Saturday, 6 February 2016

The Leave "civil war" is an example of why we should leave the EU


The above is Jim Waterson's (Deputy Editor at @BuzzFeedUK) attempt at demonstrating who hates who in the Leave camp. If anything I would say it was overly simplistic with a few glaring omissions, and then there's my lot who hate all of them for their complete stupidity and overall incompetence. Alliances are forged and broken almost every day, with some going this way and that, with some riding two horses, with others having feet in both camps.

To say it's a bunch of treacherous backstabbing bastards is something of an understatement. We are engaged in visceral dispute for control of the Brexit message, with some believing Vote Leave to be the the moderate, presentable face (entirely untrue) and then some believing Leave.EU is the more inclusive (but wholly cretinous) effort.

After many months, we are still no closer to a common position, and the dominant position is the most popular one, which is also the wrong one. ie the notion that Brexit saves us several billion, we can bin regulations and shut down the borders. What we see is actually many variations of a common position with different ideas about who to sell it to and how. It is my view that the product is crap and it doesn't matter how you package it, a majority will not want it.

Now that is all among people who are 100% agreed that we should leave the EU, even though some do not believe that we can even though we should, thus offer yet another bizarre strategy of two referendums. All clear?

The phrase "herding cats" could almost have been invented specifically to describe British Eurosceptics. Oh, and then there's the "eurosceptics" for whom that word means "we should stay in at any cost". And is this because we leavers are a much of megalomaniac, egocentric, uncooperative bastards? Yes. Yes it is. There's another word for that. Human.

Now look at the EU. This is the process our own government has to go through in order to arrive at its own position in order to take to the EU. Multiply that by 28 and try to get them to agree on something without one of them changing their position on the basis of concessions in the process.

It's actually little wonder that the architects of the EU designed the system to be largely dictatorial in nature because nothing would get done otherwise. Put simply, there is no such thing a representative, fair and adequate common position among 28 countries all with different languages, cultures, landscapes and industries.

As with the Leave campaign, whatever your common position finally is, it's always going to leave a large number of people seriously disenfranchised and mightily pissed off. They will then attempt to sabotage and frustrate out of petulance and revenge. And if you thought the Leave campaign bickering was savage, again, transpose that on to a continent of half a billion people, only notionally represented by fewer than a thousand MEPs from parties most people hate. Does this sound like a system that can ever be democratic to you?

Moreover, when you take such a mess and enforce a figurehead or entity over the top of it to speak on behalf of all, practically nobody is going to agree. If the Leave campaign is daft enough to choose a leader, then I guarantee I'm going to loathe them. The same applies to the EU Commission who have about as much right to speak for Europe as Paul Gascoigne can speak for the United Mormon Church. Assuming Mormons are united, that is.

And when it comes to things like TTIP and "free trade deals", can you be even remotely surprised that they take several years, stall several times, and at point of ratification are significantly weaker than the intended scope? No.

Meanwhile, as I have said from the start, while we do need a plan, we need a Leave campaign that isn't fixated on unity for the sake of unity and instead enables the disparate groups to campaign to their own constituencies on their own strengths without undermining each other. Cooperation rather than a monolithic entity excluding diverse but valuable voices (such as yours truly).

And the same applies to Europe. Nations working inside a less formal framework, like say UNECE and the WTO, speaking directly with their intended audiences or partners, can more easily agree on things of narrower scope, and when something works, they can invite others to agree and join. In that we'd have Ad hoc alliances, depending on the matter at hand - that do not demand permanent loyalty on every issue every time, and can secure cooperation when the voices of others are not really required. For instance, why would a landlocked country have much of an interest on ballast water management in the Baltic?

Put simply, the rigidity of a single entity attempting to govern the vastly diverse doesn't even work when everyone is agreed on the direction of travel. Since only about half of the EU's population actually want the EU and very few of them were actually asked, how on earth can you ever expect it to be anything other than a dysfunctional anti-democratic mess? In this, it is ironic that the Leave campaign should choose to model itself after the very entity they would happily leave tomorrow. Don't you just love politics?

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