Jun 032016

There is an intelligent debate to be had about Britain and the EU. Unfortunately it’s not the one we are having.

Take back control! What a good slogan – and one that is difficult to get past to consider anything else. But we should ask: control of what, and from whom?

Instead of a debate about issues we are now locked in something very like an election, where each side is making its ‘offer’. But we are not electing a government. The same Prime Minister, leading the same government, will see the sun come up the day after we stay or leave. Point being – realistic or fantastical, can Johnson and Farage, neither of whom holds office, deliver any of their promises about anything? Furthermore, this is a constitutional debate about the functioning of our legal system and democracy at least as much as it is about short-term economic goodies.

Democracy is a blessing and a curse, in that it winds people up and inflames passions sometimes to little good effect.

 Posted by at 7:41 pm

  2 Responses to “Brexit”

  1. “Furthermore, this is a constitutional debate about the functioning of our legal system and democracy at least as much as it is about short-term economic goodies.”

    One thing I like about your writing is that it is objective and gives others a way in, whether or not they agree with what you say. That comment of yours I have quoted is what the referendum is about for me. The press, and then comments on articles in the press, are awash of accusations of fascism, racism, being stuck in the past etc. That there is a huge left wing, working class, Scottish campaign to leave, does not stop journalists saying that the only people who want to leave are middle-class, right wing, little Englanders and that Scotland want to remain in the EU. They forget the late Tony Benn was against the EU, as is George Galloway, as are most British Communists and Marxists.
    What is more disgusting is everything is grist to the political mill. I have even read suggestions that the tragic death of the MP yesterday, and the football violence in Euro 2016, are the result of the stirring up of nationalism by the leave campaign.
    There is much concern about so called cyber-bullying, but I believe political bullying and nastiness is much worse. When there was public disgust at multi-national companies not paying tax, George Osborne stated the next day that if you are a tradesman who does a cash in had job, they know who you are and they are coming to get you. When Blair was prime minister, Cameron asked him a question – which of course is the opposition’s job – Blair stretched out his arm and pointed his finger like a football referee and said “that is why that party must never rule this country”. He did not answer the question.
    The nastiness in parliament disgusts me, the same as most people’s political discussions. Political discussion now seems to be reduced to 140 character tweets. Although unpleasant I believe this referendum is a good thing, I think the nastiness is a good thing, I think the offensive accusations of both sides are a good thing. It is showing that even educated, urbane people are just unpleasant when faced with hearing views they disagree with, and discussion has gone out the window. The logic that if you don’t like a political decision it is because you are a fascist is as stupid as staying if you don’t like a particular food it is because you are anorexic. I hope this will be a watershed.
    A female academic wrote about a week ago that she gave a talk in a school to teenagers and said it was good to hear views with which you disagreed. It started a discussion, helped you understand how others thought, and made you examine you own views. Several girls started crying, it was upsetting to hear that you had to consider opinions you found offensive. The result is everything is suppressed and then explodes.

    • Many apologies Roddy, I typed “Bliar” the second time. I promise you I am not picking up the Telegraph commenters’ deliberate mis-spelling but I often type letters in the wrong order. I typed poeple also but the spell-checker picked it up.

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