The Will of the People

One of the joys of the East Anglian Daily Times is that it not only features regular letter contributors but it also allows for ideas to be developed,
One such correspondent is John Dell from Shotley who recently has been arguing that the Brexit vote did not reflect the will of the people, as the Remainers and the Abstainers outnumbered the Brexiteers.
As readers if this blog will know, I greatly believe in voting. If you don’t vote then your views do not count and you are only a whisker away from not mattering.
Acknowledging John’s position on this issue I caused the following letter to the editor was published by the EADT on 30th June.
Dear Sir
Let trumpets sound. Let the bells ring throughout Suffolk. Let there be bunting and dancing in the streets all along the Shotley/Pinewood corridor. John Dell (EADT letters 24th June) and I seem to have found something we can agree on in respect of the statistics regarding voting for the UK/EU referendum.
If you add the abstaining votes to the Remainers then 29 million people did not vote for Brexit. But fairness demands that you also add the abstainers to those who voted against remaining in the EU. The overall result is the same but by reclassifying the abstainers as being both against Brexit and against Remaining then you have an accurate and verifiable result based on 128% of the electorate. Thus surpassing anything seen, so far, in Russia, China or North Korea.
Abstainers effectively assign their votes to those who do vote.
But the Dell-Riley principle of counting abstainers twice revolutionises vote reporting and allows everyone to move forward
Such is the joy of the Dell Riley principle; it lets the voting outcome to truly be the will of the people and lets political activists harmonise political wistfulness with political reality and so happiness can be achieved all around.
And that is my contribution to Suffolk happiness this week
The full correspondence is below.

Syria needs liberal capitalism, not missiles

SyriaToday’s Telegraph (Business Section) contains a fascinating article by Allister Heath on the Arab Spring debacle and now Syria’s civil war. The article starts …
Abstract ideas matter, of course, but economic forces are usually central to the violent upheavals that regularly tear apart human societies. Sometimes the economic factors are hidden but mostly they are glaringly obvious, as with the rise of Nazism, which followed the catastrophic Weimar hyperinflation of the 1920s and the German economic crisis of 1931.
The economic backdrop to the Arab Spring debacle and now Syria’s barbaric civil war is equally self-evident. With only a small number of exceptions, states in the region have long specialised in economic failure of the most abject kind, seemingly competing to become the most shocking case study in how to squander oil money, ruin a nation’s economy and keep ordinary people impoverished.
Syria’s GDP per person is just $3,289 (£2,122) a year, an abysmally low number; it is no coincidence that it is almost identical to Egypt’s, another country where a small ruling class has mastered the art of kleptocratic exploitation. Add to that a despotic political system, high and rising food prices, a youthful population with little hope of fulfilling its dreams – including many underemployed graduates – and well-organised extremist movements and you get a predictably explosive cocktail.
The article concludes…
The only answer is a complete economic, political and cultural transformation, including an embrace of a real, liberal capitalism, the dismantling of monopolies, a bonfire of privileges and the introduction of genuine pluralism and constitutionally limited government. None of this tells us definitively whether the West should intervene in Syria or not but it certainly confirms that merely lobbing a few missiles at the regime won’t be enough to make a real difference.
The full article may be found on