Author and freelance writer. Sometimes in London more often elsewhere

JAMES

MACLAREN

Writer

Persuasive writing

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A Referendum – More Big Brother than History of Britain.

By James Maclaren, May 29 2016 05:49PM


It is hardly surprising that given the stakes the EU debate and Britain’s future role or otherwise in it, the opposing sides to the question have rapidly transcended to the farce level of debate. We should not be surprised I suppose, taking the question to the country was an enormous gamble for Cameron. Now as we enter the last month with the opinion polls locked and a failure by the government to land winning blows via the economy and security, he is probably sweating slightly at the wisdom of his decision. It must have seemed like quite a clever idea to lance the boil and expunge those militant mutterings around the corridors of Parliament. Now increasingly frantic and dark predictions of what economic future awaits the country free of the EU political choke seem desperate and smack of a leader whose primary tactic is fear rather than rational analysis. It is worth considering what this says of Cameron’s judgement. After all what leader who understands the consequences with such certainty allows a population to make a momentous error of judgement. Leadership is about making the right not the popular decision.


Cameron may just get away with it. Heap enough fear onto people and they will retreat into the safety of the familiar. Most have already forgotten his much trumpeted ‘renegotiation’, even the Prime Minister must have realised it represented pretty meagre stuff as he barely mentions it amongst the apocalyptic predictions of economic meltdown. It is difficult for the average person to argue with the huge weight of economic opinion which confidently predicts the economic disaster awaiting an exit. The reasonable person who must use judgement alone to form an opinion on the capability of this country to thrive independent of the EU, its single market and the federalised bureaucracy we must succumb to in order to be a member, understandably feels nervous. But wait, is it any surprise these organisations collectively make the case for a UK ‘remain’? Of course not the relationship between institutional elites is both wide and deep. Radical thinking and transformation of an exciting type are not in their DNA. But however illustrious, prestigious and learned these organisation may be portrayed, they have over time failed to predict the consequences of ERM withdrawal, the global economic recession, collapse of the Eurozone economy, management of the Greek economic crisis and so on and so on. It can only be assumed that the brazen confident predictions they bring forward now are done so with fingers crossed behind their back and a patronisingly low regard for the public’s ability to remember their past prediction failures.


BBC’s Question Time is always a good barometer of where politics and the public stand with each other. Last night 28th May was no exception. The politicans inevitably acting like reality contestants thans persons of gravity and seriousness. Caroline Lucas irritating interruptions of other panellists with over-zealous EU enthusiasm demonstrated what it means to be in a political elite. Clearly operating in a parallel la-la land to the rest of us she scorned David Davis’ attempts to explain how market economics and the weight of UK bargaining power will offset the withdrawal of the UK from the single market. She would have us believe that having been an MEP she knows all about Europe. Those of us that have lived in in Brussels recognise that the Euro Quarter which the political and institutional elites inhabit has nothing to do with the rest of Brussels let alone Europe. Her strident view that it is the Council and the Parliament, not the Commission which is the driving force behind the EU project only showed she has drunk deep of the koolaid, swallowing the blue starred propaganda. Her blank retort to a pensioner repatriated from the Spanish health system only accentuated her ignorance to the reality of EU freedom of movement. The truth is we swop highly educated UK professionals for low skill, low wage migrants, disenfranchising our own economically challenged in the process. How many British plumbers are there in Poland? To go further how many unemployed British plumbers are there in Poland drawing benefits!

Ed Milliband clearly making an attempt on a political comeback expressed patronising support for the Union. He appeared to like the idea of Europe so much it would be easy to suspect that his intended routed from political failure is to follow Neil Kinnock into the sunny up lit gravyland of the EU Commission. Perhaps most amusing was his prolonged appeal to young people, who in his view clearly saw the benefits of travel around the Union. Well perhaps in Islington where with students from Red Brick universities and affluent families regularly heft back packs onto Ryanair in order that cappuccino can be enjoyed while appreciating the architecture of Prague or Milan. However, to most young people in the UK, thoughts of travel are distant behind the ordeal of coping with bad housing, poor education, street violence and competing with eastern Europeans for too few jobs offering depressed wages as a result of eastern European workers competition. Milliband’s idea that they can take advantage of interesting exotic education at European universities is an illusion he seems to share with Caroline Lucas.


Interestingly it was Steve Hilton who showed the most informative political insights, readily admitting to the political elitism of which he was part, which makes its case by reducing complex economic, legal and sovereignty arguments to sound-bites and generalised economics. He nailed it, but I wonder how many recognised the strength of his analysis. It is about believing in the gifts this country has, recognising the failure of Europe to progress economically or act coherently and realising that future growth and prosperity lies in the wide world beyond, not within the insular timid and static boundaries of Europe. Ed Milliband thought he was winning the argument when no one could name a country which the UK would emulate in it is trade relationship with Europe.


And that’s the point, stupid. The UK will not emulate anyone. And if Germany want to continue selling million BMWs, Audis, Mercedes and VWs to us we won’t have to! It’s for the EU to erect trade barriers, which the remain side keep referring to. When it comes down to it, the bargaining power of the UK based upon technology, education, science and finance will provide us with a solution to future EU relationships, as well as wider opportunity beyond the EU in the global market.



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