Time to join the generation game? Definitely

by John Quiggin on November 7, 2018

A little while ago, I partially recanted my long-standing rejection of the idea that “generations” are a useful way of thinking about such issues as political attitudes. The UK elections showed a very strong age effect, reflecting the way that the politics of nostalgia, represented by Brexit, appeal to the old and appal the young.

The same appears to be true of “Make America Great Again”, at least according to the exit polls. In every racial group, there’s a clear cohort effect, with the younger cohorts favouring the Democrats.

The Republicans had majority support only among whites over 45.

The age effect would probably be a bit smaller if education and urban/rural location were taken into account, but it’s still striking.

Regarding the political implications I said last time

If current demographic trends continue, and nothing else changes, the political right will be doomed by demography to permanent minority status. That’s possible, but one-party dominance has rarely lasted long in the countries I’m talking about. And, as Stein’s Law has it, if a trend can’t continue, it won’t.

So, a long period of leftwing success would presumably produce a political realignment in which culture war issues are no longer a dividing line. On the other hand, if leftwing governments are elected and fail to deliver on their promises (or worse, implement their promises and fail disastrously) their support among currently young cohorts may be replaced by permanent oppositions.

Of course, this assumes that democratic processes survive long enough for these demographic processes to do their work.

{ 103 comments }

1

Ray Vinmad 11.07.18 at 5:59 am

I like where you’re going with this.

So much is unpredictable though, and outside anyone’s control (at least here, where any effective government program is in the firing line).

What is it that drives generational trends? One thing that possibly shapes outlook are expectations about one’s lot in life. For certain older white adults that lean right, their expectations of continual mobility seem a driver in their sense of anxiety, and disappointment. It’s certain not baseline deprivation for most of them. You combine that with a heavy dose of extreme manipulation a la Fox News, and you have a recipe for reaction.

It’s very hard to say where this will go, or how it comes out in the wash. If there are expectations that the government can deliver services instead of the standard upward economic mobility that drives older generations’ expectations, then there is a much higher burden on government to deliver those services. The battle would probably revolve around making services more efficient and expansive, etc.

Possibly the greatest post-2008 shift I have seen in the ideological narrative is that there is much less yammering about ‘the land of opportunity’ and how everyone can make it than there used to be. There is a much greater craving for basic security now, which requires substantial state involvement. One problem we have in the USA is that the cycle of disillusion with government can be driven by right wing attempts to undermine the ability of government to work well, or be efficient. So the right is going to be incentivized to muck it up. Centrists are also so incentivized in some perverse way to slice and dice all social programs to such a gerryrigged degree that they they still exist but tend to cause frustration, and resentment. Then the right swoops in promising streamlining (i.e., cuts & various mayhem).

Tl; dr–the role of the left won’t just be to deliver what is needed or wanted but to block these attempts to sabotage or carve up social programs in order to make them less effective over time, and foment resentment about them. That’s a lot more difficult to control than one’s own competence.

2

Jim Andrakakis 11.07.18 at 6:41 am

this assumes that democratic processes survive long enough for these demographic processes to do their work.

It also assumes that people don’t change their voting preferences over time. I’m no election expert, but I think this is at least partly inaccurate.

3

Dipper 11.07.18 at 7:26 am

“The UK elections showed a very strong age effect, reflecting the way that the politics of nostalgia, represented by Brexit, appeal to the old and appal the young.”

All domestic politics is a family argument, and unless you are in the family, you don’t really understand what the arguments are about. Phrases like “politics of nostalgia” and “wanting to bring back the empire” are just terms of abuse thrown at one side by the other to avoid debating the actual issues under discussion.

I cannot think of any other area of intellectual activity where simply being young would be though of as a virtue and old a hinderance. Perhaps you academic folks over , say, 45, would like to just step aside and let people straight out of undergraduate degrees take the reins of your disciplines?

4

Gareth Wilson 11.07.18 at 8:56 am

It’s a cliché that mathematicians make their biggest discoveries before the age of 35.

5

Sophie Jane 11.07.18 at 8:58 am

@Dipper Phrases like “politics of nostalgia” and “wanting to bring back the empire” are just terms of abuse thrown at one side by the other to avoid debating the actual issues under discussion.

I take them as euphemisms for racism myself, though it’s a racism driven (as so often) by nostalgia for an imaginary past and the comforting sense of superiority that the Empire cultivated.

6

J-D 11.07.18 at 9:55 am

Dipper

All domestic politics is a family argument, and unless you are in the family, you don’t really understand what the arguments are about.

What if I told you that was arrant nonsense, and that I have a conclusive argument to demonstrate that it’s arrant nonsense, but unfortunately it’s impossible for you to understand that argument because you’re not me?

7

John Quiggin 11.07.18 at 10:26 am

Dipper @3 Rereading the OP, it seems absolutely neutral, as to whether the politics of nostalgia is good or bad, or that the views of the young are to be preferred to those of the old. The fact that the views of the young are to be preferred has to come from our background knowledge about those who appeal to the old, such as Trump and Johnson.

It’s perfectly possible for me to imagine a positive politics of nostalgia, focused on restoring the positive achievements of postwar social democracy. In fact, that’s my starting point, though I recognise that more than “turning back the clock” is needed if we are to respond to the present situation.

As your prickly response illustrates, you know as well as I do that neither MAGA nor Brexit is such a positive politics of nostalgia. That’s why you want to pretend they are about something other than a (largely confected) memory of the days when white identity was unquestioned.

8

Dipper 11.07.18 at 10:33 am

So, to bang on, the old people who voted to Leave the EU by a large margin in 2016 were in many cases the same people who voted by a large margin to remain in the EEC (EU for-runner) in 1973. Why the shift?

Because us older folks have seen the gradual metamorphosis of the European venture from a Common Market, through Maastricht, through Lisbon, to a proto-Federal Superstate, and in having watched that slide, have understood that the EU we are faced with now is not the finished product but is work in progress to a final Federal destination. We have seen all this happen despite the UK having a veto, despite never having voted to have this, and understand that the promises made by that half of the Remain campaign that we have a veto and can influence the course of the EU are just wishful fantasies.

All that the young have seen is the current incarnation of the EU. They don’t, yet, understand that they are not masters of their ship on a calm sea, they are in a rudderless craft at the mercy of currents beyond their control, and this is our last chance to make it to land.

9

Dipper 11.07.18 at 10:48 am

@ Prof Quiggin “That’s why you want to pretend they are about something other than a (largely confected) memory of the days when white identity was unquestioned.”.

So how come the current joint-favourite to succeed Theresa May amongst the massively pro-Brexit members of the Conservative Party is Sajid Javid? And other MPs popular with Brexiteers include Priti Patel, James Cleverly, Kwasi Kwarteng? Which half of the Brexit debate was it that wished to form political union with a block of all-white countries which for the most part are significantly racist?

10

Emma Goldman 11.07.18 at 12:01 pm

@2 “It also assumes that people don’t change their voting preferences over time. I’m no election expert, but I think this is at least partly inaccurate.”

I don’t think it does. It assumes that because a greater proportion of young people today vote left than did in the past, then more of those will vote left as they age than did in the past (assuming the rate of age-related left-right conversion is the same). It hardly stands to reason to think that those younger generations who identify with the left – and who have a material stake in the left because of structural features of the economy – will move rightwards en masse, or at a greater rate than in the past.

11

Layman 11.07.18 at 12:50 pm

“So how come the current joint-favourite to succeed Theresa May amongst the massively pro-Brexit members of the Conservative Party is Sajid Javid?”

Because one can always find another Vidkun Quisling? Do I get a cookie?

12

nastywoman 11.07.18 at 2:31 pm

”The Republicans had majority support only among whites over 45.”

or much better said: NOT in every racial group where the younger cohorts NOT favouring the obvious racist and a… hole Von Clownstick.

– and that finally really worries me that so many of my (older) fellow Americans are still voting for the friends of such ”a monster”?

13

Scott P. 11.07.18 at 4:01 pm

They don’t, yet, understand that they are not masters of their ship on a calm sea, they are in a rudderless craft at the mercy of currents beyond their control, and this is our last chance to make it to land.

That’s largely true inside or outside the EU. A nominally-independent Britain outside a federated Europe is one that is weaker and has less say (that is, zero) in European affairs.

There is no land, only endless ocean, and you can stay in your rudderless craft or lash it to your neighbors.

14

anonymousse 11.07.18 at 5:38 pm

“I take them as euphemisms for racism myself,”

I take ‘racism’ as a euphemism for ‘I wouldn’t vote that way, so you are evil.’

anon

15

novakant 11.07.18 at 6:28 pm

What leave voters think “should be brought back” after Brexit:

Death penalty – 53%
Blue passports – 52%
Goods sold in ounces and pounds – 48%
Corporal punishment in schools – 42%

https://www.statista.com/chart/8747/what-leave-voters-want-to-happen-in-uk-after-brexit/

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-36803544

16

novakant 11.07.18 at 6:29 pm

After Brexit, we can give Isil terrorists the justice they deserve – and that means the death penalty … Better that jihadists rot untried in Guantánamo or go to the electric chair than endanger our streets

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/politics/2018/07/23/laws-inadequate-prosecuting-isil-beatles-brexit-can-change/

17

Dipper 11.07.18 at 7:42 pm

@ Layman “Because one can always find another Vidkun Quisling? Do I get a cookie?”

No you don’t. You get a telling off. People of Colour have to behave in ways you approve of now do they, or else they aren’t proper people of colour? Seriously?

@ Scott P. “There is no land, only endless ocean, and you can stay in your rudderless craft or lash it to your neighbors.” This is a fair point, and for me it was a close call. Lots of history, lots of incidents, lots of debate, and then that Cameron renegotiation. But there is a lot of stuff to consider on UK and Europe which goes back centuries. Many young folk don’t seem to have processed this, they just grab at simplistic “I feel European”, “Brexit is racist” or some other easily dismantled platitude. The lack of any critical faculties in youth politics and the politics of simple alignment to other people who are similar is really disturbing. Throughout history there have been lots of political movements that have done considerable harm, and none of them ever thought they were the bad guys. They all had some ham-fisted justification for why what they were doing was good, and why the other lot deserved their punishments.

18

J-D 11.07.18 at 8:17 pm

You refer once to a ‘cohort effect’ and once to an ‘age effect’, but the two terms are not equivalent. There’s nothing in the information presented about voting to distinguish one from the other; without confirmation that this is a cohort effect rather than an age effect, there’s no support for the ‘generation’ concept.

19

J-D 11.07.18 at 8:24 pm

anonymousse

I take ‘racism’ as a euphemism for ‘I wouldn’t vote that way, so you are evil.’

It is unsurprising if people who are not racists object to being called racists; but people who are racists also object to being called racist, and in fact object to any reference being made to the fact of the existence of racism, which they dishonestly deny.

20

mpowell 11.07.18 at 8:33 pm

Hasn’t this trend existed in US politics for at least 20 years now? Either youthful Democrats are turning into older Republicans or other faster moving trends are otherwise changing the composition of the parties in less time than it takes for the force of this one to be really felt. I don’t think this is even a starting point to explain vote share in 2016 or 2018 compared to 2000.

21

PatinIowa 11.07.18 at 8:57 pm

Iowa is the state that just reelected Steve King, a person for whom “racist” is not a euphemism. Even his fellow Republicans will say so, even as they invite him to their campaign events and court his core constituency. They have to. If “real” racists are 2% of their base (it’s higher, but bear with me) and they lose them, this is a blue state.

There’s an old white dude here in Iowa City, maybe 70, who I see on the street when I walk to class. (I’m an old white dude myself.) He wears a red hat with gold lettering. It’s not until you get up close that you realize that it says, “Make America Kind Again.”

After nearly sixty years paying attention to American politics, I’ve got no problem saying that white identity politics are the most pernicious feature of American politics, and it needs to be defeated.

22

J-D 11.07.18 at 10:51 pm

Dipper

Changes to the EU have been agreed to by UK governments; UK governments could have withheld agreement, which means they did have a veto, which they chose not to use.

UK governments have the power to make changes with major effects on the lives of the people of the UK without putting them to a vote of the people; they have always had this power, since long before the first precursors of the EU came into existence. Leaving the EU won’t take that power away from UK governments; they will continue to have the power to make changes with major effects on the lives of the people of the UK without putting them to a vote of the people, and if past history is any guide they will continue to use it.

23

Chip Daniels 11.08.18 at 1:06 am

@Novakant #15
What about rum, sodomy and the lash?

24

Matt 11.08.18 at 2:03 am

I’ll admit to being very curious about why “beatles” is in that URL.

25

Evan Roberts 11.08.18 at 2:50 am

This is in fact a generation/cohort effect and not simply people becoming more conservative with age. GenX has been moving more Democratic and less Republican with age. Only the Boomers and Silent generation moved towards the Republicans – possibly a Dixiecratic realignment effect.

26

bt 11.08.18 at 3:57 am

This little problem is not a new thing.

The GOP has been aware of the demographic issues with their voters for many years. They are on record acknowledging the issue pretty often. For a time they made a play for the latin vote, but alas, Trump has scorched earth that approach.

It is why they are now working so hard to disenfranchise democrat votes. It’s also why they are behaving in a way that one could only describe as reckless. They know that the clock is ticking and they don’t have a lot of time to get what they want to get done. They are throwing caution to the wind and setting it all on fire before they are sidelined because that’s all they can do. Some Republicans have more or less obliquely spoken about this point in time as a ‘last chance’. Packing the courts is one of the things they have targeted so that their preferences can outlast their political influence.

Just read Rod Drehrer from time to time. They are all discussing how to create little lifeboats for themselves in a culture that they clearly see is not going their way. They are moving to Idaho to be safe with other like-minded and good Christian white people. Someone has taken their country from them. We are going to make them all eat vegan quiche and drive around in 3-wheeled cars that have a top speed of 45 mph. And don’t forget this one thing: THEY ARE ANGRY ABOUT ALL OF THIS.

So angry they will vote for a clearly awful Donald Trump. Don’t be fooled, they know he’s awful, that’s part of the fun for them. They are sore winners AND sore losers.

27

nastywoman 11.08.18 at 4:02 am

@dippers:
Many young folk… just grab at simplistic “I feel European”,

Let’s make that into:
”I AM European” – as somebody (young) who lives in any European State right now really can’t avoid to ”live” – ”with” and ”at” other European States too – which is a few thousand miles more difficult for Americans – but on the other hand if Dipper would move to Spain -(like a lot of other British retirees) – he suddenly might understand ”some other easily dismantled platitude” – like my favorite one:

Leave the house and you might gain an ”open” mind?
– and I understand that for the older folk ”leaving the house” sometimes could be… be… ”discomforting” or even ”painful”?

28

nastywoman 11.08.18 at 4:30 am

@26
”So angry they will vote for a clearly awful Donald Trump”.

AND the worst – they want to make ”the young folks” NOT being ”European” or ”not nationalistic” or ”open-minded” –

The want us NOT to enjoy the tremendously enjoyful multikultiworld of the young.

The want US to be as OLD and OUT OF IT as they are.

29

Kurt Schuler 11.08.18 at 5:18 am

Relevant to Brexit, I came across this quote recently in the Wikipedia article on Ernest Bevin (British Labour MP, foreign minister 1945-1951): “In May 1950 he said that because of links with USA and the Commonwealth Britain was ‘different in character from other European nations and fundamentally incapable of wholehearted integration with them.'”

30

faustusnotes 11.08.18 at 6:05 am

Dipper, if the slide toward a federal state is such a bad thing, then presumably the situation now in the UK is in some way palpably worse than it was in 1972. And yet young people today are massively in favour of EU membership. So the slide hasn’t materially damaged the UK in a way that young people care about. Perhaps the slide you complain about is only happening in your head? Or perhaps the slide is actually a good thing, and old people don’t understand that because of their nostalgia for blue passports? Remember: just because you don’t understand it, doesn’t mean it makes no sense.

Also isn’t the favourite brexiter to replace May actually Johnson, not Javid?

This point in any case is irrelevant – that a non-white British person raised in Britain doesn’t understand the history of empire and colonialism is hardly surprising, since no one raised in Britain does. Your argument is a variant on the “Obama doesn’t like Britain cause his dad was Kenyan” business. To the extent that Britain still benefits from its colonial past (or is dragged down by it), non-white British people born and educated in Britain are also beneficiaries, and also taught to miss it. Why you should assume that a ruling class figure will have a different view on this past just because he is non-white is … interesting.

Sajid Javid went to a comprehensive school in Bristol four years before I went to a comprehensive school in Salisbury. I think I can give you a pretty good idea of what he learnt there, and why he is nostalgic for a past that never really existed.

31

bad Jim 11.08.18 at 6:51 am

Keep in mind that boomers are whiter than the average American, and grew up in a time when segregation was the law of the land. I can remember seeing separate white and colored drinking fountains and restrooms in Virginia. In Maryland we said the Lord’s Prayer every morning in elementary school. Neither of these were present in California, but there we ran into anti-semitism (wondering how this could still exist) and contempt towards Mexicans.

The elderly are typically inflexible, and those afflicted by Alzheimer’s are especially likely to think they still live in, or try to return to, their childhood homes. Perhaps this is a more general tendency, that as one ages the past becomes more familiar than the present and the future more threatening.

It’s well-documented that predictions of demographic shift drive political attitudes to the right just like terrorist attacks or other reminders of mortality. It used to be a problem in California — we elected Reagan, after all, and three more Republican governors after that — but when we became a minority-majority state, not so much.

If my congressional candidate holds his lead after all the absentee and provisional ballots are counted, the Pacific waves reaching California’s beaches will touch only Democratic sands. Left coast, indeed.

32

Dipper 11.08.18 at 8:06 am

@ Nastywoman “I AM European”. An example of my point about simplistic generalities. I’m European too, but I don’t think that is the same thing as wanting to be in political union with other European nations. And Germans are European to, right up to the point when it comes to spending German fiscal surpluses, when they are Germans.

@J-D “Changes to the EU have been agreed to by UK governments; UK governments could have withheld agreement, which means they did have a veto, which they chose not to use.” . Once again, what is it you think you are telling me? If you find yourself explaining a fairly basic point to someone which on a moment’s reflection you realise they probably knew then you are probably not really understanding what the issues are. Parliament has been more pro-EU then the country, and the Civil Service has rebuilt itself round the EU bureaucracy. Over time we found we could not rely on Parliament to act on behalf of the British people. Personally I think a lot of MPs liked the idea of a post-Parliament job with the EU and that distorted their judgement. As I said – it’s a family argument. Why do you listen to them not me? Why do you put them first? Why did you buy them a new TV for Christmas and just gave me a pair of socks? Why am I forced to sit at this table when they are all sat at that one? etc etc. but just on a grander scale with more money.

33

Matt 11.08.18 at 8:21 am

Dipper: I’m European too

I thought you were Australian. Is that not right?

34

Dipper 11.08.18 at 8:30 am

@ Faustusnotes

What’s your point? I understand that young people have different opinions to older ones. I’m just trying to explain why I think that is, and that older people have a full history to draw on, when you people have a snapshot. I could argue that young people have stronger affinity with white Europeans than Commonwealth citizens because they are more racist. That would be a fairly simple conclusion? And wrong, as it is not as straightforward as that.

I like the idea that Javid doesn’t know about Empire from the non-white side because he went to a Comprehensive school in the UK. Going to a comp didn’t make you into an Empire-loving Tory so why would you assume it would to anyone else? Quite a few others of Pakistani heritage went through the same education and came out with radically different opinions about the UK, so I’m not sure that your sample of one is that significant. Perhaps he likes the UK because it gave him lots of opportunities without consideration of his race or background?

35

J-D 11.08.18 at 8:45 am

Dipper

Lots of history, lots of incidents, lots of debate, and then that Cameron renegotiation. But there is a lot of stuff to consider on UK and Europe which goes back centuries. Many young folk don’t seem to have processed this, they just grab at simplistic “I feel European”, “Brexit is racist” or some other easily dismantled platitude.

Surely you’re not trying to tell us that oversimplifying major political decisions is only or mainly restricted to the young? I’m sure there are many young people who do it, but I’m sure there are also many old people who do, even if perhaps you’re not one of them. And surely you’re not trying to tell us that it’s restricted to Remain voters? I’m sure there are many Remain voters who acted on the basis of oversimplification, but I’m sure there are also many Leave voters who did, even if perhaps you’re not one of them.

The lack of any critical faculties in youth politics and the politics of simple alignment to other people who are similar is really disturbing.

Surely you’re not trying to tell us that a lack of critical faculties and a politics of simple alignment to similar people is only or mainly restricted to the young? I’m sure there are many young people like that, but I’m sure there are also many old people like that, even if perhaps you’re not one of them.

Throughout history there have been lots of political movements that have done considerable harm, and none of them ever thought they were the bad guys. They all had some ham-fisted justification for why what they were doing was good, and why the other lot deserved their punishments.

If so, should we not consider the possibility that in this case it’s the Brexiteers who fit this description?

PatinIowa

There’s an old white dude here in Iowa City, maybe 70, who I see on the street when I walk to class. (I’m an old white dude myself.) He wears a red hat with gold lettering. It’s not until you get up close that you realize that it says, “Make America Kind Again.”

If you get the chance, tell him that from the other side of the world I love him. It doesn’t matter if he has no idea who I am.

The New Zealand Prime Minister, addressing the United Nations, said that if she could distil into one word what her government was pursuing it would be ‘kindness’. I wish we had a Prime Minister like that, and I wish you had a President like that.

Evan Roberts

Your comment is interesting if true, but what’s the evidence?

bt

It is why they are now working so hard to disenfranchise democrat votes.

So it’s good to know that some important ballot initiatives for voting rights were successful on Tuesday.

Is the US the only developed democracy where voter suppression is a major campaign tactic and, if so, why?

Dipper

Once again, what is it you think you are telling me?

Once again, it’s this …

Over time we found we could not rely on Parliament to act on behalf of the British people.

… that I understand that complaint, and I take it seriously, but if you think that’s the problem (and I’m not contradicting you about that), and if you think leaving the EU will help, you have been played for a sucker. Leaving the EU will not make Parliament one whit more likely to act on behalf of the British people. In relation to that definition of your problem, Brexit is a colossal distraction and diversion of energies, and probably partly a conscious one. At least some of the leading Tory Brexiteers are keen for you to think of Brexit as what you need so that you won’t be thinking about the alternative of settling their hash.

36

novakant 11.08.18 at 8:51 am

To get away from “simplistic generalities” maybe Dipper could enlighten us as to:

– what kind of Brexit he envisions
– how this Brexit should be implemented
– and how it will be economically beneficial to the UK

We’re all ears.

37

nastywoman 11.08.18 at 9:05 am

@Dipper
“I AM European”. An example of my point about simplistic generalities”.

As you told us that you are ”a European” too – but you don’t think ”that is the same thing as wanting to be in political union with other European nations” – let’s make it a lot less ”simplistic” and agree that it’s not about any ”political” union – it’s a lot more about some… shall we call it ”cultural and emotional identity” – which could make one who also is the proud owner of an American passport – being ”A European”!

And how… cool -(and ”young”) – is that?

38

Douglas Muir 11.08.18 at 9:21 am

Age effects and cohort effects are indeed different things. People tend to get more conservative with age; in the US; that translates to old people being redder / more Republican. Every age cohort does this. So, the liberal idealistic college-age young people who voted for John F. Kennedy by 50 points in 1960 aged into the Fox-watching seventysomethings who went for Trump by 60 points in 2016. That’s a thing and it always has been.

However.

(1) If the cohort was extremely blue (or red) to begin with, this can affect the process. For instance, the cohorts born in the early 1920s — the ones who were children in the Great Depression and then young adults during WWII — consistently tended to be bluer than the cohorts on either side. Even today, the few 95 year olds still voting are noticeably less red than their younger siblings born in the early 1930s. There’s a similar bump effect noticeable for American kids born 1964-70; those cohorts are slightly but noticeably redder.

(2) The *rate* at which a cohort reddens is not constant. So, for instance, the first-wave Millenials born in the early 1980s turned out strongly for the Democrats in ’06 and ’08. Ten years later, they’re in their middle thirties, and they’re reddening… but slowly; they’re still very blue. They’re bluer than the people ten or twenty years older than them were when they were in their middle thirties.

Finally, there’s turnout. That also tends to increase monotonically with age. And because turnout increases with age, the two effects mentioned above tend to be amplified over time. But there are interesting bumps along the way; some cohorts (early Boomers are one) have shown slightly but consistently higher turnout over the decades.

TLDR, generational effects are real, and they can be modeled as “blueness to begin with” modified by “rate at which blueness is decreasing over time” modified by cohort-specific deviation from normal turnout at that age.

Doug M.

39

Dipper 11.08.18 at 10:03 am

@nastywoman “it’s a lot more about some… shall we call it ”cultural and emotional identity”” well … we’ve been there before. That’s a dangerous road to go down. And I’ll just reiterate that ultimately the EU is a legal and constitutional construction, and when it gets to the bit about German fiscal surpluses, cultural and emotional identity don’t come into it.

Matt – “I thought you were Australian. Is that not right?” no. English.

@ novokant

“– what kind of Brexit he envisions”
– one where we leave the EU and act as close and friendly neighbours

“– how this Brexit should be implemented”
– by leaving. No deal should have been the preferred target from the start. Followed by a FTA. Generally I agree with Andrew Lilico

“– and how it will be economically beneficial to the UK”
-well, this isn’t a one-liner, because that question seems to assume that GDP is the only measure of political success. Personally, not having to spend hours per day in queues of stationary traffic because we are in the midst of a massive population boom would be a win. The simplest way of putting this is that the way UK governments have implemented EU membership is through mass immigration, which seeks to make the UK prosperous despite the British people who are in many cases reduced to powerless bystanders and spectators. I would prefer to see a UK where it is understood that the UK is prosperous because of the British people. So, the first place we go to for staffing the NHS is through training of UK citizens to be Doctors and nurses, like most other countries do, not by importing trained staff from elsewhere.

And fish. I don’t see why fishing communities suffering is a price worth paying for improved metropolitan living standards. If the price of our success is that some people get left behind, then we should revisit our definition of success.

40

Gareth Wilson 11.08.18 at 10:34 am

“The New Zealand Prime Minister, addressing the United Nations, said that if she could distil into one word what her government was pursuing it would be ‘kindness’. I wish we had a Prime Minister like that, and I wish you had a President like that.”

But if you’re interested in kindness, you probably don’t want anyone like our former Minister of Customs, which our Prime Minister was surprising lenient towards. Google it, and yes, her name is pronounced “Fighter-y”.

41

J-D 11.08.18 at 10:56 am

Douglas MuirCohort effects distinct from age effects do exist, but the generationeers are grossly prone to mistake age effects for cohort effects and to exaggerate cohort effects generally.

One of the results when cohort effects are exaggerated is to distract attention from other effects, such as the effect of socioeconomic position; and distracting attention from those other effects is a benefit for some people. Consciously or not, the generationeers are carrying water for the rich and powerful.

42

harry b 11.08.18 at 1:46 pm

“the old people who voted to Leave the EU by a large margin in 2016 were in many cases the same people who voted by a large margin to remain in the EEC (EU for-runner) in 1973. Why the shift?”

Do we know how they voted or whether they voted at all. Turnout in 1975 was quite a bit lower, from a significantly smaller electorate. Do we know what the turnout among under-45s in 1975 was, or how they voted, and how many switched?

43

faustusnotes 11.08.18 at 2:10 pm

Novakant, it’s never gonna happen, because Dipper doesn’t have a clue what he wants beyond blue passports.

Dipper the reason I learnt about colonialism and Javid and you didn’t is because I moved to Australia when I was 13, learnt about genocide and went to university and got an education in post-colonial thinking. Meanwhile the British politicians who went to Eton think Britain’s contribution to India was getting the trains running on time. I’m sorry that you don’t understand the c-word and this ignorance has left you destitute and broke and unable to make basic political decisions like whether to stay in Europe. But not very sorry – I feel much more empathy for the young people who do understand the value of Europe, and who were betrayed by idiots like you who think the progress towards European unification over the past 40 years has been a bad thing.

Answer me one question, Dipper: did you know that the decision to make passports red was a British government decision, not a European directive? Be honest. Don’t lie. (I know you will lie because you always lie, but when you see this question and decide to lie about the answer, perhaps you will put a decent long amount of thought into why you chose to lie, why you were wrong in the first place, and why you allowed yourself to be lied to. It won’t help the young people of Britain who you have betrayed, and their futures that you ruined, but maybe you’ll get some insight into just what kind of person you are).

44

Randy F McDonald 11.08.18 at 5:47 pm

Dipper:

“Which half of the Brexit debate was it that wished to form political union with a block of all-white countries which for the most part are significantly racist?”

1. European countries are not all-white, for starters.

2. European countries’ race did not deter British xenophobes. The whole Brexit movement was arguably triggered by the large-scale migration of Poles, after all.

3. Let us address, now, more broadly the obvious racism among Brexiteers. The rhetoric of invasion by Turkish and Syrian immigrants, for instance, was undeniably common. It’s worth noting the so-called “white Commonwealth” countries like Canada and Australia are the only countries that the United Kingdom has suggested it might want to liberalize migration flows with; India, making this liberalization key for closer relations, is likely to be turned down. I wonder why?

There may indeed be very good reasons for identifying white racism as a key element in the European Union. Brexit is not going to deal with this.

45

Dipper 11.08.18 at 7:55 pm

@ J-D

“If so, should we not consider the possibility that in this case it’s the Brexiteers who fit this description?”

well, yes. I’m sure there’s a few racist Brexiteers out there, but all the Leavers I know have worked with people of all races and religions quite happily, and there’s the odd non-Brit amongst that group. For most people it is an argument about how we govern ourselves, not good guys v bad guys. I would say, as you get older you realise that some of your opinions you held when younger don’t meet what you would now regard as acceptable standards, so you become more aware of your ability to deceive yourself. Young folk haven’t gone through that yet.

@ nastywoman “it’s a lot more about some… shall we call it ”cultural and emotional identity”” no. Stop it. As a continent, we’ve been down that road before, with a union of like-minded and racially similar souls uniting across nations in a single movement. Didn’t end well.

46

Gareth Wilson 11.08.18 at 8:36 pm

” So, the liberal idealistic college-age young people who voted for John F. Kennedy by 50 points in 1960 aged into the Fox-watching seventysomethings who went for Trump by 60 points in 2016.”

But does that mean their actual opinions have changed? For example, presumably John F. Kennedy wouldn’t have supported gay marriage.

47

PatinIowa 11.08.18 at 10:22 pm

J-D @ 35:

Will do.

48

Ebenezer Scrooge 11.09.18 at 12:30 am

It’s worth pointing out that there are age/cohort effects in some things, but not others. Young folk are much freer of homophobia than old folk, but survey about the same on abortion, at least in the US.
Which raises a question: why do young folk dislike Trump so much more than old folk dislike Trump? His policies? (Which ones?) His personality? (What aspect?)

49

harry b 11.09.18 at 1:10 am

If true, this story is all the proof I need of the moral superiority of America’s young over the rest of us. Not that I really needed it:

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-10-10/american-cheese-is-no-longer-america-s-big-cheese

50

Ogden Wernstrom 11.09.18 at 2:49 am

@39:

If the price of our success is that some people get left behind, then we should revisit our definition of success.

Who hacked Dipper’s account? Or is that statement true only for values of the word “people” that do not include most of the people in the world?

51

Peter T 11.09.18 at 3:05 am

Older people are more fearful (worried, if you like), and this may make them more small-c conservative. It does not necessarily mean they are more right wing (fascism and nazism were very much movements of the younger generations). The older generations in the UK and the US have been subjected to decades of Fox News and the Daily Mail, propaganda designed to heighten their fears and direct them against coloured people, immigrants, the lower classes, foreigners…If the propaganda had been different – designed, for instance to direct their fears towards fascism, then they might vote differently.

52

nastywoman 11.09.18 at 5:37 am

@Dipper
”As a continent, we’ve been down that road before, with a union of like-minded and racially similar souls uniting across nations in a single movement. Didn’t end well”.

But how many centuries of Europeans fighting each other now ended up ”well”? –
and very ”simplistic” as younger Europeans are really used to a peaceful Europe with wide open borders – and the your argument that it once didn’t end well might be the strongest argument for NOW it will and has been ended well for quite some time and young Europeans will make sure that it stays like that.

53

nastywoman 11.09.18 at 6:58 am

@
”Which raises a question: why do young folk dislike Trump so much more than old folk dislike Trump? His policies? (Which ones?) His personality? (What aspect?)”

We could answer with the longest answer CT ever has seen – but in order to make it short (and simple)
Trump’s personality and his policies are everything ”young folk” dislike in ”old a… holes”.

54

zbs 11.09.18 at 7:01 am

I must disagree, Harry. Unfortunately, that article is righter than it knows. American Cheese actually is the correct foodstuff of America. Do you really want Asiago at Wendy’s? Perhaps not. Surely you’re not trying to tell us that you think your particular cheese-preferences are applicable in all cases, or that cheeses with greater or more likely lesser cultures, are worthy of denigration for this fact alone. I am sure that, even as you talk about “moral superiority,” you are aware that there are people who regard Wendy’s-with-Asiago as morally superior, even if perhaps you’re not one of them.

Which raises a question: why do marketing professionals’ imagination of millennials figure them to dislike American cheese? Its gooey perfection between a round of fried egg and a wedge of fat-back? (What roll?) Its peculiar yellow coloration as rich as an egg yolk but as real as my last tax returns? (What year?)

55

Douglas Muir 11.09.18 at 7:37 am

“no. English.”

Not British, I notice.

“No deal should have been the preferred target from the start.”

Okay. In your ideal no-deal Brexit, what happens to EU citizens already resident in Britain, and what happens to the Irish border?

“Personally, not having to spend hours per day in queues of stationary traffic because we are in the midst of a massive population boom would be a win.”

a bit under 6%% of Britain’s current population is EU citizens. However, you’d have some number of resident aliens even if you had never been an EU member — both Norway and Switzerland have resident EU citizens comprising 1%-2% of their populations.

So that massive population boom is… 4%?

“So, the first place we go to for staffing the NHS is through training of UK citizens to be Doctors and nurses, like most other countries do, not by importing trained staff from elsewhere.”

Okay. It’s been [checks watch] two and a half years since the Brexit vote. Is this happening?

Doug M.

56

Dipper 11.09.18 at 7:41 am

@ faustusnotes

“Answer me one question, Dipper: did you know that the decision to make passports red was a British government decision, not a European directive? Be honest. Don’t lie.”

didn’t know, didn’t care, not surprised, passports not an issue.

I love the way you think Sajid Javid doesn’t understand colonialism but you do. Because you went to Australia.

As for all that stuff about lies, I give references, I spend time looking at the arguments and the data. Is just calling people who disagree with you liars all down to that fantastic Australian education you received?

“the young people of Britain who you have betrayed, and their futures that you ruined,” that’ll be the young people getting training as doctors and nurses in the new medical schools opening following the vote to Leave presumably?

@ Randy F MacDonald. ” Let us address, now, more broadly the obvious racism among Brexiteers” well luckily for you someone did just that. And, unsurprisingly, it isn’t straightforward. If you are seeking someone who just makes simple judgements on people based on their own prejudices, look in a mirror and you’ll find them looking back at you.

57

J-D 11.09.18 at 8:29 am

Dipper

To the extent that it’s true that the British people have been reduced to powerless bystanders and spectators, leaving the EU isn’t going to make things any better. UK governments are not going to become more responsive to the British people because the UK has left the EU.

Gareth Wilson

I did Google it, and I feel I haven’t fully understood the point you’re trying to make. I didn’t read anything that led me to revise the opinion I expressed earlier.

Dipper

When I suggested that we should consider the possibility that it is Brexiteers who ‘fit this description’, the description I was referring to was not ‘racist’, but rather a description in the comment of yours I was responding to. To spell it out, I am suggesting we should consider the possibility that Brexiteers have done considerable harm, even if none of them think they’re the bad guys, and even if they have some ham-fisted justification for what they’ve done.

58

faustusnotes 11.09.18 at 8:45 am

Notice how much Dipper recites Johnson’s paranoid propaganda – the EU is just doing what the nazis did by stealth, anyone non-white is opposed to colonialism by their heritage (e.g. Obama is anti-colonialist coz his dad was kenyan), the EU will definitely be a federal state, we can have more immigration from the commonwealth (even though we spent the entire leave campaign scaring the elderly voters with pictures of swarthy non-Europeans).

Maybe Dipper is Boris Johnson? He certainly doesn’t have an original idea of his own.

59

Gareth Wilson 11.09.18 at 9:03 am

@57 A government talking about “kindness” is always meaningless puffery, but it’s particularly brazen when your Minister of Customs is leaving bruises on a staff member.

60

engels 11.09.18 at 9:06 am

‘I AM EUROPEAN’ never was a great way of opposing the nationalist Right as many of them feel the same way

61

Jim Andrakakis 11.09.18 at 9:36 am

@Douglas #55:

Not disagreeing with your main point, just a small factual correction:

“both Norway and Switzerland have resident EU citizens comprising 1%-2% of their populations.”

Switzerland (where I happen to live permanently as an EU citizen) has around 25% foreign residents, 80% of which are European. Unsurprisingly, most of this 80% is comprised of EU citizens –around 64% if my quick count from the pie chart is right.

That makes EU residents 16% of the total population.

Source: https://www.swissinfo.ch/eng/society/migration-series-part-1-_who-are-the-25-foreign-population-in-switzerland/42412156

62

Douglas Muir 11.09.18 at 9:45 am

Googling, I see that five new medical schools will open next year — all in England, interestingly enough; none in Scotland or NI — ideally training 1500 new medical students, assuming full enrollment. So that’s a thing. Really: good on the British government for recognizing a problem and looking ahead.

However, (1) it’s costing at least 200 million pounds to open those schools; (2) it’s going to take about 10 years before those new students are fully qualified GPs; (3) the government claims Britain will be “self sufficient in doctors by 2025”: this seems obviously impossible, and (4) the government is obviously worried that those med school graduates will bleed away to better paying jobs abroad — a reasonable concern, because this is happening already; it’s a major reason for your doctor shortage in the first place. So the government is threatening to impose a policy of fining any young doctor who emigrates “to pay back the cost of their education”. This would be a completely new policy, and it has not been greeted with enthusiasm by the British medical profession.

Oh and (6) as far as I can see nothing is being done about nurses and other medical professionals other than doctors. Which makes this seem more like a “look! we’re fixing the problem!” response as opposed to actually having a plan to fix the problem.

But anyway: you’re going to invest hundreds of millions of dollars in new medical schools (but only in England), so that ten years from now, you can be proud that you’re being treated by an English doctor — who may only be kept in England by the threat of punitive fines — rather than by a Romanian or something.

I dunno, man. At best, this sounds like it’s 1845 and a supporter of the Corn Laws is saying “British farmers should have the chance to grow British corn!”

Doug M.

63

Z 11.09.18 at 10:16 am

Time to join the generation game? Definitely

I admit I a bit disappointed in the intellectual approach apparently underlying the title. The way I understood your opposition to the generation game, you were opposed to characterizing generations qua generations, with particular moods, or traits or whatever (people born in the AB interval are hardworking/disillusioned/versatile/creative/courageous etc.). But it is obvious, and I remember you explicitly pointing it of course, that whether you come to age during a Great Depression, an economic boom, a period of vast expansion of educative opportunities, a world war, a minor war but with conscription for those not enrolled in college or as the first devastating symptoms of the exacerbation of inequality and environmental destruction play out will affect one’s social and political trajectory.

Not a generation game, but a cohort game, in short. I don’t think it is reasonable to question that game, and it seems to me the whole point of your refusing to join the generation game was to emphasize the difference with the cohort game. Now, what do you mean by when you say it is definitely time to join the generation game? That you believe that the current age polarization of the electorate is genuinely a generation thing, not a cohort thing? That seems sorely in need of an argument, to say the least. That you never distinguished between generation and cohort in the first place? No, that can’t be it.

So what does it mean?

64

Dipper 11.09.18 at 10:44 am

@ Douglas Muir “… so that ten years from now, you can be proud that you’re being treated by an English doctor”

… or more to the point that you can be proud that your daughter or son is an English Doctor.

The lack of UK trained staff in the NHS is being touted as a reason we cannot leave the EU, or need to keep Freedom of Movement. Never mind the fact we recruit lots of Nurses from places like the Philippines without having Freedom of Movement, but such facts never deterred ardent Remainers. The comparisons with other OECD nations are here and aren’t as bad as I had thought, but still lower than many comparable countries. If people are going to use under-training to hold the nation hostage, then increase the training.

“But anyway: you’re going to invest hundreds of millions of dollars in new medical schools (but only in England),”

Why don’t we save money by simply not training any Doctors and nurses at all? Imagine the money we could save! It’s one of those questions where various parties tend to say “the current number is the best number” without any justification. As a first stab, I’d have thought having training places that, on some calculation, train sufficient to maintain the required degree of health care?

65

Jim Andrakakis 11.09.18 at 11:04 am

@Emma #10

It assumes that because a greater proportion of young people today vote left than did in the past, then more of those will vote left as they age than did in the past

Hmmm I’m indeed wrong but no, it doesn’t assume that. Now that I read the post more carefully, I notice this point:

If current demographic trends continue, and nothing else changes, the political right will be doomed by demography to permanent minority status

So the rough idea seems to be that the “old” (meaning here whites > 45) population is shrinking. Therefore, due to the age effect (this group is the only one in which the majority votes right), the right will shrink.

My very non-expert question here is, isn’t the old (in general) supposed to be getting more due to longer life expectancy?

66

Douglas Muir 11.09.18 at 11:45 am

— Huh: this whole doctor thing is a fascinating rabbit hole.

So apparently Britain has been bleeding doctors (and other medical professionals) for a long time now. The underlying problem seems to be that it kinda sucks to be a doctor in Britain; the pay is not great and the hours are long. Meanwhile a British medical degree travels almost everywhere in the world. So, thousands of doctors do the rational thing and leave.

Opening more medical schools… eh, maybe that will help? But if wages or conditions aren’t improved, it seems more likely that you’ll just see even more British doctors getting on the plane to Auckland, Perth or Santa Monica. Also, because Britain’s post-Brexit immigration scheme is still not in place (!), it’s really not clear whether Britain will continue to import doctors or not.

To bring it back to Dipper’s original point — “young British people should have the chance to be doctors!” — if I’m reading this right, they’ve always had the chance to be doctors. It’s just that a lot of them have then subsequently chosen to leave.

Doug M.

67

Douglas Muir 11.09.18 at 2:21 pm

Dipper, I notice you skipped over responding to my post at #55. That’s fine; you’re not required to reply to every post. Still… I’m curious.

Doug M.

68

Douglas Muir 11.09.18 at 2:24 pm

“… or more to the point that you can be proud that your daughter or son is an English Doctor.”

…English, not British. Huh.

“The lack of UK trained staff in the NHS is being touted as a reason we cannot leave the EU, or need to keep Freedom of Movement. “

If I understand correctly, the underlying issue is not that you’re not training enough, but that you can’t keep them.

Doug M.

69

novakant 11.09.18 at 3:43 pm

Dipper, that’s the devil may care let the chips fall where they may we’ll sort out the pesky details later and fingers crossed people won’t beg for food in the streets but in any case I got mine so won’t really be affected and I’m terminally bored so something anything that happens is better than the status quo even if it fucks us over for a generation Johnson / Rees Moog disaster capitalism attitude I expected.

70

Dipper 11.09.18 at 4:25 pm

@ faustunotes “Maybe Dipper is Boris Johnson? He certainly doesn’t have an original idea of his own.”

hmm … refuses to acknowledge other opinions, doesn’t engage with the detail, accuses his appointments of peddling fake news … Maybe Faustusnotes is Donald Trump?

71

Orange Watch 11.09.18 at 5:52 pm

zbs@54:
Do you really want Asiago at Wendy’s? Perhaps not.

In my meat-eating youth, I recall Wendy’s would from time to time offer specialty burgers with cheddar instead of American. They were invariably better.

Asiago would not be my first choice for a replacement – I’d go to gouda or harvarti, both of which melt as well as American without the plastic-y texture and frankly would go better on an egg than American – but I understand why Wendy’s would go to Asiago; it’s flavorful without being strong, it’s relatively moist, and it’s also fancy-sounding without being obscure. It’s perfectly fine for a sandwich cheese.

This isn’t just about “millenials”, it’s about shifts in America’s food culture in general. These things happen. 100 years ago, mince pies were still considered THE quintessential American comfort food, and now most Americans don’t even know exactly what one is. Things change. That’s normal. “American cheese” had its run. Let it die.

72

J-D 11.09.18 at 9:20 pm

Gareth Wilson

A government talking about “kindness” is always meaningless puffery …

No. That is, flatly, false. Government engage in meaningless puffery all the time (I know that), but when they do it isn’t kindness that they talk about.

Dipper

Why don’t we save money by simply not training any Doctors and nurses at all? Imagine the money we could save! It’s one of those questions where various parties tend to say “the current number is the best number” without any justification. As a first stab, I’d have thought having training places that, on some calculation, train sufficient to maintain the required degree of health care?

As a first stab, sure. On the face of it, it seems reasonable that the answer to the question ‘How many doctors and nurses should the UK produce?’ is ‘As many as the UK is going to need.’

But how does it seem at a second or third consideration (I prefer considering to stabbing)? Suppose the UK took that approach to everything it produces, aiming to produce as much of it, in each case, as the UK is going to need. Suppose every other country did the same thing. Every country producing as much as it’s going to need, across the board. At a first consideration that still seems reasonable, but that’s before thinking about the alternative. The alternative is that each country specialises to some extent, with the result that each country produces a surplus in some areas, but has shortages in others, and then they have to trade with each other. It’s not obvious this has to be worse than the first plan.

73

engels 11.09.18 at 10:13 pm

it kinda sucks to be a doctor in Britain; the pay is not great and the hours are long

Er

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/health/news/10463755/Britains-GPs-are-the-best-paid-in-the-industrialized-world.html

74

nastywoman 11.10.18 at 3:35 am

@
‘‘I AM EUROPEAN’ never was a great way of opposing the nationalist Right as many of them feel the same way”.

Yes – isn’t that the weirdest thing? –
Like Trump telling US: All what he wants is ”Piece On Earth”?

But on the other hand – as many of ”the US nationalist Right” might not even find Europe on a map – for them ‘‘I AM EUROPEAN’’ might be like absolutely adoring fox-hunting and calling it: ”Engels”.

75

Dipper 11.10.18 at 7:44 am

@ Douglas Muir —

“no. English.” Not British, I notice. – usually I’m British but as which one of the four parts of the UK you now come from seems to matter, so for Brexit-related things I’m English.

Okay. In your ideal no-deal Brexit, what happens to EU citizens already resident in Britain, and what happens to the Irish border? I believe EU citizens should have had residence under standard arrangements as the other candidates in the Tory leadership offered. They came here under a certain set of expectations and those shouldn’t retrospectively be changed. As for the Irish border, talk of hard and soft borders is not accurate – it is not binary. There are already checks and actions on cross-border regulatory differences. I’d have gone for more technology and more checks away from the border. And I wouldn’t be that bothered about more checks on or around the border. The notion that 63 million should be denied self-determination because 6 million cannot find a way of living together is ludicrous.

“a bit under 6%% of Britain’s current population is EU citizens. However, you’d have some number of resident aliens even if you had never been an EU member — both Norway and Switzerland have resident EU citizens comprising 1%-2% of their populations. So that massive population boom is… 4%?”

Not so fast. round here it is up to near 20%. For the UK as a whole 1 in 4 babies are born to immigrant mothers, and the EC projects a 25% increase in the UK population by mid century. That does’t sound like just a few percent to me. There is history on the UK state’s inability to count.

“So, the first place we go to for staffing the NHS is through training of UK citizens to be Doctors and nurses, like most other countries do, not by importing trained staff from elsewhere.” – Okay. It’s been [checks watch] two and a half years since the Brexit vote. Is this happening? – as your other comments mention it takes time to rectify this, and in passing regards the inability of the NHS to retain trained staff, I am shocked, shocked to the core, to find out that a monolithic organisation run on Soviet-style lines should turn out to be permanently inefficient, short of money, and a rubbish place to work. If only there was some other way of organising enterprises.

76

Dipper 11.10.18 at 9:27 am

@ J-d “The alternative is that each country specialises to some extent, with the result that each country produces a surplus in some areas, but has shortages in others, and then they have to trade with each other.”

Yes. Free markets, competition, etc. Great idea. Completely in favour of it. But what we are seeing in the Brexit debate is that international trade now means we are “dependent” on other nations, and that with that free trade comes a loss of political control and we have no effective way of stopping them imposing laws on us. So if the offer is I can have political control and an inefficient economy, or I can have an efficient economy but have to submit to rule from other nations, then its a no brainer, as if I have political control then I can make the best of it, but if I have no political power then surely as night follows day I will have no economic benefit either.

77

Gareth Wilson 11.10.18 at 9:44 am

“Government engage in meaningless puffery all the time (I know that), but when they do it isn’t kindness that they talk about.”

OK, here’s three issues the New Zealand government is dealing with:
A Czech ecstasy dealer has been allowed to stay in New Zealand based on what might be dubious claims of persecution in his home country.
The government is building modest-sized houses and selling them to people chosen by lottery at subsidised prices. This includes upper-middle class people, and there’s been some criticism that this doesn’t actually help people suffering from the housing shortage.
Midwives are on strike, demanding to be paid more than nurses.
What action does a commitment to “kindness” point you towards on these issues?

78

Dipper 11.10.18 at 10:54 am

@ novokant – 69

“Dipper, that’s the devil may care let the chips fall where they may … “

The question about the detail and what happens on the day we leave, queues on the M20, running out of medicines etc is a reasonable one that gets raised quite a lot, but there is an agenda behind this; that every move requires signing off by an authority, that unless everything is mapped out in fine detail and triple signed, we must stay still. This approach leaves people powerless against bureaucrats as the bureaucrats in effect have a veto as at any stage they can play the detail card and stop any process. My own personal experience is that when management keep asking for more detail, they don’t actually want more detail, they want to kill whatever the initiative under discussion is but don’t want to be seen killing it.

For those who say we cannot leave the EU because the detail is too hard, what is your solution to UK Fishing communities who have to sit idle whilst EU fleet takes the fish from their shores? 90% of the English channel catch goes to the continental side, 10% to the UK. Personally, I regard that as unacceptable, and my solution to that, given EU intransigence on this, is to leave the EU. What’s yours?

79

harry b 11.10.18 at 4:52 pm

zbs@54 — thanks, the irony inside the irony is so complex and self-referential that it even took me a while to get the joke! (I’ve lived here long enough to know that the stereotype of Americans lacking a sense of irony is quite false).

In case I’m wrong, and you meant what you said: for 3 1/2 decades I’ve listened to Americans denigrate British food, based on stereotypes gleaned from the GIs who lived there during and immediately after world war 2, when indeed the food was (though healthy) pretty dreadful. Whereas, round here now the fanciest grocery stores would have been disappointing to someone living in a working class part of a provincial British town in the early 1980s. I think everyone should be able to get hold of good food (and if, in the light of that, they prefer American cheese to a good cheddar, or Camembert, or Stilton, or Gruyere, that’s their business). Good butter might be nice too (Wisconsin has remarkable barriers to selling good butter, maybe unsurprisingly — more detail here).

80

Shauna 11.10.18 at 10:48 pm

Some of you may enjoy this New York Times visualization of how the political preferences of white voters have changed over their lifespans. Covers white people born between 1937 and 1990.

81

J-D 11.10.18 at 11:09 pm

Dipper

If you live in a society with other human beings, you will be affected by decisions they make, and sometimes they will be decisions you would prefer they didn’t make with consequences that you don’t like. When differences between you and other people are settled by negotiation, the resulting compromises will not match exactly with your own preferences; when differences between you and other people are settled by voting, sometimes you will be outvoted. The people of the UK have some influence over the government of the UK, but sometimes what the government does is not what the people want. All these things were true before the UK joined the EU, and they will all continue to be true after the UK leaves the EU. If these constraints are a problem for you, leaving the EU does not make things any better.

Something very similar is also true of relations between countries. Even in the unlikely situation where each country is an entirely self-sufficient autarchy subsisting with no international trade, countries would still be affected by decisions made by other countries, and sometimes by decisions they would prefer the other countries didn’t make because of their unfavourable consequences. If differences between countries are settled by negotiation, the resulting compromises will not match exactly with the initial negotiating position of an individual country, and if they are settled by voting, some countries will be outvoted. All these things are true for non-members of the EU as well as for members of the EU. They were all true before the UK joined the EU, and they will all continue to be true after the UK leaves the EU. If these constraints are a problem for you, leaving the EU will not make things any better.

As a member of the EU, the UK has some influence over EU decisions but not total control. (People in other EU countries are aware of this: some of them are glad to see the UK leave because they didn’t like the directions in which it influenced the EU, and some of them are sorry because they did like the directions in which it influenced the EU.) That position of some influence but not total control is the same sort of thing as the usual position of countries in relation to other countries and individuals in relation to other individuals. Relationships typically come with costs and benefits, and denying the existence of either is not an aid to understanding. For a country, being a member of the EU does mean accepting an obligation to abide by its decisions even when they are not the most favourable for that country, but it does also mean having some influence over those decisions, and it can only confuse the issue to deny either of those facts. Leaving the EU means EU decisions will have less effect on your country, but it also means that your country will have less effect on EU decisions.

To suppose that you have (or that your country has) a simple binary choice between having total political control and having no political control is a misunderstanding.

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J-D 11.10.18 at 11:12 pm

Gareth Wilson

What action does a commitment to “kindness” point you towards on these issues?

It doesn’t, but I feel you must already have known that, so I don’t understand why you’re asking me the question. It’s not as if that’s an argument against my previously stated position.

It would be relevant to point out to me imperfections of the New Zealand government if I were arguing for its perfection, but I’m not.

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novakant 11.11.18 at 7:31 am

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Gareth Wilson 11.11.18 at 7:52 am

“It doesn’t, but I feel you must already have known that,”
Exactly. “Kindness” gives you no guidance as to how to respond to those issues. Even the old left-right ideologies would have some answers. Those aren’t the great crimes of the New Zealand government, just three issues that have been in the news lately. The government may well find an appropriate response to all of them, but Jacinda’s blather about kindness won’t help them do that.

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Douglas Muir 11.11.18 at 8:14 am

Engels: huh, a five year old Telegraph article citing an OECD paper about GPs, who make up less than a quarter of all NHS doctors.

But hey — brief googling turns up a dozen articles bewailing the shortage of GPs and how they’re constantly bleeding away. So I’ll cheerfully concede that maybe NHS doctors are well paid, or anyway were in 2013. They’re still leaving.

Doug M.

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Douglas Muir 11.11.18 at 8:43 am

“For the UK as a whole 1 in 4 babies are born to immigrant mothers, and the EC projects a 25% increase in the UK population by mid century.”

Palmed card. You have a lot of kids born to immigrant mothers, but not to immigrants from the EU. Immigrants from elsewhere are not the EU’s fault.

“. But what we are seeing in the Brexit debate is that international trade now means we are “dependent” on other nations, “

Dude, I hate to break this to you, but Britain does not make computer chips, or coffee, or about a thousand other things. You import 40% of everything you eat. You’re a trading economy, which means you’re massively dependent on other countries and always will be.

“The notion that 63 million should be denied self-determination because 6 million cannot find a way of living together is ludicrous.”

Wait, weren’t you just saying Britain had to leave because of the poor fishermen? How many people does the British fishing industry employ?

Border: if I have to wait in line, it’s a hard border. That’s easy.

Also, Good Friday is a treaty agreement that y’all solemnly bound yourself to, back in 1998-9. The Irish had to hold a nation-wide referendum and change their constitution. Which they did. Now you’re trying to renege on it because it’s not consistent with your vision of Brexit, and complaining that it’s the Irish’ fault for “not being able to live together”. Seems a bit rich.

Doug M.

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Dipper 11.11.18 at 9:11 am

J-D @ 81

Thanks for that piece of Remainersplaining. again, which part of that do you think every Leave voter does not understand? What do you think you are adding to the debate?

I had a longer reply, but it ran to a book. If you aren’t immersed in the detail, the history that has brought the EU into creation, the promises made and not kept, then you don’t really understand what is going on.

What do you do for an encore? Explain to the Irish why they would be better off in union with the rest of the UK?

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Gareth Wilson 11.11.18 at 10:01 am

“Dude, I hate to break this to you, but Britain does not make computer chips, or coffee, or about a thousand other things. “

Coffee I’ll grant you, but a skim through Wikipedia turns up 8 chip fabs in the UK. Probably not enough for the whole domestic demand, but there’s no reason why the UK couldn’t eventually be self-sufficient in computer chips. It’s just that everything with a chip in it would cost more, so the whole population would be poorer. I used to think economic arguments like that would convince people, until 61% of Sunderland walked past the Nissan factory to vote for Brexit.

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J-D 11.11.18 at 10:43 am

Gareth Jones

Just because something is not a panacea doesn’t mean it’s useless.

Dipper

I am neither a Remainer nor a Leaver; I am on the other side of the world and have no dog in your fight.

I have not been attempting to make a case for your country to remain in the EU; I am attempting to make a case that the particular arguments you choose to give here for leaving are misconceived. I am sure there is detailed information I am not familiar with, but if you are in possession of detailed information which justifies your support for leaving the EU, you’re not sharing it here. What you are presenting here are oversimplifications and misunderstandings. I know there are people who told you that leaving the EU was a way to ‘Take Back Control’, and I know that was a con, and you give the impression of having fallen for it.

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PeteW 11.11.18 at 11:33 am

According to YouGov (https://yougov.co.uk/topics/politics/articles-reports/2016/06/27/how-britain-voted) and other polls, the clearest markers for voting to leave the EU were old age and poor education.
The oldest pensioners were the most likely to vote to leave, and the youngest people the most likely to want to stay. People with middling education (A level standard) were pretty much split 50-50, while those with the degrees were about 70% stay, and those with GCSE level qualifications or less about 70% leave. These percentages are large enough to be significant.
I have seen a weak argument spun that older people voted to leave because they are “wiser”. This seem implausible. The Brexit debate was not one that could be settled by some age-acquired folk wisdom, such as the 101 uses of vinegar or how to treat a nettle sting. It involves an understanding of complex international politics, economics and trade and of imprecise concepts such as sovereignty and democracy, which requires a well-informed and reasonably well-educated electorate. And we now how the better-informed and educated voted.

As Dipper says above: “If you aren’t immersed in the detail … then you don’t really understand what is going on.” I just don’t think he has quite absorbed the implications of his own argument yet.

The truth is that when the UK leaves, it will be storing up huge tensions for its future. Today’s well-educated youth are tomorrow’s leaders, communicators and opinion formers, and they are going to be very, very pissed off.

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Dipper 11.11.18 at 1:53 pm

sigh … lots of folks really haven;t been paying attention. Just chipping in from a distance with obvious points that every one gets.

So, for the record, the question of how much influence the UK exerted in the EU on its own account was answered by Cameron’s famous renegotiation, in which we found that we had no influence. The Remain campaign then seemed to just hope no-one had noticed, but we had.

Arguments about shared control are basically arguments used by winners in the UK from the EU to losers about how the losers need to keep on losing so the winners can keep on winning. Perhaps people would like to demonstrate the principle of shared control with the example of Greece.

@ Doug Muir 86. Yes I know immigration comes from all over, but if you cannot control it from the EU then it doesn’t matter if you cannot control it from elsewhere, so controlling EU immigration is necessary but not sufficient.

“You’re a trading economy, which means you’re massively dependent on other countries and always will be” the argument is always employed that we are dependent on others, but they are not dependent on us. So, again, the winners explain to the losers why it is inevitable they they will win and the losers will lose.

J-D. “and I know that was a con, and you give the impression of having fallen for it.” You don’t know what you are talking about. You cannot sit on the other side of the plane and tell people the reality of their domestic politics. Perhaps I should start dispensing wisdom on how the problem of First Nations in Canada and Australia is because of White Racism.

@ Pete W “The Brexit debate was not one that could be settled by some age-acquired folk wisdom, such as the 101 uses of vinegar or how to treat a nettle sting”

This is just ridiculous. The idea that the lived experience of the EU is as useful as how to treat a nettle string is just stupid. The reason young people are more educated is because of the massive explosion in University education. No other reason. There hasn’t been some magic increase in wisdom.

“The truth is that when the UK leaves, it will be storing up huge tensions for its future” well, they will be free to renegeotiate the UK’s re-entry. Good luck with that.

The thing that no-one ever discusses is the EU itself. It is somehow just assumed that it is some kind of nice-UN-like umbrella where nice people get together. It isn’t. It is nothing like that.

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J-D 11.11.18 at 4:15 pm

Dipper

So, for the record, the question of how much influence the UK exerted in the EU on its own account was answered by Cameron’s famous renegotiation, in which we found that we had no influence.

The exact opposite is true. The UK government asked the leaders of other EU countries to agree to changes to the terms of UK membership; the other leaders agreed to make changes. When you ask somebody for something, and they agree to give you something, that confirms you have some kind of influence over them. If the leaders of other EU countries had said, ‘No, we’re not going to agree to changes’, that would have been evidence of a lack of UK influence, but that’s the opposite of what happened.

You don’t know what you are talking about.

I know what you are writing here, and that’s what I’m talking about.

You cannot sit on the other side of the plane and tell people the reality of their domestic politics.

You cannot forbid me.

Perhaps I should start dispensing wisdom on how the problem of First Nations in Canada and Australia is because of White Racism.

Perhaps you should. There’s no need to be on the spot to recognise that.

The thing that no-one ever discusses is the EU itself. It is somehow just assumed that it is some kind of nice-UN-like umbrella where nice people get together. It isn’t. It is nothing like that.

So why aren’t you telling us what it’s like?

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PeteW 11.11.18 at 6:27 pm

@Dipper: “This is just ridiculous.”

No, ridiculous is voting to leave the greatest inter-country democratic collaboration in human history because the traffic is congested in Harlow.

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Dipper 11.11.18 at 10:38 pm

@ J-D“The exact opposite is true. The UK government asked the leaders of other EU countries to agree to changes to the terms of UK membership; the other leaders agreed to make changes. “

They asked for trivial stuff as the stuff they really wanted to ask for had been vetoed. They got permission to ask the European Parliament for permission to implement the trivial stuff. The UK got “opt outs”. That isn’t really acceptance a separate way of having EU membership, it is a clearly stated view that there is a form of EU membership that should be accepted and the UK was not ready to accept it. How long before the EU decides to get rid of opt-outs?

@ PeteW “the greatest inter-country democratic collaboration in human history … “ this is just meaningless gibberish ” … because the traffic is congested in Harlow” because the European Commission forecasts an increase of population of 25% (16 million) in just over a generation. That’s Sweden, and then Bulgaria.

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J-D 11.12.18 at 12:37 am

Dipper

If you get none of what you want to ask for, that’s evidence that somebody else has control and you have no influence.
If you get everything you want to ask for, that ‘s evidence that you have control and nobody else has influence.
If you get some of the things you ask for, but not everything you want to ask for, that’s evidence that you have some influence but somebody else also has influence.

So, in this situation, where the UK government got some of what it asked for but not everything you wanted it to ask for, that doesn’t support your conclusion that the UK has no influence, although it may support the conclusion that the UK doesn’t have as much influence as you want it to have. It’s not clear, though, how much influence you think would be satisfactory, short of total control.

If somebody said that it’s a bad thing for the UK to be in the EU because the UK does not have total control over the relationship, the argument would be clear. There have always been people in the UK who don’t want the UK to be in the EU, and presumably for at least some of them it’s because the UK doesn’t have total control. But you don’t argue that, you argue that the UK has no influence whatsoever, which is inconsistent with the evidence.

96

faustusnotes 11.12.18 at 3:59 am

This is your regular reminder that the number of doctors that will be produced by the UK’s new medical schools is not enough to even replace the British doctors who are retiring, let alone the additional shortfall from the EU. It’s also your regular reminder that nothing is being done about nursing retirements, or indeed about nurses at all. The NHS was warning in 2008 that it was facing a serious shortfall but the Tories did nothing except abolish the nursing bursary. But Dipper wants to pretend that the EU is the reason the UK doesn’t train nurses.

This is also your regular reminder that the total fertility rate (TFR) of British-born women is below replacement rate and continuing to drop, and the only reason that the UK isn’t aging even faster than it is is young European women, whose birth rate is dropping. According to the ONS 11% of all children born in the UK were from Polish-born mothers. Dipper wants to send them home and accelerate the aging of the population.

This is also a good time to remind everyone of Dipper’s general callousness towards the young people whose future he is ruining, with this charming little comment he made just up above:

well, they will be free to renegeotiate the UK’s re-entry. Good luck with that.

It’s worth remembering just how nasty the underlying principles of the brexiteers are. They hate their own children.

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PeteW 11.12.18 at 8:22 am

@ Dipper: “the European Commission forecasts an increase of population of 25% (16 million) in just over a generation.”

This is a flat-out lie. It does not make any such “forecast”. The Eurostat long-term population projections you refer to are based on certain fixed assumptions and state unequivocally: “The projections should NOT be considered as forecasts …the projections are ‘what-if’ scenarios that track population developments under a set of assumptions” (my capitals).

You don’t understand that and have been scaring yourself and others with this report ever since. Mainly people are living longer.

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Dipper 11.12.18 at 9:28 am

and one more … from todays Daily Telegraph.

“The shortage of skilled workers is getting worse amid a “sudden reversal” in the numbers of EU and non-EU migrants in this country [UK], according to a new report … The squeeze on skills is leading to increasing pay rates.”

So, having had several years of “experts” telling us that immigration did not push down wages, we are now finding that a lack of immigration is pushing up wages. Well, who would have thought it?

If you are young, you are a blank slate, and may be more likely to take plausible sounding arguments from plausible looking people at face value. But as you get older you remember all the times these plausible looking people told you plausible sounding stuff that turned out to be completely wrong. How the UK not adopting the Euro would leave us in a slow growth periphery whilst the Euro zone powered ahead … how voting to Leave would trigger an immediate recession and mass unemployment … how that hadn’t happened because we hadn’t triggered article 50 … how adopting Freedom of Movement for Eastern Europe would only result in a few tens of thousands coming over …eventually, you just end up thinking that on a point of principle I will never again believe anything these people say.

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Dipper 11.12.18 at 9:46 am

@faustusnotes

“But Dipper wants to pretend that the EU is the reason the UK doesn’t train nurses.”. No. That is the wrong way round, as you well know. What I am stating is that the historic under-training of medical staff in the UK, which is entirely self-inflicted, is now being used as a reason for not leaving the EU. Which is ridiculous. Particularly given the number of NHS staff who come from outside the EU. Surely even you can agree that an argument that says we must remain in the EU because otherwise we would not be able to attract staff rom outside the EU is certifiably nuts?

@ PeteW “The projections should NOT be considered as forecasts …the projections are ‘what-if’ scenarios that track population developments under a set of assumptions” well that looks like a forecast by any other name. I’m sure we can all imagine the meeting where a senior person tells the team to remove the word forecast and replace it with something less incendiary. And, to make the point, we do seem to be tracking that “projection” quite well.

“Mainly people are living longer.”. So people living a few years longer is sufficient to produce a 25% increase in population in a generation? And given the number of countries in Europe forecastprojected to have population falls, primarily Germany, that is because life expectancy in Germany and other European nations is going down?

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Faustusnotes 11.12.18 at 1:03 pm

Dipper, if you want to see what it’s like to live in a country with no influence, leave the eu. A year from now you’ll be looking back at your complaints about the concessions the eu didn’t make to pig-loving necrophiliac Cameron with envy. You’ve never experienced watching your leaders negotiate a free trade agreement with the USA without support. Let me tell you, it’s not pretty – and my country did it from a position of strength, not begging from a recession as you will be. Your country has nothing worthwhile to sell Japan and you think you can negotiate favorable terms with them? There’s a reason they prioritized German industrial goods in their trade deal with the eu, and your island won’t even get to ride on the coattails of German industry any more. You’re about to find out what it means to “take back control” from a bloc with powerful industry and desirable agricultural goods, and become a nation that isn’t even self sufficient in food, with poor industrial capacity, an unproductive workforce and a shabby education system, competing with Germany from a position of desperation. You’ll be choking on that chlorine washed chicken. But here you are gloating about how you ruined your kids future, and sneering at the difficulty they’ll have getting it back. The next generation won’t thank you for this mess, trust me.

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Dipper 11.12.18 at 10:24 pm

@ Faustusnotes.

Well, maybe you will be correct. As I’ve tried to explain, apparently without success, the EU is not at its final destination. The final destination would appear to be some kind of quasi-Federal state which will be a stitch up between France and Germany. Remainers have spent the last two years saying loudly we have no power against the EU, so I’m not sure how we are going to suddenly magic up power to resist a Central European drive to federalism or get a good deal in that scenario.

My instinct, and it isn’t much more than an instinct, is that the politicians the Europeans put in front of us have no interest in the welfare of my family or my country. They have shown no interest in listening to the UK’s problems. I have no faith that being sucked further into their machinery will benefit me, my family, or anyone else in this country. My preferred way of dealing with the outside world is to have a government that is accountable to the British people who go and carry out negotiations on our behalf.

Now I’m sure there’s a few Scots or Welsh who can pipe up and say the government in Westminster does’t represent them. But honestly I think the various regions are better represented by Westminster than the UK is by Brussels. Just look at the fiscal transfers for a start.

Perhaps we will end up suffering the dismal fate of those European nations who have declined to join the EU. Those impoverished nations who have to face the world on their own and get continually screwed over in trade deals. You know the ones, Switzerland and Norway, richest and third richest nation by GDP per person in Europe.

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J-D 11.12.18 at 11:23 pm

Dipper

If you are young, you are a blank slate, …

Ha! Nope. When I was in primary school I had already figured out that sometimes things people told you were not true, and I wasn’t the only one.

However, trying to solve the problem that sometimes people tell you things which aren’t true by deciding never to believe anything people tell you is arrant folly.

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bt 11.12.18 at 11:59 pm

Wait a minute, I’m confused!

I thought the original post was about American political demographics…

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