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by John Brian Shannon | June 17, 2016
“However beautiful the strategy, you should occasionally look at the results.” – Sir Winston S. Churchill
Having experienced temporary European Union membership for a few years, British citizens will exercise their right to vote on how they feel about EU membership. That’s called democracy, and whether non-Britons agree with the decisions of those voters or not, it’s quite irrelevant.
On June 23rd, UK voters will either vote to ‘Stay’ or ‘Leave’ the European Union and ‘the people’ are always right — that’s how democracy works
If they feel that EU membership hasn’t worked for them, it certainly isn’t their fault, it’s the fault of the people who created such political arrangements.
Dissatisfied Britons will be telling UK and EU leaders on June 23, ‘You can’t eat GDP’ and ‘I don’t care for your ideals, I want my own back as they served me better’ and it is probably a comment on rampant elitism and unelected officials in Brussels making decisions that impact Britons negatively.
We should listen to them
Just as on the fateful voyage of the Titanic, once an alarm has been sounded, pretending that there isn’t a problem only means that the ship eventually fills with water and the whole thing sinks to the bottom — as opposed to taking concerns seriously and altering course to steer clear of danger.
Why is there always so much resistance to that?
And therein lies the whole story. It seems that many of the 1 percent have decided that the UK staying in the European Union better serves their interests, therefore the electorate should vote according to the interests of the 1 percent.
It also seems that many European and American non-1-percent elites feel that having the UK stay in the European Union serves their best interests, therefore the Brits should vote accordingly.
And all of them seem to say;
‘Vote according to our wishes because that’s what is best for us!’
(And not necessarily what is best for British citizens)
If that isn’t what they’re saying, they need to correct it. Because that’s what we’re hearing.
If you ask the average Briton; ‘How has EU membership benefited you and your family?’ you’re likely to get negative responses from Brexiteers — or confused looks from Bremainers. Because, largely, it hasn’t.
(Again, I reiterate, you can’t eat GDP. Yes, higher GDP is a tremendously amazing and wonderful thing for the UK government, for European industry, for the bankers, and for Brussels. It does practically nothing for everyday Britons)
Maybe the UK referendum question should be changed to:
‘Do you feel EU membership has benefited you personally?’
(If Yes; vote ‘Stay’)
(If No; vote ‘Leave’)
It would be a landslide if that’s the question on the ballot.
All I’m saying, is that if the EU *is working* for the largest number of Britons, then the largest number will vote to ‘Stay’ in the EU. And if it doesn’t, they’ll vote to ‘Leave’.
But no matter the result, it will be cathartic for the EU and the UK governments.
If the Bremain side wins by a wide margin, the UK government will still be empowered to push for change from within the existing EU membership, and even the EU hierarchy now realize that changes are needed to mitigate the concerns of other states in the union.
If the Bremain side wins narrowly, the UK government will be HIGHLY EMPOWERED to push for change from within the existing EU membership — and it may well influence other EU nations to feel empowered and likewise push for needed change.
If the Brexit side wins convincingly, the UK government will be HIGHLY EMPOWERED to rule for Britons (instead of the present arrangement which is a sort of caught between Brussels and Brit voters affair) and British politicians could still negotiate an even better agreement from outside of the European Union.
Instead of concerned parties looking at all of this democracy that is happening as a negative, why not look at it as a positive and necessary step towards building a better European Union?
If it *isn’t working for Britons* browbeating them to accept it will only serve to disillusion them moreso, which leads us to a worse conclusion.
If it *is working for Britons* but significant numbers disagree, why ignore those warnings? Why not alter course and preempt a worse conclusion?
Some commentators have characterized Brexiteers as ‘populists’ — of a sort having either a lower economic station in life or a lower level of education (or both) — and therefore, their votes should be regarded as of less importance than Bremain votes. But in truly democratic systems every voter is equal. A vote is a vote, and a person’s vote isn’t worth *more* for agreeing with one side vs. the other.
The June 23 referendum is one thing and one thing only; It’s a report card from British voters on how well, or how badly, Britons feel served by the EU. It’s no more, and no less than that
Trying to cast it in any other light risks bringing about another #OWS-type revolt, but this time from disrespected British voters.
The UK Voter ‘Report Card’ will be ready shortly after June 23. If significant numbers of Brit voters warn of, ‘Icebergs, so far!’ the governments of both the European Union and the United Kingdom would do well to heed their experiential warnings and adjust course.
by John Brian Shannon | April 14, 2016
Today’s EU is functioning like 31 people in a small boat, and each one of them is paddling in a different direction and at a different cadence. But when a crisis occurs, they all paddle furiously (towards Greece, for just one example) to deal with the issues there.
Upon arriving in Greece, some deal with the economic problems, some hit the other paddlers over the head with the oars, while others try to paddle the boat away from Greece — and then, united in common cause, they all blame Greece for their trauma.
It’s exactly the way a team functions whenever there is no grand, overriding vision.
And it’s exactly the worst way to operate a political union.
The EU will continue to act this way until someone arrives on the scene with a huge, bold, and all-embracing vision who will lead the masses over the carcasses of the fallen elite. Just as in 1939.
That’s the fate of the 28-member EU, plus the EC, the ECB, and the Eurozone, unless that destiny is superceded by a better vision.
Let us pay our respect to visionaries in this very short, shortlist: There would’ve been no Apple Computer without Steve Jobs. There would’ve been no NASA Moon landing without JFK, there would’ve been no Marshall Plan without General Marshall, and no Ford Motor Company without Henry Ford.
And without a ‘visioneer’ to scope out a grand vision that a vast majority of European Union citizens can enthusiastically embrace, there will be no EU.
Here’s a worthwhile model to consider. One with a proven track record.
It’s so easy when you know how…
- If Norway can succeed like this, why can’t every country? (JohnBrianShannon.com)
- Established in 1990, Norway’s heritage fund is now worth $1 trillion (CBC)
- Minifacts about Norway 2014 (Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs)
- Economy of Norway (Wikipedia)
- Nordic Model (Wikipedia)
by John Brian Shannon | January 24, 2016
Since 2008, Europe’s leaders have employed unexceptional management-style techniques to deal with the global financial crisis, the Greek crisis, and the ongoing refugee crisis — instead of creating a grand overriding vision that large numbers of citizens could buy-into in order to craft an ever-better EU.
What the leaders of any nation must remember is that whether it be a country, a corporation or NGO, a grand overriding vision and a mission statement that a majority of participants can agree with and work towards is of paramount importance.
Words like, “nebulous” and “pedestrian” and “amorphous” have no place in such contexts. Yet we’ve seen that in the policy response to the global financial crisis, to the Greek crisis, and especially in regards to the millions of refugees streaming into Europe.
And now, due to a lack of proper direction for the new arrivals — as to what constitutes acceptable standards of behavior for male EU residents — serious problems have begun to appear. And if they can’t act in a civilized fashion (even with proper education and direction provided courtesy of the EU country they chose to reside in) then they must (quickly) be deported to the general region from whence they came.
Yes, these males are adults and we expect them to act appropriately. However, customs in one country may be very different than in others. Governments — not corporations or citizens, are supposed to inform new arrivals about the norms of human behavior in their new country.
Make no mistake, what we’ve seen in Germany is just the beginning. Much worse is in the offing as a number of huge festivals appear throughout Europe over the next few months.
The spectacular Kölner Karneval is set to start in a few days, a carnival that has been a part of Cologne’s cultural fabric since 1823, and begins with (you couldn’t make this up if you tried) Women’s Carnival Day on February 4th. (Face-palm)
What could possibly go wrong?
From seemingly small and disparate incidents wars have begun in Europe. Imagine a melee with thousands of women getting groped, accosted, robbed, raped or gang-raped by uncouth men of Middle Eastern descent throughout the week-long carnival in Cologne. Now imagine the repercussions if a number of German women or German police officers were killed, think how that might change Europe…
WWI was sparked by the killing of only two people, while the underlying cause of WWII could be attributed to the unfair conditions set on Germany after WWI by the Allied Powers via the Treaty of Versailles.
In an event that is widely acknowledged to have sparked the outbreak of World War I, Archduke Franz Ferdinand, nephew of Emperor Franz Josef and heir to the Austro-Hungarian Empire, is shot to death along with his wife by a Serbian nationalist in Sarajevo, Bosnia, June 28, 1914. — History.com
From a relatively small incident (the assassination of two important people) millions of wartime deaths and atrocities occurred because the politicians of the day let things drift — no doubt hand-wringing all the way.
The present amorphous EU refugee system is a recipe for disaster
It’s just a matter of time before something goes really wrong and thousands of people become injured or killed.
The lack of vision and leadership on the Europe/Middle East/North Africa (EMEA) refugee matter has, so far, been appalling.
I very sincerely hope that I’m wrong, but I think February 2016 is going to become another famous month in European history for all the wrong reasons.
- Footprints: The growing divide in Germany (Dawn)
- Pulling Europe Back from the Brink (Project Syndicate)
- Cologne attacks: Police use water cannon and pepper spray on anti-immigration protesters (The Independent)