British EU referendum in June [update: Leave wins 52% - 48%, politics ensue]

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Re: British EU referendum in June [update: Leave wins 52% - 48%, politics ensue]

Postby elasto » Fri May 24, 2019 1:34 pm UTC

Prime Minister Boris... Ho hum. But, yeah, I think he's a shoe-in...

I still remember him from HIGNY days, thinking he was a pretty lovable buffoon. Clowns are great at childrens' parties; Not so much fun for leading us through the biggest constitutional shake-up in decades and trade negotiations with Xi and Trump...

My guess is the odds of a soft Brexit went down, but if parliament can force government to issue a second referendum, maybe the odds of us staying in just went up. The odds of us crashing out without a deal just went up too though.

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Re: British EU referendum in June [update: Leave wins 52% - 48%, politics ensue]

Postby Mutex » Fri May 24, 2019 2:43 pm UTC

If we do crash out without a deal, what do you reckon the chances are we'd be allowed a referendum on rejoining at some point? Or even a couple of years later?

On the one hand, if the economy visibly goes to shit I'd think there'd be a strong push for a rejoining referendum, but on the other hand the majority of people might be too fed up with the whole thing to want to go through all that again.

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Re: British EU referendum in June [update: Leave wins 52% - 48%, politics ensue]

Postby elasto » Fri May 24, 2019 4:47 pm UTC

The truth most likely is that a no deal Brexit will have far less of an effect on the average person than the general (mis)management of the economy by the government of the day - ie. how the future government handles the housing crisis, the mental/social care crisis, the rollout/rollback of Universal Credit etc.

This is the flip-side to the simple truth that it wasn't our membership of the EU that caused all the social ills of the last decade(s) but rather it was the various missteps of our own elected governments...

So, yeah, no matter what happens EU-wise it'll be possible for the winners to credibly spin it as 'well, it would have been even worse had the other lot won!'...

If we leave I can't see any appetite for rejoining for a generation, and who knows what the pressing issue of the day will be then - maybe it'll be how robots and AI have taken all the jobs anyway...

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Re: British EU referendum in June [update: Leave wins 52% - 48%, politics ensue]

Postby orthogon » Sat May 25, 2019 11:27 pm UTC

elasto wrote:... who knows what the pressing issue of the day will be then - maybe it'll be how robots and AI have taken all the jobs anyway...

... And who spent our money on the international science and engineering projects that made that possible, eh?

Quercus wrote:
gd1 wrote:May leaving in June? Yeah, that works.


Yeah, except the front-runner to replace her is fucking Boris Johnson, so we're probably going from bad to worse.

I thought the front runner was Boris Johnson ;-)

Having said that, I wish he would go fuck himself.
xtifr wrote:... and orthogon merely sounds undecided.

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Re: British EU referendum in June [update: Leave wins 52% - 48%, politics ensue]

Postby Plasma_Wolf » Sun May 26, 2019 11:55 am UTC

The only decent candidate is Rory Stewart. I've seen a short interview of him on the news and he was the only one who was talking sense. Listening and talking so that people understand.

Everyone else is just yelling "jdjdjaidirodnxksakodtoco d's lskgoroaodi3wj d eis djw ejwnwbd risjqjejr ickickeidicorooqod"

They're not actually yelling that but it is more informative than what they're actually saying. What a bunch of fucking idiots.

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Re: British EU referendum in June [update: Leave wins 52% - 48%, politics ensue]

Postby elasto » Sun May 26, 2019 2:34 pm UTC

I can't see anyone but a strident leaver winning the post. Amusingly, one poll last month had Farage as second favourite after Johnson which I'm not even sure is constitutionally valid :D

With both parties moving to such extremes, the next general election surely has to be a golden chance for the Lib Dems to burst back onto the scene with a vengeance. In fact, I could see another hung parliament, with this time perhaps a Lib-Lab pact.

Corbynist ideology grounded by LD common sense might actually be a win for the ordinary man on the street for once...

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Re: British EU referendum in June [update: Leave wins 52% - 48%, politics ensue]

Postby Plasma_Wolf » Wed May 29, 2019 11:08 am UTC

Johnson is facing a court case on his bus lie. https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-politics-48445430

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Re: British EU referendum in June [update: Leave wins 52% - 48%, politics ensue]

Postby elasto » Wed May 29, 2019 5:24 pm UTC

Maybe I'm just in a pessimistic mood but I fear it will only aid his cause. It'll be seen as politically motivated and voters currently on the fence might just lean more towards him as yet another two-fingers to 'the man'...

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Re: British EU referendum in June [update: Leave wins 52% - 48%, politics ensue]

Postby Zohar » Wed May 29, 2019 5:40 pm UTC

I mean of course it's politically-motivated. It's politics! These people have an agenda! There's nothing wrong with that, and there's great value in showing the public that this guy lied to them, consistently, knowingly, over months, to advance his own agenda.
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Re: British EU referendum in June [update: Leave wins 52% - 48%, politics ensue]

Postby Quercus » Wed May 29, 2019 5:54 pm UTC

elasto wrote:Maybe I'm just in a pessimistic mood but I fear it will only aid his cause. It'll be seen as politically motivated and voters currently on the fence might just lean more towards him as yet another two-fingers to 'the man'...


It's not voters you have to convince though, it's specifically Tory MPs (who select a shortlist of two candidates) and Tory party members (who choose between them). The Tory party is 'the man', and they might well regard electing as leader someone who is currently appearing in court on charges of misconduct in public office as too risky to countenance.

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Re: British EU referendum in June [update: Leave wins 52% - 48%, politics ensue]

Postby elasto » Wed May 29, 2019 7:39 pm UTC

Zohar wrote:I mean of course it's politically-motivated. It's politics! These people have an agenda! There's nothing wrong with that

It's a dark, dark road we go down if we start using the criminal court as a routine weapon of politics. The US is a way down that road and it aint pretty.

Remember the attacks on UK judges in 2016? It would become the norm:

Wikipedia wrote:"Enemies of the People" was the headline to an article by the political editor James Slack, published in the British newspaper Daily Mail on 4 November 2016. The headline and associated article were about the three judges who had ruled that the UK Government would require the consent of Parliament to give notice of Brexit.

A Business Insider report strongly criticised the Daily Mail story as being "distorted" and could be construed as an attempt to harm the reputation and safety of the judges.

In response to the criticism of the High Court ruling by newspapers, the Secretary of State for Justice, Liz Truss issued a three line statement defending the independence and impartiality of the judiciary more than a day after being asked by the Bar Council to comment.

The chairwoman of the Bar Council said that Truss should have clearly defended the judiciary and condemned the attacks made by the Daily Mail and similar stories in the newspapers Daily Express and The Sun. Truss' brief response was seen as inadequate.

Former Conservative minister Anna Soubry said that Truss "has a duty to condemn the vilification, including a homophobic attack, of our judiciary".

Lord Thomas later condemned Truss' comments, saying she was "completely and utterly wrong" to say the media could not be criticised.


Remember that the police declined to prosecute Johnson; This is a private prosecution which puts judges in an impossible position no matter which way they rule.

As much as I'd like politicians to be held accountable for lying or going back on their manifestos, I think they should be punished at the ballot box not under criminal law.

Zohar wrote:there's great value in showing the public that this guy lied to them, consistently, knowingly, over months, to advance his own agenda.

Anyone who cares to already knows he lied. In addition, this case will be tied up for months in legal red tape, meaning he'll be Prime Minister long before it gets resolved.

Quercus wrote:It's not voters you have to convince though, it's specifically Tory MPs (who select a shortlist of two candidates) and Tory party members (who choose between them). The Tory party is 'the man', and they might well regard electing as leader someone who is currently appearing in court on charges of misconduct in public office as too risky to countenance.

Yeah, right, cos the electorate isn't angry enough at MPs for 'frustrating their democratic wishes'... Gotta add in MPs ruling out the grass root's choice of leader too...

Trust me, it'd be electoral suicide for Tory MPs to enrage their own activists that way...

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Re: British EU referendum in June [update: Leave wins 52% - 48%, politics ensue]

Postby Zohar » Wed May 29, 2019 8:52 pm UTC

We're not talking about making up frivolous lawsuits in order to occupy a person's time. I have no issues with criminals being punished under criminal law.
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Re: British EU referendum in June [update: Leave wins 52% - 48%, politics ensue]

Postby Plasma_Wolf » Wed May 29, 2019 9:37 pm UTC

In The Netherlands, a politician was charged on hate preaching once, and discrimination once. In the hate speech case he was acquitted and in the discrimination case he was found guilty. The appeal of that case is ongoing I think. The usual crap came along. "This is a political trial" "I'm being attacked".

Absolute bullshit. Judges and court cases are there to test your actions or your words against the law and that is what has been done in the Dutch cases. Any distrust in the courts comes from the politician complaining about the fact that he is being sued for his words and/or actions. The court cases have already shown that politicians in The Netherlands enjoy a higher degree of freedom of speech than other people (literal verdict was that because he's a politician and what he said was in a political situation like a debate, he was permitted more).

BoJo now has been charged with misconduct of office. He was Mayor of London and MP when he made his 350-million bus lie. That's something else than "oh he's using his free speech to lie so I'll guess I'll sue him now".

And it is up to judges to accept or reject that claim. The court case will be held under the current laws and if politicians are unhappy with the outcome, then they have to change the laws.

As for whether this is undermining democracy or a threat to free speech. To have a reasoned debate about it you have to talk about the different situations in general, not this particular case. If you're talking about this case as a politician in the UK, you're damaging the course of law as much as you claim that this case is damaging free speech, which is just as dangerous.

This is the UK, where they pride themselves on having judges and politicians separated. Now the politicians can prove that by staying out of it and having the conversation about free speech vs legal consequences as a matter on its own, not with this specific case in mind.

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Re: British EU referendum in June [update: Leave wins 52% - 48%, politics ensue]

Postby elasto » Wed May 29, 2019 10:57 pm UTC

Zohar wrote:We're not talking about making up frivolous lawsuits in order to occupy a person's time. I have no issues with criminals being punished under criminal law.

Nor do I. If the police had chosen to charge BoJo with a crime then so be it.

I just think the social consequences of people bringing private criminal prosecutions for purely political ends will be for the UK to end up as polarised and fractured as the US.

Think about how vague the crime BoJo has been accused of is: 'Misconduct in public office'. Virtually every politician everywhere could credibly be accused of that by their political opponents...

Corbyn lies about there being no free seats on his train? Has to answer for his misconduct in court. Cameron says the economy is going to fall off a cliff the day after we vote leave? Has to answer for his misconduct in court.

Plasma_Wolf wrote:This is the UK, where they pride themselves on having judges and politicians separated. Now the politicians can prove that by staying out of it and having the conversation about free speech vs legal consequences as a matter on its own, not with this specific case in mind.

You're kidding, right? There's no way the politicians would be disciplined enough to do that. Just look at how they abuse Bercow.

It's way more likely we'd end up with the judiciary becoming politicised like in the US - whereby when a Labour supporter brings criminal charges against a Tory, all that really matters is seeking out a proven left-leaning judge...

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Re: British EU referendum in June [update: Leave wins 52% - 48%, politics ensue]

Postby orthogon » Thu May 30, 2019 8:33 am UTC

elasto wrote:I just think the social consequences of people bringing private criminal prosecutions for purely political ends will be for the UK to end up as polarised and fractured as the US.

Think about how vague the crime BoJo has been accused of is: 'Misconduct in public office'. Virtually every politician everywhere could credibly be accused of that by their political opponents...

Corbyn lies about there being no free seats on his train? Has to answer for his misconduct in court. Cameron says the economy is going to fall off a cliff the day after we vote leave? Has to answer for his misconduct in court.


Those are interesting examples, in that they're in three different categories:

- BoJo's was an untrue fact, which he probably knew at the time to be untrue, but certainly knew that once he'd been told repeatedly, including by the ONS, that it wasn't true and that he should stop saying it.
- Corbyn's was an untrue anecdatum. People should in any case be educated about the difference between anecdotes and data, and should mistrust anecdotes anyway. Of course, untrue anecdotes are the worst kind, but they're not in the same league as untrue statistical facts.
- Cameron's is a prediction that turned out to be only partly realised. Nobody can know for sure what will happen in various scenarios (especially in the current turbulent times) and so being wrong (and still less merely not exactly right) in a prediction cannot possibly be held to be misconduct.

Charismatic, demagogic politicians hold enormous power in a democracy and I'd be pleased to see that come with more responsibility. I agree with your concerns about the politicisation of the judicial process, and wouldn't want to see anything like what happens in the US. Nevertheless, BoJo's is a clear-cut case of knowingly and repeatedly stating something that was untrue, in a campaign that will have profound and far-reaching effects lasting for decades.
xtifr wrote:... and orthogon merely sounds undecided.

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Re: British EU referendum in June [update: Leave wins 52% - 48%, politics ensue]

Postby elasto » Thu May 30, 2019 9:02 am UTC

orthogon wrote:- BoJo's was an untrue fact, which he probably knew at the time to be untrue, but certainly knew that once he'd been told repeatedly, including by the ONS, that it wasn't true and that he should stop saying it.
- Corbyn's was an untrue anecdatum. People should in any case be educated about the difference between anecdotes and data, and should mistrust anecdotes anyway. Of course, untrue anecdotes are the worst kind, but they're not in the same league as untrue statistical facts.
- Cameron's is a prediction that turned out to be only partly realised. Nobody can know for sure what will happen in various scenarios (especially in the current turbulent times) and so being wrong (and still less merely not exactly right) in a prediction cannot possibly be held to be misconduct.

BoJo's defence is that he was quoting the gross figure we send to the EU (despite knowing that everyone would interpret it as the net figure). His further defence is that this is a common mode of speech - that people say their job pays 100k a year or whatever, but that's always the gross amount.

Politicians do this all the time: say something that's true on some technical level, but knowing that it will be misinterpreted.

Corbyn's lie theoretically caused damage to a private corporation. Why couldn't they attempt a private criminal prosecution on the basis of 'misconduct in public office' therefore too? Not saying they'd win, but my point is that where does this road end?

(Cameron's 'prediction' was almost certainly knowingly a lie also, not least since there was no need to invoke A50 for years after the vote if required. But those examples were literally off the top of my head. You really think we couldn't come up with better examples of politicians skirting the truth that could tie up the criminal courts for years..?)

Now, maybe you could say 'well if politicians never lied, they'd never get taken to court', but you and I know every system can be abused if the goal of those bringing the prosecutions isn't truth and justice but 'political victory'.

Take how China abuses its corruption laws for example: 'Don't be corrupt' - what could be wrong with such a law? Well, if a law is incredibly vague, and you only bring cases against your enemies not your friends, it's nothing less than a frightening tool of oppression.

Yeah, it's a slippery slope argument I'm making, but I think private individuals bringing criminal proceedings to achieve political goals is a frightening road to go down - with the main risk being we lose trust in and/or the impartiality of our judicial system.

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Re: British EU referendum in June [update: Leave wins 52% - 48%, politics ensue]

Postby commodorejohn » Thu May 30, 2019 1:37 pm UTC

I'm not seeing a downside to politicians being legally constrained to speak only the verifiable truth while in office. If we had that here in the U.S. our current national nightmare would've been over by day three.
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Re: British EU referendum in June [update: Leave wins 52% - 48%, politics ensue]

Postby arbiteroftruth » Thu May 30, 2019 4:59 pm UTC

commodorejohn wrote:I'm not seeing a downside to politicians being legally constrained to speak only the verifiable truth while in office. If we had that here in the U.S. our current national nightmare would've been over by day three.


"Verified by whom?" is the downside. All the existing political BS just gets shifted to whatever institution decides what's true enough to be legal to say.

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Re: British EU referendum in June [update: Leave wins 52% - 48%, politics ensue]

Postby Sableagle » Thu May 30, 2019 6:10 pm UTC

elasto wrote:BoJo's defence is that he was quoting the gross figure we send to the EU (despite knowing that everyone would interpret it as the net figure).
https://www.theguardian.com/politics/reality-check/2016/may/23/does-the-eu-really-cost-the-uk-350m-a-week

The real problem is the word “send”, which Vote Leave seems to have difficulty understanding. According to the Oxford English Dictionary, the verb means to “cause to go or be taken to a particular destination; arrange for the delivery of”.

Assuming we accept that definition, then it is simply and very demonstrably not true to say that Britain “sends” £350m a week to the EU. That amount of money does not leave (and has never left) Britain each week, nor does it arrive in Brussels.

The sum of £350m a week is based on the Treasury’s estimation of the gross amount the UK contributed to the EU last year, which was £17.8bn, or £342m a week.

This annual figure is purely hypothetical, however, because since Margaret Thatcher negotiated Britain’s rebate in 1984, the UK has been required to pay significantly less than the 1% of national GDP that member states are normally expected to pay into the EU’s collective budget.

The same Treasury figures clearly show Britain’s EU budget rebate last year was £4.9bn. Deduct that from £17.8bn and you get £12.9bn – or £248m a week. This is the sum now recognised by the independent fact-checking organisation Full Facts.

The remain camp further argues – although Vote Leave could rebut this more easily – that even the lesser weekly sum of £248m does not fairly reflect the cost to the UK of EU membership, because it ignores EU spending on the UK.

Last year, the Treasury estimated these receipts from Brussels at £4.4bn, money spent mainly in the private sector but also distributed by public bodies, to farmers and poorer parts of the UK, such as Cornwall and south Wales.

As pointed out by InFacts, which aims to make “the fact-based case for remain”, the EU also injects money directly into the UK’s private sector, for example, for scientific research through programmes such as Horizon2020. The most recent figure for this, from 2013, is £1.4bn.

Deduct both the rebate (£4.9bn), which is never actually paid, and the money that is paid but sent back (£5.8bn), from the gross £17.8bn annual “membership fee” and you arrive at a net figure of £7.1bn. This equates to £136m a week, less than 40% of the amount splashed on the battlebus.

Vote Leave’s claim that Britain sends £350m a week to Brussels is a lie.

https://www.statisticsauthority.gov.uk/news/uk-statistics-authority-statement-on-the-use-of-official-statistics-on-contributions-to-the-european-union/

As we have made clear, the UK’s contribution to the EU is paid after the application of the rebate. We have also pointed out that there are payments received by the UK public and private sectors that are relevant here. The continued use of a gross figure in contexts that imply it is a net figure is misleading and undermines trust in official statistics.


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Re: British EU referendum in June [update: Leave wins 52% - 48%, politics ensue]

Postby Thesh » Thu May 30, 2019 6:30 pm UTC

arbiteroftruth wrote:
commodorejohn wrote:I'm not seeing a downside to politicians being legally constrained to speak only the verifiable truth while in office. If we had that here in the U.S. our current national nightmare would've been over by day three.


"Verified by whom?" is the downside. All the existing political BS just gets shifted to whatever institution decides what's true enough to be legal to say.

Why do you need an institution to determine that? Why not figure it out in court? You would just need to show that someone in a position of authority is purposefully misleading people or not exercising due diligence.
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Re: British EU referendum in June [update: Leave wins 52% - 48%, politics ensue]

Postby arbiteroftruth » Thu May 30, 2019 8:34 pm UTC

Thesh wrote:
arbiteroftruth wrote:"Verified by whom?" is the downside. All the existing political BS just gets shifted to whatever institution decides what's true enough to be legal to say.

Why do you need an institution to determine that? Why not figure it out in court?


...

...

...

The courts are an institution.

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Re: British EU referendum in June [update: Leave wins 52% - 48%, politics ensue]

Postby Thesh » Thu May 30, 2019 8:38 pm UTC

Read what I wrote. The court doesn't need to verify the information. You would just need to show that someone in a position of authority is purposefully misleading people or not exercising due diligence.
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Re: British EU referendum in June [update: Leave wins 52% - 48%, politics ensue]

Postby arbiteroftruth » Thu May 30, 2019 8:44 pm UTC

The proposal was that politicians be "legally constrained to speak only the verifiable truth". Regardless of who does the legwork of verifying any specific thing, the institution that defines the standards of what legally counts as adequate verification has enormous power, and all the stuff about manipulating facts and deceiving public perception will just happen there instead of where it happens now.

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Re: British EU referendum in June [update: Leave wins 52% - 48%, politics ensue]

Postby Thesh » Thu May 30, 2019 8:48 pm UTC

Common law already has guidelines for that in libel cases. Why is this any different?
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Re: British EU referendum in June [update: Leave wins 52% - 48%, politics ensue]

Postby arbiteroftruth » Thu May 30, 2019 8:52 pm UTC

It isn't, and that's the point. The exact line between free speech and libel is already a complicated and controversial thing, and now the proposal is to extend that to all of political speech.

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Re: British EU referendum in June [update: Leave wins 52% - 48%, politics ensue]

Postby Thesh » Thu May 30, 2019 9:05 pm UTC

No, it was a statement that they didn't see downsides to the speech of politicians being limited. It doesn't matter that the exact line is complicated; the question is whether it's enforceable, to what degree, and what the downsides are given the ability to enforce it.
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Re: British EU referendum in June [update: Leave wins 52% - 48%, politics ensue]

Postby The Great Hippo » Fri May 31, 2019 1:22 pm UTC

arbiteroftruth wrote:It isn't, and that's the point. The exact line between free speech and libel is already a complicated and controversial thing, and now the proposal is to extend that to all of political speech.
How is this any different or complex than liability regarding claims by commercial products? We seem to be capable of handling deceptive marketing campaigns. What's the difference between that and deceptive political campaigns?

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Re: British EU referendum in June [update: Leave wins 52% - 48%, politics ensue]

Postby solune » Fri May 31, 2019 1:27 pm UTC

The Great Hippo wrote:We seem to be capable of handling deceptive marketing campaigns. What's the difference between that and deceptive political campaigns?


It's easier to find the truth about whether a specific vaccine caused autism than about whether the Iraq war was a good thing overall.
Politics deal with big questions. Not only that but politics deals precisely with the areas where we don't agree on the truth (otherwise we wouldn't need to talk about it)

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Re: British EU referendum in June [update: Leave wins 52% - 48%, politics ensue]

Postby The Great Hippo » Fri May 31, 2019 1:47 pm UTC

solune wrote:It's easier to find the truth about whether a specific vaccine caused autism than about whether the Iraq war was a good thing overall.
Right, but we don't prosecute over 'vague' claims. If you say "My pill is the best one on the market!", you're not going to face any serious litigation. And if you say "The Iraq War was the best thing ever!", I don't see why you should face litigation for that, either. But if you say "There are weapons of mass destruction in Iraq", and we all help contribute to you waging your little war on that pretense -- and it turns out you were just flat-out lying? Why the hell shouldn't you face litigation for it? Hell, why shouldn't you go to prison? What's the functional difference, here?

When politicians utter demonstrably false statements -- lies they use to waste our money, our votes, and our time -- how is this any different than a sales rep making demonstrably false statements about the services they provide? Why can I sue one but not the other? Why is it illegal when a company lies about their products, but "protected speech" when a politician lies about their policies?

Another point: If we can't trust our court system to figure out the difference between truth and fiction when it comes to politics, why bother prosecuting politicians for anything at all? "Sorry, but we can't prosecute this senator for taking bribes, your Honor. It's far too political; no judge on earth is impartial enough to actually figure out whether a politician has broken a law."

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Re: British EU referendum in June [update: Leave wins 52% - 48%, politics ensue]

Postby arbiteroftruth » Fri May 31, 2019 3:18 pm UTC

The Great Hippo wrote:Right, but we don't prosecute over 'vague' claims. If you say "My pill is the best one on the market!", you're not going to face any serious litigation. And if you say "The Iraq War was the best thing ever!", I don't see why you should face litigation for that, either.


As it stands, that's true. But the comment under discussion was "I'm not seeing a downside to politicians being legally constrained to speak only the verifiable truth". "Verifiable truth" is a much higher bar than "not demonstrably false".

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Re: British EU referendum in June [update: Leave wins 52% - 48%, politics ensue]

Postby LaserGuy » Fri May 31, 2019 9:08 pm UTC

elasto wrote:As much as I'd like politicians to be held accountable for lying or going back on their manifestos, I think they should be punished at the ballot box not under criminal law.


Is there any evidence that this is the case? That politicians that lie have worse electoral prospects? Arguably lying served Borris Johnson very well... not only did he get the result he wanted on Brexit, but he's now on the verge of become Prime Minister.

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Re: British EU referendum in June [update: Leave wins 52% - 48%, politics ensue]

Postby ucim » Fri May 31, 2019 9:13 pm UTC

LaserGuy wrote:Is there any evidence that [lying being punished at the ballot box] is the case?
Does it matter?

Well, yes, of course it does. But does it matter in the sense that there's something better than letting people elect their representatives? Because that's what happens. There's no fix for stupid.

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Re: British EU referendum in June [update: Leave wins 52% - 48%, politics ensue]

Postby LaserGuy » Fri May 31, 2019 9:53 pm UTC

ucim wrote:
LaserGuy wrote:Is there any evidence that [lying being punished at the ballot box] is the case?
Does it matter?

Well, yes, of course it does. But does it matter in the sense that there's something better than letting people elect their representatives? Because that's what happens. There's no fix for stupid.

Jose


Well, surely there is a better system than one that provides incentives for politicians to lie and cheat their way to victory.

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Re: British EU referendum in June [update: Leave wins 52% - 48%, politics ensue]

Postby ucim » Fri May 31, 2019 9:55 pm UTC

LaserGuy wrote:Well, surely there is a better system than one that provides incentives for politicians to lie and cheat their way to victory.
Democracy? It's the worst possible system of governance.

...except for all the others.

Jose
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Re: British EU referendum in June [update: Leave wins 52% - 48%, politics ensue]

Postby The Great Hippo » Fri May 31, 2019 9:57 pm UTC

arbiteroftruth wrote:As it stands, that's true. But the comment under discussion was "I'm not seeing a downside to politicians being legally constrained to speak only the verifiable truth". "Verifiable truth" is a much higher bar than "not demonstrably false".
Fair enough; I disagree with the notion that politicians should only be able to speak verifiable truths (I have no idea how this would even work in practice -- is 'I'm happy to see you all today' "verifiably true"?), but I agree very strenuously that politicians should be vulnerable to legal action when they make demonstrably false, intentionally misleading statements regarding their policies and their government.

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Re: British EU referendum in June [update: Leave wins 52% - 48%, politics ensue]

Postby ucim » Fri May 31, 2019 10:05 pm UTC

I think so too. But that's what the ballot box is for. And what impeachment is for.

For democracy to work, you need to have an engaged, intelligent, and reasoning populace. (For democracy to fail, it is sufficient for the populace to be either apathetic, dumb, or emotionally driven.) When democracy fails, the burden is on the populace. This should be an incentive.

If we were to have a Grand Canonical Ensemble pass judgment on what politicians say, politicians would become largely irrelevant, and the GCE would become the de factor ruling body. How do we ensure that the GCE actually does what it's set up to do? What is the penalty for the GCE's malfeasance?

There is no system that just works, and works well, without attention.

Jose
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Re: British EU referendum in June [update: Leave wins 52% - 48%, politics ensue]

Postby elasto » Fri May 31, 2019 10:32 pm UTC

Yes, exactly.

It was only a decade or two ago that politicians over here would resign after being caught telling a lie - sometimes immediately, but often they'd resign (or get pushed) after a week or so on the pretext of 'I did nothing wrong but the issue is becoming a distraction to the day to day operations of government...'

Somehow in the last few years the more charismatic politicians just decided to brazen it out, and now everyone's realised that actually works - that it actually causes your followers to double down on their support of you.

I agree with ucim that the answer is the ballot box or parliamentary censure. The answer to me isn't to have judges pass judgement on everything every politician says because there's no way that won't politicise them - but I mean, for sure I understand why that's appealing, especially for the clear-cut cases.

The problem is that once the precedent is set, it won't just be the clear cut cases going before the judges, it'll be the murky ones that, none-the-less, judges will still have to make a ruling on - and whichever way they rule some section of the media is going to cry 'bias!' and rage 'who made these unelected judges the boss of us??' and demand that they 'submit to the will of the people!!1'

I for one think representative democracy is better than naked populism - I think that the experts actually really do know best - but that's not the mood of the age, and I fear where we're going to end up.

But yeah, I totally get the anger. There's no doubt in my mind that if Boris had weighed in on the remain side the result would have been different. And Boris has been Mayor of London, he for sure knows the value of immigration and the closest possible ties to Europe.

I don't think Trump thought he'd win, I think he just ran to raise his profile and stroke his ego, and I don't think Boris thought Brexit would win, I think he just did it to bank support from the right wing for a later run for leadership.

Sucks for us all that both of them have just such mass appeal...

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Re: British EU referendum in June [update: Leave wins 52% - 48%, politics ensue]

Postby The Great Hippo » Fri May 31, 2019 10:41 pm UTC

ucim wrote:If we were to have a Grand Canonical Ensemble pass judgment on what politicians say, politicians would become largely irrelevant, and the GCE would become the de factor ruling body. How do we ensure that the GCE actually does what it's set up to do? What is the penalty for the GCE's malfeasance?
You could just make it illegal for politicians to directly lie about what they're 'selling', then have a judge determine whether or not they actually broke the law. Just like we do with false advertising.
elasto wrote:I agree with ucim that the answer is the ballot box or parliamentary censure. The answer to me isn't to have judges pass judgement on everything every politician says because there's no way that won't politicise them - but I mean, for sure I understand why that's appealing, especially for the clear-cut cases.

The problem is that once the precedent is set, it won't just be the clear cut cases going before the judges, it'll be the murky ones that, none-the-less, judges will still have to make a ruling on - and whichever way they rule some section of the media is going to cry 'bias!' and rage 'who made these unelected judges the boss of us??' and demand that they 'submit to the will of the people!!1'
1) If you don't trust judges to actually judge the law when the law intersects with politics, then you might as well get rid of judges, and 2) How is this any different than false advertising?

ETA: The whole "we can't politicize judges!" argument is particularly infuriating, here. Being impartial and unbiased is a judge's fundamental job. Again, arguing that we can't expect judges to be impartial about this is tantamount to arguing that we can't expect judges to preside over cases involving politicians at all.

Remember when Trump said that that "Mexican" judge couldn't preside over his case because he was building a wall? Yeah. That's what this argument amounts to.
Last edited by The Great Hippo on Fri May 31, 2019 10:45 pm UTC, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: British EU referendum in June [update: Leave wins 52% - 48%, politics ensue]

Postby LaserGuy » Fri May 31, 2019 10:44 pm UTC

ucim wrote:
LaserGuy wrote:Well, surely there is a better system than one that provides incentives for politicians to lie and cheat their way to victory.
Democracy? It's the worst possible system of governance.

...except for all the others.

Jose


And? There's nothing to say that we can't make it better, or that some other form of democracy would work better than what we have right now. I refuse to believe that in three centuries of democratic history in dozens of systems from dozens of countries, that we have learned nothing and cannot improve.

The quote is also "except for all of the others that have been tried", by the way.

elasto wrote:I agree with ucim that the answer is the ballot box or parliamentary censure. The answer to me isn't to have judges pass judgement on everything every politician says because there's no way that won't politicise them - but I mean, for sure I understand why that's appealing, especially for the clear-cut cases.


A simple solution to this would be for democracies to band together and adjudicate such matters outside the national boundaries, by people who don't actually care about the local politics. Have a triumvirate of judges from Canada, Korea, and Switzerland try the case or something.

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Re: British EU referendum in June [update: Leave wins 52% - 48%, politics ensue]

Postby ucim » Fri May 31, 2019 10:58 pm UTC

The Great Hippo wrote:You could just make it illegal for politicians to directly lie about what they're 'selling', then have a judge determine whether or not they actually broke the law. Just like we do with false advertising.
Well, I have an American perspective on this, not a British one. In the US, commercial speech is held to different standards than political speech. That is, political speech is governed mostly by the freedom to speak - the answer to bad speech is more speech. Politics is what freedom of speech is all about. It's why it exists in the first place. Commercial speech is held to stricter standards (of "truth") - that is, lower standards for censorship (which is where we're going).

LaserGuy wrote:A simple solution to this would be for democracies to band together and adjudicate such matters outside the national boundaries, by people who don't actually care about the local politics. Have a triumvirate of judges from Canada, Korea, and Switzerland try the case or something.
All of a sudden you'll find that this triumvirate cares a lot about local politics. The politicians will make sure of it.

LaserGuy wrote:There's nothing to say that we can't make [democracy] better
Agreed. But it's not a simple fix. If somebody proposes a simple fix, it will almost certainly not work. People (and politics) is too fraught, and too easily bent.

For illustration, consider getting rid of organized superstition. We'd all be better off, but see how far that gets.

Jose
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