The Brexit Speech

In the words of The Observer, Brexit is shaping up to be a dreadful deal for Britain …

Be in no doubt. Theresa May’s watershed Brexit speech on Friday was a sobering defeat for the United Kingdom.

It was a defeat for the Leavers’ vision of a sovereign country freed from the constraints imposed by European politicians, laws and regulations … and a defeat for those who voted Remain and hoped against hope that Britain would, at the last moment, draw back from this gross act of national self-harm.

May’s speech, signalling a fundamental parting of the ways, was a defeat for the business people, trade unionists and community leaders who rightly fear for the country’s future prosperity, cohesion and jobs. It was a defeat for young people, British and European, who, more so than older generations, will perforce inhabit an ugly new world of harder borders, work permits, bureaucracy and pervasive state intrusion.

In a wider context, May’s speech marked a moment of British retreat from the shared ideals and principles of collaborative internationalism that have guided the western democracies since 1945. It presaged an historic abdication of leadership that many in Europe and beyond will neither understand nor quickly forgive.

The gaunt post-Brexit future towards which May is stubbornly leading us will make Britain a poorer, meaner, lonelier and shabbier place, hostile to immigrants yet badly in need of their skills, struggling to maintain its trade across the barriers we ourselves erected, and exploited by the world’s big economies whose governments and multinationals, imposing unequal trade treaties, will take what they want and leave the rest.

May’s speech was welcomed by hard Tory Brexiters, who imagine that quitting the EU single market and customs union, whatever the consequences, is a sufficient victory for their blinkered, jingoistic cause. It was seen by Tory Remainers as recognition of the need for compromise.

And this blurry reconciliation of her party’s schismatic factions, albeit probably temporary, was May’s main achievement. It may be a good deal for the Tories, but is a bad deal for Britain. Bad because, in overall terms, the proposed settlement is neither one thing nor the other. Britain will not have its cake and eat it, in Boris Johnson’s preposterous parlance. It will simply have less cake.

May rejected the single market largely because of its freedom-of-movement provisions. Even though employers have been telling her for months that Britain relies on EU workers, the PM remains foolishly frit of Daily Mail spectres of invading foreign hordes. Yet even as she rejected it, May recognised the benefits of the single market, sought continued, frictionless, access to it, and lamely admitted that we will all be the poorer for being outside it. What kind of leadership is this?

Such self-contradictory thinking would give Descartes a headache. The same applies to her Through the Looking Glass “customs partnership” wheeze that, she said, would “mirror EU requirements”. If she means future customs arrangements will be reversed, back to front and inside out, she may well be right.

In prospect now is a nightmare of red tape from those who promised a liberating bonfire on the cliffs of Dover and will create, instead, a giant lorry park.

© The Guardian

• This extract from The Observer’s article is reproduced here courtesy of Guardian News & Media Ltd under their Open Licence agreement.

• You can read The Observer’s full editorial here:

http://theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/mar/04/the-observer-view-on-theresa-mays-brexit-speech

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The Farce Of Brexit

It’s now twenty months since the advisory UK referendum advocating Brexit …

Since that disastrous day in June 2016 when only about 34% of the total electorate voted in favour of the United Kingdom leaving the European Union, little forward progress appears to have been made. Whilst a small majority of those who cast a vote were in favour of leaving, nothing has been done to address the issue of thousands of people living abroad who were denied a vote for one reason or another. Many of these people actually reside within the EU bloc of countries and are the most likely to be affected by the ultimate terms of the UK withdrawal. In many respects, proposals and decisions made to date are largely regressive and emphasis has been placed on trivial matters such as the colour of passports . The UK has declared its intention to revert to blue passports despite the fact that prior to EU membership, they were black! Furthermore, there is no EU legislation stating that member states should each have a burgundy passport, although this colour has been voluntarily adopted by most countries. So far, political discussions reveal that the UK wants to cherry-pick aspects of the EU, something that is rightly being denied by Brussels. Should the UK leave the single market and customs union, which are major benefits of membership, the country is seeking an exception with regard to the Republic of Ireland as they do not wish to re-instate a hard border with that country. If this is allowed, then one rule will apply to a single part of the United Kingdom, namely Northern Ireland, with the rest of the country adopting different practices. Seeing as both Northern Ireland and Scotland were heavily in favour of remaining in the EU, it could be argued that Scotland should be awarded similar privileges. All in all, the whole débâcle is little more than a farce to date.

Irrespective of the arguments being put forward to leave the EU, the ratification of Brexit will undoubtedly isolate the country and turn back the clock decades. If one looks at the percentage vote by age, there was a majority of people under the age of 50 who wished to remain in the Union. Primarily, it’s voters over 60 who voted to leave, and ironically, few will live long enough to experience the full effects. Through their selfishness, prejudice and ignorance, these voters have deprived a future generation of greater opportunities and options.

There is another major issue … namely the dogmatic and arrogant approach being taken by Prime Minister Theresa May. Whilst she is the elected leader of her party, first and foremost she is a constituency Member of Parliament, and as such, should be representing the views of her constituents who voted for her in the last General Election. Seeing as over 90% of her constituents voted in favour of remaining in the EU, the PM is ignoring their wishes and merely sailing along on an ego trip. Even she is on record as stating that the country is better off within the EU so her stance to leave is nothing but hypocritical and illustrates perfectly that she, and the majority of politicians, cannot be trusted. The current UK government is quick to highlight and criticise corrupt administrations elsewhere in the world but fails to admit that it is equally corrupt and, undoubtedly, one of the worst governments in decades.

For anyone reading this who supports Brexit, I would suggest you consider everything that the EU has done to improve standards and conditions for everyone over the last forty years or so.

Above all else, the EU has been the mainstay of peace across much of the continent of Europe following centuries of conflict. Rather than instigate new political warfare, the UK should remember the sacrifices made by people from many countries to achieve peace and live together in harmony. It is ironic that a Conservative government is removing us from the EU when it was their predecessors who, long ago, advocated membership of what started out as the Common Market. Many continue to argue that membership costs the country far too much money but statistics from HM Revenue & Customs puts this matter neatly into perspective.

It’s too early to predict the final outcome of Brexit or even if the present government will survive to deliver the result. I remain a staunch European and am very thankful that I’m able to live freely in another member state. With so much antipathy towards Brexit now emerging, I believe that a further referendum should be offered to the British electorate, devoid of blatant lies and deception. I am sure that the earlier result would be overturned and would save the country billions of pounds that Brexit negotiations and procedural changes will ultimately cost. Theresa May is adamant that no second referendum will take place, no doubt because she fears losing face and being toppled from her extremely precarious seat of power. However, it would be very rewarding to witness a little honesty on the part of a leading politician that could, ironically, work in her favour.

We shall just have to wait and see!

What A Mess

The recent General Election in the UK has created an even bigger political mess …

The unadulterated arrogance and pigheadedness of Prime Minister Theresa May was the sole reason for her calling an election as she wanted to increase her parliamentary majority in order to achieve her ambitions regarding the UK withdrawal from the European Union.

Unfortunately for Mrs May, things did not go according to plan. There was a major upsurge in the younger vote, the vast majority supporting the opposition Labour Party, with the end result being a hung parliament. Rather than increase her majority, Mrs May lost seats and is now clinging on to power by her fingertips. Whilst her party holds the greatest number of parliamentary seats, the number is critically low meaning that key policies could be voted down if members of her own party rebel. In order to try and alleviate this, the Prime Minister is trying to negotiate a pact with the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) of Northern Ireland, but even if this debatable unconstitutional alliance goes ahead, her government could still face defeat on key measures.

Many aspects of the Conservative Party election manifesto have been abandoned. Whilst most of these were highly controversial, it illustrates that the government has already made major U-turns on policy and, therefore, cannot be trusted. The main focus of the government will now be on Brexit, the name given to the country’s withdrawal from the EU. Even within her own ranks, Mrs May is facing opposition to her dictatorial policies and rumours abound that there could be another leadership contest before too long. Sadly, most potential candidates would likely be even worse than the current incumbent, but inevitably any change will rock the party and almost certainly lead to yet another general election way prior to the projected end of this government in 2022.

It is extremely ironic that throughout the election campaign, Mrs May promised the electorate a ‘strong and stable’ government. In fact, she quoted the phrase so many times that she appeared more like an automaton than a human being. Needless to say, the government is anything but strong or stable, and more closely resembles a weak and wobbly administration drifting in an ocean without rudders. Whilst Brexit talks have only just begun with the EU Parliament, it’s too early to project what the final outcome will be, although it’s difficult to imagine that Mrs May will get all her own way.

There are interesting, albeit worrying, times ahead, both for people living within the United Kingdom and its citizens living in other EU member staes.

D-Day Approaches

In just one week’s time, the people of the United Kingdom will be voting for a new government for the second time in two years.

Despite Prime Minister Theresa May repeatedly stating that there would be no snap general election prior to 2020, she made one of many dramatic U-turns by announcing such an event in late April 2017. The apparent reasoning behind this decision is that she wants a clear mandate to negotiate Britain’s withdrawal from the European Union. As most people have long realised, the voting decision to leave the EU was based on countless lies and ongoing deceit, and following the disastrous referendum result, many people now realise that they were duped into voting against continued membership.

Sadly, in the year since the referendum, lies have continued to manifest themselves at an alarming rate. Whilst it is almost unanimously regarded that politicians, by definition, are liars, the country has been governed by a dictator in the making who is simply on a power trip. The Prime Minister’s reactions to questions put to her are bouts of inane laughter, grimaces or platitudinous responses and her constant message of a ‘strong and stable’ government has become farcical. Her overall demeanour suggests she lacks any self awareness or in-depth knowledge of what being a PM demands. Just look at her recent political track record.

Despite May’s claim that ‘Brexit means Brexit’ she was a committed supporter of staying in the EU but quickly jumped ships in favour of Brexit in order to curry favour in her fight to become leader of the Conservative party and, therefore, Prime Minister. She determinedly refuses to listen to the advice of experts and on a one-person crusade, has decided that Britain will exit both the single trading market and customs union. Financial experts have continually highlighted the catastrophic consequences of such action and the possible long-term effects on the union of the United Kingdom. She has total inadequates holding ministerial positions in the areas that will basically determine the effects of Brexit and anyone doubting her beliefs is cast aside and relegated to the back benches. 

Civil servants are living in fear of their jobs should they dare to point out the error of her decisions and the democracy of Parliament has been brought into doubt, especially when the House of Lords overturned a key proposal relating to Brexit. Nearly a year after the referendum, the electorate are no nearer understanding the implications of the decision but she doesn’t see this is a problem. Most people have little understanding of the main issues, no clarity on what the UK is aiming to achieve in the negotiations, and no reassurance for beleaguered businesses. The announcement of what is a totally unnecessary election simply demonstrates her complete insecurity and, if recent polls are to be believed, could be her undoing. Her campaign has been all about her and what she wants for the country, with few other party members making even scant appearances. She has vetoed a party leaders’ debate on television, sending the equally obnoxious Amber Rudd in her place, on the grounds that she wants to meet the electorate at grass roots level. This has turned out to be farcical as most media events have been attended by a mere handful of carefully selected people, and on occasions, press have been excluded from attending.

As with all the political parties, the launch of their election manifesto only happens about two weeks prior to voting day. Inevitably, this means that most suggested policies will go unnoticed until it’s far too late to question them. However, May has already announced her desire to reinstate the hunting of foxes by hounds which is generally against the wishes of her supporters and has had to climb down on a so-called dementia tax. The woman is simply on an ego trip, lacking personality, charisma, diplomacy and knowledge, and has reached a nadir whereby she is launching personal attacks on her main opponent based upon hearsay from decades ago.

At the start of the electoral campaign, the extremely arrogant May was riding high with expectations of a greatly increased majority. Her relationship with our European partners and neighbours is at an all-time low with leaders embarrassed and annoyed by her stance, attitude and ignorance. Recent polls are suggesting that her popularity is now on the wane and that projected increased majority may dwindle to a few seats, or even better, become extinct. In just over a week’s time, the UK could be facing political turmoil once again, but in my opinion, anything is better than another 5 years under a dictator. Given her total ineptitude to answer questions without cackling first, and her strength and stability now resembling weakness and wobbly, it’s hardly surprising that May has become one of the most ridiculed PMs in many decades. It will be interesting to see how her constituents vote seeing as they were very much in favour of remaining in Europe, and May has always said that she listens to her electorate!

A Society In Conflict

It is now over ten months since voters in the United Kingdom elected, by a very small majority, to exit the European Union.

It is said that a week is a long time in politics, so ten months must surely be an eternity. Indeed, for UK citizens residing in other member states of the EU, the last ten months has been a period of great uncertainty regarding their future rights and benefits, and at the time of writing, nothing has changed. After the fiasco over the resignation of former Prime Minister David Cameron, the country has been led by Theresa May, a woman who claims to follow Christian principles yet is showing scant regard for the welfare of the poorer in society and the hundreds of thousands of her citizens living in other European countries.

The PM steadfastly repeated that there would be no snap election and that parliament would run its course under the Fixed Term Act. Furthermore, the government promised that voting rights would be reinstated to UK citizens who have been living abroad for over fifteen years and are currently excluded from a vote, prior to the next election. So what does the PM do? She promptly goes against her word and calls a snap election for 8 June 2017 and those without voting rights will continue to be left in the wilderness. It has become quite apparent over the last eight months of her reign that Prime Minister May cannot be trusted in anything she says or does. She claims that the election is needed to give her a stronger mandate for negotiation of the withdrawal terms from the EU and repeatedly says that Britain needs a strong and stable government. Whilst there are countless members of the ruling Conservative Party who oppose Brexit at any cost, they are frightened to step out of line and support their leader in her misguided decisions. May states that she wants to listen to the electorate and is a committed constituency MP so it’s ironic that she is totally disregarding the wishes of her own constituency where some 94% of voters wanted the UK to remain in the EU. Although she doesn’t broadcast the fact, May was also an advocate of EU membership, but her rise to power has seen her become little more than a dictator and society is becoming ever more divided by wealth and the lack of it. Irrespective of people’s wishes, she has already decided the direction in which she is taking the country.

The UK is anything but strong and stable, with huge economic and social problems, many of which have amassed during the last seven years of Conservative administration. Just as in the EU referendum campaign, statistics have been manipulated to cover the truth, and employment figures are a prime example. Whilst banners and the Tory press may proclaim some of the lowest unemployment figures in decades, the reality is that thousands of people are only in part-time work or engaged on zero hours contracts with low wages. The National Health Service (NHS), once the envy of the world, is constantly being reinvented and employing bureaucrats on obscene salaries, yet the stark reality is one of diminishing nursing staff, a reduction in beds, excessive waiting times which often lead to premature death, and very low morale. Apparently there is no money for nurses who have to endure minimum wage increases, yet unnecessary tiered management can be paid six figure sums simply to asset strip and prepare for privatisation via the back door. The private sector has long been the goal of the Tories … under Margaret Thatcher, the country witnessed the privatisation of all the utility companies, telecommunications and the rail network, and one only has to subscribe to these to witness poor service and very high costs. In fact, many of the utility and rail companies are owned by European giants, either private or government-controlled, who rake in the profits that, otherwise, would be reinvested in the respective businesses.

Following the vote for Brexit, the country has become more socially divided. There have been many reports of racism directed towards fellow Europeans, and citizens of other EU countries living in the UK now also fear for their long-term future. The government has already given directives for some to leave the country, resulting in the breaking up of families and potentially denying children of a parent. More and more people are having to rely upon food banks to make ends meet, violence is on the increase in some of the largest cities, and the poor especially are becoming more vulnerable. Our Christian Prime Minister has made little or no comment about the social fragmentation of her country but dogmatically reiterates the need for a strong and stable government. What about a strong and stable society?

Although achieving a small majority vote from those who voted, Brexit only represents some 34% of the UK electorate. Because of the aforementioned ban on British citizens across Europe being able to vote in EU referendum owing to living overseas for more than 15 years, three million people were denied their democratic right to vote on their own future. This is ironic given that they some of the most likely to be adversely affected by the outcome. Once again, these three million will be silenced in the upcoming General Election. No amount of MPs and a larger House of Commons majority will make the slightest difference to the eventual terms of Brexit as these will be agreed by governments and not individuals. Therefore, it could be construed that her arguments for this election are futile to say the least and no matter what the outcome, May will still have to negotiate with the 27 remaining EU member states.

Sadly, not all British overseas residents voted to remain in the EU. For some inexplicable reason, especially those residing in Spain, they do not regard Spain as Europe and think they have special status and rights to live here. By and large, it is the more uneducated members of society and those with more money than sense who supported the Brexit cause although there were many who were simply influenced by lie upon lie that life would be better outside the Union. People would do well to remember that rarely is the grass greener …

Of course, standing by a referendum that bamboozled, deceived and lied to the electorate is another matter entirely. Regardless of the result, any PM worth his or her salt would have spoken to the nation explaining reasons for its annulment and then laying out the full benefits and disadvantages for all to see. There would be no visible campaigning allowed and people would simply be given time to digest the facts before casting their vote. As things stand, the United Kingdom may well find itself isolated in what is becoming a very violent and turbulent world, and at least a generation have been denied unrestricted movement and career opportunities.

It just remains to be seen what the final outcome of Brexit will be once May assembles her strong and stable government. One thing is certain … she will not be acting in the interests of the majority irrespective of the election result as figures now reveal that more British people are supportive of EU membership than not since the referendum campaign lies emerged.

In The Beginning

Another way of looking at the United Kingdom mess that is Brexit …

In the Beginning was The Referendum
And then came the Assumptions

And the Assumptions were without form
And the Plan was completely without substance

And the darkness was upon the face of the Voters
And the Voters spoke amongst themselves, some saying ‘It is a crock of shit, and it stinketh.’

And others saying ‘Brexit means Brexit’.

And the people of Wales and Cornwall said ‘We have voted to leave the EU but we want to keep getting the money the EU sends us.’

And the Voters went unto their Councillors and some said
‘It is a pail of dung and none may abide the odor thereof.’

And others said ‘Brexit means Brexit’

And the Councillors went unto their Mayors and some said unto them
‘It is a container of excrement and it is very strong, such that none may abide by it.’

And others said to them ‘Brexit means Brexit’.

And the Mayors went unto their MPs and sayeth
‘It is a vessel of fertilizer, and none may abide its strength.’

And the MPs spoke among themselves, some saying to one another
‘If we do not agree to this Plan, we may lose our seats and expense accounts.’

And others saying to one another ‘Brexit means Brexit’.

‘We shall say that it will stop immigration and promote World Trade and will have no downside to it.’

And the MPs went unto the Brexit team and sayeth unto them
‘This Plan will stop immigration and payments to the EU and so will be a very powerful stimulus to the economy.’

And the Brexit Team, already believing their own lies, said to one another
‘Brexit means Brexit’.

The Brexit Team went unto the Prime Minister and sayeth unto her
‘This new Plan will stop immigration, stop payments to the EU and actively promote the growth and prosperity of this Country, allowing us to give an extra £350 million a week to the NHS.’

And the Prime Minister looked upon The Plan, and, being totally blinded by personal power, saw that it was good. And the Prime Minister, having little vocabulary, said ‘Brexit means Brexit.’

And the Plan was challenged in the Courts.

And there was much wailing and gnashing of teeth and chants of ‘Brexit means Brexit’ by those gathered who did not wish the flaws of the plan to be exposed.

And the Judges retired to consider if the Plan was legal
Although there really was no plan because none knew what Brexit was.

And through all this, shit continued to happen.
And the response of the Government to this shit was to say ‘Brexit means Brexit’.

The Majority Is The Minority

I recently saw this on social media and thought I’d share a slightly edited version it as it sums up the result of the EU Referendum perfectly …

On 23 June 2016, 52% of people who could be bothered or were eligible to vote, elected to leave the European Union. At about 6am on 24 June, Britain began a steep decline into the sort of stupidity not seen since L. Ron Hubbard decided we were descended from space lizards.

In the ensuing months since that national brainfart, the country has lost grip on its language, grace, wit and decency. Marmite has survived by the skin of its teeth and seeing as it tastes like sheep droppings that wasn’t exactly a win.

The problem with all of this began when people tried to interpret what Brexit meant. The unelected Prime Minister, Theresa May quipped “Well, why ask me?” and “Brexit means Brexit” heralding the nation’s slide into mental incompetence in defining a word by itself. So what? Teabags means teabags. It still doesn’t tell us what the tea, or the bag, consists of or its relationship with the rest of the world. Of course, May became PM after Cameron threw his toys out of his pram and had supported the Remain campaign, meaning she had no involvement with the Brexit of which she’s now in charge. This coup d’état was greeted by the public with total apathy, which is not surprising when you consider that they’ve also swallowed the claim 52% of Britain voted to leave the EU.

They didn’t! Only 71.8% of voters took part, which means the nation is amputating its EU membership on the basis of a 37% mandate. In simple terms, 17m people decided what the remaining 47m citizens were going to have to put up with for the forseeable future. It can be called a lot of things, even democracy, but it can’t be called 52% of the UK electorate. In the new post-Brexit era of being considered virtually brain dead, the British people are told that they voted for less migration, more migration, greater parliamentary sovereignty than the one we’ve already got which allows MPs to block Brexit, hard Brexit, a Royal yacht, soft Brexit, a proper job for Boris Johnson, trade deals with China, staying in the single market and leaving the single market. This is despite the fact that most can remember what the ballot paper looked like and that it didn’t have that many words on it. 

The question posed was to leave or remain. The consequences were unknown, both sides warned of fire and brimstone if we got it wrong, and in the end many voters who were badly off felt things couldn’t possibly get any worse, so decided to smack David Cameron in the face by voting against his recommendation. The upshot of this decision, so far, is that the badly off are now worse off and Cameron is about to embark upon a multi-million pound money-spinning career that may, or may not, involve Panamanian bank accounts.Quite simply, the referendum question posed was, in hindsight, the wrong one. The ballot paper should have said: “Would you like Britain to be remain as stupid as it is now? Or would you like it to be more stupid?” Once the obnoxious Michael Gove had pushed all the experts over a metaphorical cliff of ignorance, the voters were left, by definition, with people who are not experts. Now, the buffoons running the show are driving the masses over the same cliff, insisting all the while that life will be better once they’re over the scary bit at the edge. Better? So inflation is taking off, 10,000 more people are unemployed, the price of fuel,is spiralling and the value of the pound has slumped by 15%, compared with a mere 4% during Black Wednesday in 1992. On top of all that, there are already warnings of price rises in food and clothes, meaning the less well off will be hit disproportionately hard.

Prior to the referendum, City experts bet heavily on a drop in the pound, whilst non-experts said they were “talking the country down” as opposed to knowing exactly what they were doing. In the days after the vote politicians said migration won’t be any different, the NHS is still screwed and that people shouldn’t believe what is written on the sides of buses! Unsurprisingly, a study has found 6% of Leave voters now think that was stupid, which is greater than the 4% margin of victory, whilst non-experts in favour of Brexit say people shouldn’t pay any attention to this because it’s stupid. It seems everyone concerned with Brexit should be ignored as they’re all clueless! On top of all this, the English language has been mangled to introduce a ridiculous number of clumsy lexical portmanteaux, starting with Brexit and mutating into Bremainers, Bremoaners, Brexiters and Brexiteers. It can only be a matter of time before some poor sub-editor has to squeeze BRE-HA-HA into a headline.

As a nation we decry the barrel bombing of Aleppo, and don’t stop to notice these are the people who were too sick or slow to leave, or who could not afford to pay the people traffickers. In juxtaposition, we complain about the dreadful migrant hordes who were the wealthiest, quickest and cleverest people in Aleppo who managed to get out, and say we don’t want their sort here. This makes no sense. If you insist on controlled migration of people we need and can use their skills, then it’s the people who escaped Syria that should be welcomed by the most hardened UKIPper. There are now non-dental expert MPs telling dentists to check migrants’ ages, despite dentists saying teeth don’t work like that. Also, in the past few weeks, every child of nursery school level has been asked what country they were born in. One of the nicest men in football, Gary Lineker, has been subjected to a torrent of abuse for pointing out we’re not being very nice. To compound the nastiness, George Osborne is making a mint as “a renowned economics expert” and Nigel Farage has been exported to make Donald Trump even worse.

Who benefits from a fall in the pound? Only people paid in foreign currencies such as Fromage, and certainly not the 17m who voted for Brexit. Who benefits from a slump in the City? Only mega rich traders, not those who support Brexit. Who benefits from a lack of simple mathematics and experts? People who want the majority to remain ignorant and stupid. Who benefits from Britain behaving like ignorant racists? Only ignorant racists, who think it confirms they were right all along.

Brexit was about giving the wealthy élite one in the eye, and it’s failed miserably. If only the right question had been printed on that ballot paper … things could all have been very different. This majority is most certainly the minority!