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Climate Hustle

The inter-generational theft of Brexit and climate change

Posted on 27 June 2016 by dana1981

In last week’s Brexit vote results, there was a tremendous divide between age groups. 73% of voters under the age of 25 voted to remain in the EU, while about 58% over the age of 45 voted to leave.

View image on Twitter

This generational gap is among the many parallels between Brexit and climate change. A 2014 poll found that 74% of Americans under the age of 30 support government policies to cut carbon pollution, as compared to just 58% of respondents over the age of 40, and 52% over the age of 65.

Inter-generational theft

The problem is of course that younger generations will have to live with the consequences of the decisions we make today for much longer than older generations. Older generations in developed countries prospered as a result of the burning of fossil fuels for seemingly cheap energy.

However, we’ve already reached the point where even contrarian economists agree, any further global warming we experience will be detrimental for the global economy. For poorer countries, we passed that point decades ago. A new paper examining climate costs and fossil fuel industry profits for the years 2008–2012 found:

For all companies and all years, the economic cost to society of their CO2 emissions was greater than their after‐tax profit, with the single exception of Exxon Mobil in 2008

For much of the time during which developed nations experienced strong economic growth as a result of fossil fuel consumption, we were unaware of the associated climate costs. We can no longer use ignorance as an excuse. And yet the older generations, who experienced the greatest net benefit from carbon pollution, are now the least supportive of taking responsibility to pay for it. The longer we delay, the more devastating the consequences will be for the younger generations.

Similarly, today’s youth who are early in their career paths will face the harshest consequences of the Brexit vote that was dominated by older voters. As Jack Lennard put it:

This is a final middle-fingered salute to the young from the baby boomer generation. Not content with racking up insurmountable debt, not content with destroying any hopes of sustainable property prices or stable career paths, not content with enjoying the benefits of free education and generous pension schemes before burning down the ladder they climbed up, the baby boomers have given one last turd on the doorstep of the younger generation.

And as political journalist Nicholas Barrett said in a comment that subsequently went viral:

the younger generation has lost the right to live and work in 27 other countries. We will never know the full extent of the lost opportunities, friendships, marriages and experiences we will be denied. Freedom of movement was taken away by our parents, uncles, and grandparents in a parting blow to a generation that was already drowning in the debts of our predecessors.

Thirdly and perhaps most significantly, we now live in a post-factual democracy.

A dangerous strain of anti-intellectualism

As Barrett noted, during the Brexit campaign, facts seemed useless against the myths propagated by the Leave side. Indeed, Nigel Farage, leader of the right-wing UK Independence Party and Leave campaign has already admitted the key claim that £350 million weekly saving in EU contributions could be spent on health services was utter nonsense – a “mistake,” as he put it. A “mistake” that was conveniently admitted just hours after Brexit votes had been cast and counted.

When asked to name a single economist who backed Brexit, justice secretary and another top Leave campaigner Michael Gove said “people in this country have had enough of experts” and later likened those experts to Nazis.

Climate denial is based on a similar strain of anti-intellectualism andpreponderance of baseless myths. When faced with the reality of a 97% expert consensus on human-caused global warming, many will deny that reality, propagate a number of associated myths, or like Gove, find an excuse to disregard expert opinion and evidence (e.g. by arguing that scientific consensus ‘has been wrong before’).

Ultimately it boils down to ideological biases. When the facts and expert conclusions contradict our beliefs, people will often find an excuse to dismiss the evidence and experts. It’s perhaps unsurprising that as DeSmogUK revealed, Gove and many other Leave campaign backers are also climate contrarians.

Risk management failure - USA must do better

Experts warned of the dangerous consequences that would result from Brexit, but the majority of older voters chose to ignore those risks. Prudent risk management was trumped by ideology, and today’s youth will have to bear the brunt of the consequences.

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Comments

Comments 1 to 40:

  1. From the looks of it, while a larger percentage of younger people voted to remain, far fewer of them turned out to vote.   http://blogs.ft.com/ftdata/2016/06/24/brexit-demographic-divide-eu-referendum-results/.  You can't complain about the results if you didn't even bother to vote.

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  2. Unless you are too young to vote.

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  3. This seems a very biased post concerning Brexit 

    «the younger generation has lost the right to live and work in 27 other countries. We will never know the full extent of the lost opportunities, friendships, marriages and experiences we will be denied. Freedom of movement was taken away by our parents, uncles, and grandparents in a parting blow to a generation that was already drowning in the debts of our predecessors.»  I consider this utterly ridiculous and untrue!

    Anyway you can´t simply ignore the anxieties of middle and older age people as if they don´t matter. And by the way, the EU isn´t really that interested in fighting climate change. You can´t simply ignore the effects that blind austerity have on the priorities people attach to having a job and fighting climate change. I have a deep concern about climate change but do we think Greeks won´t explore their estimated vast gas reserves if Germany and others keep asfixiating them with harsh austerity?

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  4. I'm 64 and I voted to leave because I firmly believe that the EU is deeply undemocratic. On the other hand I also believe that governments should do more to limit carbon emissions and limit climate change which is why I follow this website. So where do I fit in?

    As I understand it the chart quoted above was taken from a poll before the referendum which was the same poll that predicted a remain vote. It doesn't say what the sample size is or how it was selected. The age range for the actual vote is unknown because the voting is anonymous. To call the chart "How different age groups voted" is wrong.

    Neither campaign covered itself in glory but I would say that when it comes to exaggerated claims then the remain campaign was the worst. 

    It is quite wrong to compare the referendum voting in the UK with belief in climate change in the US.

    Pundits seem to be looking for a single simple reason for the referendum vote but that's a gross over simplification.

    The article seems to be saying that I voted to leave because I'm stupid. I'm not stupid. I may not be wise either but I thought carefully before I voted which is my right. To call it intergenerational theft is insulting. I have three daughters who I love dearly. They all voted remain which is their right but I believe that their future (and mine) would be better outside the EU.

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  5. If Brexit does occur and it is not yet a done deal, this doesn't necessarily mean that the UK will abandon Carbon mitigation measures.  Exactly the opposite could be the case.  Only time will tell.  What is sure that a small unit such as the UK can be lighter on its feet than a large unit like the EU.  The devil is in the detail.

    However, ask yourselves what motivated America to so want the UK to stay in the EU that they sent their president over there to make the case.  America sees the UK as a convenient pipe line into the EU for various American interests such as imposing the disastrous trade agreement on the EU which is not a trade agreement at all but a restriction of trade agreement.  She also wants to use the EU against Russia   Look at the history of the USA vis a vis other countries.  She has always destroyed emerging democratic movements wherever she found them, replacing them with pet dictators.  The EU in its present form is a dictatorship by a number of unelected commissioners.

    http://mtkass.blogspot.co.nz/2015/04/timeline-usa.html

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    Moderator Response:

    [DB] You've been warned before about using this forum as an advertising vehicle for your blog (link snipped).  Please cease.

  6. Why do the young want to remain, and the old leave?

    Firstly the young are idealistic, and the old more realistic.

    Secondly young people have only ever been part of the EU. Older people remember a longer history when Britain was not in the EU, and managed to do ok, and so see it all differently.

    I don't think leaving the EU is a great idea, but I understand why. A lot of problems have built up and not been addressed, and so people have lashed out at the EU. The benefits of free trade have not trickled down to ordinary people much, and there are worries about high rates of immigration, loss of sovereignty, etc. Its all like an earthquake fault rupturing.

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  7. Or just remembering sunny times and forgetting being the sick man of Europe in 1973? Will immigration actually drop? And how much is the perception that immigrants and EU are responsible for changes that are in fact due to automation. I think Brexiteers have somehow deluded themseleves that they can retain the benefits of membership without any of the obligations. Farage has certainly encouraged this. Good luck persuading Merkel on that. 

     

     

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  8. while i appreciate the young and their concern over the current fate of their country, they will be old one day and can vote to return to the EU. why not just accept the will of the people on this, it's not a black and white issue anyways and i don't see how this is something directly related to climate change. 

    norway and swizerland are not in the EU either. 

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  9. Elmwood - not really my problem; just stunned really. Not directly related to climate change but from where I sit on the other side of world, it looks like the following similarities:


    • people willing to be lied to if it fits what they hope is true.

    • unwillingness to check arguments

    • blatant willingness to try and have advantages of a policy without the obligations

    • and the probability having to listen in misery while a younger generation asks how people could be so stupid.


    "norway and swizerland are not in the EU either."  Your point? Neither seems to me to  share much in way of economic fundamentals with UK. Norway is member of EEA which guarantees free movement of people (ie labour force) as well as goods and services. Cant see Brexiteers who are screaming for say Polish workers out, being keen to sign for that.

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  10. scaddenp @9, the Swiss trade agreements with the EU guarantees the free movement of persons, so again that is not an acceptable model for the "Leave" campaigners.

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  11. Thanks Tom. I thought they had recinded that when they withdrew from EEA but I see that still applies. Looks like a Swiss have a very complex relationship with EU but principle of no-benefits without accepting the obligations applies. If you want free access to the market, you have to accept a free labour market as well which only makes sense.

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  12. Scaddenp, fair enough to some extent. However there were a lot of lies or distortions on both sides of the debate. The costs of leaving were exaggerated, the negative impacts of immigration exaggerated, the costs of bureaucracy exaggerated.


    I'm just  trying to see both sides of the argument.


    I think overall Britain will be slightly worse off economically longer term, and leaving was maybe not a great idea, but the fact is the EU has problems of various sorts, and the public had "had enough" and were not seeing progress, more a grid lock situation. The economic elite do best out of free trade and are somwhat isolated from negative impacts of immigration in rough neighbourhoods. The same sorts of problems are being milked by Trump in America. The point is if things aren't fixed by sensible, middle ground policies, something breaks eventually in spectacular fashion.


    As to loss of sovereignty, all free trade agreements involve that to some extent, so Britain aren't escaping anything. Im not sure whats worse, loss of sovereignty to the EU bureaucracy, or to corporations as in the TPPA!

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  13. nigelj @6:

    "Firstly the young are idealistic, and the old more realistic."

    It is the paradox of pragmatism (or realism) that it is impossible to be pragmatic without being idealistic.  That is because to be pragmatic is to be able to shape a course of action that will obtain an objective.  If you have no ideals, you therefore have no objective and cannot be pragmatic in achieving the objectives which you do not have.  Because people do not realize this, most of what passes as pragmatism falls under two rubrics; either simply taking the path of least resistence; or of pursuing ideals you do not care to talk about (presumably because acknowleging them as your ideals will reflect poorly on you).

    Because of this, never trust a self declared pragmatist that cannot or will not tell you the ideal they are making compromises in order to get closer to.

    Because of the paradox of pragmatism, I distrust nigelj's claim.  While it is true that the young often are unaware of the need to make compromises to obtain close to ideal ends, it is also true that the elderly have often abandoned any hope of obtaining near to ideal ends, are are just taking the path of least resistance.  They are not so much "realists" as "cynics".

    More importantly, nigelj's dictum looks like a simple way to evade the fact that the young and the old may have been pursuing different ideals.  The old, it would appear, have been pursuing a narrow, jingoistic ideal while the young have been pursuing an open, humanistic ideal.  Nigelj, I think, is merely trying to rubbish the ideals of youth because in his heart he knows that they ideals behind the "leave" campaign look very much less than ideal in comparison.

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  14. nigelj @12, when you have what was essentially a 50/50 vote, it is false to claim that "the public ... were not seeing progress".  Clearly 50% of the public were seeing enough "progress" (towards what exactly) to be relatively content with the situation.  So, being accurate, some sections of the public found the presence of a significant minority of the people their nation colonized and exploited for hundreds of years making a life in Britain.  Some other sections of the public were confused by what was meant by the terms "sovereignty" and "democracy" such that they described belonging voluntarilly to a treaty organization as a loss of sovereignty (so much so that they could regain their "independence"), or the presence of a committee of elected officials as making the EU "undemocratic" (while apparently the House of Lords does not make Brittain "undemocratic").

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  15. "The economic elite do best out of free trade and are somwhat isolated from negative impacts of immigration in rough neighbourhoods."

    This is undoubtedly your perception, and definitely a perception supporting Trump is US, but I think reality is rather more complicated (eg changes in productivity, job profiles etc). If you are going to cut yourself off from your major market, I sure cant see how that is going to help poorer neighbourhoods. Do you seriously expect unemployment to go down after exit???

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  16. I live in Australia and am currently on holiday in UK/Europe and am following Brexit avidly

    Some facts  "The young" now complaining that "the old"  are ruining their future couldn't be bothered to vote.  64% of those eligible to vote didn't so essentially 2 in 3 of "the young"  were not interested.  In contrast 74% of "the  old" or 3 out of 4 did vote.

    The strongest association between voting Remain rather than Leave was possession of a degree followed by having a "professional" job.  These associations were less marked in Scotland.  The strongest association between voting Leave rather than Remain was not having a passport.

    There  is a petition currently with more than 4 million signatures calling for a second referendum.  Hopefully the UK will not leave, it doesn't have to if Article 50 is not invoked, but I think that is not very likely.  

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  17. Haze@16,

    The FT "facts" you're refering to are behind paywall; maybe you should refer to another, more accessible source.

    But what you're quoting, supports one of the OP premisses that Brexit campain was based on distorted facts or political myths propagated by Farage/Johnson. Those with degrees/prof jobs were able to see through the lies disseminated and opposed them. Those without were not able to judge the lies as such. They fell victims of the misinformation campaign. Only now they do realise their mistake, hence we have"bregret" now.

    The similarities between brexit instigators' campaign and FF interest misinformation campaign about climate science is so obvious that such correlation cannot be ignored.

    Also, the generation gap between leave/remain voters cannot be ignored. Despite other commenters arguing that the gap is not really there because most yonger voters did not care, those who did care should be treated as a statistical sample of a general population trend. And again, the similarities to intergenerational ethics of climate change is very obvious.

    That des not mean those who voted "leave" are climate science deniers. Such claim would be wrong, OP does not make such a claim. It can only be noted that strong correlation suggests similar mechanisms may be at play. In case of brexit, it can be called "denial of political reality".

    I don't find the OP analysis biased. Those who do, likely do not understand what bias is.

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  18. Haze @16:

    "Social media is passing round a stat that only 36 per cent of 18-24 year olds voted. Given that this age group was the most likely to vote Remain, this would imply that if turnout had matched that of higher age groups, Remain coudld have triumphed.

    However, it's not quite as simple as that - this is not real turnout data, and we will in fact never know exactly what proportion of each age group voted. Some quick background: at General Elections, representatives from political parties stand outside polling stations asking for your voting ID number, and collate this information country-wide to figure out who voted (and guess how, based on canvassing data). However, they tend not to at one-off votes, such as referendums, and didn't on Thursday."

    (My emphasis, source)

    So, the "facts" about youth turnout are in fact a statistical inference, and probably with a significant margin of error.  

    That being said, young voters turnouted in much lower numbers than old voters.  It does not follow from that that '"The young" now complaining that "the old" are ruining their future couldn't be bothered to vote'.  More probably, the majority of the young voters who are now complaining felt strongly enough about the issue to be among the young that voted.  Those young have just cause to complain against their fellow young who did not vote, as well as against the elderly who, though unlikely to experience the long term impact, voted against the wishes of those who will. 

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  19. Not so simple as intergenerational divide:

    http://www.theguardian.com/politics/commentisfree/2016/jun/24/divided-britain-brexit-money-class-inequality-westminster

    "If you’ve got money, you vote in,” she said, with a bracing certainty. “If you haven’t got money, you vote out.”

    and another along the same lines:

    https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/jun/27/liverpool-london-brexit-leave-eu-referendum

    sidd

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  20. Scaddenp @15.

    The benefits of free trade have definitely not trickled down very well to average people. The same goes for globalisation and outsourcing of labour to Asia by Western countries, where ordinary people have not really benefited much. For example wage levels over the last 25 years have been pretty static in western countries for the lower part of society, particularly in America. The Economist.com is a very reputable publication and has acknowledged this repeatedly.

    I'm not for a second suggesting countries stop free trade or globalisation, or become insular, but some way has to be found to share the benefits of free trade more equitably. In my country of NZ we have tax funded income support policies that help to some extent.

    But theres obviously at least a perception among working people in Britain that they are being "shafted"economically and they lashed out at the only thing they could, the EU. Its sad because leaving the EU may well not resolve the problem!

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  21. Scaddenp @ 7

    Your gdp graph of growth does show an upwards trend from about 1960 - 1990. I acknowledge some of this could be free trade with the EU, but much of it could be due to industrial policy in the 1960's and Thatchers reforms in the 1980's. We just dont know.

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  22. Tom Curtis @ 13

    What you say about "good" pragmatism needing a basis of idealism is all fair enough. Otherwise pragmatism may merely be forced compromise in the persuit of a hidden aggenda.

    My point was more that the young are idealistic, a good thing, but sometimes a bit naive as well. Older people see economic problems differently as they have mortgages and families and life experience. I pass no judgement on the generations as both idealism and realism are good attributes, but the difference between young and old may explain the voting outcome.

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  23. Nigel - what makes you think unfair trade will trickle down any better? While there is undoubtedly job losses to Asia, this is often blamed when there are much bigger job losses to automation.

    The "ordinary" people are actually driving outsourcing to a very big degree as preferring cheap consumer goods from Asia instead of expensive local products. On the plus side, free trade does wonders for lifting standards of living across developing world.

    I agree that voters are lashing out at EU but to my mind they are chopping off a leg to fix a sore toe. I see in paper today that EU have reinforced message that there is not going to be access to market without free labour movement. It appears Brexiteers are still living in the alternate reality where they think they can kick out immigrants and retain trade.

    I am also in NZ - far from Brexit effects thankfully, but I think UK has similar income support systems.

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  24. "We just dont know" I fear that UK is about to find out.

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  25. Scaddenp @ 23

    I never mentioned job losses. As you say there are various reasons for this however its interesting to read recent IMF research. The prediction was that globalisation would displace manufacturing jobs in western countries and they would move to higher earning services jobs. The simple fact is this hasn't happened. The Economists got it wrong.

    So I can only repeat since the era of free trade and globalisation since the 1980s, the benefits have tended to go to the top 10% in western societies and lower skilled people have got none of the wage increases, despite measurable productivity increases. This is maybe partly offset by cheaper imported televisions, but I suggest not much. 

    I agree free trade has helped the poor in developing countries, but its impoverishing the poor in western countries. Child poverty is increasing in Britain. Something has to be done.

    Agree with the second part of your post that Britain is chopping off a leg to fix a sore toe. Britain have a tendency to superiority, and think they will be able to get all the trade benefits, and shut out immigration. Somehow I suspect the EU will drive a much harder bargain! You can't thumb your nose at the EU, and expect them to be all nice in return!

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  26. Scaddenp @ 24

    It's hard to know what impact leaving the EU would have on gdp growth in Britain. During the 1960s there were big reductions in tariffs across many products, if you were part of the EU, so this probably helped growth to some extent.

    Now its all quite different. Britain mostly exports manufactured products and services and tariffs on these are quite low even for countries outside the EU completely. There are high tariffs on basic commodities and farming, but Britain is not a big exporter of farming products, so leaving the EU may not have much impact on growth longer term. It will however hurt in the shorter to medium term due to all the uncertainty.

    However the EU could decide to play "hardball" and place various new and specific restrictions just on British exports, and things could get ugly.

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  27. I repeat - how is going to a closed market supposed to help that problem with wealth distribution? I would expect the EU to give favourable access to manufactured products from Britain in return for same access to British market because it exports to UK far more than it imports (by factor of 3 I think). However, the UK labour market will be more expensive without free movement so I would expect competitiveness to decline. Dont expect any favours on the financial services market however where UK runs a healthy surplus. And, yes, I expect them to get ugly. After Farage's speech to EU, I dont think anyone in EU will be rushing to do any favours.

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  28. Scaddenp @27


    I'm not saying a closed market helps wealth distribution. Read my comment at 20 above. Pulling out of the EU is unlikely to help with wealth redistribution and its a thing purely for British government policy. The EU dont control tax rates or wealth distribution.


    I don't think totally free markets in labour have many gains for economic growth, and they certainly have down sides. Britain will probably actually have much the same immigration rates anyway, out of the EU, but may screen individuals a bit more. I go with reasonably free flowing immigration, but with some controls to knock off the rough edges.

     

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  29. Let me add, with the moderators's permission, an anecdote. I spoke to an older person, born in the fifties, lived thru postwar UK rationing, the down years, and the up years after North Sea petro and gas, and voted to join Common Market in 1975.

    "We voted to join in '75 because we thought things would get better. We got screwed for forty years, and the rich got all the money. The kids haven't lived through that, they think if they go along they'll get rich. Well, I tell them that all they will get is another forty years of getting screwed. No more, I'm voting out."

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  30. An example of the perception that societies evils can be blamed on EU even when exactly same thing is happening in countries that are not part of EU. Who will they blame when out of EU? Post war, the top tax rate was 92%. Both top and basic rates have dropped steadily since then. That part of equation is nothing to do with EU, nor was quashing the unions.

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  31. "Who will they blame when out of EU?"

    Precisely. They already blame their own government. And they have already forced a breakup of both Tory and Labour. Which is more than happened in a long while.

    The Very Important People are speaking in a way that reminds me of the quote: "The people have spoken, the bastards."

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  32. A humorous look at Brexit from across the pond…

    A Bachelor Named Britain, Looking for Love, Op-ed by Frank Bruni, New York Times, June 29, 2016

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  33. I reject this constant theme that the greedy older generation voted for Brexit while the virtuous younger generation wanted to stay.  The older amongst us have experienced the decline of democracy and the rise of neoliberalism (read Laisse Faire) and globilization in which massive international corporation, primarily out of America can do what they want and devil take the rest of us.  They want out of the dictatorship by a few non elected commissioners which is the EU and which America finds much more easy to control and influence than 28 individual democracies.  The young are seduced  by the baubles that come from being in the EU and don't have the experience or vision to realize what is happening in the world and its likely consequensis.  We have only had some reasonable senblance of democracy in the western world since the new deal by FDR.  Before that there was a knock down drag out fight to achieve some semblance of justice for all.  We are now on the way down agian and the Brexit vote, as much as anything, was a vote against this slide back into a neofeudalism.

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  34. That simply sounds like rhetoric to me. Which acts by an unelected officials in the EU do you blame for the current situation?

    I might also ask did they destroy unionism? Did they lower the taxes? However, I am more interested in what you perceive to be the answer to first question.

    "They want out of the dictatorship by a few non elected commissioners which is the EU and which America finds much more easy to control and influence than 28 individual democracies." That sounds like conspiracy theorist territory. What is the evidence that convinces you of this?

    If Brexit results in real improvement for lower classes in Britain, then I will delighted -  and extremely surprized. Worst protest vote ever in UK is my guess.

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  35. william @33, I would have thought that the older generation, having lived through the periods of dominance of Pol Pot, Francisco Franco, Fidel Castro, General Suharto, Mao Zedong, Augusto Pinochet etc, would know very well that the EU is not a dictatorship.  They should probably recognize that government by a commission appointed by an indirectly group of indirectly elected officials, and subject to the veto of a directly elected parliament is arguably more democratic than the US (where the President is indirectly elected, and appoints his "cabinet" without possibility of veto by Congress).  It is not greatly different from the process in Brittain itself where the Prime Minister is indirectly elected from among the membership of a directly elected body, and where his cabinet need not be elected officials themselves (they may be members of the House of Lords), but can be vetoed by a directly elected body.  The EU, like the US, and Britain and Australia is imperfectly democratic, but democratic none-the-less.

    I would also have hoped the older generation would have had the sense to realize that the concerns afflicting them are shared by US citizens, Australians, New Zealanders and (probably) Candadians and therefore that the problem does not lie in EU membership.

    I guess they are about to learn that the hard way.

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  36. Tom Curtis@ 3.  Your last para suggestrs you do not understand the English who in large part are responsible for the reuslt of the referendum, a result that I personally deplore.  Unlike the citizens of the US, Australia, New Zealand and (probably) Canada, Ehnglish citizens live in a society with traditions going back to at least 1066, some 950 years.  This is greater than the sum total of the history of the US, Australia, New ZeaLnd and (probably) Canada.   The current way of life in these countries is largely due to the Brtish.   You also don't understand that the English are conscious that they are the descendants of men and women who forged the largest and one of the greatest empires the world has ever seen,  A country that essentially made the modern world.  Think of the rule of law, habeas corpus, liberalism, civil rights and that has a very proud military history (at least till the end of the second world war).  Although deplorably jingoistic, the words in Rule Britannia   "Britons never never never shall be slaves" resonate with many Britons even of today, particularly the elderly.  Many Britons consider  the EU taken away the right of Britons to govern themselves and in so doing has trespassed on the independence so dear to many Britons.  And as for the comaliants of the young, if they cannot be bothered to vote and 64% couldn't, it is entirely their own fault that the outcome of the referendum is not as they would like.  I doubyt many Australians would be impressed by a Britobn pontificating on Australia and similarly I doubt any Briton wrelishes an Australian pontificating on the UK

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  37. Haze@36,

    "Britons never never never shall be slaves" resonate with many Britons even of today, particularly the elderly.

    While this and all your analysis may be reasonable, it's also accurate to say that the world has moved on long way since those centuries ago when britain was an imperium and rest of the world their "slaves". In today's highly globalised economy, national diversity domestically, and big global companies internationally, play more and more important role. National snobism as you describe, will be not just jingoistic annoyance but simply a thing of the past on few years. Just as slavery became thing of the past over a century ago.

    If some brits voted leave because they support this anachronic attitude (likely other factors e.g. disappointment with current govs were more at play IMO), they already came to realise their mistake, hence we've got Bregret now.

    I have few brit friends here in Australia. All of them, expats like you, but do not share your view. They are actually shocked by the silly outcome of that referendum and saying that britain stepped into a big mess that they despise. They supported and voted Bremain. And these are people aged 40-50+, therefore not "young" as defined by Brexit demographics, but their view closely resembling their "young" domestic counterparts. Admitedly, my friends are not a representative population sample but still a good sample of brit expats in OZ.

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  38. Leave voters can put forward all the excuses they want, but whatever their age and whatever their reasons (and even the best arguments I've seen for leaving the EU suggest a tendency towards isolationism rather than working together to solve problems), they voted for a campaign based on anti-intellectualism, and on racist and xenophobic lies. This is the important point, and it's inexcusable in my view. It has done untold damage whether the UK leaves the EU or not.

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  39. Climate change is an irreversible natural process brought on by the emisssion of greenhouse gases by technical systems. It is the unintended conseqence of lack of understanding of natural processes b those making the decisions. Most people do not understand that fundamental physical reality. This discussion only deals with how peole have responded to two issues that are only related in the views of people. it leads to misunderstanding about what should be done to cope with the irreversible climate change. The most that can be done is to reduce the rate of greenhouse gas emissions as rapidly as is physically possible. That requires the powerful in society acquiring understanding they have yet to exhibit.

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  40. As I said above, the EU is not that better - if at all - than UK concerning climate change:

    Commission and Big Energy keep cooking the climate, despite Paris Agreement

    http://corporateeurope.org/climate-and-energy/2016/06/commission-and-big-energy-keep-cooking-climate-despite-paris-agreement

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    Moderator Response:

    [PS] Fixed link.

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