandate from the people who choose them. They govern on their behalf and on trust for them, and it remains up to the electors to determine what kind of authority they wish to live under. The problem with those who are now asking for a repeat EU referendum is that, although they dress up their position as one of giving the people the final say, their demand is not actually for popular sovereignty at all. Rather, it is a demand that public opinion be taken not as something to be respected and loyally given effect to, but as a means to an end: as just another factor to be manipulated in the same way as any other political circumstances to get the result the second referendum advocates want because they know it is good for us.

As such, there is nothing to choose between Tony Blair’s attitude to democracy and that of the EU itself. Ireland in 2001 and 2008 voted against Nice and Lisbon respectively; Denmark in 2005 against the European constitution. TCW readers will remember that all three votes were cynically overturned within a year or so following EU machinations. The 2008 Irish poll was typical. It was condemned by the great and the good, including Will Hutton, as infected by populism; its reversal took place as if the Irish voters (to use Brendan O’Neill’s words in a hard-hitting article in the Guardian) ‘had been taking part in a multiple-choice maths exam and had failed to work out that 2+2=4′. As one matter-of-fact academic blogger put it, apparently without a shred of perceived irony, ‘the Yes campaigners learned from past experience and built a toolkit for overturning the negative result’.

The second point is that those insisting on repeated referendums lose sight of the reasons for having them at all. In a Parliamentary democracy like ours, referendums are exceptional. Since 1973 eleven have been held in the UK or a substantial part of it, three of these taking place when Tony Blair was prime minister. All have concerned questions of high principle concerning how, or by whom, the electorate was to be governed. They have involved devolution (6), the status of Northern Ireland (2), the electoral system itself (1), and of course EU membership (2). This matters. The very point of submitting such questions to a referendum, rather than leaving them as we normally do to the changes and chances of fleeting parliamentary sentiment, is that they go to the principles under which we are governed, and who is to do the governing. This is why we regard them as questions to be decided by the people as a whole, as a matter of principle, and with a degree of finality. The finality is important: referendums on constitutional questions are there to put paid to arguments about forms of government, not to start them. Therefore they should settle the matter for a substantial time, perhaps not as much as a generation, but at least for a good period of years. Sometimes indeed this is laid down in law. Under legislation of 1998, passed on Tony Blair’s watch, the people of Northern Ireland can decide whether they wish Northern Ireland to be British or Irish, but subject to a minimum gap of seven years between polls. But even if it is not expressly stated, the requirement is constitutionally implicit.

Those who argue that referendums are no big deal and that people ought to be encouraged to change their mind as often as they fancy do nothing more than devalue the idea of popular sovereignty which justifies holding referendums in the first place.

188 COMMENTS

  1. Hotel California comes to mind. We can check-in but no checking out.

    …one way of guaranteeing a bad deal with the EU27 is for the U.K. to say in advance of the deal that it will hold a referendum on it.

    Perhaps that is the last ditch plan of the democracy deniers.

  2. Tony, go back to your “5 times a night” wife, according to her report, at least the rest of us can get on with real life, not fantasy boasting. (That is, if she is still speaking to you at all …)

    • That awful woman Cherie admitted it was nonsense. Just goes to show how glibly these two lie and how they are never to be trusted.

  3. Brexit will be a fantastic success and as every year goes by the Political and media elite that wanted the EU will look more and more ridiculous. Reputations will be lost.

    We dont believe ‘experts’ anymore Mr Blair because you taught us all that Governments lie. Prime Ministers lie. That genie is not going back in the bottle.

        • In some subjects there are objective standards. In others there are not. How many “experts” foresaw the world wide economic recession in 2008? How many politicians did?

          • If that was the choice, but it wasn’t. 17.4 million voted to leave and they were not all the mad bloke next door. Many who wanted to remain were the mad bloke next door. So, what’s your point ?

        • One doesn’t need an expert, one needs a competent pilot.

          Don’t you dare turn on a light switch until you can explain how the transmission and distribution system works. You need an expert for that.

    • Success requires getting the government out of the way. I think they secretly know it and fear the loss of power. That’s why the elite are fighting to retain the status quo.

  4. A referendum should indeed settle an argument not start one Mr Tettenborn.
    However the abstract question, the conduct of the players, and the absence of a meaningful proposal alongside a narrow ‘victory’ margin (quoted as unacceptable even by N Farage) suggest it did not.
    Why is it not sensible and democratic to vote properly on the proposals when they become clear?

    • In a binary referendum, the victors are those who achieve 50% + 1 vote.

      ‘Leave the EU’ achieved 50% + 1,269,501 votes.

      It won in nearly two thirds of parliamentary seats (giving a hypothetical HoC ‘majority’ of 180+) and it won in 9 out of the 12 EU ‘regions’

      In what way was the victory margin ‘narrow’?

      And given that the instruction from the electorate was to ‘Leave the EU’ would you not agree that any second referendum should be a choice between accepting whatever ‘deal’ is achieved and leaving the EU with no deal?

      • 52:48 is numerically narrow (as endorsed by Mr Farage) and also in context of the enormity of the decision plus the facts that 17.4 million voted leave whilst 30 million did not.
        Quoting the GE doesn’t work since that was not a single-issue ballot and a LibDem vote was always seen as a tactical waste.
        Since there would be new informatiom available it would then make sense to confirm a clear desire to leave taking advantage of that.

        • And the original instruction was to ‘Leave the EU’ – and, as was made perfectly clear by both sides, in the referendum debate, that means leaving The Council of Ministers, The Commission, The Customs Union, The Single Market and jurisdiction of the ECJ – no ifs, no buts, no conditions.

          If a subsequent ‘deal’ ties us into any of the above, then any second referendum should be a choice between said ‘deal’ and the original instruction to ‘Leave the EU’ – don’t you think?

          Or do you hold the same view as the mendacious, despotic and frankly evil Mr Blair that the referendum should be a choice between a bad ‘deal’ and ‘Remain in the EU’?

          • ECJ jurisdiction will continue to some reduced extent post-Brexit, not only for British affairs continuing to involve EU Law after that point (I’ll just give the obvious example of questions about pension rights of British former employees of the EU institutions), but mainly because the UK is not leaving the 47 Member State Council of Europe, of which the ECJ is an Institution.

            Just a quibble, I’m not arguing with your general position.

    • “Why is it not sensible and democratic to vote properly on the proposals when they become clear?”

      It would indeed be both sensible and democratic to vote on the proposals “when” they become clear, but the reality is not only that in dealing with the future it can never actually be “clear” what this is going to be, but also that there is a significant group of the modern elite which is so immersed in its own “progressive” self-righteousness that it will do anything within its powers to prevent democratic decision-making from being conducted from a position of good faith and clarity.
      The people of the UK have made a majority decision to transfer full political sovereignty back to the UK from the EU, and it’s time that the process of this transfer became accepted as something that is going to happen. If the progressive Left see this process as an attack on their ability to impose their will extra-democratically on the people of this country then that’s just tough! And it’s not before time, either.

      • We voted decisively (against huge manipulative rigging by the establishment) to decide on our own proposals, not just to accept lamely the proposals that came along from the other side.

    • Nothing abstract about Leave or Remain.

      And if Remain had won you wouldn’t be dancing about here with your linguistic gymnastics and convolutions.

      • You know what? I actually might have, as also would Nigel Farage who said that a 48:52 vote would mean ‘unfinished business’
        How about you?

        • Nigel Farage is Nigel Farage and Tethys is Tethys. My comment was referring to your behaviour, not Mr Farage’s.

          Me? I would have continued to deplore the EU but not the result of the referendum. And an argument to hold another referendum would have been impossible to justify and gained no support from the establishment. That would have been in sharp contrast to what has happened since the Leave win.

        • F what Farage did or did not say. I didn’t ask him to lead anything. It would not have stopped me continuing to fight to leave, but the difference is that we were in the EU. Once we are out, then by all means start fighting to get us back in, but not until the inks dry on the contract.

          The referendum was a massive mistake, but it’s done and trying to mess around with addendum will result in at least 17.4 million people making their own arrangement in regard to democracy. I don’t think that would be a very pretty thing. It’s not likely to be some massive civil war, but it would mean that people would look around for something more radical to represent them-we have seen that happen in many countries and you can guarantee that someone radical will be waiting for just that kind of opportunity.

          • It would not have stopped me continuing to fight to leave <<>> The referendum was a massive mistake

            ??????!!!???!!!?!?!??!???

          • I would have continued to fight to have the Government make the decision to leave the EU not through a referendum. I never expected a referendum and have fought for several years without even considering that possibility.

          • It is likely not constitutionally possible (in non-extraordinary constitutional circumstances) for the UK to cease a treaty relationship with a multinational entity that was instituted as the result of a popular referendum except by the means of a second popular referendum.

          • Any party could have had leaving the EU as their manifesto pledge and made it happen in parliament. Indeed May could have done so in the last election.

          • That could only be justified, constitutionally, if and only if a political Party (or coalition) campaigning on the basis of “we will leave the EU if we are elected into Government” actually won a significant majority at Parliament.

            But you’re being disingenuous …

            Any party could have had leaving the EU as their manifesto pledge and made it happen in parliament. Indeed May could have done so in the last election.

            They did, and they did. And in fact, Parliament overtly approved the triggering of Article 50.

          • They did, but now they demand a ‘meaningful’ vote. Have we left yet ? No. Getting on for two years and the possibility of an additional two years.

          • Any extension of the negociation period beyond March 19th 2019 would require a specific and overt agreement by every single EU Member State, including the UK.

            Any EU Member State, including the UK, could veto such a proposal.

    • Because we voted to leave, everything else is academic. The ‘meaningful’ vote in parliament is ridiculous. Meaning full to whom and for what ? A second referendum would need to be exactly like the first because there is no guarantee that, having planned another referendum, that the EU would give us any deal at all prior to that referendum.

      The fact is, we can’t ever know what the deal is until the deal is completed and it cannot be completed if we introduce the possibility of a second referendum. It would just begin again from after that referendum. We already activated A50 so the second referendum would require resetting it and that would require even more negotiation with the EU as we would essentially be opting back in-which would mean the possibility of the rules of entry/exit being changed to prevent another referendum.

      A second referendum is effectively a neverendum.

  5. I read an article somewhere once that quoted something that Winston Churchill had said or written upon hearing that America had joined the WW2. It claimed he said/wrote “I went to bed, and slept the sleep of the saved”. Apologies if that is not word-perfect, but from memory the essence of it is correct.

    That’s the way I felt on June 24th 2016.

    I should have known better.

    • Obviously Churchill should have asked the Americans if they were really sure, and offered them the chance to change their minds.

    • Hitler did his bit too by declaring war on Germany just after Pearl Harbor thus helping to convince the Americans that their quarrel was not just with Japan.

        • What nationality are you? Lots of people outside the United States, and I suspect even some Americans, imagine that after Pearl Harbor the Americans, out of the goodness of their hearts, thought that if they were going to war they might as well help us against the Germans too.

          • Did you actually read your own post? FYI I’m British and fairly conversant with the history of the second world war. I know Germany declared war on the USA, but that’s not what you posted.

            On a serious point it was incredible – and slightly shameful – that the US took so long to act on obvious threat Germany posed. But their contribution after Pearl Harbour was immense. We owe them a lot.

          • We owe the empire (as it then was) much more. Our betrayal of large parts of it through an unnatural obsession with Europe was both short-sighted and perfidious.

          • I’m sorry but that is a version of history I just don’t recognise. The level of sacrifice by the USA, particularly after D-day, was immense. We owe them our freedom.

          • I don’t much disagree with the others about WWII. I think we would have come in against Germany eventually, but they made the choice. On the other hand. the fact that Stalin never crossed the Elbe has much to do with the fact that we learned some lessons, late and imperfectly, but we did learn them.

          • Yes but the USSR signed a treaty with Germany and they divided up Poland between them. The Russians did not choose to go to war against Germany, they were forced too. In contrast a narrow view of British self-interest in 1939 would have led to us simply ignoring German aggression against Poland.

          • Perhaps you would recognise it better if you were study in detail the sacrifices made by the Empire. New Zealand for example, a tiny country by population size even today, but much more so in 1939, declared war right from the off on 3rd September 1939 and contributed a disproportionate number of servicemen when compared to the USA in terms of population. Unlike the USA, which sat on the sidelines for over 2 years and made a considerable profit by supplying us with material we desperately needed, NZ gained nothing but paid a heavy price. Australia, Canada, India and many others around the globe suffered losses too in a fight which, but for loyalty to this country, they really had no dog in the European war. You might also care to study the opposition in much of the USA, and particularly Congress, to any support at all for this country at a time when invasion was a very real possibility. With a different president in the White House there may have been a very different outcome.

            None of that is to deny the sacrifice and efforts of the USA once they (were forced to) commit to the European theatre, but blind gratitude without recognising the level of self-interest involved, when compared to the commitment of the Empire for no profit, is to misunderstand the reality.

          • If you go by Hollywood. British losses after D-Day were proportionately much higher. US Army personnel in NW Europe as of 30 April 1945 totalled 2.6 million (2,618,000) compared to British and Commonwealth Army personnel of just over one million (1,018,000). 2.6 US soldiers to every 1 Brit & Commonwealth. But even that creates a false picture as the US operated a much larger admin “tail” of non-combatants. British infantry losses were so high that “Canloan” officers (Canadian Army officers on loan) had to be posted into British regiments.

            Total military casualties were 425,700 for UK and Canada against a population of 59 million from Sep 1939-1945. US military casualties were 407,300 against a population of 131 million from Dec 1941-1945. So who made the greater sacrifice in real terms?

            We owe our freedom to the British, Commonwealth and free European forces who kept Britain free from German invasion in 1940 and 1941, together with a small band of US RAF volunteers. If Britain had fallen the USA would have found it exceedingly difficult to liberate Europe.

          • It isn’t a contest. Somewhere I think Churchill said that before d-day the Americans did nothing, after D-day they did everything. My father volunteered for the RAF when war broke out. He told me it all seemed like a great adventure until, when training in Blackpool, he encountered Polish and Czech pilots who had survived the blitzkrieg. The reality of it all hit him pretty hard then. Later in the war, serving in the North Atlantic he swapped his RAF gear with an American, and was amazed at how much better equipped they were. That US flying jacket is lost to history, though I still have his RAF tunic.

          • I didn’t say it was a contest. But it is curious, that having attributed an “immense” level of sacrifice to the USA, when provided with comparable figures you immediately change the subject and assert that it is not a contest.

            If Churchill ever said that he was wrong and it impugned the efforts and sacrifice of British and Commonwealth troops after D-Day.

          • I suggest it was the Russians what won it. That’s where the real nasty fighting took place and where the German army took a serious beating.

          • It was not until during the fighting in Normandy that the American troops fighting the Germans overtook the number of British and Commonwealth troops – i.e during the last 12 months of the war.

          • True, as I remember. But it is also rather parochial. Other than Slim’s heroic and undersupplied forces, the war against Japan was an American war, and 8th AAF losses in Europe were quite a lot higher than RAF Bomber Command, and the results were better as well.

            It was not a competition, in truth it was a team. Those British and Commonwealth forces had much American equipment, and a fair amount of American equipment was manufactured in Britain.

            The goal was to win, not glory or to get rich.

          • I’m not sure about the goal. It certainly secured American hegemony and it secured it comparatively cheaply. On one level, those 350,000 lives were a very, very good investment.

          • I agree with what you wrote, especially the last sentence. However, I would also have pointed out that a large British fleet was involved in the final battles in the Pacific and, just before that, in slashing production from the Japanese held oil refineries in Sumatra.

            Also the Americans benefited from British work on radar, code breaking, penicillin and nuclear fission. The jet engine could be added to the list but the first US jets were not used in the war because their performance was inferior to that of the P-51 Mustang and even the British jets were far too late to have much of an impact.

            The P-51 Mustang, one of the most successful Allied fighter-bombers, was designed in the United States to a British specification. It was originally supposed to have American engines but the plane’s performance was disappointing until they were replaced by British Rolls Royce Merlin engines.

            Of course it was in Britain’s own interests to assist the United States in any ways in which were able to do so, and, fortunately for us and for other Allies, America’s industrial capacity was more than sufficient for supplying US needs and was able to meet a great part of the needs of the British, Canadians and other Allies, including more of Soviet Union’s needs than is commonly realised.

            As you said, the goal was to win and by helping each other wherever it was possible, we were also all helping ourselves.

          • The Mustang was designed to a British requirement to begin with. The British wanted North American to build P-40s but North American said they could design a better aircraft. Without the British the Mustang would never have been built. Putting the Merlin in it was the icing on the cake.

          • I agree with all you write.

            Strangely, the Allison engine, originally for the P 51, remained in production, in the P40, which the Soviets used extensively as a tank buster, especially after the west won air superiority. The Merlin was (actually is) the best piston engine ever, all credit to Rolls Royce, but the caveat is that it was Packard who figured out how to mass produce it. Even Rolls has said so.

            If I remember Stalin gave America credit for motorizing the Red Army, allowing it to keep up with the Wehrmacht.

            The three of us together were far more than the sum of the parts.

          • The Packard Merlin was considered slightly inferior to the Rolls-Royce by RAF pilots who flew both types.

            😉

          • The greatest land defeat ever suffered by the Japanese Army was in Burma at the hands of the British and Indian Armies – and no thanks to Stilwell who was an Anglophobe SOB.

            Americans always boast about their part in the war and then when their bombast is corrected with facts say that it was not a competition. Hollywood has hardly given the British a look in, except when casting them as villains.

          • Thanks so much for clarifying that, Colonel. I’ll attempt to live down to your expectations. If you had supported Slim appropriately, instead of half starving his troops, maybe the war would have been shorter.

            I’ll try to restrain my admiration for the British in the future, since that’s what all Americans do. After all, I’ve likely been overestimating all these years how brave, competent and essential they were.

          • Unfortunately I was in no position to support Slim myself, but I think you are referring to the Chindits and the main reason they were half-starved was down to Stilwell after Wingate had been killed.

          • And the Americans were determined to pull the Empire to pieces. They decided the war in our favour, but helped to bring about our eventual humiliation – which may not have been altogether a bad thing.

        • Sorry, I knew what I meant to write and that is what I “saw” when I saw your comment too. It is actually quite a common experience among people who proof read their own work, but I admit that because I thought I knew what I had written I did not bother to read it properly.

  6. Most people by now should be aware that Tony BLiar is hopelessly and irredeemably corrupt, anyone reading the many books about his presidency (Not a typo) would know that. His pay coming after he left office for speeches and policies of dubious value, and amounting to around £200 million from the oil rich gulf states.

    Since they thought they had paid him his due and stopped his payment (what clearer sign do you need as to the value of the ‘work’) he has been looking for another paying project, and found one in a groups of bankers and vested interests with sufficient money to raise BLiars eyebrow.

    This is not about conviction, this is not about belief, nor about doing the right thing for the country, this is pure and simple money talking and anyone with any sense shouldn’t listen to it.

  7. Tony B’Liar won three elections. I don’t recall him, on any occasion, agitating for the electorate to have another vote five minutes afterwards.

  8. Tony Blair is not interested in Britain. Tony Blair is interested in Tony Blair. Always has been, always will be.

        • The vast majority of the people go along with the groupthink, and the groupthink, unfortunately, is very much more determined by feelings than by thinking.

        • The amount of people in the Tory Party or who were lifelong Tory voters who thought it was ok that he won was unbelievable.

      • A great many people. Were that not true then decorations for gallantry, by forces personnel in battle, police officers on our streets and fire fighters at disasters, at risk and sometimes sacrifice of their own lives for the safety of others, would be much rarer than they are. You seem to view the world through a very selfish prism.

          • Which is the same thing. Thankfully there are a great many people who are willing to serve in the interests of their fellow citizens even where that may involve physical and mental hazards to their own best interests. I doubt we would see you amongst them, although you would no doubt be grateful for their services in times of need.

          • It’s how I view the referendum. Does it affect me? Yes. Does it affect me adversely? Yes. Is it therefore a bad thing? Yes.

          • It sounds like you’re the sort of citizen that the Left has spent the last 50 years trying to create, in order to give these authoritarians an excuse for treating the general population as if it is composed entirely of limited and inadequate children in desperate need of the protection and control of the Big State.

          • Interesting. How does it affect you adversely ? I rarely hear anyone criticising it from a personal perspective.

          • Can you give more details. At present we haven’t left the EU in any sense, so, if you have lost work, it must be for another reason ?

            Remember that, despite everything, it isn’t the UK playing at being nasty. The EU need not make it awkward for us to trade with them. We don’t need a delay of two years either. It is the protectionist stance of the EU that is the problem here and not the UKs willingness to trade on exactly the same terms as today.

          • No idea what he said because I blocked him, but …

            it isn’t the UK playing at being nasty. The EU need not make it awkward for us to trade with them

            Quite.

            And BTW it seems that the negociations around Gibraltar’s exit from the EU are on their part proceeding quite as one would expect them to — in a civilised manner, and without unnecessary Remainiac theatrics and acrimony.

          • I would have liked to hear what he had to say, but he hasn’t replied. If someone has a genuine story to tell, as a Remainer, that doesn’t involve the pork barrel cronyism of the EU, then it would be interesting to hear it.

          • I lost contracts due to political uncertainty. Not huge contracts, but I was told they were going with a different writer ‘because of the political uncertainty.’

          • That sounds like a dear john kind of thing BG. There is always political uncertainty of one form or another. My next door neighbour was told the same thing by the business he supplies-but, in fact, despite his grim faced worry, the reality is that since Brexit he has had twice as many contracts out of his customer than prior to Brexit. He now admits that his dire claims of a business down turn ‘because Brexit’ were bunkum.

            Sorry to hear you lost your contracts though.

          • The reality of life is that it sucks, then we die. They went with a writer who is more expensive, but more local. The result is that I’ve stopped freelancing, got a job and am having to apply for jobs in the EU in my spare time with zero expectation of success.

          • That’s your reality not mine.

            How is it the fault of the vote to leave the EU ? Except some hearsay from your customer there is nothing.

            Do you mean jobs in the EU parliament/commission ? Or just jobs generally in continental Europe seeing that we currently remain in the EU ?

            Are you involved in the pork barrel politics of the EU itself ? In other words writing for lobbyists and other publications that belong to the kind of business run my Martin Sorrell et al ?

          • That is absolutely my reality. I’m sure your life is lovely.

            And I mean ANY kind of media job in the EU.

          • My life is pretty good. I accept that if it isn’t then I’m responsible for fixing it.

            Is ‘a media job’ generally easy to get ? I like writing too, but I’m damned sure I would struggle to make ends meet if I had to rely on it. If you cannot get a job in media then perhaps it’s time to think the unimaginable and junk it for another profession ? Then you can write in whatever time you have spare and if a better offer emerges you can skip off to pastures new.

            I’m sure you won’t want my advice, that’s par for the course, I don’t like advice either, but you sound so fed up with life that surely anything is better than ‘life sucks and then you die’ ? That’s such a waste. I can tell now that you are angry and need something to blame- the EU vote is providing you with an excuse for not moving on. I wish you well whatever you decide, but you need to stop making excuses and get busy living.

          • I don’t expect anyone to fix my life, thanks. Some people are naturally positive and some people are naturally negative, gifted with a kind of nihilistic hopelessness that could suck the joy out of a five year old’s birthday and drive the Pope to suicide. And I’m very definitely one of the latter and have thought like such ever since I could remember. Again, nobody else is responsible for that but myself.

            As to the referendum, we are where we are. I spend weekends applying for jobs in the EU with the clock ticking all the time. As I only ever get down to the last three – if I’m lucky – it’s a singularly soul destroying enterprise, but then living in post-Brexit Britain won’t be much fun either, and I need a hobby.

          • Aww BG that’s pretty horrible to think like that. I spent most of my life as a manic depressive so I have some understanding of your state of mind. It’s curable.

            Brexit isn’t really adding to your woes though. PB Britain won’t be a lot different from what it is now. There are opportunities if we leave and if the state gets out of the way, but I fear it is incapable of doing so. Europe itself is in a hell of a mess, it wouldn’t be our saviour anyway, it’s become a political project driven by socialists and powered by crony capitalists. That kind of state cannot last long.

          • It is curable, at least it was for me, but it wasn’t easy, nor was it quick. I managed my depression for 50 years give to take. There were bouts of extreme anxiety, but I found an answer without resorting to anything esoteric, or pharmaceutical. Everyone has to find their own way I guess. Hope you find what your looking for. Best wishes whatever happens.

          • My life is pretty good. I accept that if it isn’t then I’m responsible for fixing it.

            yeah, even in cases where that might practically not be feasible for whatever reasons, the responsibility still remains personal.

            I like writing too, but I’m damned sure I would struggle to make ends meet if I had to rely on it

            I’ve had to, and it depends as much on talent/skill as on work as on contacts. If you’re any good at it, it can pay the rent and put food on your plate, but it’s hardly any manner of regular income …

          • No — i’ve not blocked him for either trolling or sockpuppetry, but because he seriously gets my goat, and my reactions to his bollox are therefore unproductively destructive.

            Talking to that man would instantly become the sort of flame war that I would wish to spare this community from.

  9. The fact is that the EU can and does overturn referendums whenever the people vote against it yet this has not in any way stopped the EU from further integration and acting undemocratically. It shows how dumbed down we are and docile to have not risen up against such a dictatorship. Because there really isnt any other means to get shot of the EU. As we have seen, they will punish countries that have the audacity to want to break free by fining them, sanctioning them or some other means pour encourage les autres that there is no escape and consent is eventually psychologically manufactured so that is impossible to even think about leaving.

  10. Remember that the three referendums held under Blair were all, to some extent, loaded. Blair allowed them to go ahead because he was absolutely confident of the results. In the event, he lost one heavily (North-East regional assembly) and nearly lost another (Welsh devolution). It seems very likely that, as the Welsh vote approached, Blair and co realised their campaign was in trouble, despite the fact that the referendum had been rushed precisely in order to catch the No campaign unprepared.

    When, therefore, Diana, Princess of Wales, died in Paris on 31st August, Blair cynically cancelled campaigning in the Welsh referendum, obliging the No campaign to follow suit, despite the fact that Diana’s association was purely nominal. An already precipitate campaign was deliberately truncated. In the event, the result was genuinely close (unlike the Brexit vote) and, indeed, suspiciously so, given that later returns conveniently, for Blair, bucked the trend of earlier ones.

    Blair wasn’t going to risk going that close to defeat again, so, with Jack Straw, he concocted new rules for the conduct of referendum campaigns. These were very clearly devised to give the government an overwhelming advantage. Campaigns would receive funding according to party representation in Parliament. This made a mockery of the whole point of a referendum: that it is a vote thrown open directly to the people. Blair was looking to hold a referendum on joining the euro and calculated that hamstringing the No vote’s campaign finances would be a way to achieve the “right” result. At the time, there was a chance that euro-craziac Ken Clarke might be leader of the Conservative Party, leaving the various Ulster Unionist groups as the only parliamentary parties on the No side.

    As it turned out, Blair got cold feet on the euro, so his lopsided referendum system didn’t get rolled out until the North-Eastern vote in 2004. As with the Welsh vote, Labour started with utter confidence of winning the desired result. The North-East had been selected to have the first vote precisely because it was a Labour fortress. On the very day of voting, a spokeswoman for the campaign for a North-West regional assembly (the next in line, had the NE vote gone the other way) said on Beebyanka radio that there would be no need to bother with a vote in her region, because public opinion was so decisively in favour. That, I suspect, would have been Blair’s attitude, too: the Geordies have done the business; no need to risk getting a No vote elsewhere.

    Except that the North-East wasn’t playing along, despite Labour attempts to skew the campaign. There were two No campaigns, one broadly based and one centred on the Conservatives, who had virtually no support in urban areas of the North-East. John Prescott, Blair’s satrap in the campaign, unhesitatingly awarded official funding to the doomed Conservative campaign, expecting, one assumes, that the other No campaign would wither. It didn’t and Blair’s plan to atomise England was stillborn.

    These examples not only betray the way Blair views the very idea of a referendum and the contempt he has for, he thinks, easily manipulated voters, but suggest that he continues to smart over his track record; he hates the people who vote for the other side. Even after rigging the system, he couldn’t guarantee the results he wanted.

  11. “The problem with those who are now asking for a repeat EU referendum is that, although they dress up their position as one of giving the people the final say, their demand is not actually for popular sovereignty at all. Rather, it is a demand that public opinion be taken not as something to be respected and loyally given effect to, but as a means to an end: as just another factor to be manipulated in the same way as any other political circumstances to get the result the second referendum advocates want because they know it is good for us.”

    That is as good a description of “Post-Democracy” as I have heard…..When Mandelson mentioned in a speech in 1997 that; “We are now living in a Post-Democratic age”, not one journalist queried it, or asked him to explain it. Well, now we know.

  12. One of the things that angered me after the referendum vote (and I’m sure it probably annoyed others too) was the amount of people who piped up on flagship political programmes with the words ‘we didn’t have enough information.’ This is what people like Blair and Clegg are banking on.
    We live in a world where practically everyone as all the information they can gather at their fingertips but no, they would rather spend their time on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, whatever amount of social media and games and Netflix and Amazon but they couldn’t be bothered to inform themselves on the biggest decision this country has made, certainly in my lifetime.
    Well, that’s their lookout. Many people might have voted because of what politicians or commentators said. Many more may have voted on an emotive response, scared or optimistic about the information being pumped out through the airwaves. I voted based on the information I retrieved from the EU itself and I’d like to think, many more voted based on information they’d researched for themselves.
    If some couldn’t be bothered to look, they can’t whinge about the outcome. The information was there. All they had to do was look for it.

    • And of course every household received the government’s leaflet, which was slanted towards Remain.

    • George Soros the trillionaire is passionately anti Brexit. He also uses his millions to Islamise Europe and has gone around the refugee camps in Syria telling them how to get assylum here. He runs the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung Organisation an offshoot of Open Society the main organisation he runs to undermine and Islamise Europe. Clegg has received a £21,000 grant from the first society to go towards his favourite charity. Now there is nothing wrong about that apart from the fact of where the money is coming from and what it represents. Soros has approved one third of MEP’s as people he can use for his ends. Another reason to get out quick?

    • Are the people who complained that they did not have enough information the ones who believed Nick Clegg’s assurances that there were no plans for an EU Army?

        • Who is paying for them? People who think that Tony Blair is “a pretty straight kinda’ guy” and that Nick Clegg would never lie to us?

      • Probably. They were certainly gullible enough to believe the scare stories which are still being drip fed by the MSM.

  13. Why is Blair’s opinion on this any more valid than that of the man on the Clapham omnibus and why does he think he has a right to intervene? He is an ex-“president”, with a highly dubious record in office, now not elected by anyone and running a commercial consultancy.

    He should keep out of it.

  14. The most googled word the day after the referendum was ‘ what is the EU’ –
    people were voting for whatever bandwagon had the loudest voice without knowing
    any real facts. Politicians with their own bias agendas voiced their opinions
    far too much, the press were dishonest as usual and it was mainly sword rattling ,
    and scaremongering on both sides.
    I decided to vote Brexit due to Boris Johnson and Michael Gove’ s assurances
    as well as finding out facts about the EU. But there were those who did the opposite,
    some did so when being called ‘traitors ‘ by those who use ideology and sword waggling instead of reasoned
    argument and basically scare the life out of reasonable

    But at the end of the day we have had the referendum, it is over, Mr Blair .
    We need to be dealing with trade, finances etc and not going over the same
    ground with those who cannot accept the drama is finished.

  15. Tony Blair is doing for Brexit what Hillary Clinton did for Donald Trump, guaranteeing its victory. Long may he continue to publicly call for a second referendum.

  16. The revelation that Tony Blair does not respect, nor even understand, true democracy is, of course, no revelation at all. We didn’t hear him calling for a second vote after his landslide election in 1997 lest the people didn’t realise that would be the result and didn’t intend such a powerful majority in parliament. The stakes here are much, much higher than simply exiting the EU; they challenge the very basis of our constitutional settlement under which the electorate and not the political class have the ultimate power to determine the nation’s future. There is more than a whiff of desperation now in the statements and actions of many arch-Remainers like Blair, but the decision has been taken and attempts to overturn it will fracture the whole concept of peaceful politics in the UK and could even lead to anarchy. With the reputation of the political classes starting as it does from such a low point after recent much publicised scandals it would not take much for the population, or significant numbers of it, to reject the political process entirely and take to the streets to demand change. Whilst Britain is not, by nature, a revolutionary country, there have been significant examples of them in our history that have proved to be watersheds. We may yet, if the Brexit-wreckers have their way, be approaching another. They would be very wise not to push too hard.

    • Why do you people DO this? You scare yourselves that Corbyn will get elected – he won’t. Even running against a Tory leader who ran the worst, most gratuitously inept campaign in living memory, occasionally seeming actively like she wanted to throw the election, he didn’t win. And he wouldn’t win if you held the election every month in perpetuity. Now you’re scaring yourselves that there’s going to be anarchy.

      Newsflash: there isn’t going to be anarchy. What will happen is that you will get a Brexit that neither satisfies the hardcore on here or the hardcore remainers, but which is a grubby compromise between the two. Nobody will win, but nobody will lose, either, at least not to the extent that anyone wants to do anything about it. Life is a series of tatty, shopworn compromises rather than emphatic, thumping victories.

      And finally, this is Britain. One of the many things that Britain doesn’t do is anarchy. It just carries on. As Pink Floyd said, hanging on in quiet desperation is the English way. This is what has happened since 1066, and it’s what will happen now. Grow up, all of you.

          • It matters not; the riots brought about political change. There have been other examples throughout our history since 1066. You could consider Magna Carta as such, albeit through the aristocracy; the Peasants Revolt; the Civil War; the Glorious Revolution. We are not immune from revolutionary actions if pushed too far.

          • Perhaps, perhaps not, but your argument about the unwillingness of the population of these islands, particularly England, to take action when they feel sufficiently abused by the establishment is simply not borne out by history. Complacency by the political class and an assumption that a supine population will meekly accept whatever is decided for them is a very dangerous game to play. A reluctance to challenge the establishment is not at all the same as an unwillingness to do so if necessary.

          • Civil disturbances in Britain are rare and a few grubby halfwits pouring into Trafalgar Square for a rumble doesn’t change that. We’re sheep. They know that. We know that.

          • They are indeed mercifully rare, which is all the more reason not to risk the settlement that allows that to be the case.

          • I remember my father joining a hgv rolling road block in the fuel protests of 2000. I was rather proud of him!

          • It is the classic delusion of the ‘normalcy bias’ at work. People, in this case the political class, cannot bring themselves to believe that disaster is coming, even when it is staring them in the face.

            An example of the normalcy bias is the attitude of many Jews in pre war Germany. They couldn’t believe that Hitler meant what he said and didn’t think of getting out until it was too late.

            The complacency of the political class in the face of the demographic disaster which is mass immigration to Britain, especially of Muslims, is another prime example of this phenomenon.

          • Very good points.

            It is the classic delusion of the ‘normalcy bias’ at work

            Some Japanese psychologists have come up with the idea of “Normosis” as a psychological disorder — the idea originally came from analysis of personality-free Japanese wage slaves, and their deep, disordered misery but delusion of value, but I suppose that the analysis could be extended to the members of any modern cult of normative “political correctness”.

      • I think you are correct on that score. “Tatty shopworn compromises” are the lifeblood of the civil service. British government has made the management of repeated failure into an art form. No one quite does dreary, insipid and lacklustre quite like the UK.

    • Even in his “landslide” victory he still only got 43.2% of the vote and yet total power over Parliament

      Perhaps he thinks winning means you have to get less than 50%.

  17. From the elites’ view, there is no argument. We the proles got it wrong, be good and vote correctly this time.
    Their delusion is that massive.

  18. If Conservative Woman wants to know what happened to the debate on this thread, there are some men down there arguing about who won the second world war.

    • Women are welcome to join in! In any case even if we get a “second” EU Referendum, which would be a third referendum actually, nobody is proposing that we re-fight WWII (which would be WWIII actually) in a less co-operative way to see who is right!

      P.S. We all agree that it was a co-operative endeavour.

  19. If Conservative Woman wants to know what happened to the debate on this
    thread, Guevara is all over every comment like a bad rash.

    As usual.

  20. For all his honeyed words on the Today programme last week about popular sovereignty and the right of the people to have the final say

    Constitutionally, Sovereignty is an attribute belonging solely to the Monarch.

    Blair’s just dropping his mask and revealing his entrenched Marxist Sovietism.

  21. It is pointless to debate with A Blair. Since he believes he is a god (possibly even The God) he is right, always has been right and always will be right.

    • He has Messianic delusions which leave him to believe that he has been anointed by God to lead us all out of our benighted state into the sunny uplands of multiculturalism and multiracialism. Never mind that these conditions have never worked anywhere except under some kind of Empire or tyranny, he has the answer – himself. Because he knows better than we do what’s good for us and he is determined to see that we get it.

      • Messianic delusions which leave him to believe that he has been anointed by God

        yeah, complete SJW modernist and relativist “spirit of vatican 2” café catholic.

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