This post is for UK and EU readers, so my apologies to the rest of the world.
On 23rd June we’ll make a decision that will affect all our lives for a very long time. Can we leave it to those darling sociopaths that style themselves politicians? No, I agree; we most certainly can’t.
But how do we decide what’s true and what’s merely party posturing or the garbled insanity of vested interest?
We’re all busy people, expecting our political representatives to do the work for us: after all, we pay the buggers enough in salary and expenses from our hard earned taxes. But they’re letting us down big time on this vital question: Do we stay or do we go?
Maybe you’ve already made up your mind. Maybe you’ve decided it’s too complex. Maybe you just can’t be bothered. But it isn’t just about us, is it? This will affect those too young to vote at present, and the younger people amongst our population will to have to live with the results of our decision for a lot longer than those in my generation. So, it’s important we make an informed decision.
I’ve done some research. Below, I’ve put it in the form of a very brief summary and again as a slightly enlarged summary, but I’ve added links if you’d like to explore further. So, no excuses; here are the facts inasmuch as there are any.
The Very Brief Version:
The Economy: No one knows, best ignore it.
Immigration: Not relevant to our decision, we can ignore this, too.
Democracy: The EU and UK share similar styles of government, neither of which are truly democratic, so probably not worth considering.
Independence: A dream without substance, so another factor to ignore.
Control of our own Finances: Utter bilge; probably best ignored.
On Whose Side? – Both camps have their buffoons, liars, self-interested sociopaths and the odd genuine spokesperson, so we can ignore them all. Especially the celebrities: what do they know, for Pete’s sake?
Geography: Get a map.
The NHS: Lies and unsubstantiated counterclaims, ignore it?
The Union: Undeniably a concern – there’ll be a new border between Eire and N. Ireland and the Scots may decide to leave us, but who really knows? Perhaps another to ignore.
What’s left? Your attitude to the real question. This isn’t a general election, where we might punish those who’ve let us down (Don’t they all?). It’s a long-lasting decision with potentially far-reaching consequences that will impact seriously on the lives of our children. So consider how you feel about it when the argument is stripped of bias and vested interest. And, just a small consideration; where do you go on holiday, interested in football, care about cooperation? These are the things that will matter after the dust settles on the morning after we, the people, have made our decision.
The Short Version; for those with a little more time to consider the issues:
The simple fact is that no one knows what effect a Brexit will have: no, not even the so-called experts. But any downturn will inevitably impact most seriously on those with less income. The effect of Remain is likely to be a slight improvement. But the reality here is that we can’t make our decision based on the effects on the economy.
Also known as free movement, the ex-pats, refugees; the simple fact about this issue is that Brexit will make no difference at all, since the UK will need to Remain in the Single Market and that will entail us signing up to freedom of movement. The only difference will be that we’ll have no say on any changes if we’re outside the EU. So, we can’t make a decision based on our fears regarding immigration, no matter how valid they might be.
The EU is undemocratic, apparently. Let’s face facts, eh? Our current government, like so many that preceded it, was elected on a minority vote. In this case, fewer than 23% of voters actually wanted the current government. I can’t see how anyone can define such a result as democratic, can you? So, the democracy issue is another aspect to remove from our consideration.
Ah, the issue of national pride; standing alone in this small world of mega-nations. It’s a fallacy, isn’t it? There’s only one independent state in the world; North Korea. Even that’s supported by China. Independence in a national sense has long been a myth. We’re all utterly interdependent. Our voice as a single nation would be drowned by the shouts of the larger blocks: China, Russia, Europe, and India. And, of course, you have to consider the overriding influence of the despicable oil cartel, OPEC, and dreadful despotic regimes like Saudi Arabia in all this. We’re a tiny island of 66 million inhabitants in a world of 7.3 billion people. That’s less than 1% of the world’s population. Who cares about what the people of Britain think? So we can exclude independence as an issue.
Control of our own finances:
Please! Let’s get real. No elected government has been in control of its finances for decades. The world is actually run by multinational corporations that ensure individual governments do as they say. Their attitude, unsubstantiated by fact, is that they pay most of the tax, so they should have their way. If you truly believe the government has real influence on spending, then by all means use this factor as a deciding issue. But the reality is that governments, of all shapes and sizes, are really no more than office boys doing what Big Business tells them to do. So financial control isn’t a deciding factor either.
Who’s on your side?
Most politicians are in politics because they’re ambitious and love the idea of being in control. Delusional, but that’s what drives the majority. Yes, there are exceptions, but they’re very few in number. So, who’s for Brexit? Well, we have the spectre of Boris Johnson, an extremely clever man who acts the buffoon to lull people into a false sense of his warmth. Don’t be fooled: he wants the decision to go against Cameron simply so he can become the next PM. Then there’s Gove. Need I say anything about this man who systematically set about ruining our state education system? And good old Nigel Farage; the ‘man next door’ who presides over a collection of closet racists, dreamers, charlatans and clowns. On the Remain side, we have Cameron; an ex Etonian with no understanding of the lives of ordinary folk and a penchant for ensuring his club members are well served. George Osborne, the fool who consistently believes that austerity for the poor is an acceptable way of ensuring the rich don’t lose out. And Gordon Brown, the man so many blame for our earlier financial failure. There are many more on each side, but, as I mentioned before, politicians can’t be trusted: they have their own agenda that has little to do with our wishes and hopes. Other ‘experts’ have largely favoured the Remain campaign for financial and security aspects, but, equally, some have favoured the Brexit approach for independence and immigration. And, please, let’s ignore the celebrities on each side: what do they know that we don’t? Looking at both sides, I wouldn’t take most of them into account for my decision on this important question.
So, what’s left?
I can only suggest that we consult the map. Ah, Europe appears to be our nearest neighbour.
Yes, we spend a lot on the EU. Not as much as Brexit would have you believe, but a lot. Then again, we’re the world’s fifth largest economy, so we should pay our share to help our neighbours achieve better lifestyles for their citizens so they’re not encouraged to travel in search of good wages. Apparently, by the way, we’re on target to be the world’s fourth largest economy, as things stand at present.
The Brexit side have promised to spend the current EU contribution on the NHS. We all know that’s absolute balderdash. The evidence of history makes it clear that the last thing the resulting government will do is spend more money on an institution it’s worked so hard to destroy.
Yes, we have to admit that the rights of working people have increased as a result of EU membership. What will happen if we Brexit is another unknown, but I’d bet a great deal that workers here would be disadvantaged by any changes. Look at our history.
Like it or not, those who live in all countries of the UK will be affected by the decisions of each group of citizens. The Scots will impinge on the English, the Northern Irish will overlap with the Welsh. We are a union, after all. Our individual decisions will impact on those who live outside our local borders and we should take that into account. Whether a Brexit will result in a new referendum for Scotland, perhaps one for Wales, no one really knows. One undeniable factor is that Brexit would create a new and important border between Eire and Northern Ireland. What problems might result from such a change are difficult to predict. But it is the case that we will all affect the union in one way or another by our vote.
There are a number of minor issues, mostly irrelevant to the real argument, that are gaining in importance for the campaigners but that really have no bearing on our decision: just so much ‘spin’.
So, if all the above is taken at face value, the only certainty is the one concerning geography.
If that’s the case, what are we to base our decision on?
For me, it’s to do with attitude and a view of the world as it is today. Our globe is a shrinking entity with an expanding population and a technological network that makes international borders less and less relevant. Many of the problems we face as a country, or as a continent, are actually global issues that require stronger and more democratic action from the UN rather than local decisions that are often practically ineffective when made in isolation.
Ever since I’ve been adult enough to recognise my place in the world, I’ve seen myself as a citizen of the world first, then European, then British, then English and finally Yorkshire. So, I think you’ll see the decision for me is to Remain. How you decide is for you and your conscience. Many of my generation favour leaving, but I suspect some live in a past of selective memories of the 40s, 50s and 60s that exclude all the bad elements that were present. Younger people tend to favour the remain option, as they suffer less from the prejudices and aversion to other cultures that characterise the opinions of a lot of us older people.
I hope this has been helpful. There are multiple links both in the body of the text and below for those who wish to explore further. These represent just a few of the sources I consulted whilst researching for this short piece.
I welcome your comments and points of view here.
There follows a list of some of the resources I used in researching this post:
BBC Live News: Government: BBC: The Guardian: EUReferendum.com The Week: The Telegraph: The Independent: FullFact.org Huffington Post.co.uk The Express: The Mail: What UK Thinks.org Metro.co.uk: Quora.com: Sky News: IG.com New Statesman: EU4Real.org: Financial Times: Press Bias: Celebrities: More Celebs: Populus.co.uk: Russia and the UK/EU: Trump’s views: Remain: Brexit: Vote Leave: Stronger In: