Thursday, 7 July 2016

The Referendum on Race

The dust is beginning to settle on the Brexit referendum. The pound is beginning to settle on the seabed of the financial world. The Leave campaigners who won the day have
settled into plush jobs to oversee our disentanglement from the EUscarpered. The Brexit campaigners
are settling on the finer details of how to put their promises into actionhave disowned all their key promises. But the debate continues and the matter of, or at least manner of, our EU exit is far from settled.


I am, if I am going to be honest, still rather pissed at the result. More so now that the day after the vote. I feel it was obvious before June 23rd what this referendum was really about. But an awful lot of people still don’t seem to get it. Some Leavers argue that we need to take control of our own laws, and return sovereignty to the UK. But when pushed on exactly what laws in particular are the problem, they are often stumped. At best, most will reel off a very short list of Euromyths. Yes, the bananas argument. It’s laughable, but it’s as prevalent as venereal disease in a 19th century brothel.

Other Leavers will argue that our economy will be all the better with our new found freedom to negotiate trade deals independently, and will cite a short list of countries that have expressed interest in doing a deal and that the short term pain will be worth it in the long run. What they can’t tell you is how good these new trade deals will be, how painful will the short term be and when will we actually be better off. The argument comes down to jumping off a cliff and crossing ones fingers.

But these reasons aren’t why we left the EU. You don’t need to spend long talking to the ‘man (or woman) in the street’ to understand why we left the EU. They might mention sovereignty and economics, but it’ll be a short 30 second conversation devoid of substance. On the subject of immigration, however, they can go on for 30 minutes. And they’re barely started then, even if they are beginning to repeat themselves.

Let’s look at immigration in this country. The best estimate puts the number of non UK citizens living in the UK at about 7.5 million. Which is a lot. However, there’s a figure that’s often omitted from the Leave leaflets. The number of UK citizens living abroad, which is currently estimated to be about 5.5 million. This provides a net gain of 2 million. Of the 7.5 million immigrants coming in, about 3 million are from the EU, with about 1.5 million of the outgoing immigrants settling within the borders of the EU. On this basis, how do the Leave arguments stack up?

We’re being swamped. Immigration is out of control. The net immigration figure is well within the control of the government. Thanks to the high level of migrants on the way out (only Mexico has a higher number of citizens living outside it’s own borders), all it needed to do was cut the non-EU level of immigration from 4.5 million to 2.5 million and we’d have had no net increase. However, it suits the UK to have a higher level of net migration in. They fill essential jobs, they are students contributing to our educational system, they are investors bringing in cash and they make up for the fact that the UK has a low birth rate.


The immigrants put pressures on the NHS that it cannot withstand. Whilst a third of our outgoing immigrants are pensioners who are typically high users of the NHS, the incoming immigrants are younger, less frequent users of the NHS. The NHS is creaking because of under funding and poor management. Immigration is helping to reduce the average age of the UK citizenry and relieve pressure on the NHS and the pension pots of the retired. Ironically.

Terrorism! I have had a dozen different conversations with people who have linked leaving the EU to safeguarding ourselves against terrorism. I’ve asked which EU terrorist group they are particularly concerned about. ETA? The IRA? They are of course, talking about Islamic State, Al Qaeda and other associated terrorist. Despite the fact that every terrorist act so far committed in the name of Islam in the UK were by UK born citizens. I then try to explain the geography of the situation, and their eyes glaze over.

Illegal Immigrants. It’s another chestnut of the average man in the street. Doesn’t like niqabs, feels we’re being flooded by Syrians and Iraqis, London feels like Africa, jobs are being stolen by illegal immigrants. You should not think that this is an opinion isolated in small pockets of ignorance here and there. These are widespread beliefs. They are comments spoken on the street. They are comments I read from friends in my Facebook feed. They are comments I hear from colleagues. Not everyone is so geographically ignorant. But it is shocking how many are.

The fact of the matter is that we already have full control of our borders with regards non EU citizens and cannot be told who to take in. We have taken in a token handful of Syrian refugees. Arguably, given that we have contributed more to making a complete mess of the Middle East than any other EU nation, we should be taking the lion’s share of refugees. Leaving the EU will not make illegal refugees even more illegal.



We can debate the merits of bringing some of our sovereignty back from Europe. We can argue over the economic future of the UK. We may have a difference of opinion and either of us may eventually be proven right or wrong. But I will stand by my analysis of what has happened. The EU referendum was called by the Conservatives in an (misguided and failed) effort to heal party divisions. But it was chiefly fought and won on the issue of race and xenophobia. This is what mattered.

In the months leading up to the vote this message was hammered home by the tabloids, printing front page pictures of immigrants tumbling out of the back of lorries with headlines associating them with our membership of the EU. Posters like the one at the top, released by UKIP, showing massed ranks of refugees somewhere in Europe, with the implicit suggestion that they are on their way here because we are members of the EU. It was, quite rightly, criticised for being all too similar to old Nazi propoganda.



These are the most awful lies to be peddling, because they deliberately stoke up prejudice within the population. That is it’s sole intention. And that was the sole focus of several tabloids and of UKIP throughout the campaign. And it worked. And I am utterly convinced that this campaign of hate, run by right wing nationals, was the deciding factor in which side won the EU referendum.

So of course I feel pissed at the result. What decent person wouldn’t feel pissed if a key vote on the future of the country was won by prejudice? It wasn’t really about how many people are in this country. It was about what type of person. And by type, we mean skin colour, religion, nationality. We now have a presumed Prime Minister-to be who has clearly stated that she believes we should exit the European Court of Human Rights.

Worse, she has implicitly threatened to deport 3 million EU citizens. She may well be bluffing and you may well think (as do I) that it will never happen. But the fact of the matter is that we now live in a society where a senior politician within the government feels comfortable with making such a threat and sticking to it even when criticised. Ponder that, just for a moment. That Nazi inspired poster of UKIP’s suddenly seems more appropriate. It’s just got things the wrong way round.
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Monday, 4 July 2016

The Euro Pioneer

Fifteen years ago, I worked as a service station manager for Texaco. Technically I worked for Star Service Stations Ltd, a wholly owned subsiduary of Texaco. A lengthy name, no doubt part of a tax reduction scheme. Whatever. It was for the most part the devil’s own work and I spent the best part of a decade despising my job. But the pay was quite good, so I stuck around and despised it all the way up to 2005 when I eventually had had enough and fled to Mexico.

The pay was comparatively good. The pay of the people I employed to man the tills, stock the shelves and keep things clean and orderly was not so good. It was national minimum wage plus a few token pence to ensure we weren’t an actual NMW employer. But still, this meant we filled the vacancies that regularly arose with either students, part-time housewives or the dregs of the employment barrel. Sure, they were a few good-uns. But there were plenty of scrapings from the bottom of that barrel too.

Let’s go back fifteen years ago though. I was attempting to manage one of the busiest service stations in Texaco’s four hundred strong network. Funnily enough, it sits at the end of a train station that I now pass through most days. It was early summer and things were heating up, both weather wise and business wise. And I was short on night staff. For a manager there is nothing worse than being short on night staff. Because it means, when worse comes to worse, the manager is the night staff.

I put out the adverts and waited optimistically for the rush of applicants. There was, after all, a 50p an hour premium for working nights. Who would be able to resist such riches? I received two applications. One a scrawled form picked up in store. The other arranged by the local job centre. Neither seemed very promising. But like I said, every manager’s worst nightmare was being short on nights. Providing they turned up with a heart beat and the ability to breathe sufficient oxygen to keep their hearts beating, one of these reprobates was about to strike gold.

First up was a young chap in his early 20s who had recently arrived from Yugoslavia. Svilen was his name. At the time, this was a most unusual occurance. There were next to no immigrants along the south coast. Just a few foreign language students. It was a challenging interview to say the least. I had hoped to discuss his previous working experience and to learn a little bit about himself. I might even ask him about his future ambitions, if I felt able to refrain from openly laughing at the very idea that someone applying for night shift work actually had ambition. As things transpired, it became quickly clear that speaking English was not his strongest suit, so I settled on an explanation of how to correctly conjugate the verb ‘to be’ as the main focus of the interview.

Fortunately for Svilen, the other applicant did not cover himself in glory. When asked at the end of the interview if there was anything he wished to ask about the job, he had one burning question. Was there anywhere suitable for him to go and jack up with heroin? He was one of those. Obliged by the job centre to attend the interview in order to keep his benefits. But determined not to be successful and actually get a job. It was Svilen’s lucky day. He was issued a uniform, signed the forms and put to work.

He might have appeared a bit weird and something of a misfit. But then, he was on nights. So that’s something of plus point. Misfits tend to fit in just fine on night shifts. His appearance was also a little alarming at first glance. Shaven headed, short and wiry, we couldn’t decide whether he looked like someone who had just strolled out of a concentration camp or if he in fact better resembled a serial killer. Given the situation in the Yugoslavia that he had just fled, the former was, I suppose, a possibility. So we settled on the latter and he became Svilen the Villain.

He was, in a nice way, much like a new animal in the zoo. He had to be trained from scratch, even with the most basic things and something of an object of curiosity. He tried very hard, which was essential, given that communication was such a struggle. But the others were good with him, and his trials and tribulations amused them. And he picked up the language quickly. There were some worrying moments. Like the time someone asked him for a pouch of tobacco and some skins. We feared he might produce some human hides collected from recent victims. But after a bit of pointing and gesturing, he sold them some rizlas instead.

There was also the issue of a strange aroma that he carried around with him. Some feared that he had pieces of rotting flesh in his pockets. More likely was a poor standard of personal hygiene. But he turned up on time, every time, did all the hours we gave him, worked hard and his English rapidly improved. In summer, fans were strategically placed to deflect the worst of the smell. But what more could a manager ask for? Nothing, that’s what. If only every employee could be like Svilen. But without the odour, perhaps. Other than that, he earned everyone’s respect.Svilen, it turned out, was the future. We were pioneers, Svilen and I. He wasn’t from the EU, but he still blazed a trail for the EU Europeans who followed him.
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Wednesday, 29 June 2016

Embracing Brexit

We’re taking our country back, they said. It’ll be just like the good old days, they said. Things were much better back then, they said. And so they voted for Brexit. One must roll with change. Give it a chance. Things might turn out all right. So Mrs P and myself have put it to the test. We have embraced Brexit. We went back to the future to put a goold old dose of the 1970s into 21st century Britain.

Whilst the norm has been to take low cost flights to exotic locations around the world, such as Thailand, Mexico or Africa, we went for a very traditional British holiday. We went camping. In a tent. In a field. As you do. And why not? What have any of those tropical places got to offer that is better than the glorious weather of a Great British summer? As an added bonus, it was an excellent opportunity to practice camping in the event that we might soon need to pitch up at a refugee centre at Dover, trying to smuggle ourselves across the channel into civilised France.

The adventure begins with the construction of the tent. A good quality British tent, I might add. The instructions for use, curiously, were all written in Double Dutch. I assume that’s because the tent was manufactured pre Brexit. Post Brexit models, one assumes, will contain none of this European nonsense and come with pictoral instructions featuring busty young ladies and Sid James. Except for the De Luxe models, of course. There’ll be no such smut for the well to do gentleman. His instructions will feature a few choice words in Urdu to help him instruct his Indian manservant. And a whip.

We did manage to assemble our tent in the end, overcoming my initial attempt to assemble it inside out. Sure, there were a few mystery pieces left over and the claim that it can be set up in 10 minutes was as big a lie as the promise to put the EU savings into the NHS. But still, it was functional. So, with our sleeping arrangements sorted, we began to think about dinner.

We’d set up camp at a site near a traditional old English village in the New Forest. Ideally, we’d have liked to have had a barbecue. Nothing beats some true 70s style British grisly sausages, incinerated on the outside, raw on the inside.  But we’d come here at the last minute and hadn’t brought any gear with us. I know what you’re thinking. A barbecue in the pouring rain? But us British are a hardy sort. I spotted at least a dozen sets of plucky campers trying to cook up plates of instant food poisoning on rickety looking cookers, protected by a flimsy sheet of plastic.

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We wandered into town to find some grub. I’d hoped to buy a newspaper to read the latest nonsense about Brexit. However, this town really was a throw back to the 70s, and as it was a Saturday the shops had all shut by 12.30. Closed all day Wednesdays and Sundays. Basil Fawlty levels of service, no doubt, the rest of the week.

Food options were equally limited. We discussed what we fancied whilst walking. A Lebanese, perhaps? Or a Mexican? We’re always up for a Mexican. But we were open to suggestions. Greek, Turkish, Sushi, or even Polish all appealed. But whilst we’d arrive a few hours too late for the newspaper, we were at least 3 decades too early for such exotic international cuisine. There was a fish ‘n’ chip shop, a curry house or a Chinese takeaway. We selected the Indian, and settled down at the table, marvelling at its velvety tablecloth and plastic elephants.

The next morning we arose early and saught out some breakfast. Nothing. We had to briefly depart the 70s to visit a McDonalds some way out of town. But even there we found a bit of good old 1970s charm. McDonalds coffee. Back in the good old days, coffee in Britain was, rather uniquely, made from sun dried pig shit, ground up into chunky bits and served tepid. McDonalds absolutely nailed it, serving up several cups of this rather putrid liquid with bits. Ever wonder why Brits put so much milk in their hot drinks? Anything, to dilute the main ingredient that little bit. We returned to camp with our breakfasts. Just in time to see a little bit of the magic that the New Forest has to offer. We were reliably informed that they were fleeing the country.

Truth be told, we had a pretty fun weekend. I’ve never laughed at the 70s so much. Nostalgia is a pretty easy sell. There are Russians who long for the good old days of Communism. There are Africans who think they’d like to see the British running things again. And perhaps come November, if Trump wins, some Americans may look back fondly at 1775, when things were so much simpler. But the reality of the present day, even with all its uncertainty and frustrations, is where we are at. You can’t turn back the clock, and it’s unlikely to be better if you could. And frankly, as fun our weekend in the 70s was, the joke would run thin pretty quick. I quite like the 21st century, thanks very much.
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Tuesday, 28 June 2016

The Backtrack

Brexit is history. Brankruptcy is the future. Perhaps. Unless there is something that can stop this slippery ride into Euro exile. Perhaps there is yet time for a Bracktrack. As time has passed, I’m beginning to wonder if  our exit from the EU will actually happen. I’m sensing doubt in the Leave hierarchy. A lot of people are.
There’s currently an online petition doing the rounds calling for a second referendum. I think it’d be successful, but there will be no new referendum so soon after the first based only on an online petition. A more likely route to Referendum II is through a snap general election later this year, with the winning party swept to victory on a platform to rerun the referendum. I feel it is less likely that their manifesto will promise to annul the original result outright without a second vote. Such a promise would lack any real legitimacy unless they took more than 50% of the vote, which is highly unlikely.

The most likely route to a second referendum comes, in my opinion, from the Leavers themselves. Cameron has done the dirty on Boris. He’s refused to invoke Article 50 himself. Worse, he’s not going to let anyone else touch that hot potato for three months. That button to invoke Article 50 might be labelled ‘Independence’ right now. I suspect in three months time it will be flashing red and be labelled ‘Self Destruct’. That would put Boris, assuming he is PM by then, in a bit of a sticky position.

Does he have a way to wriggle himself out of this awkward hole that he’s dug himself. I do believe that he has. And, to his credit, he put the safety rope down the hole himself, just before he jumped. Prior to the start of the campaign proper, Boris proposed that a Leave vote would empower the UK with the ability to go to Brussels and get the deal that they actually wanted, before holding a second referendum. It’s the nuclear bomb of diplomacy.  Take the UK and the EU to the brink of collapse, lay down demands, look them in the eyes and dare them to say no. The Irish did this with the Lisbon Treaty. And it worked. With much higher stakes this time round, would the EU blink again?

It also gives the EU the opportunity to focus on a few much needed reforms. The level of democracy and openess within the bloc needs to be improved. And the unfettered freedom of movement of people is clearly a big issue for most EU states. I just hope that a deal can be reached before we’ve entirely burned our bridges.
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Respect

The post Brexit world is upon us. We live in a nation divided like never before. Where one half of the country is requesting that the other half respects their vote and accepts the result. I’ve given the request some thought, placed it within my own perspective and would like to offer my response.

Not everyone liked the post war order that laid down plans for a caring and unified society. A certain small section of the right wing establishment particularly did not like the path laid out by Attlee and his contemporaries, and they wanted to radically change it. They financed their think tanks to produce outlandish policy proposals and fear mongering studies and publicised these through their media outlets such as the Dail Mail and Telegraph.

In 1979 they got their wish and Margaret Thatcher was elected. She implemented these neo-liberal policies amid waves of privatisations and cut backs, turning our industrial heartlands into wastelands. The poor were demonised and the vital public services at the heart of our communities, schools and the NHS in particular, were underfunded to breaking point. Millions were left unemployed, disaffected and unrepresented. The coffers of the 1% filled to overflowing, consuming an ever increasing percentage of the national wealth.

But there was a thorn in their side. The EEC, and later the EU. Outside of their control, Europe foisted unwelcome responsibility upon them in the shape of health and safety legislation, standardisation, workers rights and other loathsome legislation. Things like the Working Time Directive, which gave rights to millions. The right wing establishment fought back with a campaign designed to stir up nationalism.

The free flow of migrants gave them another weapon, and before you knew it their tabloid press was stirring a good dose of racism and xenophobia into the pot. UKIP rose from nothing, and in the last election more than 4 million people had openly swallowed this bile and cast their votes for a party lead by Nigel Farage.

The final weapon in their armoury was the ignorance of the British people. Having brought out the inner prejudice and nationalist sentiment of large swathes of the British people, they reinforced this with messages of confidence in the future of our economy. It’ll all be alright. We’re British. The future’s ours and it’s golden. And they did this without ever really explaining how, exactly, it will all be better. Miraculously, they even managed to do this whilst accepting that Brexit will be a financially painful experience. More for us than them, of course.

It might not be possible to fool all of the people all of the time. But it has clearly proven possible to fool 51.9% of the population over a three month period. They asked a stupid question and the got the obligatory stupid answer.  Astoundingly, the Leave campaign even seems to have successfully convinced this section of the electorate that the industrial destruction wrought on the country over the last 40 years by the right wing establishment, neo-liberal Thatcherism and her globalist policies  was in fact all the fault of the European Union.

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For the last twelve weeks I’ve watched, with a degree of horror, as the referendum descended into an almost farcial debate largely centering on issues that actually have nothing to do with the EU, are irrelevant in our lives, are trivial or are simply untrue. We need to leave the EU to protect our borders from Africans and IS terrosists! Africa, Syria and Iraq are not in the EU.

EU regulations are nuts! There are 26,000 words to dictate the sale of cabbages. No, there are no regulations regarding the sale of cabbages or banning curved bananas for that matter. Perhaps we should worry more about the huge quantities of food thrown away because we won’t buy stuff that doesn’t look perfect? The EU is communist/Nazi/Rothschild organisation! These people also probably believe in aliens and fairies. They certainly live in their own little fantasy world.

And then there’s all the stuff about the immigrants, which has been particularly nasty. A message of xenphobic hatred has been hammered home relentlessly. Stand up and take a bow, Messrs Daily Mail, Daily Express, Telegraph, Times and Sun. Post referendum Britain is already turning out to be a nation of open prejudice and victimisation. Political correctness is being replaced with casual racism on the streets up and down the country.

So here is the crux of it. If you voted leave, regardless of whether you think you are not a racist or xenophobe, regardless of whether you think you are not a Little Englander nationalist, regardless of whether you voted only as a protest, regardless of whether you voted even though you didn’t really know what to believe – you have staked your flag in the camp of the right wing establishment who have shaped the Brexit movement. You have endorsed their prejudice at the ballot box. You have enabled vocal hatred on the streets. You have handed more power back to the group that actually screwed you over in the first place. You will make us all a bit poorer. You have swallowed a decades old propaganda campaign that is designed to bring out the worst in you.

So when you ask me to respect your vote, I have to tell you that I have nothing but contempt for your choice. When you tell me I must accept the result, I can only say that I will never accept a result based on a project of prejudice that has been enabled by a heady mix of naiivity and ignorance. You’ve moved your moral compass and pointed it to a dark and unfriendly place. I do, however, recognise the result, and will continue to argue and vote against it whenever the opportunity arises. So will the other 48.9%. We’ll continue to do so until at least 0.6% see the error of their ways.
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Saturday, 25 June 2016

Dear Europe, My Brexit

It’s happened.The UK voters have blown a collective Union Jack flavoured raspberry to the European Union. I think it’s a sad day for Britain and for Europe. I’m a little bit less proud to be British. As far as I’m concerned, leaving the EU is a right wing, nationalist inspired campaign that has succeeded in duping the general public. With UKIP at it’s centre and a hard core of eurosceptic Tories for support. There are nationalist parties across Europe who have differing rates of popularity. It’s a great shame that it’s the British version that has managed to be first to pull off a win. 



I have hope for the future. We have been voted out by the older, Little Englanders*. They are not the future. It’s a shame they had such a large say in our futures. We will one day, I believe, be back. And while we have not voted Remain today, I remain a European.

* 18-24: 75% Remain 25-49: 56% Remain 50-64: 44% Remain 65+: 39% Remain
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Това се е случило. избирателите Великобритания са взривени колективен Union Jack ароматизирани малина към Европейския съюз. Мисля, че е тъжен ден за Великобритания и за Европа. Аз съм малко по-малко горд да бъде британски. Що се отнася до мен, оставяйки ЕС е дясно крило, националистическа чудесна кампания, която е успяла да подвеждане на обществеността. С UKIP в това е център и твърдо ядро от евроскептични тори за подкрепа. Има националистически партии в Европа, които имат различни нива на популярност. Това е голям срам, че това е британската версия, че е успял да бъде първият да потеглям победа.

Имам надежда за бъдещето. В момента са гласували от по-старите, Little Englanders *. Те не са бъдещето. Това е срам, те са имали такъв голям речем в нашето бъдеще. Ние ще един ден аз вярвам, да се върне. И макар да не сме гласували остават и до днес, аз остане европейска.

* 18-24: 75% остават 25-49: 56% остават 50-64: 44% остават 65+: 39% остават
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To se dogodilo. Velikoj Britaniji birači pregorio kolektivni Union Jack okusom malina u Europsku uniju. Mislim da je to tužan dan za Britaniju i za Europu. Ja sam malo manje ponosan što je britanski. Koliko sam ja u pitanju, ostavljajući EU je desno krilo, nacionalist nadahnuta kampanja koja je uspjela obmanjivanje šire javnosti. Sa UKIP na to je centar i hard core euroskeptičnih Torijevci za podršku. Tu su nacionalističke stranke u Europi koje imaju različite stope popularnosti. To je velika šteta da je britanska verzija koja je uspjela da se prvi skinuti pobjedu.

Imam nadu za budućnost. Mi smo bili glasovali od strane starijeg, Little Engleske *. Oni nisu budućnost. To je sramota imali tako veliki utjecaj u našim budućnostima. Mi ćemo jednog dana, vjerujem, se vratiti. I dok nismo glasovali ostajem i danas, i dalje sam u europski.

* 18-24: 75% ostati 25-49: 56% ostati 50-64: 44% ostati 65 godina: 39% ostati
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Už se to stalo. Voliči UK foukané kolektivní Union Jack ochucené malinové k Evropské unii. Myslím, že je to smutný den pro Británii i pro Evropu. Jsem trochu méně hrdý na to, British. Pokud jde o mě, takže EU je pravicová nacionalistická inspirovaný kampaň, která se podařilo duplikování široké veřejnosti. S UKIP na to je centrem a tvrdé jádro euroskeptických toryů k podpoře. Existují nacionalistické strany v celé Evropě, kteří mají odlišné míry popularity. Je to velká škoda, že britská verze, která dokázala jako první vytáhnout z vítězství.

Mám naději do budoucna. Byli jsme hlasovali ven starší, Little Englanders *. Oni nejsou budoucností. Je to škoda, měli takové velké slovo v naší budoucnosti. Budeme jeden den, domnívám se, být zpátky. A zatímco my jsme nehlasovali dnes zůstávají jsem zůstat Evropanem.

* 18-24: 75% zůstává 25-49: 56% zůstává 50-64: 44% zůstává nad 65 let: 39% Zůstaňte
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Det er sket. De britiske vælgere har blæst en kollektiv Union Jack flavored hindbær til Den Europæiske Union. Jeg synes det er en trist dag for Storbritannien og for Europa. Jeg er en lille smule mindre stolt af at være britisk. Så vidt jeg er bekymret, forlader EU er en højrefløj, nationalistiske inspireret kampagne, der har formået at narre offentligheden. Med UKIP på det center og en hård kerne af euroskeptiske konservative for støtte. Der er nationalistiske partier i hele Europa, som har forskellige satser for popularitet. Det er en stor skam, at det er den britiske version, der har formået at være først til at trække ud en sejr.

Jeg har håb for fremtiden. Vi har været stemt ud af den ældre, Little Englanders *. De er ikke fremtiden. Det er en skam, de havde så stor indflydelse på vores fremtid. Vi vil en dag, tror jeg, være tilbage. Og mens vi har ikke stemt Remain i dag, jeg forblive en europæisk.

* 18-24: 75% Remain 25-49: 56% Remain 50-64: 44% Remain 65+: 39% Remain
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Het is gebeurd. De Britse kiezers hebben een collectief Union Jack op smaak gebrachte framboos tot de Europese Unie geblazen. Ik denk dat het een trieste dag voor Groot-Brittannië en Europa. Ik ben een beetje minder trots op Britten. Voor zover ik mij betreft, het verlaten van de EU is een rechtse, nationalistische geïnspireerde campagne die erin geslaagd is bedriegen het grote publiek. Met UKIP in het centrum en een harde kern van eurosceptische Tories voor ondersteuning. Er zijn nationalistische partijen in Europa die hebben verschillende tarieven van de populariteit. Het is een grote schande dat het de Britse versie die erin geslaagd is voor het eerst een overwinning te trekken uit te zijn.

Ik heb hoop voor de toekomst. We zijn uitgevoerd gestemd door de oudere, Little England *. Ze zijn niet de toekomst. Het is jammer dat ze zo’n grote inspraak gehad in onze toekomst. We zullen op een dag, denk ik, terug. En terwijl we hebben niet gestemd blijven vandaag, blijf ik een Europeaan.

* 18-24: 75% Remain 25-49: 56% Remain 50-64: 44% Remain 65+: 39% Remain
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See juhtus. UK valijad on puhutud kollektiivse Union Jack maitsestatud vaarika Euroopa Liidus. Ma arvan, et see kurb päev Suurbritannias ja Euroopas. Ma olen natuke vähem uhke olla britt. Niipalju kui mina olen mures, jättes EL on parempoolsed, rahvuslane inspireeritud kampaania, mis on õnnestunud duping avalikkusele. Mis UKIP on see keskus ja tuumik euroskeptilise Konservatiivid toetust. Seal on rahvuslane isikutele kogu Euroopas, kes on Erineva populaarsust. See on väga kahju, et see on Briti versiooni, mis on suutnud olla esimene peatähelepanu võita.

Mul on tulevikulootus. Meil on hääletanud läbi vanemate, Little Englanders *. Nad ei ole tulevikku. On kahetsusväärne, neil oli nii suur sõnaõigus meie tulevikku. Meil ühel päeval, ma usun, tuleb tagasi. Ja kuigi me ei ole hääletanud ka tänapäeval, jään Euroopa.

* 18-24: 75% Jää 25-49: 56% Jää 50-64: 44% Jää 65+: 39% Jää
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Se on tapahtunut. Yhdistyneen kuningaskunnan äänestäjät ovat puhalletaan kollektiivinen Union Jack maustettu vadelma Euroopan unionin. Mielestäni se on surullinen päivä Britannian ja Euroopan. Olen hieman vähemmän ylpeä siitä British. Sikäli kuin olen huolestunut, jättäen EU on oikea siipi, nationalistinen inspiroi kampanja, joka on onnistunut duping yleisölle. Jossa UKIP at se keskus ja kovan ytimen euroskeptisten konservatiivit tukea. On äärioikeistopuolueiden kaikkialla Euroopassa, jotka ovat erisuuruisten suosiota. Se on suuri häpeä, että se on brittiläinen versio, joka on onnistunut ensimmäisenä vetää pois voittaa.

Minulla on toivoa tulevaisuuteen. Olemme äänestäneet ulos vanhempi, Little Englanders *. Ne eivät ole tulevaisuudessa. Se on sääli heillä oli niin suuri sananvalta tulevaisuuteemme. Jonain päivänä uskon, takaisin. Ja vaikka emme äänestäneet Pysykää tänään, olen edelleen eurooppalaista.

* 18-24: 75% Remain 25-49: 56% Remain 50-64: 44% Remain 65+: 39% Remain
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C’est arrivé. Les électeurs britanniques ont soufflé un collectif Union Jack framboise parfumée à l’Union européenne. Je pense qu’il est un triste jour pour la Grande-Bretagne et pour l’Europe. Je suis un peu moins fier d’être britannique. En ce qui me concerne, en laissant l’UE est une aile droite, la campagne d’inspiration nationaliste qui a réussi à duper le public en général. Avec UKIP en son centre et un noyau dur de conservateurs eurosceptiques pour le soutien. Il y a des partis nationalistes à travers l’Europe qui ont des taux de popularité différents. Il est une grande honte que c’est la version britannique qui a réussi à être le premier à arracher une victoire.

J’ai espoir pour l’avenir. Nous avons été voté par le plus âgé, Little Englanders *. Ils ne sont pas l’avenir. Il est dommage qu’ils avaient un si grand mot à dire dans notre avenir. Nous allons un jour, je crois, être de retour. Et pendant que nous avons pas voté Reste aujourd’hui, je reste un Européen.

* 18-24: 75% Remain 25-49: 56% Remain 50-64: 44% Remain 65+: 39% Remain
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Es ist passiert. Die britischen Wähler haben eine kollektive Union Jack Geschmack Himbeere in die Europäische Union eingeblasen . Ich denke, es ist ein trauriger Tag für Großbritannien und für Europa. Ich bin ein bisschen weniger stolz britisch zu sein. Soweit es mich betrifft, aus der EU ist eine rechte, nationalistische inspirierte Kampagne, die in düpieren die Öffentlichkeit gelungen. Mit UKIP an ist es Zentrum und ein harter Kern von eurosceptic Tories für die Unterstützung. Es gibt nationalistischen Parteien in ganz Europa, die unterschiedliche Raten der Popularität haben. Es ist eine große Schande, dass es die britische Version ist, dass ein Sieg sein erstes abziehen geschafft hat.

Ich habe die Hoffnung für die Zukunft. Wir haben * von der älteren, wenig Engländer abgewählt. Sie sind nicht die Zukunft. Es ist eine Schande, dass sie in unserer Zukunft eine so große Sagen hatte. Wir werden eines Tages, glaube ich, wieder. Und während wir haben heute nicht gestimmt bleiben, bleibe ich ein Europäer.

* 18-24: 75% bleiben 25-49: 56% bleiben 50-64: 44% 65+ bleiben: 39% bleiben
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Έχει συμβεί. Οι ψηφοφόροι του Ηνωμένου Βασιλείου έχουν καεί μια συλλογική Union Jack με γεύση βατόμουρο στην Ευρωπαϊκή Ένωση. Νομίζω ότι είναι μια θλιβερή ημέρα για τη Βρετανία και την Ευρώπη. Είμαι λίγο λιγότερο υπερήφανος που είμαι Βρετανός. Σε ό, τι αφορά εγώ, αφήνοντας την ΕΕ είναι μια δεξιά πτέρυγα, εθνικιστική εμπνευσμένη καμπάνια που έχει καταφέρει να ξεγελάσει το ευρύ κοινό. Με UKIP σε αυτό είναι κέντρο και ένας σκληρός πυρήνας των ευρωσκεπτικιστών Συντηρητικοί για την υποστήριξη. Υπάρχουν εθνικιστικά κόμματα σε όλη την Ευρώπη, οι οποίοι έχουν διαφορετικές τιμές της δημοτικότητας. Είναι κρίμα ότι είναι η βρετανική έκδοση που έχει καταφέρει να είναι η πρώτη για να τραβήξει από μια νίκη.

Έχω την ελπίδα για το μέλλον. Μας έχουν ψηφιστεί από την παλαιότερη, Μικρή Αγγλίας *. Δεν είναι το μέλλον. Είναι κρίμα που είχε ένα τόσο μεγάλο λόγο στο μέλλον μας. Θα μια μέρα, πιστεύω, να είναι πίσω. Και ενώ εμείς δεν ψηφίσαμε παραμένουν και σήμερα, παραμένω ένα ευρωπαϊκό.

* 18-24: 75% Παραμένουν 25-49: 56% Παραμένουν 50-64: 44% Παραμένουν 65+: 39% Παραμείνετε
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Ez történt. Az Egyesült Királyság szavazók fújt kollektív Union Jack ízesített málna az Európai Unióban. Azt hiszem, ez egy szomorú nap Britannia és Európa számára. Én egy kicsit kevesebb büszke arra, hogy a brit. Ami engem illet, így az EU a jobboldali, nacionalista ihletésű kampány, amely sikerült duplázást a nagyközönség számára. A UKIP rá a központ és egy kemény magja euroszkeptikus toryk támogatást. Vannak nacionalista pártok Európa-szerte, akik eltérő mértékű népszerűsége. Ez egy nagy szégyen, hogy ez a brit változata, amelynek sikerült először, hogy húzza le a győzelem.

Van remény a jövőre nézve. Mi már évek óta szavazott meg az idősebb, kis angolok *. Ezek nem a jövő. Ez egy szégyen, hogy volt egy ilyen nagy beleszólása a jövőnket. Mi lesz egy nap, azt hiszem, vissza. És miközben mi nem szavaztunk ma is, én továbbra is európai.

* 18-24: 75% Maradék 25-49: 56% Maradék 50-64: 44% Maradék 65+: 39% Maradék
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E ‘successo. Gli elettori del Regno Unito hanno soffiato un collettivo Union Jack lampone aromatizzato per l’Unione europea. Penso che sia un giorno triste per la Gran Bretagna e per l’Europa. Sono un po ‘meno orgoglioso di essere britannico. Per quanto mi riguarda, lasciando l’UE è un ala destra, nazionalista campagna ispirata che è riuscito a ingannare il pubblico in generale. Con UKIP al suo centro e uno zoccolo duro di conservatori euroscettici per il supporto. Ci sono partiti nazionalisti in tutta Europa, che hanno tassi diversi di popolarità. E ‘un grande peccato che è la versione britannica che è riuscito a essere il primo a tirare fuori una vittoria.

Ho speranza per il futuro. Ci è stato votato dal più vecchio, Little England *. Essi non sono il futuro. E ‘un peccato che avevano una grande voce come nel nostro futuro. Ci sarà un giorno, credo, essere di nuovo. E mentre non abbiamo votato rimangono oggi, rimango un europeo.

* 18-24: 75% Remain 25-49: 56% Remain 50-64: 44% Remain 65+: 39% Remain
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Tas ir noticis. Apvienotās Karalistes vēlētāji ir izpūstas kolektīvu Union Jack piegaršu aveņu Eiropas Savienībai. Es domāju, ka tā ir skumja diena Lielbritānijā un Eiropā. Es esmu mazliet mazāk lepna būt britu. Cik es esmu bažas, atstājot ES ir tiesības spārna, nacionālists iedvesmoja kampaņa, kas ir izdevies duping plašu sabiedrību. Ar UKIP pie tā ir centrs un grūti kodols eiroskeptiķu Tories atbalstu. Ir nacionālistiskās partijas visā Eiropā, kuriem ir atšķirīgas likmes popularitāti. Tas ir liels kauns, ka tas ir britu versija, kas ir izdevies būt pirmais, lai pull off win.

Man ir cerība uz nākotni. Mēs esam balsojuši, ko vecāku, Little Englanders *. Tie nav nākotne. Tas ir kauns, viņi bija tik liela teikšana mūsu nākotnes. Mēs vienu dienu, es uzskatu, ir atpakaļ. Un, kamēr mēs neesam balsojuši Paliek šodien, es joprojām eiropietis.

* 18-24: 75% Paliek 25-49: 56% Paliek 50-64: 44% Paliek 65+: 39% Paliek
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Tai atsitiko. JK rinkėjai susprogdintas kolektyvinę Sąjunga Jack pagardintas aviečių į Europos Sąjungą. Manau, kad tai liūdna diena Didžiajai Britanijai ir Europoje. Aš šiek tiek mažiau didžiuojuosi, kad Didžiosios Britanijos. Kiek aš susirūpinęs, paliekant ES yra dešinysis sparnas, nacionalistas įkvėpė kampanija, kad pavyko duping plačiąją visuomenę. Su UKIP ne tai centras ir sunku branduolys euroskeptikas torių paramos. Yra nacionalistų partijos visoje Europoje, kurie turi skirtingus tarifus populiarumą. Tai didžiulė gėda, kad tai britų versiją, kuri sugebėjo būti pirmas nutempti laimėti.

Turiu viltį ateičiai. Mes jau balsavo atliko vyresnės, Little Englanders *. Jie yra ne ateitis. Gaila, jie turėjo tokį didelį žodį mūsų ateities. Mes vieną dieną, manau, grįžti. Ir nors mes ne balsavo šiandien dar, aš vis dar yra Europos.

* 18-24: 75% Liko 25-49: 56% Liko 50-64: 44% Liko 65+: 39% Liko
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Huwa ġara. Il-votanti UK minfuħa kollettiv Unjoni Jack togħma lampun għall-Unjoni Ewropea. Naħseb li huwa jum mwiegħra għall-Brittanja u għall-Ewropa. I’ma ftit inqas kburi li jkun Brittaniċi. Safejn jien kkonċernati, li jħallu l-UE hija fuq il-lemin, kampanja ispirati nazzjonalista li rnexxiela duping-pubbliku ġenerali. Bil UKIP fuq huwa ċentru u ċentru iebes ta laboratorji Ewroxettiċi għall-appoġġ. Hemm partijiet nazzjonalisti fl-Ewropa li għandhom rati differenti ta ‘popolarità. Huwa mistħija kbira li huwa l-verżjoni British li rnexxielha tkun l-ewwel biex pull off rebħa.

Għandi tama għall-futur. Ġejna ivvota mill-anzjani, Little Englanders *. Dawn mhumiex l-futur. Huwa mistħija li kellu tali vuċi kbir fi futures tagħna. Aħna se jum wieħed, nemmen, jiġu lura. U filwaqt li aħna ma ivvutaw Jibqgħu llum, I jibqgħu Ewropea.

* 18-24: 75% Jibqgħu 25-49: 56% Jibqgħu 50-64: 44% Jibqgħu 65+: 39% Jibqgħu
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To się stało. Wyborcy brytyjskie dmuchane zbiorową Union Jack o smaku malinowym do Unii Europejskiej. Myślę, że jest to smutny dzień dla Wielkiej Brytanii i Europy. Jestem trochę mniej dumni być Brytyjczykiem. Jeśli chodzi o mnie chodzi, pozostawiając UE jest prawicowa, nacjonalistyczna inspirowane kampanii, które udało się oszukiwania opinii publicznej. Z UKIP co jest ośrodkiem i twardy rdzeń eurosceptycznych torysów do wsparcia. Istnieją partie nacjonalistyczne w całej Europie, którzy mają różne stawki popularności. To wielka szkoda, że to brytyjska wersja udało się być pierwszym zwlec zwycięstwo.

Mam nadzieję na przyszłość. Mamy przydatne przez starszego, Little Englanders *. Nie są one w przyszłości. To wstyd, że miałem tak dużego głosu w naszej przyszłości. Będziemy jeden dzień, jak sądzę, z powrotem. I choć nie głosowali pozostają dziś pozostaję Europejczykiem.

* 18-24: 75% Remain 25-49: 56% Remain 50-64: 44% Remain 65+: 39% Remain
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Aconteceu. Os eleitores do Reino Unido têm soprado a Union Jack framboesa coletiva sabor à União Europeia. Eu acho que é um dia triste para a Grã-Bretanha e para a Europa. Eu sou um pouco menos orgulhoso de ser britânico. Tanto quanto eu estou preocupado, deixando a UE é uma direita, campanha inspirada nacionalista que conseguiu enganar o público em geral. Com UKIP no que é central e um núcleo duro de Tories eurocépticos de apoio. Há partidos nacionalistas de toda a Europa que têm taxas diferentes de popularidade. É uma grande vergonha que é a versão britânica que conseguiu ser o primeiro a retirar uma vitória.

Eu tenho esperança para o futuro. Nós foram considerados pelo mais velho, Little Englanders *. Eles não são o futuro. É uma pena que um grande exemplo como no nosso futuro. Vamos um dia, creio eu, estar de volta. E enquanto não votámos permanecem até hoje, eu continuar a ser um europeu.

* 18-24: 75% permanecem 25-49: 56% permanecem 50-64: 44% permanecem 65+: 39% Permanecem
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Sa întâmplat. Alegătorii din Regatul Unit au suflat o Union Jack zmeura colectiv cu aromă la Uniunea Europeană. Cred că este o zi tristă pentru Marea Britanie și pentru Europa. Sunt un pic mai puțin mândru să fie britanic. În ceea ce mă privește, lăsând UE este o aripă dreaptă, campanie inspirată naționalistă care a reușit să duping publicul larg. Cu UKIP este la centru și un nucleu dur de sprijin pentru Tories eurosceptice. Există partide naționaliste din toată Europa, care au rate diferite de popularitate. Este o mare rușine că este versiunea britanică care a reușit să fie în primul rând pentru a trage o victorie.

Am speranță pentru viitor. Noi am fost votat de mai în vârstă, Little Englanders *. Ele nu sunt viitorul. E păcat că a avut astfel un cuvânt de spus de mare în viitorul nostru. Vom o zi, eu cred, de a fi din nou. Și, în timp ce noi nu am votat să rămână astăzi, eu rămân un european.

* 18-24: 75% să rămână 25-49: 56% să rămână 50-64: 44% să rămână 65+: 39% să rămână
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Už sa to stalo. Voliči UK fúkané kolektívnej Union Jack ochutené malinovej k Európskej únii. Myslím, že je to smutný deň pre Britániu i pre Európu. Som trochu menej hrdý na to, British. Pokiaľ ide o mňa, takže EÚ je pravicová nacionalistická inšpirovaný kampaň, ktorá sa podarilo duplikovanie širokej verejnosti. S UKIP na to je centrom a tvrdé jadro euroskeptických toryov k podpore. Existujú nacionalistickej strany v Európe, ktorí majú odlišné miery popularity. Je to veľká škoda, že britská verzia, ktorá dokázala ako prvá vytiahnuť z víťazstva.

Mám nádej do budúcnosti. Boli sme hlasovali von starší, Little Englanders *. Oni nie sú budúcnosťou. Je to škoda, mali také veľké slovo v našej budúcnosti. Budeme jeden deň, myslím si, byť späť. A zatiaľ čo my sme nehlasovali dnes zostávajú som zostať Európanom.

* 18-24: 75% zostáva 25-49: 56% zostáva 50-64: 44% ostáva nad 65 rokov: 39% Zostaňte
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To se je zgodilo. Volivci Združenega kraljestva so pregorela kolektivni Union Jack okusom maline k Evropski uniji. Mislim, da je žalosten dan za Veliko Britanijo in Evropo. Sem malo manj ponosen, da je britanski. Kolikor sem zaskrbljen, ko EU je krilo desno, nacionalistična navdih akcija, ki je uspela duping javnost. Z UKIP na to središče in trdno jedro evroskeptikov konservativci za podporo. Obstajajo nacionalistične stranke v Evropi, ki imajo različno stopnjo priljubljenosti. To je velika škoda, da je britanska različica, ki je uspelo, da se najprej odstranite zmago.

Imam upanje za prihodnost. Bili smo glasovali ki jih starejši, Little Angležev *. Niso prihodnost. To je sramota, so imeli tako veliko besedo v našo prihodnost. Bomo en dan, verjamem, nazaj. In medtem ko se nismo glasovali Ostanite danes sem ostala Evropejec.

* 18-24: 75% Ostanite 25-49: 56% Ostanite 50-64: 44% Ostati 65 let in več: 39% Ostati
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Está pasando. Los votantes del Reino Unido han quemado un gato de unión colectiva de frambuesa con sabor a la Unión Europea. Creo que es un día triste para Gran Bretaña y de Europa. Estoy un poco menos orgulloso de ser británico. En lo que a mí respecta, salir de la UE es un ala derecha campaña inspirada, nacionalista que ha tenido éxito en engañar al público en general. Con UKIP en su centro y un núcleo duro de los conservadores euroescépticos de apoyo. Hay partidos nacionalistas en toda Europa que tienen diferentes tasas de popularidad. Es una gran pena que es la versión británica que ha conseguido ser primero en sacar un triunfo.

Tengo esperanza en el futuro. Hemos sido elegidos por el viejo, poco ingleses *. Ellos no son el futuro. Es una pena que tenían algo que decir tan grande en nuestro futuro. Vamos a un día, yo creo, que volveremos. Y si bien no hemos votado permanecen hoy, sigo siendo un europeo.

* 18-24: 75% permanecen 25-49: 56% permanecen 50-64: 44% permanecen más de 65 años: 39% permanecen
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Det har hänt. De brittiska väljarna har blåst en kollektiv Union Jack smaksatt hallon till Europeiska unionen. Jag tror att det är en sorglig dag för Storbritannien och för Europa. Jag är lite mindre stolt över att vara brittisk. Såvitt jag är orolig, lämnar EU är en högerkanten , nationalistiska inspirerade kampanj som har lyckats dupera allmänheten. Med UKIP på dess centrum och en hård kärna av euroskeptiska Tories för stöd. Det finns nationalistiska partier i Europa som har olika hastigheter av popularitet. Det är en stor skam att det är den brittiska versionen som har lyckats vara först att dra bort en vinst.

Jag har hopp inför framtiden. Vi har översatts av den äldre, Little Englan *. De är inte framtiden. Det är synd att de hade en sådan stor säga i vår framtid. Vi kommer en dag, tror jag, att vara tillbaka. Och medan vi har inte röstat kvar i dag, jag fortfarande ett europeiskt.

* 18-24: 75% Kvar 25-49: 56% Kvar 50-64: 44% Kvar 65+: 39% Kvar
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Friday, 24 June 2016

Facebook Entry

Tis looking good for Remain. I should wake up tomorrow still a European citizen. Of course, I once went off to bed having seen in Al Gore as president...
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Thursday, 23 June 2016

My Ballot Is Cast

I was in the polling station early this morning. Before 9am. I have cast my vote, of course, for Remain. Now we just have to wait and see how everyone else voted. There are no exit polls, as per a General Election. The best indication will be a YouGov poll, conducted today. But the reality is, we’ll have to wait through the night. I’d like to stay up and watch it, but I’m not sure I’d make it through to 5 am or shortly after, when a result is likely to be called.

There are two aspects to this vote which make a pleasant change from voting in a General Election. Firstly, my vote will actually count for once. My repeated votes for Labour in a Conservative stronghold are nothing more than a protest vote in reality. At best it bulks up the meaningless popular vote. Secondly, there are some redeeming features to the opposition. There are plenty of aspects of the EU which most people find unpleasant, not least the fact that it is not as democratic as it should be.

But the fact remains that I’d prefer us to Remain. That’s how I voted and that’s how I’d like it to turn out.
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Saturday, 18 June 2016

Unintended Consequences

There are just six days left till the UK population casts its vote and answers the big question of 2016. To Brexit? Or not to Brexit? Everyone has had a lot to say on the issue. Each side have made threats as to what the future holds. On the Remain side, these have been thinly veiled threats. On the Leave side, these have been largely made up threats. But it’s all a matter of perspective, I guess.

It’s going to be a close vote. Very close. Even the bookies have narrowed the odds considerably. If the decision came down to the people I speak to on a regular basis, I rather think the vote would be to leave. But as informed as people think they are, I feel that they are missing the point. Some of the most key issues have not been discussed. There will be unintended consequences to our departing the European Union.
Who will man the Starbucks counters? Who will pick the strawberries for Wimbledon? Who will sell copies of Big Issue magazines? There will be riots on the London Underground caused by caffeine deprivation, angry tennis punters will hurl half filled cups of cream at each other and drug addicts will no longer have anyone to highlight the plight of the homeless.

 

But there is another more sinister side to Brexit. The Leave campaigners want to see an end to political correctness. That might sound an ok thing. But that’s only because most people don’t really understand what political correctness is. Allow me to provide the definition:
The avoidance of forms of expression or action that are perceived to exclude, marginalize, or insult groups of people who are socially disadvantaged or discriminated against.
What Leave campaigners really mean, is they’d rather like to see the reintroduction of permissible racism, homophobia, sectarianism and prejudice in general. That, in a nutshell, is what the abolition of political correctness is about. They just want to inject some casual racism into everyday life. It’s another step towards turning the United Kingdom into the 51st state of the USA.

Americans are very proud of, and defensive of, their right to free expression. It’s often promoted as an absolute right. Of course, there is no such thing. There are no absolutes. There are and always have been consequences to speech. Even in the US. Libel laws for example. And besides, an excess of any type of freedom simply impinges on competing freedoms.

A friend of mine has suggested that a mature society does not fear conflicting opinions. This has a large degree of truth to it. But it is, again, not an absolute truth. The implication is that a society that decides to self regulate what is and is not socially acceptable, is a society that lacks freedom. And that implication is  not true.

Political correctness is not something that needs to even be legislated. It’s simply a means of social convention to ensure that  extremist views are seen for what they are. Wrong and unacceptable. Get that right, and you are as close to a mature society as one could possibly be.

But you can vote Leave on June 23rd. You can vote to legitimize people like Nigel Farage, Boris Johnson and others of their ilk. You can vote for racism. You have the freedom to cast your ballot in deciding the direction of the country. But your vote will be one that stifles more freedoms than it liberates. I’m hoping that we are better than that.
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Saturday, 28 May 2016

EU Polling Day

I received my polling card for the EU referendum this week. I am a registered voter and now have the piece of card to prove it. All I need do now is to look into the two sides of the debate and work out which offers the best future for the country. Where do I start my little investigation? Well, obviously one starts with Facebook. Where better to seek advice and guidance from my peers and contemporaries? Lots of people have clearly researched the issues throroughly at the University of the Internet Meme and are sharing their new found wisdom with joyful abandon. Let’s look at Exhibit A: 

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That’s a confident sounding meme if ever I saw one. Starting with the claim to authority – Norwegians have rejected membership of the EU twice. As we all know, ‘the people’ rarely make mistakes of judgement. And there have been no recorded cases of ‘the people’ making the same mistake twice. George Bush Jr, for example, was elected to the US presidency in 2000 and 2004 and was a resounding success. You’ll not hear a bad word said about the chap. Ever. By anyone. Anywhere. Except. When I looked into it, it turned out that George Bush’s legacy was far from stellar and there appear to have been countless occurances of Joe Public getting it horribly wrong in a wide range of social arenas. 

I’m sure this news is as shocking to you as it was to me. The claim to authority is followed by a fairly standard list of soundbites. A boring list of soundbites. But the implication is clear. If Britain leaves the EU, there will no no negative side effects for our economy. The opposite, in fact, will occur. It almost sounds like success outside of the EU is pretty much guaranteed. Norway and the UK are almost identical in almost every way, after all. The claim is implied rather than stated, I imagine, because the Leave campaign have still failed to provide a single reputable study that shows anything other than a negative financial impact in the aftermath of Brexit. But what isn’t mentioned is perhaps more interesting. It turns out that Norway’s population is only about 10% that of the UK and they are one of the world’s biggest oil and gas producers, the revenues of which have propped their economy up very nicely indeed. But without which their current economic model would fall over in five minutes flat. 

But at least Norway have control of their borders and don’t have to pay the EU exhorbitant fees every year. Right? Well, as it happens Norway is a member of the EEA and as such has to abide by EU rulings, allow free movement of people and they pay a similar amount into the EU per head as we do in the UK. They just have no say in the way the EU is run. Or not run, as the case may be. They just blindly obey. There are other great memes out there. One of my favourites lists some highly speculative opinions (ranging from pointless through misleading and onto the ridiculous) and then at the bottom declares them to be indisputable facts. Underlined and in bold to be sure that this is understood. 

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Another meme laughs at the suggestion that a country that won two world wars couldn’t survive on its own. I laugh at the spelling and grammar of the meme. The meme ignores the fact that the aforementioned country won two world wars with an awful lot of help from the riches and manpower that had been plundered and enslaved from across an empire spread over several continents. Oh, and with the considerable help of the United States. And the Soviet Union. And that we almost certainly couldn’t have done it on our own. It also ignores the fact that nobody is arguing whether or not the UK would survive outside of the EU, only that we’d be better off in it. 

It’s a bit depressing that one of the most important national decisions of this generation is going to be fought on a battleground that allows stupid such a prominent say in the debate. As if having to listen to Boris and Gove waffle on with their nationlistic, unsubstantiated ignorance wasn’t bad enough. I almost feel that society owes the mainstream media an apology. For years they have been accused of ‘dumbing down’ society, but it has so transpired that when left to its own devices, society is apt to dumb itself down far more effectively. But there is one consolation. At least we don’t got Trump. Who is as ripe for an internet meme as a guy gets.
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