Friday, June 24, 2016


The horror...the horror. 

It feels like a bereavement. It feels like the Donald Trumps, the Nigel Farages, the Boris Johnsons, the Michael Goves now rule the world. 

I stayed up until 5 am, watching the blue clouds gradually creeping over the map, hiding the light, and I went to bed thinking that maybe I was asleep, having a nightmare. 

Just turned on the news now. It's real.


marja-leena said...

Yes, a horror indeed! We've been following it over here on the other side of the globe, and still reading about what's next.

Tom said...

I just get this nasty feeling that:

"He who sows the wind will reap the whirlwind." Hosea.

I do wonder, when people start using expressions like, "The voice of the people has spoken," and John Redwood's (today on TV), "The Sacred Flame of [the people's?] Will," just what rubbish is being hidden behind such high-sounding rhetoric.

Bryan White said...

Just sounds like a fancy way of saying, "Our side got the votes." Not sure if there's any "rubbish" or anything else sinister hiding in that. Mostly just sounds like basic gloating to me.

Bryan White said...

Whenever you have an issue on the ballot, the side that gets the majority will almost always, always, always talk as though this majority vote constitutes the unified will of "the people" expressing itself in one monolithic voice. That's hardly a new thing. It's one of the basic conceits of democracy.

If the the Remain side had gotten the vote, I have no doubt you'd be hearing things like, "The British people have fully embraced their place in the EU!"

As I said the other day, I know very little about the dynamics or ramifications of this situation and I have no stake in the matter, but it does surprise me that you would read so much into such typical and innocuous statements.

Natalie d'Arbeloff said...

Bryan, it's useful to question 'typical and innocuous statements', whether made by others or by ourselves, because they often reveal long-standing mis-representations of the truth. When people go around saying we must respect the Will of the People, the Voice of the People as if that is a sacred thing, they are forgetting - or shutting their eyes - to the innumerable instances when Vox Pop's decisions are like lemmings deciding to jump off the cliff. Democracy itself needs to be questioned sometimes or it will stagnate and become obsolete. How does any system evolve if it's not questioned?

Bryan White said...

Oh, I'm not saying that "the people" might not make the wrng decision sometimes -- there's a good chance "the people" over here will make Donald Trump our next President *shudder* -- and for all I know, "the people" may have made a mistake in this Brexit situation.

I'm just saying I don't believe that there's any insidious hidden agenda in phrases like, "The voice of the people have spoken." It's par for the course. It's the basic IDEA of democracy. You have a vote and the side that gets the most votes is considered to be indicative of what "the people" (or at least, more accurately and realistically, the majority of the population) wants.

You could take issue with democracy itself, I suppose. I'm not sure what else would be considered "broken" here. But somehow I doubt that there would be any complaints about democracy from the Remain side if that had gotten the vote.

It's kind of like going to a casino. They look like treasure troves of gizmos and bright lights when you're up, and they look like garish traps designed to hypnotize you in order to steal your money when you're down. It's only natural to think that democracy is broken when you're on the losing side of it.

Now if there's something other than democracy going on here, if this WASN'T what the majority of people freely and honestly voted for, well that's something else. But I haven't heard any indication of that being the case.

Bryan White said...

I will add as a footnote, however, that I saw someone share an article on Facebook earlier today which said that there's been a sharp surge in people in the UK googling, "What is the EU?", now that the decision has been made.

You would think people would have looked that up, oh say, BEFORE voting to leave.

So yeah, you gotta love democracy.

Lucy said...

Then there was Farage's breathtakingly tasteless 'we won it without a single bullet being fired'.

Yes of course flowery rhetoric is par for the course, and if the vote had been to remain no doubt they would have tried to drum some up, but commonsense, patience, caution, compromise, reserve, all the worthwhile, necessary things that make the world better bit by bit and aren't glorious, garish, seductive and meretricious, simply don't lend themselves to it so well. This lack of 'passion' was supposedly one of the things that worked against the case to remain. Saints preserve us from passion.

In fact it seems to me there's a hint of hollow desperation in those sort of words from people like Redwood now, and shouts of 'Independence day!' and standing ovations seemed to have melted away and given way to 'shame on you' when Boris emerged yesterday morning. Both men were blustering about how they didn't really think it would be necessary to invoke article 50. Excuse me, but what was this all about then?

I expect you've seen it Natalie but there's a good article here

Natalie d'Arbeloff said...

Lucy, yes, it's an excellent and clear-eyed article. The prospect of Boris Johnson becoming the next PM is one of the scary domino effects of the Leave 'victory' which nobody seems to have thought about seriously during the campaign.

Natalie d'Arbeloff said...

Bryan, I agree with your point but I was trying to look at the issue of Vox Pop, or of 'majority wins' from a philosophical viewpoint. This is not to say that democracy is bad because to say this implies that dictatorship is good: of course not! What I was questioning, I suppose, is how 'the majority' arrives at its judgements, and why those mass judgements are so often flawed. Ignorance is one reason, as your second comment shows: people who are now asking: what is the EU?