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Generations Lived in the EU Without Benefit of a Referendum: But Our Generation Wants 2 Referendums! in 3-Years!

by John Brian Shannon

The first referendum was held in 1975 so UK voters could approve or disapprove of the UK joining the European Economic Community (EEC) in 1973 (a trading union) and Britons approved it in 1975. Although that referendum was held almost 3-years after joining, the generation that approved it was the generation that had to live under EEC rules.

Which strikes me as pretty democratic — even though I have a minor problem with joining *and then* holding a referendum 3-years later. But, good enough.

What isn’t democratic is politicians signing the UK up to a political union in 1993 and then waiting 23-years before holding a referendum to allow UK voters to approve or disapprove. (And let’s face it, it’s one thing to join a trading club, but a whole other thing to join a political union)

So, the generations that lived under the EU (political union) for 23-years didn’t get a chance to vote to approve or disapprove of it until 2016. Now, that’s not democratic at all.

Some of those people who lived under the EU without the benefit of a referendum aged-out and left this world without ever getting a chance to say whether they wanted to join the EU over 23-years. (About 500,000 Britons die every year; most are senior citizens) So from that you can extrapolate how many people didn’t get a vote on EU membership from 1993 – 2016. (It’s in the neighbourhood of 11.5 million)

Even with all those people gone, the first time all Britons got a chance to vote on EU membership (23-years late) they voted to Leave.

But I guess to some, the people who built the great UK we see today just don’t matter. Because with this generation… it’s all about you.

Which is why the UK is now hearing shrill calls for a 2nd-EU referendum — even though UK politicians haven’t even carried out the instructions of The People from the last EU referendum in June 2016! Which in the above context, seems ungrateful and unseemly.

The generations that endured the influenza epidemic, WWI, WW2, the Blitz, food and fuel rationing, and a decade and a half of a bleak existence in the immediate postwar era, and then the Cold War (remember practicing Duck and Cover! every week in school in case of nuclear attack?) didn’t get a chance to vote on EU membership for almost a quarter century.

Duck and Cover! was pretty sobering stuff for children — absolutely no wailing, no crying, no negative talk allowed — and no participation badges.

In the generations from 1910 through 1990 just staying alive seemed like a miracle sometimes, and luxuries were for a small number of movie stars and royalty. And now in 2018, some 12.5 million of those people are gone without a single referendum on EU membership in all those 23-years, let alone two referendums within 3-years. Which strikes me as very undemocratic.

Sure, 12.5 million of those people are gone and they don’t care about referendums or EU membership now. But millions of them aren’t — they’re still here — and they’ve chafed under the bit of the EU since 1993 without a vote on the matter.

So dear Remainers, please consider the people who suffered extreme hardship to build the great UK we see today, who did it in mortal danger, without luxuries, and without you, when you agitate for a 2nd EU referendum before the government has even implemented the results of the 1st EU referendum. The previous generations earned every right to enjoy the Britain they built before they leave this Earth.

It’ll be your turn soon enough… 23-years from now seems about right.

Brexit Begins: March 29

by John Brian Shannon | March 20, 2017

UK Prime Minister Theresa May says she intends to proceed to exit the EU on March 29. Brexit begins…

Theresa May will trigger EU withdrawal talks under Article 50 on March 29, Downing Street has announced

The Prime Minister’s letter officially notifying the European Council of the UK’s intention to quit will set in train a two-year negotiation process expected to lead to Britain leaving the EU on March 29 2019.

Britain’s ambassador to the EU, Sir Tim Barrow, informed the office of European Council president Donald Tusk on Monday morning of the Prime Minister’s plans.

The Brexit Bill – officially called the European Union (Notification of Withdrawal) Bill – was given the green light last week after being signed off by the Queen. — metro.co.uk

First on the agenda will be whether May can negotiate unrestricted access to EU markets for Britain, and how much access European Union citizens and industry will have to the United Kingdom. It’s likely to require a substantial amount of time, patience, and great diplomatic skill on both sides of the negotiating table.

Of secondary importance will be the decisions taken on customs and immigration. The EU has lost control of its external border as the Schengen Area borders effectively collapsed when millions of Syrian, Middle Eastern and African refugees began streaming into the southern European Union.

And the third negotiating point will likely relate to the status of EU citizens who live and work inside the UK, and of Britons who work or retired in the European Union.

Brexit Begins in Britain on March 29, 2017...

Brexit Begins in Britain on March 29, 2017. Image created by Samankashwaha.

In total, some 3.3 million EU citizens live in Britain, but nobody has kept an accurate count of this (nobody!) nor has any government agency kept count. In the European Union it’s thought that 1.1 million Britons live or work on the EU side of the border. Except that nobody knows for sure. One side is just as broken as the other. Facepalm!

Experts and commentators unanimously agree that it will take years, perhaps 10-years or more to hammer out an agreement on all the current issues between the European Union and the United Kingdom. Let’s hope that cooler heads prevail and that we don’t add mountains of new issues to the existing list of items to be discussed and resolved. It’s going to be a monumental work as it is.

It’s important to remember that in a ‘Win-Win’ relationship, whatever gets solved, becomes a ‘Win-Win’ for the politicians involved. Which is handy, come the next election.

While the UK side has seemed apprehensive and tentative at times, particularly in the immediate aftermath of a June 23rd EU referendum result which saw 52% of voters choose to ‘Leave’ the European Union — the EU side has taken an increasingly hostile position — as if senior EU politicians have taken it personally that Britons voted to ‘Leave’ and as a voter attack on their cherished institutions.

However, if European Union membership were that wonderful, not one person would have considered leaving the EU… but the simple fact is, more than 17 million British voters elected to leave the EU governance architecture.

And no matter what — no matter what! — the will of voters always trumps the will of politicians. We’ve seen it time and again throughout history. Yes, totalitarian states can ‘hang on to power’ for a time using the full resources of the state, until such times as the state collapses and the strongman is overthrown, but such things are supposed to be impossible in democratic states.

Let’s hope that the European Union lives up to its high democratic ideals and allows nations to leave as easily as they join!

On the bright side, it could be that by voting to Brexit the citizens of the United Kingdom will have assisted the EU to take the concerns, disappointments and perceived slights of member-state citizens more seriously in the future. Otherwise, Brexit will simply become one part of a much larger process, resulting in the eventual dissolution of the Union. And that would be a shame.

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