back to article Brit Parliament online orifice overwhelmed by Brexit bashers

When will lawmakers ever learn? Whenever the electorate is given a choice, they are bound to do something silly. In this case, overloading the UK Parliament's petition site with signatures on a Brexit-stopping suggestion. The site began tottering at around 09:00 UTC as it buckled under the load of voters pledging their support …

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            1. DavCrav Silver badge

              "Not sure where you got the "easiest trade deal etc." but that's toy-town."

              The (former?) Trade Secretary, not-actually-a-real-Dr Liam Fox. I mean, if he even lies about his own name (former GPs are not supposed to call themselves 'Dr' unless they have an MD) then he's very well suited as a Brexiteer.

              "I hit the UK in '96"

              Ah, an immigrant. Why don't you fuck off back home then?

              "And I'm sorry, but the numbers are black&white (and I'm a quant/markets boy from way back and only work on real, verifiable sources)"

              And I'm a professional mathematician. Given the statistical ability of most quants I know, I wouldn't trust your analysis, to be honest.

              "and if some junior twonker in the ONS came out with that, well, the EU's own published numbers flatly contradict him."

              It's the ONS Pink Book that says the net figure was around £200m/week. The £350m/week didn't even include the rebate. But I was slightly wrong, it was the UK Statistics Authority that slapped Johnson down for using the figure over and over again. And it wasn't a junior twonker, it was the head of the UKSA. Now, out of the head of the UKSA, and Boris Johnson, which should you believe is more accurate about, well, more or less anything?

              1. W.S.Gosset Silver badge

                > Liam Fox

                Ah well fair enough -- he always came across as an idiot, throwing shiny-sounding words around but clueless.

                > Ah, an immigrant. Why don't you fuck off back home then?

                I did. After 20 years. Still doesn't mean I like seeing good people and a good culture shoot themselves in the brain while screaming that they're not doing it and it's all THESE EVIL PEOPLE's fault then throwing around strawmen and toytown myths as PROOF.

                > Given the statistical ability of most quants I know

                True dat. Gob-smacking meme-followers, most of them. You want a surreal experience? Watch at any conference the french quants kinda race through parrot-learned proofs AT each other, sitting side by side but half-facing and pretentiously scrawling on their pads in what I used to call a wannabe quant-off.

                Good test of any quant: point them at the core/only globalwarming model, give them an hour or two, and if they're not spluttering in disbelief/shock/rage and shouting "the forcing factor is TAUTOLOGICAL!!! This entire thing is BORKEN!!!" they're idiots with a badge, not quants.

                > the ONS Pink Book says

                Like I said, the ONS is one of many sources and no longer weighted materially with regard to anything meme-related. The meme dominates the numbers now. Try going by what the EU itself reports, for example. Which matches what other branches of the UK govt reported for many years until it became politically (or rather: civil service-ally) unacceptable. (But still available in the pure-accounting areas sans "economists".) Which all matched precisely any number of deep-dives by fulltime third-party analysts and economists who actually have to stand by their numbers, with their career actually on the line with a 4 week notice period rather than at worst a 12-24mth payout.

                It's been years since I did my own deepdives so I can't any more simply point you at something categoric since I didn't bother keeping particular notes/files at the time, because my own matched everyone else's plus the published numbers plus --then-- the ONS's. But a quick duckduckgo just threw up the same numbers from eu&uk govt sources so I suggest you give it a try.

    1. 45RPM

      I imagine that many voted then and are still not happy with the result, some may not have been able to vote and are doubly unhappy with the result, and some might have changed their minds and decided Brexit is a bad idea after all.

      As for all this Will of the People bollocks, that’s a) uncomfortably close to a Nazi slogan and b) based upon a misunderstanding of democracy - which is that we have the democratic right to change our minds (and hence why governments are regularly elected rather than elected once and in forever more).

      The problem with leaving, and especially with leaving on such a slender mandate, is that if we decide we don’t like it later then we can’t change our minds. If there was an overwhelming mandate in favour then that’s one thing, but there wasn’t and so, like it or not, leaving the EU is the undemocratic thing to do.

      1. Aladdin Sane Silver badge

        No deal might not even be legal.

        Disclaimer - IANAL, and I voted remain (and would do again).

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        > blah blah blah blah and so, like it or not, leaving the EU is the undemocratic thing to do.

        That's quite the most pompous statement I've ever seen from a commentard.

        1. Aladdin Sane Silver badge

          You must be new here then.

      3. Charlie Clark Silver badge
        Pint

        As for all this Will of the People bollocks, that’s a) uncomfortably close to a Nazi slogan and b) based upon a misunderstanding of democracy

        Have an extra upvote in the form of a foaming pint…

      4. strum

        >based upon a misunderstanding of democracy - which is that we have the democratic right to change our minds (and hence why governments are regularly elected rather than elected once and in forever more).

        Quite so. Democracy isn't about arriving at the correct answer. It's about arriving at an answer most people can live with - until the next time. No opportunity to change our minds == no democracy.

    2. daldred

      Re: Really?

      I was at home, then on my way to work, via a convenient ballot box, then at work, then at home again.

      The second part of your question falls as a result.

    3. Lee D Silver badge

      Personally, I was saying: "Yes or No" are pointless options and don't give me anywhere near enough information to proceed, even with the supporting documentation as it existed at that time, because we're voting on an intention to leave, not an actual plan of action.

      They are also non-legally binding, representing only one-50-millionth-or-less of a vote, the people who asked had absolutely no intention of doing so, their party didn't want to do so, and they won't let the other party take over just to do so.

      Additionally, I was also asking why I can't vote online in 2019 (despite having electronic passport, driving licence, etc.), why we're asking the public to vote on an issue they don't understand at all, and why there was a sudden rush to create a vote only after it was mentioned casually only in order to gain the support of the DUP etc.

      Unfortunately, if you look at anything like this, 99.9% of the vote and reasons around it has absolutely no correlation whatsoever to "would I like to look at leaving the EU" and absolutely NOTHING to do with "DO YOU THINK WE MUST LEAVE THE EU NOW IMMEDIATELY NO MATTER WHAT, WITH NO PLAN WHATSOEVER AND YOU DON'T GET ANY FURTHER SAY OR CHOICE OF WHAT WE DO".

      1. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

        why we're asking the public to vote on an issue they don't understand at all

        So, should we just stop having elections & go back to an absolute Monarchy, then?

        1. strum

          Democracy is never about a final, unchangeable decision. On the contrary, the whole point of it is to allow for peaceful change - turfing out governments that don't deliver, without having to shoot them.

          1. Stoneshop Silver badge
            Pirate

            ... without having to shoot them.

            Although that might well be the most sensible option occasionally, "pour encourager les autres"..

      2. Frumious Bandersnatch Silver badge

        Personally, I was saying: "Yes or No" are pointless options

        Mauve!

        (I love the way that I still have to type in HTML tags here on The Register. And I'm actually not even being sarcastic (for true!))

    4. EvilDrSmith Bronze badge

      Probably where they are now.

      Which is (probably, in a significant number of cases) not in the UK.

      And thus not eligible to vote (technically, you require two answers)

      1. Vincent Ballard

        I was not in the UK, but I was eligible to vote and had, in fact, sent in my postal ballot a week earlier. British citizens who move abroad can still vote for 15 years afterwards in general elections. The limitation to 15 years was a big bone of contention at the time: few people are as directly affected by Brexit as people who have taken advantage of freedom of movement to or from the UK, but a considerable number of British citizens in that situation were disenfranchised.

    5. Jason Bloomberg Silver badge

      Where were you on the 23 June 2016 and why were you not at the ballot box ?

      I was at the ballot box, casting my vote to remain, wondering what would happen when those who voted to leave and adopt the Norway or Switzerland model, as Farage and other leave advocates had told them they could have, discovered that had been a lie, when claims that leaving the EU didn't mean having to leave the single market or customs union turned out to be another lie, and that those lies were simply intended to get them to vote leave when they would never have done so if they had realised the truth.

      I never imagined though that Brexiteers would just outright lie and claim everyone who voted to leave had voted to leave with no deal, would claim they had all voted to leave and have WTO rules, or Brexiteers would be able to get away with that lie for three years, that we would seek brexit on that premise, or anyone would believe the lie that 'the will of the people' is nailed down and carved in stone at some past point in time.

      Though I wish it was, since 'the will of the people' back in the 70s was to remain in the EU. It's funny how Brexiteers won't accept that. Only applies for June 23rd, 2016, apparently.

      1. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

        EU ≠ EEC

        since 'the will of the people' back in the 70s was to remain in the EU

        Not, it was to remain the Common Market (an economic grouping). The EU (a political grouping) wasn't created until the Treaty of Maastricht was signed in 1992. Maastricht was only passed by 51% in France, and failed with 49% in Denmark, who had to be made to vote again to get it right, certainly not a decisive result.

        I would have voted to remain in the Common Market, but not to remain in the EU.

        1. strum

          Re: EU ≠ EEC

          Bollocks. It was perfectly clear in 1975 that the EEC was a political project. I have a copy of Edward Heath's leaflet, in which he makes this abundantly clear. Also, the central plank of the No campaign's platform was 'loss of sovereignty' (which is why I voted No in 1975).

          The Euroseptics started lying about this (along with a steady deluge of other lies) only a few years later.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: EU ≠ EEC

            It was perfectly clear in 1975 that the EEC was a political project.

            Then why did it take multiple other treaties to create the EU?

            Certainly, the idea of a closer political union was around from the start, but not the current plans for a centrally-controlled superstate.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: "a centrally-controlled superstate"

              "a centrally-controlled superstate"

              Ah, like the United Kingdom, you mean?

              (Although even the UK now has devolution (well, apart from Englandshire), and, surprise, the national governments of EU member states also have full control over everything apart from those areas where they have agreed to work communally as part of the EU. I really don't understand those people who somehow see that setup as a bad thing. Oppressive superstate, it ain't.)

          2. DuncanLarge Silver badge

            Re: EU ≠ EEC

            "Edward Heath's leaflet"

            Do you mean this tiny little section of the Illustrated LONDON news from 1972. I'm sure that everyone read that.

            https://goo.gl/images/KYKHrz

      2. DuncanLarge Silver badge

        "when claims that leaving the EU didn't mean having to leave the single market or customs union turned out to be another lie"

        What claims?

        I never wanted to remain in any part of the EU. Leave meant leaving. I was actually surprised when I found out about some things that were NOT part of the EU such as the ECJ.

        I was not an expert on the EU by any means and yet I knew I was leaving anything they had implemented. How on earth would someone not know that the customs union for example was an EU mechanism?

        Unless you are a child perhaps. When I was a child, for many years I was convinced that teachers did not get paid. They were simply teachers and teaching was not a job, just what they did. When they went on strike in the 90's and I asked how that was possible I was shocked to discover that teaching was a profession, that I could even go into myself.

        Maybe others did not learn that lesson and continue to think that things like the CU and the common market have simply always existed, always will and just are? Of course thats a sarcastic remark as I'm hoping it isnt true.

    6. codejunky Silver badge

      @AC

      "Where were you on the 23 June 2016 and why were you not at the ballot box ?"

      They probably were. So far the number is still pretty small in comparison to the actual vote. Apparently those few think they represent a change in the peoples opinion. Of course the petition isnt binding in any way and can be ignored.

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: @AC

        "Of course the petition isnt binding in any way and can be ignored"

        Whoops.

        The referendum wasn't binding either.

        1. codejunky Silver badge

          Re: @AC

          @Doctor Syntax

          "Whoops.

          The referendum wasn't binding either."

          No whoops needed. Remoaners like to complain the referendum wasnt binding. Now I take said stick and again beat the remoaning fools with their own argument again. Since the default legal outcome now is to leave then the gov is in a binding position. And with a high turnout vote supporting the action.

          Vs this piddly entertainment value petition.

          1. desht

            Re: @AC

            "Remoaners" ? Grow the fuck up.

            1. Nick Kew

              Re: @AC

              Derogatory terms for an oppressed group in society.

              That's the same mindset that used an american derivative of the Latin word for black to sneer at people whose liberty - and later civil rights - they resented.

          2. CliveS
            Facepalm

            Re: @AC

            "Since the default legal outcome now is to leave then the gov is in a binding position."

            That may not actually be the case...

            https://ukhumanrightsblog.com/2019/03/19/no-deal-brexit-may-be-unlawful-a-view-from-rose-slowe/

            1. codejunky Silver badge

              Re: @AC

              @CliveS

              "That may not actually be the case...

              https://ukhumanrightsblog.com/2019/03/19/no-deal-brexit-may-be-unlawful-a-view-from-rose-slowe/"

              I am not sure I would take the blogs word for it. Didnt parliament accept brexit as the legal direction and it was then left to the skills of government to negotiate (I am laughing as I type that last bit)? The treaties of the EU is wrapped up with us handing over A50. UK side we seem to be talking of an extension and the French laughing then saying no.

    7. KarMann Bronze badge

      Do you know what non-citizen UK residents can do? They can sign the petition. [Source: the petition]

      Do you know what non-citizen UK residents couldn't do? They couldn't vote on the referendum.

      Any more obvious, easily-answered questions?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        That goes both ways - a lot of UK citizens were disenfranchised, because their ability to vote in the referendum was blocked (they had been living outside the UK for over 15 years), they had not voted in the UK prior to moving abroad (quite common with, for example, Brits who took their teenage children to live in Spain) and/or the deadline given to mail paperwork was too tight for people to register to vote from abroad if they hadn't already done so.

        Leavers have based a lot of their opinions on unsupportable facts or outright fictions, and the idea that every UK citizen who wanted to vote could do so is right up there with the belief that UKIP and the Daily Mail were talking about factual information.

        1. Intractable Potsherd Silver badge

          Long term residents in the UK from other countries should have been allowed the vote, too. They have far more to lose than the whiners* who, by accident of birth, got a vote.

          *I include my depressingly thick family and friends in that description. There was no attempt to learn (I teach EU and UK constitutional law, and many times pointed out that their preconceptions were... mistaken... and why), and the immigration crap kept coming back over and over again - and still does!!

          1. This post has been deleted by its author

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            "Long term residents in the UK from other countries should have been allowed the vote, too"

            They declared themselves as resident and then registered to vote?

            Or did they just assume they can come to the UK, never leave, never register, never sign up for benefits given to anyone who does and expect to vote? If I moved to France and lived there for a couple of years, got a job, had french kids, I would declare to the French government that I was resident and going to remain so for a significant amount of my future and so would want to be able to vote and take advantage of any benefits given to French people. I would also learn French and consider French political matters as my own.

          3. W.S.Gosset Silver badge

            > Long term residents in the UK from other countries should have been allowed the vote, too.

            They were. Voting in the UK is by virtue of residency, not even by right to be in the country. You can be illegal, but registered resident, and you can vote.

            I'm Australian. "Indefinite Leave to Remain": nb, not a citizen. I legally voted in every UK election whilst I was there.

            1. H in The Hague Silver badge

              "Voting in the UK is by virtue of residency, not even by right to be in the country. You can be illegal, but registered resident, and you can vote."

              I don't think that's correct. Could you quote a source please?

              As far as I'm aware only UK, Irish and Commonwealth citizens are entitled to vote in national elections and referendums.

              Source: https://www.gov.uk/elections-in-the-uk

              (EU citizens in the UK are are currently entitled to vote in local elections, etc.)

      2. Vincent Ballard

        Irish and Commonwealth citizens resident in the UK could vote in the referendum. The franchise was the same as for a general election, prioritising simplicity of administration over making sense.

    8. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Where were you on the 23 June 2016 and why were you not at the ballot box ?

      --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

      You mean in the non-binding referendum that the polls said remain would win, and where the choice was between remain, and leaving while easily keeping all of the benefits of EU membership while making huge profits on other trade deals and having more money for local priorities at the same time?

      Didn't vote, couldn't vote, but I did anticipate about 70% of the problems of leaving - some of which took years to sink in to the awareness of leavers.

      I honestly didn't anticipate the level of confusion, personal ambition and self-interest, lack of planning skills, inability to anticipate the obvious, total incomprehension of why the EU did not want to self-distruct to pander to British political quirks, lack of understanding of how anything worked, including rules drafted at the insistence of the UK, and the amazing number of people keen on re-fighting a B-movie version of world war 2, to better relive the glory of the empire.

      Train wreck, three years and counting - definitely slow motion.

      I figure the worst of this will die down in twenty years or so, when England follows Scotland and Northern Ireland (as part of Ireland) back into the EU. Wales? I have not the slightest guess whether they will go independently or with England.

      Or England could opt for a role as Airstrip One, the US forward base near the continent.

      1. Ken Moorhouse Silver badge
        Pint

        Re: why were you not at the ballot box ?

        I was at the ballot box on that day, but for the sake of avoidance of doubt, it needs to be stressed that one is not referring to the establishment of the same name nestling in the shade of Horsenden Hill. The one I was in doubles as a church, the one you were in doubles... oh cheers, thanks, but actually I'm teetotal.

  1. John Mangan

    It is hypnotic though...

    watching hundreds of signatures added at a time.

    Won't make any difference of course but then neither is anything that Parliament is doing.

  2. Boris the Cockroach Silver badge

    How many are russians signing in through VPNs

    After all , funding both sides and watching the country fall apart is much more fun than funding one side

    1. The Axe

      Quite a few according to Guido at order-order.com. some from North Korea too. Basically remainers cheating.

      1. Ben Tasker Silver badge

        Given Guido's history with the truth, I'd take that with a fucking massive pinch of salt

      2. Zippy´s Sausage Factory

        Guido is not a reliable source.

        Plus, I seem to recall there's been occasions where they've dropped votes out of petitions due to cheating - more than once. There are some protections against bots and fraud in there. I don't, however, know that they've actually revealed what those protections are, so I don't know whether they're up to the job, but we have to assume (or, at least, hope) that they are.

        Each vote has to be confirmed by email, that's the most visible part.

        1. Ben Tasker Silver badge

          Taking a quick (heavily adblocked) look, they're relying on the JSON exposed on the petitions site.

          It breaks down the number of signatures by country. For example, it's claiming 250 sigs from Finland

          But, what Guido happily ignores is that British Citizens live across the world, or may be out of country on business.

          But, ignoring that:

          #!/usr/bin/env python

          # -*- coding: UTF-8

          import json

          import urllib2

          url='https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/241584.json'

          response = urllib2.urlopen(url)

          s=response.read()

          p=json.loads(s)

          print(p["data"]["attributes"]["signature_count"])

          x=0

          y={}

          for country in p["data"]["attributes"]["signatures_by_country"]:

          if country["code"] <> "GB":

          x=x+country["signature_count"]

          y[country["name"]] = country["signature_count"]

          print x

          Currently gives:

          848031

          34333

          So that's 34,000 out of nearly 850,000. Ignoring the fact some of those probably are citizens, as well as the fact I've only factored in GB so may well have missed out some British Dependancies (like Gibraltar) who will be just as affected.

          1. Ben Tasker Silver badge

            In fact, if you look at where Guido tweeted it, there's a lot of people taking responsibility for some of those votes - all British citizens living overseas: https://twitter.com/GuidoFawkes/status/1108680088793636865

            So I think my initial instinct was right, Guido Fawkes is talking bollocks.... again

            1. Rameses Niblick the Third Kerplunk Kerplunk Whoops Where's My Thribble? Silver badge
              Alert

              Wait, what?

              Hang on, that's a genuine website? I've just been to order-order.com for a look and I really thought it was a Daily Mash type satire site.

              Are you telling me that's real?

              1. Ben Tasker Silver badge

                Re: Wait, what?

                I'm afraid so, yeah.

          2. BlartVersenwaldIII
            Joke

            > But, what Guido happily ignores is that British Citizens live across the world, or may be out of country on business.

            But therefore they're not true British Citizens!

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