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Bill Black: BREXIT – Tony Blair

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Yves here. Bill Black is running a series that shreds the logic of some prominent articles criticizing the Brexit vote. Just the way Blairite members of the Labour Party used the Brexit vote as the excuse for executing a long-standing plot against Jeremy Corbyn, so are other politicians and pundits using the results to anchor pet narratives.

Tony Blair, who if he had any sense of decency would disappear from politics and try to rehabilitate himself through humanitarian projects, instead is becoming a leading voice in promoting the idea that the elites need to squash populism firmly. Bear in mind that Blair has also volunteered for being the chief Brexit negotiator with the EU.

By Bill Black, the author of The Best Way to Rob a Bank is to Own One and an associate professor of economics and law at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. Originally published at New Economic Perspectives

Tony Blair disgraced his office as Prime Minister and continues to disgrace it as lobbyist for murderous kleptocrats.  Blair’s column claims personal credit for a series of supposed triumph, blames the BREXIT vote on the Tories, and throws Jeremy Corbyn, his successor as Labour Party leader, under the bus.  The title of Blair’s article refers to the democratic vote in favor of BREXIT as a “coup,” which helps explain why he specializes in getting ever wealthier by fronting for tyrants and kleptocrats who he presents as evolving democrats.  The English language is just one of the things Blair helps torture.

Blair’s central complaint is against “populism.”  He is enraged that the UK voters “demonized” “the experts” who warned that BREXIT would cause an economic catastrophe.  He is appalled that “the left” in the UK is appalled by the conduct of the City’s bankers that became wealthy by gutting and filleting their customers to the tune of 50 billion pounds on payment protection insurance (PPI), ran the two largest cartels in world history, made hundreds of billions of pounds in “liar’s” loans, laundered money for drug cartels, kleptocrats, and terrorists, and nations trying to develop nuclear weapons, and helped elites worldwide evade paying their taxes.  The bankers’ frauds made them spectacularly wealthy and drove the financial crisis.  Blair’s destruction of effective financial regulation and supervision made all of this possible.  As in the United States, the elite bankers were able to become ultra-wealthy by leading these frauds and scams with complete impunity from prosecution.  But Blair is appalled that “the left” wants to restore the rule of law to the City of London’s elite bankers.  Blair is outraged that after the sordid record of the bankers’ crimes, abuses, and staggering incompetence the public refused to defer to those bankers as “the experts” on BREXIT.

The campaign made the word “expert” virtually a term of abuse, and when experts warned of the economic harm that would follow Brexit, they were castigated as “scaremongers.”

***

The political center has lost its power to persuade and its essential means of connection to the people it seeks to represent. Instead, we are seeing a convergence of the far left and far right. The right attacks immigrants while the left rails at bankers, but the spirit of insurgency, the venting of anger at those in power and the addiction to simple, demagogic answers to complex problems are the same for both extremes. Underlying it all is a shared hostility to globalization.

There first sentence of the quotation contains two clues to Blair’s ideology.  The “political center” is conclusively presumed to be correct and to be “seek[ing] to represent” the poor and progressives.  Neither presumption is true, as Blair’s policies proved.  Blair redefined, and still defines, the “political center” as positions held by the “Red Tories.”  By this he meant the abandonment of traditional Labour Party positions in favor of a wide range of traditional policies of the Tories.  Blair repositioned the UK “center” far to the right.

Blair’s second sentence is the standard false equivalence – seeking to restore the rule of law to the City of London’s bankers who grew enormously wealthy by leading the frauds and abuses that caused the financial crisis and looted tens of millions of their customers is equivalent to ignoring the UK’s international obligations to refugees fleeing with their children in a desperate effort to preserve their lives from the abattoir that is Syria and instead demonizing those refugees without any judicial process.  Blair’s use of “right” and “left” is also false.  There are plenty of folks on the right that are appalled by the City’s bankers’ frauds and abuses and people on the left that are worried about large scale immigration.  Labour voters frequently voted in favor of BREXIT despite their party’s leaders opposition to BREXIT.

Blair is in despair because it has become clear to most citizens of the UK that he and far too many political leaders represent their own self-interest.  Blair is in despair because most citizens in the UK despise the bankers who made him politically powerful and wealthy while crushing the economy and view the bankers as dishonest and financially incompetent or malicious.  Blair’s fundamental attack is on democracy.  He implicitly claims that only people that he considers to be members of his redefined “center” are capable of devising policies worthy of enactment.

The center must regain its political traction, rediscover its capacity to analyze the problems we all face and find solutions that rise above the populist anger.

The historical reality in the UK, as in the U.S., is that many of the policies that Blair labels as “center” were enacted largely because of “populist anger.”  Those policies were frequently the product of superior “analy[sis]” and “solutions” provided by people who were considered far from the “center” at the time they conducted the analysis and suggested new “solutions.”  The idea that the UK “center” has the exclusive “capacity” “to analyze” and “find solutions” is preposterous and arrogant.

More basically, when there is a democratic vote decided by the majority as there was on BREXIT, the “center” wins the vote.  Blair refuses to recognize the majority of UK citizens who made up the “center” on this particular issue.  This is revealing because the BREXIT vote was the quintessential issue on which reasonable people, could disagree – and that includes reasonable people within the same political party.  For Blair, however, the “center” of the UK voters on this issue who voted in favor of BREXIT are consigned to being extremists who are unreasonable people because they disagreed with Blair’s policy preference.  This is ironic because Blair’s credo was always moving policy to the “center” of voters’ views on issues.  Under his own credo he should have been leading the Labour Party towards support for BREXIT.  Corbyn is facing overwhelming criticism from other party leaders, however, for not pushing Labour supporters away from the center on BREXIT.  Corbyn’s strongest supporters are the young, but the young were the non-centrists on BREXIT – they were generally strong opponents of BREXIT.  Again, reasonable people could and did disagree about BREXIT and the degree of support for BREXIT varied greatly along multiple demographic, geographic, class, and ideological dimensions.

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39 comments

  1. m-ga

    There’s a potentially important background to Blair’s recent political activity, and to the attempted coup against British Labour leader Corbyn.

    This Wednesday, the UK Chilcot report into the Iraq war will be published. This is widely expected to criticise Blair for his role in the Iraq military campaign. The report has been seven years in the making. It has been repeatedly delayed, often for political reasons. For example, the most recent delay was instigated by Cameron, since he didn’t want Chilcot in the headlines at the same time as the run-up to the Brexit referendum. This suggests that the contents will be both highly toxic and unavoidably newsworthy.

    There is already indication that UK politicians will (rightly) make capital out of the report:

    http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2016/jul/03/tony-blair-may-face-impeachment-on-release-of-chilcot-report

    Indications are that Labour leader Corbyn will go further, and ask for Blair to be tried in the Hague for war crimes. As Labour leader, Corbyn can make the call under parliamentary immunity, without risking legal action (e.g. by Blair’s lawyers).

    As an anti-war activist with pretty much impeccable pedigree, Corbyn’s accusation against Blair will carry some weight. This is even moreso if he makes the accusation in Blair’s former role of Labour leader. A side effect – which is likely to be a bonus rather than an incentive for Corbyn – is that it puts many of his opponents within the parliamentary Labour party on the back foot. This is particularly the case for those members of the PLP who voted for war in Iraq.

    It seems likely that the timing and orchestration of the plot to remove Corbyn, in the days immediately after the Brexit referendum result, was designed to already have him out of post. This would have made it impossible for Corbyn to use his parliamentary access as Labour leader to make accusations against Blair. He’d have had to make the accusations as a back bencher, and they would have had far less force.

    When it became clear, towards the end of last week, that a leadership contest would be required to remove Corbyn, his challengers backed off slightly. In part, this is because it wasn’t clear that they would win. It may also be because the window for stopping Corbyn’s response to the Chilcot report had passed.

    It’s unlikely that Blair will receive a trial for war crimes in the Hague. But, if that event were to come to pass, it would be a fitting end to Blair’s career. Having Blair tried in a court on the European mainland would also be an apposite comment on Britain’s retreat from European affairs, which is happening at the same time as Britain’s actions in Iraq have contributed to the crisis of migrants fleeing from terrorists which is now sweeping through mainland Europe.

    1. TedWa

      Thanks for laying out Brexit so clearly Bill, we don’t get that kind of analysis anywhere on the MSM. And thanks for the added comments m-ga. As far as the Hague, one can hope. If he were to be tried there, surely Bush and Cheney would be right behind him.

      Democracy may play out that same way here come Presidential election time. People are sick of neoliberal neocons controlling policy.

      1. different clue

        That would require power-players in America with the power and the desire to be able to send Cheney and Bush there. Are there any such? Anyone who came close would get the Kennedy Treatment, and they know it. That knowledge would be a deterrent right there.

    2. windsock

      Corbyn may well apologise for the role the Labour party played in the war and that could lead to the return of many voters who sibsequently abandoned Labour.

  2. LE

    Thanks to both Yves Smith and m-ga for throwing the spotlight on Blair and state of mind.

  3. paul

    The tribune of the blairites,Angela Eagle seemed to be on the edge of a nervous breakdown on television this morning. I think she has just realised that everyone else had just taken two steps back to leave her as front runner.
    The sheer desperation to get Jeremy to stand down is a testament to the plotters’ mindblowing bathos.

    1. Clive

      Yes, it’s not even that they only despise the electorate. That would be one to file under “depressing but not exactly unsurprising”. But it’s worse than that. They despite their own party members too. The Labour Party MPs probably wish that they’d thought of the Democrats scam — hold primaries but then rig the results.

    2. paul

      The guardian reported Angela’s rather distressed doorstep interview as a ‘stark Warning’ to Jeremy Corbyn.
      I wonder if she will actually stride into the propellers of democracy?
      The guardian is circling the same plughole as mandelson’s matalan Machiavellis.

      1. Uahsenaa

        They also reported on a brief meeting between Corbyn and Watson in which the deputy tried to convince his leader that “the membership isn’t enough” going forward. It seems Corbyn rightly understands that the membership really is enough, since, in the long run, anyone behaving like a petulant child is likely to simply not get selected when the boundaries get redrawn. That’s decided by the membership, or the CLPs more precisely, so long as Corbyn holds firm and retains that support, he wins the long game. They know this, and come Wednesday, the Chilcot report will light all the fires beneath sitting MPs who voted for the Iraq war (including the “unity” challenger Eagle), and Corbyn can simply sit back while they get roasted over something he was on the right side of.

        Corbyn doesn’t strike me as cynical or petty, so I doubt he’ll call for a rebellion from beneath the PLP rebels, but going forward, I doubt he’ll be as willing to compromise as he was initially, in part, because he just doesn’t have to.

        1. m-ga

          Corbyn still has to win in the re-election contest. This isn’t as straightforward as it looks. The shadow cabinet resignations – staggered over several days for maximum news cycle impact – resulted in vicious media coverage. The Guardian was particularly vitriolic. By last Wednesday, Corbyn looked like a dead man walking. The immediate assault, and Corbyn’s apparent indifference to PLP opinion, must have been detrimental to Corbyn’s support among the Labour membership.

          This week, the picture is a little different. It’s become apparent that the PLP rebels were expecting Corbyn to resign quickly, and didn’t actually have a back-up plan. This makes their actions look a lot like bullying, which might increase sympathy for Corbyn. Sometimes the PLP does appear querulous, such as their meeting last night where there are reports of MPs saying “we want our party back” . This ignores that the mid-90s Blair takeover was essentially theft of a party, and a betrayal of a membership, that Corbyn continues to represent. The PLP have even exhumed Neil Kinnock as a supporter. Kinnock was the overseer of Labour’s 1980s demise, and lost two general election campaigns to Margaret Thatcher.

          The PLP also don’t have a candidate. The talk is of Angela Eagle taking over, but it’s not clear that she would be any more electable than Corbyn – she’s well outside the identikit Western political mould. As you suggest, her record of backing the Iraq war will be particularly unhelpful to her this week. There have been some rumblings of Owen Smith standing against Corbyn instead.

          It’s possible, as the week wears on, that Corbyn will begin to look steadfast rather than stubborn. If (and I think it’s a big if) he can survive the coup attempt, his position would be much-improved.

          One of the immediate advantages for Corbyn is that he no longer needs to keep his shadow cabinet populated with Blairite MPs. Immediately after being elected as leader, Corbyn had reached out to the whole party, and had put some of his opponents in key positions. The call to unity was a good idea, but a downside was mixed messaging from Corbyn’s shadow cabinet. It was clear that a lot of them didn’t like Corbyn or his policies.

          Those MPs have now resigned from the shadow cabinet. This should give Corbyn the opportunity to install a shadow cabinet more reflective of the direction that he, and his supporters among the Labour membership, would like. The downside to this is that there aren’t actually that many MPs in the Labour party who are on board with Corbyn’s programme! The cleansing during the Blair years was severe.

  4. MikeNY

    Of George W. Bush’s political life, we might say nothing in his life became him like the leaving it.

    Can’t say the same about the shameless Tony Blair.

    1. Clive

      I think it was Spiro Agnew who said that, after all, what does a politician have but credibility. It’s a testament to how far we’ve sunk that when one thinks of Bush and Blair, you can’t stop another thought from popping into your head that, looking back, maybe Agnew, Nixon, Ford and the like weren’t, on reflection, so bad. Or that “bad” is always a relative term.

      1. Carolinian

        Let’s not forget that Blair was a disciple of Clintonism and thought their triangulating ways were the path back to power for Labour. But at least in England Blair is now reportedly widely despised by much of the public if not the elites. Meanwhile here in America the Clintons are the thing that wouldn’t leave.

        1. DJG

          Yes, Carolinian, it is important to point out that the name Clinton (Hillary and / or Bill) can be attached to every use of “Blair” in the essay above. The tacking toward the imaginary center. The reliance on experts of the moment (the reinventing government clan, the it-takes-a-village second, the triangulation with regard to LGBT rights, endless war as policy / propaganda / economic “stimulus”).

          If Corbyn succeeds in having Blair hailed into court for war crimes, Americans can join the festivities by chartering a 747 and filling it up with a couple hundred criminals of our own. All part of the Anglo-American “special relationship” that has been toxic for years.

          1. OIFVet

            Dubya has the decency, however tiny, to keep his trap shut and stay out of sight, out of mind. Blair has no such decency, he places his vileness and uncouthness on full public display. Yes, I would love to see him, Bush, and Cheney dragged into the Hague and be delivered a well-earned comeuppance. Matter of fact the Nobel Peace laureate in the Oval Office should join them. I won’t hold my breath, but it does make for a nice little daydream on this July 4th…

        2. DarkMatters

          Not to be too contentious, but you seem to be implying that H is NOT despised by the American public, because of her support. Doesn’t the fact that she is driving so many people into the arms of the otherwise unlikely Donald a contrary indicator?

    1. DarkMatters

      Thanks for the link; so far read about half of this interesting booklet. Ranciere’s discussion of what democracy can turn into seems to sideline the fact that democratic politics are inherently manipulative, in that interest groups are trying to get the masses to view things according to some preferred viewpoint. The groups can shape the character of democracies by suppressing informed open discussion, based on critical and independent thinking. The few with such tendencies are uniformly castigated (Trump) or suppressed (Bernie), or dismissed as conspiracy theorists or somesuch. Widespread honest, free and open discussion would lead to unpredictable ideas that might take countries into unpredictable directions, likely out of control of the interests, and who knows with what agenda. The low intellectual level of our media does its soporific part by maintaining a low level of discourse and thought in our dominant public discourse. Despite this, challenges to elites are arising everywhere, and it will be interesting to see to what extent the elites will coopt these into safe channels. (‘interesting’ is the only positive thing I can say about this likely outcome.)

      1. John Wright

        Wasn’t the late economist Mancur Olson’s thesis that interest group political groups extract economic favors from democratic governments with their single minded focus?

        Here is a quote from Wikipedia:https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Logic_of_Collective_Action

        “The book noted that large groups will face relatively high costs when attempting to organize for collective action while small groups will face relatively low costs, and individuals in large groups will gain less per capita of successful collective action. Hence, in the absence of selective incentives, the incentive for group action diminishes as group size increases, so that large groups are less able to act in their common interest than small ones.

        So we have an apparently small subsidy (per capita) given to an interest group by Congress, a seemingly small tax break (per capita) added for another interest group..

        I don’t believe Olson saw the system naturally repairing itself as more economic warts are added to the economic burden until collapse occurs.

        The current actions of the 1% seem to give credence to Olson’s premise as vast swaths of the USA population are ignored except when there is an election or new war to promote..

  5. Hsaraway

    Whatever the state of the MiddleEast before the ludicrous so called ‘war on terror’ created by Bush and his cronies and supported by the loathsome Blair on this side of the Atlantic the fact is that matters are far, far worse now. What a legacy to leave the world. Just chain them up….. War criminals all.

  6. Adrian H.

    Cameron and Blair should create a bipartisan hedge fund to more effectively monetize their insider status and information. Next they could invite Obama to join and make it an international bipartisan hedge fund. Then they could rent Bill Clinton’s client list and really go big…

  7. samhill

    The real horror is that every elected PM or President in every country since Tony Blair has been Tony Blair. It’s horrible and dispiriting, but it’s also like cancer, you’re desperate to see a cure.

    1. Luciano Moffatt

      Actually the first president of a workers party to defeat his principles might be Carlos Menem (Argentina, Peronist party 1989) before Bill Clinton (1993) and Blair (1997), it would be interesting if someone find an earlier traitor of the workers class.
      It seems that things started earlier in South America, like Pinochet was the first to apply the neoliberal program followed by Thatcher and Reagan.
      Now after a decade of left leaning governments (Chavez, Kirchner, Evo Morales, Correa and Lula) something similar appear both in the US (Sanders) and UK (Corbyn). But the bad news is that the good wave in South America is in retrogress, with Dilma Roussef impeached and with a neoliberal government in Argentina.
      Interesting and frightening times in the world, depressing times in Argentina.

      It was initially the case in Argentina. Carlos Menem from the Peronist party (which up to that point (1989) was similar to Blair, actually anticipated him.

      1. RBHoughton

        That was just Friedman and the Chicago boys promoting an alternative that looked sure to make a few dollars; an alternative to Keynes which we are now recognising and regretting. Even the delightful Jeffery Sachs (who put Poland on the path to misery) has had second thoughts.

        Its dynamic – good and evil exist in the world. Can we hobbits prevail over Mount Doom?

  8. Chauncey Gardiner

    Blair and the “Red Tories” should be loudly and repeatedly reminded that it was the Tory leader who made the decision to hold the Brexit referendum. I would bet David Cameron didn’t make that decision all by himself.

    As the song lyrics of David Byrne in the Talking Heads’ “Once in a Lifetime” asked, I further suspect there are those in the City of London and elsewhere who are even now asking themselves the timeless question, “How can I work this?” if they have not done so already.

    With austerity policy advocate George Osborne still UK Chancellor of the Exchequer, I suspect one possible answer might be similar to how then US Treasury Secretary Paulson and his fellow travelers worked TARP after Congress initially voted against it in autumn 2008. A payments system is a fragile construct.

    However, the more probable approach will likely be long implementation delays, as we have already seen.

    It is the opposition of current US political leadership to accepting the outcome of the Brexit vote that as an American I find most disturbing regarding this matter.

    1. Quentin

      Brexit will not happen. There are no mysteries here. It will just be ignored and repackaged but the EU is not leaving the EU. No way.

    2. Syzygy

      Corporate Europe Observatory reported that Cameron had used the threat of a Brexit to promote the interests of the financial sector:

      From the day a ballot on UK membership was first announced by David Cameron three years ago, the financial sector has sought and won significant lobbying victories thanks to a complicit UK government and EU efforts to keep the City of London happy. The appointment of Jonathan Hill as European commissioner for financial services, the deregulation agenda of the so-called “Capital Markets Union”, the impending roll-backs on rules to protect against financial instability, and special decision-making privileges for the UK should the interests of banks come under attack, are all highlighted as the key triumphs of the sector and its allies in the UK government since the prospect of Brexit was raised as a serious possibility.

      The deal in essence was that Cameron would only back remain if it was in return for the deregulation ‘required’ by the City of London. The only thing that is surprising is the level of hubris. Cameron clearly believed it in his power to deliver either a Brexit or Remain vote.

  9. Sally

    Blair has the morals of the worsts kind of TV evangelist. If he had an ounce of integrity he would set up his own political party and call it the Goldman Sachs party. He has little real support from people. He hides behind media friends and big banks enriching himself by pretending he represents the working man. He is a fake. If he was a stick of Blackpool candy he would have FAKE written through him.

    We now know that in the last two weeks of the BREXIT campaign the Blairites were not knocking on doors fighting for their remain vote but sitting in Big bank owned yachts in the Med plotting a coup. Their whole existence is about convincing billionaires and oligarchs that they can deliver votes to a party which will then betray those voters by siding with the said oligarchs. They are the British version of The Clintons. He lied about war in Iraq, and I doubt he can ever tell the truth about anything. He and his band of corrupt followers would sell out anyone or any principle for more favour and cash from the elites. Truly horrible people.

    The great irony is they turned the British Conservative party into a slightly right of centre mirror image of themselves, and in doing so they made themselves redundant. They now rely on jobs in the EU for their lavish life style. So BREXIT means that most of them will have to get a real job. Not much call for talentless charlatins. Blair of course will sell himslef out to any tyrant that comes knocking. He will die a rich man but with his reputation mired in blood , lies and and shit.

  10. fosforos

    I object to the phrase “a democratic vote decided by the majority” as any kind of description of the “Brexit” vote. It was not a democratic vote for two crucial reasons. First, it was “advisory” so nobody had any reason to believe it could force the invocation of “Article 50.” And second, it was framed so ambiguously that nobody (as is now perfectly clear) had any idea what effects its passage might have, so it decided (and, being advisory, could decide) nothing at all. I also disagree that “reasonable people could and did disagree.” Faced with a dishonest choice, there was only one course for reasonable people to take: abstention. Alas, it seems that the British political class, left right and center, was sorely lacking in reasonable people.

    1. Solange Lebourg

      Yes, the referendum was, under our constitution, advisory. Parliament is obliged to take its results into account but not treat it as binding without considering other relevant matters.

      The British constitution is a representative democracy. Nobody has given us the opportunity to discuss or vote on any change to that. Unless and until they do, it is legally and constitutionally illiterate to assume that democracy begins and ends with a non-binding referendum. In our democracy, members of parliament are bound to act in the best interests of the country as a whole in accordance with their consciences. For Parliament to accept the views (as expressed on one day, though perhaps they would be different on another) of 37% of those eligible to vote as determining a complex and controversial matter would be unlawful.

      A super-majority of perhaps 2/3rds is usually required (in countries where binding referendums are held) of a referendum result that might affect fundamental freedoms of citizens or make constitutional change. This is to ensure that the view of the electorate is settled and not liable to change from one month to the next. The views of the electorate on this issue do, in fact, continue to change from one day to the next.

      37% of eligible voters supported Leave, not a majority in the country. It would not be democratic to allow a bare majority of 51.2% of those who voted to deprive people of their citizenship and associated rights to live and work in the countries where they have created lives for themselves. Yet this would be the effect of depriving millions of British people of their EU citizenship. Not only the views but the rights and interests of the people who voted to remain – the 48%, as they are calling themselves – continue to matter and should be taken into account.

      Many people complained before the vote that they did not have enough information to make a decision one way or the other. Many of these same people did the honourable and sensible thing by not voting. As they become better informed about the consequences of remaining or leaving, their views and rights and interests should also continue to matter and be taken into account by the government and Parliament.

      Then there are the statements made by the Leave campaign that the Leave campaigners themselves, immediately after the vote, admitted were not true. The £350 million per week that they would spend on the NHS. The claim that we could negotiate a new deal in which we had the benefits of EU membership without the costs. In particular, that we could participate in the single market without allowing freedom of movement. The claim that, by leaving, immigration would stop. People voted Leave on the strength of these statements and many of them are now complaining that if they had been told the truth, they would have voted Remain. The result of the referendum was obtained at least to some extent by misrepresentation. This reduces the weight that Parliament ought to give the referendum result.

      A vote for Leave does not say what the country should do instead. The government has no electoral mandate for any particular form of Leave. Yet there is any number of possible end-states and huge differences between them: Join the EEA. Have no relationship at all with the EU and default to the WTO rules while trying to negotiate new trade deals elsewhere. Follow the Swiss model, or the Canadian model. Come up with some entirely new form of relationship. One thing seems certain, however: the promise of many of the Leave campaigners – access to the common market but no free movement of persons – is not, in the real world, an option at all.

      In our constitution, proposed radical policy changes and legislation must be referred to the people in a general election. The would-be Leavers should tell us what they want us to do instead. We should have the chance to see whether we like that better than what we’ve got now. We should have the chance to vote on what happens next. This is how our democracy works.

      1. Yves Smith Post author

        Constitutional experts disagree as to whether Parliament needs to be consulted. Last February, when getting approval for the referendum, the Government told Parliament (we quoted the relevant section of the remarks) that it did not need Parliamentary consent to invoke Article 50 if Leave won the referendum.

      2. vlade

        I agree with you in principle.

        The problem is that turkeys are not going to vote for Xmas, and that is what’s required for a new General Elections. TBH, for the new General elections to be fair, it would also need to switch from first-past-post system, otherwise you may still end up with the party that didn’t win a popular vote being the one who gets to rule.

        But of course, people objected to “coalitions” that the proportional vote creates, so didn’t vote for it few years back.

        We get the government we deserve (and I say that as someone living in the UK)

  11. Edward

    This essay questions Bair’s motives (fair enough) but doesn’t discuss the BREXIT on its own terms.

    Tony Blair must be envious of American electronic “voting”; he may feel he missed a huge opportunity by failing to introduce this system in his own country.

  12. flora

    “Tony Blair, who if he had any sense of decency would disappear from politics and try to rehabilitate himself through humanitarian projects,”

    Tony Blair is a salesman on hire to the highest paying vendor.

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