Friday 4 November 2016

The British People – who are they?

So, the legal challenge has been successful. Parliament must be consulted as Brexit is triggered. There has of course been a reaction and again and again the phrase “the will of the British people” is used.

There are several points to be made here:
1.      The “British people” are actually a bunch of mongrels. We’re more European than most people living on the mainland in that we are more mixed than they. Fascinating island syndrome.   
2.      48% of the people who “voted” in the referendum do not want Brexit. So how is it the will of the British people?  And incidentally, learn your Latin. A referendum is not an election. There’s a whole debate to be had there but perhaps not on this blog.
3.      Not everyone who was eligible to “vote” voted.  
4.      What about the ex-pats? They’re still British people.
5.      As are the young people who weren’t quite old enough to have their say this time. I’m a baby-boomer. Please don’t shout at me. I have a T-shirt that says “Don’t blame me, I voted Remain.”  I apologise for the behaviour of my peers. Forgive them. They didn’t enjoy the education in matters global that some of us offered you.   
6.      And here’s a controversial point. What about those other EU nationals who pay taxes and live here but who can’t vote or have their say in referendums? Maybe the EU doesn’t go far enough. What about the principle of no taxation without representation?  

It all comes down to compromise and that more or less works in a normal election process. It doesn’t really in a one-topic referendum.

I’m a bit of a Buddhist and I’d say let’s go for a third way and suggest that that might be creating an EU that works even better. Let’s keep what works well and let’s find out what the Brexiteers don’t like and see if we can put it right. Let’s stay friends.            

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