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wonderpup

Q: When is a vote not a vote? A: When it produces the wrong outcome

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Not so long ago I was invited by my goverment to participate in a process that they called a 'referendum'- a process that they had themselves voted to initiate- the process involved attending a polling station, placing my cross on a piece of paper and then placing that piece of paper into a ballot box with the expectation that my cross would be counted along with all the other crosses made by other people who also attended   polling stations across the country and that the result of this process of counting would in due course lead to an outcome that would be decisive and beyond question.

There was something familiar about this process- it strongly resembled the same process by which my goverment itself was elected- the same polling station was used, the same little pencils were provided to make my mark and even the ballot paper itself was not unlike the ballot paper I used to cast my vote in the election of that government.

But now I am being told by many of those MPs who voted to hold this referendum that while it had every outward appearance of being a decisive process it was in fact nothing of the kind- in reality this 'vote' was nothing more than an opinion poll that had no legal or constitutional standing whatsoever.

The argument they make is that only they-via the power invested in them due to their electoral success- can decide the outcome- not me with my cross on a piece of paper.

But here is my problem:

How can it be that the same people who draw their legitimacy from the clearly stated voting intent of the majority can argue that the clearly stated voting intent of the majority has no legitimacy?

Does this not result in a self contradiction? If a majority vote has no legitmacy then they have no legitmacy- so we find ourselves in the surreal situation in which the same people who claim to be acting by the will of the majority are citing this will in order to frustrate or obfuscate the will of the majority- that majority in whose name they claim to be acting.

But just as it's logically absurd to talk about teeth biteing themselves, the democratic mandate derived from a majority vote cannot be used in order to overturn the outcome of a majority vote- without voilating the very  legitmacy upon which it insists it is acting.

If all political power is ultimately derived from the majority then to use that power to frustrate the clearly expressed intent of the majority in a referendum is an inherently indefensible positon that can only bring the entire process of democracy into disrepute.

No amount of legal sophistry regarding the 'black letter' law concerning the status of the referendum vote can negate this problem, for the simple reason that the law itself is a product of the legitmacy derived from the vote of the majority and so cannot be said to supercede that legitmacy.

So while those who seek to frustrate Brexit might succeed in winning the legal battle they will ultimately lose the war because the law itself is a derivative of the will of the majority and that majority will in time simply replace those lawmakers who seek to frustrate their will with others who will see the thing get done.

The only outcome of this grubby legal effort to frustrate those who voted for Brexit will be to sow confusion and dissention across the politcal landscape and may well result in exactly the kind of extreme polarisation of politics that so many of the 'remain' camp attribute to those who voted differently to themselves.

 

 

Edited by wonderpup

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6 minutes ago, wonderpup said:

Not so long ago I was invited by my goverment to participate in a process that they called a 'referendum'- a process that they had themselves voted to initiate- the process involved attending a polling station, placing my cross on a piece of paper and then placing that piece of paper into a ballot box with the expectation that my cross would be counted along with all the other crosses made by other people who also attended   polling stations across the country and that the result of this process of counting would in due course lead to an outcome that would be decisive and beyond question.

There was something familiar about this process- it strongly resembled the same process by which my goverment itself was elected- the same polling station was used, the same little pencils were provided to make my mark and even the ballot paper itself was not unlike the ballot paper I used to cast my vote in the election of that government.

But now I am being told by many of those MPs who voted to hold this referendum that while it had every outward appearance of being a decisive process it was in fact nothing of the kind- in reality this 'vote' was nothing more than an opinion poll that had no legal or constitutional standing whatsoever.

The argument they make is that only they-via the power invested in them due to their electoral success- can decide the outcome- not me with my cross on a piece of paper.

But here is my problem:

How can it be that the same people who draw their legitimacy from the clearly stated voting intent of the majority can argue that the clearly stated voting intent of the majority has no legitimacy?

Does this not result in a self contradiction? If a majority vote has no legitmacy then they have no legitmacy- so we find ourselves in the surreal situation in which the same people who claim to be acting by the will of the majority are citing this will in order to frustrate or obfuscate the will of the majority- that majority in whose name they claim to be acting.

But just as it's logically absurd to talk about teeth biteing themselves, the democratic mandate derived from a majority vote cannot be used in order to overturn the outcome of a majority vote- without voilating the very  legitmacy upon which it insists it is acting.

If all political power is ultimately derived from the majority then to use that power to frustrate the clearly expressed intent of the majority in a referendum is an inherently indefensible positon that can only bring the entire process of democracy into disrepute.

No amount of legal sophistry regarding the 'black letter' law concerning the status of the referendum vote can negate this problem, for the simple reason that the law itself is a product of the legitmacy derived from the vote of the majority and so cannot be said to supercede that legitmacy.

So while those who seek to frustrate Brexit might succeed in winning the legal battle they will ultimately lose the war because the law itself is a derivative of the will of the majority and that majority will in time simply replace those lawmakers who seek to frustrate their will with others who will see the thing get done.

The only outcome of this grubby legal effort to frustrate those who voted for Brexit will be to sow confusion and dissention across the politcal landscape and may well result in exactly the kind of extreme polarisation of politics that so many of the 'remain' camp attribute to those who voted differently to themselves.

 

 

Sing a song of self-pity.

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I think it's not really a vote, even if it's called a vote. As "injin" used to say, the ballot box is just a suggestion box for slaves.

Edited by Pindar

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I think you'll find the parliamentarians refusing the will of the people will all be quoting Edmund Burke, who reportedly said something to the effect that the people who voted for him were owed his judgement but not his obedience.

Or something vaguely like that, as I recall.

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As someone who voted leave I don't expect us to actually leave. The question was binary and I couldn't endorse the EU which is clearly failing. The mess is there was no plan to leave and those who voted leave will have all different ideas on what it should mean. This mess is deliberate and it could take years to resolve.

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Sing a song of self-pity.

I expected to lose the referendum vote- and had I done so I would have accepted that outcome as a fair result of a democratic process. There is a difference between losing and being cheated of victory- a difference that no amount of legal sophistry can annul.

You might celebrate the undermining of the democratic process, I do not- I think it's dangerous and will in time lead to precisely the kinds of extremism in politics that those on the remain side claim to abhor. If you cheat people of their democraticlly arrived at outcome how can you then expect them to respect institutions whose legitimacy is predicated on democratically arrived at outcomes?

A greater gift to the extremists I can not imagine than to send the message that even when you vote it counts for nothing.

Edited by wonderpup

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1 minute ago, interestrateripoff said:

As someone who voted leave I don't expect us to actually leave. The question was binary and I couldn't endorse the EU which is clearly failing. The mess is there was no plan to leave and those who voted leave will have all different ideas on what it should mean. This mess is deliberate and it could take years to resolve.

The question of the United Kingdom leaving may in fact be moot.

The European Union may fall apart irrespective of what the people in the UK want or wish to happen.

The political forces and cross currents in various countries are largely at cross-purposes, and many are very powerful indeed.

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Personally, I believe the vote was rigged to ensure a "leave" outcome. My theory is that the powers that be have decided that Britain's future lies far beyond the confines of Europe and the EU. If the UK is free to trade with the rest of the world without German tariffs, it will be far better than merely being a principality of Berlin. 

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2 minutes ago, interestrateripoff said:

As someone who voted leave I don't expect us to actually leave. The question was binary and I couldn't endorse the EU which is clearly failing. The mess is there was no plan to leave and those who voted leave will have all different ideas on what it should mean. This mess is deliberate and it could take years to resolve.

Brexit will be a set of complex and fraught negotiations, and much will depend on what our adversaries in the EU demand, and what we are prepared to concede (if anything). I do not understand why Parliament wants a role at the outset of negotiations, unless it is to scupper them.

When we negotiated to enter the EEC in 1972, I don't remember much debate about what we would have to give up, and what we got in return. Only subsequently did it turn out that (reportedly) the EEC was ****-a -hoop at what they extracted from us. One thing in particular, we made no demand to retain our fishing grounds, when the other EEC countries (reportedly) would have allowed us to keep them exclusive.

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2 minutes ago, onlooker said:

Brexit will be a set of complex and fraught negotiations, and much will depend on what our adversaries in the EU demand, and what we are prepared to concede (if anything). I do not understand why Parliament wants a role at the outset of negotiations, unless it is to scupper them.

When we negotiated to enter the EEC in 1972, I don't remember much debate about what we would have to give up, and what we got in return. Only subsequently did it turn out that (reportedly) the EEC was ****-a -hoop at what they extracted from us. One thing in particular, we made no demand to retain our fishing grounds, when the other EEC countries (reportedly) would have allowed us to keep them exclusive.

I apologize for using ****-a-hoop. I didn't realize the phrase would be automatically amended by the website on grounds of taste. I think you understand what I meant.

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1 minute ago, onlooker said:

I apologize for using ****-a-hoop. I didn't realize the phrase would be automatically amended by the website on grounds of taste. I think you understand what I meant.

hula?

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The result in percentage terms was a small majority for Leave, because 17410742 votes against 16141241. It's well-established that this indicates a win for Leave but I am having trouble actually finding why that should be. In many other areas of politics the number of votes means nothing in itself - for example in 2015 UKIP got 3.9 million votes but only one seat.

So why exactly does that small percentage mean that Leave wins? Was simple-majority-wins just too obvious to specify, because the question was a binary choice? I expected this to be an easy to answer. Can anyone help me scratch this itch?

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One prime minister promised a vote so that we may vote for them.....another prime minister we did not vote for will look like they are doing what we voted for so that we might vote for them...... politics. ;)

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3 minutes ago, Funn3r said:

The result in percentage terms was a small majority for Leave, because 17410742 votes against 16141241. It's well-established that this indicates a win for Leave but I am having trouble actually finding why that should be. In many other areas of politics the number of votes means nothing in itself - for example in 2015 UKIP got 3.9 million votes but only one seat.

So why exactly does that small percentage mean that Leave wins? Was simple-majority-wins just too obvious to specify, because the question was a binary choice? I expected this to be an easy to answer. Can anyone help me scratch this itch?

Democracy is the tyranny of the majority.

The tyranny of the minority is called something else.

We're supposed to be a democracy.

 

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1 minute ago, SpectrumFX said:

Democracy is the tyranny of the majority.

The tyranny of the minority is called something else.

We're supposed to be a democracy.

 

Thank you I can't argue with that at all. I was looking for a more technical answer though.

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The irony is that the last court of appeal is the European Court of Justice.

Correct- so all those who argue that the referendum vote can be ignored on the basis that it has no actual legal standing are in effect arguing that the british people have no right to decide their own future without that right being granted to them by a court based in Luxembourg.

Is this actually a coherent position? After all we are supposed to be a soveign nation right? So how is it possible that our national  sovereignty is now subject to an unelected legal body in a foreign country?

If we accept the premise that a national referendum to leave the EU cannot ultimately be legitimised without the sanction of an EU body then we are very deep indeed down the rabbit hole of absurdity. This is where the current legal gamesmanship could be taking us.

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25 minutes ago, wonderpup said:

I expected to lose the referendum vote- and had I done so I would have accepted that outcome as a fair result of a democratic process. There is a difference between losing and being cheated of victory- a difference that no amount of legal sophistry can annul.

You might celebrate the undermining of the democratic process, I do not- I think it's dangerous and will in time lead to precisely the kinds of extremism in politics that those on the remain side claim to abhor. If you cheat people of their democraticlly arrived at outcome how can you then expect them to respect institutions whose legitimacy is predicated on democratically arrived at outcomes?

A greater gift to the extremists I can not imagine than to send the message that even when you vote it counts for nothing.

Stop ******ing whining. You've been doing it for years.

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1 minute ago, wonderpup said:

Correct- so all those who argue that the referendum vote can be ignored on the basis that it has no actual legal standing are in effect arguing that the british people have no right to decide their own future without that right being granted to them by a court based in Luxembourg.

Is this actually a coherent position? After all we are supposed to be a soveign nation right? So how is it possible that our national  sovereignty is now subject to an unelected legal body in a foreign country?

If we accept the premise that a national referendum to leave the EU cannot ultimately be legitimised without the sanction of an EU body then we are very deep indeed down the rabbit hole of absurdity. This is where the current legal gamesmanship could be taking us.

It's because they are vvankers. They would have to increase their vote by 8% just to draw level. As I said vvankers, vvankers who don't understand why we live in a society like we do compared to other places.... Well f**k off then.

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The result in percentage terms was a small majority for Leave, because 17410742 votes against 16141241. It's well-established that this indicates a win for Leave but I am having trouble actually finding why that should be. In many other areas of politics the number of votes means nothing in itself - for example in 2015 UKIP got 3.9 million votes but only one seat.

So why exactly does that small percentage mean that Leave wins? Was simple-majority-wins just too obvious to specify, because the question was a binary choice? I expected this to be an easy to answer. Can anyone help me scratch this itch?

The number of MPs in the house of commons who gained a lower majority than another candidate standing in the same constituency election is zero. This is why we count the votes, in order to establish which of the candidates has gained the right to represent that constituency.

If the number of votes cast to establsh an outcome were not a valid way to decide that outcome than why would there be a need to vote at all?

All elections are the outcome of a majority vote- the only variable being the rules and constraints under which those votes are to be cast. In the case of the referendum the rule was that every vote would be counted and the side with the highest total of votes would prevail- there is nothing in any way strange or unusual about this concept.

Put another way- try to define a meaning for the word 'vote' that does not in any way make reference to the idea of counting or totals and you will discover that the word has no meaning- so 'to vote' imples counting the way 'to fall' implies gravity- in the absence of a count there can be no purpose to voting, and the only reason to count is to arrive at a conclusion as to the numerical differece between those who voted one way and those who voted another.

So the idea that counting votes is a flawed way to arrive at the outcome of a vote makes no sense, since the only reason to cast a vote is in order for it to be counted.

 

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Relatives abroad tell me how our vote has engendered faith that they too might be free of the EU. They struggle to understand why so many in the UK love the EU, especially the young. When I suggest that they think they'll be able to work in Europe they berate me with their unemployment figures. One suggests their only hope is if the EU could be dismantled will they stand a chance of working in Europe.

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1 minute ago, the_duke_of_hazzard said:

We're supposed to be a parliamentary democracy.

 

Yep, and that's why they held the referendum.... they couldn't decide so they asked us. We told them.

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