Saturday, 25 June 2016

Sentiments over sense

Traffic signals are a menace and we all know it. We hate waiting those few seconds and feel that the entire system is programmed against you to make you stop everywhere. You find that a lot of them are there at an unnecessarily short distance and find the system in place has some flaws and frustrated over them, you gather a band of people who agree with you and start a movement. The movement would obviously grow in size, because, naturally, a lot of us hate it though none of us know what would happen with the lack of it. So yes, the movement grows in size, politically becomes a menace, and finally, a referendum is agreed, that depending on people's vote, they would abolish the system altogether.

So, the campaign starts, and those in favour of retaining them talk about the problems that one would face in the absence of it and the people from the movement immediately shun in saying that those in favour are running a fear campaign, their thoughts are filled with hate, while we are having a positive approach to the whole thing. When such an argument is used, those in favour are stumped and someone who has not made up her / his mind might think that it is a valid point but just to go a little deeper into it, there is no other way to campaign for status quo except for explaining the consequences over the lack of it; for, the benefits of its existence are being experienced by people any way. If somebody is being swayed by this 'negative' campaigning accusation for a referendum is downright stupid.

So, with that said, the vote comes, and with this negativity assumption, the movement manages to sway the undecided voters and finally, by a narrow margin, get the law to abolish all traffic signals. Fine, it is a revolution but is that a right way ahead? We all know the mess it would create without them, with gridlocked traffic, increased accidents and a lot of other problems. Yes, a majority of the people wanted to get them out of the way but then, just because a majority voted; is that the way forward? That is when a sensible government should issue a statement as to why they reject the narrowly passed popular vote and do what is best for the people. After all, a successful organisation in business is the one that delivers its customers what they want even though they might not know that they want them.

With that said, enough of allegories, think of it with the recently concluded referendum over Britain's membership with the EU. The European Union is a body that has achieved something; an idea which somebody would have laughed at even last century - six decades without war. Yes, Europe, after the second world war, saw extreme stability, thanks to the Union that brought it in. I fail to understand as to how, the older electorate, those who had their childhood ruined by the war could actually vote to leave the Union that has given their grandchildren a peaceful childhood.

The EU definitely has its flaws, but the hate campaign that Leave carried out with regards immigration, I fail to understand why all blame has been placed on the EU when immigration was happening all across Europe even in the 19th and 20th (pre EU era) centuries and in fact, the UK has benefited more from the free movement of labour and capital from other European nations. But still, people had certain sentimental opposition that Brussels holds a lot of power, a judgement by the Crown Court being potentially overturned at Luxembourg which they had problems with, these are all purely sentimental reasons and when you choose sentiment over sense, things don't go very well.

Worse things beckon for the UK, with Cameron set to resign (who wasn't a great PM himself),  Boris Johnson is likely to take the post; a politician from whom I have never heard a single original idea or implement any great reforms as the mayor of London and in fact, during his tenure, the housing markets skyrocketed for which he barely took any steps to control other than blind rhetoric. Johnson, in fact, unlike Gove or Farage, had not even picked a side till the date of the referendum was announced and merely saw this as his quickest route to Number 10, after all, he doesn't hold any ideas or views other than opportunism. He holds traits similar to Trump wherein, throughout the campaign, he has contradicted himself multiple times and with such ultra nationalism on the rise, I shall not be surprised if Trump actually becomes the president of US. After all, if Boris Johnson can become Prime Minister in October, Trump may very well become President in November.

Farage said that if Remain went through, they'd push for another referendum in the future; would he agree to concede a membership referendum in the near future? I doubt it, which shows the extreme hypocrisy of this campaign.

A majority voted for an exit, yes, a slender majority of 4%; but is that the right decision? Even if a majority of people are misled to believe and vote for something, it doesn't necessarily that it is right, sometimes it might be downright ignorance and miscommunication leading people to believe otherwise and the saddest part of the whole affair is, a majority of the young people voted to stay in, but thing have gone against them and they would be the ones facing the consequences of not being in EU.

The larger consequence I fear is the collapse of UK as a political union with yet another referendum in Scotland, where, every local council voted to remain in the Union but are being forced out. In fact, one of the issues for discussion during the earlier Scottish independence referendum was, in fact, EU membership where the Better Together swayed voters to their side with the argument that an independent Scotland would have to go through the process of applying for EU membership and won't be granted automatically. But now that they are out of it and circumstances have changed, the vote might yield a very different result now.

Frankly, a lot of issues spoken about during the referendum (the consequences - the negative campaign!) had a lot of financial aspects involved which I couldn't have appreciated much if I didn't have a finance background.

With that said, I have a great respect for the democratic process and believe in democracy, and choosing the right leader and government to provide direction but not on all technical matters because, there shouldn't be a case where sentiment prevails sense and thereby, going against the interests of the people; which is ultimately against the very foundation of democracy.

Have a nice day,
Andy

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