Before continuing with this essay, I’ll enter the cyber confessional. Over the last two years, many of my conversations have been weighted to evoke listeners to react to certain sentiments and ideas. It is probable some will have noticed my change of heart or opinions on many subjects. One moment extolling the virtues of a subject and a week later demeaning it. It is a dangerous game of deception, offering opinions and belief which are not one’s own. It is an intellectual tightrope, which can close friendships and create enemies. Although a worthwhile and fascinating experiment, it involves considerable risks.
Some years ago I became interested in critical thinking. We should not underestimate the difficulty in changing and adapt the way we think. For my part, the considerable effort is worth the reward. I have worked diligently to heighten my faculty of conversational advocacy. In other words, I have worked hard to learn how to present and argue strongly for the ideas or views arising within a conversation. It begins with learning to dissolve bias, eliminating the use of fiction to support an argument. The next stage is learning to observe differing opinions with an open and fair mind. Although this change is difficult to weave into the psyche, the metamorphous is fascinating.
Here is an example of the process; I will work through a subject which I have a belief in by writing an essay about it. Following this, I take some days to assemble facts and realities about the subject. Finally, I write for a second time about the previous belief and suppositions. The two essays are re-read, and necessary changes made to the idea. I have drawn lines through many spiritual and social beliefs, on occasions, the realisations can be terrifying.
To realise why some people succeed and most fail is mentally sobering. Success has nothing to do with luck, the Universe or using an entrepreneurs ideas or process. Knowing how to take advantage of events and seeing opportunity is. By understanding how and why people are drawn into sidelines and work against impossible odds, we realise the truth of failure. And the more critical thinking becomes part of life, the more we understand, why life is for the vast majority of people an ordeal, not a pleasure.
Furthermore, critical thinking guides the pupil to become transparent in thought and action. Observations will become more focused, and personality can change. Learning to speak with clarity and advocacy is inevitable. The assets of clear thought and genuine conversation have taken me further on a material and creative level than any other skill previously used. Interestingly the two skills guide the pupil to understand why some succeed to incredible heights, and others are a twig on the river of life. I am inclined to believe the most strong and successful people have analytical minds devoted to drawing the reality and facts of any situation or experience. Without training and expertise of critical argument, an average thinker has not a chance against the ability of a razor mind using simple words, coherent sentences and crystal clear speech.
When listening to people through a critical filter, it becomes evident some information many try to explain lacks in specific content or accuracy. This is not an arrogant statement; it is one of fact. And facts are the key to real and consistent success. In the courtroom, a defence lawyer is working to undermine the evidence given by the prosecution’s witnesses. If there is a weakness in the evidence, he will find it. And fragility within the evidence sets the seed of doubt in the juries mind, breaking the vessel of a compelling prosecution. It is of no consequence if the accused is guilty when the prosecution cannot prove the case it will fail. All one needs to remember if you wish to win an argument. The two most potent requirements are fact and accuracy. Those who bring emotion and spurious ‘proofs’ into their evidence may overwhelm the average thinker; they will not impress the critical thinker. The advocate for a defence is looking for a weakness which will cast a shadow upon the truth.
The key to critical thinking is open-minded thought, acute observation and careful research. Sifting through evidence is the much of the process. Whatever is used to formulate answers should be clear, non-bias and in-depth. Whether it be a jury or one’s conscience, arriving at a firm conclusion requires clear understanding, facts and truth. Accepting the factual circumstances of a situation, even if it is detrimental to our purpose will benefit life experience. Objective thinking helps with making a particular decision or taking a responsible attitude to the outcome of a situation. For most people, a fair assessment is a complicated process, beliefs, peer pressure, or social position can overwhelm the facts of the affairs which surround them. Those who look at the external environment with a subjective mind, are indifferent to influences they have no power over and take advantage of what is available to them. Fighting against realities can blinker the small minded thinker into believing illusions. Small minded thinkers can be intelligent and wealthy; their selfishness mistook for drive and determination.
Let us look at a situation and take it further to investigate the process of open-minded and critical thinking. During the first week of November 2016, two individuals appealed to the judiciary system to make a ruling. Their requirement was to ask the judges to decide if Members of Parliament should take a vote before triggering Article 50 (the key to leaving the EU). The judges agreed that Parliament should indeed vote upon the timing of the process.
The confusion which many have is this is a judgement in law, not a constitutional guidance. Many people incorrectly believe otherwise and fail to see the reality of the situation. Those who are against the idea of Brexit seem to be finding hope in the judgement thinking it will in some way overturn a referendum, which asked the British people to vote on whether they wanted to stay in or leave the European Union. By not looking critically at the reason to the judgement, they deceive themselves. To understand why this occurred is important. The two individuals asked the judiciary for a civil ruling. Their advocates made a case that the Prime Minister could not begin the process to leave the EU without governmental consent. The judges agreed. Their judgement has no connection with changing the primary outcome of the referendum.
The first lesson is; people take information and adjust it to fulfil their needs, even if the information is not relevant to their argument. From the moment false or inaccurate details are used to support a dispute the possibility of winning it lessens. By reflecting back to the referendum, both sides offered spurious ideas surrounding their points of view. Both failed to seek the real concerns of the majority of voters and address the reality and truths. Therefore, those who felt the EU system was very much part of the countries social problems. Those who had no faith in the establishment which was elected to work in their best interest. And many millions who felt threatened by EU immigration all combined to weigh heavily against the stay camp. I do not support any of these concerns, the information as to the reason for the outcome is readily available. Regardless of the accuracy of the leave voters reasons or beliefs, the fact is a vote enforces an exit.
From here I consider if this judgement could become a burden to the politicians. This is not a possibility; it is certain to be the case. Members of Parliament will find it difficult to vote against a democratic referendum. There are of course those who argue the referendum’s legal documentation is flawed and not fully understood by the voter. An open minded thinker would consider there was no misunderstanding. As the intent of the arguments had definitive desires, leave or stay. All media coverage, journalistic observation, political and social debate leading up to the referendum was driven toward persuading the voter. Indeed if there were flaws in the process surely those who wanted to stay within the EU would have used this information to scupper the referendum in at that time. There is a need to consider; if they did know the clauses were flawed and held the information in reserve in case of the vote going against them, they were deceitful by the contemplation of this plan. However, this idea can only be speculative and therefore irrelevant.
Therefore there can be no reasonable doubt as to the purpose of the referendum. Those who claim they did not know what the referendum was about or pretend to have to be deceived by the way it was presented, will find it difficult to produce the evidence to support their claims. A democratic process took place, and a clear-minded individual can arrive at one conclusion as to the purpose of the referendum.
The judges were wise in their judgement and opened the door suggesting a fair and democratic process. They did not make a ruling on the legality of the referendum or its process. As many incorrectly believe they did, and this may cause them discord in the weeks to come. The problem for the politician is that he or she enters into stormy waters if they vote against the outcome of a referendum. The constituent votes indicate the reality of their conundrum. Conservative seats to leave 258 − 72 to remain. Labour 150 leave – 82 stay. These figures alone show the Member of Parliament’s seats and loyalty of their local constitutions would be in jeopardy if they voted to scupper the result. The politician also knows that those who do not vote in elections or referendums concede to the outcome. The chances of them voting against instigating Article 50 when looked at from this perspective is very low indeed. If the constituency figures are viewed without emotion, the reality of the politician’s plight is easy to work out. The chances of them voting to stop the instigation of Article 50 is next to zero.
The media suggest the politicians may call for a second referendum. As there is a belief that if there were to be a second referendum the result could be reversed. This is the same reasoning used to instigate the referendum. Let me explain; the then Prime Minister Cameron, could not secure a beneficial agreement with the EU over three issues. To exonerate the government from being viewed by the electorate as failing to reach a deal, he decided to ask the British population to vote upon their faith in the EU’s policies. He was sure the electorate would vote to stay. Indeed, most politicians and the media believed the electorate would choose to remain in the EU. I predicted at the time the vote would be to leave and I can name Richard Abbott and Darren Stanton as witness’s to this statement. I used critical thinking to assess the minority had underestimated and dismissed the emotional connection the leave voters felt about the EU.
With careful investigation, the rational thinker will determine the vote would be greater for a leave in a second referendum. How so? It is to do with the high profile of the stay lobby who object to the result. Many are rich, intellectuals, business entrepreneurs. The key is they are a minority, with a superior attitude and somewhat deeming toward the leave supporters. Locked into the belief that the vote is in effect a death sentence to the fabric of the UK they cannot see why the majority of the electorate made their choice. And there is evidence to support the view that the poor now see an even greater separation in social position. How could a redundant steel worker or factory worker fight against a referendum result? I hope the reader understands the relevance to this question. There are now more people who see the rich demanding to overrule the poor. As a direct result of the high-handed questioning of a democratic vote. The vote to leave was dominant in areas of poverty and destitution. Along with the propensity to call the exit voters both idiots, fascist and racist, they have gained little ground. In fact, it is possible the gap has widened. The wealthy are a minority, the poor a majority. It is within the majority community the change of mind needs to occur. The present methodology does not look to be beneficial to the stay campaign.
A second referendum? Again the chances are next to zero and the probability of a greater leave vote a real danger to the stay camp.
Critical observations to focus upon are; the socially deprived, the poor, and those who need to live from social benefits voted to leave the EU. There is evidence to support the majority of older members of the community voted to leave the EU. It is probable these two groups would not change their opinion. The problem for the stay community is again numbers. If the 18-25 group who did not vote, were provoked to do so. The majority or greater number would be from the poorer social classes. The same goes for the older voters who did not vote; they would see any overturn of the referendum as a segregation of democracy; the turnout would be higher. Numbers count, and emotional president wins every time. Just because a man is poor or without formal qualification does not mean he is a fool, bigoted or stupid. He is, though, able to understand with the use of his vote he can affect the lives of those who he sees as greedy, selfish and wealthy. He is also able to reinforce the sentiment of the, an opinion which said ‘You Mr Politician are not listening to me, you close our schools, health centres and libraries. You reduce our benefits and tax bedrooms in our housing estates. Why should I care about your EU? I have no passport or desire to enter it. I have no interest if you are Labour or Conservative, you are the same with a different name. I have no voice, I have no respect for you, you only care about election my vote.’ Because of this, I will remove you from the EU, which you use as a scapegoat when my questions become too difficult for you to answer.
There are others who did not vote, and it is possible they would not vote again. The pros and cons have not changed, and the internal bickering of the defeated is seen by many people to be a winging poor loser attitude. The key is the minority have a significant hurdle to overcome. They need to overturn a 1.4 million majority and convince many unknown voters to enter a polling station and vote to return to the EU. Remember the stay voter number is known. The next idea is that it is entirely feasible those who voted to stay accepted the outcome. Therefore, the activist stay voter is an even smaller percentage of the population. On another level, they disadvantage their argument by not accepting a democratic decision. This group are perceived as the one percent super wealthy, intellectuals and poor losers. A combination considered as a limitation to their efforts succeeding. The probability of this small percentage of the stay camp succeeding in changing the referendum result is next to zero. To be clear, I am offering the suggestion that many of the stay voters accept the outcome and may not wish to be associated with those who want to overturn the majority vote.
There is now need to review the situation of the EU and the commissionaires in Brussels. There are soon to be elections in Germany and France. In both these countries, there is considerable discord with the EU. The politicians in Europe do not want to seem as weak or affected by the UK result. The very last situation they need is their electorate watching a vote of the people being turned around by Brussels. The European Governments are fully aware their voters will not put up with this interference and no way would they risk the wrath of their populations. In certainty, the EU mandarins have said they will not overturn the vote of the British referendum.
The open-minded thinker will see these as issues which need research. He will require evidence to support the sentiments within this essay. Where will he find this? It’s hard to discover facts within a biased media who’s writers are not journalists who appraise both sides of the arguments and give a balanced view of the whole situation. We certainly do not see a way of being guided by politicians who fail to remember they serve the will of the people. And surely the will of the citizens was indicated by the referendum result?
Here is the lesson for the critical thinker. I suggest he will decide the vote was cast and counted, there was a result. He will see the majority of politicians, entrepreneurs, ex-patriots, et cetera had completely misjudged the feelings of 14.7 million people. And they continue to do so, because instead of saying ‘We now need to unify, work together and build a new future. Yes, it will be hard, and we enter unknown territory. However, we must respect the will of the people, and forge ahead to a new beginning. They contribute to the argument, cannot face the truth and fail to see for every day they fight and bicker, they are widening the gap between truth and trust between themselves and the majority of people who require, security, jobs and happiness.
The political and social landscape of this country has changed. It seems to me the arguments we see daily evidence the childish attitude and ineptitude of the governments of today and many yesterdays. When politicians fight, allow ego to rule over the real needs of the population they serve, they demean their purpose. To the extent that very few trust their words. If they realised new and, respected leaders could be discovered in the challenges ahead. And the new progressive leaders listened to and respected the needs of those they serve. If they use this important epoch to become a marker to return to sensible laws and common sense, there is a future ahead. Until the past is accepted, the defeated grow up and be seen to be adults, not children; we are doomed to stagnation, probably collapses in finance, social benefits, heath care and civil unrest become inevitable. Not because of a result of a referendum, but due to those who will not grasp the nettle and guide the population to grow and work together. It seems to me, any individual who puts his or herself before the greater consensus of democracy is desirous of dictatorship or total state control. Any man or woman who jeopardises the freedom of the common man is returning to the feudal rules and laws which have taken eight-hundred years of democracy to change.
November 7th, 2016