So June 23 – just 16 weeks – or a Six Nations Final and Chelsea Flower Show in GBP – away from your decision on our future in the EU.
How are you going to vote? This morning’s delivery driver was clear on three things – he isn’t a racist; he doesn’t want more refugees coming to the UK and, on his EU voting intentions, the same again, he doesn’t want more refugees coming to the UK. It’s frustrating. The EU has endured for over 40 years – the Syrian refugee crisis for barely 12 months. We’ve seen Jurassic Park but still can’t imagine a society beyond our welfare system or consequences bigger than the value of our house. We’re depending on teenage horizons to make a generational decision.
How can we muster ourselves to make a properly informed decision?
We can’t trust BoJo. He may have been ‘writing about it for ages’ but The Spectator isnt the tea-break mag of choice, and nothing he’s said combats the assumption he just wants to out-tubthump Dave on this/any issue. If Dave was Churchill in the Eton balloon debate, Boris would still have a go at the only personality left – Adolf Hitler.
But then Dave doesn’t inspire confidence. We thought he’d broker restoration of at least some sovereign powers for Old Blighty to sex up our special trade relationships. He settled for obfuscation around immigrants’ benefit entitlement. In my world, he’s the junior reporter who got a comment from the Vicar but no interview with the grieving relatives.
We’re on our own and candidly our thought processes might go a bit like this:
Not only is enough enough when it comes to millions of migrants redirecting child benefit back to ‘foreign’ terrorist camps, we’re fed up pussying around with one-eyed hate preachers who should be shown the door or ideally a gun. Rules on the bendiness of bananas and the gut-wrenching certainty those bloody superior French farmers made a monkey out of us, trigger the first glass of the night and the satisfaction of at last knowing what we’re going to do. Voting ‘out’.
Hang on – more expensive air fares; roaming charges back to a fiver a minute – checking Facebook during the Calais booze run, that’s going to cost a fortune. Taxed in France AND the UK on the French holiday house? Might vote ‘in’ now.
But it riles – we defeated one and bailed out the other – who do the Germans and French think they are? Did we even vote on whether they should take an interest in how many cod we catch? – don’t remember it. Voting ‘out’ for sure.
And so it goes – from one micro economic consideration to another deep-seated prejudice.
Is anyone worrying about the frailty of capitalism as technology changes the fundamentals of trade and manufacturing? Is anyone pondering the likely collapse of global currencies as reality pierces the Quantitative Easing wallpaper job? The scale of global migration by 2020/30/40 as climate change > economic decline > conflict > population flight? Are we actually more focused on random gunmen in the local boozer rather than questioning why western democracies are now doing deals with Iran – the biggest sponsor of terrorism in the world (seriously, WTF!).
It should keep you awake at night. And personally, I did develop insomnia about our vulnerable dependence on ‘the kindness of strangers’ viz-a-viz keeping UK debt interest low following a Brexit, but disappointingly only because I was fantasising about spending that sleepless night with the one responsible person who is worrying about it – the Bank of England’s gorgeous Mark Carney.
We’re far too shallow to be entrusted to a referendum on a question which doesn’t have a right answer and none of us want to wrestle with the minutiae of the least worst option. We want to be independent but we don’t want to be isolated – oh what are we to do?
So here’s the wake-up call: If The Trumpster were here he’d pledge to halt the migrants; shoot French farmers; electrocute hate preachers; demand preferential trading terms; castrate the poxy Eurocrats and make us the strongest economy in the world – AND WE WOULD VOTE FOR HIM! Do you see where I’m coming from – bad things happen when good men do nothing or at least can’t be bothered to tackle integrated issues.
A Brit living in Europe gave me his view:
‘The EU would be weaker without Britain. Britain might be ‘I’m Alright Jack’, but that’s not a commendable place to be.’
Isn’t this actually how we should be thinking – about the future of everyone in our nearest Continent, rather than our own backyards? Will it actually make us look like feeble pushovers if we cast our vote for what is best for the long-term future of all Europeans? I don’t think so. And after all our kitchen table fulminations, our little jealousies and grudges, we have it in us to broaden our responsibilities. On June 23 I think Brits will recognize the wider challenges that we face in common with every other European. By voting to stay in we’ll show why we are the greatest country in the world.