Tuesday, June 28, 2016

A Brexit, a Fraxit, A green and yellow baxit!

That's my lyrical contribution to the lunacy that's overtaken the world since Friday morning. It's not as original as the first 9/11 limerick, which I had the honour to compose, but I still think it's worth preserving.

For all the spin about the "very narrow" margin of victory, 52% to 48% is a decent win. Narrow would be .01% either way, a matter of a few thousand votes. This was over a million, and can't be hand-waved away.

Today the stock market is going up, so it looks like the financial temper tantrum is over the worst. But the political temper tantrum is just getting started, with open discussions on how to cancel the results of this referendum.

This is the sort of reckless lawlessness that leads to domestic terrorism and revolution. Mark Steyn has written many times about how essential it is to have freedom of speech, if for no other reason that to allow people to safely vent frustrations:
Nick Lowles defined the ‘No Platform’ philosophy as ‘the position where we refuse to allow fascists an opportunity to act like normal political parties’. But free speech is essential to a free society because, when you deny people ‘an opportunity to act like normal political parties’, there’s nothing left for them to do but punch your lights out. Free speech, wrote the Washington Post’s Robert Samuelson last week, ‘buttresses the political system’s legitimacy. It helps losers, in the struggle for public opinion and electoral success, to accept their fates. It helps keep them loyal to the system, even though it has disappointed them. They will accept the outcomes, because they believe they’ve had a fair opportunity to express and advance their views. There’s always the next election. Free speech underpins our larger concept of freedom.’

Just so. A fortnight ago I was in Quebec for a provincial election in which the ruling separatist party went down to its worst defeat in almost half a century. This was a democratic contest fought between parties that don’t even agree on what country they’re in. In Ottawa for most of the 1990s the leader of Her Majesty’s Loyal Opposition was a chap who barely acknowledged either the head of state or the state she’s head of. Which is as it should be. Because, if a Quebec separatist or an Australian republican can’t challenge the constitutional order through public advocacy, the only alternative is to put on a black ski-mask and skulk around after dark blowing stuff up.
"Cancelling" the results of this referendum tells people the truth: that all the talk about Holy Democracy is a lie. That their doom is to lose forever and watch their enemies smirking in triumph. And you're telling it, not to a fringe group of basement-dwelling misfits, but to 52% of the population, and that percentage the mature, invested segment that a society depends upon to keep things going. If you want to guarantee civil unrest, that's about the best way of doing it.


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