Saturday, 12 March 2016
What we really want...
We leavers want democracy. We want a complete overhaul of our domestic institutions, from Whitehall down to the parish councils. We want real power back in the hands of the people. We want a complete reworking of our law making process, our agriculture, fishing, energy and trade policies. We want a more accountable and useful aid policy, we want a fairer immigration system, we want a reformed asylum system.
We want our courts to be places of real justice rather than the place where authority is rubber stamped and revenue is collected. On the whole we would rather not see our landscapes ruined by acres of solar panels, and our wildernesses spoiled by wind turbines.
On the whole we don't need all these every more oppressive rights that stifle the economy and reduce our employment prospects. In the main we are capable of securing decent enough terms and where we can't we should be organising and forming real unions and fighting for our rights rather than waiting for EU entitlements.
In the main, most of us are climate sceptics. It might be happening, it might not, but we do not trust the institutions who tell us it is real, we do not consent to all of their agenda and we want the means to say no to them. We don't trust their scaremongering any more than we trust the scaremongering of the remain camp.
None of us really dislikes foreigners as some suggest. A lot of us are just a bit uneasy with the pace of change because the brakes have been taken off and we never got a say in it. We all recognise that we benefit from globalisation but when do we get a say in it, and how do we say no to our government?
We are told that freedom of movement isn't that much of a big deal, and that's non EU immigration we need to fix - but when is that ever going to be fixed when it's human rights law that stands in the way of us closing the loopholes?
We don't really care all that much about roaming charges and so-called cheap flights. As it happens, a round trip to somewhere interesting in the EU is still going to cost £200 upwards. To your average worker with a family, that's a lot of money.
And if we are talking about more freedoms then we want more openness with other English speaking countries. And that's no great sin. Since we speak English and are not in the habit of learning other languages, we can't take advantage of free movement in the same way Europeans can.
If you're Bulgarian and you speak only Bulgarian only there's not much you can do, but if you learn English, you can go anywhere. If you're English and you learn Bulgarian, you can go to... Bulgaria. So why are Europeans free but Brits be caged by the confines of Europe? Sure there's nothing stopping us learning other languages but culturally, we just don't. That's a fact and that not going to change. If you were going to go to the trouble you'd learn a useful language, not French.
And that's not a little-englander thing, it's just a recognition that we're never going to be wholly European when culturally we have more in common with Canada, New Zealand and Australia. We have friend and family there yet we must go through the EU to get better access. Why is that a good deal for Brits? I want to go and work in Canada. I have no interest in even going to Bulgaria or Poland. If I go anywhere in Europe it will be to Norway to see fjords.
I don't hate Europe, I just don't care about it. I wasn't all that taken with Germany (and their food is weird), the bits of France I've seen are boring, Amsterdam is just York with more canals and drugs, Spain is full of all the sort of English people I try to avoid and though Italy looks amazing every single driver there has a deathwish.
The best place in Europe to my mind is Switzerland and that isn't in the EU. Geneva is an amazing place. The freshest air anywhere. But I don't want to live there, I don't want to work there. I'm not saying we should end freedom of movement, all I'm saying is that I don't really care about it either way.
And if by now you're thinking this is a kipperish whinge about the EU and foreigners in general, there's a bit of that, yes. Again, it's no great sin to prefer a bit of stability, normality, security and democracy. When kipperism steps over into naked racism and idiocy, it's then a problem but in the main, ordinary Brits don't see themselves as EU citizens and don't want to be. Nobody asked for the EU and if it didn't exist we wouldn't ask for it to be invented.
In this some of you may be thinking that leaving the EU doesn't fix all that, and maybe it doesn't, but it's start. We will always take regulation from global bodies but why shouldn't we have a right of refusal? Why shouldn't we have a little control? Why should we have to cave in to every single demand made of us? Why should our only line of defence be if enough foreign MEPs agree with our moronic MEPs?
Why shouldn't we have the democratic controls to refuse local planning applications for fracking, wind and solar? And if that means the boffins have to go away and think of something else then that is want they will have to do. And what if we don't want an EU wide register of cars and black boxes recording our journeys and transmitting the details to insurance companies? That's how it's going to go down isn't it? The money men and their lobbyists will see to that and parliament won't get a say.
And why shouldn't Britain's fishing industry have the best shot at fishing in British waters? Why should we have to wait years for the EU to make trade deals with countries we favour? Why shouldn't we protect some of our agriculture from competition? Everybody else does. Especially France even though they are supposedly in the single market. We Brits stick to the rules, so why is it one rule for us and another for France?
And though this set of complaints puts me in the minority and very much at the kipper end of the spectrum, just listen to the Remain camp. They say we will have wind turbines, we will adopt climate change measures, we will keep our borders open, we will close down our coal stations, we will lose industries we value and we will surrender every last scintilla of sovereignty. And why is that?
It's because they've decided that's what we should have and they want the EU because they know what we know. If we had democracy, if we had a choice, we might decide that Britain should go a different way to the liberal "progressive" orthodoxy that seems hell bent on committing national and cultural suicide.
They not like us, they do not respect us and they do not trust us. They have so little faith that they could win the arguments they use the EU to avoid having a debate at all. It never occurs to them that Brits might not be the shrivelled right wing ogres they believe us to be and when the choice is put before us we might actually decide that more open and more liberal really is better.
We will never know and we will never find out while we are in the EU. We will never have a choice. A vote to remain is a vote to carry on not having a voice, to leave the same people in power, to leave our institutions the same and to keep doing as we are told without any real recourse.
And so in the final analysis, they can bleat all they like about uncertainty and the complexities of Brexit, but I don't want their certainty. The certainty they offer means that nothing gets fixed, corporates always get their own way, parliament is shunted into the sidelines, nothing politically gets resolved and people become gradually more resentful as the world changes around them without having either a stake in it or even a voice. I would pay every tariff in the world to have just a little bit of democracy and I do not want Britain to be the prisoner in the gilded EU cage.
The bottom line is I want things to change. I want the possibilities of uncertainty and I want things to evolve. I want us to play a part in those changes and I want the people to decide what those changes are, not the EU Commission. I don't want to be represented by politicians. I want full referism and direct democracy.
I want people to be able to say no to government at every level. That can only mean more participation, fairer decision making and a more vital democracy. It's little wonder that young British people go off to join ISIS when our lives are so sanitised of any influence over events. We are all passengers without a destination, and nothing to bind us but for the fact we exist in the same space. That is all a corporate democracy-free EU utopia can offer us.
In this, it's not surprising record numbers of British men are committing suicide. Spiritual boredom I imagine. As my friend puts it we are "derided and emasculated - and the rights that went with our responsibilities have been stripped away, and our achievements derided as the products of undue privilege". - Underpinning that is the "equality" and human rights culture that have ultimately produced the entitlement society - one that sees mass welfare dependency and teenage girls abused on mass.
We're now quite used to the notion that if you call the police they won't come - and if they do they won't act. They won't investigate anything. They will give you a crime number and refer you to the machine. We know if we need to go to court for any administrative reason our side of the story will not be heard or factored into the decision making.
We know in the end that they will chip away at everything we have built since the war than makes life just that little less harsh. It's all becoming mechanised and impersonal and when you need a real answer from a real person the system says "talk to the hand".
And is it because the evil Tories are in charge? Can't be, can it?, because we had Blair doing this to us for over a decade. And do you think Corbyn would be any less a puppet of the system? He's already come out for the EU when his track record shows he thinks differently. And can we blame all of it on the EU? No. But it is the one constant through as we have seen most of what we value eroded. Slice by slice another one of our hard won rights is eroded in practice yet in theory there has never been a time when we have had more legal rights.
Ultimately systems of governance are becoming more harmonised with the global standards because of hyper globalisation - and that is what is forcing the EU's hand in regulations, and the EU is the reason we can't say no. For sure we want progress and more freedoms, but not at the expense of every safety net and every protection.
While leaving the EU is only part of the solution it really is time for us to draw a line in the sand. Not everything comes down to the price of goods and convenience of trade. This is as much about who and what we are - and having a voice in how we are governed. The Remain campaign doesn't like what we are, despises our traditions, dislikes our culture and it definitely doesn't want us to have a say. That is why I am voting to leave - whatever it costs. If there are consequences, then so be it. We'll live with them.