Monday, 25 July 2016

Continuum of irrationality

One month after the Brexit referendum, there has been an understandable backlash against wild generalisations denigrating the Leavers (mostly based on the tragicomic correlations shown by the charts mapping the votes based on level of education, job qualifications, age and rural vs. urban locations).

It is rather deplorable that despite the triggers for this rather divisive backlash, the Leave camp has been resorting to communications that, if anything, re-enforce the perceptions and statistics they objected to.

A quick list of just one month worth of problematic trends of thoughts:

1. "Remainers wanting to kill democracy" has been a rhetoric (and even headline in the case of e.g. The Express) that targeted eminently democratic and fundamentally constitutional measures taken by some Remain campaigners. Petitions, demonstrations and debates in media and online are all fundamental rights.

2. It is painfully ironic that those in the Leave  camp over-using the word "democracy" need to be reminded of the fundamental tenet of the Constitution, laid down ever since Oliver Cromwell: the Parliament is sovereign, therefore a referendum and clapping or shouting on the streets does not automatically make the Parliament take action in one or other direction.

Hence calls for respecting the Parliament's constitutional sovereignty, i.e. needing a vote in the House to make the referendum result actual reality is not undemocratic... nor it is an act of "Remoaners" wanting to twist the referendum until it suits their own agenda...

3. It is also painfully ironic, how vitriol is poured onto "Remoaners" because some signed petition for a 2nd Referendum. The latter, as also pointed out on this blog quite some weeks ago, cannot be justified.

However, pouring vitriol on "Remoaners" is tragicomic considering the fact that on 16 May, Nigel Farage stated in printed and electronic media, that he will demand 2nd referendum if the results are very close...

4. It is further height of irrationality, that Farage stepping down was said to be "understandable" as he has no control or influence in what happens after the Referendum, since he is not an MP and he is not in Government.

It is irrational and self-defeating circular "logic" at best, since Farage's (immediately withdrawn) promises during the campaign have been said to be nonsense exactly because he had no influence and no say in turning them into reality, as he is not an MP and not in Government...

The Remain camp stating this back then was ridiculed by the Leave camp, but now the Leave camp is using the very same line as justification and explanation...

5. Farage's withdrawal from the fallout was thanked in social and electronic media, as he "has done so much for British people to have a say". His campaign was based on us "not having a say in EU"...

It is again ironic, as the same person has barely turned up in the European Parliament, where he was elected to represent this country... In the famous fishing law debates, he turned up once in 42 debates... but he could campaign on the Thames about how "British fishermen have no voice in Europe".

6. Lastly, just based on one month of irrational discourse, one could point out to the Leave camp that objecting to wild generalisations by the Remain camp is not done best by using wild generalisations in the opposite direction...

Whilst the stats have eminently shown that indeed vast majority of low-educated, low-skilled workers voted to Leave, fundamental logic and reasoning should tell Leave camp voices that this does not mean all Leave voters are low-educated low-skilled workers...

Perhaps the fundamental pillars of reasoning could be taught in school at early age, so that some could realise that A -> B does not mean B->A, and if it sometimes does, then it has to be proven with dedicated methodology.

Unfortunately, Leavers calling all Remain campaigners "Remoaners" just makes the former look and sound as highly illogical moaners... who cannot grasp even the above basic logical flaw.


The goalposts have been moving already, in  both camps, and in the new Government, Brownian movement is afoot - with the triggering of Article 50 being now postponed beyond the end of this year.

The very divided British society has to show whether it can function as a society of two opposite viewpoints... the recent democratic exercise has created a situation well known to US citizens, but the Brits are now starting to learn how to co-exist and function in conditions when the society has been split almost exactly down the middle... well, discounting the 29% of people who have now taken part in the Referendum...

One hopes that above set of glaringly irrational and illogical thought patterns will gradually fade, but somehow first month's tendencies are not terribly encouraging. 

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