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7 Responses to “Why I’m Leaving”

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  1. Sweder

    I’ll grant you, no one side is more or less appealing the other. They’re all a bunch of snake-oil salesmen, peddling their wares with threats of impending plague and pestilence. The economic blackmail of IN is counter-balanced by the fear-mongering over immigration from OUT.

    I’m voting to remain. I agree with most if not all the above regarding the failure of the EU. I worry about the expansion of membership, though less about open borders. A majority of economic migrants contribute to the UK economy, through taxes and their labour. I’m not wholly convinced we can change much about Europe as a governing body from within. I’m pretty sure we won’t change much by leaving, but you never know; maybe seeing the UK sawing through the moorings will galvanise Germany and France to seek genuine reform.

    The only reason the UK is having a referendum is because Cameron saw the shadow of UKiP creeping across his electoral hopes and panicked. Farage appealed to the xenophobes and Little Englanders, he rallied support. Dave hastily pasted an EU Ref promise into his manifesto. He was only making plans for Nigel, but now he has a tiger by the tail. My gut tells me the UK will vote to leave theEU and it’ll all because of the centre-right split in our ruling classes. It’s a disgrace. This decision should be make by the elected body of the country, not the mis-lad, misinformed masses. The lunatic who murdered Jo Cox was affiliated with Britain First. If my country starts to lurch in that direction, I’ll be voting with my feet. I’ve already picked out my new homelands. The battle for my citizenship will make an Olympic bid look like a car boot sale.

    I’m persuaded more by what we might end up with should we leave. The ‘United Kingdom’ aspired to by ‘Leave’ has no discernible pulse. Maggie destroyed our manufacturing base without the help of the EU. Germany currently enjoys 12x the volume of business with China than the UK, entrenched as they are in the heart of the EU and lashed to it’s hapless currency to boot. Why? Because Germany still makes things that people want to buy. I just don’t see how leaving helps our global trading position.

    The rhetoric of the the Brexiter refers to ‘getting my country back’. AA Gill summed it up for me in his cutting Sunday Times article last weekend. Get what back? What is this ‘Britain’ of which we are told? Is it something that we, the people, will help to shape? If I though for a moment that leaving the EU would deliver genuine political reform, I’d vote OUT in a heartbeat. We need a fairer, modernised voting system, compulsory voting (if you want help from the government you need to take part in electing it), including a ‘none-of-the-above’ option. No vote, no dole, no NHS, no pension. The UK is horribly bent. Our government claims transparency from behind firmly closed, opaque doors.

    How is a government who has single handedly failed to grasp the problems of immigration (as did those before it) going turn this ship around? Mr Farage, an unhelpful and, in the UK, unelected figure, has cried ‘rape’ and ‘assault’ in recent weeks. ‘Our women are less safe if we remain’, he says. The perpetrators in Rochdale were, of course, born in these islands, albeit of foreign extraction. Another red herring, an echo of Trump’s call to pull up the drawbridge on US borders. The enemy within is already here, not shivering fresh off the boat from Syria.

    I see the EU as a sort of useful brake on the UK government. Politically we seem to be heading into a period of shoe-ins for the Conservatives. We have little to know credible opposition in parliament. A UK government ‘free’ of the EU ‘shackles’ makes my blood run cold.

    European political unity and freedom of movement may be problematic, but we need to deal with the real problem on our doorstep; Russia. Allying the UK with a United States descending into political hell is not an option. I’d rather take my chances fighting Eurocrats in Brussels and Strasbourg than rely on anything helpful coming from the West.

    The experts seem to be split, though the CBI, Bank of England (and Richard Branson) all favour ‘remain’. As does POTUS, a politician I actually admire, despite his failure to protect his own citizens, due mainly to the gun-oil-geased wheels of a bent congress. Governments are capable of fucking things up without the help of a wider union.

    It’s interesting that most of the Brits I know who have chosen to live and work outside the UK want us to leave. My vote is for future generations, like my kids, who travel work and move freely within the EU.

    I can’t argue your last point. They’re all just a pack of elitist, privileged cards.

  2. Some good points, thanks — though a fair few ‘straw man’ arguments too. I can’t respond to everything you say about some Leavers’ immigration rhetoric, as these aren’t my arguments. It suits my opponents to claim, and perhaps even to believe, that Leavers are mostly mini-Alf Garnetts who want to “send ‘em all home” but it’s not a fair caricature. In common with every Leaver I’ve spoken to, I’m very happy to have immigration. I’m an economic migrant myself, so I could hardly say anything else. But all I ask is that we do what virtually every non-EU nation on earth does, and have some control over numbers and criteria. We already do it with non-EU people. But anyway, as what I wrote demonstrated, this is far from being my main argument.

    To repeat, I don’t think we will actually vote to Leave, but if we did, I’m much more optimistic than you are. For me, I’m sure it would be like being made redundant — an experience I’ve had three times in my life. You have a day or two of drunken elation, counting the cash you’ve been given, then a week or two of severe anxiety as you think the world is collapsing around you. And after that? After that, you get on with it, make a plan and get sorted. A few months later, you realise it’s the best thing that ever happened to you. In the case of a Brexit, it would take longer. We have a minimum two years to agree an ‘orderly exit’, and yes, there would be uncertainty during this period, but all would then start to fall into place.

    I take your points about the shrinking of our manufacturing. A Brexit would focus our minds somewhat, and we would have to come up with solutions. It may require a 5 year plan, or longer, but it would have to be done. If we’re saying that leaving the EU would expose us, then so be it. Let’s expose ourselves, as it were, and fix things.

    The main premise for my arguments is that the EU is doomed. If it isn’t, and if we turn out to be a miraculously late-blooming species of civilisation, I’ll have Eier all over my face. But you have only to look at what’s happening in the EU, with a major shift in voting behaviour towards the right, to see that people are hurting and they want action. The economic malaise was bad enough, but Mrs Merkel’s infamous “Come one, come all” appeal last summer broke the spirit of many in the EU. I hear it in the conversations at work, and see it when I scan the European press.

    A Brexit would accelerate the process of recalibrating the politics of the continent, and this is precisely why Brussels, the IMF, Bank of England, Obama, and all the other establishment worthies, are begging us not to do it. Do you seriously think they care about the UK? No, it’s their own backsides and their own sinecures they are worried about. As it happens, a Remain vote will only delay the natural culmination of the trend we are seeing. It won’t stop it. As I said, I would prefer to be outside it when the tower falls.

    Interesting what you say about “the EU as a sort of useful brake on the UK government” because I’ve heard this argument a few times. Unfortunately, it only reinforces the idea that the EU are our real political masters. It’s simple — if we don’t want “a period of shoe-ins for the Conservatives” then let’s all go to the polling stations and prevent that from happening. If too many opponents vote another way, that’s tough democratic shit.

    I disagree strongly with compulsory voting. Personally, I nearly always vote, but a decision not to vote is, in itself, a democratic gesture, and shouldn’t be punished. Electoral reform? Yes, absolutely.

  3. Bierzo Baggie

    Wonderfully expressed views from both sides …couldn’t you guys replace Cameron and Corbyn? Hope you don’t mind but I’ve sent a link to your comments to a few people.

    From “over here” I only hear one side of the debate. Everybody assumes that 52% of the 72% of the UK population that voted are ignorant. I think that is the root of the problem. It’s all very condescending….

    Haven’t read a single article here in Spain that even attempts to debate the issue properly. It’s as if that 52% shouldn’t have been allowed to vote in the first place. Somebody, somewhere is missing the point.

    El Bierzo as a mining town in the throes of economic recession receives European funding, as does Cornwall as does Wales…. This funding comes from taxes paid by the inhabitants of each member EU state. Sounds good up to now? Well from what I’ve seen (examples given if requested) most of this money is wasted and worse, it is often used to line the pockets of a few, those with access to the decision making proccess. Institutionalized corruption pure and simple. This is nothing new in Spain, but the European Union should be acting against this. I don’t think it is, at least not in this region. European funding does NOT reach the pockets of the vast majority of ordinary individuals, it hardly benefits the local economy at all. Reform the EU from within? Don’t know if it’s possible.

    I couldn’t vote in the referendum, 15 years is the limit for maintaining voting rights and I’ve lived away for longer. Funnily enough I may well have voted remain ….for selfish reasons (less paperwork!) But if I lived in the UK I might have been one of those 52% who just didn’t know what they were doing…..

    Spanish general elections today, another populist vote could be on the agenda, watch out for Podemos…

  4. Thanks BB, and I agree that @Sweder has plenty of eloquent and powerful arguments. When an email popped up saying that you had contributed to the discussion, my heart sank, as Spain is by far the most pro-EU ‘big country’ in the union. I was expecting a roasting. But you’ve managed to be diplomatic and measured.

    Not sure about Spain, but I watch/read US media a fair bit and have been staggered at the black-and-white reporting. Maybe too much nuance is presumed to be beyond the comprehension of the average viewer, and so Remainers were painted as visionary Europhiles while Leavers were ultra-nationalists who wanted to close borders and drive back the nasty immigrants at the end of a pitchfork.

    I’m sensible enough to accept that there are indeed people (a bit) like that attached to the two sides, but it is massively more complicated. You have only to note that a number of prominent Left thinkers, trade unions and left-of-centre parties were advocating Leave to see that this is not a simple left/right issue.For many, the EU is a bastion of ultra-capitalism that must be defeated. And Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has forged a career out of fighting the EU, voting against every EU initiative put before the House of Commons over a 34-year parliamentary career. But even he made a miraculous, if unconvincing, conversion to Remain once the campaign started. I felt rather sorry for Jeremy. I’m not really a Labour man these days but it’s hard to disagree with Hilary Benn this morning that Corbyn “is a good and decent man but not a leader”.

    But I digress. I am part-way through writing another post on this so I’ll say more there.

  5. SuzieQ

    I’m finding this discussion very interesting. We were all very shocked that the UK voted to leave; didn’t think that would happen. It’s good to hear different views from people affected, rather than our media telling us what they think.

  6. Hi Suzie, thanks for dropping by.

    I worry about how this is being reported outside the UK, and increasingly mystified about what others think the EU actually is. I’m not even sure why people should be that interested, never mind concerned or shocked! The EU started as a trading arrangement but has grown into a behemoth with a central court that overrules our courts, and a parliament that can over-rule our laws.

    Most of us had had enough — albeit a small majority. The wishes of that large minority cannot be ignored completely. I’ve not argued to overthrow one autocracy only to replace it with another. As a democrat, I believe that all must have representation. I’m a big fan of a fairer electoral system, which is where @sweder and I strongly agree.

    How can I explain it? Imagine if Canada had joined a free-trade arrangement with the US and Australia back in the 70s. All good, and mutually beneficial, as you have roughly similar GDPs and cultures. Then through the 80s, 90s and beyond, without the Canadian people being asked, the group was expanded to include all of South America and South-East Asia, and you were told that any resident of those nations could move to Canada and settle there without any screening or even application required (and you could go the other way of course). No special skills required, not even language. An open door. Every year, quite understandably, hundreds of thousands of people arrive, mostly taking unskilled jobs and undercutting wages, as the Canadian wage rates are still many times greater than in their countries. The unpredictable influx puts pressure on Canada’s housing, schools, health services and so on, making long-term planning impossible. Moreover, as one of the richer members, you are expected to subsidise this expansion. Into the bargain, you lose the supremacy of your courts and parliament.

    Eventually, there is so much friction that the Canadian people are allowed a referendum on the issue. Question: how would you vote? More important, why would I be shocked to hear that you’d voted against the idea? Enlighten me, someone. Why would I, why should I, be shocked? It would all sound quite sensible to me.

    All I want is to be able to trade quite freely with the EU (as many other nations do), but not to be subservient to an undemocratic Euro-parliament and Euro-courts. It’s a system that borders on the corrupt, with massive lobbying interests stationed in Brussels to ‘advise and persuade’.

    (Remember that this is nothing to do with military alliances [that’s NATO], or policing/security/terrorism [Europol] or environmental issues. All these are governed by non-EU bodies of which we are still a member, and should remain a member.)

  7. Sweder

    I found this useful piece on the structure and aftermath of the Leave campaign.

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/business/2016/07/05/the-paradoxes-at-the-heart-of-the-brexit-campaign-make-planning/

    There’s so much smoke after the bomb went off, it’s hard to draw conclusions. Personally I think Leave were negligent in having no plan for victory. Globally, we look like idiots, stumbling about in the dark. Brexiteers are either in denial about the damage done – Met Police report race hate crimes up 50%. It’s not media spin; the far right see Brexit as a mandate to abuse anyone non-white or with an accent.

    I heard a story about a guy on a bus in Wales.
    A lady wearing a headscarf sat in front of him and spoke to her child in a strange dialect. The man tapped her on the shoulder and said ‘if you want to live here you should speak in English’
    An old lady turned around and said
    ‘Young man, we are in Wales, and the lady is speaking Welsh’

    As Churchill said, if you’re going through hell, keep going

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