The March for a People’s Vote

I can’t be there in London today because of other commitments here in Ireland but I send my very best wishes to everyone marching in London today.

It seems the weather is good so I hope you all have a fantastic day!

Update: it seems that one or two people have turned up:

It turns out there were about 700,000 at the demonstration. The march won’t in itself change anything, but everyone who took part in it will surely now feel stronger and more energised for the struggles to come, while those on the other side are getting seriously rattled.

Imagine the scale of the protests when the Government announces its intention to proceed without a Withdrawal Agreement.

33 Responses to “The March for a People’s Vote”

  1. Anton Garrett Says:

    Evidently the previous Referendum wasn’t a people’s vote.

    • telescoper Says:

      I’m glad you agree. The previous Referendum was unlawfully manipulated by a handful of billionaires to serve their agenda not that of the People.

      • Anton Garrett Says:

        I wonder whether there will be an EU in recognisable form to Brexit (or not) from soon. The EU bankers hung Alexis Tsipras’ anti-austerity Leftist government in Greece out to dry in 2015 as documented in his finance minister Yanis Varoufakis’ book “Adults in the Room”. (Tsipras blinked in the face of extreme short-term pain for Greece in order to buy a better future outside the Eurozone, and austerity and 50% youth unemployment continues, enhancing the risk of fascism in a decade.) This book will say much the same next month:

        I think you have so far concentrated on opposing the arguments advanced for Brexit from the Right. Try these from the Left:

        Jeremy Corbyn has been a lifelong Brexiteer, and currently opposes Brexit only for electoral reasons.

      • telescoper Says:

        Corbyn ‘currently opposes Brexit’? That’s news to me!

      • telescoper Says:

        P. S. In my opinion, the greatest threat to stability the EU is Italy, not Greece. At least Greece’s economy is growing again.

      • I agree entirely with Peter on this. The level of fraud, the interference of the foreign owned press, and the downright dishonesty surrounding all sides, but predominantly the leave camp, really make the result entirely invalid. I don’t agree with referenda anyway, we are a representative democracy, and I would prefer to see parliament do what is in the best interests of the people, which is to remain in the EU. Failing that we need another vote.

      • telescoper Says:

        It’s interesting that if the 2016 Referendum had been set up to be binding (which it wasn’t) the result would undoubtedly have been set aside because of the unlawful activities of the Vote Leave campaign. Because it was only advisory it has no legal force anyway so can’t be annulled. The Brexit zealots nevertheless continue to claim it provides them with a mandate, which it clearly doesn’t.

        Moreover the Government has had over two years in charge, in which time all it has done is to prove itself utterly incapable of delivering anything the Leave campaign promised.

      • Anton Garrett Says:

        Greece’s economy is permanently hobbled inside the eurozone by the amount of money that has to go to service its debt, as Varoufakis – a man who has written a laudatory preface to works of Marx – understood. He sees the likes of Goldman Sachs behind his opponents.

        If the (incompetent!) Tory government fell and Corbyn won an election, would Britain Brexit? I don’t know the answer to that, and I’m not sure that anybody else does either.

        I agree that Italy is a threat to the Euro currency; a country where an unusual coalition of a rightwing populist party and a leftwing anti-austerity party are united in wanting to ditch the Euro and let the exchange rate take the strain, for differing reasons (national sovereignty and anti-austerity respectively). The Italian budget is currently being scrutinised by Brussels, who under the eurozone treaties may knock it back, and the Italians are in no mood to surrender give that their economy is too large for its debts to be bailed out as Greece’s were: it can hold Brussels to ransom. But the Germans (let’s be real) aren’t going to blink and subsidise heavy Italian spending either. Stalemate would mean an Italian exit from the Euro that would he highly disorderly and could cause major disruption to the world financial system due to interconnectedness. It would be an inevitable consequence of monetary without fiscal union – the chickens taking several decades to come home to roost, and today there is declining taste among Europe’s peoples for a full USE.

        I would go deeper and blame neither Left nor Right but fiat currency, a sin committed by both, for the mess that the financial system has got itself into.

      • ”I don’t agree with referenda anyway“

        They should be the exception, but perhaps necessary if the will of the people is not the same as that of the majority in parliament. Representative democracy is a means to an end. For almost all cases, better than direct democracy. But if there is a referendum, then only on the basis of an initiative, it has to be binding, it can be overturned only by another referendum, it has to be an essentially yes/no question, and both outcomes have to be constitutional (or the equivalent for countries without a constitution). Also, like all other votes, “more yes than no” should be the only criterion to pass. Most of these were not fulfilled by the Brexit referendum.

  2. The problem in Greece has been reckless spending by past governments, nothing else. Devaluing the currency is a self defeating mechanism, to do so devalues the savings and earnings of everybody.

    • telescoper Says:

      You might also argue that far from being ‘hobbled’ Greece has been helped to walk. It is now out of Troika supervision and is growing again.

      • Absolutely right Peter. Without the bailout they were given, Greek people would be unable to heat their homes, as they have no fuel reserves. Also they would have great trouble feeding the population. The Eurozone has saved Greece.

      • Anton Garrett Says:

        Take it up with Varoufakis. Greece’s economy is permanently hobbled inside the eurozone by the amount of money that has to go to service its debt, something Varoufakis understood. The idea that devaluation is a bad thing is extraordinary; it is the safety valve that saves a country which has got it wrong. The problem in Greece is indeed government profligacy and largescale tax evasion, but if Greece wants to run itself like that then why should it not? It took advice from Goldman Sachs on how to massage its figures when applying to join the euro, a fact of which Brussels was well aware – the point in Brussels was to expand the EU empire while having plausible deniability that the figures missed the criteria, and the point in Athens was to get hold of German money. What is happening now is the old problem of whether to throw good money after bad in a debtor/creditor relationship that sours relations on both sides. Yet the rate of interest on any loan reflects the risk of default, so the EU cannot grumble if Greece defaults. And everybody cheered when Gordon Brown arranged forgiveness of Third World debt, but Greece gets the iron-hard treatment; how about a little consistency?

        In any case Greece is done, look to Italy next as Peter rightly says.

      • telescoper Says:

        All countries have to service their debts. Would Greece be better off now had it defaulted? A look at Argentina might give you a clue…

        And devaluation is hardly a panacea either.

      • Anton Garrett Says:

        The Third World was forgiven its debts a decade ago. The risk of default is written into the interest rate at which money is borrowed, so there can be grounds for arguing that certain debts should be forgiven. Or are you against all bankruptcy laws and believe that debtors should rot in debtors’ prison indefinitely as used to be the case in this country?

        Argentina certainly blew the chances it gained by devaluing.

      • telescoper Says:

        It’s interesting that Portugal, which at one point looked to be in as serious trouble as Greece, has managed to steer a much safer course.

        I agree that there are situations in which rules can be relaxed, but that’s not the same as arguing there should be no rules.

      • Well Anton, if you want me to take it up with Varoufakis, maybe you should take it up with Tsipras. And remind yourself which of the two is fairly successfully running a country to a progressive agenda, and which is writing opinion pieces in newspapers.

      • Anton Garrett Says:

        Varoufakis said from start to finish that if the 2015 Greek negotiations with the EU were to have any credibility then they had to genuinely *mean* that they would quit the euro if they didn’t get what they wanted. Tsipras blinked. Perhaps he was weak, perhaps he was seduced by the lure of running a country (pretty tempting) whereas Varoufakis meant what he said and stuck to his word. Give me a conviction politician any day. Blair for Labour and May for the Tories are no-principles trust-me politicians. Did you enjoy their times?

        In more detail, Tsipras won an election on a no-more-austerity platform that the EU then refused, following which called a Referendum and made it crystal clear that the two alternatives (accept or reject the EU bailout terms) meant either short-term extreme pain followed by a decent future (via reject and be kicked out of the euro), or austerity forever within the eurozone. The Greek people confirmed the mandate they had given him to tell the EU to get stuffed, and he then did the exact opposite. I’d drink with Varoufakis.

      • telescoper Says:

        You missed the bit where Tsipras won a General Election after the referendum.

      • Anton Garrett Says:

        The outcome of elections depends also on the alternatives; that is why only binary referenda show the will of the people on a particular issue unambiguously.

        Here is what happened next. Tsipras reneged on the result of the referendum, which had confirmed the result that he himself campaigned for. Consequently, enough people in his own party rebelled against *him*, forcing him to call a snap election. The people of Greece had no stomach for the hard-right alternative and his party was the largest at the polls. But he still had to form a coalition with them, in which he found it necessary to appoint a minister, Dimitris Kammenos, who had called 9/11 a Jewish plot and worse. (Kammenos lasted less than a day.) Varoufakis is a man of principle but Tsipras will get into bed with anybody for power. Alexis Tsipras is a fine politician.

      • telescoper Says:

        There’s the `will of the people’ again. It’s such a nonsense phrase.

      • telescoper Says:

        So did the binary UK referendum unambiguously state that the UK would leave the Single Market and Customs Union?

      • Anton Garrett Says:

        It’s a verbal shorthand, that’s all; longhand as follows. Passions get roused when a binary issue is presented to a nation, in this case whether the Greek PM should sign up to the conditions for Greece’s third bailout. A Yes/No referendum was called on that exact question. The consequences of either result were made crystal clear to the people, and nobody on either side said in advance that the result would be illegitimate if they lost narrowly. 60% of those who bothered to vote said Don’t sign. Tsipras signed.

      • Anton Garrett Says:

        The question put in the UK referendum had to be one that the UK government could enact unilaterally.

      • Seems to me that Tsipras is the one who understands what parliamentary democracy means. And he is the one who is prepared to put the interests of the country above short term electoral considerations. And he is also the one who has looked at the consequences of “crashing out of the Euro”. Greece under Tsipras is growing and governable. Under Varoufakis, who knows really but I suspect that things would have been a hell of a lot worse.

      • Anton Garrett Says:

        Tsipras won an election on the basis of saying “enough” to the troika, had that result confirmed months later by a 20% majority in a Referendum which eliminated all extraneous factors, then promptly did the opposite. Some called it the spectacle of a people being overthrown by its government, others said that democracy was born in Athens and died in Athens, but who am I to grumble? Or the Italians.

      • Tsipras’ duty is to foster the well-being of his people nothing else. And he has been proved right by the recent improvements in the economy.

      • Anton Garrett Says:

        …which begs the questions of what best fosters the well-being of his people and how decisions should be made in a democracy. The wisdom of a decision is not, of course, to be determined in hindsight – as every decision theorist understands – and Greece is saddled with servicing a vast debt that it cannot inflate away at a few percent per year.

        If you take the view that a Prime Minister may freely break his word with no change in circumstance, as Tsipras did, and may act as an absolute dictator for so long as he is in office, then you should be happy not only with Tsipras but with events in this country and Italy. Perhaps Tsipras’ fear of being deposed and shot if he refused to sign the terms of the troika’s third bailout agreement, as detailed by Varoufakis in a specific conversation they had at the time, made a difference.

        The present Italian government is a coalition of a rightwing nationalist party and a leftwing spendthrift party, neither of which is happy with Brussels having a veto over its budget (as it has over eurozone nations); this veto was exercised yesterday for the first time in EU history. Their budget was returned to Rome with low marks out of ten and three weeks for a rethink, while Brussels does the sort of behind-the-scenes bullying that it did to Greece. But Italy actually *wants* a showdown. All of this is just the inevitable playing-out of monetary without fiscal union, only it is no longer just a Greek tragedy.

      • In a parliamentary democracy, which Greece is, and the UK is supposed to be, you elect people to take decisions in your interests, not the decisions that you yourself would take. Tsipras is so elected, Varoufakis is not. Varoufakis is being hysterical if he really did say that Tsipras would be deposed and shot.

      • Anton Garrett Says:

        Tsipras himself said he feared it, citing information to match (Varoufakis, Adults in the Room p.469). Varoufakis replied that, with a 60-40 victory for no-signing in the Referendum, they should stand firm.

        Please do a gedankexperiment. If you were opposed to Greece signing the terms of the Third Bailout, would you consider that *how* it came to be signed was in any way improper or morally different from if the Referendum had simply voted to Sign?

      • Varoufakis said that Tsipras said he feared it is what you mean.

        In gour Gedanken experiment I would examine the consequences of signing or not signing before deciding whether I supported or opposed signing. No matter which way I had voted the first time.

      • Anton Garrett Says:

        If you want to call Varoufakis’ reliability in reporting that conversation into question then here is his website:

  3. Nigel Foot Says:

    I was marching – it was amazing! People of all ages, races, nationalities, gender – I don’t think any category of people were not represented. Have to keep the pressure up now!

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