Philip Sheldrake

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Tag: EU referendum

The pot calling the kettle black – Teresa May ‘subverting democracy’

Daily Mail front page 3 Oct 2016

Prime Minister Teresa May has presented the conclusion that many experts (yes, the very same derided by Brexiteer Michael Gove) worked out some time ago. There is no such thing as a 'soft' Brexit.

The very idea of a 'soft' Brexit may as well have been called 'have-your-cake-and-eat-it' Brexit, because very rarely if ever does one get such an opportunity, particularly when there are 27 others at the table.

Ain't gonna happen.

At the first day of the Conservative Party conference yesterday May put herself entirely the wrong side of history, embracing nationalism and isolationism at a time when the only way our species is going to get along together better – and it really needs to get along together better – is if we work at it together.

Instead she harrumphed and told everyone we were going to take our ball home.

She did so in the name of sovereignty even though our sovereignty is denuded in this connected world when its broader influence is diminished.

Perhaps most astonishingly, she had the arrogance to tell us Remainers that we're trying to subvert democracy by our constant attention to protecting the best interests of our economy and therefore our jobs, our schools and our healthcare system. She appears to have forgotten rather conveniently that the EU Referendum offered voters the opportunity to tell the government what they didn't want. A vote against membership of the EU was not a vote for anything quite simply because no-one had actually presented a picture of the alternative. That is only taking shape now.

I just tweeted the following diagram. We must ascertain what proportion of 'soft' Brexiters, perhaps reluctant Brexiters, would now prefer to Remain given the true, shocking, wrenching vista of Brexit.

By denying an answer to this question, May is subverting democracy.

hard brexit

 

 

A majority now or when it matters? #thefiftypointtwo

Brexit march June 2016

The quickest glance at my posts and tweets will tell you two things: (1) we just voted on a multi-faceted complex issue with too little understanding further muddied by the lies pedalled by both sides, and (2) I believe everyone in the UK is better off by our remaining in the European Union.

There's a reason Margaret Thatcher concurred with Lord Attlee in describing referenda as "a device of dictators and demagogues" – the same reason the UK has representative parliamentary democracy and not direct democracy. (If only David Cameron had paid more attention in class.)

Former Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg describes the resultant mess as a "debilitating cocktail of hubris, incompetence and dishonesty".

Yet putting the well-known shortcomings of direct democracy to one side for the moment, we must accept that just shy of 52% of voters went to the polling stations last month and put a cross against Leave. The majority has spoken, right?

Neither Leave nor Remain is perfect, of course, yet to my mind the Leave argument is akin to trashing your car because the ride is a bit bumpy, so I find myself asking ... which majority should we be thinking about? Read more

Doh! Can we have another think about this Brexit thing please?

ISS-46_Italy,_Alps_and_Mediterranean_at_night_Tim_Peake

On June 23rd 2016, 51.9% of UK voters opted to leave the European Union. I’m writing here to say:

  1. We made a mistake
  2. We should have another think about it, and
  3. The Liberal Democrats might hold the key and not realise it.

_________

UPDATE: Approximately eight hours after my post here, Liberal Democrats pledge to keep Britain in the EU after next election. This is great news. We now just need to persuade the party that they need to run at it on a single-issue basis. By doing so, pro-EU voters can cast a clear vote without other policies clouding the matter, and there can then be no ambiguity in interpreting the vote. This could make the difference between  winning and not, and winning by a massive margin. As I write in conclusion to this post, I’m sure the electorate would then thank them in the follow-on election.

_________

Winston Churchill, considered one of the Founding Fathers of the EU, noted that democracy is the worst form of government except all those other forms that have been tried from time to time. It’s wonderful to live in a democracy, and I find it exciting and exasperating, fascinating and frustrating, to be part of the European union of democracies.

A democracy cannot be perfect. The people can make mistakes — of course— and I believe we just made one. A really really big one. Whereas we might change our minds every five years with general elections, leaving the EU is the sort of thing that impacts for generations. Read more

The EU Referendum campaigns should learn from Aristotle

Aristotle

An email sent to all my friends and family.

There's no doubting Aristotle was a rare genius. Encyclopædia Britannica calls him the first genuine scientist. And it's amazing that here I am in the 21st Century emailing you (and in fact just about everyone I know with an email address) about the insights of a man born exactly 2400 years ago.

(That's equivalent to someone doing the same for you or me in the 44th Century CE, and I think we can agree on the likelihood of that!)

I read this article on Aristotelian rhetoric / persuasive powers in 2012, and I was so enamoured that I wrote a short blog post on it at the time. In summary, Aristotle concluded that the three most powerful tools of persuasion are:

  • Ethos – argument by character
  • Logos – argument by logic
  • Pathos – appealing to the emotions.

Read more