Thursday, 23 June 2016

Referendumbing Down

04:29 OK. It would most certainly seem that I have run out of interesting things to say. This wasn't what I wanted, but I'm well aware that I'm lucky enough for my transition to be far less problematic than many, many others. But it's half past four, and I have to be at work tomorrow and pretend that everything is OK for my students' sake.

Everyone be well.

04:21 Gosh, Mr Umunna; what could possibly explain the lack of clarity in Labour's message recently? I am wracking my brains.

04:18 Hey, at least there's no historical precedent for rejecting a corrupt and venal government in favour of reflexive xenophobia!

04:09 You might as well ask the Japanese in '45 if they regret using nuclear weapons.

04:08 Oh my fucking Gods Dimbleby is now asking if the Remain campaign has been too negative.

04:06 It would seem we've gone from "We would have won if Jo Cox hadn't been shot" to "We've won without anyone having been shot".


04:03 Nice to know I'm not ordinary, decent, or real.


04:01 I prefer my villainous preying mantis giving cover to racists to be a little older. Is that wrong?

03:54 Have we seen anyone from what I've crudely call the working class comment on this program since after midnight?

03:52 Good work Manchester. Less so Milton Keynes. Struggling to find anything particularly clever or original here. Just copy and paste what I said in May of last year, I guess.

03:47 Nice to get past 8 million. Old news for the Leave campaign, obviously.

03:42 Now I get it. The BBC chose blue for the leave side to maximise the deja vu I'm feeling regarding last year's election. Even County Durham - my spiritual home! - has voted Leave.

03:37 Bless you Edinburgh. And Scotland in general. This isn't the first time you've ameliorated a total disaster in England. I hope it won't be the last.

03:28 Back to the world's most poorly-placed blackboard. Things are looking pretty scary right now, even discounting Vine's giant feet.

03:22 It's hard to believe someone who says there will be no recession due to Brexit when he can't even recognise the skinned beaver stapled to his scalp.

03:20 If the only way Cameron could manage his party was to call this election, then he is a terrible Prime Minister. I do not say this with anything approaching surprise.

03:18 Every time you hear a right-winger talk about how we shouldn't pay attention to convention you KNOW they're planning something hideous.

03:13 Sorry about Coventry voting to leave. F and I did our best.

03:10 THE ACTUAL QUESTION! Immediately dodged, of course. The North East already voted against a regional assembly. We just want Westminster to do its fucking job. The fact they don't won't change if we vote leave.

3:09 Always interesting to hear someone insist we'll have more room to negotiate advantageous deals with the EU if we leave it. Like how you can probably get a discount on your meal if you yell your order from outside a restaurant.

03:07 It's 50.4% to 49.6% and the BBC is saying a high probability of Brexit. I submit that they don't have any idea what they're talking about.

03:04 London will not be an island in the country. At worst, it will be one of a number of islands in England whilst Scotland beats Leave over the head with a thistle-stuffed sporran. If I had my way, no-one would be allowed to use the phrase "this country" on television without holding up a flag to demonstrate exactly which country they're referring to.

03:02 "Apparently people with degrees vote Remain", Dimbleby says, before asking someone whether they believe it. It's either true or it isn't; I don't give two shits if it's believable or not. That's how facts operate.

02:47 Back under 49.9%. This really does feel like tossing forty million coins and hoping more than twenty million turn up heads.

02:55 And of course no-one on the BBC or ITV has any real interest in digging into why that is.  All they care about is how many Leave votes we've cast.

02:54 I didn't mean for this to turn into quite so much of a North East Power parade, but I completely get why they're sick of just being expected to vote Labour every time without any actual benefits. Again, this isn't a productive way of kicking against the pricks, but godsdamn, the pricks we're kicking at fully deserve it.

02:49 This guy is predicting Leave on the back of the coalfields. Which again leaves me simultaneously delighted that the former mining towns have voted against Cameron, and aghast at what that will mean for them going forward.  There is ALWAYS a bigger fish.

02:47 Which is to say: back to the BBC.

02:46 Sorry; that was ITV; not the BBC. My apologies.

02:43 Maybe that's unfair. Maybe when the BBC cover a football match they insist their commentators say "It's 1-0 to Middlesbrough at half-time: they're technically winning".

02:41 Remain are "technically" in the lead. That's the technicality of having more of the votes that determines who wins.

02:40 That was it! That's what I wanted to say about Farage. Now that the referendum is over he's banging on about how Turkey is in the earliest stages of negotiating a possible entrance into the EU. Their joining isn't imminent, it has simply been upgraded from "Never" to "If we don't veto it"; a deviation from the Leave rhetoric the BBC seems to have no interest in highlighting. What reminded me was that conversation with UK expats talking about how they'll be disadvantaged by a vote to leave, something I haven't seen any major news organisation cover since this whole shit-storm started (though it's entirely possible they did and I just missed it).

02:34 (I may be showing my age there.)

02:32 List of things I'm not interested in: people saying we should support Cameron because the stability of the country is important. That's like saying you're rooting for Dick Dastardly because it's critical the Wacky Races rules be held sacrosanct.

02:31 This is the point where I look at the numbers on each side and wonder how close they have to be when this is all over for the official response to be a loud sigh and an utterance of "REALLY?"

02:25 My apologies to Scotland; I suggested you wouldn't have suffered fatigue from two votes in the last 13 months. It was actually three votes. I still refuse to believe that could even dent the Scottish spirit.

02:22 BACK PAST 50%. It's almost as though this has been a colossal waste of time and there'll be no definite result.

02:21 The problem with voting against Remain because of Osborne's transparent blackmail is that we still have to live under Osborne's transparent blackmail.

02:18 Though it seems to me there's always this sense that we're a disobedient child to be tolerated because we know no better.

02:16 I'm always amazed how many continental Europeans our reporters can find who are willing to talk about the importance of the UK staying in the EU, considering our behaviour over the last few decades.

02:12 That should've been "The county of my birth", obviously. Freud would have a field day.

02:05 The country of my birth just declared overwhelmingly in favour of Leave. Again, the north east. Ignored at every turn unless someone wants to suggest it be strip-mined. Rhetoric has consequences. It's just not the consequences I wanted.

02:04 Remain just passed one million votes. Still at only 46.7%, but still; nice to have some company.

02:02 Now the BBC is saying a Leave result would be "humiliating" for Jeremy Corbyn. Let's try to remember that Corbyn didn't call this referendum. It's genuinely OK to not agree with the majority of voters on something.

01:54 Sorry to keep harping on about this, but since the coalition victory in 2010 Cameron has been perfectly happy to shaft the North East at every opportunity. I'm not happy about how the protest has manifested itself, but let's not pretend their disgust at being asked to bail the Prime Minister out isn't completely fucking reasonable.

01:49 Stockton on Tees goes leave. Only place I have ever heard someone called a white person call a person of colour a nigger. I'm not saying that's the key to understanding their politics so much as pointing out what a mess of contradictions the leftist North East is.

01:45 Bad times in Basildon.

01:44 Now watching Australian news going to their correspondent in London. How about just going to London ourselves?

01:40 Wish I knew more about Welsh politics. Entirely naively, I would've thought they'd be keen to not be left on an insular island under Tory control. I wonder what's going on there.

01:35 Sorry; took time out to feed the cat. She is displeased by this interruption to her schedule. I cannot claim to not understand.

01:28 That's pretty much spot on: the south-west are skeptical of Europe, but they don't trust the current government to do any better.

01:25 For obvious reasons, I'm not in favour of protest votes. Or at least, I think voting to upset your enemy is tremendously short-sighted. But as is being said on the BBC right now, Cameron could easily have lowered the amount of Leave votes in the North East by actually admitting the North East exists.

01:20 "Undecided voters are saying they want facts, rather than the spin they've been getting" says BBC correspondent, without the ghost of a trace of self-awareness.

01:19 So tonight I've learned that immigration isn't being talked about enough and that it's the single thing Leave voters has talked about the most. What could possibly explain this apparent contradiction...

01:17 Gods, what's the point in trying to unpack this referendum shitshow; I can't even predict Paddy Ashdown right. Still, it'd have been funnier if I was right. Is there in truth no beauty?

01:11 Chances Paddy Ashdown will make a hat joke: 93%.

01:10 Genuinely interesting watching a national news program trying to work out how to report Facebook and Twitter trends. Far from sure they've nailed it, but interesting to watch them give it a go.

01:03 I had something to say about Farage's rhetoric the last time he was on, and he said it again just now, but I've managed to forget it again. Never mind. Won't be long before he gets to repeat himself at taxpayer expense again.

00:55 Oh, and we're back to Farage.

00:54 No. Fuck you. A Leave win does NOT mean this country has said "loud and clear" that we want tighter controls on immigration. That would be an appalling thing for a guest to say, but a presenter? Thank Gods the BBC are impartial, otherwise that could've been REALLY biased.

00:52 Yay! Go the Isles of Scilly.

00:51 That said, if it is true, the idea that the Scottish people were so exhausted from the independence vote they didn't show out for a referendum that could lead to their independence is genuinely pretty funny. You know, absent the terrible consequences elsewhere.

00:48 Is that really true? Low Scottish turnout because of "voting fatigue"? Surely not. I flat-out refuse to believe that a third national vote in thirteen months has somehow broken Scottish will.

00:42 My shameful admission: I still don't know what metric will be used for victory. And I'm none the wiser for the BBC's "explanation". Is it just the larger number of voters countrywide? Why not just say that, rather than all these "strong-coloured towers"?

00:37 Some good points there. If Osborne is trying to blackmail you into line, what are you supposed to do?  It's also grimly amusing to think that people trust Cameron less than Farage. I mean, going forwards that's fucking horrifying. But while I'm not at all happy about the idea of cutting off our noses to spite Cameron's face, watching Dave swinging from his own petard will be fractionally better than nothing.

00:29 It's also interesting, as someone with almost no understanding whatsoever of economics, as to just how quickly the market changes. Those pound fluctuation charts look like a pit trap from a Spectrum game.

00:26 Perhaps I should be grateful that is the first time since May 2015 that Number 10 has given a shit about Tyne & Wear.

00:21 Two things I wonder are a) how much credit for Remain under-performing in the North East the Lexit people will claim, and b) how long they'll want to keep that up for.

00:20 It's no comfort, of course, but if Leave continue to outperform and ultimately win, Cameron has fallen foul of a classic Tory strategy: fuck everything up and use public dissatisfaction to strengthen a mandate to fuck everything up even more.

00:16 Well, that was a blowout. Leave now in the lead. 61% in favour of Leave. Someone's going to have to dig pretty deep into the algorithms to figure out how the predictions are so off.

00:15 Sunderland.

00:10 A light just went off in my brain to let me know I've now seen Nigel Farage's face more than I have my own father's. Also, note that a week after Jo Cox's assassination Farage is announcing that this is a "war" that Leave will "win", even if the Remain camp has the higher tally. That's not something to dismiss.

00:06 Disappointing for Remain so far, though hardly disastrous. Certainly I'm more upset about my cat trying to get into my bag of snacks. Let us keep the faith.

00:04 Good for Orkney, though.

00:02 Sunderland apparently going to be a big victory for Leave. This is my fault for living in Newcastle. The Maccams clearly took it personally.

00:01 First result in; a narrow remain result in Newcastle. That's... not ideal.

00:00 Take that, Thursday.

23:59 This is what's called "leading the witness" in court, and "legitimising racism" everywhere else.

23:57 Oh, please. People want to complain that this referendum has left them feeling that it's gotten harder to complain about immigration? I've no idea if the entire population of Boston, Lincolnshire need to fuck off, or just this correspondent, but there is certainly someone who needs to be pushed out of shot with flaming torches,

23:51 Disturbing rumblings that my homelands might be more pro-leave than people have assumed. Won't be long before we find out, but my money's still on the North East being too smart to hand the Toriest Tories a victory.

23:47 That said, he's not wrong. But he's not wrong in the same way Farage is; his diagnosis is accurate but his prescription is for shit. Still, at least he's mentioned the dangers of further lowering worker's wages.

23:44 About to see Ed Miliband on our screens. Not sure I'll be able to take him seriously unless his talking points are carved into basalt.

23:41 Absent context, Farage is absolutely right. Remain winning doesn't change the fact that Cameron has utterly screwed over people up and down the country, and that fight isn't over. It's just the implicit idea that he did it because of immigrants that makes me want to vomit up my intestines and strangle Farage with them.

23:39 Nigel Farage there, lamenting the threats thrown at the Leave campaign seven days after a Britain First supporter murdered an MP.

23:38 Since they've brought it up again: no. No, I'm not going to thank my MP. The last time I even thought about him was when I sent him an email yelling about his vote to bomb brown people. Still, nice to see an effort to explain twitter to the country, I guess.

23:30 I'm sure ITV didn't mean to imply that Jo Cox's death might have something to do with there being "far too many women", but that's the kind of slip you get when you refuse to actually face what actually happened.

23:25 Over on ITV, we're talking about no-one wearing flag face-paint in this referendum, unlike the Scottish independence vote. That's because the EU flag is fiddly as hell to stick on someone's sweaty mug, and a Union Flag on your face makes it slightly harder to find someone who will pour you a pint of lager. No mystery here, I would suggest.

23:21 Nice for the Beeb to splash out to show us what a national treatment of acupuncture would look like.

23:20 Going to be pretty embarrassing if he scuffs that chalk. Nice shout-out to the Scillies, though.

23:17 Yeah yeah yeah, I know. That's just Politics 101. Be easier to swallow that were a dissatisfied Leave minority insisting this whole thing has been rigged.

23:16 I know its his job, but fucking hell, Mr UKIP just suggested a narrow Leave win is a "new consensus" and a narrow Remain win must take into account everyone who voted the other way.

23:14 Dimbleby now explaining a woman's own jokes to her, and THEN explaining why her feminist message has been undermined by not having the temperament he demands from female politicians. Fuck Dimbleby.

23:13 Oh good, they've dug the UKIP MP out from under his swastika rock. His message is essentially that Leave deserves credit that it's approach of racist jingoism only just failed to damage the country.

23:09 Chris Brosnahan with an early bid for tweet of the night "Chris Grayling continuing to look like a barely sentient testicle".

23:06 Farage unconceded? Someone on the Beeb beat me to the obvious joke. So let's just go with cruel mockery. Nigel Farage looks like an Easter Island Statue outtake painted with racists' diarrhoea.

23:02 Dimbleby there refusing to listen to someone suggesting the EU might have mainly benefitted rich people. Who cares about the proles; wealthy people are arguing.

23:01 Even aliens who arrive tonight with no understanding of any political or national context for this referendum will note Remain thanking the vote counters for the effort they're going to and Leave suggesting they might secretly have been paid by the government to fiddle the results.

Then they'll probe us all and destroy human life.

22:59 I wonder how they decided on the colours for "LEAVE" and "REMAIN". Choosing blue for the former probably makes some sense. Piss yellow for my side would need rather more justification.

22:57 Petition to ban Dimbleby from television forever for use of the phrase "Slightly less BREXITy".

22:54 (Does the shark thing make it worse, actually? The bankers might get some satisfaction from seeing their frenzied executioners get a taste of their own medicine as three dozen Amazonian fish feast on their genitals. Again; I stray from the point.)

22:53 Back to the BBC, and Sunderland. Yes, what could go wrong with hiring banking staff to count votes. JK! I'm sure the tellers are honest. It's their bosses who should be devoured by piranhas that themselves are being devoured by sharks.

22:52 Tomsk points out in comments that I might have completely failed to understand what went wrong with the exit polls last year. Fair enough; my memory is far too fuzzy on this to do anything else than capitulate.

22:46 You know, it's a good job I have no sense of patriotism, otherwise I'd be fucking furious at all the Tory voters who have questioned mine as I've worked to mitigate the damage to the country their votes last year have caused.

22:42 (That was mainly bait for our Jersey correspondent in comments.)

22:41 Wait, Gibraltar got to vote? That's awesome, but I think Jersey would like a word...

22:39 We need to hunt down every single person who tweeted about wanting to be in the world and not the EU and demand they write an essay on what the fuck that was supposed to mean.

22:34 Fishing quotas. Not really sure on my footing here. It seems from my very limited perspective as being one of those cases where the working class and environmentalists are battling each other. It's true that that's a deliberate aim of right-wing politics; if your enemies are fighting amongst themselves you can order another scotch and giggle at the Westminster bar.  But if we take as read the fact that we're not going to be rid of conservative rule (or neoliberal rule at least) for a while, I'm not sure what to suggest regarding solidarity here.

22:29 Gods, Heseltine on ITV, IDS on the Beeb. Is there a third channel canvassing the opinion of a crack-addled urban fox midway through disemboweling a kitten? Because that sounds pretty good right now.

22:27 Also, Heseltine is still alive, it turns out.

22:26 I'm sure Tories are saying they want the people to decisively decide what they think on this issue. But there's an obvious political contradiction here: the only way the Tory party will give up their internal fight following the public's decision is if they personally don't have any interest one way or another. Which would mean there was no point to the referendum.

22:23 It's possible I've strayed from the point.

22:22 That said, if you're not going to talk about the problems with obtaining honest answers from voters, you're just waiting my time. The problem wasn't that the wrong people were asked, it's that the inaccuracies built into predicting parameters from statistics is compounded when people don't want to admit they've voted for sadistic racists.

22:20 And onto the limitations of statistics. Should've turned over earlier.

22:19 Oh, they're talking about maths. That's novel.

22:18 Over to ITV to see what's happening there.

22:15 Oh good. The ghost of Churchill has been summoned. Let's hope he doesn't drag any kids back down into hell when the night is over.

22:14 (My money's on IDS. Dude's a scrapper. Farage looks like the hardest fight he's ever had is for the last roast cashew nut at the UKIP bar. Other than his political campaigns, of course, all of which he lost.)

22:13 IDS doesn't like Nigel Farage? Imagine the fun of throwing them into a pit with straight-razors and forcing them into an arse-off.

22:12 I'm only watching Ian Duncan Smith's face for evidence of the slight rippling of the cheeks that suggests a bloodsucking insect that has taken human form.

22:11 Is there anything Newcastle and Sunderland can't turn into a fight/race?

22:09 As Dan points out in comments, Farage is smoothing the way to an admission of defeat. I look forward to his excuses over the following days. I'd look forward rather more to him disappearing entirely from public view, but one must be realistic about these things.

22:07 Seriously, I'm even struggling to come up with an analogy for that, and that's usually a strength of mine so long as I can use the work "fuck" somewhere.

22:04 I confess that I'm struggling to understand the mindset of someone who would vote in this referendum but not in the general election.

22:00 And that's it. Polls closed. Time to start the feverish rubbing out of "Leave" votes. Let's hope no-one cackles loud enough to alert the observers.

21:58 On to the BBC coverage. I see the North East are once again planning to get their game on quicker than anyone else. You gan, me pets!

21:55 Also thrown out to the crowd: are last-minute deciders going to break for Remain, or Leave. I gotta think it's the former, that no-one woke up this morning and thought "Actually, it's going to be a slow work day, may as well upend the political structure of the country for the craic", but that might just be the hopeful hemisphere of my brain talking.

21:51 So is this going to be like the general election, in that we're going to see more conservative areas declaring later?

21:49 That was kind of heavy. Don't worry; I promise the dick jokes are on their way.

21:48 I'll mention this now, early in the process, before exhaustion and frankly cider make me more histrionic: I'm not at all looking forward to seeing what civil unrest follows a Remain vote, for all that that's my preference. This "don't use pencils in case the counters rub out your marks" would be hilarious in a film satirising politics. Out in the deserts of the real it's a concerted effort to undermine the mechanisms of democracy at the exact moment people have been told over and over that this is our last chance to reclaim our autonomy. That's much harder to laugh about.

21:43 I mentioned this on Twitter already, but when I took F to vote this evening there were two young, slightly belligerent gentlemen camped outside the polling station holding a bag stuffed with biros. This will not be the last time I remind you that things have gotten awfully strange out there.

21:41 Watching the bookies' odds fluctuating today has been fun. Ladbrookes has Leave at 5:1 right now, meaning they think the chances of a Leave result is less than 17%.

21:38 So I didn't say anything about this the whole referendum in case someone somewhere read it and decided not to vote, but I'm guessing things are safe now. It's worth considering what the chances are that Cameron would actually follow through on a EU Leave vote. He's been pretty clear on him not standing for a third term, which I assume means he won't still be in Number 10 two years from now, three at most, to give his successor time to be mean to enough poor people to win the next election. How much will he really care about telling the Eurosceptic half of his party to pound sand?

That's not a rhetorical question. I really don't have a sense for how that would play out. Any ideas?

21:33 So. The rules. This is blog is increasingly delusional in its commitment to a barely-coherent stew of leftist and ultra-leftist thought. Everyone historical thinker to the right of Karl Marx would think I'm an idiot, and Marx would tell me to calm down and maybe think things through a bit more. Given that, the starting premise of this blog is that the EU is utterly awful, but what we'd be replacing it with right now is worse. I loathe the right-wing Leave campaign(s), and look seriously askance at the basic ideas of Lexit.

Deviation from these principles in comments is entirely welcome, obviously. But play nice. This is my place, and if you're not particularly enthused by the idea of being hit by with a more or less continuous stream of invective aimed at Leave and its proponents, you might want to get gone instead of getting mad.

21:30 Ahem. Testing. Is this thing on? Welcome to my guide to the EU Referendum's post-orgasmic chill. We're fresh out of cigarettes I'm afraid, but if you'd like, it won't be hard to rustle up some sour grapes.


Dan Edmunds said...

Yey! Go squid!

SpaceSquid said...

That's the plan. Just need to go find my snacks...

Dan Edmunds said...

Nigel Ferage saying Remain will "edge it", having commissioned own exit poll. Any comments?

SpaceSquid said...

No comments, only mocking laughter.

Tomsk said...

Blimey you've gone off at a gallop!

I'm already mired in disappointment that Pombears a much less widely available than I assumed. On the plus side I have dutch Stroopwaffeln.

I've also hastily had to look up why Gibraltar has a vote and Jersey doesn't.

Tomsk said...

I see you've had the same thought...

By the way Sky News has the best coverage although BBC is worth switching to if you can catch John Curtice.

Tomsk said...

22:22 - I don't think that's right, the consensus is sampling and weighting errors were to blame in 2015 and not people telling porkies. True random sampling as in the British Election Study captured the result pretty well.

SpaceSquid said...

Alas my Skybox is broken, but I think it's time to give Auntie Beeb another chance.

We have many Pombears here in Coventry, but I have eschewed in favour of more fattening snacks. Liveblogging is EXHAUSTING.

SpaceSquid said...

22:22 Fair enough. That's not what I remember, but I'm more than happy to admit my memory may be tricking me. I shall have to dive into this more, actually, not least since one of my colleagues helped write the model in question.

Tomsk said...

Farage has unconceded. What a jolly rascal!

I don't have a skybox, watching on their website. Although Kate Hoey has scared me back to the BBC

SpaceSquid said...

Ah, fair enough. My connection is too spotty for that at the moment. You chose a great time to come back. No time to listen to the concerns of the working class; IDS wants to talk about the effects this will have on the Tory Party!

Dan Edmunds said...

Declaration expected shortly in Gibraltar... And yes Farage definitely does seem to have adopted a strategy of early defeatism (I;m not complaining!)

SpaceSquid said...

I can't wait for his brief resignation!

Tomsk said...

00:29 As far as I understand that kind of behaviour is almost unheard of. Apparently there was a big private exit poll conducted by City traders which may have driven sterling up. If it proves to be wrong...

00:42 It's most votes overall. I guess the regional tallies are just for administrative purposes.

SpaceSquid said...

00:42 That was what I'd assumed until tonight, with its bewildering array of ways to say things that couldn't matter less.

Tomsk said...

21:38 Sorry, missed this Q. Pretty sure in the event of a leave vote Cameron will announce his resignation tomorrow and a Brexiteer will be PM by party conference season.

Tomsk said...

02:31 Good question. If it was leave but under maybe 50.3% perhaps with a crash in stock markets that could prompt calls for a rematch. Anything more would be out for real I reckon.

ps Where's Dan? Has he wussed out?

SpaceSquid said...

I guess he has. Doesn't have the stamina of those above Watford Gap *Comparatively Northern chest-bump*.

Tomsk said...

03:07 I'm afraid I just can't see the route to Remain winning now. Too many areas where leave is outperforming dead-heat expectations.

Needless to say I hope I'm proved to be an idiot...

SpaceSquid said...

Time for more drinking, then.

Tomsk said...

As if it couldn't get any worse, I've run out of German beer.

SpaceSquid said...

That's so awful, and so appropriate to the narrative.