Tuesday, January 15, 2019


Having suffered an overwhelming defeat in Parliament today, PM May faces the stark choice of tabling a revised Brexit agreement what is approved by the majority of UK MPs.

Despite the fact that a solution seems almost impossible to most observers, there IS one that could be successfully tabled on Monday and approved by the majority of MPs.

What is the solution?

PM May tables a statute which if approved will govern the acts of the UK as a member of the EU for the next 24 months.

This UK statute only needs approval by the UK Parliament, and the solution does not require any approval by the rest of the EU.

We can call this the Reform EU from Within or face Brexit 2.0 option. 

What will the new law say?

These key things:

1.      Revocation: The UK Government will be required to unilaterally revoke its intention to withdraw from the EU according to Article 50 of the Treaty on European Union.

2.     UK votes on future EU matters: The UK Government will be required to vote on any and all major matters presented to EU states for approval only if the EU seriously takes steps to remedy, in a manner acceptable to the UK Government in its sole discretion, at least the following changes to the Treaty on European Union.

3.     Migration rules: A change to the approval process for the admittance of members of the EU into any other EU state, such that:
a.     the UK (and all other states that wish to opt into such approval process) may restrict the admittance of migrants who do not meet defined minimum criteria.
b.     The criteria will include any such state’s decision by its parliament, to restrict total immigration to set totals each year.
c.     This provision will apply to citizens of other EU states, as well as to migrants from non-EU states who end up in any EU state and wish to enter into the UK.

4.     CJEU issues: A change in the application of the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) decisions to the UK with respect to defined areas (spelled out in the new UK law), should the most senior court in the UK decide that such changes should not apply in those areas unless approved by either the UK Parliament, or by a referendum of UK citizens.

5.     Backstop provision: A change in the EU Treaty that would prevent the Backstop being applied to the UK in any future Brexit agreement if the governments of Ireland and the UK (including consent by northern Ireland), have agreed upon some method (using new technology or otherwise) to allow the free flow of goods between Ireland and the UK without any border between the two states.

6.     Other Core issues: Any other changes to the EU Treaty regarding other core issues (to be spelled out in the new UK law).

The new UK law will oblige the UK Government to exercise its votes in all major EU matters in accordance with the above criteria until the earlier of all those criteria being met, or two years having passed (the expiry date).

The UK government will then be obliged to hold a new referendum within 6 months of such Expiry Date. 

If a majority of UK voters then vote to remain in the EU for a further 2 year period, the same process will be repeated. 

If the majority vote is to exit under Article 50, then Brexit 2.0 must be commenced by the UK Government.

Why will this solution succeed?

Because it gives the UK a chance to work with the EU to resolve the major sticking points in its relationship with the EU under the EU Treaty, and then either to stay in or to exit (a crash out if no exit agreement is reached between the UK and the EU at the time of Brexit 2.0.

The above solution is solely within the UK’s power to implement. No consent is required at this stage from the EU.

It is very probable that several other EU states will join the UK in pushing for such changes to the EU Treaty, so increasing the chances of positive changes according to the principles set out in the new UK law.

The solution also preserves the interests of both those who voted for and gainst Brexit two years ago.

How about it, PM May?

Grab this and run with it!

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

FPTP makes Canadians second class citizens

Voters in the province of British Columbia are faced with a dilemma: 

Does morality require them to vote for political reform because they owe their family, friends and neighbours a duty to take care of them?

This dilemma arises because each voter in BC will within days receive a postal vote, which they can complete and return between October 22 and November 30. 

If more than 50% of those filling in the ballot vote against the system now used to elect Members of the Legislative Assemby (MLAs) then a new system of choosing MLAs, based on proportional representation (PR), will be passed into law.

Supporters of the system now used (the first past the post or FPTP) argue that this system is fairer than any PR system would be.

Fairer is a value judgment: it means that FPTP is morally  better than any PR system would be.

Is this true?

The answer is a resounding NO!

And therein lies the dilemma for each voter.

The referendum imposes an obligation on each one of us as voters to consider the moral implications of our vote.

And the FPTP system is in reality legal theft of the value of each vote cast for a candidate who does not win under the FPTP system. That value is stripped from all those votes (and often the total of such votes can exceed 60% of all the votes cast).

It is as if every voter – including your family, your friends, your neighbours, your workmates, and total strangers – goes into the ballot booth with an item of very significant value (the right to cast a vote, as our Charter of Rights and Freedoms grants us).

But then all that value is stripped out the moment those voters leave the booth, if they voted for candidates other than the winning one.

So, in the example above, where 40% of votes cast elect the winning MLA under the FPTP system, the moment the ballot booth closes, the vote of the other 60% simply becomes valueless.

A big fat zero.

And this despite the fact that the Charter (Section 3) states that “Every citizen of Canada has the right to vote in an election of members” of the House of Commons and of provincial legislatures.

And that Section 15, which deals with equality rights, states that “every individual ... has the right to the ... equal benefit of the law without discrimination ...”

This brings us back to the moral duty of each voter in this referendum.

Because the FPTP system is the legalized theft of the value of those 60% of total votes, and because such theft of value in effect creates two classes of Canadians, I believe we each as voters have a moral duty to vote in the referendum, and to scrap the FPTP.

If you do not vote to scrap the FPTP method we now use, you will be agreeing with those who want to retain that method, and so to create a first class of Canadians (being those who vote for the winning candidate), and an inferior, second class of citizens (being those casting the 60% of total votes in my example.

This relegation of most Canadians to second class citizenship is decidely not providing all Canadians with the “equal benefit of the law” (see here for more on this.)

Will you really be able to hold your head up when you relegate your family, friends, neighbours and other Canadians in BC to such a second class of Canadianship?

Don’t be an accessory to legalized theft of the value of votes that is an intrinsic part of the FPTP system.

Choose the high road, and vote for reform in this referendum.

Tuesday, October 09, 2018

A vote for FPTP is a vote for legalized theft

Voters in BC are being given the chance to vote for a dramatic change in the way in which their representatives in the provincial government are chosen, as this article shows:

David Eby said the referendum would be conducted by mail-in ballot, with the campaign to begin July 1 and a voting period to run from Oct. 22 to Nov. 30.

Mr. Eby told reporters if a majority voted to switch to PR on the first question, the second question would determine which system is used....

The three types of proportional representation that would be on the ballot include mixed-member proportional, which is used in a handful of countries, mostly in Europe, and two Canadian-designed systems that are not in use anywhere, known as dual-member proportional and rural-urban PR.

If voters decided to adopt a proportional representation system, a second referendum would be held after two general elections, so voters would have the opportunity to return to first-past-the-post, Mr. Eby said.

What many voters do not fully understand is that the current system of first past the post voting (FPTP) is really a legalized form of theft.

FPTP is a legalized form of theft of the value of all votes cast for candidates other than the winning one.

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