Summer is slowly making an appearance, as seems to be traditional I'm kept indoors with a contract through the nice weather, and the country has descended into the silly season of a referendum on Europe.
Where do I stand? Mild Eurosceptic. I like being part of Europe, but hate being part of a centralised European superstate. I think the whole edifice is likely to crumble anyway sooner or later and any economic stability we think we have is an illusion created by our addiction to unsustainable debt, so I doubt the outcome of the referendum will make much difference in the long term. I think that outcome will be a very narrow victory for the "stay in" crowd, but I'm certain whichever way we vote everything from freak weather to the England footy team losing will be blamed upon it.
Where I'm becoming increasingly annoyed though is as I listen to the politicians and all their mates holding forth on the subject. It doesn't matter which side they are in, all I hear are the worst kind of fear politics. Lies and made-up statistics presented as the truth, at the same time as accusing the opposite side of being the one peddling fear. All with a straight face. The "in" crowd would have us believe the four horsemen of the Apocalypse will descend on our economy if we vote "out", while the "out" crowd tell us the same will happen if we vote "in".
I start to wonder just how different a world they live in, up there in the London Bubble, but then again I start to despair of those around me. Every morning my feeds are full of people on both sides of this debate seemingly taking it all in without question, apparently able to see the lies from the other side as what they are but taking their own side's lies as Gospel truth. Yes, it's fine to be on a particular side and it's fine to have a pop at the other side, but come on, are they all really that stupid?
One thing is for certain whichever side you lie on. Europe is in trouble, and it's not just because of the UK referendum, the Syrian refugees, or even the Greek bailout. If Europe has gone wrong it is because of decades of disastrous mismanagement by politicians seduced by the Brussels gravy train, furthering the project to the detriment of the people in their countries at the grass roots level to the extent to which they have become alienated and dispossessed. There is no quick fix to this problem and it is not a case of everything being OK if we just keep taking the pills and move on to the next stage of integration. If it's not the UK it will be any one of the other countries, either through a far-right election win or an economic collapse. The only way that Europe will be fixed is if it reconnects with those people at the grass roots so that they agree that it is working for them rather than against them, and that can be done either from within the EU or after its collapse.
The question is, whether any politicians have either the courage or the competence to admit it.