Tag Archives: Brexit

Brexit: Stalemate

The Brexit negotiations seem to have reached something of an impasse. This one was kind of inevitable, though, as it is in regards to Northern Ireland. The biggest problem, in my opinion, is that both sides are taking a logical standpoint. Both options seem like the only “right” answer to the side putting them forward, and each are unacceptable to the other side. Unlike other issues, though, this is not just simple stubbornness. It’s a case where one side has to compromise for anything to proceed but the compromise would at the heart of what each side is fighting for. And that’s not “compromise”, that’s “conceding defeat”. But with no third option, we’ve reached Stalemate.

On the one hand, we have the UK. Our referendum result was in favour of leaving the European Union. Regardless of whether you agree with the result, or how close it was, the result was Brexit. Personally, I think it was the wrong decision but it’s the one we’re stuck with and that’s what our side has to bargain for. Continue reading Brexit: Stalemate

Snap Election: Vote Wisely

The UK’s current Prime Minister, Theresa May, has just announced plans to call a General Election on June 8th. Primarily claiming Brexit as the reason, this puts a bit of a slant on how to consider one’s voting.

I know there are people who will say “Don’t Vote Tory” and leave it at that. Personally, I think that’s how we got saddled with a Conservative Government in 2015, even though there was a strong anti-Tory sentiment. The Conservative Party got just over a third of the votes, at 36.9%. The remaining two thirds, though, was incredibly fragmented. And this is what I think a lot of the media speculators and unsure voters forgot to take into account. It wasn’t enough for “Not Tory” to be the majority, not if they still got the lion’s share of the votes. And people holding off on voting before they weren’t sure if their vote really mattered… well it could have.

Ono top of that, I think there are those who were put off from voting Labour because Ed Milliband seemed to lack charisma. Or who were out off voting Liberal Democrat because they got sort of scapegoated for decisions they made as the minority group of a Coalition Government when doing otherwise may have risked making things fall apart.

I think this time around, there are a few important things that people have to keep in mind when casting their vote.
The stakes are higher than in a usual General Election so the usual criteria have a few extras added into the mix.

Does Your Party Share Your Brexit Viewpoint?

Whoever is in charge is likely to be the main steering force during the next couple of years. It doesn’t matter when you want Hard Brexit, Soft Brexit, No Brexit or Liquid Brexit, you probably want to vote for a party that shares your viewpoint. The next couple of years are what’s going to shape the UK’s longer term future. Whether or not “your team wins” for the next four years is secondary to how your country fares for the next several decades.

What About Your Local Candidates?

I’ve maintained for a long time that what causes your local candidates stand for should be taken into account as much, if not more, that Party Loyalty. This is true now more than ever. If anything Brexit-related is put to Parliamentary vote, your MP is going to be voting on your behalf.
So like choosing a party above, choosing a candidate should at least have some thought put towards which local option is closest to your viewpoint on Brexit. Otherwise you really are just voting against you own best interests.

If You Can, Vote!

Make your voice heard. Even if you think the best option is merely “lesser of the evils”, do you really want to sit by and risk the greater evil winning?

Remember, a vote that isn’t cast for anybody also isn’t cast against anybody.

And if you’re young and a first-time voter (and reading the online wittering of a middle-aged bloke for some reason), don’t be put off voting. Your generation may well be much more affected by things done by the next Government than my generation or that of my parents.

Forget Personality Politics

So, the candidate your considering voting for has either the party or personal alignment that most interests you but you really don’t like the current leader. Do you vote for someone else or choose to abstain?
This time, I’d caution against it. Again, this is bigger than just who’s the Government or Prime Minister for the next few years. This is down to whether you trust your MP or the Government to handle Brexit the way you want. If you vote against your preference just because you don’t like a certain politician, this will be counter-productive.

TL;DR

We’re on the Good Ship Brexit and we’re about to vote in our Captain and Crew. Regardless of where else they take us, you probably want to make sure that this particular trip is to your taste.

Vote wisely!

Why I Voted to #REMAIN

So, I’ve just cast my vote in the EU Referendum. I’ve voted to Remain. In some ways, to me, it’s an obvious choice. Some of my reasons are political, some personal. They’re all long-term, though.

In or Out, the UK has problems. In or Out, the EU has problems. Remain or Leave, those problems won’t vanish overnight.

In my mind, a vote to Remain isn’t automatically agreeing with everything the EU stands for right now. It’s also not assuming that the EU can or will always act in the UK’s best interests.

Similarly, I don’t buy that a vote to Leave is a racist or jingoistic response.

There are short-sighted, short-term and selfish reasons to vote in either direction. There are plenty of spokespeople on each side of the debate whose arguments are based on those very reasons. Yes, it’s easy to point out pro-Leave supporters who have one or more or those traits but there are too many pro-Remain supporters with them as well.

I’m 39 years old. Not that old, not that young. I’ve seen quite a lot of change in my lifetime. This is not the world of my childhood. The fact that I’m writing something that could easily be read by someone almost anywhere in the world within minutes of me posting it and agreeing/disagreeing/arguing with me almost immediately it proof of that.

In some ways, the world has shrunk and borders have become less relevant. They still matter, but in a different way than they once did. I see them more like the lines in artwork. They don’t have to keep regions totally separate. You can draw something and colour totally within the lines and it work to enhance the big picture.
They can give shape, not separation.

Instead, too many people see borders as push-up bras. Lift into view and separate out. “We’re better than you!”

I know there are some who are voting Leave because they think the UK is better off fending for itself. There are some who are voting Remain mainly because of what the UK can get out of the EU, as opposed to what we can help put into it.

To me, though, the EU is about being a part of something bigger. Having our own identity yet feeding into and feeding from a greater overall entity. Working together with other countries and cultures. Learning how we can be better. Helping those who need it. And everyone banding together when it all goes pear-shaped.

Since I first really heard about the EU as a kid in the late 1980s, it always seemed so full of potential to me. I don’t think it has currently reached anywhere near its potential but that potential is still there. And it’s a potential the whole world needs. Cooperation instead of Conflict.

And that’s why I voted Remain.

I believe in working towards a world where maybe we can work through our differences. Remaining in the EU might help achieve that. Leaving the EU would be a step away from that dream. To be fair, I don’t think it would be a permanent one. But it would be more of a significant step during my lifetime. And if people are going to vote in either direction for selfish reasons, my Selfish Reason is that I want to see the world become slightly less crappy before I die. I want to see it in my lifetime, dammit!

The EU’s like a family. Families don’t always get along well. And even the ones that do, some achieve that with distance. I don’t have any family members “just down the road”. Even my immediate family, my parents and my brother’s family, are an hour’s drive away each. I’ve not live with my parents for a decade, and not lived with my brother for two.
I couldn’t live with them again easily. But they’re still my family. They’ve been there for me when i needed it. i try to be there for them when they need it. It’s what family do.

Family also squabble. The stereotypical Family Christmas is everyone getting a bit tipsy and having an argument over the dinner table. Well, that’s what the EU is for. It’s the dinner table we all argue around.

And those arguments are why we’ve not had a major punchup in the metaphorical pub car park since World War II.

The EU is far from perfect. But thats no reason to leave. All we’d be doing would be putting up higher walls and sending a signal out to the rest of the world that looking after your own interests first-and-foremore is all that matters.

The dinner table would break up. Arguments would escalate. And the next punchup would be waiting in the car park.

And that isn’t something I want to see in my lifetime. (Or anyone else’s to be fair.)