Brexit Momentum Dwindling? #FlorenceSpeech #Brexit #VoteLeave #TakeBackControl #ChangeBritain

“Brexit” means Britain’s Exit from the European Union, which is not due to happen until March 2019. Sorry to explain that, but my recent conversations with people show that many think “Brexit has already happened” and can’t understand why more money isn’t being spent on the NHS yet. So, just to be clear: Brexit is in process, but has not yet happened.

Exiting the EU is supposed to be a two-year process. But now Prime Minister Theresa May has set out her plans for a two-year transition deal which is, by any other name, extended temporary membership of the EU. Certainly, it would extend the lifeline for us to backpeddle into the EU. Indeed, the day after the referendum I was already saying that I doubt Brexit will ever even happen. History shows that the EU Fanatics just will not accept “non” for an answer. And that incorrigible EU-phile Lord Heseltine has today, I think rather accurately, said that he not only foresees us not leaving the EU, but actually joining the Euro, too. Indeed, now that we’ve decided to leave, should we change our minds we will have lost all of our opt-outs, including on not joining the Euro; oh yes, the French and Germans will exact a pound of flesh and be out to humble us and lock us in forevermore.

So has the Brexit momentum critically dwindled?

Corbyn has forsaken his principles and Labour have reneged on their Referendum pledge to back Brexit. The Tories are weakened since losing their majority in the General Election. The party which single-handedly got us the referendum (whether you love them or loathe them), UKIP, seems to have had its moment and looks a spent force. The momentum for Brexit, which was the culmination of years of hard, focused pressure, is rapidly fizzling out. Just look at the polling data: the margin of support for Brexit is shrinking.

So, as someone who has spent half my life fighting for Brexit, I am extremely worried by the warning signs of interim deals and such. And with oppression of the Catalans by the Spanish state, and the election of anti-democratic EU fanatic Macron, I fear the future is bleak for European liberal democracy.

© 2017 Bryan A. J. Parry

featured image from http://images.huffingtonpost.com/2016-10-05-1475670108-7560650-brexit1.jpg

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Brexit… Lite? @vote_leave #takecontrol #voteleave #brexit

EUStates

Immediately after the EU Referendum, people were talking about whether we would really leave the EU or not. But now that people have more-or-less accepted the result, everyone is talking about whether we’ll opt for “Brexit Lite” (The Independent, The Scotsman, Digital Look) or full-blown Brexit.

But given the once-in-a-lifetime, Remain or Leave, “you can’t be half-pregnant”, binary nature of this referendum, how could there be a “Brexit Lite“, and what does that even mean? I thought I would pass on the above graphic to bring light to the situation.

The more of those circles you are in, the more locked into the “European Project” you are. Note particularly the circles which read “European Union” and “Eurozone”. But it is very possible to be involved in some parts of European co-operation without being a state of the EU. Brexit-lite would simply mean being outside of the “European Union” (without presumably becoming Eurozone or Schengen Area), but not leaving all of the other circles. Full blown Brexit would presumably be leaving all or almost all the circles. Simple. The question is: which circles will we join or stay in?

© 2016 Bryan A. J. Parry

featured image from https://www.aegee.org/yvote2014/voting-guide/how-does-the-eu-works/

 

Britain Will NOT Leave the EU @gideonrachman @Vote_Leave #TakeControl #VoteLeave #Brexit

cbf2f15f-b69c-4c6b-b8fd-e4f3b0312848

Two days ago I wrote how I can foresee a second EU referendum, however politically suicidal or disrespectful of the British people’s wishes that that would seem right now. I spoke of how often this has happened in the past when the people say “NO!” to the EU, and why it can and perhaps will happen again.

Now someone who knows more than me, Gideon Rachman of the Financial Times, has said the same thing in his article I do not believe that Brexit will happen (also available here). Unlike Mr Rachman, however, I would not view the onward trundle towards a European Super State or a second referendum to be a good thing. I say, let’s get out ASAP! I also think we cannot trust Boris Johnson on this. After all, he was until recently a lukewarm Bremainer, and famously said a few months ago that the best way to reform the EU, and stay inside this reformed entity, was to vote “NO” in a referendum.

As I said two days ago, we must watch our masters carefully. Any hint at a betrayal of the referendum results, especially Referendum: The Sequel, must be loudly opposed.

© 2016 Bryan A. J. Parry

featured image from http://www.ft.com/cms/s/2/8f2aca88-3c51-11e6-9f2c-36b487ebd80a.html

EU Referendum and Bullying @BarackObama @LeaveEUOfficial #Brexit #LoveEuropeHateEU #ProjectFear

U.S President Barack Obama, right, and Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron walk from 10 Downing Street, London after a meeting Friday, April, 22, 2016. (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth)

Nobody likes to be told what to do. Indeed, when you’re told you have to do something, very often it galvanises a kind of resistance. This starts in childhood. If you leave a child alone in a room with a biscuit for five minutes, they may eat it, they may not. But if you tell the child, “Do not eat this biscuit; if you do, all your hair will fall out!” then they will almost certainly have eaten it by the time you come back.

Childish? Maybe. But it’s also basic human psychology.

Therefore, the “Bremain” side of the EU Referendum are playing a dangerous game. Even if I wasn’t a Brexiter, the very fact that all the main political parties, many of the corporate interests, and individuals like Barack Obama are in favour of Bremain, would make me very suspicious indeed. Just why are the rich and powerful so against Brexit…? What are they trying to hide from us, hmm…? And to be honest, I’ve found the wheeling out of Obama to be a little offensive. I don’t need foreign leaders to tell me what to think, even if they’re so sexy and smooth they make me question my own heterosexuality.

Some facts now, not fear.

The UK is the world’s fifth largest economy. Plenty of countries trade with the EU and with other blocs and nations without having to accept the laws and a constant erosion of sovereignty. There is no “safe” status quo option in this referendum: the choices are ever closer integration (remain), or independence (leave). The EU was founded on the principal of creating a “kind of United States of Europe” — those are Winston Churchill’s words! (The European Union: A Very Short Introduction is a good short pro-EU primer on the EU including its founding principles)

So, thank you for your intervention, Mr Obama, but I have to tell you: YES WE CAN. Yes we can be free, yes we can be independent. We are a major player, and freedom will do nothing to hurt us. And YES YOU CAN: please stand with the chorus of elites who are trying to bully the British people. Hopefully we are so irked we vote for freedom, vote to leave.

In other news, so good to see Obama agree to give up the Dollar, pool sovereignty with South America, and have United States policy in all areas be dictated by non-US citizens.

© 2016 Bryan A. J. Parry

featured image from http://i.dailymail.co.uk/i/pix/2016/04/22/article-urn:publicid:ap.org:86a16f269734497ba5d7e288ab971169-2OYR8x2FaP50a802cebb41be018f-638_634x450.jpg

The EU Has NOT Kept the Peace in Europe #LoveEuropeHateEU @vote_leave @LeaveEUOfficial

aftermath-of-the-yugoslav-war

Contrary to the propaganda, the EU has not kept the peace in Europe. Look at the break-up of Yugoslavia and the tragic wars that followed. Rather, the EU is partly a product of the desire for the great European nations to not go to war with each other again. The desire to not go to war has prevented wars.

Yes, Europeans not wanting to slaughter each other yet again has kept the peace in Europe — when indeed it has been kept!. Not the EU. The EU is a symptom of that desire for peace, not a cause.

No more propaganda, please. Only facts.

#LoveEuropeHateEU

© 2016 Bryan A. J. Parry

featured image from https://jerusalemstateofmind.files.wordpress.com/2013/11/aftermath-of-the-yugoslav-war.jpg

EU Referendum: Jeremy Corbyn @jeremycorbyn @LeaveEUOfficial #Brexit #LoveEuropeHateEU

corbyn-641780

I’m not a socialist, but I was over-the-moon when Jeremy Corbyn was elected as leader of the Labour Party. An outsider, an independent mind, a long-time principled campaigner, a kind of British Bernie Sanders. He was the sort of guy we needed to shake our politics up. I’m tired of these career politician clones; I have a lot of time for principled folk of all political stripes.

How disappointed I now am.

The past week has seen Corbyn throw away much of his respectability.

First there was the biggest non-issue in history: David Cameron’s finances. The guy is a wealthy plonkstain, for sure, but he didn’t do anything illegal. The headlines should be: MIDDLE CLASS MAN MAKES SOUND INVESTMENTS AND MODERATE GAINS. Corbyn demanding that Cameron should publish all of his records and be subject to a parliamentary official probe was the worst kind of political opportunism and wholly unbefitting a so-called man of principle. And no, I’m not even a Tory!

And now he’s chucked his credibility in the bin. The man is a lifetime opponent of the EU (here’s a great article outlining his consistent opposition to the EU). Yet since becoming Labour leader he has had a magical change of mind. This is the lowest and most see-through political opportunism ever. To save his own skin, he has sold out a core principle which he has always fought for. At a time when our nation’s future hangs in the balance, he has chosen career politics over the nation’s welfare and over his own principles.

The man has lost my respect. Not because he is now in favour of us staying in the EU, whereas I am a Brexiter. But because he has jettisoned his principles for political expediency.

His statement about the EU was full of non-sequiturs. Take the following.

EU membership has guaranteed working people vital employment rights including four weeks paid holiday, paternity and maternity leave, protection for agency workers, health and safety in the workplace. Being in the EU has raised our environmental standards… and protected consumers from rip-off charges.[1]

I won’t take the time to rip his argument to shreds in this post as it would turn into a lengthy screed. But it suffices to say that a lot has changed since we joined the European Community in 1973, 43 years ago! Y’know, two years after decimalisation, and six years before Margaret Thatcher even became PM! The implicit point in Corbyn’s statement is that we wouldn’t have developed equivalent or better standards in the last almost half century without being a member of the EU — otherwise, his statement makes no sense. However, he is quite wrong. That we have been a member of the EU means that, like other members, we have developed these standards within the framework of the EU. Correlation is not causation. The UK would very likely not be stuck in a 1973 timewarp had we not joined the European Economic Community — or had we left it in 1975 as Jeremy Corbyn himself campaigned for! We would have developed our own, likely very similar, standards.

It is said that a week is a long time in politics. Indeed it is. The days when Corbyn seemed like (read: was) a man of unwavering principle, above the muck and grime of day-to-day politics, are long gone.

[1] http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-eu-referendum-36039925

© 2016 Bryan A. J. Parry

featured image from http://cdn.images.express.co.uk/img/dynamic/139/590x/corbyn-641780.jpg

“Eurosceptic” @LeaveEUOfficial #Brexit #LoveEuropeHateEU

image

I really dislike the terms “Eurosceptic” and “leave Europe” and I don’t use them. I am against the UK being a member of the EU, I want the UK to leave the EU. But I have no issue with Europe.

Let’s be clear. The UK will not leave Europe; we are European. I am not against Europe.

I love Europe. I dislike the EU.

I am tired of this deliberate and sometimes accidental conflation of “Europe” and the “EU”, as if they were somehow the same thing. Europe is the magnificent continent whose peoples, languages, cultures, and achievements in both arts and sciences are unrivalled. The EU is the mostly well-intentioned but misguided political project which does not, has not, and will never serve Europe’s best interests.

I will be voting for the UK to leave the EU. I am not “Eurosceptic”; I’m “EUsceptic. Let’s stand up tall and proud as grown-ups, making our own decisions. Love Europe, hate the EU.

© 2016 Bryan A. J. Parry

featured image from http://cicero-group.com/media-centre/reports/eu-referendum-the-question-for-the-uk-a-cicero-group-analysis/

EU Trade Law

aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa

Scotland’s plan to introduce a 50p per unit of alcohol policy may infringe EU trade laws (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-34133269).

I have been massively against Scotland pursuing this policy as I think it will damage the alcohol industry and also not help alcoholics at all. Rather, it will merely penalise poor people and is an easy way for the Scottish government to rinse the masses.

However, the idea that the EU can dictate to nations what they can and cannot do within their own borders is disgusting. The United Kingdom can do whatever the hell it pleases, and we please that Scotland has such rights. It is not for the EU to tell the UK or Scotland what we can do. People need to wake up to this reality: the EU simply does not exist to serve the democratic will or prerogative of nations, and never has — but rather, it exists to serve its own strengthening and survival.

And it is for a thousand “little” reasons like this that I will be voting for the UK to leave the EU in the forthcoming EU Referendum. No jingoism, no racism or hatred, just a belief that the people of a nation should decide their own fate.

© 2015 Bryan A. J. Parry

featured image from http://www.businessforscotland.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/3224006627.jpg

Voting Reform

vote-toss

The results of the General Election have thrown up some intriguing uncertainties. For example, will the SNP’s unprecedented success precipitate the break up of the UK?

But one thing is certain from the results: the voting system needs to be changed in time for the next General Election.

Consider this. The UK Independence Party received almost four million votes. That’s the third highest and a total 12.6% share of the vote. Yet the party only received one seat in Parliament. Yet 12.6% of the 650 House of Commons is 82 seats!

Whatever you may think of UKIP, this is a travesty and makes a mockery of any notion of British “democracy”.

But it’s not just UKIP who were done over by our voting system.

The LibDems got two and a half million votes, a 7.9% share. Yet they received 1% of the seats.

The Greens gained 1.15 million votes, a 3.8% share. They only received a single seat.

On the other hand, the SNP got 50% of the vote in Scotland, yet a whopping 95% of all seats! Not quite as dramatic, but the Conservatives won 51% of the seats on a mere 36.9% of the vote.

And bear in mind that 33.9% of the eligible population didn’t even vote! That means the Conservatives were only supported by 24% of the voting age population, yet got more than half the seats.

Our system really is winner takes all.

A lot of people I’ve been speaking to have been really quite confused. So I’ll explain our system.

The country is divided into voting areas (constituencies). Whichever candidate gets the most votes in any area wins that seat. Everyone else gets nothing. This was UKIP’s problem: they came second in 120 seats nationwide! But first in one seat is better than second in a hundred under our system.

Perhaps in the era of two party politics, our current system worked well (for example, in the 1950 General Election, the Conservatives and Labour respectively gained 40% and 46.1% of the vote and 35.2% and 46.1% of the seats). But we no longer exist in that era, and never will again. So it’s time to change.

The only arguments in favour our system are that it’s easy to understand and produces stable government. Well, I think the idea our politics is stable is now laughable. And easy to understand? How can anyone understand a party receiving 12.6% of the vote getting a mere 0.15% of the seats?

The system needs to change. That is clear. But change to what? There are so many alternatives that the mind boggles.

Luckily for us, however, the UK has been engaged in numerous pilot schemes trialling different voting systems for a while now.

  • In the London Assembly, Welsh Assembly, and Scottish Parliament, the Additional Member System is used. It is semi-proportional; winners are chosen as in the General Election, but there are extra seats for each area which are awarded proportionally.
  • The London Mayor is selected by the Supplementary Vote system. Everyone picks their first choice and second choice. If no one candidate receives 50% of the vote, then all candidates except the top two are eliminated, and all second preference votes are redistributed. The candidate with most votes after these supplementary votes are added is the winner.
  • European Parliament elections are done according to the d’Hondt method which, more-or-less accurately, gives a proportional share of seats based on share of vote. For example, in the 2014 European Parliament Elections, the percentage of votes/seats won was: UKIP 26.6/32.88, Labour 24.43/27.40, Conservative 23.05/26.03, Green 6.91/4.11, SNP 2.37/2.74, and so on.
  • In London council elections, each ward elects up to three representatives.
  • There are many other systems in use in the UK. See here for all the details.

Clearly, no voting system is perfect (this is actually scientific fact: just see New Scientist‘s article if you don’t believe me), but we need to make votes count. Some ways include more even-sized constituencies so each vote is equally valuable, instant easy right to sack any MP / call a by-election, direct voting by the population, easily triggerable referenda, and so on. But changing the electoral system is key.

My proposal

Whilst I don’t want to break the link between MP and constituency, nor introduce two kinds of MP, I think the best solution is either a proportional system based on voting regions, e.g., the four nations or sub-regions thereof, or a London-style Additional member system with the current system supplemented by proportional elected regional MPs.

The 2015 General Election results were a travesty and a miscarriage of justice. Indeed, they were a farce. Let’s move into the twenty-first century.

© 2015 Bryan A. J. Parry

References
Full results: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/election/2015/results

Scottish Parliament Electoral System: http://www.scottish.parliament.uk/visitandlearn/Education/16285.aspx
European Parliament Electoral System: http://www.europarl.org.uk/en/your_meps/european_elections/the_voting_system.html
Other voting systems used in the UK: http://www.parliament.uk/about/how/elections-and-voting/voting-systems/
European Parliament Election Results 2014: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/European_Parliament_election,_2014_(United_Kingdom)
New Scientist on the impossibility of fair elections: http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg20627581.400-electoral-dysfunction-why-democracy-is-always-unfair.html#.VVYou2dFCM8

Featured image from http://www.silverbearcafe.com/private/06.11/images/vote-toss.jpg

 

General Election 2015 Predictions: Aftermath

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The 2015 General Election is almost done, with less than a dozen seats left to declare. David Cameron has won, and with an outright majority.

Huw Edwards on the BBC said, “Nobody predicted this”.

Well, not quite nobody, Huw:

https://doggerelizer.wordpress.com/2015/05/06/general-election-2015-predictions/

As you can see, a nobody predicted this. If everybody wants to come to this nobody’s house and offer me a top boffin job and / or fat wodges of cash in return for my god-like insights, I will consider your offer.

But how did I get this right when top bods around the country didn’t? Was it luck? Was it insider knowledge? Was it a time machine or a cellophane-sealed batch of NZT-48?

Actually, it was simply a matter of being realistic, objective, and following the ebb and flow both on the streets (as a political activist, myself; I’m not a drug dealer) and in the media.

But my supernatural gift of foresight comes as a small crumb of relief because the party I voted for did not win. Also, I didn’t put a damn bet on!

© 2015 Bryan A. J. Parry

featured image from http://www.link2portal.com