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Thursday, January 17, 2019

Opponents of Brexit

For John, BLUFWhile some view Brexit through the lens of Homo economicus, those who voted for Brexit may have been more about wanting to avoid a distant and impersonal government dictating to them.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From The New Reform Club, by Mr Seth Barrett Tillman, 16 January 2019.

Here is the lede and the last paragraph:

I did not “prais[e] the process that brought Brexit to the UK.”  I will say that the process was not “stupid” and it was not “criminally stupid.”  Why do you use this hyperbolic language?  It was just a referendum.  Cameron did not surprise the country (the UK) by putting the decision to the People.  It was a long-standing promise of the Tory Party to do just that.  That promise was made by the Tory Party in the two party manifestos in the two prior general elections.  After the first election, Cameron’s Tory Party did not have an absolute majority on the floor of the Commons, and his Liberal-Democratic coalition partners did not back a referendum.  So nothing happened.  After the second election, Cameron had a majority—and the referendum was a simple expression of a well known campaign pledge from the most recent general election.  I see nothing “stupid” about this; I see nothing “criminally stupid.”  Why this hyperbolic language?

Again, I don’t claim to know how the British people ought to have voted.  I am not British, and the UK is not my country.  I was not born there; I am not a citizen by naturalisation or otherwise; I was not educated there; I do not have any higher degrees specialising in British history, government, culture, etc; I do not live there; and, I do not pay taxes there. It is not my job to tell them how to vote.  I see no reason to call their elected politicians and their public “inept” or “stupid” because the People voted in a way which was not expected by those who think or thought they know or knew better.  So I am left wondering why you continue to use such strong language about a foreign country’s politics and politicians?  Is it that you believe the result was obviously wrong?—How did you reach that conclusion?  Or, is it that you believe the process was substantially defective (a process wholly free of gerrymandering—a subject which is a frequent source of complaint by academics here on Conlawprof)?—How did you reach that conclusion?  And even if you think the result wrong or the process defective, why are you using such strong language?  When you use such strong language about Brexit, and you do so for reasons that are (in my opinion) entirely opaque, it sort of undermines the force of the similar hyperbolic language you use in regard to Trump. You do see that, right?


Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

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