Monday, July 25, 2016


You might recognise that as the ratio of 'Leave' to 'Remain' votes in the Brexit plebiscite. It is also the share of the vote obtained by Erdogan in Turkey's 2015 presidential election.

I think all my posts should have election maps from now on

Consider the following thought experiments.

(1) If you were a resident  of the United Kingdom who voted 'stay', and a conspiracy of unelected unrepresentative persons tried to overturn the Brexit vote, would you take to the streets to oppose them and support democracy?

(2) If, once the conspiracy was defeated, signs like the one below appeared *absolutely everywhere* and Theresa May started purging institutions up and down the country of 'undemocratic forces', just how pissed off would you be?


The first few nights after the attempted coup had a real uplifting party-like atmosphere. I was really impressed by the many Turkish citizens who had done just what I mentioned in Thought Experimeint #1 - people who had a strong aversion to Erdogan but had gone out to defend the democratic ideal.
I thought at first my misgivings were just an Australian aversion to overt displays of nationalism.Car after car with people hanging out the windows waving flags, honking horns. Streets full of happy flag-waving people of all ages. But by Thursday night I was truly starting to get creeped out. Every day more flags hanging from windows, shops, public buildings. Every day more of these signs: the government seemed to have bought up every available billboard in Istanbul.

And every night the cars going by with their horns and flags in the middle of the night. About 11:40 Thursday night I heard the horns starting up underneath my window. A bus was going by, horn blaring, lights flashing, carrying supporters of the government toward Taksim Square from the Old City. I counted the buses like this going by over the next minute or so. There were twenty. It was more than a little intimidating.

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