UK fact of the day

Unless Labour and the Conservatives can cobble together a Brexit deal that is supported by parliament, then Britain’s election-weary voters will have their fifth nationwide election in only six years.

That is from Matthew Goodwin in The Times, there is also Matthew’s book National Populism: The Revolt Against Liberal Democracy.  Remember how we used to praise parliamentary systems for their decisiveness?

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I thought Brazilian Evangelicals were the world's problem.

Delay, defer and deny. The citizens of the UK thought that THEY owned their country. Au contraire mon frere a handful of elites in Brussels owns GB.

Such is life in May's Britain.

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A handful of elites control everything everywhere, which makes the event at Lexington-Concord all the more remarkable. It was a one time event in all of the history of mankind, challenging the day right of kings and ultimately leading to the creation of the richest, fairest, freeist, and longest lasting constitutional republic in history. No other nation on earth, not even in the Anglosphere, has the constitutionally protected rights of American citizens.

Elites hate that. They truly believe in their "devine right" to rule over the unwashed and, to them, uneducated masses.

Elitism is over.

There there, you just keep throwing your tantrum. We're gonna keep being elite no matter what you idiots do. Hilarious you think otherwise.

This is true. We need to bring back tar and feathers and the guillotine.

I really wish I was an elite but I made a lot of bad choices so I'm stuck being a sad little cuck commenting faithfully on this blog. How did my life end up like this?

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Oh that's darling, we control the police and military, you peasants won't be doing any such thing.

Yeah! What could go wrong? Let them eat cake.

Oh, sweetie, we've thought of that. The peasants have plenty to eat, it's not like 18th century France at all. In fact you flyover plebes are mostly porkers. But the tantrums are cute.

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'Au contraire mon frere a handful of elites in Brussels owns GB.'

Yet oddly, the only people in a legal position to ask for an extension where exclusively British.

And equally oddly, one of the major countries of the EU has said the sooner the UK leaves, the better.

Odd - almost as if the problem with Brexit has nothing to do with the EU, but it purely in British control - or whatever it is the UK is doing is called.

“And equally oddly, one of the major countries of the EU has said the sooner the UK leaves, the better.”

So? Is it a surprise that France, currently led by an enthusiast for a more integrated Europe, should be pleased that Britain is close to obtaining her freedom? With her pragmatism and prudence Britain has been a thorn in the side of the fervent integrationists.

And that Britain has to ask for an extension tells you everything you need to know about power and control and Britain’s lack there of.

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Brexit is bad, but 5 elections in 6 years might be reflecting a national indecision that no other system could improve.

Well, I guess you could write an "all votes pass by 2/3" constitution, but humans are too impatient for that. We want action, even when we aren't sure what it should be.

Indeed. The issue is contentious, opinions differ greatly. There are two ways to deal with this type of situation. Impose from above some policy, and hope everyone settles down. Or let the electorate and parliament fight it out.

I think the second is far better, especially on this type of issue. It is pretty fundamental, a worldview, what do we want our country to be.

This by the way is why the parliamentary systems in Canada Britain and the electoral system in the US have lasted so long.

Exactly right. Parliamentary systems are quite decisive when a majority is in agreement. But the whole Brexit thing is quite complicated. It is also worth noting that Parliament only really has a say in this matter because of a law suit that an anti-Brexit person brought. If the "normal" process had been followed May would have announced a done deal to Parliament and the country and everyone would have had to accept it. I don't see that as a better system.

More people voted in the Brexit election than any other election in UK history, and Brexit won by a clear and significant margin.

The mps overwhelmingly supported stay and have deliberately muddied the waters. If the people in GB are ok with that then they get the government they deserve.

I just hope we don't get to that point yet. We are heading in that direction, but we put a stop to it in November 2016.

Real freedom is a scary thing to many people.

Many would trade a little liberty for a little safety.

I just hope we don't get to that point in the USA.

Grrrr ... autocorrect!

The referendum vote, in June, 2016, resulted in a leave vote of 51% to 48%. The turnout was 71%, yet a margin of victory of 3% could hardly be considered 'significant' Do you consider a pay rise of 3% to be significant?

This is one of those terrible arguments where you don’t know if it is incompetence or mendacity behind it. Is a 6 percent pay raise significant because a 6 percent margin in an election. Obama’s 7 percent victory in 2008 was taken by you leftist confederates as justifying a complete realignment of American politics to the point where people were actually saying the Republican Party was dead.

A three percent margin in a 77 percent turnout election is sufficiently significant that you know it reflects the popular will. If you had held the election a week later the results wouldn’t have been changed.

I can't help thinking that there is something much dumber than that. That would be one-and-done democracy. Or worse, backward-looking cherry picking.

Remember that one election I won once?

That should define the future of mankind.

Trump is going to get reelected in 2020 hands down. There is no other contender. The experts have already locked in their predictions. We don't even need elections. #maga2020

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Absolutely, given the remain side got to pick the day/time, not to mention whether it happened or not.

That's a tremendous home-field advantage.

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(Answer to this whole thread, and also clockwork prior above).

It is not only the British MPs who have muddled the water, it is also the European elite, in the guise of the European Court of Justice, who decided recently that GB could cancel Brexit at will, even if everyone (politicians of all board, journalists) said the contrary two years ago, when the Brexit process was launched. From the Reuters article on this subject date Dec 10, 2018: "LUXEMBOURG/BRUSSELS (Reuters) - The European Union’s top court ruled on Monday that the British government may reverse its decision to leave the bloc without consulting other member states, a decision welcomed by those campaigning to stop Brexit." And later:
"“The court does aim to keep the Union together,” said Suzanne Schmidt, a professor at Bremen University who has researched the ECJ’s role in EU policy."

This was a master move. It weakened a lot the hard-brexiters by telling them they could lose everything (the Brexit) if they refused an unsavory Brexit deal. And it allowed the current situation without a majority in the British parliament by giving 3 options instead of 2,

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Aka the "33% could hold 66% hostage forever" constitution. It would mean a low rate of progressive legislation, so I suppose it would suit a more conservative worldview, but I find it hard to imagine anyone who wanted political change would sign up for it.

That's another thing about Brexit; after the result came back as a no for Remain, one response from Remain could've been to give a serious counter-negotiation offering a serious safeguard against European federalisation and transfer of powers.

Require every future treaty change and every British participation in a new European organisation to be subject to a general referendum with 66:33 success condition for a change. That would probably appeal to the majority of Remain supporters - who reject federalisation but support the EU for economic reasons - and a good wedge of Leave supporters - who aren't too concerned or enamoured with the EU as is, but reject future federalisation. Such a change would guarantee kicking federalisation into the long grass for eternity, not like Cameron's wet deal.

Instead, there wasn't really any counteroffer by Remain - it's pretty much "The people have a right to change their minds" arguing for a second referendum with no substantive change in offer (which they intend to win by splitting the Leave vote and then never asking the British public again).

"That's another thing about Brexit; after the result came back as a no for Remain, one response from Remain could've been to give a serious counter-negotiation offering a serious safeguard against European federalisation and transfer of powers."
Would people yelling "leave means leave"or blaming Brexiters unwillingness to settle down for a real exit plan on Remainers ever consider it seriously? Truth is, a second referendum is impossible now and it will be impossible unless Brexit fails in a tragic way (either by a failure to settle for a plan or by life out of the EU proving incredible worse than what it is now). Leaving is the status quo now and it is hard to change.

You don't really until you try. My point is that they never seem to have tried. It was all about trying to overturn the vote which was won, without any real meaningful concession even offered as a counteroffer towards much 'less Europe'.

The only memorable counteroffer was some talking of financially compensating deprived communities, which is quite frankly just an expansion of left wing policy goals, based on a caricature of the Leave vote and would do nothing for sovereignty Leavers anyway.

Where Leave was based on "This Europe thing has totally changed since the last time you gave us a referendum and we don't know where it's gonna end up, probably in a superstate, so we'll vote out now, thanks", remarkably there was no effort by the Remain side to put in measures placing the British people directly in control of how much future integration happens, with the guarantee that they'll be asked frequently.

The point is, despite hysterical yelling to the contrary, leavers can not even agree on what leaving means. Let the leavers decide what they want -- and leave. Yet, they keep asking for more time ro decide what leaving means.

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By the way, on "the revolt against liberal democracy," l liked it better when people who said things like "Capitalism is a lot more important than democracy" had to hide under rocks.

And not coast to confirmation on partisan lines.

Maybe that won't happen, but if it does, every "checks and balances will hold" "centrist" can suck it.

And I liked it better when democracy wasn’t jerry-rigged to liberalism via the premise that democracy doesn’t count when it goes against oligarchal liberalism. Unfortunately people like you couldn’t resist the lure of of oligarchal decisionism so here we are.

Ironically the perfect example of the trend you claim to be decrying was when Salesforce and a bunch of corporate bullies forced Indiana to repeal a perfectly reasonable bill that protected one of our most cherished democratic freedoms- freedom of religion. Nary a peep from you.

As far as I know, we do have freedom of religion in the US.

All arguments have been about when we can or can't extend our beliefs onto other people.

Given the requirement of a separation of church and state, and the danger of state religion, I think we must protect the persecuted over the persecutor.

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Can someone explain to me what "liberal democracy" even means ?
"liberal" refer to two almost opposite ideologies in the US and in continental European countries. But by some miracle, when you add "democracy" to it, "liberal democracy" is supposed to mean the same thing in Italy, Germany, the UK or the US, something very good and threatened by the "populists" (this word also is very ill-defined).

I know what "democracy" means : the people is the one and unique sovereign, and it tells its will using votes.

Obviously direct democracy is the purest form, but representative democracy is the second best when the first is impracticable, and has proved its worth. Nevertheless, in both case, those in charge of taking a decision (be they elected representatives or people randomly chosen, as in classical Athens) should remember that they are just servants of their sovereign, the people, and try their best to understand its will using votes results, and either apply it or quit their job.

To give an example of what I mean by that, let me say that in France, the politician who best understood and respected Democracy is De Gaulle.
His actions all is life made his philosophy clear: if on a particular issue a referendum has been organized, it should supersede the wills and opinions of the elected representative on that issue. And those representatives should either apply the people's decision wholeheartedly, or if they can't or don't want to, quit their job. Thus de Gaulle quit the power and political life twice, after two referendums giving results he didn't like (in 1946, he lift power for 12 years, and in 1969, until his death) .
When president, he was careful to learn the will of the people by organizing referendums on every important issues or major turn in policy, for example the new policy of ntalking with the FLN during Algerian war,
then later of letting the Algerians decide if they wanted to be independent, then a third referendum for the Algerians only on the independence (three times, yes won by large margins), and also on every constitutional change.

If May had been a democratic politician, she knew what she had to do: make the Brexit happens at all costs. The subtext of the referendum
was clear two: that the people has voted to not accept any more humiliation from the EU. Talks with UE official was Ok, but May should have stopped as soon as the EU imposed as a condition to any deal that the UK would continue to pay for years after the Brexit their contributions to the UE budget, without receiving anything from it. At this time she should have stopped talks and declare immediate hard Brexit.

Now there are wise or foolish sovereigns. If the people trusts politicians like Merkel, Tsirpas. May, or Lord Sidious, it is in great danger of losing its power.

I think "liberal democracy" is used to invoke the rise of democracy, the historic period when state religions and their support of hereditary aristocracy was overthrown.

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«Can someone explain to me what "liberal democracy" even means ?»

Democratic government limited by checks and balances, in contrast with a system where a democratic elected government is a kind of dictator for 5 years.

«"liberal" refer to two almost opposite ideologies in the US and in continental European countries.»

In economic issues, yes; but in institutional and "social" issues, "liberalism" is very similar in both sides of the Atlantic.

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British voters formally chose BREXIT.
Politicians in Parliament refuse to comply.
A Brexit "Deal" is unnecessary to the "exit" requirement.
UK should simply exit the EU tomorrow.

(replacing government politicians with other politicians is not a solution)

Some people say that the real strength of democracy is that it endlessly corrects previous bad choices. With new ones of course.

If previous laws stood forever we would still be in Prohibition.

Same old "democracy" b.s. The citizens of Alaska voted to move the state capital from inaccessible Juneau to Willow in 1974. It's still 12 miles from Mendenhall glacier.

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"Some people say ..."

You have the heart of a mouse.

Irony is always wasted on those who need it most.

Ironically, you fail to see the irony in your own statements, to the extent that your proclamations are statements, they being mostly emotive.

Are you actually arguing against the self-correcting nature of democracy, or just farting around?

This is BS. In a true democracy, the only way to "correct" a vote of the people on a subject, is another vote by the people on the same subject. Barring a counter-order, the servants (the MPs, the government) should obey the order of their Master, the people.

If a second referendum is organized in the UK and say this times "no Brexit", fine by me. I care much more about democratic principles than about Brexit or No Brexit. In fact the only reason I support Brexit is that the EU works in a very non-democratic way.

A clean vote of a detailed plan sounds good to me too. Or at least the best semi-available option.

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They should allow Scotland to leave first.

Scotland voted to stay several years ago. They had their chance.

They were told they wouldn't be able to remain in the EU if they left the United Kingdom. Now, it is clear the only way they can remain in the EU is leafingbthe United Kingdom.

That's not the reason they chose not to leave. Barriers to trade with England and not being able to use the pound are big ones. Those aren't better if England leaves the EU and they don't. Worse, if anything.

It is hard to believe the prospect of being booted from the European Unionnhad no influence over the referendum outcome. And for those who talk about owning one's country instead of being controlled by foreign power, the Scots voted for remaining (for a larger margin than they voted for remaining in the UK). How has it worked for them? They are still under a foreign, callous power -- England.

Yeah, it had influence but not decisive. Lol @ the extra trolly bits, but not your finest work.

Well, let's wait until leavers decide what leaving means. It has been what? Three years with another to go?

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Hello M

I think the currency issue would be better if we're in the EU. It means the euro's a back up option. (It's a rubbish option for countries considerably poorer than EU average, not so bad for Scotland.)

Barriers to trade with England wasn't an issue because we assumed we would all still be in the EU. Now it might be, but presumably we'd be able to have whatever Ireland/NI ends up with.

If we were to leave and stay in the EU, there would, I expect, be more than a few companies relocating some of their workers from London to Edinburgh and Glasgow.

The EU would also be keen for Scotland to do well as compared to a recently exited (r)UK. The ne thing they care about most is the EU continuing, and a (seen to be) successful Brexit won't be very good for that, would it? (This is one of the reasons keen Brexiters were daft to think the EU would look at negotiations from a purely economic standpoint)

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Proving they are all talk and no action, the supposedly ferocious Scots chose safety over liberty. I understand, freedom is risky - it's not for the faint of heart.

So, no, those aren't kilts, those really are skirts

They choose what they wanted, remaining in the EU, not what other people -- London-- wanted for them.

Actually, London voted remain. The people outside the center of global money laundering voted to leave. More properly, the English voted to leave.

We will see if they have the heart to prevail.

Most English occupiers voted for leaving. I am all for the perfidous Albionics leaving, but it is absurd the Irish and the Scottish must be hostages of the English regime.It us time to end English occupation and establish a Catholic government in Belfast.

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@marklin:

British voters - due to a lazily formulated referendum question - formally chose an abstract concept ("Leave"), that loses majority support whenever it is defined concretely enough to be written down.

The British parliament has spent three years trying to comply, seen that all ways of complying are turds, and so runs away and waits for someone else to propose a workable solution.

When have British voters been asked to approve a Brexit deal? It is parliament not the UK voters who are having difficulty in agreeing to a deal.

Well, they keep electing people who neither can settle for a plan for leaving nor for a plan to remaining. If voters wanted to elect Hard Brexit politicians, they could have done so.

The Brits have lost heart, perhaps because of the hideous losses in WWI - a product of the vanity of elites in the form of aged and decrepit monarchies. Seduced by the comfortable promise of an easy way out by Chamberlain, they and the cowardly French - with a military comparable to the more muscular, determined, and hardened by deprivation Germans - let the Nazis roll over and occupy Europe. Russian peasants and American logistics and manufacturing crushed the Nazis. After the war, the British people tossed the brave and prescient Churchill into the rubbish and took a hard left turn that not even the Iron Lady could correct. Having lost manufacturing, "GB" has been reduced to "B". The economics heart of the country - London - has replaced "money lending" with "money laundering".

Putin's heart might be in Trumptown, but his money is in London.

The Leavers, specially the Cobservative Party, have a moral obligation of settling on a plan already. They have years to do that.

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While I disagree with almost everything you say, I found that last comment an impressive piece of rhetoric.

Well done!

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Not all of us Brits have lost heart. I would say, rather, that we have lost our illusions about our state, about parliament, our institutions, and the faithless nature of leading Remainers.

To quote Waugh: "The enemy at last was plain in view, huge and hateful, all disguise cast off"

Tyler should pay more attention. This is now a war against the Complacent Class. It will come soon to a country near you.

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The fifth election, for the European Parliament, would be happening anyway.

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It's a hard decision because the people's choice was not supported by the cosmopolitan elite who still think they know better. Hard to trust these elites when their predictions of total economic collapse after the leave vote didn't materialize. This same elite would rather have the country run by a terrorist-supporting Marxist than honor the will of the people.

Maybe the people should elect a Parliament who would honir its wishers. There is not a shortage of Hard Brexit partisans wanting their time on the spotlight.

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Well said!

The so called elites, who have f*cked up everything, still don't get it. The reason they don't get it is they are not so smart, just lucky, by birth and pedigree. They should read the "you are not so smart" blog. They would think it applies to someone else.

LOL that's why you plebes are so broke compared to us, because you're so smart. Can you take a break on the tantrum for a sec, I need to make more popcorn in my recently remodeled $100K kitchen. And when I say "I", I mean Carlita.

None of this is ever going to change, cupcake. We are always gonna be elite.

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Indeed. 50 years of drift and failure (with honourable exceptions for the 80's). And our elites congratulate themselves.

You can find better analysis, deeper politics, wiser philosophy, wider history, and stronger numeracy on a hundred blogs, than you will hear from a government minister. They show little self-awareness and no insight beyond their metropolitan cloisters. Perhaps the curse of the internet is an awareness of how far behind the edge of excellence, or even possibility our leaders really are.

It's like being ruled by second rate management consultants. And I use the analogy advisedly.

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Democracy does not work in practice.
A populace is always ruled by a small minority with government power.

British populace is ruled by its Parliament and (still currently) by the EU Parliament. Majority rule is an illusion.

Just curious, how old are you?

Is it possible that those of us who had dads who fought two forms of totalitarianism (hot war with the Fascists, cold war with the Commies) have a different perspective?

Because certainly in my childhood lessons, all competition to democracy ended in death camps and failure.

It is completely boggling to me that anyone would choose authoritarianism now, given that track record.

Not to mention the low caliber of every anti-democratic regime existing in the world today.

Democracies may not be perfect but they must be policed and maintained for that reason.

Mouse,

Socialism - forcing equal outcomes - requires a totalitarian state, the faceless fascism of the deep state. The Berlin Wall and the Iron Curtain were designed and built to keep people in, like a jail, to keep them under the thumb of authoritarianism, in order to enforce equal outcomes which were not in any way equal. Even Orwell, a committed socialist to the end, was disappointed by the result. You should read "1984" and "Animal Farm".

In your heart you are a fascist.

Don't cloak yourself in the honor of your ancestors - it doesn't look good on you.

They passed you the baton, don't drop it.

You have to be a particularly kind of dull person to think that communist authoritarianism is the only kind of dangerous authoritarianism there is.

I don't see where he argues that.

By implication, ignoring this:

"Is it possible that those of us who had dads who fought two forms of totalitarianism (hot war with the Fascists, cold war with the Commies) have a different perspective?"

To argue something completely stupid, like if I don't think communism is bad, I must be a fascist.

Morons.

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You are completely missing the point. It’s a rephrase of Mosca Michels and others who point out that the system doesn’t matter elite control is the nature of political power. The systems for creating elites can change however.

Look around the world. Countries are not the same, and commitment to democracy and civil rights matters a lot.

"All competition to democracy ended in death camps and failure."

Singapore mocks you.

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The particular problem here is the unitary, top-down structure of the British party system. In the US, a Tea-Party sort of faction would have been elected by the Leave districts, and the intra-party conflict could have played out publicly. Instead, the Tories were told to be quiet and trust their equivalent of Paul Ryan to work it all out behind the scenes.

Isn't that pretty much what happened in Trump's first two years, along with an attempted soft-coup by careerist bureaucrats? As I said, there is nothing public officials will fight harder against than the prospect of voting actually being permitted to change the government.

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Goodwin's anti-EU British nationalism is looking ridiculous. Nobody wants to follow him, Nigel and the clown-car out. The other far-right forces in the EU are now looking to take over the EU rather than quit it.

Two of the five "nationwide elections" were or will be EU elections. Misleading and tendentious reporting from Matthew Goodwin, but who's surprised by that anymore?

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When political elites show themselves inert and unresponsive, should voters properly consider them merely moribund or long past dead?

Surely, the onset of political putrefaction will hasten an informed electoral response: leave it to our enlightened elites to lead!

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"Remember how we used to praise parliamentary systems for their decisiveness?"

This feels disingenuous. The reason for Brexit troubles has much to do with the Fixed Terms Parliament Act of 2011. That was what changed the Parliament such that massive defeats on major legislation did not also cause a collapse in the government. They separated government policy from government survival, and thus you have the result: ERG members voting AGAINST government policy but FOR government survival.

They changed away from a parliamentary system and towards a system like ours, where gridlock is more permissible, and then you blame the parliamentary system for having more gridlock?

Excellent point. Tyler should add this below his post. How shocking it is to learn something here.

This is an exceedingly common point as well; people in British politics forums bring it up all the time. Either Tyler is much less informed than he thinks he is, or he's misleading people by not mentioning this.

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Looks like the Brits around about be cucked once again! Hahaha!

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"Remember how we used to praise parliamentary systems for their decisiveness?"

They are very decisive when when it comes to elites undermining the rights and liberties they've granted the subjects. And very decisive when they want to thwart democracy by not going through with the results of a democratic vote.

Well of course. And properly so. 'Twas always thus, it's in fact truly conservative.

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I have been predicting for nearly 3 years that the Brexit referendum would never be allowed to actually take effect. I see no reason to change that prediction now.

Voting is not allowed to change the government.

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This isn't a general election, but the EU parliamentary election. The language seems to be deliberately misleading, implying that it's for the British parliament.

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"Remember how we used to praise parliamentary systems for their decisiveness?"

No.

Afaik, parliamentary systems are usually praised because they supposedly means rule by compromise, coalitions and negotiation, while presidentialism is supposedly more winner-take-it-all, with a tendency to give much power to "strongman". Usually being in favor of presidentialism has overtones of "we want a strong government instead of the parliamentary mess of governments falling every six months".

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Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest ...

http://blog.press.princeton.edu/2016/06/24/ethicist-jason-brennan-brexit-democracy-and-epistocracy/

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