For over three years now, the arguments have been batted back and forth about Brexit. It has become a subject so emotionally divisive and complex that, over time – just as with other contemporary issues like Grenfell Tower, global climate change and market futures – two armed camps have developed, the ideologues have closed ranks, but the vast majority of real people go through their daily lives thinking, ‘Will you please just for f**k’s sake get on with whatever you think is best, and then we’ll review any new evidence that comes along later’.
Division is caused by ideological propaganda, spin, hidden agendas, plain stubbornness, and what my dad used to call “comparing apples with pears”. This is especially true of the Brexit debate. For myself, I see three fundamental considerations to be weighed carefully in that debate:
1. Do I want to be ruled by government even more distantly bubble-sealed than the one we have now – to which the answer is “No”.
2. Do I want to be in bed with a democratically inverted superstructure of persistent law-breakers, bullies and embezzlers – across the piece from eurogroupe to the ECB – whose sole drive is hubristic power – to which the answer is “No”.
3. Do I want to commit heart and soul to a trading bloc where, in the 46 years since we signed up, the relationhip has produced a increase in our indebtedness during every year but one (2000) when we made a net “profit” on fees and trade of….just £7.8 billion – to which the answer is no.
Now obviously, as a trained market researcher I know full well that the above is not exactly an unbiased way of putting the question. However, I have consistently made clear over time a view that the main concern here should be a moral and ethical one.
I am not scoring points when I write how it truly baffles me that the Left cannot see how criminally nasty, disingenuous and thoroughly unjust the EC in general (and the ugly Schäuble/Dijesslebleom twins in particular) have been to ClubMed countries; how Draghi at the ECB and his creature Stournaras conspired to screw a democratically elected Greek government; and how insanely antediluvian the whole austerity strategy in the southern eurozone is. The same Left that excoriates the Tories for their idiotic attachment to Friedmanite accounting suffers from lah-lah-lah syndrome when it comes to EU policies that make the Cameron/May years look positively beneficent.
But to tackle the thrust of Libleft anti-Brexitism head on – viz, that it panders to racist groups and will leave Britain out in the economic cold – first of all, I find it hard to see why the EU’s doomed suspension of dysfunctional currency, poor investment, unreformed banking practices, neoliberal wage destruction and snail-like growth is deemed so superior to what exists beyond its borders as an export market for the UK. And equally, I do not see why staying in the EU is going to make racists disappear.
Today I read a piece in the Independent that says racial hate crimes – totally undefined – are at “an historic high” in the UK. Have the soi-disant ‘journalists’ employed by the Indie these days ever been to a football game in Italy and experienced the racist chants against a black player every time he touches the ball? Do they have experience of the casually racist comments about Jews throughout the Southern EU? What does the Indie mean by “high”, given the extraordinary levels of racial tolerance in Britain compared to most other EU member States?
Forget the economic present for a second and stay abreast of the future in the EU. Why do you think the EC on the one hand grumbles so much about how long the Brexit process is taking, and on the other lays every kind of minefield in the way of progress? The answer is simple: half the negotiators are terrified of eurozone weakness becoming unmanageable before any Brexit deal is done; and the other half are fanatics who remain convinced that a weak May government will be under pressure to come to heel in the end.
This is the big unreported element of MSM Brexit coverage: as with most things involving the 27, there is much talk in public of solidarity, but the private reality is that – like the British government itself – the EU States are hopelessly split.
This is no idle assertion: we are looking at a number of divided groups here. The Poles and Hungarians plus the ClubMed Opposition Parties versus Macron, Verhofstadt, Draghi and Schäuble versus Merkel under pressure from German carmakers.
My point is this: the best way out of this pandemonium is to have a British Government in power that is far less divided – and has far more courage when it comes to looking objectively at the genuinely weak negotiating position of the EU, and the better opportunities available elsewhere.
This will seem to many an eccentric conclusion, but in reality Britain would be better off with a ‘National’ coalition Government….a government composed of all those elements keen to defeat supranational globalism and turn Britain into a more democratically ‘cantonised’ Switzerland further West.
Vince Cable might be able to get behind that. If Corbyn really is the man he claims to be, so too could he. More Conservatives than many realise have similar ideas. The Kate Hoey tendency in Labour remains an important minority. And of course, next time UKIP absolutely must not sit on the sidelines.
1940 produced just such a government. 2018 (or whenever) at present looks unlikely to be a year of equal desperation. World economic, stock market and fiscal crises might, however, render it so.
It sounds unlikely. But events often lead to unlikely outcomes.