Category Archives: Solutions

A Brexit solution

Brexit, the pressing issue that is currently dividing a large amount of the British public actually has a solution available to the remain side that does not seem to have been considered by many people. A point of disclosure that you should know if you are not already aware is that I would very much prefer to remain in the EU. Having said that, this post is not intended to rehash the reasons why Brexit is a bad idea. The news does an adequate job of highlighting that every day, plus there is no shortage of academic study on the likely effects to the economy. I am even willing to concede there may be some advantages to Brexit and that Brexit could be potentially be handled in such a way that some of my chief concerns might be dealt with in a manner that will make me feel a lot better about the whole thing.

Having said that, I still remain a committed europhile and find it hard to believe that it has come to the point that the government is happily accepting a flawed referendum in order to justify continuing the Brexit process despite the serious lack of support they received in the general election.

Personally I believe there must be some machiavellian thinking within the inner depths of whitehall, and the plan is to avoid leaving the EU altogether. As it is the place of the government to protect the British public and to run the country in an effective manner, maintaining our world position it should be self evident that the government would not allow us to make such a disastrous decision to throw away our considerable influence in the EU when it gives us no advantages. Of course it is possible that the seat of power is occupied by people who do not have the wit to understand their duties, but despite the appearance that this is the case we much hold out hope that they do know what they are doing, or that they have the wisdom to realise they need to find a solution to the evident disaster that we are currently being pulled into as surely as a comet that has been caught in the gravity of a black hole.

The question is, how could the government pull themselves away from this course of action. If the country was run by Angela Merckel then the likelihood is that she would have been advised long ago of the deleterious effects of this course of action; she would have accepted this, and she would have backed out. That does not seem to be a problem for Merckel. In Britain there is a different culture though. As we have the disadvantage of the massive direct and indirect influence of the Murdoch press, politicians are very wary of u-turns, or flip flops, or whatever term is currently being bandied about the media. In Britain realising your are wrong and changing direction is not an option. In Britain if you realise you are wrong then the main option that a politician will choose is to plough on ahead anyway and hope that something will turn up. We are governed by a bunch of optimistic political Micawbers. Clearly as nobody is always right, even myself, this attitude of ignoring the fact that as mistake has been made, will, not may, but will occasionally lead to a great deal of problems that are only justified on the childish notion of saving face.

So the solution to the entire Brexit problem is a case of saving face. At this point our government is not able to make a u-turn. This may be something that is not understood on the continent. It may be possible that the culture there does not realise there is a British tendency to continue forwards and never say die. If there is this lack of insight on the part of the EU combined with the unfortunate fallacy of British superiority then we are looking very much at a situation that appears to be an unstoppable force meeting an unmoveable barrier.

There is a way out of this though, which is why I hope that there is a machiavellian scheme being developed by the government. That should be the way in which politics is conducted so my fingers are crossed that they do realise this. In order to prevent our country from falling into the disastrous situation that appears to be ahead of us it will be necessary to win the support of those who object to remaining in the EU. There are certainly flaws with the way the EU is run and the leavers are right to realise this. Before the referendum Yannis Varoufakis made regular appearances in the media arguing that we should remain in the EU so that we could force the implementation of changes to create a better system. It is not only the British leavers who think the union has problems, it is a feeling that runs throughout the EU. If it wasn’t for the example of economic disaster and political incompetence we are displaying to the rest of the EU it is probable that political actors such as Marine le Pen might have achieved power and be moving their countries towards leaving the union as well. Our example has created a fear that has led the European leave contingent to rapidly lose the impetus they were developing.

The only way the leavers are likely to be swayed enough to give a reason for Britain to remain part of the union is if the union fixes a sufficient number of its problems that it becomes something very different to what we voted to leave. If a family voted to leave a house because it was too small, their reason would disappear if a large extension was built that expanded the size of the house. In that instance it would make sense to stay in the house, it would no longer be too small. Similarly if the EU changed so that the impression was created that we would be leaving something other than the entity we voted to leave then there would certainly be a justification to think again about whether it was what we really wanted.

Some of the problems that people worry about are easily resolved without having to make changes to the way the EU works. Immigration was a factor that bothered a lot of people. We already know that immigration can be seriously limited under the rules as they currently stand. The home office simply needs to implement those rules. Another problem that people disliked was the notion of losing control to the European Court of Justice, This was never a serious issue as the court is basically only advisory and has little more authority than it would still maintain even if we were to leave the union. A simple change in perspective will solve a lot of the problems that led to the choice of many leave voters. However aside from internally solving the problems that we are able to change there is still the issue of saving face and avoiding the accusation of having made a u-turn.

At present though, we are in a unique position that we actually have a massive amount of leverage to create positive change within the union. In the past when prime ministers have tried to negotiate to create a more favourable relationship with the EU their main motivation has been simple to get something for Britain from the EU. That would all be very well for Britain but it has quite clearly failed to impress the British voters and it has earned us a reputation throughout Europe as being quite frankly, a little annoying and entitled. Despite this the EU does actually wish to maintain our membership. The EU is weakened by the loss of a principle member state. Their loss will of course be nowhere near as disastrous as our own loss, and they also have to appear to not surrender to our demands. If they do then there are another two dozen or so nations that might also start kicking up a fuss.

Both parties recognise that they will both lose out from Brexit but on our side, we can’t back out and on their side they can’t give in. The only solution we have that is acceptable to both sides is that Britain should use its leverage to achieve change that will benefit the EU as a whole. In the past we have used less leverage and achieved small successes for selfish purposes. If we instead focus on solving European problems that are recognisable to other nations, the sort of things that are highlighted by Yannis Varoufakis then the British public will be given the impression that we have achieved a great victory. We will be part of a union that Britain has shaped to be something better than the union we voted to leave. The EU will also not have lost face because the changes that are implemented will have benefitted the union as a whole. They will probably be changes that would have been made anyway in time, so all we will have done is helped to push them through more quickly. The important things are that the EU will not have been made to look as though it has lost in front of its member nations, so there will be less likelihood of others threatening to leave in order to make selfish gains; and that Britain will have succeeded in achieving positive changes that will make the government look powerful and clever in front of the voter base. I may be a labour supporter but I must admit that such a victory by the conservatives would be a disaster for labour and would probably lead to the government actually looking like they know what they are doing, and may well secure the conservatives a second term, particularly if they are able to pull off the trick towards the end of an extended Brexit negotiation.

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A direction for Syria

Syria is an issue that demands new ways of dealing with conflict.  The majority of the public concede that more refugees must be accepted, a point with which the prime minister appears to also agree now.  The problem with refugees is that many consider them to have a similar effect on their destination nation as economic migrants would, so much so that the distinction between migrant and refugee has been one of the points of contention during the last few weeks.

Any government which has a major issue to deal with must seek to find the strengths in the situation rather than simply run scared from the problems.  David Cameron infamously said that the solution to the crisis was not simply to accept more refugees.  In this he is correct; the solution must go further than this.  Opportunities must be sought to help those refugees in regaining their lives and their self respect.

It has been suggested to me that training refugees in how to fight and wage a war might be a solution, so that they can return to their nation and reclaim it for themselves.  Whilst it is certain that many of them are currently unprepared for the conflict around them it is also certain that many of them are plainly not going to fit into the mold of a soldier.  If this nation were overcome by war how many of the people you know would plainly not be up to the task of fighting in the traditional position of a soldier.

Likewise, military action and airstrikes are considered to be a necessary path for foreign governments.  Military action is one of the courses that people oppose on idealistic grounds.  For many it is simply out of the question, like suggesting a cull of squirrels to a group of vegans, it is not going to be taken well.  While I do not offer opinions on potential military action I accept that it might be the chosen method of those in power and at present it might not be the time to resist that decision.

My opinion on the path to resolving the situation lies in knowledge.  Perhaps it is my past as an educator that compels me to consider knowledge to be the most important way forward, just as I would assume by brother, the military strategist, to support military action.  Different people from different walks of life will have different ideas which must be respected on the strength of their experience and specialist knowledge.  And there lies that world ‘knowledge’ again.

The people who are currently being forced out of their country bring with them a great deal of knowledge and they also need a great deal of knowledge.  They should be trained, but the training should not be in basic fighting skills.  In a nod to the military perhaps they should at least be trained in strategy and logistics, but mainly they need training in problem solving, team building, diplomacy, and other arts of gentle control.  Britain or any other nation should not be considered a final destination for any refugee.  These other nations should be considered places where they can regroup and discover methods and ways in which they might regain their homeland.

The communication that is allowed by the use of the internet will enable a political state to exist without geographic boundaries.  It is possible for people living in Berlin or London to communicate with people living in small villages in Devon.  Refugees must be aided in organising themselves as a cohesive group while also allowing them to integrate into any host societies.  The inevitable result of segregating them would ultimately be resentment on the part of hosting native populations.

While integrating with host nations, the refugees would be able to create cohesive groups to try and find solutions to their own problems without the need to rely on others to take action.  Offering them training in bureaucratic and diplomatic arts would give them more peaceful weapons to win back their homes.  In exchange they can offer knowledge of their own.  People who live in nations outside the conflict need to hear about what is happening, why it happened and what led up to it happening.  The arabic language they speak is something that more of use should grow accustomed with considering the way world politics is currently shaping itself.
This exchange of information would strengthen not only them but us as well.  While I am sure that military maneuvers may be inevitable just as David Cameron asserted the solution was not simply to accept more refugees, I assert the solution is also not simply to rely on further escalation of conflict.

Since writing this I have had my attention drawn to this additional content:  https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/articles/middle-east/14710-britains-syrian-diaspora-unites-to-build-peace-in-their-homeland .  It is uncanny how closely it connects with what I have written and is probably more worthy of being read due to the information and facts contained within.