The Phileas Club 73 – Brexit from the UK, Europe, and the world

On this episode we talk about:

  • Brexit Brexit Brexit!
  • And more…

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  1. Sion Roberts says:

    Hi Patrick
    First of all this is the first episode of The Phileas Club in a few years and the quality of the format and your hosting as reminded me why I used to listen and I’m going make sure I do from now on.

    However I am disappointed in the balance of your panel in this episode. I found Gita to be very extreme and borderline offensive when she categorised the people that voted leave and I wish you had someone who was for leaving to counter her.

    Let me tell you a bit about myself.

    I’m 24 years old from North Wales.
    I strongly dislike Nigel Farage and I thought the UKIP member Gita mentioned that was on question time was disgusting.
    I have a lot of respect for David Cameron.
    I used to like Boris Johnson have lost respect for him over this campaign.
    I think both campaigns have acted in a disgusting fashion and are guilty of fear mongering and lies.
    I think immigration is important for every country.
    I love Europe as a continent.
    I voted leave.
    I am glad leave won.
    I’m pretty sure people like me are the bulk of the 17 million people that voted leave.

    • Hey there, and thank you from the bottom of my heart for taking the time to come comment here even though you felt the show was hurtful to you (I certainly admit it was unbalanced).

      Could I ask you to tell me why you voted for Leave then? I’m guessing immigration is a big part of it, but how can you expect to take part in the trade deals that are necessary for a thriving modern economy if you intend to close the borders? You can’t really have one without the other… I think that’s the disconnect I’ve had with most people I’ve discussed this issue with.

      The again maybe it’s something entirely different for you.

      • Sion Roberts says:

        Yes immigration was a part of my decision but I would be devastated if we ever got to the point of closed borders. My issue has been with the EU’s free movement policies which has meant a wave of immigration from the poorer parts of Europe to take advantage of our welfare benefits and unskilled job market. I don’t resent them for this (although our far right is feeding of those who do) I understand the need to look for a better life for their family but I believe it is having a detrimental effect on the UK and needs to be brought down to a sustainable level which we can’t do in the EU.

        The main reason I voted leave was a matter of sovereignty.

        Let me make it clear I love Europe and I’m really sad that you feel like its a rejection of our friendship, from my perspective that’s really not the case. I really want us to all be able to work together for the betterment of our neighbouring country’s. however we must remember we are still all individual countries, with individual cultures and individual needs and I have a huge problem with the fact that being in the EU means accepting one size fits all legislation and dictating which countries outside the EU we are able to make trade deals with.

        I’m far from the most educated or eloquent person in the world (as proven by the fact it just took me 90 minutes to write 2 paragraphs) so I hope this all makes sense to you.

      • patrick says:

        It makes complete sense, and I have no idea why you would think you’re not eloquent (believe me, when I write something it takes me three hours for ONE paragraph! 🙂
        I still don’t agree with the reasoning, but it is a lot clearer like this, thank you.

  2. Mike Pelphrey says:

    I listen to each episode Patrick and enjoy them but (keep in mind I’m a red state American) I would appreciate a bit more variety of opinion on topics like this. You do a good job of playing devil’s advocate but I don’t know that you should have to function as a conservative counterweight on each episode.

    There seems a great deal of ridicule levied at the leave camp and Britain in general but this camp did win a majority in the vote. Surely it would be reasonable one commentator to say that the majority of those happy with this result are not ultra conservative racists or completely ignorant of the consequences of their actions.

    Anyway, I don’t imagine it is easy to locate from around the tech podcasting community with conservative bents… Like I said I appreciate your podcast. I look forward to each episode and I’m sure I will continue to enjoy them.

    • patrick says:

      I agree that this show lacked balance (it is quite obvious), but it’s also very difficult to find balance in this kind of debate to be honest… The issue is often dealing with the inaccuracies: at some point you get into a conversation where someone says one thing, and you say another thing, and even though it is factually wrong (I keep coming back to the NHS thing, but there would be others, like the idea that the UK economy can grow without access to the single market), you can’t move further than that and there’s an impression that both things are equal and it’s a matter of opinion, when it really isn’t.

      I am really struggling with that in my “quest for balance” on the show. Still, I believe I can do a better job at it, and the comment I’m reading here are making me 1) really hopeful that I can, and 2) reconsider the way I was looking at that potential conversation. After all, if I managed to have a polite conversation with my communist friend from France, it really means anything is possible. 😀

  3. Hayden Smith says:

    Hi Patrick

    I was also a leave supporter and my reasons had nothing to do with Immigration. I am actually quite happy with Open Borders myself.

    The current narrative being spun about the reasons people voted leave is disgraceful. Post vote polling showed the biggest motivation for voting leave was sovereignty.

    I am degree educated and work in the financial centre so do not fit the neat “uneducated working class” category that I am being assigned to.

    I work with numerous leavers and also know a British lady and here Swedish Husband (both professionals) who met due to the EU and both were for Leave.

    The EU issue has been my primary political interest my whole adult life and to say there was never demand for a referendum does not accord with reality.

    Please get a Pro leave voice on or French Spin will simply be another echo chamber refusing to listen to alternate views

    Would like to reiterate I love the show.



    • patrick says:

      Thanks for the comment Hayden, I really appreciate it. I saw that poll, but I’m not reading it the way you are. Clearly sovereignty is important, but in the context of the EU and immigration, I don’t think it is as benign as you say it is. Keep in mind that I have been on the other side of the argument, with our former President Sarkozy being accused of everything short of being Hitler himself, when I believe he was trying to talk about actual difficult issues like immigration and racial inequity in the country. Still, I think it plays to a certain portion of the population, and I don’t really think the two are completely different.

      Also, I believe that the biggest mistake of the UKIP camp is to try and sell country’s independence as an economic opportunity when it pretty clearly isn’t, and people believing that are in for a very rude awakening. And fueling this with fears about immigration (which you have to admit are actually part of the conversation even if you don’t think they’re the main motivation) is playing a very dangerous game…

      Anyway, thank you very much for the comment; as I said in earlier ones, I’m really glad you and others came to be the voices of reason in the “other” camp, and that you commented in such a collected manner. Honestly you did a better job at that than we did on the show. We’re the ones distraught at the moment so it’s why we’re getting emotional I’m sure, but still…

  4. I’m from the US and found this episode highly educational. I’m being educated even more from the comments written here. I found Gita to be incredibly articulate and did a really good job of explaining her view of the different parties and how they affected the vote. I can’t speak to whether she was right or wrong.

    When Patrick talked about voting while angry being like having sex while drunk, it really struck a chord with me. I’ve been thinking about how in the US with Trump’s popularity, anyone who governs this country has to get to the root causes of why people ARE so angry. Gita spoke to the unequal distribution of wealth and healthcare and housing (which will always exist but perhaps it’s extreme beyond logic) and that’s what I’d like to see our politicians really address. Listen to these angry people and figure out how to have those voices heard.

    Also on the voting by angry point, I think it would be a better system (in all countries) that the choices should be: Leave, Remain and No. Also Hillary, Trump and No. Even if you don’t COUNT the No votes as meaning anything, let people push that NO button with anger. Or maybe if the No votes add up to some percentage, a new set of choices would be required. My main point is NO as an option might make us feel better!

    Best Phileas Club yet.

    • patrick says:

      Thanks Allison, I’m getting a lot of positive feedback as well, and I think it does give a good idea of the way it feels for many (honestly, most) of us.

      As a side note, I’ve been asked by some to watch the “Brexit movie” to understand the feeling from the Brexit side a little better, and honestly, it’s not doing a great job at convincing me that the sentiments we expressed in the show are wrong… Maybe it’s another extreme exemple, I’ll keep investigating.

  5. Dmitry Cherednichenko says:

    Hey Patrick, great episode. Very biased though, as was already pointed out. 😉

    “Brexit will make Putin happy and that’s why we shouldn’t leave”. Made me chuckle, when I read it. It’s probably true, though. It’s no secret, Britain is one of the loudest anti-Russia voices in the EU. Now that it’s leaving, pro-Russia opinions could gain more weight.

    Official Russian reaction to the campaign was neutral as “it’s not our business”. Ordinary Russians don’t care. Many believe that the EU is now paying the price for its over-expansion, and “they’re getting what was coming to them”. It’s difficult to feel sympathy, while being under EU sanctions.

  6. Matthias Keller says:

    I’m a bit late to the party here, but I finally got around to add something to the discussion.

    tldr: The EU has a bad reputation in part because national politicians badmouth it while taking credit for its work.

    Regardless of nationality, when you talk about the EU you need to keep something in mind: Blaming the EU is one of the favorite ways for politicians to deflect responsibility while taking credit for its accomplishments at the same time. This is true for Germany and I guess for almost every other country in the EU.

    Whenever a politician is asked about something that went wrong, is taking too long or was changed even though the initial proposal said something different, there is a good chance he or she will assign (at least a portion of the) blame to the EU. Often the argument is, that the big and overblown administration is the main cause.

    [Side note: The popular belief of the EU spending much of its money for the administration is a myth. At the moment the EU is spending around 6 percent of its budget for the administration and around half of that are salaries. I seem to recall that the percentage spend on the administration is even smaller or on par with what most of its member states spend on their administration; unfortunately I can’t verify it by citing a source at the moment.]

    On the other hand the politicians are quick to take credit for successes, even though they were not because of national efforts but because of things the EU did. This leads to a distorted perception of the EU by the citizens. So on the one hand you hear that the EU is responsible for all the bad things and on the other hand you seldom hear anything good about it. Then some might say “Why do we even need it?” when asked about their opinion, which doesn’t help in situations like we just had in the UK. Add to that some (at least in some parts) misleading or false information and you have a quick majority of people that want to get rid of this institution.

    No one is saying that the EU is perfect or that there aren’t issues that need to be resolved. I’m just saying that there is an underlying resentment of the EU already, so Anti-EU campaigns can often work with a fertile ground.

    And another side note: The Austrian constitutional court has just ruled the presidential election (May 2016) void due to irregularities in the counting process, so the election has to be repeated. And the right wing populist candidate Norbert Hofer (FPÖ) has already announced, that he will make a potential Austrian Exit out of the EU (maybe we should call it Öxit?) one of the topics of his new campaign. So the Brexit is already fueling nationalistic views in other countries.

    • patrick says:

      Interesting point indeed. Thanks Matthias, I tend to agree with you (to the surprise of no one :).

      • Matthias Keller says:

        Damn, I was hoping that you as the Frenchman would disagree with the German on principle 😉

      • patrick says:

        I guess the Brexit is enough to make me overcome centuries of national visceral hatred. 🙂

  7. rakan alawaji says:

    hey patrick big fan here.. i wish u accept me calling u my friend.
    sorry i am late but i just heard the podcast.
    i am saudi arabian so mind my language and my opinion.
    1. i think my brother Turki has minimized the problems were having in our country or our region, and i will start with my country. there is a potential that the kingdom fears the relationship with uk because of how chaotic this choice is. and this could be an issue for our abroad students ( who are a lot ) and our citizens in the uk who are there for a living as we saw how violence against muslims and foreigners after brexit and the potential of having difficulties of living or traveling as it seems if brexit was a positive, then maybe global immigration is gonna be a problem. add the potential of having a dual citizenship is going to be impossible.

    2. economy wise i think its not going to be a big problem to us as how my brother turki said because i think that business and investments are going to be welcomed by uk.

    region wise i think that the biggest problem is going to be in turkey as there will be doubts about the integrity of eu union as any country in the union will, and add to it potential economic problems.

    and to add a note i personally think brexit is going to make worldwide “peace” disturbed.

    and im against my brother in a point ( u dont know democracy ) i think we all know it as we study it now and add to it social media. the fact that we dont govern by it is true.

    accept my simple opinion and forgive me for my language. i love the podcast and i know its difficult to make something like this.
    i wish u my friend and the guests a happy life and may we live in a peaceful world.

    • patrick says:

      Thanks very much for the comment and details Rakan, and I gladly accept to be called friend. 😀
      Interesting perspective there, it’s always good to hear different voices, helps form a clearer picture of things. Thanks!

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