Why I’m voting to Leave the EU

Greetings, fellow humans!  I haven’t blogged in a while, but I’ve something to get off my chest.  What follows is the result of some considerable pondering.  I’ll try and be succinct.

I’m an internationalist.  Or at least, I’ve always thought of myself as one.  It’s my opinion that humans are at their best when they’re working together to achieve some mutually pleasing end – whether it’s trade, collaboration, or simply resisting the urge to maim one another.

I’m also a democrat.  Democracies are superior to autocracies.  They’re morally superior, for the simple reason that power is better than powerlessness.  But they also produce favourable results.  They’re more prosperous.  Their citizens are happier.  They don’t war with one another – though quite a few wars have been fought in order to establish and defend them.

In case you hadn’t noticed, there’s a referendum approaching on our membership of the European Union.  I thought I’d make a point of researching the topic a little before deciding how to cast my vote.  I don’t expend much thought towards the EU, really.  It’s not something I’m often consulted on.

And that, it turns out, is precisely the point. This fledgling superstate is structured in order to minimise democracy.  Its mechanisms are as shielded from public scrutiny as it’s possible to be.  Look at this Wikipedia article on the European Commission and ask yourself whether you seriously think this is a good way of doing things.  The twenty-eight heads of state vote for a president.  This president helps to select a commission (usually comprising a handful of politicians who are tired of having to appease voters, and happy to appease other politicians).  This commission then wields legislative and executive power over five-hundred million people.

I’ve read Dan Hannan’s book, ‘Why Vote Leave’ recently, which makes this case far more eloquently, and in far greater detail than I ever could.  I also read Hugo Dixon’s ‘The In/Out Question’, which makes the case for a reformed EU, and, as you might have gathered, wasn’t anywhere near as persuasive.  At first my suspicion was that Hannan is simply a better writer than Dixon – but really he had the easier job.  The case isn’t a difficult one to make.  It’s not a left/right issue.  It doesn’t matter where you sit on the political spectrum.  Democracy is good; the EU is not designed with democracy in mind.

At the rear of Hannan’s book is a collection of quotes from prominent Eurocrats.  And this section is revealing indeed.  Anyone who thinks this organisation is about mutual co-operation between like-minded nations and not empire-building should examine the sort of people it promotes to high office.

“What is driving us is not to be re-elected,” reveals Dimitris Avramopoulos, the commissioner in charge of fucking up the migrant crisis and creating an enormous fucking mess.  “That’s why for us the political cost means nothing.”

Well, good for you, Dimitris.  Or should I say Emperor Palpatine.  “We need a political federation with the Commission as government,” says Vivianne Reding, another high-ranking sith. Well, maybe you should make that case to your electorate, Vivianne.

Are these the sorts of people we’d like to represent the interests of the continent? Darth Junker puts it in the plainest possible terms, “when it becomes serious you have to lie.”

Right you are then.  You might think that, in context, these quotes (and there are a lot of them) aren’t so bad.  You’re wrong.  They’re worse.  But they’re not a source of outrage for some.  Bizarrely, the sorts people who regard Westminster with hawkish suspicion seem to regard Brussels (and Strasbourg) with a sort of passive acceptance – or even reverence.  Lord knows why this is – perhaps it’s a sort of masochism which assumes that everything foreign must be benevolent.  Perhaps its idealism.  Or perhaps it’s because they perceive the Brussels to be more closely in tune with their personal politics than the current elected government in Westminster, and therefore likely to take the edge off the latter.

If you’re the sort of person who gets angry at the thought of the House of Lords being appointed, or who can’t contemplate the unfairness of a FPTP voting system without seeing spots, then I can’t imagine the moral and logical contortions you’d have to perform in order to defend this unholy freak show.  Even the most cursory examination reveals that it is predicated upon a contempt for democratic process.  Necessarily so, really; if the EU paused for a moment to consider what the people of Europe thought of it, it would probably collapse like a manatee stricken by existential doubt.  This organisation is immune to popular opinion, and is accountable to no-one.  Is it any real surprise that it behaves as it does?

In this interview, Yannis Varafakis describes the loan agreement he wouldn’t sign, which obliged the elected Greek government to agree to whatever the EU might in future impose upon it, and forbade them from passing any legislation without the EU’s permission.  I suppose I should take Greek willingness to remain within the EU as evidence of Stockholm syndrome.

Anyway, the campaign’s officially underway now.  So we can look forward to the procession of career politicians and EU-funded NGOs, all offering their entirely impartial endorsement of the EU. Soon even the President of the United States will pay these shores a visit, and – doubtless without a hint of irony – warn against any future declaration of independence.

That’s my best guess, anyway.  Don’t forget to vote.

WHILE YOU CAN.

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Dey tuk meuh Job! DEY TERK EUR JERB! DEH DERKA DEEEERRRRRR!!!!

Yo, check this out.  Some traveller scrawled this missive on the wall of our crapper.  Others then appended their own commentary.  I’m not sure whether he (and I’m assuming it’s a he) brought along a marker pen for this purpose; perhaps he happened to have one in his pocket when inspiration struck.  Who knows? I note that, laudably, the second man (and again I can only assume that it is a man) saw fit to censor his expletive.  Well done, that man, for sparing the children the true extent of your idiocy.

ukip

Once, long ago, the wall of a public toilet served as a sort of precursor to the internet message board.  I can understand this; I sometimes feel the urge to vent a political opinion, and this urge is at its strongest when I’m savouring a deserved victory over a particularly obstinate turd.

UKIP is a strange beast, isn’t it?  I often hear from my left-leaning friends that it’s ‘the racist’ party.  There is some logic to this; they are, after all, the most anti-immigration.  But this strikes me something of a shortcut toward dismissing them entirely, which would be a mistake.  Is it safe to assume that everyone who is anti-immigration is also a racist?  What about the factors outside of race, like wage-depression for low paid workers?  Even if these beliefs are mistaken, they’re not motivated by skin-colour.

All of those arguments could be a smokescreen, though, couldn’t they?  Behind which UKIPers conceal their hideously racist faces?  That’s an appealing hypothesis, isn’t it?  There’s certainly a temptation to listen to people bleat on about these things without really listening, all the while assuming that they are secretly racist as fuck.  Perhaps they are racist without even realising it themselves; perhaps they are even if they make every effort to reassure us to the contrary.

In this way, you can give yourself license to dismiss everyone in the world, regardless of what their opinions are (and if you don’t agree, it’s probably because you’re a racist.)  I’m going to compromise:  While it’s worth conceding that not everyone involved with UKIP is a  racist, it’s also true that all of the land’s racists are surely intent on voting for UKIP.

The party’s weirdness is not restricted to racism, anyway.  This particular pony has more than one trick.  You’re all doubtless familiar with former UKIP councillor, David Silvester, who this week vented some rather unscientific views on the recent spate of floods:

“One recent one caused the worst flooding for 60 years. The Christmas floods were the worst in 127 years. Is this just ‘global warming’ or is there something more serious at work?”

I’m not sure it gets more serious than global warming, Dave, but alright.

“The scriptures make it abundantly clear that a Christian nation that abandons its faith and acts contrary to the Gospel (and in naked breach of a coronation oath) will be beset by natural disasters such as storms, disease, pestilence and war.”

I’m not entirely sure how abundantly clear the scriptures make it.  There’s a part at the start of Romans where things get a bit weird.  There’s that bit in Leviticus where it says “thou shalt not lie with another man as one does with a woman, it is an abomination”.  But even then it fails to make it ‘abundantly clear’ what an abomination actually is.  Indeed, this is a running theme throughout the scriptures.  Over the thirty-odd thousand verses, you can find an abundance of many things.  Clarity is not one of them.

Incidentally, God is pretty down with flooding, though, isn’t he?  Remember the part when he flooded the whole world, killing everyone except Russell Crowe?  But then he sent a rainbow as a sign he’d never do it again?  (Not because he was sorry, because that would imply an admission of fault, and God is incapable of fault.)  Perhaps God is subtly reneging this promise by flooding one small part of the world repeatedly over a period of years, thus disproportionately affecting all of the nation’s homosexuals (whom God recently implanted with an urge to relocate to the nearest flood plain, in order to better receive His wrath.)

Initially, the UKIP bigwigs were fairly ambivalent about all of this bollocks.  The man has a right to express an opinion, doesn’t he?  Some people think floods are caused by excessive precipitation, others that they’re revenged by a deity who has witnessed one too many unashamed declarations of love between consenting adults.

After all, that’s how science works, isn’t it?  He just might be right.  Let the man speak!  If there’s one thing to commend UKIP for, it’s their willingness to have an honest, open debate about everything, and their reticence to wield the authoritarian ban-hammer.  This is something that I’m sure Derek Clark – MEP and UKIP education spokesman – would agree on:

“We will still ban Al Gore’s video for use in schools if I’ve got anything to do with it. I will not have much opposition within the party. It is, of course, not just this video which needs banning; all teaching of global warming being caused in any way by carbon dioxide emissions must also be banned. It just is not happening.”

Oh.  Alright then.  Shit.  You used the word ‘ban’ in two consecutive clauses, I don’t think I can talk you out of this one, Derek.  Right, a clarification is in order: they are in favour of some forms of censorship.  In the case of man-made climate change, yes; in the case of man-on-man-made climate change, no.

Owen Jones, arch-communist and baby-faced evildoer, recently addressed the voters of UKIP in a piece in the Indy.  He told them that they actually don’t agree with any of UKIP’s policies.  If the polls are to be believed, he is quite correct.  Except Nigel Farage doesn’t believe in polls.  He believes in jolly well getting the hell out of the EU, dammit!

And yet quite a few people are prepared to vote for him.  All this proves to you is that the people answering these polls don’t have a fucking clue whether or not the railways should be renationalised, or what to think about national insurance, or how best to regulate the banking sector.  But, if anything is wrong, they are quite sure that the EU is to blame.

That’s one thing to be said of Nigel Farage.  He may bear a striking resemblance to a high-ranking member of the Rebel Alliance, but you can’t accuse the man of dishonesty.  He’s not deceiving the electorate.  He’s not Nick Clegg.

I think I’ve arrived at the reason why liberals (and yes, I would class myself as a liberal) dislike UKIP so much.  It’s jealousy.  While the Liberal Democrats approach the brink of collapse at the slightest whiff of a scandal, UKIP plough blithely onward, like that giant boar thing from Princess Mononoke, undeterred by idiocy cloying at their porcine bodies like weird black tentacle shit.  You know what I’m talking about.  Why the fuck isn’t there a political movement that advocates all of the sorts of things that I like?  A secular, pro-freedom, pro-science, pro-equality party?  Like a version of the Lib Dems, if the Lib Dems had a spine.  I’d get behind that all day long.

Until next week