Time to THexit

June 26, 2016

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Just two choices were given British voters: LEAVE or REMAIN.

Our first reaction to the news that the highest turnout of United Kingdom voters in history chose to abandon the European Union is that, as in Scotland’s independence referendum or the Quebec separation referendum in Canada, the results, 52% to 48%, was simply too close to call.

Such referenda are good examples of genuine participatory democracy rather than simply voting in politicians for their often-false promises.

Regardless of the marginal will of the people, UK’s governing Tory Party has unsurprisingly vowed to ignore the results and remain in the EU.

While that remains to be seen, departure from the Union will mean far more than economic readjustment. The UK will be giving up a well-respected charter, incumbent on all EU countries, incisive and binding oversight on all member country decisions.

It will also mean that the UK, which in recent years has become the world’s premier surveillance state, will be giving up the EU Charter’s protections for human rights, freedom of expression, and civil liberties.

Thailand’s own referendum looms. The vote for a new Constitution is really not about that at all. It’s about the military: LEAVE or REMAIN. Will Thailand’s military decide what’s best for us regardless of the popular vote? We have already been illegitimately forced to give up our Constitutionally-protected freedom of expression. Will we write human rights and civil liberties protections into law for Thailand’s future?

If the Constitution fails, will Thailand’s strongman do the right thing, like David Cameron, and step down? Does he have enough courage to admit he’s been wrong all along?

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