Fresh from the presses! Here comes a brand new poll straight from the gut of the Grand Lodge of Truth: The Brexit! The Brexit – British conservative free-market politicians’ desire for Britain to exit a project shaped and very much lead by conservative free-market politicians in a referendum mostly working-class people wanting less free-market and conservatism voted in. Hilarious! In a delightfully fact-free kind of way.
For the uninitiated, the EU is largely a trade agreement between 28 countries coming together to agree on the shape of bananas and fund products. This constitutes an economic area which accounts for 25% of world output, 15% higher than the US and about twice the size of China. As in all complex societies these agreements are complemented with a bunch of institutions that can handle all the paper work.
This is the technocratic practical implementation of the EU. The EU itself is a peace project designed to make Europeans (incl Brits) less inclined to slaughter each other – As was the case for the previous 3000 years. That development peaked between 1939 and 1945 where a conflict modestly named the Second World War took place. You may have heard of it at one point or another, though recent events kind of cast doubt upon that idea. The drivers behind that conflict were, to a large extent, xenophobia, fact-bans and nationalism. To mitigate that, in 1957 a couple of wise men came to the conclusion that if more British hooligans get drunk and fuck around in Spain they are less inclined to invade; and whoever eats marmelade can buy that from the English (That is the practical implementation of the free movement of people, goods, services and capital). That was the basic gist of it, and since then we have not had a large scale conflict in Europe involving the countries associated with the EU. Which was basically unprecedented in the 3000 years before. So on that score it’s been fairly successful.
Judas Churchill Montgomery Hood, scholar.
In my opinion, a far too complex question for a simple “yes” or “no” coupled with highly untruthful politicians and an even more untruthful press is behind it. Are there arguments that the EU is bad? That it can be improved? That a country may have reasons to leave at some point? Sure. But is the proper arena for such a complex discussion the side of a tour bus (which ironically would be more expensive and, you know, also it wasn’t true on many different levels)?
The EU is an immensely complicated machine of many different nuances – many of which you might think is rubbish – but is it possible to say simply yes or no? I would say no. It’s not really fair. The premise is too simple. What is it that you actually vote for? What do you want to accomplish? With the distinct possibility of sounding condescending – is it fair to expect that anyone above 18 can fully appreciate these nuances – the political ramifications, the economic consequences, the personal tragedies of lives being torn apart and all the lost future possibilities? Well, there’s a reason why there’s a representative democracy in place with people employed to dedicate time and effort to make responsible decisions while you focus on spreadsheets, plumbing, drinking and whoring yourself to an early grave.
To make EU “matter” for you to have an opinion, a narrative had to be constructed. Something the British tabloids generously provided. And was that narrative helpful? Was that narrative reflecting the many levels of EU and intra-European relationships? Absolutely not. It stretched from false notions about EU migrants debasing the healthcare to outright lies about how much the EU costs and how much it spends. One of the main drivers is said to be immigration, and more specifically immigration’s impact on on healthcare. The good people of the UK voted to leave the EU because the believed less immigration would lead to better healthcare. Well sorry. There won’t be less immigration and there won’t be any more spending on healthcare.
In essence, Great (really?) Britain voted in a referendum about a beautifully clear-cut imaginary world with few resemblances to reality. They voted to leave a union representing policies that never existed to create a Great Britain that won’t be. It’s sad really, because winning elections on account of lies and imaginary narratives on the backs of people who will disproportionately suffer from those policies has a bad track record. Ironically, this was the sort of thing the EU was supposed to prevent.
I say it like Michael Gove – “I think people in this country have had enough of experts. There is only one expert that matters, and that’s you, the voter.” – but then I didn’t think my vote was going to matter too much because I thought we were just going to remain.
*** Note from the editors. If you have a referendum. It matters. It might be understandable you can’t get your handle on all aspects of 59 years of intra-state relations. But you should be able to fucking expect people to understand what a goddamn referendum is.
Vivian Smith-Smythe-Smith, upperclass twit, British colonial enthusiast and part-time racist.
Britain is, and always has been, better than those German brutes, French phonies and incestuous Italians. Free from the shackles of Brussels mediocrity, we can assume our rightful position at the helm of the Commonwealth; once again leading the greatest empire the world has ever seen; leading from our smog-filled, rainy, capital of London; rejoining our brothers in Washington and leading the uncivilised of the world to a glorious future.