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18 June 2016

"BREXIT" - Forward to the Past!!

The "Brexiteer" desire to leave the EU is a largely ENGLISH phenomenon, not shared by Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland. The glory days to which they aspire to return were BRITISH glory days, not ENGLISH glory days. But were they glory days? After we had defeated NAZI Germany which, as I recall, we didn't do alone, we became the "Sick Man of Europe". And the British Empire? That ended well, didn't it?! Now we are apparently the fifth largest economy in the world (and we achieved that as part of the EU).

When (if) we leave the EU, it's likely that Scotland will want to break away, and how long before Wales wants to follow suit? And across the Irish Sea, we will have once again returned to a controlled border between Northern Ireland and the Irish Republic, reversing a major feature of the Northern Ireland Peace Process.

Then, when major international companies have removed themselves, or no longer wish to set up shop here, you'll be so proud of your new pathetic little country, won't you?! And how glad you will be that it is now ruled by a realigned hard-right Conservative government under new management who will still have another four years to ruin the NHS, exploit working people, whilst pretending that ENGLAND on its own has huge influence, before you can wake up and think about getting rid of them (that in itself not being in any way guaranteed).

"But", say the Brexiteers, "At least you can throw out your own politicians if you don't like them". Ah, yes .. under a system by which the Government of the day is normally supported by about one third of the voters.

"But", say the Brexiteers, "We can trade with the rest of the world." Well, I'm sorry, but I had the distinct impression we did that anyway. Half the stuff in my house is Chinese for God's sake! And if I shop in Marks & Spencers for underwear or Christmas presents I find they are made in Egypt or India. We drive Fords and Chevrolets and Hyundais and Kias. Some of us stuff our faces with Swiss chocolate, and if I'm eating more healthily I'm eating vegetables from Kenya.

This whole Referendum thing is in itself alien to the way we govern ourselves anyway. The Prime Minister was running scared of UKIP and that nice Mr Farage, and so promised us we would be allowed to decide for ourselves this matter of great national importance. I thought that is what we elected our Government to do, backed by a professional Civil Service. Why don't we extend it to other importance stuff? How many aircraft carriers should we have? Oh, I don't know, I'll have a word with my hairdresser; he'll know. Should we allow unqualified teachers in our schools? Oh, I don't know, let's have a word with those guys hurling bricks at the French Police; they'll have an idea. And what should be our policy on the fishing industry? Oh, I don't know, but there's a guy down the pub who failed all his GCSEs, with an encyclopaedic knowledge of the science of sustainable fish stocks.

But since we do have this Referendum, there are only a few days left for Brexiteers with suicidal thoughts to use their heads instead of their gut feelings, and step back from the edge of the cliff.

The EU is deeply flawed in many respects, but we should be in there, leading from the front, making things better. I'm proud of my country, and I want it to have influence, both outside of the EU and within the EU.