Democracy is voting FOR something

A lot can happen in a few days. The Brexit vote in the United Kingdom has shown us just how the real world and virtual world are connected and controlled. In a democratic referendum last Thursday 51.9 % of those who voted (17.41M people) voted to leave the European Union, against 48.1 % (16.14M) who wanted to remain.

The fallout was almost immediate.

As the Pound Sterling fell to it’s lowest rate in 30 years, there were mass protests from both sides, and cries of “foul play” not only from those on the losing side, but strangely, also from many who voted to leave but on waking to the result, think they were cheated somehow. Many have said that they would have voted differently and they only wanted to register “a protest vote.” Others have claimed they were misled, didn’t understand the full implications, or thought their vote “wouldn’t count.” Well, here’s some sobering news – your votes do count!

Still, at least those complaining did actually vote. At 72%, voter turnout was very high by modern standards, but it still means that more than 1 in 4 voters couldn’t be bothered. That’s 13.04 million wasted opportunities for a voice in the shaping their own future! 

The glory days of Britain may have waned but this small island has given one last lesson to all who live in a hard-won democracy – USE YOUR VOTE and vote wisely. Most importantly, vote on something you believe in, not against something as a rhetoric-fueled protest.

Consider this wisely as we live in dangerous times.

~Richard

Democracy inaction

 

Prompted by this article in the Evening Standard

160625_DemocraticInaction

One:

I didn’t think my vote would count

He mumbled the day afterwards

All I wanted was to make a point

And give Cameron a bloody nose

Now I look at the map

And see four countries where there was one

I don’t know what’s going to happen

I wish we could have a second chance

Two:

I didn’t think my vote would count

He mumbled the day afterwards

I thought it was in the bag

So I went to the pub instead

Now I look at the map

And see four countries where there was one

I don’t know what’s going to happen

I wish we could have a second chance

 
~Richard

Thoughts on Brexit

The Brits have spoken. In a closely run race, fueled by a combination of vitriolic rhetoric, hate-speech, fear-mongering and lies by both sides it appears that the population voted with their gut feelings, as that was all they could trust. Just over half the country will be rejoicing and just under half despairing. It would have been the same whatever the outcome.

This is democracy in action.

The stock markets, who thrive on uncertainty and fear, have plummeted as a knee jerk reaction, even though nothing actually changed overnight. Many people will have lost money and a small, but significant, few will have made a fortune in just a few minutes.

This is capitalism in action.

160624_BrexitThem
All of us always have someone to blame …

Britain, Europe and many other countries now face a period of navel-gazing, hand-wringing and reassessing their world view. What will be the final impact of this move? To be fair, the only thing for sure is we don’t know. This is uncharted territory as no-one has left an integrated community in this way.

The EU is (still) much more than a simple trading bloc; it is a mechanism of maintaining some sort of cohesion across a continent that has been war-torn for centuries. What will be the knock-on effect of Brexit – who can tell? Will others use the example of Brexit to foment grassroots anger and leave also? If nothing else the Eurocrats should, at the very least, take a moment to look at the way the EU machinery works – the unelected officials, bureaucracy and corruption. It’s time to ‘fess up guys and girls, realize you’ve been caught and do some house cleaning. Even a remain vote should have prompted this.

The idea of a united Europe is a noble one, but where did it all go wrong? Self-serving, greedy, narcissistic behavior from within – that’s where.

How sweetly ironic that similar characteristics were exhibited on Thursday by millions of voters on that small island off the west of the European mainland.
~Richard

St George’s Day, and the 400th anniversary of the Bard’s death

I note that today is St George’s Day (the Patron Saint of England) and also the 400th anniversary of the death of arguably the most significant writer in the English language, William Shakespeare. It was the great bard who penned the famous cry to this saint in the Battle of Agincourt speech in his play Henry V:  “Follow your spirit, and upon this charge Cry ‘God for Harry, England, and Saint George!'”

St. George was a Roman soldier who was killed for not recanting his Christian faith. Somewhere along this line a myth grew up around him that he killed a dragon and this is how we generally know him in the UK, and how he is almost exclusively portrayed.

Now, fast forward to 2016 and where many jingoistic groups have relatively recently sprung up in the UK, to support those smouldering hate-filled organizations  who have been around since the early 20th century, and all of whom hide behind a falsehood of National Pride. These groups often associate themselves with the St. George Cross and use terms such as Keep Britain British and other meaningless rhetoric.

How ironic that a Christian Roman soldier, with no known association to England should be used to support the vitriolic hate speech and scare mongering that has been spread throughout the nation regarding immigration and has, to a large extent, driven the country to consider leaving the European Union based on such rhetoric rather than simple facts.

I wonder what the bard would have made of this?

160423_StGeorgesDay
St. George by Raphael

~Richard

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