Sunday, July 03, 2016

The EU referendum and beyond

So now we have a result. And it is not good. A brave politician has been murdered. We have had months of blatant lies by those supporting the Leave campaign. We have had a massive upsurge in racist attacks. We now know that some politicians were willing to bring our country to the brink of disaster in pursuit of their own personal agendas. The two main political parties are rudderless. Research collaborations are already being damaged. Citizens from other EU countries are terrified.

We show no evidence of learning the lessons of history, whether they are from the 1930s in Europe or from the last time a UK government launched a major initiative without a plan, as we will hear in the Chilcot Report in a few days.

Those who supported Leave are revealing massive optimism bias. They make Voltaire's Dr Pangloss look like a pessimist. They think we can negotiate trade deals rapidly, despite our lack of negotiators. They show no sign of appreciating the crisis we face. Yet there is no excuse - they just need to look at the Swiss situation. But of course, they think they will be different. This is verging on teh delusional.

None have a clue what to do. The unwillingness of those who have at least some insight to trigger Article 50, which would start the clock ticking, is revealing. See David Allen Green (aka Jack of Kent) for the best analysis.

The only reassuring thing is that some day, they will realise the complexity of what they seek and that it is likely to paralyse the parliamentary process for years. But the damage done by then will be enormous.    

I've written a few blogs on the fallout from the EU referendum are on the BMJ site:

24th June 2016: We have no idea what will come next, but it won’t be good

27th June 2016:  Brexit and health—the confusion grows

30th June 2016: Fair and balanced? Science in a post fact society

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