Monday, 14 November 2016

US and UK both have simple solutions.

Both the US and the UK are  facing damaging futures but both have similar, and perfectly legal, solutions for avoiding their self-inflicted wounds

In the US Hillary Clinton won the popular vote for the Presidency: she received approximately a quarter of a million* more votes than Donald Trump.  However, through peculiarities in the electoral system Mr Trump has more votes in the Electoral College, which will actually make the legal decision.

In the UK the popular vote was for leaving the EU but the actual decision lies with Parliament, where the members of both houses are overwhelmingly in favour of remaining.

So, in each country, let the law take its course.

Donald Trump hinted during his campaign that he might not accept the result if he didn't win, with suggestions that the election  would be "rigged."  Who can doubt that, had the results been reversed and he had won the popular vote and  Mrs Clinton the Electoral College he would now be screaming  that the electoral college majority should not be observed?

For Democrat supporters to take a similar line now is not to descend to Trump's level.  The Founding Fathers introduced the idea of an Electoral College for just these circumstances.

This is no time to go ever the the details of the fraudulent campaign  he waged. It is enough to note that he either doesn't understand the truth or he ignores it when it suits him. Either can explain how, during the campaign he vilified President Obama and claimed that Mrs Clinton should be arrested, even hinted to his supporters that she should be shot.  Then  after his apparent victory, when unifying words rather than vilification were appropriate, he refereed politely to "Secretary Clinton" and admitted that President Obama was a "good man."

He is not fit to be President and the Electoral College should grasp the nettle and vote accordingly.

Parliament should act similarly, and promptly, in Britain. The justification for triggering Article 50, that "the people have spoken and should not be ignored." is plain nonsense.  Of those entitled to vote, a minority of 37.5% voted to leave, another  of 34.7% voted to remain, whilst 27.8% didn't vote.  This is a trumpet making an uncertain sound rather than a clarion call for committing hara-kiri which must be obeyed.

To repeat, but in brief:
  • there should never have been a referendum in the first place: it was called not in the national interest but for the Tory Party's domestic purposes, to curb a haemorrhage of support  to UKIP;
  • if we had to have a referendum , then on such a serious issue there should have been built-in safeguards requiring a higher bar such as a 60%+ majority based on a minimum turn-out rather than a bare majority of those who bothered to vote (as happens in organisations from  golf clubs to choral societies);
  • claims on both sides were misleading and in some cases mendacious, and there was no law to challenge this;
  • the claims made for our future outside the EU are unravelling daily.
So come on, MPs, take courage and do your duty.

Both the UK and US constitutions have these "trip switches" or "safety valves"to guard against folly.. It is criminally negligent not to use them.

* the figure I read on Friday 11th November was 235 181, but apparently some votes are still being counted, and the final total could be half a million or even more. See

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