For the removal of doubt, fuck this entire referendum. But I have a pressure release valve that protects my mental health, it’s this blog, and so after keeping pretty quiet for the last, what six months, I’ve been unable not to tap out the following paragraphs today just so I don’t collapse in a gibbering heap.
Honestly, fuck this entire referendum.
It’s not about taking ‘power’
You have no more power over your MP in the UK parliament than over your MEP in the EU parliament. Democracy does not mean “you all get yours”. It means “you all get to reach a compromise on equal terms”. I mean come on!
I reject the premise of the question
I reject the premise of the question that forces everyone to polarise into leave or remain, because the question itself self-creates a premise whereby we are all bounced into a debate that is set purely on the terms of the party asking the question. Referendums are undemocratic. Whoever sets the single question, and its answers, sets the whole agenda.
I reject how we have been hijacked
Our entire country is dancing to the tune of a handful of ardent eurosceptics. The referendum was a political promise to these people to secure their support to get a stable small-majority Conservative government. I reject that the entire future of the country should be hijacked like this. Not even the Conservative party leadership wanted this ridiculous situation.
It’s not meaningfully about immigration
Non EU migration is already a national matter. Freedom of movement in the EU is part and parcel of the huge deregulation that is the purpose of the EU, just like free trade. There are two million UK citizens living and working in the EU. If you think leaving the EU ‘solves’ what you think are immigration problems, you are dead wrong in fact. Relatedly:
Free trade is way, way more important than all the other issues here combined and it is the central reason we absolutely benefit from the EU
The EU is the most advanced way to simplify and deregulate ever seen on earth. You only ever hear the opposite of this. That is because this debate is so very, frustratingly poor, one-sided, and factually vacuous.
To leave is to unpick EU deals on trade matters is to reintroduce 50 sets of per-nation international bureaucracy on trade and regulations that the EU’s main purpose is to simplify. Why would we or anyone even consider this patently regressive, expensive, wasteful, outcome? This cuts to the heart of the reality gap in this woeful referendum: that somehow a single lengthy, shared EU rule on, say, cabbages, is MORE onerous for some reason than having to strike 50 separate agreements on cabbages with 50 separate governments who have 50 different sets of rules and regulations. The mind truly boggles.
The alternative is to stay in those superb trading deals, outside of EU membership. In other words in real terms, pay the fees, accept the rules including the freedom of movement of people, but relinquish our seat on the board and any meaningful say. It has been noted elsewhere that we are a major economy on the winning side of 97% of EU votes.
The current government will immediately decide loads of new laws
Most of our laws are so entwined and reliant on EU law that we will have to re-write most of them immediately. I personally would rather eat glass than have any single government rewrite most of the laws governing me in a single tranche. Also, I thought this was “austerity”? This would cost billions that we don’t have in the bank. Enjoy paying all those extra taxes! Or of course, we’ll just add the cost to the national debt like we elected a government NOT to do for trifling things like our education and healthcare? I heard that was THE PROBLEM with the Labour government? For fuck’s sake!
Why invite such consequences for the UK at all?
Peace in Northern Ireland relies on EU oversight of UK policing and border issues with the ROI and so on. Scotland wants to be in the EU. These are material issues.
Hooray, an entire new generation of expensive bureacrats and lawyers
The amount of real actual urgent necessary complicated public work this would create is staggering. Your council is cutting litter cleaning because of public spending cuts. Hospital trusts are downgrading hospitals because of public spending cuts. There are fewer police, there is less help for the poor, resources for communities are closing, and much more because of public spending cuts. Everything is being cut because we don’t want to spend public money. We are proposing to spend VAST sums of public money to sort out leaving the EU. Why?!
The EU helps protect us from aberrant political decisions
By working together at a binding regional level, national governments are less prone to aberrant unilateral craziness. They can’t just do whatever they want. There is a degree of self-managed, self-interested, civilised European-partnership justice above them. Good! Thank goodness! Do we suddenly love and trust our own national politicians completely?!