Sunday, 18 October 2015

Europhiles are holding back Britain and all of humanity

The Mirror has given houseroom to Will Straw, campaign directer for the Remains, listing eight ways we are better off in the EU. As we have been keen to point out on this blog, the Remain campaign is merely a noisemaker and what it says is not relevant to what the referendum is actually going to be fought on. Still, it's a Sunday, I'm horribly bored and the weather's crap so I'm going to have closer look at Staw's eight reasons for remaining a subjugated country.

Straw's first claim is that the EU brings us cheaper mobile phone calls. I will momentarily park that because it is linked with the second claim. The second claim is a belter. Straw asserts the EU has brought about the age of cheap flights. Firstly, that really hinges on what you consider cheap. A flight from Bristol to Aberdeen or Amsterdam is still the better part of two hundred quid, the majority of which is taxes, half of which are EU climate change taxes.

In terms new destinations opening up, the European airline market has remained fairly stagnant for the last twenty years. With a bit of market liberalisation more destinations could be opened up with smaller aircraft servicing more destinations. As it stands we are still locked into travelling long distances to large hub airports to travel to other large hub airports nowhere near our actual destination. And intelligently deregulated and liberalised air travel market could revolutionise our economy, but with so much government standing in the way, that's just not going to happen. Certainly not if it threatens the interests of Air France.

Consequently we have an airline market that means though the EU has notionally secured cheaper mobile calls, you would be one of a small privileged minority who actually benefits from this, and with the advent of smartphones and wifi which is free to use, while it's a marginal benefit to have no roaming charges, I don't see why this comes to the top of their list of reasons to stay in the EU. It certainly benefits the eurocrats on large salaries jetting off to Brussels and Strasbourg once a month, but I really couldn't give a tinkers damn.

But then the fact this comes to the top of their list actually tells you something more fundamental about Will Straw and the Remain campaign. I remember well the campaign mounted by the europhiles to get us to join the ill fated euro currency. They pulled the same trick then saying that it would save us all the inconvenience of having to change money when we go on holiday. The message here is that you are an ignorant pleb incapable of understanding the larger ramifications of surrendering our currency and will vote for it on the basis of convenience when we take our package vacations to Spanish seaside resorts. As patronising as it is, is actually shows these misanthropes really do hold us in contempt. Do they really think we're going to base our vote on whether we can make a cheap phone call?

Straw's third meme is the three million jobs riff. Yawn. Possibly three to five million jobs or more depend on trade within the single market. But the the EU is not the single market and leaving the EU does not mean losing access to the single market.

The fourth reason Straw gives is pretty much a variation on the same theme, conflating the single market with the EU in saying that membership of the EU gives us free access to a market of half a billion people. In fact, cutting to the chase, all of Straws claims hinge on conflating the EU with the single market.

Straw's arguments are based on a deliberate deceit, banking on the media's inability to challenge it. I would probably do the same in his position. By making it an economic question he locks the Leavers into bickering over numbers, and protracted arguments over whether the EU saves us thruppence ha'penny per day or whatever. The only normal response for a normal person is to tune out and leave them to it until its time to vote. What Straw does not want is an informed debate with everybody engaged in it.

In that regard the Leave campaign has walked right into the trap and for every claim that the EU saves us money or brings investment, the likes of Leave.EU will be busy crafting counter memes as to how much the EU costs us. Thus we will have two years of bickering, with each side clamouring for prestigious sources to verify their claims.

Will Straw is gambling that people will not be sufficiently well informed for his lies to stick. All he needs do is stick to conflating the EU with "Europe" and continue to conflate the EU with the single market, with the fallback position of the "Norway has no influence" meme and the narrative is set. Certainly his own supporters are barely aware of the difference between the EU and the single market so why indeed would the public?

I can write blogs until I'm blue in the face demonstrating how political union is not required for access to the single market or the EU's proxy trade deals, and I can debunk the Norway myth until my fingers are raw but while we have a Leave campaign determined to fall into all the predictable traps and a media whose own structural ignorance prevents them from communicating the distinctions, the vote will likely go Straw's way. If you repeat a lie often enough, people will believe it.

There is no question that the EU has achieved some great things that are entirely worthwhile but as we have seen with trade, for whatever good the EU has done, it is now the chief inhibitor to more progress because of it's myopic insistence that the world ends at the EU's own borders. In order to advance its statehood ambitions it must stifle the interests of member states and by doing so hobbles all of Europe. If the EU was just the customs union it pretends to be then there might be reason to be in the opposite camp to the Ukip nutters and the Tory dinosaurs.

On paper, it looks like it is reforming, but in practice, while it announces new trade trade initiatives by the day, in practice we get half measures, years late while the rest of the world is overtaking us. That may be sufficient for the likes of Will Straw who are content with mediocrity, men whose ambitions do not extend further than the confines of the EU, but as a global thinker, who sees the vast potential outside of the EU and the many opportunities for Britain in that global marketplace, I cannot be content to sit on the sidelines in the EU and shut ourselves off from the world.

We should have a seat at the top table and we shouldn't be going cap in hand to Brussels to ask permission to get the best for Britain at the global level. I don't see why we should be held back by small men with limited ambitions who are so terrified by the modern world that they cling to the ideas of yesteryear. Especially not those who would tell any lie to preserve the status quo.

We could be out there making sure our phonecalls are cheap wherever we are in the world, making use of our many long abandoned airfields and creating a real open sky with actually cheap fares and opening ourselves up to markets of billions rather than mere millions. We could do so with greater agility and greater democracy. Instead, fearful misanthropic little men like Will Straw will get their way. They are not ready to step out of the last century and let go of their failed ideology. That's a real pity for Europe - and all of humanity.

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