Wednesday, 22 June 2016

Comment: Europe - A Mistimed Referendum

This post is my personal view.

Galloway Farage
Galloway and Farage
“…unless I have blood as the Law says all Narnia will be overturned and perish in fire and water.” So demanded the White Queen at a pivotal point in her conflict with Aslan in the children’s book ‘The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe’.

It does not seem so different from how both the Bremain and Brexit campaigns have presented their doom-ladened cases. In the last days of the campaign, things have become calmer. Its taken blood to make it so.

Both sides of this campaign have been, lets say, ‘misleading’.  

Brexit quite simply have often lied and have been quite open about not being sure what leaving the EU will mean for the country (given that they will be antagonising their main trading partner) but are hopeful British ‘pluck’ will pull them through. It won’t. For all the talk of ‘freedom’ the campaign has talked about, its been poorly outlined and arguments, often irrational.

Bremain point to the social and environmental safeguards that Europe has and does provide that maybe lost if we leave the EU, the travel freedoms and shared work opportunities all gone forever. No. Some of these things are under threat anyway but Europe has and does so far, provide a safety net from some of the wilder schemes of this somewhat extremist government.

On both sides political enemies line up alongside AND against each other arguing together that the other side is wrong. The most striking image of this (for me) was George Galloway sharing a platform with Nigel Farage for the ‘Leave’ campaign. Anti-racist and racist campaigners arguing for ‘freedom’..? No wonder people are confused and campaigners on the ground much less certain than their publicity materials.

And why is this happening anyway? Has anything substantial changed in the EU recently? 


But the EU IS changing. Its becoming much more right wing and ‘neo-liberal’. Its promotion of austerity, its treatment of poor EU nations particularly Greece has been sickening, and the treatment of refugees coming to and within its borders has been shameful.

But as important is the current and coming TTIP issue, the trade agreement  currently being negotiated between the US and Europe. Most of the current focus in the UK has been on keeping the NHS out of its reach but TTIP will be so much more than that.

The Bremain argument on TTIP is weak at best and Brexit does not have one.

This referendum and more importantly, its timing, is from a ill-thought through campaign promise from David Cameron. As it is, its pointless.

The time to have the vote on whether or not to stay in Europe will be at the presentation of the TTIP trade agreement. At that point the country will have a much clearer idea of Europe’s direction of travel and be able to decide if that’s the direction it wants to go in.

For me the question is when TTIP comes, will the UK have a referendum?

Until then it’s a weak Yes to Remain.

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