I strongly support the gigantic People´s Vote march that took place today in London.
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Sorry, Prime Minister Theresa May, but the solution to the Brexit mess is an easy call. A reasonable one, too.
On June 23, 2016, a referendum was held to see if the U.K. should stay or leave the European Union. The actual wording: “Should the United Kingdom remain a member of the European Union or leave the European Union?” 51.9% voted for leave, 48.1% to remain. That wording is crucial; we will return to it in a moment.
Three things to consider:
(1) Contrary to what both the stay and leave proponents said/implied -- and are still saying/implying -- the referendum results were NOT legally binding. They had all the statutory power of a Gallup poll.
(2) Never confuse "majority" and "consensus." Exactly that is what May and her pro-Brexit group are doing. A majority is 50% plus 1. A consensus, on the other hand, by all standard definitions, e.g., Cambridge, is a generally accepted opinion; wide agreement.
Yes, a majority favored Brexit. However, by no stretch of the imagination does 51.9% constitute a consensus.
So, where exactly, in quantitative terms, does a consensus begin? It has to be more than a majority, but where?
The question cannot be settled once and for all because of cultural and historical differences. However, I would make an opening bid at 55%. Anything less decidedly is not a consensus anywhere.
The proverbial bottom line: the referendum showed there was no consensus in the U.K. about staying or leaving the European Union.
As a general policy, I believe change should be difficult to make, but not impossible. For starters, a change should always require a consensus. A tie (less that 55%) goes to the champion, in this case, the status quo.
(3) The wording of the 2016 referendum was simple: stay/leave. That is the equivalent of asking: "Do you like freedom of speech? Yes/no. " That is qualitatively a totally different statement than asking: "Do you think a fascist should be allowed to speak at your local high school. Yes/no." In the 2016 Brexit referendum, there was no concrete, observable, empirical, detailed proposal on the table. Today, there is one -- the Checkers Plan -- with all the surrounding debate.
And so, a new situation exists. The issue of Brexit is no longer a misty water-colored idea; it has been operationalized.
The proper thing to do, therefore, is to have a second referendum on the real, tangible Brexit plan. I lived in London. My common sense tells me that the U.K. would now vote to stay in the European Union. The pro-Brexit forces would have only Theresa May to thank for that outcome; she completely, totally, absolutely botched the negotiations with the EU regarding the conditions under which the U.K. would leave.
Mother, may I? became Mother, no way.
Could it have been otherwise?
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"He´ll be leaving soon."
If you want to get rid of a guy at the office, there´s no better way to do it than to start that rumor. I watched it work countless times in both legislative and executive branch politics.
Authority is a time-related event. No time; no authority.
The United Kingdom will be leaving soon. That is what May announced to the world immediately after the Brexit referendum. Instead, she should have gone back to the EU with referendum results in hand and pointed to the widespread dissatisfaction. We don´t really want to leave but... and bargained for reforms. She did no such thing.
Forget reform; for May it was all or nothing. There are roughly six months to go before Britain leaves. Unless there is a drastic change, May and the U.K. will get to see up close and personal what nothing looks like.
Another recalcitrant, oh-so-sure-of-himself politico faced the leaving soon situation. The only difference was, he was too naive to know it.
Throughout the peace talks with North Vietnam, Henry Kissinger pranced and preened before the press in a Paris chateau: gosh, the fate of the entire world rested on his teeny-weeny Bavarian shoulders.
The reality was of course entirely different. What did he have to negotiate? Do we get out now or do we get out later?
The North Vietnamese weren´t the only ones to see through Kissinger´s slab-dab "negotiating." Five centuries ago, Shakespeare caught the drift:
A tale told by an idiot,
full of sound and fury.