Tag Archives: Brexit

THE “GREAT REPLACEMENT”. 60% of Britons believe in conspiracy theories – Esther Addley * Critical Thinking Skills. Why more highly educated people are less into conspiracy theories – Christian Jarrett.

Leavers are more likely to doubt immigration figures and think there is a plot to make Muslims the majority in UK.

Sixty per cent of British people believe at least one conspiracy theory about how the country is run or the veracity of information they have been given, a major new study has found, part of a pattern of deep distrust of authority that has become widespread across Europe and the US.

In the UK, people who supported Brexit were considerably more likely to give credence to conspiracy theories than those who opposed it, with 71% of leave voters believing at least one theory compared with 49% of remain voters.

Almost half (47%) of leave voters believed the government had deliberately concealed the truth about how many immigrants live in the UK, versus 14% of remain voters. A striking 31% of leave voters believed that Muslim immigration was part of a wider plot to make Muslims the majority in Britain, a conspiracy theory that originated in French far-right circles that was known as the “great replacement”. The comparable figure for remain voters was 6%.

The disparities between those who voted for Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton in the US was even more stark, where 47% of Trump voters believed that man-made global warming was a hoax, compared with 2.3% of Clinton voters.

The figures were the result of a large-scale international project conducted over six years and in nine countries by researchers at the University of Cambridge and YouGov, funded by the Leverhulme Trust. The study was the most comprehensive examination of conspiracy theories ever conducted, and marks the first time academics have explored questions of conspiracy beliefs, social trust and news consumption habits across different countries.

. . . The Guardian

Conspiracy and Democracy: History, Political Theory and Internet Research

The Leverhulme-funded project based at Cambridge University at CRASSH

Directors: Professor Sir Richard J Evans (History), Professor John Naughton (CRASSH), Professor David Runciman (Politics and International Studies)

Theories and beliefs about conspiracies are an enduring feature of modern societies. This is partly a reflection of the fact that real conspiracies do exist, and have existed in the past. But the pervasiveness of conspiracy theories in the twenty-first century suggests that many other factors are also at work, And studying them provides opportunities for understanding how people make sense of the world and how societies function. What does the prevalence of conspiracy theories tell us about trust in democratic societies, and about the differences between cultures and societies? How have conspiracies and conspiracy theorising changed over the centuries and what, if any, is the relationship between them? Have conspiracy theories appeared at particular moments in history, and why?

This ambitious, five-year, interdisciplinary research project aims to explore these and related questions. It sets out not to debunk particular theories but to provide a “natural history” of conspiracy theorising. To do that, the project combines the perspectives, investigative methods and insights of historians, political theorists, network engineers and other disciplines to produce what we hope will be a deeper and richer understanding of a fascinating and puzzling phenomenon.

Conspiracy and Democracy Study

Also on TPPA = CRISIS

Critical Thinking Skills. Why more highly educated people are less into conspiracy theories – Christian Jarrett

Debunking the Conspiratists. The Federal Reserve System, Illuminati and The New World Order. Real Facts.

Brexit: Wrong then, wrong now, wrong in the future -The Guardian. 

In one of the several low points of her stunningly inept general election campaign, Theresa May warned that Jeremy Corbyn would be “alone and naked” in the Brexit negotiating chamber. This week, though, it is Mrs May herself who has been revealed as Brexit’s empress with no clothes. Everything about her performance in Brussels over the last two days has underlined both the larger national tragedy of Britain’s decision to leave the EU and the deepening personal failure of Mrs May’s attempts to deliver it.

The post-Brexit future of EU citizens in this country, and of our citizens in the EU are widespread concerns across our continent. The uncertainty reaches into thousands of homes and affects millions of lives, especially of young people. Mrs May’s insensitive handling of it is both characteristic and a glumly indicative example of a wider Brexit problem that stretches to every horizon.

Britain’s decision to leave the EU was lamentable when it was taken. It remains lamentable now. If it is ever carried out, it will still be lamentable in the future. That is not going to change.

……… The Guardian 

The leave fanatics will have their hard Brexit – even if the price is the union – Jonathan Freedland. 

What a paradoxical story we shall tell our grandchildren about Brexit. The little ones will climb on our knee and we will recall how we bravely seized our independence from hated Brussels, only to destroy our country. Their infant brows will furrow in confusion when we tell them that in order to make Britain great again, we smashed it to pieces.

Was this some kind of terrible accident, they will ask. And we will have to say no, this was deliberate. Our leaders thought escaping the European Union was so vital it was worth shattering the deeper, closer union that had defined our country for more than three centuries. So great was their professed patriotism that they had to break the thing they loved.

The Guardian

 

Never mind the optics, Theresa May’s US dash was mortifying – Jonathan Freedland. 

May’s eagerness to be the first foreign leader to shake that short-fingered hand, the scramble to catch up with Nigel Farage and Michael Gove, gave off a strong whiff of desperation.

Trump managed to get through it without insulting an entire ethnic group, trashing a democratic norm or declaring war, any of which might have diverted attention from May’s big moment. He was on best behaviour, diligently reading the script that had been written for him, attesting to the “deep bond” that connects Britain and the US. May received all the assurances she craved that her country’s relationship with the US remains “special”.

However, these are not normal times. May and her team will be pleased with the optics and indeed some of the substance – artfully, May got Trump to confirm, on camera, that he is “100% behind Nato” – but the underlying truth is that this dash to Washington was mortifying.

Desperation is a scent Trump understands. What he lacks in book smarts, he makes up for in alpha male gamesmanship. His lifelong training was in real estate, an area in which there is rarely such thing as a win-win deal: the more you get, the more I pay.

He will have seen May as that most desperate of creatures: the housebuyer who rashly sold her old house before she had found a new one. Having tossed away Britain’s keys to the European single market, she will soon be homeless – and Trump knows it. For all the niceties – May’s shrewd deployment of a royal invitation for a state visit and her compliment to the president on his “stunning election victory”, flattery which saw Trump glow a brighter shade of orange – he will have seen May as a sucker who needs to make a deal. And he will look forward to naming his price.

The Guardian

A Brexit betrayal is coming – but who will get the blame? – Aditya Chakrabortty. 

Hold off the jibes and sighs over how much poorer Brexit Britain will be. Forget about the mendacity and slipperiness of Boris ’n’ Nigel. In the six months since the referendum these have been the clever arguments to make, the ones that fill the sophisticated newspapers and BBC discussions. But none answer the far simpler and much harder question: then what? What happens when 17 million people get the feeling they’ve been cheated?

That will be the most profound question in British politics, not just in 2017 but for many years to come. As the broken promises of Brexit pile up one on top of the other, so that they are visible from Sunderland, from Great Yarmouth, from Newport, what will the leave voters do then?

The Guardian 

We’ll get a Brexit that suits Europe, not one that suits us – The Guardian. 

David Cameron’s chancer-like gamble, taken for tactical internal party-management reasons, turned out to be the worst political mistake made by any British prime minister in my lifetime.

Theresa May’s government has no strategy, and leading Brexiters do not agree among themselves. 

Many of the people who were misled by the Brexit propaganda, indeed by the Brexiters’ outright lies, during the referendum campaign reportedly voted to stop payments to the EU and reduce migration from the EU – migration, by the way, which in every year since we joined the union in 1973 has been less than inward migration from outside the EU.

Three-quarters of Labour supporters voted Remain.  When the seriousness of the prospective damage from Brexit becomes more apparent – almost certainly hitting the very people who felt “left out” and ignored by the so-called “metropolitan elite” – Labour may summon the courage to be more forthright about the folly of Brexit.

The Guardian

Containing The Populist Contagion – Harold James. 

Trump promised in advance that his victory would be Brexit in spades; and, indeed, when he won, Dutch and French far-right political forces immediately saw his election as a portent of what is to come. So, too, did the “No” campaign in Italy’s upcoming constitutional referendum – upon which Italian Prime Minister Matteo Rentier has bet his political future.

An obvious historical parallel for today is the interwar period of the twentieth century, when Vladimir Lenin presented Soviet communism as a global brand, and founded the Communist International. Benito Mussolini’s Italian Fascism, a response to Lenin’s movement, also adopted an internationalist stance: colored-shirt movements, imitating Mussolini’s Black Shirts, emerged in Europe, Latin America, and Asia, to elevate authoritarianism as an alternative model to liberalism.

While intensely nationalist movements such as Mussolini’s fascists and Adolf Hitler’s Nazis did compete with one another over who was more genuinely fascist, they ultimately united to oppose the liberal order.

Similarly, today’s political revolt may be following an unstoppable logic, whereby every country must close itself off to trade, migration, and capital flows, or risk losing out in a zero-sum game.

As countries reflect on these lessons, they could begin to form defensive regional blocs to protect themselves from the populist contagion. For example, China could start to speak for all of Asia; and the EU might finally find ways to unite against those who would tear it apart. At worst, this new regionalism could fuel geopolitical animosities and reprise the tensions of the 1930s; at best, regional integration could set the stage for sorely needed governance reforms, and thus clear a way out of the populist trap.

Social Europe 

Brexit’s Bitter Winners. 

In a country polarized and paralyzed, an unchecked authoritarian right-wing populism, Trumpism without Trump, is coming to define the political culture.

David Bowie died, and it was all downhill from there. That’s how 2016 felt if you were on the losing side of Britain’s referendum on membership in the European Union.

Post-Brexit Britain is now mired in crisis. The ruling Conservative government, lacking any coherent plan for leaving the union, is embroiled in a bitter legal fight over the process, while a divided opposition contemplates the disintegration of its electoral coalition.

New York Times

Boris Johnson is a clown who has united the EU against Britain – Jean Quatremer. 

The age of such drab characters as Margaret Thatcher and David Cameron is over. No more, it appears, must we suffer leaders equipped with a brain and a sense of the common interest. The hour of the political clown has come.

In a few short weeks, Boris Johnson, the former journalist, for whom facts were never an obstacle likely to get in the way of a good story, has succeeded in squandering what little sympathy and understanding was left in Europe for a Great Britain embroiled in the mess of this referendum.

It will be a “hard Brexit” not because that is what Theresa May wants, but because her future ex-partners consider they have no choice faced with a Great Britain so resolutely indecisive.

If you want something from someone, it is generally wiser to avoid telling them they are an idiot.

The Guardian 

I’m a rabbi, and I’m applying for a German passport. Here’s why. 

Why on earth would I want a German passport? My feelings about Germany were pretty negative for the best part of 50 years. Most of my mother’s family, from Heilbronn in southern Germany, perished. Some of my father’s family perished too, including his beloved grandmother.

I have felt enormous admiration for Chancellor Angela Merkel, for her open arms to the refugees from Syria and elsewhere, which is in deep contrast to the meanness shown by our own government – with the enormous effort needed even to persuade it to take a few hundred children from Calais.
Britain took 10,000 Kindertransport children before the second world war, and many others, my mother included. Why could we not do the same now?

The Guardian 

Richard Dawkins urges New Zealand to offer UK and US scientists citizenship so they can escape ‘redneck bigotry’. 

Evoluntionary biologist Richard Dawkins has reacted to Donald Trump’s shock election victory by urging his fellow scientists to move to New Zealand.

“There are top scientists in America and Britain – talented, creative people, desperate to escape the redneck bigotry of their home countries. Dear New Zealand, you are a deeply civilized small nation, with a low population in a pair of beautiful, spacious islands. You care about climate change, the future of the planet and other scientifically important issues.

Science in the UK and US will be hit extremely hard: in the one case, by the xenophobically inspired severing of painstakingly built-up relationships with European partners; in the other case by the election of an unqualified, narcissistic, misogynistic sick joke as president. In neither case is the disaster going to be short-lived: in America because of the non-retirement rule of the Supreme Court; in Britain because Brexit is irreversible.

The contribution that creative intellectuals can make to the prosperity and cultural life of a nation is out of all proportion to their numbers. You could make New Zealand the Athens of the modern world. Why not write to all the Nobel Prize winners in Britain and America, write to the Fields medalists, Kyoto and Crafoord Prize and International Cosmos Prize winners, the Fellows of the Royal Society, the elite scientists in the National Academy of Sciences, the Fellows of the British Academy and similar bodies in America. Offer them citizenship,” 

The Independent 

The vicious assault on UK judges by the Brexit press is a threat to democracy. 

The Brexit-supporting press has mounted a vicious assault on the three high court judges who ruled in the article 50 case and it has undermined our constitution in the process. The government appears to be fuelling this attack. Sajid Javid, the local government secretary, described the judges as seeking to “thwart the will of the people”.

The judiciary is a pillar of our constitution. Allow faith in the judges to be eroded and that pillar is eroded at a huge cost to our freedoms.

The Guardian 

Moronic British Thuggery and Racism sees Jews flee back to Germany as Brexit fears grow. 

According to recent data, the number of British Jews applying for German citizenship has gone up exponentially this year.
What’s striking about this phenomenon is that it involves Britons whose ancestors desperately fled Nazi rule in Germany and Austria in the 1930s.
They grew up with the memory of their parents’ or grandparents’ traumatic uprooting, the loss of loved ones in the Holocaust and the bitter struggle for acceptance in a British society that reluctantly opened its doors to Jewish refugees before the start of World War II.

Their ancestors were stripped of their German citizenship by the Third Reich; in the years after the defeat of the Nazis, the German government made it possible for the descendants of these refugees to have their citizenship reinstated.
The aftermath of the Brexit referendum has seen a spike in hate crimes and bigotry in Britain, particularly aimed at the country’s diverse mix of immigrant communities.
“It’s blame the foreigners.”
No Herald

Exchange Rate Folly: How The British Government Lost The Plot. 

In these conditions of uncertainty, the exchange rate has collapsed. But the scale of the decline has been greater than anyone had predicted. Sterling has fallen sharply against the US$ to a level not seen since the 1980s and there have been similarly sharp falls against the euro. In these cases there are now predictions that the rates may fall to parity within the next few months. The overall effect of depreciation on this scale is to reduce real national income and overall living standards – the cost of imports is increased and export prices are lowered.

For many years the UK has been running a deficit on its current account. In the second quarter of 2016 this was no less than 5.9% of GDP and deficits on this scale have been common for many years. Of course, a country can only continue to run a large current account deficit if it either has large foreign exchange reserves – the UK doesn’t – or else it borrows extensively overseas. Social Europe 

Brexit politicians are putting UK on a fast track to financial jeopardy. 

How do you take your Brexit? Soft or hard? Quick or slow? It might all seem semantics but for the UK and Europe it is the £1.1tn question. That is the amount banks based in the UK are lending to the companies and governments of the EU27, keeping the continent afloat financially. The free trade in financial services that crosses the Channel each year, helping customers and boosting the economies in the UK and Europe, is worth more than £20bn.

Brexit means Brexit and we are all Brexiters now. But if we get it wrong, that £20bn trade in financial services is at risk. The Guardian

Court battle over Brexit legality. 

Senior judges will hear claims that the government cannot trigger article 50 without parliamentary approval. 

Scores of QCs and lawyers will cram into court four on Thursday, the largest in London’s Royal Courts of Justice, to hear two and a half days of argument that could decide how – or conceivably even whether – the UK leaves the EU. The Guardian 

Tories accused of Lurch to the Right. 

Parts of Theresa May’s speech were however very ‘Keynesian’. 

“People with assets have got richer. People without them have suffered. People with mortgages have found their debts cheaper. People with savings have found themselves poorer. A change has got to come. And we are going to deliver it.”

Earlier in the week Chancellor Philip Hammond confirmed the Government would also ditch Mr Osborne’s target of balancing the budget by 2020 – a symbol of the austerity era – adding that he was instead willing to borrow more to invest in infrastructure.

The shift in economic policy dovetailed with the broader message of her speech, in which she pledged a more interventionist Government and put big business and the rich “on warning” that she would chase them if they broke rules. The Independent 

Balancing the budget a symbol of the Austerity era? Does that imply that the Austerity era is over, at least in Britain? I am very suspicious. 

This Tory is Promising Extra Spending. Isn’t ‘The Market’ up to it? Hypocrites! 

We’ll ride Brexit with extra spending, says Philip Hammond.

With more Corporate Welfare,  yes Socialism, from the peoples meager pockets. Tax cuts for the rich too I bet. 

Deficit Spending? YES, Deficit Spending!  The Independent 

UK heading for hard Brexit, say European diplomats. 

European diplomats are increasingly convinced the UK will sever economic ties with the continent when it leaves the European Union, as hopes of a special partnership languish.
The UK is on the path to “hard Brexit”, namely giving up membership of the EU single market, as well as the customs union that allows free circulation of goods. The Guardian 

Corbyn mark II looks like a leader – he must set out a clear, coherent vision. – The Guardian

In the last year, Corbyn’s leadership has been battered by the most relentless and extreme media campaign against a mainstream politician in modern British history. Labour MPs attempted to turf him out of his office in a botched coup at a time of national crisis, and 172 members of the parliamentary Labour party voted no-confidence in his leadership.
A leadership team that had no expectation of winning last year has made repeated and undeniable mistakes in communication and strategy. Yet not only has Labour grown into perhaps Europe’s biggest political party, but Corbyn has been granted an electoral mandate even greater than his overwhelming victory a year ago. Last year he won 59.5% of the vote. This time he won almost 62% among an even larger selectorate. The Guardian

Brexit latest: Britain not out of the woods warns Bank of England

Britain still faces a “challenging period of uncertainty and adjustment” in the wake of the Brexit vote, the Bank of England has warned in a wake-up call to those who are arguing that the worst is over. The Independent 

Theresa May more Neoliberal than Osborne and Cameron. 

Tory MPs who followed the former Prime Minister fear his successor is pulling the party to the right and are preparing for a fight. Ms May is under pressure from the right wing of the Conservatives to maintain a strong position on leaving the European Union. The Independent

Tory infighting is never a bad thing.