On The EU Membership Referendum

I decided that I would like to share some thoughts on the EU referendum. The debate is becoming quite unclear and the only thing being slung faster than the lies is the mud. I don’t want to reiterate the same distorted half-truths that are being bandied about by every newspaper and armchair canvasser of both flavours. The truth? Who knows; neither side can be relied upon to provide honest, incontrovertible facts and so I would like to present what I see as some clear, logical arguments.

 

In my opinion this referendum should not be taking place. We employ politicians to make these complicated choices for us. There are very few well-informed individuals who are in possession of the facts required to make a calm and sensible decision about what is best for the country – the rest of us are making emotional votes based upon which particular axes we have to grind. George Carlin said never underestimate the stupidity of people in large groups – we are that large group. To call a referendum on so sensitive a subject was weak leadership made by a weak leader in order to placate what was a weak political party for long enough to lead them to electoral victory. This is a crass example of partisan politics. If David Cameron is so convinced of the hellish consequences of “Brexit” why has he left the decision to a roll of the dice? Let’s remember that although he’s calling for us to stay in, he has flirted with the leave camp for most of his political life. A ‘leave’ vote would hand full power to David Cameron to whip out Pigsbane and piss all over our environment, employees’ rights, the NHS… The list of services and resources that the Tories are dying to carve up and flog to their mates goes on and on. Do we really trust the Tories to be in sole charge of us with no safety net? I get that the vast majority of people are dissatisfied with Cameron, but bloodying his nose over Europe is not the way to get him back.

 

Of course the EU is imperfect. This is hardly news to anyone. But it’s worth remembering that it has stopped the centuries old European tradition of murdering one another in ever increasing numbers. It has achieved that lofty goal through interdependence and compromise. Any system of governance, particularly one that deals with the interests of 28 member states, has to be a compromise. We can’t expect to vote ‘leave’ and not face economic consequences. If we wish to continue trade with Europe (which the business community – our employers- quite emphatically does) the compromise will have to hit everyone’s pockets. I am no economist but the vast majority of people who are seem to think that a ‘leave’ vote cannot be a good thing. Geographically speaking the EU bloc is our neighbour. Short of upping sticks and sailing across the Atlantic to snidely sidle up to our former colony we will fall under its sphere of influence regardless of whether we vote ‘stay’ or ‘leave’.

 

And so we get to the emotive part of the debate – immigration. There are many reasons why the immigration argument is not clear cut (and I’m not even going to start on the responsibilities we have with regards to refugees), but in the interest of sticking to my self-appointed mandate of clarity I’m going to keep it simple – a ‘leave’ vote will NOT end what people see as out of control immigration. We will still have to allow in migrants in order to have access to the free-market – just as Norway and Switzerland do. This will part of the compromise. (And in fact we will need migrants to boost our ailing economy). Norway and Switzerland belong to a group of countries called the EFTA which allows eligible countries to trade in the European single market without being full members. If we leave the likelihood is that we would join this group of countries, all of which offer the same contentious right to freedom of movement. When joining a new club do you get to make the rules? Let’s say that we do get to make some rules regarding the ‘quality’ of migrants we allow in and we pick only the cream of the crop. Who’s going to prop up the NHS or fulfil any of the other tasks deemed too menial by our privileged native stock?

 

We are told that Britain was once great and can be great again (sounds a bit like a certain dodgy-wigged American politician), that we survived two wars and we’ll survive this. When we fought those wars we had the backing of an entire empire and we still nearly bankrupted ourselves. So much so that we consequently lost that empire and now have very little to bargain with. Much is being made of the fact that we are the world’s fifth largest economy. But are we likely to remain that way without the EU? The world is changing rapidly, in many ways not for the better. We need to vote based not on the world in which we live today but the world in which we will live tomorrow. Globally, our resources are dwindling. Fossil fuels are running out, our soil is weak, depleted and being washed in to the sea, human beings are on the move on a biblical scale and all the while the temperature is creeping up and up. Globalisation means that we rely on the outside world for our very existence in a way that we never have before. We cannot afford to hide ourselves away behind a smokescreen of misplaced national pride and confidence. Withdrawing and dealing with the EU on our own terms takes us out of the decision making processes that affect what happens just across 20ish miles of shallow water. How can that be wise?

 

The lying reptiles who govern us are fighting the kind of divisive media campaign that we have come to expect. We are whipped up into the kind of partisan frenzy that serves only to bolster individual positions and to divide the voices who are crying out for change. Because that is what this referendum is at its core – a cry for change. But does a ‘leave’ vote give us the change we desire? In a word ‘no’, of course it bloody doesn’t, are you mad? It reverses progress. But then staying in surely doesn’t bring about change either. The vested powers that be will profit either way. The world will keep turning and the broken, corrupt system whose leathery, old, infected teats we greedily suckle on will persevere. We need to stay in the EU, but the last thing I want to happen is that on June the 24th David Cameron wipes the clammy sweat from his forehead and continues business as usual. The strength of the EU is our collectiveness and the power of our cries for change. We have to join together across Europe with everyone else who is furious at the dick we are expected to take day in and day out from our conscienceless corporations, our prostitute politicians and our corrupt media. The EU is a broken machine, but one we can, and should, fix.