The True Meaning of Brexit

Given its importance to the future of the UK, the debate on the EU referendum has been singularly lacklustre so far, even comical. The problem is that all but the core arguments hinge upon what-ifs. Lacking a crystal ball, nobody can be certain what things will be like should Britain stay or leave (especially as we’re likely to have the same set of morons running the country in either case).

Worse, nearly every argument is reduced to merely mercenary considerations. It’s bad enough when the leave camp focuses upon the might-bes of liberation from red tape and the freedom to strike trade deals, but the stay camp are pathologically obsessed with portraying disaster scenarios in an attempt to scare the voters into voting the way they want.

Of course, if it were the case that a certain course of action would lead to disaster, such as war or leaving people starving in the streets, then it would be relevant to warn about it, but, no matter the hyperbole, neither side believes leaving or staying is, on its own, going to lead to disaster. Yet, regardless, the obsession is with the possibility of some sort of economic ‘disaster’, largely in the case of withdrawal from the EU.

It is quite likely that leaving the EU would offer the UK greater freedom to deal with economic problems and to trade with other nations, just as it is possible the banks could abandon the City for the continent or we may face difficulties renegotiating trade deals, but this all remains conjecture and will largely depend upon the leadership of those who oversee our withdrawal (just as it would be with the case with our continued membership and how that impinges upon Britain). But, really, all of this is irrelevant to the debate.

Although having money is nice as it facilitates daily life and can be the clincher in a close-run debate, it is not and should not be the be-all-and-end-all of planning our future. Unfortunately, an obsession with the money dominates British politics and has done so for a long time – as can be seen in the way in which not only British industry generally but vital services are sold off at knockdown prices to foreign businesses, generally with deleterious effects on the British economy and way of life. We see it with policing and benefit cuts, too, with layoffs and cutbacks being made by overpaid officials who receive huge bonuses for saving money rather than ensuring they provide the service they are paid to provide.

Of course, such an attitude isn’t new. Corporations and wealthy individuals have supported or opposed wars based upon whether doing so benefits them financially rather than because the war was the right thing to do or not, and plenty of corporations and individuals made money off the back of the Holocaust, just as today they steal land from the poor in third world nations to mine or farm on an industrial scale.

But, just because it is an attitude that is widespread, doesn’t mean it’s good. We shouldn’t be asking whether we will profit or lose from our EU membership, especially as, for the average Briton, any profit or loss is unable to filter down to them once the overpaid Eurocrats and tax-evading corporations have had their way. Unless staying or leaving is likely, in itself, to lead to a genuine economic disaster, which they aren’t, we should be asking ourselves what is best for Britain, and that is an easy question to assess.

Essentially it comes down to these simple questions: If voters are comfortable with pooling the UK’s sovereignty with the rest of the EU and they sincerely believe the EU works or can be reformed before it melts down, then they should vote to remain. If they believe the UK should be a sovereign nation, in charge of its own destiny for good or ill, or they believe the EU doesn’t work and cannot be reformed, then they must vote to leave. Guesswork as to whether house prices will rise or fall or how trade may be affected, or any other such questions, is ultimately irrelevant as either the voter is satisfied with their lot in the EU or its future potential or they are not.

People might disagree on the answers to those questions, drawing as they do on different experiences and hopes and fears, but if they are answered honestly, then we are having a real debate about what really matters.

But, don’t expect anyone to acknowledge that – it requires facing fundamental issues, and politicians don’t like that; it requires conviction and honesty, which are both things sadly lacking within Westminster, and the population at large.

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