The Referendum: A Reply to A.C. Grayling


David McDonagh

[The philosopher A.C. Grayling has demanded that Parliament should ignore the result of the Referendum on Membership of the European Union.]

The aim of the EU was to destroy the UK, so pulling out of the EU is dodging UK suicide.

If I favoured the warmongering EU [which I never did but always held it in hatred] I would never say it was good for the UK as that is very clearly false. Its aim is a new nation where the UK is broken up as zones of the new super-state.

The devolution to break up the UK also broke the Labour Party, as it aided the SNP to take over in Scotland.

Despite his little book on the imbecilic Ludwig Wittgenstein being fairly good, Grayling seems to be rather weak minded himself.

Grayling says that the referendum is not de jure binding but he was told that MPs promised to honour it. So the MPs have a duty to honour it and the de jure meme is not relevant.

He was told the country decided to leave. He feels that only as only 72% turned out it was not the country that decided to leave after all but why should that be germane? The other 28% had better things to do. Often when England decided it was merely the King that did so.

Yes, the Conservative manifesto promised a referendum and to endorse the result but Grayling feels it also promised to go on with the national suicide of the EU membership too. He seems to lack the wit to realise that this means the latter was not thereby promised.

He says, falsely, that the result of the referendum was not clear. But it did clearly vote by a majority to leave the EU.

Clearly, there is nothing complex about whether the UK pulls out or whether it stays in the EU till the EU polishes the UK off. What Grayling imagines the people were unclear on is unclear.

The nature of the EU is clear enough, even though Grayling seems to know nothing about it. My guess is that he is pretending to be ignorant.

People who do not like immigrant know full well what they do not like about them. The main thing immigrants do is to destroy the sense of a proper homeland for the nation. They rob nationalists of their home. That is a massive external cost and it cancels out what many economists think of as the gains of mass immigration.

The government and the media have told one and all that immigration was an economic boon the last 20 years. 40 years ago they said the opposite. But lately they have forgot their old case against mass immigration but none seem to vie the two cases. Instead a blind eye has been used to look at the older case.

Where are the quarter of the population who do not feel the costs of mass immigration? Grayling seems to think if they knew what he imagines he knows then that cost might be worthwhile but that looks like his own ignorance, and even his crass bigotry, to me.

Ditto on the nature of the backward EU.

The state did run a long campaign to get the public to vote for the EU. They did say it was valuable for months. But Grayling wants them to do yet more.

What negative ideas of mass immigration were false? Grayling does not seem to know.

Why should ex-Pats vote?

If the 16/17 year olds had the vote presumably Grayling would today be on about the 14/15 years olds being left out.

The principle of no taxation without representation is sheer cant, as Dr Johnson made clear before 1776.

It is not absurd that the executive had the power to take the UK out of the EU without a referendum. Indeed, it is a de jure point on par with the advisory point on the result of referenda.

Similarly, the UK can pull out of NATO, the UN, the WTO and the rest of the backward organisations that Grayling imagines have merit.

The globalised economy is not tightly organised, its insecurity is one reason many fear it.

National sovereignty is not empty rhetoric.

Equality and Political Correctness is cant and empty rhetoric. So is the claptrap about the EU being about peace when its aim is for power and war.

Yes, we will abandon EU citizenship.

UK education does not look up to much.

Whether UK youth are locked out of the EU depends on the EU.

Why does the backward Grayling value those Orwellian super-states?

What does it matter that the UK is minor power?

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22 thoughts on “The Referendum: A Reply to A.C. Grayling

  1. I happen to believe it would have been reasonable for the government to demand a 60/40 or a 70/30 majority or whetever, or to impose at least some higher bar on the referendum result. The government could easily have done that, but they did not. The referendum was announced as a clear ‘in/out’ referendum, implicitly if not explicitly to be decided by simple majority, and the government was equally clear that they would implement the result. They simply never expected to ‘lose’ the referendum. That is the word that is often used – ‘lose’. So was it the government versus the people, or what? The proper thing for the government to do would have been to set out their stall, then place the decision in the hands of the people. The government should have been mere bystanders. There is no ‘win’ or ‘lose’ as far as the government is concerned. There is a vote, one way or the other, and their job is to implement the will of the people. That is what Mr Cameron told us anyway.
    I am intrigued that Mr Blair has risen from the dead and been re-incarnated as an ‘insurgent’ to try and save the day for his EU buddies. I must look out his 1983 election address when he stood for the consitutency of Sedgefield on a platform of withdrawal from the EC.

    • Yes, they thought they would win so they set loose terms, Hugo.

      It was Remain or Leave.

      As only 9% of UK trade is with the EU, and 91% with the rest of the world, we can have freer trade outside the EU.

  2. Dear David,

    I don’t normally do this, but I feel that I need to respond point by point. I’ve put your comments into italics, and enclosed mine within curly brackets {}.

    The aim of the EU was to destroy the UK, so pulling out of the EU is dodging UK suicide.

    {No, the aim of the EU founders was to create a new superstate to rival “America” or the “Soviet Union.” Destroying the UK was only incidental to their plans.}

    If I favoured the warmongering EU [which I never did but always held it in hatred] I would never say it was good for the UK as that is very clearly false. Its aim is a new nation where the UK is broken up as zones of the new super-state.

    {I hate war as much as you do. And I want the smallest possible political units. So I favour Britain over Europe, England over Britain, Wessex over England, and so on. Ultimately, I favour the individual, the partnership and the family over all politics.}

    The devolution to break up the UK also broke the Labour Party, as it aided the SNP to take over in Scotland.

    {Is that good or bad? Still, it makes a case for the English to get rid of the Scots.}

    Despite his little book on the imbecilic Ludwig Wittgenstein being fairly good, Grayling seems to be rather weak minded himself.

    {Unsubstantiated ad hominem here. But I agree that Wittgenstein was not fit to be even a student at the college, at which I studied mathematics under people like Simon Norton, Jeffrey Goldstone and Bela Bollobas.}

    Grayling says that the referendum is not de jure binding but he was told that MPs promised to honour it. So the MPs have a duty to honour it and the de jure meme is not relevant.

    {Naïve. The state has no checks on its power, and no responsibilities for what it does. That’s THE problem of our times. Representative democracy is, at best, an illusion. The Brexit fiasco has begun to shatter that illusion.}

    He was told the country decided to leave. He feels that only as only 72% turned out it was not the country that decided to leave after all but why should that be germane? The other 28% had better things to do. Often when England decided it was merely the King that did so.

    {In 2005, Blair had only 22% of eligible votes. Brexit had 37%. If Brexit isn’t valid, then all “laws” made by Blair and co from 2005-10 (at least) aren’t valid either}.

    The state did run a long campaign to get the public to vote for the EU. They did say it was valuable for months. But Grayling wants them to do yet more.

    {Eh? I want back the taxes I paid for that. Along with all other taxes I’ve paid that weren’t used for my benefit}.

    Why should ex-Pats vote?

    {Naïve again. The political class will do anything they can that gives them a better chance of getting their way.}

    The principle of no taxation without representation is sheer cant, as Dr Johnson made clear before 1776.

    {So, you think it’s OK to tax productive people down into poverty? And you call yourself a libertarian?}

    Similarly, the UK can pull out of NATO, the UN, the WTO and the rest of the backward organisations that Grayling imagines have merit.

    {Yes, go for it as a first step.}

    What does it matter that the UK is minor power?

    {Not at all, my friend.}

    • Thanks for your reply, Neil. But I think you mainly err in it!

      Yes, it was an incidental aim to destroy the UK, Neil, so it was an EU aim. Devolution schemes were part of this.

      I eulogised Grayling’s book on Wittgenstein but noted that he made many points that suggested his mind was also weak. I dealt with them one by one. So no ad hominem fallacy, which is to attack the man instead of answering the germane points. To reply to all the points as well as to attack the man too is no fallacy whatsoever. The fallacy involves changing the topic. So it only arises when we change the topic.

      The MPs were bound by their freely given promise to honour the result. It is that that renders the de jure idea, that Grayling want them to act on, void.

      My next point is that the nation decides often on the basis of one man; the king. It is still the nation qua nation deciding. I see nothing naïve in any of those points, Neil. Any historian is bound to hold it is the nation that thereby decides.

      You never paid taxation Neil; it was taken off you by the state. The idea that you have a say in it is naïve. Dr Johnson made similar points to the breakaways that later formed the USA. This factual stance is not at all alien to liberalism but at one with the liberal meme that taxation is theft. I am no democrat, or statist. My points are factual/positive.

      I call myself a liberal, Neil.

      But I do think that nationalists bear costs; as a matter of fact.

      We agree on the barrenness of imperialism, I suppose.

      • [quote]”The MPs were bound by their freely given promise to honour the result. It is that that renders the de jure idea, that Grayling want them to act on, void.”[unquote]

        This is incorrect. It was not the state in toto that promoted the EU to the British people, only its executive branch did so: the Government. The Government promised to honour the result, Parliament made no such promise. In strict legal and constitutional terms, the referendum result remains non-binding.

        • That is contrary to what most MPs have been saying on the media, Tom. The two main parties promised to honour the result, only the Lib-Dems and SNP ones failed to do so, thus only about 80 MPs have made no such promise; apart from Kenneth Clarke of the Conservative Party who did explicitly opt out.

          • This may be the case – I haven’t been following what every MP says in the media or exactly how they say it – and I agree there is a very strong moral case that MPs should obey the will of the majority, as expressed in the referendum, especially as the majority for Brexit in England was quite substantial.

            But what I am referring to is the legal and constitution position, which is that the referendum was non-binding and Parliament is sovereign and supreme. Any political promises made by MPs in the media are of no value against this ancient keystone.

            The point at which I will become concerned is when it becomes clear that Parliament will block an Article 50 notification. If that happens, then Parliament will have failed morally, something that should not be taken lightly as the continuation of the entire system depends on our moral consent and goodwill. Where things go from that point will be anyone’s guess.

            Let’s hope we never find out.

            • I doubt Parliament will block it. If they do they know they will lose their seats in the general election that will inevitably follow. There won’t be a second referendum either – Project Fear has been comprehensively discredited since the referendum. If they held a second referendum we would deliver the same result with an increased majority.
              One has to marvel at the stupidity of Mr Cameron. If he had introduced a higher threshold for a vote to leave, which would have been perfectly reasonable, all this could have been avoided. And he would still be Prime Minister.
              The Remainers are running around like headless chickens trying to find a way out of this self-inflicted predicament. It is early days yet. They were caught off guard. Given time they will come up with something that will frustrate the will of the British people one way or another.
              I’m off to the bookies with £1,000 that says we will still be in the EU (i.e. still bound by the Treaties) in 2020.

              • Yes, what you are referring to is my point about moral consent. Even Labour MPs have already stated that they will not block an Article 50 notification, they merely want Parliament to be able to give its consent. Whether they can be believed is difficult to say, we will see. Let us not forget that the Establishment have their Plan B (EFTA membership or something similar) that keeps us in the Single Market. For that reason, I would reiterate my view that these problems are a ruse, not to block Brexit, but to weaken it.

                    • Depends what you mean by ‘know’. We cannot truly ‘know’ anything, but I am as confident that we will never be allowed to leave the EU as I am that the sun will rise tomorrow. Yes, I know it doesn’t really ‘rise’ but you know what I mean 🙂 I am certain that if we are to leave the EU, we will need to be prepared to fight our way out. This has been my consistent view for the twenty five years that I have been involved in this game, and I see no compelling reason to change it now.

  3. In reply to your last point, I remember ken Clarke once remarking that we could be reduced to the status of ‘Switzerland with nuclear weapons’ or something like that. Would that be so terrible?
    And in reply to your first point, I think there is indeed a movement to ‘destroy the UK’. There is a mix of driving forces behind the ‘Project’, but I believe that certainly figured in there somewhere. Why else would they make this the only country in the world where it is a criminal offence to trade in Pounds & Ounces, Feet and Inches, to give just one example. Also consider that ‘England’ ceased to exist as far as the EU is concerned decades ago. ‘Scotland’ is a Euro-Region. ‘Wales’ is a Euro-Region. ‘Northern Ireland’ is a Euro-Region. The country formerly known as England was wiped off the map decades ago and broken into nine Euro-Regions, none of which contains the word ‘England’. Many in the EU are simply envious of our history and of our success, and they want to pay us back for winning the War. Also of course there is an obvious movement to split us off from our Commonwealth cousins and American friends, and instead make us cleave to the bosom of our European ‘partners’.

  4. If the turnout for the referendum needs to be mandated at a minimum, what does that say of GE, which are usually at lower turnout rates, and in many cases involve equally or more significant policy change implications?

  5. Yes, given things as they are, the executive can make big decisions, Maurice. The turn out at the last election is not germane, nor is an endorsement by parliament as a whole. So the recent court decision was in error but the Supreme Court might still not overturn it.

    • Personally I think the legal ruling was correct, but it won’t stop Brexit and it isn’t meant to. The purpose of these shenanigans is to steer us towards a Plan B that keeps the country in the Single Market. Parliament now has the perfect pretext for ensuring this.

      I think the real problem here was the ad hoc manner in which the referendum was called, arising from a throw-away promise by David Cameron. There was no proper planning or preparation for what would need to happen in the event the vote would be for Brexit. For example, there was no provision in the relevant statute to make the result binding on that parliament.

      • The media is now also engaged in endless histrionic spin, trying to blame every single negative piece of economic news on Brexit, and also blaming on it all the Government’s decisions to incur higher debt and end its ‘austerity’ drive. They also seem unable to link the rising levels of price inflation with Carney’s decision to lower interest rates.

        • Quite right Maurice. The actions in reaction taken by the UK state has caused some upset rather than just the leaving of the backward EU. Outside we can be nearer to free trade. That brings the UK better trading conditions.

          • They are definitely trying to find ways to legally block Brexit, e.g. they’re now carping on about whether leaving the single market is entailed by it, which is something the entire referendum campaign was predicated upon (otherwise the Remain side’s histrionic scare-mongering is even more flaccid.) The Lib-Dems seem to be spurred on by their rather insignificant victory in Richmond Park, which just re-affirms that remoaniacs will vote for remoaniac parties, and little more. Interestingly, some MPs are now ‘warning’ that hard Brexit will cost the tories the next GE; quite the opposite, I believe they will lose it if they DON’T deliver on hard Brexit and are instead seen to be watering it down. I believe the LDs have now identified themselves as the enemies of the democratic will they often gush over, and so has the inconsistent SNP. Would they have liked it if Wales, England and Ireland got a say over whether they stayed in the Union, or whether London (Parliament) did? I should think not, yet this is precisely the case they are trying to advance for staying in the EU.

            They’re not for independence, much like the LDs are not for democracy; they are eurofanatics.

      • Well Tom, there are no end of the executive doing similar things and the court tended to hold that all the executive does can be sanctioned by parliament, quite impossible on logistic grounds alone.

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