Thursday, 26 May 2016

In, out, in, out...

    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.


  1. I think we share much the same stance here, Jenny.

    I don't think that Europe is yet a sinking ship, but it's not being well-navigated and sensible passengers are not being idiotic if they wish to disembark while they can. I intensely dislike the manner and style of the chief Brexit spokespersons, and do not want to be associated with them, but nevertheless I am visualising putting an X in the 'leave' box on the ballot paper.

    In any case, being independent, being creative and imaginative about how to run my own affairs, and being free from interference, are all things that are fundamental to my take on life. So Brexit is actually an appealing concept.

    I think we would be OK - and be able to preserve and safeguard what makes this country a great place to live in. A place apart maybe, but we've always been the odd one out in Europe. The different one. Why change?


  2. Seeing as I live my life based on the EU I would firmly be in the In camp (if the government would actually let me vote in something which has a great deal to do with me, which they won't... The life of an expat!) As it is I expect to be Dutch before the year is out. Then I just have to go through the same xenophobic discussion again! (But hopefully have a voice in that one at least!)

    Outside of the obvious impact on my life, I'm mildly in the 'In' crowd. I think that the Stay gang are over egging the fear, which is a shame as it actually means they are missing the chance to make their case (not that it would help I suppose, the brexit crowd I see on Facebook and in the news are opening xenophobic, racist and anti-knowledge based - that alone scares me like hell for the future!). As for the Brexit group, I just can't believe how fashionable it has become to be a brash, xenophobic, lying (I believe that Boris is actually using lies he came up with whilst he was a journalist to support his case).

    I fear for the UK if they leave though. Through the EU workings rights in the UK have improved considerably. Seeing as the havoc Cameron has managed to unleash on the less well off classes since he came to power (whilst making life ever better for the well off), if those workers rights are removed then I really do believe that it is going to be less than pleasant to live there in the future.


    PS But what I find funny is that somehow the brexit group have managed to convince a lot of people that by leaving the EU they also leave the Euro Court of Human Rights. Which not only predates the EU, but was set up (at least in part) by the UK and would not be affected as far as I can tell by leaving. Oh, and that by allowing governments and lobbyists to ride rough shot over them is somehow a good idea. I have the idea that a lot of people only think human rights are a good idea when theirs are being trampled on...

  3. Perhaps my pessimistic view that we're screwed either way leaves me covered for all eventualities :)

  4. Where I stand is not important (In but changes needed), but it seems to me that the debate has simply consisted of men in grey suits shouting at each other