Brexit – Madness as John Major attacked for talking sense!

The BBC has the story, see link above

I begin to wonder what the rabid right wing press and the Brexiters think they are doing. They seem to want Brexit to happen straight away, under any circumstances and at whatever cost!

I am sure that many of those who voted for Brexit did not vote for it at any cost. Some yes, I accept that but many? No, that’s just unbelievable.

It becomes clearer by the day that Brexit is going to hurt our economy greatly and it is going to cost us all a great deal. So what’s wrong with putting such facts before the people and saying ‘is this really what you want to do?’ If the majority say yes we do want out of the EU no matter how badly it affects us personally and our economy, then fine the UK goes to jump off that cliff.

I am hardly one to support a Tory politician like John Major but the man is talking sense just like Tim Farron and some Labour MP’s who have been brave enough to speak out.

PS. Old Clegg still manages to gets things wrong though when he says “Brexit yes, but not this very hard ideological Brexit that they seem determined to pursue.” Sorry Cleggy its actually Brexit NO.

Angry & Intolerant – A response from someone who knows me well

My recent posting regarding my own anger and intolerance over Brexit brought back this insightful response:-

Anger can be a useful tool if it can be directed, it can fuel difficult actions and hard campaigns. As long as you have control of it a little anger can take you a long way, sometimes further than you thought you could make it.

I don’t think Anger is an inherently bad thing, there are things that SHOULD make us angry. You are angry not because you got beaten but because you watched too many members of a generation who won’t be around to see the consequences of their vote to make life harder for their grandchildren, because you saw vulnerable people lied to and exploited, manipulated into voting for something that won’t benefit them in the least. In their case the anger they were entitled to feel at the neglect of the system got used by someone else, perhaps partly in fear of those people directing their anger towards the right targets and the people that had consistently failed to help them, or worse still failed to really try.

You are angry because there has been a backlash of hate, of racism, anti-Semitism, misogyny, homophobia, the list of rising hate crimes is too long to go on with. You are angry because a young woman trying to work for her community got savagely murdered in the streets.

You SHOULD be angry, we should ALL be angry, but anger is only useful if we direct it into purpose. This may be the biggest threat to our country, to the liberal values you and I both hold dear, in a very long time. It should be fought. Tolerating other people’s views doesn’t mean you stop fighting them when you think they’re wrong. It means you fight them in the right way, that you don’t stoop to name-calling, to slurs and intimidation. You treat them with the respect owed to all human beings while fighting against the effects of their views and trying to convince them they are wrong. That’s where anger starts to get in the way, you don’t change anyone’s views by shouting at them.

We need to remember that more important than politics, than economies, than anything, is our relationships with our fellow human beings. Events like this make us want to retreat to the safety of those that agree with us, make us want to get behind a barricade and throw projectiles at the enemy but that isn’t really going to help anybody. Martin Luther King quite rightly said “hate cannot drive out hate, only love can do that”.

We need to be careful about indulging in some feeling of moral superiority and feelings of blame, how we got here is important but how we move forward is even more so. All far easier to say than to do, but I grew up with a good example of all this so somehow, occasional shouting aside, I think you’ll do just fine.

Well, it seems like I could consider an apology to those I have insulted over the Brexit vote following this advice. But, I will have to sit on that for a while as the anger is still very strong and the full consequences of that vote are unknown. Put it this way, if my genuine fears about the future of the UK prove to be unfounded and that Brexit ‘visionaries’ were right in saying leaving the EU will be the making of the UK then maybe I will apologise. However, based on the evidence that I saw before the referendum and what I have seen since I still can’t understand why Brexiters pressed what I see as the self-destruct button. Yes, still very angry indeed!

‘Post-truth’ a polite way of defining telling lies

The Guardian has the story on its web site – see link above

A rather sad reflection on our times me thinks when ‘objective facts are less influential in shaping public opinion than appeals to emotion and personal belief’ or you could say beggar the real facts these are ‘my’ facts.

With thanks to Keith Page for spotting the Guardian article.

Brexit – MP’s seem to be starting to sober up

Whether you voted in or out in the EU Referendum surely you want to know what the outcome and consequences are when the UK has gone through it’s leaving negotiations.

After all we were only asked whether we wanted to leave or not; the consequences of leaving were speculated on during the referendum campaign and have been talked about since but we don’t actually know what they will be with any clarity.

On that basis I have always felt that we need to look at the deal that comes out of the negotiation process to decided whether it is acceptable or not. And talking to some Leavers they seem to think that too.

Yes of course there are leavers who still would want to leave the EU no matter what the consequences are but I don’t think there are many folks with such an extreme view.

So it’s nice to see that MP’s in the Westminister hothouse that is so cut off from the realities of real life have started to say hang on a minute we need to know what the deal looks like before we go any further.

Now that’s what I call common sense. Otherwise it’s like being asked do you want to go on holiday, to which you reply yes. But then you are told that the holiday will be to Siberia in the dead of winter. Well I would guess that the majority would have second thoughts about that holiday as it’s not the warm Mediterranean one we had in our mind.

Yes I want a say in where we are going to not just a say in where we are leaving from.

Why do we allow ourselves to be lied to?

I am sure that the vast majority of folks reading this will say I don’t want to lied to. But…….

And the but is this. We are all lied to on a regular basis by the media, politicians, businesses etc. Some lie openly but most lie in a way that some of us will not detect because the lies told feed our prejudices. So, in my case, if I hear a story slagging off Yorkshire County Cricket Club I will want to believe it as a Notts supporter. Now are you getting my drift?

But what if the lies we are told are about far more important things than a sporting allegiances? Without doubt we have been told lies [unless I am lying to you now of course] about the EU, immigration, the NHS, tuition fees, the Iraq war, taxation etc. etc. etc. in recent years.

Beware someone who tells you something that they know you are likely to want to agree with because it may well not be true, particularly if they are selling you something, trying to get your support or indeed wanting your vote.

Look at it this way newspapers play to the prejudices of their readers. They work on the basis that if we tell our readers something often enough they will believe it and repeat it as fact. Some of the more disreputable politicians do the same thing, but we know that don’t we?

I was once told by a politician that you need to find out what people are most upset about and then keep sending them messages (e-mails, leaflets etc.) that repeat those concerns and that whether those concerns are real or not does not matter.

Our problem is that with our busy lives we do not have the time, or say we don’t have the time, to find out the facts before we take a stance on things. We repeat what our family, friends and neighbours tell us without question at times and that is how falsehoods become ‘facts’ in public mind.

You could say that we are too lazy to check things out when someone we trust gives us an easy answer that fits with our prejudices, but that’s exactly how we are had by newspapers, politicians and businesses. They all put a lot of time and money into how messages are played to us so that we will react as they wish us to.

So if Auntie Mary or Uncle Fred for example is hooked by a dodgy message or ‘fact’ and then repeats it to the rest of his/her gullible family, who take it on board, then that dodgy message is spread just as the originator of it intended or at least hoped.

When polled we say that we hate lying politicians, rip-off business people and that we don’t trust what the media tells us but the fact that we are had quite often indicates that we are not actually very good at knowing when we are being lied to. This is particularly the case when we hear a ‘fact’ that we want to believe but is in fact a lie or a gross distortion of the truth.

Let’s look at few examples:-

* The NHS – we all now seem to take it as fact that we were lied to during the EU Referendum about £350m per week going into the NHS if we voted to leave the EU. Indeed, the very people who told that huge fib have openly now said it is not now going to happen! A big lie indeed.


* Tuition Fees – This one sunk Nick Clegg (and rightly so) as he negotiated away his pledge not to increase them and indeed to scrap them. Strangely though some of us who were angry with him then voted for alternative politicians in the Labour or Conservative parties who were the instigators and promoters of Tuition Fees! So we were upset that Clegg had said one thing and done the opposite but by our actions we endorsed the policy of tuition fees. Now there’s a odd muddle for you.

* Taxation – It probably started under Thatcher but certainly Blair, Brown and Cameron built on it i.e. that we can have low taxation and great public services. And guess what, we can’t! We even had some recent nonsense from the Tories about a law to make it illegal for Parliament to increase some taxes. Their stance is built on the fact that we don’t like paying taxes so we like a message that says we don’t have to. We are also distracted by media messages that tell us that our taxes are wasted by fat-cat public sector bosses – we like that message too. That message may well be true at the margins but those that spread the message intend us to think that public money is wasted by hundreds of billions of Pounds each year. We want to believe it, so many of us do. Of course, this one is difficult for us to check out so the media and politicians who peddle that message are on to a winner.

If we keep believing what media outlets, businesses, politicians etc. tell us without checking things out, whilst trying to keep both an open mind and sceptical inquiring outlook, we will keep getting had! But are we too busy or too lazy to become better informed and less gullible?

Brexit ruling: BBC says Lord Chancellor backs judiciary amid row – Really?

The BBC has the story on its web site – see link above

I worry about the BBC and its lack of balls these days. It seems frightened of the right wing of British politics and we should all be concerned about that.

The BBC was a poor if not appalling commentator on the EU Referendum failing to expose lies that were told and often ducking the major issues that the electorate wanted to know the facts about by simply saying one side says this and the other says the opposite.

Now the BBC has this completely misleading headline which gives the impression that the Lord Chancellor is backing the judiciary when she is being little more than a fence sitter in the face a nationalistic and fascist media. Her job is to step in when our independent judiciary is under attack for defending the sovereignty of Parliament. After significant pressure, not least from some Tory MP’s, all she has managed is a vague generalised statement that means little.

“weak statement from a weak cabinet minister”

She and her Government are cowering behind the sofa as our right wing, out of control press tries to undermine the whole basis of our democratic system and the BBC knows that. We fought a civil war to guarantee the sovereignty of Parliament now it is now being undermined by our Government and press!

Admittedly the BBC does qualify somewhat better the actual position further down the piece but you get the impression that our BBC is struggling these days to really tackle big political issues with the tenacity it once did because it fears Government will attack it if it does.

We live in very dangerous times when the sovereignty of Parliament is under threat from Government and the right wing press and when our leading independent broadcaster also seems to be cowering behind the sofa. If this process carries on we are on our way to being a totalitarian fascist state which pretends to be a democracy. What’s even more worrying is that Labour, as the official opposition, seems to be looking for a spot behind the sofa too!