A simple word in defense of David Cameron

I remain a supporter of Remain, for reasons I will not recap here, but I am also a realist and I recognize that a commitment to the European Union requires a substantial commitment from the population, more than a mere fifty percent and in the United Kingdom we do not see that close to that.  You probably know that the Tories seem to have won a smashing victory in today’s election, and by campaigning on Brexit as their main issue.  And you can’t just blame Corbyn — his ascendancy and leadership were endogenous to the broader process, and getting rid of him to reverse Brexit it turned out was not the priority.

So do you know who looks much better in retrospect?  Yes, David Cameron.  After the initial referendum I heard from the usual elites the notion that Cameron committed some kind of inexplicable, aberrant error by allowing the referendum in the first place.  That notion is much harder to entertain after today.  Even if you are pro-Remain, we should now see that either the referendum, or something like it, was indeed a necessary step in British politics.  Cameron himself saw this, and thought that a later referendum, run by an EU-hostile Tory government, could in fact go much worse than what he chanced.  So it seems with hindsight that Cameron was pretty prescient, even if he did not get what he wanted.

Comments

"I recognize that a commitment to the European Union requires a substantial commitment from the population, more than a mere fifty percent"

I think it is a common complaint that the first referendum should have required more than a bare majority to upset the status quo. A supermajority to make Brexit happen.

I'm not sure I see the logic of the reversal, that countries should need supermajorities to *keep* the status quo?

Might not this just be demanded at random? A supermajority to keep birthright citizenship?

It didn't require a supermajority to get in the EEC, nor to pass any of the subsequent encroachments.

Okay, entry might be a reasonable place to put the test. But if what you call encroachments are just status quo under the agreement, I think not there. There the rules of order should just be what was agreed to.

"In the first referendum in 1975, continued membership of what was then the European Communities (which included the European Economic Community, often referred to as the Common Market in the UK) was approved by 67.2% of voters, while in its second referendum in 2016 voters voted by 51.9% to leave the European Union."

Hmm.

The idea that the 1975 vote approving membership in the organization created by the Treaties of Rome and Brussels implied consent to be part of the radically different organization created by the treaties of Maastricht, Amsterdam, Nice, and Lisbon is utterly ludicrous.

The EU was always a mistake. It created a super government that was sure to get drunk on their power and destroy the sovereignty of the member countries. And it happened. Luckily a majority of the English voters figured this out before it destroyed them. The elite are pissed and unpredictable. Their scheme was upset and they don't like it.

The United States is similarly a super government, but with a better implemented currency union. (For some odd reason, New York is willing to subsidize Alabama.)

Because Orange Man Bad.

Absolutely, but this is still not its own defense.

"(For some odd reason, New York is willing to subsidize Alabama.)"

Because the red states and blue states each have two senators, and there are more red states than blue states. Though the House does balance it out. It has worked rather nicely for ~235 years.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/American_Civil_War

Because Alabama, 4.9 million still gets two senate votes, as does Wyoming population 500 thousand.

My question to New York is, why don;t they demand a price from Alabama for senators with brains? Maybe we can make it an incentive, the smarter the senator, the more federal cash to state capitals, there has to be a fair price.

The two Alabama senators, Richard Shelby (R) and Doug Jones (D), seem pretty good to me. Have you ever been to Alabama? There are some pretty impressive people there, as well as some dolts - just like anywhere else.

They're not 'willing'. They're in a position to do so or be killed for disobeying - like every other non-voluntary redistribution scheme.

Its not like the people of Alabama have been demanding New York subsidize them. A lot of us in the 'net tax recipient' states would be perfectly fine to not receive this government 'largess' if it meant they would stop using it as justification for continual meddling.

And the US is actually *not* as much a supergovernment as the EU - the Federal government can't force states to implement Federal law into their legal codes, as written and with no debate, to start with.

The Federal government is certainly bloated and overbearing - but its got massive limits as to what it can push down compared to the EU government.

The Federal Constitution overrides state ones, and Alabama is going to find out when a Federal judge cancels Alabama's law against fraudulently mislabeling vegetarian ersatzes as meat products.

That's what separate countries are for.

The Euro was a mistake but thanks to George Soros, the UK never entered that monstrosity. Now Johnson/s best option is to betray his supporters and negotiate an agreement that preserves as much freedom of movement of people good, services, and capital as possible.

Anthony U.S. citizens vote for our congressmen and president. English citizens have no say in who runs the EU and what they decide to do.

Your point is moot after this evening.

If the EU had come back with some reforms, some changes in the way things were done that were egregious irritants, had dealt with the focal point of the protest, the flood of immigrants, there might be something to your argument. Elections aren't about deciding details of policy, rarely so. They are the electorate giving feedback to those in power. The EU doesn't like that arrangement, never has.

They had three years to respond reasonably, but they didn't. Tonight is the consequence.

Looking at the returns, the third party results are interesting. The Scottish Nationalist have increased their seat count, likely at the cost of Labour. The Liberal Democrats have a substantial proportion of the votes, around 10% but few seats. So where did the anti boris vote go? Did they stay home, or is it like the 2 million twitter users in the US all voting the same way, quite vocally but not making any difference in the results?

My guess is that it split into socialist and liberal wings (Labour and the LDs) and then stacked in a few high population density cities. In First-Past-The-Post, that's all bad.

Labour were offering an alternative to New Labours mishmash of liberalism and socialism. A strange alternative, promising to be pro-business but also to put many utilities under state ownership (Singapore With Socialist Characteristics?) and provide giveaways mostly to London based graduates. Much of Britain outside the capital, while socially liberal relative to European Union states, are also nationalistic (in favour of the nation state and relatively low migration, against more powerful international national institutions and post-national identities), still against government ownership and suspicious of the pro-corporate, pro-graduate investments fuelled by massive state borrowing Labour proposed. Then you have the shenanigans of the dodgy attempts to exploit a hung Parliament by backbench MPs to effectively go against their local electors and the government on Brexit, supported by what is seen as a biased and Blairite Supreme Court... That seem to have convinced people that a large Tory majority was needed.

'are also nationalistic '

The Scots certainly are - particularly regarding their desire to escape the clutches of Albion, and return to the comforting bosom of mother EU.

'That seem to have convinced people that a large Tory majority was needed'

Except in Scotland, where the Conservatives lost voters (though less voters than Labour), and the SNP is ready to take back control through Indyref2.

Indyref2 has no mandate so soon after 2014 and is highly unlikely to happen any time soon. It is even less likely to be won soon by the SNP.

The Scottish electorate will at some point have to choose between either continuing to back an independence party which will see Scotland frozen out of having any representatives of ministers in government or positive role in forming legislation for what will soon be the best part of a decade, or backing some form of unionist party, which if not Labour or the Tories, can actually credibly form a coalition with them.

TC, have you read For the Record? I don't recall seeing it in your reading list. Does he shed some light on this?

At least it would seem that the British now want to leave the EU. Could this result bring a demise of the EU? Maybe now the Italians and Greeks could find a template that could be applied to their situation. What do you think?

Maybe these questions would be better answered after we see what the Brexit experience is like.

So far, the UK is failing to strike fear in the EC given the UK having an economy almost as large as California, so Greece and Italy should clearly see they have no power to get a better deal for trade with the EU or 98% of other nations and trading blocks than they have today.

If Italy and Greece want to be isolated nations, they will be encouraged from Brexit progress to exit and become isolated. But given they seem to want money and goods to flow into their economies in great excess to exports or money flows out, isolation is not the goal. Greece and Italy printing as much money as they want but that no other nation will accept is not a solution, no matter what Krugman has said, clearly forgetting the 80s and 90s Mexico and Latin American "debt crises".

No, Cameron was a DISASTER. He did not see that the UK needed a referendum, he arranged one because he thought the Remoaners could not possibly lose it, he did it to gain power over his coalition allies. He ought to have made it a clearly a binding vote, he ought to have been neutral with respect to the outcome instead of biased, and he ought to have sent the letter triggering Brexit the week after the result.
There was nothing decent or honourable about him, he’s a dim, pompous and entitled fool.
It had been obvious for ages that the majority wanted to leave the EU, which is not a democracy and has always tried to undermine British freedoms. Cameron was the high priest of a jumped up, self annointed, corrupt, sponging Westminster and media bubble that was determined to ram Brussels down the throats of ordinary British people.
He was a disaster. The sales of his memoirs also confirm this. He doesn’t even speak like a proper Old Etonian, which Boris does.
Good riddance to Cameron. He is best forgotten.

A loss for bureaucracy is a victory for freedom and an unmitigated good.

So, you are pro-remain?

Or freedom is customs checks at every turn? More border guards, more customs officials, are unmitigated good?

Local control is an unmitigated good. Rule from afar by insulted, unaccountable mandarins is not.

Consider yourself lucky that the result was determined my an election and not a bloody revolt, though that is not out of the question just yet.

I meant insulated, but insulted works too.

Insulting works better. As does despicable.

Well, it is true that for all of history local English government has never had anyone who could be described as an insulated, unaccountable, mandarin. For example, if I have to redo my driveway I just check with my neighbours that they're okay with it and that's good enough for any local Council in Britain without exception.

Lol +1

There is no indication that EU membership has resulted in overall decrease of total bureaucracy size across its states. At all.

But otherwise, yeah, as a general rule of thumb: bureaucracy to regulate borders and regulate relations between groups within different states > bureaucracy to regulate relations *within* states > states actually directly intervening to plan and control private enterprise > states actually formally *owning* business and infrastructure under "public ownership". (General rule of thumb, obvious there are extremes).

If we are considering "For an equal amount of state employment / funding, where the state ought really to be concentrated".

As a businessperson, I am most affected by bureaucracy when every state has different regulations that I have to hire separate legal teams for and make product changes to. It’s much simpler to have only one set of regulations to comply with and only one set of bureaucrats to deal with.

As an individual, I am also most affected by bureaucracy when trying to do things like crossing borders or dealing with people from other countries. As a middle-class person in a free country, the domestic bureaucracy has little to no impact on my daily personal life aside from annual tax filings. The *same amount* of bureaucracy might be better for dealing with other nations than internally but in reality there is far more bureaucracy in the former so on the margin I would argue the latter is worse.

Aye, and you say that in under our present shape of regulation. Perhaps. But the ballot box expresses the experience of many more.

UK pound up, UK growth strong.
Meanwhile the elder care Parliament of Brussels and 300 million vassals drown in taxes, regulation and stagnation. YoY Industrial production shows an abysmal picture, fertility down, bank lending down, car industry quickly diluting.
Are these EU guys taking ever any blame?

We can't even get planes to arrive on time. It's a laughable collapsing economy, which really contrasts with the vigor in London.

Do you know what a Fascist is? Johnson is one of the most communist Tories ever.

Says you. I think it is clear Britain is now to sink into the abyss of a new dark age made more sinister and perhaps more prolonged by the lights of a perverted science.

Nothing compares to the darkest of the dark ages that has descended on Brazil.

It seems that the fellow who praised President Captain Bolsonaro so frequently has left us. It's just not the same without him. Sad.

The sciences, each straining in its own direction, have hitherto harmed us little; but some day the piecing together of dissociated knowledge will open up such terrifying vistas of reality, and of our frightful position therein, that we shall either go mad from the revelation or flee from the light into the peace and safety of a new dark age.

Here's the beginning of a quote from Mosley: "“Since the war I have stressed altogether five main objectives. The true union of Europe.." You have it exactly backwards.

The point is, Mosley, just like Johnson, tried to sell the country to a foreign power. It is clear Johnson will be little more than one of Drumpf's Gauleiter

I think you are mistaking me for another person.

I don't find Cowen's case very convincing. Helen Thompson argues much more persuasively in the 10/03 edition of the Talking Politics podcast that the reverse is closer to the truth.

Cameron hoped to deflate anti EU sentiment by calling a referendum on a smaller issue - analogous to the French vote against the EU Constitution in 2005 - that would give him leverage to reform the EU, and allow him to take the Eurosceptic position.

His impatience lead to him attempting to company Euroscepticism with a vote that was too high takes, not that was a prophylactic against a higher stakes future one.

wut?

Even a man of Turing's patience would be tested by this.

" I recognize that a commitment to the European Union requires a substantial commitment from the population, more than a mere fifty percent and in the United Kingdom" Why? For the US/American revolution, 1/3 of the people were for it, 1/3 against it, 1/3 undecided. A lot can happen without an overwhelming majority. Take our electoral college for example, where the majority is less frequently elected. I do oppose the electoral college, by the way.

"...1/3 ... blah blah blah ..."

This is based on what survey?

"... oppose the electoral college ..."

Nobody cares. Remember the USA is the United STATES of America.

There needs to be restraints on the ability of NYC, LA, and SF to dictate to Wyoming. The EC is one, the Senate another.

Get over it.

Why do you oppose the electoral college? Do you seriously believe that politicians elected by New York and California would benefit the whole country? Do you actually think that you would have a country for very long if that was the case?

If you don't think this could turn out badly, in Canada the election ended up with the metropolitan areas of Southern Ontario and the lower mainland of British Columbia forming the government, with the stated intention of destroying the resource economies of two western provinces. No matter what you think of the issues at play, it is a very dangerous game, and has already had serious effects. In these situations there the arguments for a country continuing to exist start to fall apart.

I could see something far worse happening in the US. Essentially the current system weakens the strong for the benefit of the whole. The subject of national unity almost never comes up in the US, except among sore losers after an election, but it is a constant in Canadian politics because there isn't an institutional arrangement to prevent one province or region from forming government at the cost of all the others.

Because he's a liberal city dweller and is upset that the federal government has so much power but that the people in Wyoming (and Arizona, Texas, Alabama, etc) won't willingly submit to having the country run by the people in a handful of cities a thousand miles away who have no idea what local conditions on the ground are.

Some of our communities aren't in a position to handle a $15/hr min wage - and we don't want our towns turned into welfare ghettos which are then used as an excuse for yet more meddling by the coastal 'elite'.

Some of us live in towns where we don't have to wade through human refuse when walking down the street and we'd like to keep it that way.

Some of us are fine with 'male' and 'female' bathrooms and people using the one that matches their junk, not deciding based on whether or not they're wearing makeup at the time.

"For the US/American revolution, 1/3 of the people were for it, 1/3 against it, 1/3 undecided."

I don't think those numbers are correct. Via Wiki: "According to Robert Calhoon, between 40 and 45 percent of the white population in the Thirteen Colonies supported the Patriots' cause, between 15 and 20 percent supported the Loyalists, and the remainder were neutral or kept a low profile."

So, support was 2 to 1 in favor of the revolution among who weren't neutral.

A popular referendum vote that sliced through both major parties, so that [a] parliament could not govern. [Remember US pre Civil War.] Did Cameron see this coming, and when it happened, quit?

The fault for Brexit lies with everybody who pushed forward the Treaty of Lisbon, with a particular mark of shame for Gordon Brown.

The British people were explicitly promised a vote on the EU Constitution. Instead, that far-reaching transformation of the character of the EU was imposed on them against their will, after the people of France and the Netherlands overwhelmingly rejected it.

This swept away all lingering doubt in the minds of a huge segment of British voters, making it undeniably clear to them that the EU is fundamentally an authoritarian oligarchy, with the people only permitted such a voice and such freedoms as the rulers feel like giving their subjects at any given moment. At which point economic analysis of the benefits of being in the EU was beside the point; talking about the money was nothing more than asking them, "Yes, but how big a bribe would you need to accept the extinction of democracy in Britain?"

If well enough had been left well enough, and the response to the defeat of the EU Constitution had been to scrap the project and do mere minor, incremental reforms, Britain would still be in the EU today. But the EU's ruling Junckers refused to do so, and Gordon Brown went ahead betrayed the British people by doing their bidding.

Cogent, and completely agreed.

Not just Lisbon, Maastricht too.

Back in 1993, before the Maastricht treaty was signed Vernon Bogdanor (often called one of Britain's foremost constitutional experts) wrote an article saying that John Major should give the British people a referendum in which he cited John Locke’s Second Treatise on Government: “The Legislative cannot transfer the power of making laws to any other hands. For it being but a delegated power from the People, they who have it cannot pass it to others.” https://www.independent.co.uk/voices/why-the-people-should-have-a-vote-on-maastricht-the-house-of-lords-must-uphold-democracy-and-insist-1490346.html

For Bogdanor, the only way the Legislative can pass those powers is after they have asked the People directly, which first Major and then Blair refused to do. They might even have won back then! If not, the treaties would have been severely amended and the UK would probably have stayed in.

If you want another a more detailed history of the reasons why a referendum should have been granted prior to these treaties that altered our constitution, listen to Prof Helen Thompson of Cambridge go into more detail here: https://soundcloud.com/british-politics-centre/popular-politics-and-referendums-the-long-journey-to-a-referendum-on-brexit

Brexit is an immensely complex business, which perhaps we can blame on Henry VIII's separation from Rome as much as anything, but so-called Remainer politicians are as culpable as anyone.

You can argue, yes, that there should have been a referendum on Maastricht, sure. But it wasn't actively promised, and Maastricht wasn't imposed in defiance of election results.

The fact that people were promised a vote on the EU Constitution, that the vote was mooted because voters in other countries already rejected it, and then it was imposed in all substantive respects anyway, that made it utterly clear the issue was democracy.

And just in case anybody was even slightly doubtful that the issue was democracy, the Remainers refused to accept that they'd lost the referendum vote and support the May deal as the closest thing to membership that was democratically legitimate.

Globalism is delivering lower living standards to the employee classes of developed nations. So?

They vote! :-)

Yes, and my response to "Average is Over". Average can vote, and in the USA, average has guns, a lot of guns.

I would prefer nonviolent intervention into policies promoting lower living standards for working Americans.....

Besides that, hard to make money by pointing a gun....

but easier to make money in tight job markets....

Looks like you finally popped wood, didn't you hun?

Whether or not I "popped wood" is irrelevant. Whether or not my two assertions are correct is very relevant.

We are in a cold civil war.

Will it get hot?

I don't know.

Do you?

Yes.

The vast majority of the people with a priapic erection to fight one are like you: old, white, male eccentrics who go on the internet to troll other people whose politics you hate (most of whom are also old, white, male eccentrics.)

Second, even presupposing you could convince today's young to fight, most of them are physically unfit for combat by the U.S. military's own standards. Besides, they're too busy with their smartphones and Fortnite to give a shit.

Third, as long as the U.S. has nuclear weapons, there will never be another hot civil war. Whichever side controls the nukes at the onset of hostilities wins by default.

A second U.S. Civil War is nothing more than a masturbatory fantasy of rageaholic, asshole Boomers and Silents like you who have an insatiable fetish for relitigating the 1960s.

TL;DR: in the words of your generation: UP. YOURS.

A little crass, but I'm going to give 3 internet points to this one.

One bullet, one vote? :-)

Let's see, North Korea is not oppressed by global trade, thus North Korea is truly a workers paradise?

Post WWII was marked by ever growing global trade that benefited workers greatly. Post Reagan entering the White House, the trend in global trade did not change much, but what did. Change was the US government policy on workers, quickly shifting from pro-workers, pro-consumers, to a war on workers and a war on consumers.

Freezing global trade policies at 1970 would not have helped workers post Reagan waging war on workers.

There was absolutely no need to have the referendum. All that was required was for one party in parliament to actually know what a huge bloc of voters desired, and then vote for it.

There is rarely need for anything more than the parties to represent the interests of the people. The fact that the Libs, Tories, and Labourites all opted to ignore these concerns was the real problem.

Yet even after Leave won, after May clearly lost the confidence of the party's core voters, and with control of parliament on knife's edge … a bunch of grandees opted to both deprive the government of a majority and then refuse to seat a new government (either by going over to Corbyn or by calling for no-confidence).

The real question is what would have convinced the British people to say in? I have no idea, but then I still have no idea what problem the EU is trying to solve that a robust free trade agreement and custom's union could not solve better.

Frankly though, given the way in which the EU has and continues to negotiate Brexit suggests that whatever the British wanted, the EU grandees would not be willing to give it to them. Could be wrong, but the Brexit negotiations seem to be about finding pain points for British Leave voters rather than coming up with a more workable solution (e.g. I still have no idea why it is just assumed that a UK with an independent trade policy and no border checks in Ireland would automatically result in horrific smuggling; why not just give it a few months and use some basic investigative power to see it is creating a problem in reality).

At a larger point, I do wonder what larger governments are hoping to accomplish. What economies of size could possibly be worth the increased inefficiencies of melding so many bureaucrats and creating so many overlapping, non-competing centers of power?

The EU, like so many other radical changes favored by the wealthy and educated, seems to be a solution in search of a problem.

Of course the EU's position is to cause as much pain to the exiting UK as possible. How often do we see this from the leftist elite? The people made the wrong decision, therefore they must be punished for their insolence.

You think the EU is bad, just wait until the impeachment effort fails and the powers that be here intentionally crash the economy to keep Orange Man from getting re-elected.

I agree with much of this. I would also point out that in a election a manifesto allows parties to put forward a coherent set of policies covering their entire term. A referendum attempts to address a single issue in isolation, and, taking this to extremes, multiple referendums will not necessarily produce consistent results (see "discursive dilemma"). EU membership or not affects almost every other area of government, and so was not a good topic for a referendum.

It can be misleading to consider the structure of the EU at the same time with any other sort of government, especially the US federal system, because the EU system distributes and centralizes in different ways. The majesty of the EU determines what sort of central heating boiler I must have (https://ec.europa.eu/growth/sectors/pressure-gas/gas-appliances/regulation_en) but they have never managed to decide on a single consistent foreign policy.

"All that was required was for one party in parliament to actually know what a huge bloc of voters desired, and then vote for it."

How would they know what a huge bloc of voters desired? Because the results of the referendum showed that they *didn't* know.

Normally, this would mean something like talking to your voters. Other options include townhall meetings, polling, or just reading the same publications as the voters.

Ignorance, in many ways, is far more worrying than defiance. It is called representative government, if you are not even going to bother knowing what your voters want represented you are failing in your primary job.

'Normally, this would mean something like talking to your voters. '

Which remains discovering that about half of all the voters in the UK want to remain in the EU, and half don't. And that opinion, leaving aside UKIP (or the follow up Brexit Party), runs about 50-50 in each major party.

Which is the basic reason Brexit has been such a mess - no party was actually able to follow the will of its hopelessly split voter base in 2016.

These days, fatigue seems to be the major thing surrounding Brexit, and finally, the UK will not need to beg the EU to remain a member due to the UK being utterly clueless about how to handle Brexit.

To be honest, it is still probably clueless, but Johnson's lying will likely reach epic proportions, unless he ends up dead in a ditch first.

Could be wrong, but when anywhere north of a 1/3rd of the population feels strongly about an issue one, the other, or a third party will eventually need to co-opt these voters.

From a purely tactical perspective, even if the split is about 50/50, one side or the other is going to have more hold on its opposed 50% and should adopt the position to give it a majority.

What made Brexit an actual mess is that nowhere near 50% of the leadership positions in any of the parties actually put forth a Brexit compatible position.

I mean seriously if 50% of your voters are leave where were the Leave members on the front benches? Hammond, May, Osborne, Fallon, Hunt ... and pretty much all of the Cabinet.

The on the Leave side you had Gove, Patel, Villers, Whitingdale, and Grayling.

And lest we think that a 5:1 lopsided senior leadership count was something unique to the Cons, remember that Labour had only a tiny number of MPs even campaigning Leave.

At the end of the day, the political dysfunction of British politics has been solely due to party leaders. If you are not willing to follow Boris, then put in Corbyn, if you are not willing to do that, then call the election. Holding out to ensure that some zombie "government" can lurch through was just silliness.

At the end of the day, the people have a right to parties that represent them. Trying to stop that natural process was the single factor that made a hash of three years of British politics.

Is it that they didn't know? Or is it that they did know, but it was harmful to their self-interest, so they went on pretending that they didn't? cc: establishment Republicans

I think the difference is between a mindset that the optimum arrangment is closer to as little government as practical at each level (i.e. efficent customs union for Europe) and as much government as possible (EU micro-management of everything).

For the governing class, the attractions of the "as much government as possible" option are obvious (status, power, money for them). For all the rest of the citizens, that option means loss of status everyday autonomy, and money).

The real question is what would have convinced the British people to say in?

Scrapping the EU Constitution rather than putting lipstick on it and imposing it. The last second to save UK membership in the EU was the one just before the Queen granted royal assent to Lisbon rather than vetoing it and telling Brown to hold the promised-in-his-platform referendum if he wanted it.

No, the Brexit negotiations were about the May government pretending to leave and the EU pretending to let it leave. It was never about substance.

Here's a sentence from the recent statement of Corbyn's: "However, Brexit has so polarised debate it has overridden so much of normal political debate."

In other words, there are some things we can't talk about, never mind vote on.

How has it come to this?

Nice post TC.

The Brits learn from history: Socialism is bad.

A mild civil war, nothing to fret. A few large riots, a few hundred killed and everything will be back to normal in two or three years. Just aim for slightly smaller body counts than from when we did it last time.

"A mild civil war, ...Just aim for slightly smaller body counts than from when we did it last time."

Hmmm, would we call that a Marginal Revolution?

Referendums are at odds with parliamentary democracy. because it gives you competing sources of democratic legitimacy. That's why the UK is such a mess. Who's in charge? Who knows?

UK citizens are in charge. As they always should be.

Well spoken as a loyal sycophant of the satrapy.

The referendum was approved by and voted in by every single party in Parliament at the time. It wasn't solely down to Cameron...in politics one person is rarely solely responsible.

A result which shows that Scotland and Wal/Eng are politically moving in completely different directions and the break up of the union edges closer.

A nationalist majority of seats in NI for the first time ever as well.

It's ironic that Conservatives in Britain and Republicans in American have tapped into the discontent that is mostly the result of rising inequality. Or is it ironic? Historically conservative politicians have been more flexible and therefore adept at exploiting the current tide. Is it because the hypocrisy quotient of conservatives is higher? Is it because the underlying ideology of conservatives is in many respects the opposite of those who are the most discontented? For whatever reason, the lesson conservatives have learned is that the voters' memories are short, and they will be punished by the voters for the negative consequences of conservative policies (Brexit, for example) in perhaps one election if at all.

What I really don’t understand is why the opposition agreed to call a new election. It was obvious from the polls that the Conservatives were going to win big. That was an even worse play than Hillary Clinton spending all her time trying to win states she didn’t need to win the electoral college. The left in many countries seems to have a problem with overconfidence and lacking political strategy.

Delaying the election would likely have only worsened the defection of Labour-Leavers. You either back Corbyn by crossing the floor, back Boris, or call an election. Keeping a government going without the ability to actually govern was simply going to infuriate more voters.

In any event, the Lib Dems and SNP both saw some nice electoral movement there way. Shockingly, the former hoped to get a tactical voting pact (either explicit or implicit) and regrow their commons bloc while the latter hoped to use the unpopularity of Brexit in Scotland to have another crack at an independence referendum.

Like so much else in electioneering, the fact that these parties opted to call an election, after parliament forced a Brexit extension, but before they had any real Brexit alternative suggests that most of these issues are secondary to preserving the personal power of the grandees.

Brexit is not bad enough to knuckle under Corbyn. Corbyn isn't bad enough to work with Boris. That is an awfully tight window for the parties calling for the election to plant their flags upon.

Pretty much what Sure said, re anger of the electorate at simply prolonging the pre-election status quo. It seems to believe that voters are *really* partisan and against the government, and that doubling down on becoming a sort of ineffective governing coalition (or rather malgoverning coalition) without any democratic mandate would be rewarded, however bad for the country, as long as it bad for the government.

What the election showed though is more that the electorate are broadly nationalistic and not that partisan, and really do expect politicians to "Put country above party" (big losers were those that emphasized shared party political values across borders above the nation!).

But even beyond that, MPs are not purely politically calculating creatures - even if it were for their advantage to degrade governance in the UK in the short term for their political advantage, and even if they could form a coalition that governed without democratic mandate, they would largely not want to do.

MPs do generally believe that they are elected on the basis of a democratic mandate and that their parties seek to govern on the basis of a democratic mandate for the good of the nation as a whole. It would be incredibly demoralizing for them to continue to try and justify through further mental gymnastics an arrangement which would obviously not be that.

FPTP won the election.

>I remain a supporter of Remain, for reasons I will not recap here

It's because you are a committed Liberal Statist, who has voted Dem in at least the last five US Presidential elections, and are already on board to vote for whichever ancient, decaying white corpse gets their nomination this time around.

But while the UK rejects your worldview, just as the USA did in 2016, you can console yourself that Cameron did a fantastic job losing.

I disagree. He was a disastrous PM. Both of the referendums he allowed created forces that will be difficult to channel into positive results. Also lets not forget how aggressive he pursued the braindead and horrific Libya interventionist policy.

"Cameron himself saw this" Who didn't see it? The entire global establishment, from academia to media to government. Still now, this moment, clueless. They will go to their graves shaking their heads in disbelief. We need a Shakespeare to capture this tale now.

Steven Kruiser nails it: “To the horror of leftists worldwide, people who don’t think like they do have once again spoken in an election. The rubes from the hinterlands got their knuckles off the ground just long enough to send the anti-Semitic Jeremy Corbyn and his Labour libs to defeat.”

This is some major cope to look at this election and think: CAMERON!

Pro-Brexit parties got 46.8% of the vote (CONs 43.6% + BXP 2% + Other 1.5%), while Labour and anti-Brexit parties got 51.8% (LAB 32.2 + LD 11.5 + SNP 3.9 + GRN 2.7 + Other 1.5%).

It's the system we have, but for those watching from the US, you have to keep in mind the seat breakdown in Parliament is not a great way to gauge popular opinion.

Direct polling on whether people want Brexit to go ahead has moved in a narrow range between 45-55 and 55-45 since the referendum. The country is very split on it and will likely remain so, but at least now we have clarity on who can push through their plans.

'but at least now we have clarity on who can push through their plans'

The SNP obviously, who are looking forward to taking back control.

Cameron pursued the referendum in order to bury the Brexit movement once and for all. Whoops. Some visionary.

The big takeaway from yesterday is that Boris is a MUCH MORE effective politician than Theresa May.

Also, it's almost impossible to overstate the huge misstep Merkel made on refugees a few years ago. Europe's most senior, sober, trusted leader unleashed a huge backlash across the continent.

Who says it was a misstep? It was what she and her clique of advisory believed in, and thus it revealed what other elites and technocrats across the continent also believe in: open borders and no nationalism. As for those locals who didn’t agree, they were told (shown!) “you don’t decide who your neighbors will be, your local beliefs, traditions etc, even your desires, don’t matter. Here, have a million new neighbors you didn’t ask for.”

Maybe you're right, but Merkel is not a lefty zealot, she's a stodgy center-right German. She was seduced by a moment that she no doubt regrets whether she admits it or not. Once she leaves office, she'll be able to speak candidly on the subject.

My criticism of David Cameron was his irresponsibility: he resigned rather than implement the result of the referendum that he had called. I am more critical of Theresa May who called a general election when she had no need to do so. I hope that Boris Johnson has the sense to use his full term of office.

Cameron led a silly campaign that did not clearly lay out the costs of leaving. Plus he poisoned his own well by promising to restrict immigration, one of the major benefits of remaining in the EU, and then failing to deliver on the promise. [Also why should Remain require a larger majority than Leave?]

Cameron failed by every plausible standard. He tried to renegotiated the UK's relationship with Europe, and got essentially nothing (thank you Angela Merkel). Then he claimed a huge victory in the negotiations (where none actually exists). Then he took the wrong side of the remain/leave debate in the referendum.

The only decent thing he did was to resign promptly (Corbyn should take heed, but won't).

His record is one of non-stop failure. Nothing to be proud.

I fundamentally disagree. If you look at polling conducted before the referendum on issues that mattered to the British Public, Europe didn't even register.

A tiny minority saw it as an issue. Here is one source:

https://qz.com/1725402/only-5-percent-of-brits-cared-about-the-eu-before-brexit/

Granted, there were a vocal minority of anti-Europeans but they were a fringe group, headed by Nigel Farage and assorted crusty Tory backbenchers. I remember seeing Farage speak at law school, he was seen as an oddball fringe figure. That minority was over represented in the British right wing press, and particularly in the Conservative party.

Cameron's gamble was a measure designed to placate the right wing Eurosceptics in his party. It also swept up those who were anti-immigration, but that wasn't the main motivation of the Euroskeptics.

It was only after the referendum that Brexit became the issue people pinned their political identity to.

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