Leaving the European Union will harm us all. Nobody seems to want to know why the Brexit supporters still argue about Europe when the case is lost.
The most impartial and respected sources, starting with the Treasury, through the Bank of England, all the principal business organisations and all the economic and business research institutions have made it clear that leaving would not just be a mistake but cause us great harm. To argue against this is sheer arrogance.
In the light of such a weight of opinion and knowledge and expertise, it is remarkable that those who wish to leave the European Union, the ‘Brexits’, still continue to argue that there are positive and certain gains to be had by leaving the European union. One has to ask oneself why do these people continue to argue this in the face of such overwhelming and responsible opinion. The only answer can be found by examining the people concerned.
Can it only be fear of personal circumstances? Some people fear that they will lose their house, home and the work to sustain them. Others just do not like foreigners in general and Europeans in particular. The fear is demonstrably based on false assumptions and the latter is just racial prejudice.
The campaign to leave is now forced to abandon reasonable or even fact based argument and resorts to denigrating evidence, personal attacks, flights of fancy and downright lies. The most disgraceful tactic is to dismiss all warnings about the consequences of leaving the Union as “scaremongering”. But still all predictions of bad consequences are dismissed. Well I, for one, am scared.
To ignore the huge weight of adverse opinion about leaving is a bit like refusing to heed health warnings or practice fire drill. The outcomes after an exit are almost too dire to articulate. The most awful would be the collapse of the United Kingdom itself. Certainly Scotland would vote for independence at once. Then Northern Ireland would demand a special status and wish to join the Euro. The Welsh would seek redress. One could even imagine northern counties demanding autonomy.
There is now no question that the immediate consequences of a Brexit would be a certain and catastrophic decline in the economy and a collapse of the Pound. Already we see signs of weakness during the present campaign. The damage to the Pound when Boris announced his decision said it all. But the most important factor is that Britain has been running a huge balance of payments deficit, the biggest in history, and that is being funded entirely by foreign funds coming into London as the world’s financial hub. That will cease at once. Frankfurt and Zurich will celebrate.
There are over three million British people living or owning houses in Europe. This whole community will be not merely inconvenienced but materially damaged. It is the height of irresponsibility to ignore these citizens most of whom do not get a vote in this referendum.
Fear is at the heart of the Brexit tendency. Immigration, particularly by refugees, seems to be the greatest fear. But there is little evidence that the situation will be served by leaving the Union. Most of the international agreements on the movement of people are not with the Union but rather with multinational accords mainly within the United Nations. Maybe the Brexits want to leave that too.
The point is that leaving the Union will do nothing about the present immigration problem. Brexit would take years to enact and the migration crisis is for now.
All the real evidence tells us that the free movement of people within Europe has been a gain both for those who move and those who receive. All that stuff about housing and schools has been shown to be false. But it has a kind of “truthy’ validity. Stephan Colbert, a British commentator in America, has coined the word ‘truthiness’ to describe anything that seems to be true because people say so even if no evidence can be adduced.
The leaders of the campaign are a motley bunch of individuals who do not share a single vision nor do they share a single political stance. They are, one is bound to say, mostly from the right wing of political opinion but by no means extreme. The one thing that they do all have in common is that they are either failed politicians or are political has-beens.
Take for example Nigel Lawson who was Margaret Thatcher’s chancellor and presided over the sale of our profitable utilities, which now seems to have been not only a mistake but damaging to the public finances. Thatcher finally tired of him and he left office. There is David Owen who after a glittering start to his career in which he was a substantial supporter of the European Union, went on to spectacularly fail by leading the rump of the SDP into oblivion. He never really subscribed to any new view of politics but always behaved like an old-fashioned political autocrat. He now shows his true colours!
Then there is Michael Gove, undoubtedly clever and personable but with an evil temper and a complete inability to see the other side of any argument as the teachers discovered. His recent performances suggest that he has difficulty even understanding the remain case. He seems to be propelled by bitterness over his fathers business misfortunes supposedly caused by the Union.
There is also Ian Duncan Smith, a failed leader of the Conservative Party who then failed to reform the care and benefits system to such an extent that he had to be removed by order of the Chancellor. By all accounts he has real problems with logical argument. The word is that he left an awful mess behind him at Work and Pensions.
Gisela Stewart was an incompetent Minister under Tony Blair and quietly set aside, and then pursued a second round career on various committees and other fringe activities. As a born German she is quite a surprise to find wanting Britain to leave and damage the European Union into which so many Germans have invested. Her recent pronouncements amount to a rather tepid and sentimental set of platitudes.
Trailing behind various low level Tory hacks comes the redoubtable Boris. After a reasonable start as Mayor of London he managed to condemn the city to permanent traffic chaos by building useless cycle tracks only used for a couple of hours a day, He had no mandate for this huge expenditure and bypassed consultation and planning. For democratic leadership he gets a huge zero.
Last but not least there is Nigel Farage. How anyone can take this buffoon seriously. His argument amounts to the rehearsal of few ‘factlets’ mostly wrong and a dose of truthiness.
This crazy gang is trying to argue for Britain to leave the European Union. They do not share any significant beliefs and certainly could not constitute a party as such. They are a collection of individuals who seldom agree among themselves as we’ve seen from the Brexit campaign. Somehow they have managed to cobble over the splits but there have been almost daily examples of contradictory facts and arguments.. Nothing they say bears serious examination.
So we have to ask ourselves what is behind all this. Why have these people decided to attempt to wreck one of the most important alliances in Britain’s history. Considering that Great Britain has been a strong supporter of Europe now for over 100 years, fought two wars there, and has supported not only the small nations but the large nations too, and helped to maintain peace and prosperity across all of Europe, why would they seek to break such a an important, useful and successful organisation.
Many of them quote the inefficiencies and incompetences within the administration of the European Union particularly aimed at Brussels and Strasbourg. They complain about this huge and powerful organization dominating our lives. Gisela Stewart says that it has not worked. But she is careful not to describe any criteria by which she makes such a judgment.
But this ‘giant’ organisation is actually smaller numerically than most individual departments in Whitehall and it does not actually have the power to either regulate or legislate without the consent of the individual governments and parliaments. The commission and its civil service can only operate through the existing institutions of the member countries. And the British have been major players in shaping and developing this administration. And English is now the official language.
The same goes for the legal system of the European Union. I have heard it said that European law now governs our courts. This is to misunderstand the relationship between the European courts and the individual states. The European legal system is dependent on the legal systems of individual members and only acts in a superior way when invited to or in the defence of European regulations, which have been negotiated and agreed by the members.
Issues of human rights and all manner of personal legal affairs may be subject to extra territorial constraints but those are all the consequence of treaties and conventions quite outside the European Union. In short, the Brexits want us to withdraw from all international responsibilities, nearly all of which we have painstakingly helped to create.
To complain about Europe and the way it works and then demand to leave is a bit like the Mayor of Bournemouth complaining about the Department of local Government Affairs and demanding to leave Britain. Just a glance at the map tells you that the British Isles are clearly part of Europe and to demand that we move away from Europe and for a barrier between us and them is clearly misguided to the point of lunacy.
The leaders of the Leave campaigner are clearly not insane, but they certainly are lacking in depth of understanding about the situation itself and the reasons why it is so important that Britain remains in it. You have to ask yourself, also, what they have to gain from their opposition. And now they’ve reached the stage where, if they fail to persuade this all, as they surely will, their careers are all over. Some of them have dead careers already can only be pursuing this in order for some future gain, and that brings us to Boris Johnson.
Boris saw an opportunity to make a big name for himself while destroying Messrs. Cameron and Osborne. His intervention in this campaign is utterly self serving and we, the electorate, should not indulge him by taking him seriously. Thus far he has not added one sensible thought to the campaign and his disappearance from public life must be eagerly awaited.
So we come back all the time to why these people are so implacably and unreasonably in favour of leaving the European Union. This writer finds this a complete mystery I have had conversations with people who simply don’t want to hear any arguments about staying in. They just don’t like being part of Europe and the plain fact is that Europe has gained from British membership since 1972. It is also true that Britain itself has gained a great deal in at least beginning to deal with our own democratic deficit and cranky legal system . We still have so much to gain that leaving now would be folly.