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EU referendum demonstrates everything wrong with our democracy watch

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    When Gove said "Britain has had enough of experts", I honestly expected Leave supporters to be outraged. I thought they'd be upset at being taken for idiots - does he think they're stupid?

    But no, they embraced it. Britain really has had enough of experts. Just about every economic organisation in the world, and every academic of any significance, and every business, and most of our politicians, warned them that this would be bad for our economy. They called it "scaremongering", and they decided that EVERYONE in the world was lying to them. It was all a big conspiracy to oppress the working class and take their money away. None of them could tell you what these sinister hidden agendas of Obama, Bill Gates, Stephen Hawking and the IMF were. They just existed, because it was convenient, and they invalidated everything they said.

    Of course, they did listen to the very tiny minority of experts that said what they wanted to hear. "Well the boss of JCB..." wanted to leave the EU because the EU took him to court for conning his customers. "But James Dyson..." lost a court battle with the EU over product labelling. These are people who genuinely did have vested interests, but they were kept under wraps because it was convenient.

    The Vote Leave campaign was based on lies. Many out voters claim their reasons for voting are "we give £350m/week to the EU", or "Turkey is joining the EU soon". These are both objectively wrong, they're untrue, but Vote Leave spent millions advertising them in newspapers, billboards and social media. Of course, people could have taken 5 seconds to do a quick Google search and find out that they were untrue, but nobody actually bothered.

    "But the remainers lied too!" they say. If you ask what lies the remain campaign told, they'll probably go silent, or quote something that never actually happened. "David Cameron said WW3 will start when we leave the EU!" Except that he actually didn't. He just didn't say it, it was made up, and then people started "quoting" it. Nobody bothered to check that what they were sharing on Facebook was actually true. But of course they didn't - they wanted it to be true, and it would be inconvenient to ruin the illusion!

    People complained that there was a lack of facts, and it was just people smearing each other. If you go to the Britain Stronger in Europe website, or view their social media or their campaign materials, you'll find actual facts and statistics, with sources so you can verify that it's true. The real problem was that people were getting all their information from tabloid rags like the Daily Mail - and then they were confused as to why there were no facts. Facts don't sell papers, people aren't interested in facts, hence why you're reading the Daily Mail and not doing your own research online. There were no facts because nobody was looking for them.

    Leave supporters seemed to get upset at the remain campaign for quoting economic studies and experts because "they're not certain". People were outraged that they were being asked to make decisions that weren't certain. The experts know nothing!! and so on. Nothing is certain when you're trying to predict an outcome. We aren't certain that the sun will come up tomorrow. That doesn't mean you should dismiss reality and go with whatever works in your head. Predictions that are based on research are certain more often than decisions made based on "intuition" or "life experience" or other nonsense. But instead of weighing the evidence, people ignored it entirely. I don't really understand why.

    A lot of the key issues being debated were a facade. People wanted to save our £180m/week to give it to the NHS, but completely ignored the very real risk of losing much more money than we saved. People wanted to control immigration, even though immigrants from the EU, who we have no control over, are over 10% more likely to be university educated and contribute 32% more per person to our economy than non-EU immigrants, who we have full control over. EU immigration is better for us than the immigration that we control, but they never once mentioned making any reform to non-EU immigration.

    The EU was turned into a monster to be battled. The very people privatising our NHS, taking away our rights, and committing electoral fraud painted a narrative of the EU: we have no money for the NHS because the EU take it all! The EU is undemocratic! The EU is run by elites that serve the rich! The EU has even been compared to the Nazi Party multiple times.

    It was completely untrue - most of our rights as workers and consumers come from the EU, huge portions of the budget were redistributed to the poor, invested in the least well-off areas of the country that our own government neglects. The sad reality is that our rights and our product safety regulations cost money to the elite - Boris Johnson doesn't want his taxes to go to the EU, who then invest it in the North East. James Dyson doesn't want to have to spend money giving his consumers the generous refund policies and warranties demanded by EU law.

    Johnson, Gove, Farage and other opportunities exploited the poor to further their careers. People want someone to blame for a failing NHS, and Gove managed to get people to blame the EU, while his party continues to privatise it. People want something to get angry about, and to rally against and feel like they're making a change. Nobody wants to accept that progress is slow and complicated - they'd rather get involved in this fantasy, where we just have to "work hard" and we'll "make Britain great again".

    Instead of following the facts, people just parroted phrases that made them feel powerful.

    Now we're back in the real world, where our currency has seen a bigger drop than any currency in history, and more money has left our country today than we'd pay to the EU in 40 years.
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    (Original post by JordanL_)
    When Gove said "Britain has had enough of experts", I honestly expected Leave supporters to be outraged. I thought they'd be upset at being taken for idiots - does he think they're stupid?

    But no, they embraced it. Britain really has had enough of experts. Just about every economic organisation in the world, and every academic of any significance, and every business, and most of our politicians, warned them that this would be bad for our economy. They called it "scaremongering", and they decided that EVERYONE in the world was lying to them. It was all a big conspiracy to oppress the working class and take their money away. None of them could tell you what these sinister hidden agendas of Obama, Bill Gates, Stephen Hawking and the IMF were. They just existed, because it was convenient, and they invalidated everything they said.

    Of course, they did listen to the very tiny minority of experts that said what they wanted to hear. "Well the boss of JCB..." wanted to leave the EU because the EU took him to court for conning his customers. "But James Dyson..." lost a court battle with the EU over product labelling. These are people who genuinely did have vested interests, but they were kept under wraps because it was convenient.

    The Vote Leave campaign was based on lies. Many out voters claim their reasons for voting are "we give £350m/week to the EU", or "Turkey is joining the EU soon". These are both objectively wrong, they're untrue, but Vote Leave spent millions advertising them in newspapers, billboards and social media. Of course, people could have taken 5 seconds to do a quick Google search and find out that they were untrue, but nobody actually bothered.

    "But the remainers lied too!" they say. If you ask what lies the remain campaign told, they'll probably go silent, or quote something that never actually happened. "David Cameron said WW3 will start when we leave the EU!" Except that he actually didn't. He just didn't say it, it was made up, and then people started "quoting" it. Nobody bothered to check that what they were sharing on Facebook was actually true. But of course they didn't - they wanted it to be true, and it would be inconvenient to ruin the illusion!

    People complained that there was a lack of facts, and it was just people smearing each other. If you go to the Britain Stronger in Europe website, or view their social media or their campaign materials, you'll find actual facts and statistics, with sources so you can verify that it's true. The real problem was that people were getting all their information from tabloid rags like the Daily Mail - and then they were confused as to why there were no facts. Facts don't sell papers, people aren't interested in facts, hence why you're reading the Daily Mail and not doing your own research online. There were no facts because nobody was looking for them.

    Leave supporters seemed to get upset at the remain campaign for quoting economic studies and experts because "they're not certain". People were outraged that they were being asked to make decisions that weren't certain. The experts know nothing!! and so on. Nothing is certain when you're trying to predict an outcome. We aren't certain that the sun will come up tomorrow. That doesn't mean you should dismiss reality and go with whatever works in your head. Predictions that are based on research are certain more often than decisions made based on "intuition" or "life experience" or other nonsense. But instead of weighing the evidence, people ignored it entirely. I don't really understand why.

    A lot of the key issues being debated were a facade. People wanted to save our £180m/week to give it to the NHS, but completely ignored the very real risk of losing much more money than we saved. People wanted to control immigration, even though immigrants from the EU, who we have no control over, are over 10% more likely to be university educated and contribute 32% more per person to our economy than non-EU immigrants, who we have full control over. EU immigration is better for us than the immigration that we control, but they never once mentioned making any reform to non-EU immigration.

    The EU was turned into a monster to be battled. The very people privatising our NHS, taking away our rights, and committing electoral fraud painted a narrative of the EU: we have no money for the NHS because the EU take it all! The EU is undemocratic! The EU is run by elites that serve the rich! The EU has even been compared to the Nazi Party multiple times.

    It was completely untrue - most of our rights as workers and consumers come from the EU, huge portions of the budget were redistributed to the poor, invested in the least well-off areas of the country that our own government neglects. The sad reality is that our rights and our product safety regulations cost money to the elite - Boris Johnson doesn't want his taxes to go to the EU, who then invest it in the North East. James Dyson doesn't want to have to spend money giving his consumers the generous refund policies and warranties demanded by EU law.

    Johnson, Gove, Farage and other opportunities exploited the poor to further their careers. People want someone to blame for a failing NHS, and Gove managed to get people to blame the EU, while his party continues to privatise it. People want something to get angry about, and to rally against and feel like they're making a change. Nobody wants to accept that progress is slow and complicated - they'd rather get involved in this fantasy, where we just have to "work hard" and we'll "make Britain great again".

    Instead of following the facts, people just parroted phrases that made them feel powerful.

    Now we're back in the real world, where our currency has seen a bigger drop than any currency in history, and more money has left our country today than we'd pay to the EU in 40 years.
    The problem with our democracy is people like you who don't accept this is how democracy works.
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    (Original post by joecphillips)
    The problem with our democracy is people like you who don't accept this is how democracy works.
    No, the problem with democracy is the overwhelming number of idiots that think that because something is "my opinion" it must be right. The problem is that we let people have a say in complex decisions and don't even expect them to justify it. The rambling "OUT OUT OUT!!!" comment on a Facebook post is worth as much as a report by the IMF.
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    Tl;dr.


    Ofc, had we voted the other way you'd now be saying how amazing and strong our democratic system is, that we're all superb people and that a referendum was great.

    You're just the guy screaming at the referee because you don't like the way it's gone down. Everybody hates that guy.
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    (Original post by Drewski)
    Ofc, had we voted the other way you'd now be saying how amazing and strong our democratic system is, that we're all superb people and that a referendum was great.
    Well yeah, because there wouldn't be a problem if people democratically made evidence-based decisions. But that's not what happens.
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    (Original post by JordanL_)
    Well yeah, because there wouldn't be a problem if people democratically made evidence-based decisions. But that's not what happens.
    Seriously dude, give it up. Screaming at people isn't going to change things, is it?

    Such a moany little one... We all knew you'd be like this, ofc, but good god...
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    Of course, if leave had lost by the same margin, they'd shut up about the EU...
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    Well, you know the old joke:

    If democracy was all its cracked up to be we wouldn't have a Conservative government.

    All you have to do is substitute the name of the party currently in power to make it completely topical. In this instance you can say:

    If democracy was all its cracked up to be we wouldn't be leaving the EU.

    it can be described either as sour grapes of whimsical wit, according to taste.
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    (Original post by joecphillips)
    The problem with our democracy is people like you who don't accept this is how democracy works.
    You fundamentally miss the point. Democracy is a concept and all we have are various ways to try and enact it, none of which are perfect.

    The problem for me is simply that the issue of EU membership is too complicated for the majority of people to understand. We elect MPs who we trust and who roughly share our outlook on the UK and the world, and then generally we let them have the task of absorbing all the expert advice and information along with professionals to assist them before coming to an appropriate decision.

    With a referendum we expect the population (pretty much the definition of "average") to digest a complicated issue without the knowledge, experience, skills or time to make sense of it all, whilst campaigns on both sides try to shout for their point of view as much as they can get away with.

    Let's be honest, many people simply aren't going to have come to a thoroughly reasoned viewpoint before voting. So why trust such pivotal matters to the public? For me this actually isn't a fundamental enough issue to require a referendum, like Scottish independence is.

    With that in mind it's alarming if you had put it to the elected House of Commons, to the House of Lords, to the Queen, to financial experts, to world leaders, to the most educated and intelligent in the country and finally to the subsection of the population that will still be here in 30 years: all those groups would have returned a Remain vote.

    Yet here we are.

    And don't just say "it's democracy" as if running a referendum is the de facto best way to make decisions. As if referenda are inherent to all systems of democracy. As if democracy isn't what we make it, to enable our country to be run as well as possible whilst ensuring that the people have a say in who has the full-time occupation of making these decisions. We don't do it with the overwhelming majority of decisions we entrust MPs to make, so why now, on this complicated issue?
 
 
 
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