Wednesday, 22 June 2016

The False Choice

Though on June 23 we are offered what seems to be a simple choice – Remain or Leave – caveats hang heavy on both.

A Leave vote carries particularly dark and mountainous implications. Set aside for a moment the probable short- and possible long-term damage to the economy, the rejection of a valuable forum for solving collective problems, the loss of security, the loss of human rights protection, the abandonment of culture and friendship, the fact we will likely have to accept EU regulations with no say in their creation, like Norway.

Set those aside. The most important thing to remember when voting Leave is that you plant your flag with the far right, with Farage and the EDL and the BNP. With small-minded, mean little politicians who want England to shut the world out, who do not want to extend a helping hand to the thousands of refugees in need, and who do not want to work with our friends and allies to solve the vast problems of our age.

Consider the chaos a Leave vote unleashes. Cameron resigns and the government falls. The new government lurches to the right. Scotland and Northern Ireland immediately demand secession. Britain is pitched into a long dark constitutional crisis, in which swathes of our laws and treaties must be rewritten and renegotiated. The economy stumbles and falters. Far right groups across the EU gain strength. The Union begins to pull apart.

And for what benefit? A faint hope of a better economy, ten, twenty years down the line? Vague promises of sovereignty? The ability to turn our backs on human suffering and the great problems of our age? For nobler causes perhaps I could countenance the unshackling of such devilry, but not for the flimsy promises and grubby half-truths the Leave camp offers to us.

Of course Brussels has problems. It has deep, complex, sprawling problems, which only strong leadership and a humble, philosophical reassessment of the whole project can solve. But the UK carries real weight at the negotiating table. We have turned the EU aside from some of its mistakes in the past, and we can do so again. But we can only do so from within.

Please vote Remain on June 23.



[This post is admittedly short on facts. For an impartial and entertaining run-down of the EU claims and counter-claims, I urge you to listen to More or Less: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b006qshd/episodes/player]

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