Saturday, 16 January 2016

A vote to remain has ugly consequences

We've heard a lot of silly histrionics from the Remain campaign over what would happen if we leave the EU. And from us you've heard some fresh arguments about what happens if we stay. But that is looking at what will happen in the EU. Little is said of what will happen at home.

It was only this time last year that pundits were talking about a new age in politics of multiple parties and fragmented Westminster politics. In the end the the offer of a referendum on the EU was a call to arms for many which is why the electorate turned to the Tories. That though is not an indication that the schism in British politics has gone away, and as blogger White Wednesday points out, a referendum loss will not settle this decades old dispute. 

In domestic political terms, the further you look into the future, the less predictable events become, but the only certainty is that the core of devoted campaigners will never rest until Britain leaves the EU. There will never be a time when so much power held by the unaccountable will be acceptable to those who understand what democracy is. Consequently, we will see a major civil war on the right.

We have already seen self-described eurosceptic Tories making an about face and campaigning to remain. Their duplicity will be noted and remembered. The tacit support the Tories enjoy from the right of the party will melt away, giving Ukip a shot in the arm. Certainly, so far as this blogger is concerned, it's war. The Conservative Party can forget about my vote forever. 

That then opens up an interesting landscape in that there is zero chance the Labour party will have its act together and nobody in Westminster will enjoy anything approaching a mandate. It is precisely this kind of political discord that can be exploited by a small and motivated movement that could see the SNP secure a second referendum on independence. The Westminster mess that follows could well mean Scotland votes to quit the union. 

Personally, I don't mind either way and I am not about to tell Scots who should govern them any more than I would have anybody else tell Britain how to vote. I think full separation for Scotland is politically and practically impossible and insofar as their independence can be achieved, we would welcome having them as an ally on the world stage. Only if we leave the EU though does Scotland get a voice though, otherwise their independence from London matters not one jot. They will do as Brussels instructs.

In any case, it is inconceivable that the SNP will ever drop its push for a second referendum this warnings that Scotland will go if we leave the EU are disingenuous. Whichever way you look at it, Scotland isn't being given much of an incentive to stay and the political paralysis that comes with EU membership almost guarantees the toxic divides that exist in UK politics will be with us for a time to come. 

It is my view that Brexit will see UK politics revived as Westminster once again becomes responsible governing matters of significance. It may even see the public take participation more seriously so that we see a marked improvement in the calibre of our politicians. Nobody can say for certain whether that will answer the Scottish question, but as a close ally in Efta, further Scottish independence outside of the EU is not something to be feared. Certainly seeing Scotland fully in control of its own fisheries would be a welcome sight. 

In the end, nobody can say for certain what will happen down to the last detail, but what we can say for a fact is that Brexit will bring much needed political change and a realignment of British politics. By voting to remain, all we can promise is more of the same - and Westminster politics becoming more fragmented and more toxic. 

Ultimately, politics is about power - who has it and in what circumstances it is used. If Westminster is to be neutered the it cannot do what is right by Scotland or anybody else. It is in these circumstances that a democratic correction could see consequences that nobody wants. Brexit is our insurance against exactly that. In the end the real question posed to the British public is "Do you want political change or not?". 

Certainly there are no guarantees as to what could happen if we leave and that certainty that business thinks it is entitled to cannot be promised, but on balance I prefer the "uncertainty" of democracy than the certainties of this democratic wasteland we have experienced for the last forty years. A denial of democracy of this magnitude is certain to have ugly consequences for all of us. 

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