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Brexit - your vote and why?


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#721 mel2

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Posted 03 November 2019 - 23:31

Personally, I would like the Queen to go on for ever. Not sure if her successors will measure up to her but we can hope.
I wouldn't like a President. Is everyone in favour of the EU happy with the process by which the Commission President - Dr Ursula von der Leyen - was elevated to the position? She appears to have been parachuted in over the heads of other candidates who had been through whatever processes are prescribed for these positions.

Much fun has been had by Remainers at our government's being in hoc to the DUP for votes, but it should be noted that Dr von der Leyen is in a similar position with Hungary, whose administration is further to the right than sits comfortably with many.
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#722 elemimele

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Posted 04 November 2019 - 07:27

I've nothing against having a queen, I just don't like a system that relies on her, nominally, to do things. Taking the whole prorogation thing as an example (and honestly just because it's an example - it's now finished, and I don't want to use it as mud to sling at anyone): clearly someone in history thought that parliament shouldn't just be dissolved at the wish of the government, so that power wasn't given directly to the PM. Instead the PM has to ask the queen. It's a good idea to spread power like that. The trouble is that the queen isn't allowed to exercise that power, so she can only do what the PM asks. So the whole concept of spreading the power is undermined, and, in reality, the system gave the PM the right to dissolve parliament at a whim. Yes, it turned out there was another safety-net, the supreme court, but that's a rather clumsy mechanism for handling what should be routine administration of parliament. The current system wasn't fair on parliament, it wasn't fair on the people whom parliament represents, nor was it really all that fair on Mr Johnson, in that he ended up crticised for over-stepping a mark that wasn't actually clearly marked. We really shouldn't rely on everyone in Government having some sort of feeling of old-boy decency about how things are done, old chap. That's no way to run a country nowadays. It's not safe.

That, I think, is what I meant by an Ornamental Monarchy, and it's consistent with Aquarelle's Constitutional Monarchy too, in that, if we're to have a monarch, then I think we need a constitution that explicitly makes it unnecessary that she do anything (except serve as a figure-head around whom people can rally, much as those without Kings and Queens tend to rally around their flag, a song, or some other national emblem).

My other objection to the monarchy is that it's inhumane. They are birds in a gilded cage. No one asks them whether they actually want to be royals. They can't abdicate until they're 18, and it's a massively unpopular thing to do. They will never have a free life. Every bit of them is scrutinised and photographed. Worse, if some scandal suddenly pops up (as it has, recently) they cannot defend themselves. Because it's unthinkable that a royal would be allowed to fall into a huge scandal, any defence of a royal is going to look like a cover-up, and therefore even if nothing ever happened, there will always be a lingering, distasteful question floating around in the air.

And of course there's the ethical issue of whether it's really OK to further the idea that one person is more important than another because of their parentage or inheritance, rather than because of what they have said or done with their lives.


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#723 Norway

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Posted 04 November 2019 - 08:39

Exactly - especially the last sentence! I'd add that not everyone can be clever, attractive, accomplished or talented, but that doesn't make them any less of a human being.


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#724 Arundodonuts

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Posted 04 November 2019 - 09:05

Is everyone in favour of the EU happy with the process by which the Commission President - Dr Ursula von der Leyen - was elevated to the position? She appears to have been parachuted in over the heads of other candidates who had been through whatever processes are prescribed for these positions.

Whilst it's true she wasn't one of the "lead candidates" she was appointed by MEPs in a vote.


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#725 Aquarelle

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Posted 04 November 2019 - 10:37

I can’t subscribe to the idea that the value of a human being is based on the job they have – be it the job they have chosen or the job they have been born into. You can be good or bad at any particular job. You can be rich or poor, healthy or sick, happy or sad, a high flyer or at the bottom of whatever pile, you can in fact be anything. But the value of of your life cannot be estimated in terms of anything other than life its self. OK you can say that a serial killer’s life cannot compare with that of a skillful and dedicated surgeon. But the point I am clumsily trying to make is that it is life its self that counts. If not then any power anywhere can find any reason to bump off anyone.

So if you are born to be monarch it doesn’t make you an intrinsically more valuable person. It means that you are expected to fulfill a function and dedicate your life to it. What actually counts is the function. There are many non royal families who expect their family traditions to be upheld. There are many rebels inside such  families and others who are content to follow the family line. It’s all part of the melting pot.

 

The monarchy is no more or less inhuman than the situation in which many members of many families find themselves. A family can be a great institution if you fit. If you don’t it can tear your life apart. The royals do have various ways out and they do have various compensations for their lack of personal freedom. And the monarchy under Elizabeth ll has evolved. Like every one of our institutions it will never be perfect. I think we have to learn to live with imperfection and to discern the difference between destroying an  imperfect institution, examining it carefully and looking at the alternatives – will they be better or worse (Brexit or Remain is a fine example). We have to decide whether to destroy, turn our backs, or build and improve wherever possible.

 

In case anyone thinks I am just pontificating could I say that I was very hurt and once walked out of an institution. I will not say what it was. Years later and with a lot of water under the bridge I have come to realize that I made a mistake. I have now returned with the attitude that it is more constructive to present my views inside that institution than outside. It isn’t easy but then nothing much in life is.


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#726 OlderAussie

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Posted 11 November 2019 - 03:22

Well I haven’t been following this thread but would you like an outsiders’ view of this whole Brexit thing?

I think you Brits really need to change your electoral system. First, your system for referenda seems far from ideal. Then I believe you don’t have compulsory voting? Its then “first past the post” rather than preferential?

How much of the current totally crazy shamozzle would have been prevented if your system was more like your poor little backward colony’s?
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#727 LoneM

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Posted 11 November 2019 - 10:49

I absolutely agree! The Scottish Parliament and I think Welsh Assembly are elected using the Additional Member System which gives a more representative result than "first past the post", but unfortunately voting is not compulsory.


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#728 Arundodonuts

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Posted 11 November 2019 - 11:51

Oh we tried!! We had a referendum on that too which was just as badly handled as the Brexit one.


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#729 elemimele

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Posted 11 November 2019 - 22:11

... and provided that "none of the above" is available as a voting option. I don't mind being forced to vote, but I object to being forced to vote for someone I don't like.

Yes, our voting system is daft. Let's face it, our credit rating is about to be downgraded (again). We can't hold a decent election. We hold referenda without deciding what they'll decide before they happen. We can't even agree on a national ID card, and then we complain that we can't prove who we are or how old we are (and nor can anyone else). The Home Office is currently doing a stunningly good job of ejecting people who ought to be here, presumably because it's lost most of the people who shouldn't. Our local authorities now have so little cash that mental health provisions have all but collapsed, the few remaining cops are frenetically running round trying to look as though they're coping, as they try to deal with the social care that ought to be coming from mental health provision, and yet all this austerity hasn't shrunk the national debt (which gets more expensive all the time as our credit rating plunges), and all we can do is hope that rich millionaires continue to buy empty properties so that the economy can continue to buy everything we need from China. We do, however, do a wonderful line in pessimism and we're quite good at laughing at ourselves. This talent may come in handy. Oh, and the NHS is still the jewel in our crown, and rightly so. Special thanks to all the Indian consultants and Philippine nurses who keep it going. Yes, OlderAussie, you may have a good point there. But hey, our flora and fauna are a lot more friendly than yours!


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#730 mel2

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Posted 11 November 2019 - 23:05

Wow. Such votes of confidence.
One wonders why so many risk their lives trying to come here. (And I know lots go elsewhere)
I presume it's ok allow the developing world to train medical staff so we can poach them for ourselves?

We all know the old saying about democracy, but I've yet to see anywhere else do it better.
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#731 OlderAussie

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Posted 11 November 2019 - 23:11

Don’t worry about our flora and fauna elemimele. After today most of them will be dead.

No, compulsory voting doesn’t mean you have to vote for any of them. It means you turn up at the voting station, (usually a very nearby school or church hall), have your name checked off the electoral role, get your voting paper or papers (maybe 2 if election is also for senate). Then you can write obscenities or vote for Donald Duck or whatever if you like and put each in the appropriate box. Its a fun outing with sausage sizzles, perhaps baked goods cleverly named after politicians etc outside. Volunteers from each party good naturedly offering “how to vote advice” (which lists the order of preferences the party would like you to follow but which you can totally ignore).

If you can’t physically vote in your home electorate on the day there’s no problem. You can do an early vote, postal or absentee vote from elsewhere. If you don’t have a good excuse for not voting (such as an accident or medical problem) you get a small fine.
That way we get the government we deserve as a nation. Unfortunately.
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#732 Arundodonuts

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Posted 11 November 2019 - 23:45

We all know the old saying about democracy, but I've yet to see anywhere else do it better.

Johnson and Cummings have done their best to sidestep our democracy. Let's hope they are soon stopped for good. Oh and I think you discredit many of our European and Scandinavian neighbours with that comment.


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#733 hummingbird

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Posted 12 November 2019 - 01:57

... and provided that "none of the above" is available as a voting option. I don't mind being forced to vote, but I object to being forced to vote for someone I don't like.
Yes, our voting system is daft. Let's face it, our credit rating is about to be downgraded (again). We can't hold a decent election. We hold referenda without deciding what they'll decide before they happen. We can't even agree on a national ID card, and then we complain that we can't prove who we are or how old we are (and nor can anyone else). The Home Office is currently doing a stunningly good job of ejecting people who ought to be here, presumably because it's lost most of the people who shouldn't. Our local authorities now have so little cash that mental health provisions have all but collapsed, the few remaining cops are frenetically running round trying to look as though they're coping, as they try to deal with the social care that ought to be coming from mental health provision, and yet all this austerity hasn't shrunk the national debt (which gets more expensive all the time as our credit rating plunges), and all we can do is hope that rich millionaires continue to buy empty properties so that the economy can continue to buy everything we need from China. We do, however, do a wonderful line in pessimism and we're quite good at laughing at ourselves. This talent may come in handy. Oh, and the NHS is still the jewel in our crown, and rightly so. Special thanks to all the Indian consultants and Philippine nurses who keep it going. Yes, OlderAussie, you may have a good point there. But hey, our flora and fauna are a lot more friendly than yours!

You sound just like one of my Remainer friends, who described us as "a tin-pot little country". In spite of despising his native country so much, he's chosen to spend all his life here, and in fact has done very well out of it.

 

 

We all know the old saying about democracy, but I've yet to see anywhere else do it better.

Johnson and Cummings have done their best to sidestep our democracy. Let's hope they are soon stopped for good. Oh and I think you discredit many of our European and Scandinavian neighbours with that comment.

In other words, the government has tried to deliver Brexit in spite of the Remainer parliament trying to block it at every turn.  My own interpretation of democracy is that we can get rid of any government that we collectively don't like, whereas we have no say in who runs the EU, ie the Presidents and the Commission.  The European Parliament is well down the pecking order.

 

 

I'm just glad the Speaker doesn't represent my constituency.  The fact that a UK constituency is deprived of a choice of candidates is an anomaly that really ought to be addressed.  Surely an elected Speaker ought not to continue being a constituency MP, so that a general election with a choice of candidates can take place in the normal way in his/her constituency.


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#734 elemimele

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Posted 12 November 2019 - 07:28

hummingbird, you've put your finger on quite a few genuine dilemmas. In practice constituents have the same problem if their MP turns out to be the PM or one of the major minister; he or she is less likely to be available to do constituency surgeries and be available to listen to your thoughts. Yes, the speaker is a particular difficulty. If you don't select him/her from the pool of MPs, where do you get him from? It's an important principle that no one speaks in parliament without us, the electorate, putting them there (I wouldn't feel happy about the speaker becoming some sort of civil-servant chosen by the government of the day, in parliament without being elected there in some way; that feels too much like the way important officials in the EU have got to their places).

The logical thing to do would be to continue as we do, with a speaker selected by the MPs from the MPs, but trigger a bye-election the moment they've done it, so that the speaker's constituency get to choose another candidate. The weakness of this system is that it emphasises something that's already partially true: that if you know someone is likely to be the speaker, it's perhaps wrong that only one constituency, possibly not representative of the country as a whole, gets a veto on him/her.

 

One can't really defend our democracy and also complain either of Johnson trying to side-step it, or the Remainers trying to block it, because both of those activities are precisely what our democracy is. Johnson became PM through the correct democratic procedure that the UK has chosen to use, while the Remainer MPs were also voted into parliament democratically by their constituents, many of whom are also Remainers who chose their MP for that very reason. The referendum unfortunately cannot make the deep division in beliefs go away. What's going on at the moment is democracy in action, although both sides seem to be finding it very uncomfortable. You have a vote, the result of which is "so far, we mostly like it". Then everyone goes off and fleshes things out, and a few people with doubts chuck amendments in to the pot, everything gets stirred around, and you have another vote. Sometimes as the process goes on, the whole thing changes. Very few really important decisions are made in a single one-off choice with no further wibbling around. Why should Brexit be any different?


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#735 Arundodonuts

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Posted 12 November 2019 - 11:21

Parliament is the sovereign body in our democracy.

 

In the EU MEPs are our representatives and vote for presidents. 


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