Friday, 24 June 2016

Brexit

I've now had time to think about the result of the referendum, and although I voted to stay, I can understand why a majority of the voters did not share my vision for the future.

I think that we can look forward to what the Chinese call 'interesting times', but whatever happens, it will have been because the majority willed it ... and I'd rather live in a democracy where my opinion and vote counts than live under another form of government.

68 comments:

  1. Replies
    1. Simon Jones,

      Cheers! My point of view might not have prevailed, but the decision has been made and it is now incumbent on us all to work together to make the transition as painless as possible.

      All the best,

      Bob

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  2. I was discussing the possible outcomes with a mutual acquaintance on Wednesday having met by chance in London. He recalled the H L Mencken quote " Democracy is the theory that the common people know what they want, and deserve to get it good and hard."

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    1. Nigel Drury,

      A very apposite quote!

      All the best,

      Bob

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  3. I think Churchill said back some time post-war - "Democracy is the worst form of government, except for all those other forms that have been tried from time to time." We have to accept that the system sometimes delivers awkward results.

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    1. David Bradley,

      Churchill was - as usual - spot on.

      The decision has been made; now we have to make the best of it.

      All the best,

      Bob

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  4. Bob- yes, the results of the Referendum to leave the EU made news here in OZ..."a New Prime Minister in October"..."Billions wiped off the Stock Exchange"..."English Pound takes a dive"...."plumiting shares worldwide"..." The American Dollar escalates...". Um- I don't know much about all of this- it is all a bit of a mystery to me...though I cannot help but think it may be all a big mistake for the future of the UK. Best wishes. KEV.

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    1. Kev,

      In my opinion the result went the wrong way ... but the majority have made their decision, and we now have to live with it. We will cope, but now face years of political wrangling and economic uncertainty ahead of us.

      All the best,

      Bob

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  5. The country has already lost more value through the exchange rate changes and falling stock market than will ever be gained by not paying money into the EU. Turkeys voting for Christmas. Expect our views to be ignored at best and reviled at worst in the rest of Europe. It's going to be uncomfortable from here on in for a few years.

    Nevertheless your original comment on democracy still holds.

    Cheers

    Andrew

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    1. Rumblestrip (Andrew),

      I agree with everything you have written ... especially about the turkeys voting for Christmas.

      But regardless of what I had hoped for, the decision has been made. Now we all have to pull together to make the UK's departure as painless as possible.

      All the best,

      Bob

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  6. Looks like a good time for Australians to order figures from the UK. I'm holding out until tomorrow morning on the off-chance the pound collapses just a little further.

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    1. Kaptain Kobold,

      Don't wait to long; as they say in the adverts 'the value of your investments can go up as well as down'.

      All the best,

      Bob

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    2. Simon Jones,

      He has a point ...

      All the best,

      Bob

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    3. It's great our products are cheaper for a while. Overseas importers will buy more of our goods. The Pound will rise again though, making the profits from this more.

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    4. Simon Jones,

      I see that the stock market has already bounced back a bit, as has the value of the pound.

      All the best,

      Bob

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  7. Replies
    1. A.W. Kitchen (Tony),

      True ... but it's one that we now have to live with.

      All the best,

      Bob

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  8. No it's a great thing,time will tell. The Danes and Dutch will be next. The EU was originally about trade, not controlling individual nations destinies by bullying its members. It cannot reform, the EU is imploding and has been for a while.

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    1. Simon Jones,

      If it had stayed as the Common Market or EEC, then I think the vote would have been to remain in, but once it began to move towards political union, the EU lost a lot of support within the electorate.

      All the best,

      Bob

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  9. As an American I wish you and your country well. I've followed the issue a little bit and have only a vague idea of what it all entails.
    I still have some of my punk rock "screw the man" feelings, but in my maturity have realized it's not always the best policy in practice.
    Good luck!

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    1. Mr. Pavone,

      It's not quite as bad as the situation the US found itself in when the Southern states decided to succed ... but it leaves the UK's situation very much up in the air, and likely to remain so for the foreseeable future.

      All the best,

      Bob

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  10. I agree about democracy and the need to accept and get on with things but having been through two and watched a few from afar, one does wonder why one needs to bypass the democratically elected government to go for a referendum, something ususally if not always highly affected by uncontrolled money spent on influencing people and high emotions rather than sober thought.

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    1. Ross Mac,

      I suspect that one reason governments choose to use referenda is so that they do not have to make contentious and/or divisive decisions ... and can then blame the outcome on 'the will of he people'.

      All the best,

      Bob

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  11. I don't think it will be so bad; the British always manage to muddle through.

    My concern is that everywhere in the Western world growing political divides exacerbated by internet hyperbole and social media tribalism mean that it is becoming extremely difficult to find middle ground between different points of view.

    Reasoned argument is replaced by slogans; opinions are hardened; contrary points of view are negatively labeled to render engagement unnecessary. To paraphrase Yeats, the best are uncertain and the worst are full of passionate intensity.

    Best wishes, and I hope that the UK's muddling through becomes, yet again, an example to us all.

    Best,
    Aaron

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    1. Prufrock (Aaron),

      You are right; Britain will probably middle its way through, although we may lose Scotland along the way.

      I have just heard a prediction that Denmark, Netherlands, and Hungary may now follow the UK out of the EU.

      I do hope that those of us who try to find a middle way forward will not be drowned out by those at the more extreme ends of the political spectrum.

      All the best,

      Bob

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  12. Bob,
    I know we will never agree on politics, but on wargaming I would like to think we are more compatible, however here is why I personally voted to leave;
    Jean Monnet, a founding father of the EU stated on April 30th 1952 wrote,' Europe's nations should be guided towards a superstate WITHOUT THEIR PEOPLE UNDERSTANDING what is happening.This can be accomplished by successive steps, EACH DISGUISED AS HAVING AND ECONOMIC PURPOSE, but which will eventually and irreversibly lead to FEDERATION.'
    It was never about jobs, it was never about the economy, I am personally very proud that over 17 million British people took a leap of faith that we could manage our country through a democratically elected and accountable government, nif we fail, then its our own fault.

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    1. Robbie Roddis,

      That is a quote that I was unaware of, so thanks very much for sharing it.

      It is indeed a powerful argument, and I'm surprised that the LEAVE campaign didn't use it. It might have influenced the way that I voted, and I'm sure that I would not have been alone in that.

      All the best,

      Bob

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  13. Bob,

    I fully concur with Aaron that middle ground is getting ever-more difficult to find. Our Congress has been log- jammed because of representatives who ran for office on their expressed refusal to compromise on anything.

    I'm still trusting, however, that a majority of the American electorate, having looked into the abyss that is Donald Trump, will find that middle ground, and subject him to the humiliating defeat he so richly deserves.

    Then again, my "trust" is actually more of an assumption, and as they say, never assume...

    Worriedly yours,

    Chris

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    1. Chris,

      The problem with occupying the middle ground is that we cannot offer unambiguous, simple, and definite solutions to problems. Politicians who have an agenda - however warped or mad it might appear to be - will attract votes because voters want to know what they are voting - or not voting - for.

      I had hoped that Bernie Sanders would have done better in the selection process for the next presidential election, but it was not to be. So it is down to Hillary vs. Donald ... and one hopes that the best woman will win!

      Good luck; I think you are going to need it.

      All the best,

      Bob

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  14. Hi Bob,

    Yours is a most sensible reaction, for better or worse the people have chosen, so what can be done now but wait for it all to play out.

    Although no doubt the UK could have done without fraudulent "champion of the little guy" Trump being there to flap his lips on yet another topic of which he knows nothing.

    Cheers,
    Steve

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    1. Corporal_Trim (Steve),

      Cheers! I always try to take a pragmatic approach to matters such as this. In my opinion the alternative is too stressful.

      As to Mr Trump ... well never was a man more aptly named!

      All the best,

      Bob

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    2. Please Britain, build a wall to keep Trump THERE.
      -your friends in America

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    3. Steven Page,

      I wish we could oblige ...

      All the best,

      Bob

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  15. The news item that got me was that the Regions that gain the most from EU funding are ones that voted to leave... seems that Cornwall is DEMANDING that the Government makes up any losses... I have my own answer to that, something about making beds...

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    1. Xaltotun of Python,

      I wish that I could say that the Cornish reaction was a surprise.

      Perhaps they could ask for an independence referendum ... just as long as someone else pays for it!

      All the best,

      Bob

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  16. A very sad day for the next generation in my opinion, especially as many of them clearly voted against leaving.

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    1. Boggler,

      I quite agree, but we live in a democracy and unfortunately the majority of the voters wanted to leave the UK.

      All the best,

      Bob

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  17. Considering the magnitude of the decision, the stock market has held up remarkably well. It is still above 6000 points and has been below that both this year and last year and that happened without a Brexit / Remain situation - so as always, time will tell.

    I think one problem that we face over the coming weeks is the media destroying our confidence in ourselves and leaving people frightened. Our politicians need to step up to the plate, they did not particularly do a commendable job during the campaign, leaving many people with less 'real' information than they needed.

    As Bob has said, the decision has been made, democracy has done what it does and what we really need now is some positive leadership (with reliable vision) to help steer us through this.

    I wish the vote had been more decisive one way or the other, the split at 48 / 52 is very close, but at least every individual vote counted and every individual was invited to vote.

    I have seen a few blogs comment on the subject and strong feelings abound, perhaps predictably one post on TMP has been pulled - no doubt having gone to rats, so I particularly support the tone given here and Bob's use of his media to remind us all Of what it is to be a democracy.

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    1. Norm,

      Thanks for your very supportive comments. I think that you have made some very pertinent points about the media and the role our politicians have to play I the coming weeks and months. Let's hope that they act responsibly and provide some positive leadership.

      I also wish that the vote in favour in one or other of the options had been more decisive ... but it wasn't.

      All the best,

      Bob

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    2. The FTSE 100 is actually up on the week although different sectors have diverged sharply. Currencies have
      been more interesting to follow.

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    3. Nigel Drury,

      It will take a few days at least before things begin to settle down and some sort of coherent picture emerges.

      All the best,

      Bob

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  18. Like you Bob, I voted "Remain" but the people have spoken for better or worse.

    Let us just say that we live in interesting times...

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    1. Tamsin P,

      Let's hope that we can all move forward together regardless of how we voted.

      All the best,

      Bob

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  19. The problem is that his was not a victory fuelled entirely by reasoned argument in favour of leaving the European Union, examples of which can be found in previous comments. It was achieved by conflating membership of the EU with immigration and was in part a victory of racist fear mongering orchestrated by some of the vilest scum to ever disgrace the political stage.

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    1. Pete,

      I agree with much of your analysis ... but the vote is now behind us and the situation it has created now needs to be dealt with. Hopefully the next stage will see more reason and less ill-informed prejudice being expressed.

      All the best,

      Bob

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  20. I can only comment as a Belgian. I respect the democratic process, but what we have seen about the campaign this side of the channel, is rather astonishing. More than once, we were wondering whether the Brits are talking about the same EU as we know it. The UK always got preferential treatment, with opt-out packages and reduced payments, but apparantly, it was never enough. I guess decades of trash tabloids have done the job.

    What baffles me is that a major European country simply turns it back on what's arguable the largest post-WW2 peace effort in Europe.

    On the other hand, if your heart isn't in the project, one should just leave. The EU will be better off without having a country whose primary function was boycotting the EU.

    But as an Anglophile, this feels like a huge slap in the face. My heart is bleeding ...

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    1. Phil Dutre,

      I think that many people in the UK never saw the EU as anything other than a common market/free trade area, and as its role changed it was portrayed in a very negative fashion by a lot of the media and some politicians.

      I think that as people began to see what they thought of as growing interference in what they considered to be purely internal matters, resentment with the EU began to grow. The grants that benefited parts of the UK regions and industries were forgotten or ignored, and what we paid in was portrayed as being wasted money ... and the rebates were marginalised.

      My personal opinion is that the EU needs to be reformed for the benefit of every EU member, and that the UK should have been leading that reform. Unfortunately that isn't going to happen now ... and that is everyone's loss.

      All the best,

      Bob

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  21. German flats from now on, instead of British rounds ... ;-)

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  22. With regards to Xaltotun of Pythons comments, as someone who has lived in Cornwall for over 30 years, I can understand how a majority of the Cornish voters took the Brexit option.

    Much of the EU funding in our county is understated and there is also a high proportion of older residents who have retired here and have little stake in the local economy, which perhaps colours their views on the benefits (or otherwise) of the UK being a part of the EU (the post-referendum demographics do show that older people were disproportionately likely to vote to leave the EU).

    While Cornwall is a beautiful place to live (and I would certainly not wish to leave my adoptive county), in my experience many of the people who have settled here do so because of the ‘lifestyle benefits’, as there are certainly few other benefits with regards to employment or business unless you are in the tourist industry. As a wargamer with a gaming related business Cornwall is also painfully distant from major shows and retail opportunities!

    Having worked in the arts and charity sectors, I fully appreciate the level of EU Convergence funding that Cornwall has received over recent years but, sadly, much of this does not appear to benefit many of the population of the county so goes unnoticed. With approximately 1/3 of my business coming from other countries within the EU, I voted to remain and consequently view the next few years with some trepidation. I believe that the UK and Europe as a whole will be diminished as a result of the exit decision.

    However, I also think that we must be positive and make the best of things and embrace the opportunities that the future offers us. History teaches us that those nations that dwell upon recovering past glories invariably fail whilst those which strive to make a new future for themselves are more likely to prosper.

    Best regards and thanks for a great blog.

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    1. Cincinnatus,

      Thank you for such an informative and well argued contribution to this discussion. I suspect that your situation is by no means unique, and as events unfold over the next few weeks and months, more and more people will come forward with similar stories.

      I hope that the effects of Brexit on your company are not as bad as they could be. We need small businesses in the UK; they are the often-underrated backbone of our economy.

      All the best,

      Bob

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  23. From over here on the other side of the world, I simply can't believe it. I thought that reason would win comfortably, despite all of the vacuous rhetoric for leaving. If this vote is anything to go by, then President Trump is pretty much a certainty. Is this the Age of Insanity whereupon the dream of liberal democracy implodes?
    You're taking the verdict as one should Bob, but I would not blame you for sitting there and shaking your head at your fellow countrymen.

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    1. Natholeon,

      There is already a move to have a second referendum where at least 75% of the population has to vote and 60% have to be in favour of leaving or staying for the vote to carry.

      I don't think that this will happen; neither do I think that the petition for London to opt out of the UK will achieve much more than a debate in Parliament. (London voted to remain in the EU, along with Scotland and Northern Ireland.)

      All the best,

      Bob

      PS. Perhaps 'President' Trump will annex the UK as the 51st State of the Union! Or he might just buy it up cheap and turn it into a new theme park called Trumpton!

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    2. "There is already a move to have a second referendum where at least 75% of the population has to vote and 60% have to be in favour of leaving or staying for the vote to carry."

      And I think that's the point. I can live without the 75% turnout - you have voting as an option, and as long as you do so, people will be too lazy to turn out, or not do so for their own reasons. But this major step in the way the country operates is being taken based on the narrowest of margins. A margin that narrow the other way - in favour of Stay - may have triggered a second vote a few years from now, and would certainly have caused discussion and compromise as the strength of feeling against the EU was integrated into our dealings. But the Leavers seem to think that a 52/48 vote is a mandate to change the country for everyone - Remainers must like it or shut up. It's absurd.

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    3. Kaplan Kobold,

      It would appear that the anti-EU campaigners never really expected to win, and the 'Remainers' did ... hence the acceptance by both sides that a simple majority vote would suffice. Now we have an unexpected result, both sides are dashing about trying to make sense of the situation they find themselves in.

      To misquote Lauel and Hardy 'it's another fine mess we got ourselves into!'

      All the best,

      Bob

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  24. All my fellow countrymen, regardless how they voted, were ill-served by the machinery of the remain / Brexit campaigns.

    Most people I know we're desperate for 'real' information as how to come to an informed decision and that just didn't materialise to the degree necessary.

    I am not commenting on what was the 'right' outcome as I reserve the right to keep my vote private and the right outcome is of course whatever the electorate choose in a democratic process - what I am saying is that regardless of what we voted for, we were all let down by our politicians and even the media could not stand apart and deliver some impartial and balanced factual advice.

    It will carry on for several days and weeks as the media grab headlines and individuals seek to position themselves for their own ends. If there is anything to sigh about - it is that.

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    1. Norm,

      I totally agree that the level of real information and analysis was swamped by personal attacks, scare-mongering, lies, and nationalistic rhetoric. I only hope that things will improve once people have had a chance to calm down.

      All the best,

      Bob

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  25. I think it's still too early to speculate on just how bad the effects of the Brexit will be (although sadly I suspect, 'very'). Unfortunately the media age we live in means there has to be an immediate and constant stream of opinion on the TV, radio and internet...I'm amazed how many people have turned out to be financial and political experts in the space of 24 hours :)

    I voted Remain and I'm still convinced that the exit is a bad thing, especially for young people but we'll have to see where the rollercoaster takes us. Apart from the economy, my biggest concerns are around the implications for Scotland (possibly a good thing for us to have IndyRef2) and especially for Northern Ireland and the Republic where calls for a referendum on unification (which sounds like it's unlikely to be entertained) could lead to a step back to the bad old days.

    Despite being gutted by the result I don't get the petitions for a push for a re-run of the referendum. Like it or not we have the verdict and unless something dramatically changed we're stuck with it. I can only hope that there are some sensible heads burning the midnight oil in Europe finding a way to keep some kind of positive relationship open.

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    1. Alastair,

      You are right about it being too early to tell what the eventual outcome will. For good or ill, it will happen regardless.

      I also have concerns about the future of the UK as an entity, and I feel that Scotland and - to a lesser extent - Northern Ireland, might feel let down by the majority of voters in England and Wales.

      I do hope that the idea of a second referendum does not get anywhere. I might have voted to remain in the EU, but I am not in favour of going through the whole process again.

      Now is the time for our politicians to stop squabbling amongst themselves and to get started on drawing up a plan for the future. My only fear is that no one as yet appears to be capable of doing that.

      All the best,

      Bob

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  26. Why are people so pessimistic about the future? Britain is no worse off than countries such as Australia, New Zealand, Canada and most everyone else in the "real" world. They don't seem to need anything like the EU, and they haven't imploded or sunk without trace. In fact we are far better off than Greece, Portugal, Spain and most of the eastern European EU countries. And now Britain doesn't have to ask Brussels' permission any longer for ANYTHING.
    As expected, the doom-mongers have had a field day, but just give it time and little bit more "intelligent" thought, and stop trying to rubbish Britain. If you want to "rubbish" somebody, then try those unelected prats in Brussels and their idiotic laws.

    When I voted in 1975, it was to join the "Common Market", a trading community of equals. I did not vote to join the undemocratic monster that the EU has become.
    To me the EU is some crazy idea thought up by a small clique of politicians and unelected faceless bureaucrats too high on power and too blinkered to see what they were doing. And woe betide anyone who might hold an opinion that don't mesh with their own. Their only answer appears to be "Just toe the line, and stop rocking the boat!"

    By the way, you can add Austria, Sweden to that list of countries who may be considering their own referenda. Good luck to 'em I say.

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    1. If you think the EU is "some crazy idea", you should perhaps read some non-UK newspapers or media. I am really wondering what the British press, media and politicians have been telling their citizens all those years.

      And if you're comparing yourself to eurosceptics in other countries, well, you're in good company. Try to look up some of their political viewpoints ...

      What really saddens me is that apparantly much of the dabate in the UK has been on the basis on lies, incomplete truths, wrong facts.
      I don't blame the British citizens. But I do blame the British politicians and press. You might not realize it, but the vitriolic tabloids are really unique to the UK. Has there been anyone defending the EU as a positive project during the campaign?

      But anyway, Britain's heart has never been with the EU. So it's better to leave, rather than stay a member and boycott the process for many years to come.

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    2. Steve Turner,

      When I voted in 1973, it was in favour of the UK joining a Common Market. I understood that this required the UK to give up some of its independence, but thought that the advantages it brought easily outweighed the cost. As the creation of a politician union moved up the agenda I must admit to certain concerns, but I hoped that our politicians would help the EEC evolve into something I could continue to support.

      They didn't ... and as a result they were party to the growing move towards 'rule by Commissioners' and Eurocrats. They continued to look inwards rather than outwards, and those UK politicians who did move into the EU politician arena never seemed to take a broad view of their role. If they had, we might not be in the mess we now find ourselves in.

      I always hoped that the UK could have become a leading nation within the EU, but we abrogated out chance to do so.

      All the best,

      Bob

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    3. Bob,

      YOu're right that the British politicians never rose to the occasion. The UK, as a major country in Europe, could easily have played a role similar to France or Germany in influencing EU policy. But for some reason, it never happened. The UK always took the role of being the ones that tried to boycott everything. Sad, but true.

      The doesn't mean the EU has a 100% approval rate in all other countries. Far from it. But the EU, despite its faults, is still seen by many as something valuable, not be thrown away lightly.

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    4. Phil Dutre,

      The British popular media - aided and abetted by some politicians - have always pushed a certain point of view with regard to the EU. It was not helped by the apparent diktats that sometimes emerged from people like Jacques Delores, which led to the famous/infamous 'Up yours, Delores!' healine in The Sun newspaper. Add in the occasional silly-season stories about British sausages not meeting EU standards and how straight bananas had to be, and you have begun to poison peoples' minds against the EU.

      The EU is by no means perfect, but I hoped that by staying in the UK could have helped it develop into something much better that the UK would be proud to be a member of.

      I really despair of some of the people of my age group who voted to leave. I heard one say that she wanted the UK to go back to what it was like in 1973. From what I can remember, we had rampant inflation, rising fuel prices, industrial and social unrest, underfunded public services ... and complaints about the number of immigrants coming in and taking our jobs.

      Do people really have such short memories that only see things through rose-tinted glasses? Apparently yes, so let's forget about the good things that the EU helped us to achieve, and let's concentrate on the not-so-good things.

      One final thing; thanks to the way British democracy works, we may have voted to leave the EU but no one has yet envoked Article 50 ... and that is not likely to happen for at least a month or so.... and a lot can happen and will need to happen in the meantime.

      All the best,

      Bob

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    5. Phil Dutre,

      I think my last comment may have crossed yours in the ether!

      I think that on this particular element of the EU in/out debate, you and I are in agreement.

      All the best,

      Bob

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    6. Hi Steve, to point out the negative consequences of the situation is not about "rubbishing Britain", but an honest appraisal of circumstances. Whether you like that assessment or not is by and by, but it isn't an attempt to belittle Britain.

      To be a patriot is to love your country, but love doesn't mean you stop questioning the object of your love. In fact it's a duty of the patriot to point out when he thinks things are wrong.

      When this love is blind, we slip into nationalism.

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    7. Nundanket,

      I love my country, but I am not blind to its imperfections, and I am quite willing to voice my opinions as to what I perceive those imperfections to be.

      All the best,#

      Bob

      All the best,

      Bob

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