Saturday, 25 June 2016

... Shake it all about

    It's been a tiring month hereabouts. Yesterday was Independence Day if you believe a few right-wing politicians, the day we finally threw off the shackles of the European Union or condemned our country to a relentless slide down the plughole of history depending on who you believe.
    What is certain is that we've had two months of a barrage of lies. Economic doom from both sides, all of which was based on very tenuous mathematics. And Project Fear backfired hugely, as the real issue turned out to be the marginalisation of an underclass for whom the EU had only delivered lower wages, uncertain job prospects and non-existent housing. Remain took working-class Labour voters for granted as they always do in the corridors of power, and those voters had the temerity to do so The Wrong Way.
    I voted Leave, though I see it as nothing to crow about. My position didn't change over the campaign, I was concerned about the disconnect and alienation from the Grand Project, and how it was benefiting the elite and leaving everyone else in the dust. And I am glad to see that my fellow swing Leave voters turned out to be neither bovver-booted fascists nor wealthy pensioners, but ordinary voters at the bottom of the pile. The EU failed them miserably, and "More Europe" wasn't the answer.
    So now we're in the period of hysterical political bloodletting that always follows a shock result. Things will settle down, and eventually we'll all realise it's business as usual. They will still be desperate to buy wings and engines for Airbuses, and sell us BMWs and Renaults. And the fevered dreams of the far right won't become a reality as all our Polish, Czech, and Romanian friends won't be frogmarched off to Dover and dumped on a boat for France.
    Instead I think that the EU will inevitably contract. It has manifestly failed to benefit so many of the people it is supposed to serve at the grass-roots level, and we will be just the first of many countries who retreat from it. I don't think the result will be a break-up of a cultural Europe and I think something closer to the Europe we used to have pre the Maastricht treaty will emerge from its shadow.
    There is a tendency to portray the EU as the be-all and end-all of the continent. It's not, it's simply an attempt at political union that hasn't worked very well. We've not left Europe, we've simply pulled out of one of its greater follies. This is not the end, it's simply a new beginning.

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