Friday, 18 March 2016

Brexit is the only path to meaningful change


"A British exit from the European Union could be seized upon by ministers as a liberating moment which would trigger a revolutionary shake-up of public policy, senior officials believe. Mandarins are preparing for every corner of Whitehall to be uprooted in what is likely to be one of the most radical revisions of the British state since the Second World War".

"According to one analysis, developing a Britain-specific deal is likely to take five years, running way beyond the two-year period between a country triggering the Article 50 exit clause and it being released from the European treaties. As such, it is likely the UK would adopt a model similar to Norway’s as holding position, before gravitating to a more bespoke arrangement, according to one scenario under discussion."

In other words - Brexit is a total revolution of governance in the UK that puts virtually everything up for debate and everything under the microscope of public scrutiny. Exactly what we need. Our own civil servants have come to the same conclusion we have that we would use the EEA as a departure lounge and consequently Brexit is largely a risk free proposition.

Over the last few years we have seen a major disillusionment with politics where people generally believe that it doesn't matter who you vote fore because nothing really changes. That is because the constructs of Whitehall while have a certain amount of subsidiarity are working within various parameters and constraints meaning that radical policy shifts on the domestic from are seldom possible without bumping up against EU diktats and quotas.

While some of that disillusionment manifests as Ukip, there is considerably more voter fragmentation with many more deciding that voting just isn't worth the bother. Certainly if we stay in the EU I will likely go with that view.

What we can say is that as things stagnate and government becomes more immovable and less responsive, that growing political toxicity that sees both major parties at war - and the SNP straining to break the Union, eventually there will have to be a domestic political backlash that may well see a more pernicious but more competent version of Ukip. It will come out of nowhere, doing serious damage in the process - possibly leading to a messier Brexit than anybody ever anticipated.

Instead of that future, in this referendum we have an opportunity to take much of the power back and start making genuine reforms not only to how government works but also our democracy.

We have seen various think tanks proposing sticking plasters to "re-engage voters". They suggest "people's panels" instead of the Lords, an elected upper chamber and proportional representation - but tinkering with the voting mechanisms won't matter a fig is the instruments of government are in a state of euro-deadlock.

It may be that all of those suggestions may prove to be welcome additions to our processes after Brexit but alone they do not present a solution. Brexit does. And that is why you should vote to leave. It isn't about closing the borders, saving a few quid or cutting regulations. It's about democracy; the freedom to choose.

Brexit is exactly what our own civil service says it is. A revolution - one that sees these plastic, sterile middle of the road phoney politicians cast aside in favour letting the people make the real decisions. And in this, it's not like our civil servants are foaming right wingers. They are just functionaries and people like you and me who know what we know - something needs to change.

They themselves make it quite clear that it is no small undertaking and for a time may lead to and expansion of the civil service in order to handle the transition  - and little will immediately change, but when there is so much to gain from doing this, and so little to lose, why wouldn't you vote to leave?

Our own civil service says that Brexit will be a gradual, managed, amicable exit over time, minimising the risks, maintaining cooperation through the EEA. Boeing's decision to move their European headquarters here, regardless of the outcome tells you they are not worried.

Meanwhile all we get from the usual suspects - the immovable politicians, the bankers and the bosses is the same gloomy prognostications, idle threats and lies. Their entire case for remaining is "Staying in is safer because change is bad and even though the EU is crap, it is the kind of crap we know and understand." Is that the sum total of their ideas?

Brexit doesn't mean an end to cooperation. It doesn't even mean major divergence or a souring of relations. It just means there is a choice. The only real way to secure a different relationship with the EU is through a negotiated exit so we can be partners, not subordinates. It means we get a real say in how we are governed. Seriously, what's not to like? All the Remain camp offer is more of the same - with a price to pay later when the people decide that enough is enough.

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