British EU referendum in June [update: Leave wins 52% - 48%, politics ensue]

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Re: British EU referendum in June [update: Leave wins 52% - 48%, Cameron to resign by October]

Postby Echo244 » Tue Jun 28, 2016 9:30 am UTC

HES wrote:Does negotiating not to leave after all count as negotiating an exit?


Only from your own parliamentary seat, as disgruntled Leave types are likely to punish any Tory who wavers.
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Re: British EU referendum in June [update: Leave wins 52% - 48%, Cameron to resign by October]

Postby Xenomortis » Tue Jun 28, 2016 9:37 am UTC

If there were another general election and the party that won included, in their manifesto, a pledge "to stay in the EU, rejecting the referendum result", then that would be a mandate to stay in the EU.
The UK traditionally does not opt for referendums (this was only the third UK wide one) - parties don't need them to implement things they pledge in an election manifesto.

Of course, if a general election occurs after Article 50 is triggered and *then* a strongly pro-EU party is elected, they would have a problem.

It would be up to Labour and the Lib Dems to run with such a promise - the Tories won't.
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Re: British EU referendum in June [update: Leave wins 52% - 48%, Cameron to resign by October]

Postby Diadem » Tue Jun 28, 2016 9:56 am UTC

Adacore wrote:I've seen several commentators saying that, in the wake of the Tory leadership fiasco, there is almost certain to be a general election called within a year. What happens if the public overwhelmingly votes in that election for a party which has a strongly pro-EU platform? I can very easily see a near-term general election becoming a rerun of the EU referendum, in the same way that so much of the American political debate and Republican platform in 2012 and 2014 was dominated by the possibility of repealing The Affordable Care Act. We could end up in the ludicrous position where a democratically elected government with a strongly pro-EU mandate is in charge of negotiating Britain's exit from the EU.

This sounds more like a pipe dream than a realistic scenario though. Both the Conservatives and Labour are way too internally divided to run on a clear "overrule the referendum" platform. The libdems might run on such a platform, but I don't see them winning a majority. There's also no reason to think that the British voters have changed their mind. Some might, but a few movements on the stock market won't lead to mass mind-changing. In fact I bet that many leave voters will be secretly delighted to see the 'rich bankers get what they deserve'.

As a general rule, a newer mandate overrules an older one. So yeah, if a party were to run on a platform there clearly said "We want to overturn the results of referendum X" and it was a major issue in the campaign (not something in small print on page 58 of their platform) and they won a clear majority, I don't think anybody would consider it improper if they then went on to overturn said referendum. But I see no reason to think it's going to happen here.

I see only two semi-realistic scenarios in which Britain will stay in the EU. Scotland could try to block a British exit. It's not clear if their consent is legally required, but I can see a new government accepting a Scottish veto with feigned outrage and secret relief. The second scenario is where article 50 is invoked, talks to reach a favourable deal for Britain after leaving break down, the British economy tanks, the country spirals into a recession, leaving becomes deeply unpopular and 2 years down the line Britain comes back begging reentry. I don't think that's very realistic though, because deep recessions generally only increase nationalism.
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Re: British EU referendum in June [update: Leave wins 52% - 48%, Cameron to resign by October]

Postby Soupspoon » Tue Jun 28, 2016 10:10 am UTC

Adacore wrote:What happens if the public overwhelmingly votes in that election for a party which has a strongly pro-EU platform?
Which one's that? Conservatives are split on the issue, Labour are splitting and their supporters aren't any better, LibDems would need a legendary rallying as would other minority national parties. Right now, I'm seriously wondering if the anti-UKIP stance could be servable by some form of "SNP in England" machine...

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Re: British EU referendum in June [update: Leave wins 52% - 48%, Cameron to resign by October]

Postby Echo244 » Tue Jun 28, 2016 10:11 am UTC

Diadem wrote:I see only two semi-realistic scenarios in which Britain will stay in the EU. Scotland could try to block a British exit. It's not clear if their consent is legally required, but I can see a new government accepting a Scottish veto with feigned outrage and secret relief. The second scenario is where article 50 is invoked, talks to reach a favourable deal for Britain after leaving break down, the British economy tanks, the country spirals into a recession, leaving becomes deeply unpopular and 2 years down the line Britain comes back begging reentry. I don't think that's very realistic though, because deep recessions generally only increase nationalism.


Scenario 1 depends on the new Government. As I understand it, consent is legally required, but Westminster can unilaterally amend things so that it *isn't* required. Scotland cannot stop things, but can force Westminster to act in an increasingly divisive manner before a second independence referendum. I can see some Tories would be given pause for thought by that, but I get the feeling that there's enough determination to make the Brexit vote stick in their party that any/all leadership candidates will need to pledge to do it anyway.

I concur with scenario 2 being unlikely. It will need more than 2 years. There will be a lot of nationalism, it will be a time of scapegoats, a bad time to look or sound foreign (though that's happening already). And it will take... probably at least a decade to run out of scapegoats to blame for "bringing Britain down". And then another electoral cycle to get over the resentment towards the EU for "inflicting all this on us".
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Re: British EU referendum in June [update: Leave wins 52% - 48%, Cameron to resign by October]

Postby Zamfir » Tue Jun 28, 2016 10:41 am UTC

The third option is indefinite postponement, a skill that diplomats master as no one else . The UK agrees behind the scenes on some reduction in influence , and return the EU doesn't press them to file the formal notification.

The UK governments sells this back home as a better negotiation position than bluntly leaving, and some time passes. Buys time to figure out if 'bregret' is a widespread thing.

At some point they announce a 'Structured EU-UK Position Reevaluation Program' or whatever, and some more years pass while they go through the boring motions and everyone's eyes glass over. Eventually a new status quo develops, with the UK further removed yet from the core EU processes. Depending on the sentiments of that day, that new status quo is still called membership, or not. Perhaps Denmark or Sweden join them.

I wouldn't be surprised if people in Britain civil service and in the EU institutions are aiming at such a process. Make the decision process glacial, freeze the riffraff out of it.

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Re: British EU referendum in June [update: Leave wins 52% - 48%, Cameron to resign by October]

Postby BattleMoose » Tue Jun 28, 2016 1:44 pm UTC

Was watching Bloomberg and they had Jacob Nell, Morgan Stanley Chief UK economist. Apparently they are operating on the assumption that the UK will suffer a GDP loss of between 1.5 to 3%. Thought I would share.

I also heard (no idea how accurate) that Scotland as well as the other nations that make up the UK, can each veto any decision to take the UK out of the EU.

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Re: British EU referendum in June [update: Leave wins 52% - 48%, Cameron to resign by October]

Postby Soupspoon » Tue Jun 28, 2016 2:07 pm UTC

BattleMoose wrote:I also heard (no idea how accurate) that Scotland as well as the other nations that make up the UK, can each veto any decision to take the UK out of the EU.
In short, Scotland certainly has to agree, which they probably wouldn't, albeit under a law that the British (and thus English) parliament can just change under their noses so that they no longer have that not-quite-veto option. (Political fallout would abound, but it might just get lost in the rest of the mess.)

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Re: British EU referendum in June [update: Leave wins 52% - 48%, Cameron to resign by October]

Postby morriswalters » Tue Jun 28, 2016 2:12 pm UTC

I wouldn't be surprised if people in Britain civil service and in the EU institutions are aiming at such a process. Make the decision process glacial, freeze the riffraff out of it.
That might be amusing, on the other hand you run the risk of the riffraff working it out and hanging said bureaucrats from lampposts.

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Re: British EU referendum in June [update: Leave wins 52% - 48%, Cameron to resign by October]

Postby svenman » Tue Jun 28, 2016 6:27 pm UTC

Zamfir wrote:The third option is indefinite postponement, a skill that diplomats master as no one else . The UK agrees behind the scenes on some reduction in influence , and return the EU doesn't press them to file the formal notification.

[...]

I wouldn't be surprised if people in Britain civil service and in the EU institutions are aiming at such a process. Make the decision process glacial, freeze the riffraff out of it.

Except that the rest of the EU governments are pretty much unanimous on wanting the UK government to officially invoke Article 50 at least soonish, if not immediately. They all have enough of British indecision about staying in the EU and certainly don't want more of it, but prefer to get started on the divorce proceedings as soon as possible so that everyone can move on. There is a saying in German, "Besser ein Ende mit Schrecken als ein Schrecken ohne Ende," roughly translating to "better a horrible end than an endless horror."

As much as I would like the opposite to be true, I can't even conceive of a second referendum or a parliamentary election in the UK yielding a clear majority for a Remain-in-the-EU platform so that the political issue of Brexit would be laid to rest once and for all. Even if there were then a clear pro-Remain majority (and that's a big if), UKIP and the rest of the hardcore Leave backers would never ever again shut up about the sovereign will of the people, as demonstrated by last week's referendum, being ignored, thus keeping the Brexit issue forever on the table and forever toxic. Even more so if HM Government or Parliament would, tacitly or openly, decide to ignore the referendum and remain in the EU with less of a clear mandate from the electorate.

No, the best we all can hope for now is for the UK to leave the EU and then maybe re-join in something like twenty or thirty years, backed by a younger and hopefully wiser generation of voters.

I'm also afraid that there probably won't be much of a political will in the rest of the EU to keep Scotland in without interruption, if at all. Getting Brexit over and done with ASAP is going to be more important to most. An independent Scotland, if that comes to pass (possibly plus or together with Northern Ireland), will have to re-join later down the line.
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Re: British EU referendum in June [update: Leave wins 52% - 48%, Cameron to resign by October]

Postby KnightExemplar » Tue Jun 28, 2016 6:38 pm UTC

svenman wrote:
Zamfir wrote:The third option is indefinite postponement, a skill that diplomats master as no one else . The UK agrees behind the scenes on some reduction in influence , and return the EU doesn't press them to file the formal notification.

[...]

I wouldn't be surprised if people in Britain civil service and in the EU institutions are aiming at such a process. Make the decision process glacial, freeze the riffraff out of it.

Except that the rest of the EU governments are pretty much unanimous on wanting the UK government to officially invoke Article 50 at least soonish, if not immediately. They all have enough of British indecision about staying in the EU and certainly don't want more of it, but prefer to get started on the divorce proceedings as soon as possible so that everyone can move on. There is a saying in German, "Besser ein Ende mit Schrecken als ein Schrecken ohne Ende," roughly translating to "better a horrible end than an endless horror."


While that's true, what exactly can the EU do to force UK to actually invoke Article 50?

Truly a genuine question here: I guess hypothetically, the EU can vote to kick the UK out in some manner. But basically, the EU has to hold some mechanism to push the UK forward: either a stick or a carrot as they say.

If the UK can just perpetually talk about Brexit but never really invoke it, surely that's the best option for virtually everyone involved?
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Re: British EU referendum in June [update: Leave wins 52% - 48%, Cameron to resign by October]

Postby Tyndmyr » Tue Jun 28, 2016 6:56 pm UTC

KnightExemplar wrote:If the UK can just perpetually talk about Brexit but never really invoke it, surely that's the best option for virtually everyone involved?


That's an odd definition of "best".

The EU does not benefit from uncertainty over membership, at any rate.

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Re: British EU referendum in June [update: Leave wins 52% - 48%, Cameron to resign by October]

Postby cphite » Tue Jun 28, 2016 6:58 pm UTC

Zamfir wrote:The third option is indefinite postponement, a skill that diplomats master as no one else . The UK agrees behind the scenes on some reduction in influence , and return the EU doesn't press them to file the formal notification.


Which is essentially extending a huge middle finger to the 52% of people who voted to leave; after going through the motions of asking the people what they want. Sorry, but that isn't how democracy is supposed to work. The people voted and "Leave" won. Granted, the vote isn't legally binding but if it's not going to be honored, why have it in the first place?

Bear in mind, the very reason a lot of people voted to leave is that they felt that they weren't being represented. I can't imagine that telling those people that their vote didn't really count for anything would go over very well.

The UK governments sells this back home as a better negotiation position than bluntly leaving, and some time passes. Buys time to figure out if 'bregret' is a widespread thing.


Even if it is, that isn't how democracy works.

A certain percentage of the people may have voted "leave" and not really meant it, because they never expected "leave" to win. And a certain percentage of the population might come to regret their vote to leave. But that still leaves a sizable percentage of the population that voted that way and did mean it. And the reality is, their side won in a fair contest. Any attempt to negate that result, whether it's by new referendum, or slow-walking, or whatever - isn't democracy.

At some point they announce a 'Structured EU-UK Position Reevaluation Program' or whatever, and some more years pass while they go through the boring motions and everyone's eyes glass over. Eventually a new status quo develops, with the UK further removed yet from the core EU processes. Depending on the sentiments of that day, that new status quo is still called membership, or not. Perhaps Denmark or Sweden join them.


Except that a majority didn't vote to reevaluate membership in the EU, or to rename it, or to modify it; they voted to leave the EU. What you're suggesting is basically government deciding that it doesn't give two shits what the people want, that it knows better, and so it's just going to manipulate people into accepting the opposite of what they voted to do.

I wouldn't be surprised if people in Britain civil service and in the EU institutions are aiming at such a process. Make the decision process glacial, freeze the riffraff out of it.


And if that is the case, I wouldn't be surprised if a whole lot of people who already feel disenfranchised don't respond in a very negative manner.

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Re: British EU referendum in June [update: Leave wins 52% - 48%, Cameron to resign by October]

Postby Mutex » Tue Jun 28, 2016 7:09 pm UTC

cphite wrote:Even if it is, that isn't how democracy works.

A certain percentage of the people may have voted "leave" and not really meant it, because they never expected "leave" to win. And a certain percentage of the population might come to regret their vote to leave. But that still leaves a sizable percentage of the population that voted that way and did mean it. And the reality is, their side won in a fair contest. Any attempt to negate that result, whether it's by new referendum, or slow-walking, or whatever - isn't democracy.


A new mandate replaces the old one. A second referendum that results in Remain winning would give the government a mandate to ignore the first result. The people who voted Leave would be pissed off as all hell, obviously.

The problem is, Cameron didn't expect to lose so he didn't lay down any rules. Such as, needing 60% either way to be conclusive, and what happens if it's not conclusive. Or all the countries in the UK individually needing to vote Leave to leave. And making rules up in retrospect will go down like a depleted-uranium balloon.

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Re: British EU referendum in June [update: Leave wins 52% - 48%, Cameron to resign by October]

Postby cphite » Tue Jun 28, 2016 7:25 pm UTC

KnightExemplar wrote:If the UK can just perpetually talk about Brexit but never really invoke it, surely that's the best option for virtually everyone involved?


I sincerely doubt that the people who voted to leave the EU would consider it the best option... or does "virtually everyone" not include those people?

Also, that option seems to rely on the premise that the people who want to leave the EU aren't going to notice that their government is merely talking; or that when they do notice, that they're simply going to sit quietly and accept that their government is deliberately circumventing the results of the vote.

There were a lot of various issues involved in this thing... immigration, the economy, and so forth - but the major underlying theme seemed to be that the people who voted to leave, voted that way because they felt that the EU wasn't representing them or working for their interests the way that a representative government is supposed to. And so many people felt that way that they decided, as a majority, to take the enormous step of leaving the EU.

Maybe it's just me... but if the response to that vote is to ignore them, or worse - to deliberately circumvent the very thing that they voted to do - I can't imagine many of those people being very happy about that. Sure, there might be a segment of them who only voted "leave" because they didn't think it had a chance of winning and wanted to cast a protest vote... as an aside, those people are idiots... but a result is a result. You don't simply cast it aside because you don't like it, or because you question the motives of the voters. That isn't how it works.

The fact is that "leave" won the vote. By a clear margin. If the result isn't to be honored, then it shouldn't have been put to a vote in the first place.

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Re: British EU referendum in June [update: Leave wins 52% - 48%, Cameron to resign by October]

Postby commodorejohn » Tue Jun 28, 2016 7:27 pm UTC

Moreover, it's not something the EU would be happy with either, since it prolongs the uncertainty and keeps the market volatile. Which is why they're pushing for the UK to get a move on with Article 50.

What's interesting to me is that that's pretty much the only form of leverage the UK has here. If I were them, I'd be threatening to hold it in limbo until this talk of a punitive approach to the negotiations stops, but of course that's not going to make Leave voters very happy.
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Re: British EU referendum in June [update: Leave wins 52% - 48%, Cameron to resign by October]

Postby cphite » Tue Jun 28, 2016 7:31 pm UTC

Mutex wrote:
cphite wrote:Even if it is, that isn't how democracy works.

A certain percentage of the people may have voted "leave" and not really meant it, because they never expected "leave" to win. And a certain percentage of the population might come to regret their vote to leave. But that still leaves a sizable percentage of the population that voted that way and did mean it. And the reality is, their side won in a fair contest. Any attempt to negate that result, whether it's by new referendum, or slow-walking, or whatever - isn't democracy.


A new mandate replaces the old one. A second referendum that results in Remain winning would give the government a mandate to ignore the first result. The people who voted Leave would be pissed off as all hell, obviously.


Well, hell... why not just do that with every vote? If you don't like the results of the first one, just have another one. And if that one doesn't turn out the way you like, have another one. Repeat until the people vote the right way.

The problem is, Cameron didn't expect to lose so he didn't lay down any rules. Such as, needing 60% either way to be conclusive, and what happens if it's not conclusive. Or all the countries in the UK individually needing to vote Leave to leave. And making rules up in retrospect will go down like a depleted-uranium balloon.


That is only a problem if you're on the side that wanted to remain; and frankly all of those conditions seem pretty clearly intended to render the results inconclusive, which defaults to the UK remaining in the EU. That seems like a nice way of saying that the problem is that Cameron didn't rig the game ahead of time.

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Re: British EU referendum in June [update: Leave wins 52% - 48%, Cameron to resign by October]

Postby KnightExemplar » Tue Jun 28, 2016 7:43 pm UTC

cphite wrote:
KnightExemplar wrote:If the UK can just perpetually talk about Brexit but never really invoke it, surely that's the best option for virtually everyone involved?


I sincerely doubt that the people who voted to leave the EU would consider it the best option... or does "virtually everyone" not include those people?


Given the #Breget that has started to occur online. I'm not sure I understand a lot of the "leave" voters.

As far as the "Leave" leaders: with David Cameron basically stepping down before invoking Article 50, it will be up to the leaders of "Leave" to actually invoke it. And considering the severe consequences of it happening, whoever follows David Cameron will face resistance to actually invoke the article.

The fact is that "leave" won the vote. By a clear margin. If the result isn't to be honored, then it shouldn't have been put to a vote in the first place.


While this is true, the fact also remains that it is a non-binding referendum. Which is why I'm leaning towards "David Cameron's successor will pretend to leave but not really do it" (by never actually invoking Article 50)
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Re: British EU referendum in June [update: Leave wins 52% - 48%, Cameron to resign by October]

Postby Mutex » Tue Jun 28, 2016 7:45 pm UTC

cphite wrote:
Mutex wrote:
cphite wrote:Even if it is, that isn't how democracy works.

A certain percentage of the people may have voted "leave" and not really meant it, because they never expected "leave" to win. And a certain percentage of the population might come to regret their vote to leave. But that still leaves a sizable percentage of the population that voted that way and did mean it. And the reality is, their side won in a fair contest. Any attempt to negate that result, whether it's by new referendum, or slow-walking, or whatever - isn't democracy.


A new mandate replaces the old one. A second referendum that results in Remain winning would give the government a mandate to ignore the first result. The people who voted Leave would be pissed off as all hell, obviously.


Well, hell... why not just do that with every vote? If you don't like the results of the first one, just have another one. And if that one doesn't turn out the way you like, have another one. Repeat until the people vote the right way.


That happened in Ireland, regarding an EU treaty. They voted No, so they held the referendum again and it came out Yes. Yes, the people who voted No were pretty pissed off. And I doubt they'd have got away with a third one. But there's no rules against having multiple votes on the same issue, nor any minimum period between referendums. But in reality if you just kept holding them people would get very angry fast, which is why they don't do that.

cphite wrote:
The problem is, Cameron didn't expect to lose so he didn't lay down any rules. Such as, needing 60% either way to be conclusive, and what happens if it's not conclusive. Or all the countries in the UK individually needing to vote Leave to leave. And making rules up in retrospect will go down like a depleted-uranium balloon.


That is only a problem if you're on the side that wanted to remain; and frankly all of those conditions seem pretty clearly intended to render the results inconclusive, which defaults to the UK remaining in the EU. That seems like a nice way of saying that the problem is that Cameron didn't rig the game ahead of time.


Yes, I meant from the point of view of Cameron, who didn't want this to happen. And it's not uncommon at all for constitutional changes to require a super-majority, or a unanimous vote from member states. I believe in the US changes like that require 2/3 of the vote to go ahead?

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Re: British EU referendum in June [update: Leave wins 52% - 48%, Cameron to resign by October]

Postby HES » Tue Jun 28, 2016 7:49 pm UTC

I wouldn't define 52-48 as a "clear margin".
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Re: British EU referendum in June [update: Leave wins 52% - 48%, Cameron to resign by October]

Postby sardia » Tue Jun 28, 2016 7:52 pm UTC

You need Two Super majorities, one in Congress and one in the State houses. And they are on a clock. If you can't get both in a certain amount of time, it expires.

Cphite, the US relitigates issues all the time. The Affordable Care Act for one has been voted on hundreds of times.

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Re: British EU referendum in June [update: Leave wins 52% - 48%, Cameron to resign by October]

Postby KnightExemplar » Tue Jun 28, 2016 7:53 pm UTC

Mutex wrote:
cphite wrote:
The problem is, Cameron didn't expect to lose so he didn't lay down any rules. Such as, needing 60% either way to be conclusive, and what happens if it's not conclusive. Or all the countries in the UK individually needing to vote Leave to leave. And making rules up in retrospect will go down like a depleted-uranium balloon.


That is only a problem if you're on the side that wanted to remain; and frankly all of those conditions seem pretty clearly intended to render the results inconclusive, which defaults to the UK remaining in the EU. That seems like a nice way of saying that the problem is that Cameron didn't rig the game ahead of time.


Yes, I meant from the point of view of Cameron, who didn't want this to happen. And it's not uncommon at all for constitutional changes to require a super-majority, or a unanimous vote from member states. I believe in the US changes like that require 2/3 of the vote to go ahead?


In Parliamentary tradition, 2/3rds (or other super-majority numbers, like 60% for a Filabuster) is required for Bylaws (or basically the equivalent of a Constitution). The reason is that the Constitution is the law OF the law: a meta-law so to speak. A change to the Constitution has the power to literally eradicate the position of the President and Senate.

A simple referendum on the other hand, has no such power. So it should be subject to just the 50% threshold. Basically, leave the "super-majority" stuff when a super-majority is truly needed. The "Filibuster" abuses a long-standing tradition of parliamentary procedure: the minority should have the right to make their stance known and debate. Therefore, to silence the minority requires a vote of 2/3rds (in Robert's Rules).

The minority in the Senate however have decided that abusing the "right to discuss" by talking endlessly about an issue is a legitimate tactic. Therefore, the Filibuster can be used to effectively kill a bill. If discussion never ends, then no vote can happen. The Filibuster doesn't exist in the House because there is a timed-limit allocated to both sides of discussion.
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Re: British EU referendum in June [update: Leave wins 52% - 48%, Cameron to resign by October]

Postby LaserGuy » Tue Jun 28, 2016 8:02 pm UTC

cphite wrote:
Mutex wrote:
cphite wrote:Even if it is, that isn't how democracy works.

A certain percentage of the people may have voted "leave" and not really meant it, because they never expected "leave" to win. And a certain percentage of the population might come to regret their vote to leave. But that still leaves a sizable percentage of the population that voted that way and did mean it. And the reality is, their side won in a fair contest. Any attempt to negate that result, whether it's by new referendum, or slow-walking, or whatever - isn't democracy.


A new mandate replaces the old one. A second referendum that results in Remain winning would give the government a mandate to ignore the first result. The people who voted Leave would be pissed off as all hell, obviously.


Well, hell... why not just do that with every vote? If you don't like the results of the first one, just have another one. And if that one doesn't turn out the way you like, have another one. Repeat until the people vote the right way.


That's how democracy works--and, more specifically, that's how Parliamentary democracy as established in the UK works. People are free to change their minds about things. I'm not sure why this is so different from every other kind of thing we do with elections... suppose the Conservatives in power cut taxes, if they lose the election and Labour gets in, they're fully free to raise those taxes back up. The actions of one government are in no way binding on any future government, and one government is always able to reverse the actions of its predecessors (or even reverse its own actions). The referendum is even weirder in this regard, since it isn't even binding on the current government. The act of Parliament that authorized the referendum did not specify that the government had to take any action in the event of a vote to leave (nor did it mandate that the government be required to stay in the EU in the event of a remain vote); it is a "consultative referendum".

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Re: British EU referendum in June [update: Leave wins 52% - 48%, Cameron to resign by October]

Postby svenman » Tue Jun 28, 2016 8:07 pm UTC

KnightExemplar wrote:
svenman wrote:Except that the rest of the EU governments are pretty much unanimous on wanting the UK government to officially invoke Article 50 at least soonish, if not immediately. They all have enough of British indecision about staying in the EU and certainly don't want more of it, but prefer to get started on the divorce proceedings as soon as possible so that everyone can move on. There is a saying in German, "Besser ein Ende mit Schrecken als ein Schrecken ohne Ende," roughly translating to "better a horrible end than an endless horror."


While that's true, what exactly can the EU do to force UK to actually invoke Article 50?

Truly a genuine question here: I guess hypothetically, the EU can vote to kick the UK out in some manner. But basically, the EU has to hold some mechanism to push the UK forward: either a stick or a carrot as they say.

Formally, there is no way to actually force the UK, nor one to "kick the UK out in some manner", as the EU treaty doesn't provide for anything like that. There has been a bit of an issue about what exactly does or doesn't constitute an invocation of Article 50, but I guess messing around with that definition in order to trigger the withdrawal process against the intent of the UK Government would be thrown out by the European Court of Justice.

I expect, though, that if the UK Government keeps stalling for too long, then eventually the rest of the EU will threaten to unilaterally declare their (none too favourable) offer of conditions for a Brexit deal on a take-it-or-leave-it basis, and if that still doesn't help, eventually follow through. While that still wouldn't achieve anything on a formal level, it would at least politically force the matter somewhat.

KnightExemplar wrote:If the UK can just perpetually talk about Brexit but never really invoke it, surely that's the best option for virtually everyone involved?

Surely not, because of the indefinitely prolonged all-around uncertainty resulting. That would be a continuation of "endless horror".
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Re: British EU referendum in June [update: Leave wins 52% - 48%, Cameron to resign by October]

Postby gmalivuk » Tue Jun 28, 2016 8:09 pm UTC

cphite wrote:and frankly all of those conditions seem pretty clearly intended to render the results inconclusive
Yes, that is the point of requiring a supermajority for huge changes: make results inconclusive if it's only a slight majority. I'm pretty sure most (all?) democracies have some kinds of decisions that can only be made with 60% or 2/3 or even higher fractions. That doesn't make them undemocratic, it just makes them more cautious about potentially disastrous changes.
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Re: British EU referendum in June [update: Leave wins 52% - 48%, Cameron to resign by October]

Postby Mutex » Tue Jun 28, 2016 8:20 pm UTC

gmalivuk wrote:
cphite wrote:and frankly all of those conditions seem pretty clearly intended to render the results inconclusive
Yes, that is the point of requiring a supermajority for huge changes: make results inconclusive if it's only a slight majority. I'm pretty sure most (all?) democracies have some kinds of decisions that can only be made with 60% or 2/3 or even higher fractions. That doesn't make them undemocratic, it just makes them more cautious about potentially disastrous changes.


The only fly in the ointment is the Leave side could, kinda legitimately, claim there was no vote for joining the EU in its current form in the first place. We had a referendum for the European Communities, AKA the Common Market, which morphed into the EU. But the EU has changed substantially in nature since then. I imagine that's part of why Cameron didn't go for a 60% rule, the other being he was confident of a win and he wanted there to be no legitimate gripes left for the Brexiters. He really wanted to put this issue to bed.

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Re: British EU referendum in June [update: Leave wins 52% - 48%, Cameron to resign by October]

Postby eSOANEM » Tue Jun 28, 2016 8:24 pm UTC

HES wrote:
I wouldn't define 52-48 as a "clear margin".


Neither would Farage or many other leave campaigners (oh, sorry; 52-48 is clear, but 48-52 is inconclusive and requires a second referendum). :roll:

Hell, the (in)famous second referendum petition was created by a brexiter who's annoyed about it being taken up by the remain cause.
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Re: British EU referendum in June [update: Leave wins 52% - 48%, Cameron to resign by October]

Postby Mutex » Tue Jun 28, 2016 8:33 pm UTC

eSOANEM wrote:
HES wrote:
I wouldn't define 52-48 as a "clear margin".


Neither would Farage or many other leave campaigners (oh, sorry; 52-48 is clear, but 48-52 is inconclusive and requires a second referendum). :roll:

Hell, the (in)famous second referendum petition was created by a brexiter who's annoyed about it being taken up by the remain cause.


Indeed. And frankly, apart from the obvious impracticality of running endless referendums until one side gets 60%, it would have properly put the issue to bed. The Brexiters would never have been satisfied with a narrow loss like this, and frankly the Remainers knew a narrow win for their side would very unlikely be the end of it. But now we're in a situation where the side that gets 52% of the vote gets 100% their way. Which is democracy. But the sense of injustice on the Remain side isn't just sour grapes. The results were so close, and the polls were going back and forth so much, we basically made an absolutely enormous decision based on a coin flip.

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Re: British EU referendum in June [update: Leave wins 52% - 48%, Cameron to resign by October]

Postby Tyndmyr » Tue Jun 28, 2016 8:34 pm UTC

That is the nature of referendums.

If there was no doubt of the will of the people, you wouldn't need one.

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Re: British EU referendum in June [update: Leave wins 52% - 48%, Cameron to resign by October]

Postby KnightExemplar » Tue Jun 28, 2016 8:40 pm UTC

svenman wrote:
KnightExemplar wrote:If the UK can just perpetually talk about Brexit but never really invoke it, surely that's the best option for virtually everyone involved?

Surely not, because of the indefinitely prolonged all-around uncertainty resulting. That would be a continuation of "endless horror".


Uncertainty is bad of course, but even if Article 50 were invoked tomorrow, there would be 2 years before it took effect. For the near future, things will continue with the status quo.
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Re: British EU referendum in June [update: Leave wins 52% - 48%, Cameron to resign by October]

Postby Zamfir » Tue Jun 28, 2016 8:44 pm UTC

Well, hell... why not just do that with every vote? If you don't like the results of the first one, just have another one. And if that one doesn't turn out the way you like, have another one. Repeat until the people vote the right way.

Most votes are indeed repeated time and again. I vote for the parliament, in 4 years time they ask me again. And if the outcome is different, the newly elected parliamentarians will indeed repeal many of the results from the previous period. Nothing shady about that.

What's odd here, is that people discuss the repeal within days of the vote. There are good reasons for that. One, the Brexit process would be hard to reverse once started. So , a change In course cannot wait 4 years. Second, there are rumours of 'bregret'. That is, significant amounts of people might have voted in favour of Brexit because they expected to lose, as a symbolic gesture.

I don't know if that's true. Bregret might well be a minor phenomenon, blown out of proportion by pro-remain media. But if it's real, then its influence will be felt in the coming months, as a lack of pressure on the British government to push through. The same applies if (if!) Remainers feel much more strongly about the issue then Leavers. Referenda don't capture that effect very well

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Re: British EU referendum in June [update: Leave wins 52% - 48%, Cameron to resign by October]

Postby Mutex » Tue Jun 28, 2016 8:49 pm UTC

Tyndmyr wrote:That is the nature of referendums.

If there was no doubt of the will of the people, you wouldn't need one.


But I'm saying the outcome of this referendum ended up being a function of random chance than the will of the people. Which is why big changes usually require a large margin to succeed. I'm not sure how to apply that in a situation where deciding *either way* requires 60% of the vote without, as suggested, endless referendums until one side wins.

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Re: British EU referendum in June [update: Leave wins 52% - 48%, Cameron to resign by October]

Postby Tyndmyr » Tue Jun 28, 2016 9:05 pm UTC

Mutex wrote:
Tyndmyr wrote:That is the nature of referendums.

If there was no doubt of the will of the people, you wouldn't need one.


But I'm saying the outcome of this referendum ended up being a function of random chance than the will of the people. Which is why big changes usually require a large margin to succeed. I'm not sure how to apply that in a situation where deciding *either way* requires 60% of the vote without, as suggested, endless referendums until one side wins.


So? The will of the people is divided. Yes, the margin of error can collide with the margin of victory. This happens at 60%, too. And then you've got to deal with 58% of the people wanting something and not getting it. That's a touch hard to justify as "the will of the people".

And it certainly can't reasonably be changed now.

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Re: British EU referendum in June [update: Leave wins 52% - 48%, Cameron to resign by October]

Postby cphite » Tue Jun 28, 2016 9:16 pm UTC

sardia wrote:You need Two Super majorities, one in Congress and one in the State houses. And they are on a clock. If you can't get both in a certain amount of time, it expires.


Yes... in Congress. This was a national referendum which is completely different. In this case you needed a simple majority. You can't just change the rules after the vote because you don't like the result. At least not if you have any respect for your voters.

Cphite, the US relitigates issues all the time. The Affordable Care Act for one has been voted on hundreds of times.


Yes; and each of those votes has been on new legislation that would nullify or otherwise modify the act. Which, once again, isn't the same thing as simply holding a new vote because you didn't like the results of the first one.

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Re: British EU referendum in June [update: Leave wins 52% - 48%, Cameron to resign by October]

Postby Aceo » Tue Jun 28, 2016 9:19 pm UTC

Mutex wrote:
cphite wrote:
Mutex wrote:
cphite wrote:Even if it is, that isn't how democracy works.

A certain percentage of the people may have voted "leave" and not really meant it, because they never expected "leave" to win. And a certain percentage of the population might come to regret their vote to leave. But that still leaves a sizable percentage of the population that voted that way and did mean it. And the reality is, their side won in a fair contest. Any attempt to negate that result, whether it's by new referendum, or slow-walking, or whatever - isn't democracy.


A new mandate replaces the old one. A second referendum that results in Remain winning would give the government a mandate to ignore the first result. The people who voted Leave would be pissed off as all hell, obviously.


Well, hell... why not just do that with every vote? If you don't like the results of the first one, just have another one. And if that one doesn't turn out the way you like, have another one. Repeat until the people vote the right way.


That happened in Ireland, regarding an EU treaty. They voted No, so they held the referendum again and it came out Yes. Yes, the people who voted No were pretty pissed off. And I doubt they'd have got away with a third one. But there's no rules against having multiple votes on the same issue, nor any minimum period between referendums. But in reality if you just kept holding them people would get very angry fast, which is why they don't do that.


Only one member state, Ireland, obliged by their constitution, decided on ratification of the Treaty of Lisbon through a referendum, and rejected the treaty a first time.

Ireland - 53.2% against (12 June 2008)
After the first vote by Ireland on the Lisbon Treaty, the European Council and the Irish Government released separate documents, referred to as "The Irish Guarantees", that stated the other member countries would not use the possibility in the Treaty to diminish the number of permanent commissioners in favour of a rotating system with fewer commissioners, and not threaten Ireland's military neutrality and rules on abortion[1] [2]. With these assurances, the Irish voted again on the unchanged Lisbon Treaty on 2 October 2009. The vote was then 67.1% in favour of the treaty.

Ireland - 67.1% in favour (2 October 2009)


Just from the wiki https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Referendu ... pean_Union
The first referendum was on the base treaty, the second referendum had changes which led to the vote in favour. It was not a case of re-voting till the correct answer came out.
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Re: British EU referendum in June [update: Leave wins 52% - 48%, Cameron to resign by October]

Postby gmalivuk » Tue Jun 28, 2016 9:25 pm UTC

cphite wrote:You can't just change the rules after the vote because you don't like the result.
Who's talking about changing the rules after the vote? This line of discussion started with the idea that the rule should have been made before the vote, except that it wasn't expected to succeed.
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Re: British EU referendum in June [update: Leave wins 52% - 48%, Cameron to resign by October]

Postby cphite » Tue Jun 28, 2016 9:29 pm UTC

gmalivuk wrote:
cphite wrote:and frankly all of those conditions seem pretty clearly intended to render the results inconclusive


Yes, that is the point of requiring a supermajority for huge changes: make results inconclusive if it's only a slight majority. I'm pretty sure most (all?) democracies have some kinds of decisions that can only be made with 60% or 2/3 or even higher fractions. That doesn't make them undemocratic, it just makes them more cautious about potentially disastrous changes.


That is the point for requiring a supermajority within the legislature. This was a referendum, so it's not at all unusual that it required only a simple majority to win. And, that requirement was laid out and known well in advance.

Nobody is saying that a higher requirement to win would be undemocratic. Ignoring the results would be undemocratic; and that includes trying to retroactively change the rules.

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Re: British EU referendum in June [update: Leave wins 52% - 48%, Cameron to resign by October]

Postby cphite » Tue Jun 28, 2016 9:38 pm UTC

gmalivuk wrote:
cphite wrote:You can't just change the rules after the vote because you don't like the result.
Who's talking about changing the rules after the vote? This line of discussion started with the idea that the rule should have been made before the vote, except that it wasn't expected to succeed.


The line of discussion has also included holding a second vote, allowing specific states to hold a second vote, etc, etc.

All of which falls under changing the rules.

Add to this the multiple ideas presented on how the government could simply ignore the results, or slow-roll the process until people change their minds, and various other ways to manipulate the process to nullify the result...

Makes it really easy to see why a lot of those "leave" folks voted the way they did.

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Re: British EU referendum in June [update: Leave wins 52% - 48%, Cameron to resign by October]

Postby gmalivuk » Tue Jun 28, 2016 9:39 pm UTC

Let's be perfectly honest here: most of those leave folks voted the way they did because racism and xenophobia.

Also, the UK isn't a democracy, so the complaint that people are suggesting something undemocratic seems misplaced.
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Re: British EU referendum in June [update: Leave wins 52% - 48%, Cameron to resign by October]

Postby Tyndmyr » Tue Jun 28, 2016 9:42 pm UTC

There is no need to suppose that retroactive changing is necessary for it to be controversial. Swapping the rules for this vote, even beforehand, and then getting a vote that WOULD have won under simple majority rules, would probably still have been unpopular.


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