Jun 222016

The one we are having, and will have for a while – either way.

Referendums are not a good thing on the whole , and they are awful if they are close. A close vote and no one is happy. Plus we may well be in a position where we have a House of Commons that is pro Europe and an electorate that isn’t. Commons versus people. Where does that leave our lovely sovereignty then?

I am also troubled by the whiff of consumerism here. We the voters have been given a switch and told that if we press it we get what we want. No mediation, no grey areas. In out. us them, freedom slavery – whatever. But the world is not like that. Politics gives us our world, and allows us infinitesimal adjustments and adaptations to circumstances. Referendums don’t do this. Governments – human beings, that is – do.

Worse, the current divide is posited on the idea that we, the British, would be better off spared the need to interact with foreigners – they are unreliable, malign – and all in collusion against us, led by this weird unelected Illuminatariat in Brussels. Well, our bureaucrats aren’t elected either. Nor are our judges, and they sometimes strike down the decisions of our government. Just ask Michael ‘Sovereignty’ Howard.

My point is that we are all condemned to a life dominated by politics, unless we opt for dictatorship. And this whole referendum scenario has assumed that we are not.

I am not sure that the exit camp will actually get anything like what they want. I would cheer if the EU reformed itself. But if it does so without us in it, or breaks up into nation states again, how will we be more secure? And do they want to kiss Ireland and Scotland goodbye on their way to a new, freer future?

Exit say the world has moved on, that the EU is outdated and restrictive. Perhaps. It is certainly protective, but so will we be if we get out. Outers just want a smaller circle to defend. History may not be on the EU’s side, but I find it hard to believe that every serving British Prime Minister for fifty years – that means people who actually exercised responsible power – are all wrong and Nigel Farage, a man with no responsibility to anyone or anything, is right.

Personally I believe that we need small political units for democracy and large units for peace. Farage claims that it is NATO that has kept the peace, but with the EU in place it is inconceivable that there could be war in Europe.

We will have to do politics, among ourselves and with our neighbours. We can do it in a club, or out. But it is a very bad idea, historically, to antagonise one’s neighbours. I said it about Scotland, and at least for the sake of consistency I have to say it about Europe. I fear that both local and long-distance politics will be a lot harder after leaving.

 Posted by at 9:39 am

  2 Responses to “Crisis – What Crisis?”

  1. It is interesting that I fear neo-Liberalism so voted to leave as I believe the EU’s laws are designed to fast-track it. The remain side say the EU will protect us from neo-Liberalism.
    The driving down of working class wages I am certain is because of the EU. The remain side say protect workers’ wages by staying in the EU.
    The EU has failed to make a trade agreement with Brazil and took 6 years to make a trade agreement with Canada, another reason I voted to leave. The remain side say we have better negotiating power in the EU.
    I blame austerity on the EU. The remain saide blame it on Osborne.
    And so on and so on. Every argument is seen by both remain and leave as a reason to support their side.
    I think the U.K will be like America after George Bush’s second victory, a country split right down the middle- with no common ground. I think prime ministers make colossal mistakes so can’t be relied on – Thatcher turning Britain into a service industry; Blair and the Iraq war; Heath calling an election instead of dealing with the miners’ strike; Brown giving £100billion to the banks with no conditions.
    Juncker said governments should not listen to the electorate but sell the EU’s policies to the electorate. However the far left and far right do listen to the electorate. I blame the EU for the rise of the far-right.
    This has been the nastiest political campaign I have ever seen. I have been called racist, fascist, homophobic, uneducated, not intelligent enough to be allowed to vote etc. When I convinced people this is not true they then return with the view that I am a good person siding with racists, fascists etc.
    There are two Britains, the haves and have nots- and this will not be resolved by telling the have-nots austerity is essential.

    • Just you and me on here I think, Ian.

      Yes, this has been nasty and possibly damaging. It’s been at least three votes in one – a plebiscite on immigration, a proxy election and a referendum about legal, economic and diplomatic aspects of sovereignty – which explains some of the bafflement among voters and dirty tricks by politicians.

      I take your point about PMs. My point was that these are people who have more info than us and more skin in the game, and they have all seen the issue the same way.

      In this campaign we have a collection of mavericks on one side and the establishment on the other. Doesn’t mean that the mavericks are wrong in all aspects, but their motivations are somewhat suspect – Galloway and Farage don’t really care what they smash up – and they don’t actually all agree what out is for. Nearly everyone on the in side has something like the same idea. And weirdly we have a sort of haves vs. have nots, with big unions and big corporations on one side – people who like regulation, stability, uniformity etc., and the little guys on the other – little country, small businesses etc. So your post Bush USA point is very valid

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