Thursday, 5 October 2017

I'm not a moderate leaver

The funny thing about the human brain is its capacity for internal conflict. All philosophy is an attempt to reconcile equal yet opposing perspectives. That is why when people ask me whether remaining is better that a no deal Brexit I cannot bring myself to say the obvious.

If I think a no deal Brexit is such an obvious economic calamity why on earth would I not want to call a halt to it? Is there anything so bad about life under EU rule that it necessitates trashing our entire economy. Rationally speaking, obviously not.

I this I have to ask whether it's that I'm so emotionally invested in Brexit, having spent my entire adult life campaigning for it, that I'm unable to bring myself to say it. But then regular readers will know that I also posses a nihilistic streak and a penchant for creative destruction.

One thing I am absolutely convinced of, with my rational mind working unimpeded, is that the Westminster bubble is corrosive to UK politics and is on a countdown to extinction. I do not think it deserves to survive and I do not think it can be satisfactorily reformed. I also think that the EU is a symbiotic part of our political malaise. One props up the other and the EU is the linchpin on the status quo. I won't be sad to see the back of it.

All through the referendum we spoke about "the establishment" but actually we needed to be talking about establishment(s). I have written at length how groupthink dominates the centres of power and how right wing think tanks are the gatekeepers of orthodoxy. With the EU though, there exists a network of NGOs and non-profits all of which are nests of the well-to-do upwardly mobile NGOcrat who manage to sail effortlessly around the Westminster and Brussels machinery, gathering gongs and syphoning grants as they go.

The right pretty much abandoned any hope of influencing the EU simply because the EU is resilient to conservative politics and lends itself to "progressive" causes of the social-liberal consensus. There is no business for them there and being conservatives they tend to prefer the prestige of the British instruments of state. So there is a division of labour at work. Each side fishes its own waters. All I see is a single giant milking cow with thousands of sucklings.

What both establishments have in common is that their agendas require total control of the machinery and they want more power for themselves for their agendas and less power for the public. The europhiles push through their agenda without consent or consultation while the hard right are getting busy doing the same. Neither is interested in seeking a mandate. They are opportunists.

So in a lot of ways a political hand grenade like Brexit is immensely appealing. As much as it utterly shafts our NGOcracy, it will in due course sweep the Tory right to the fringes and put an end to the stranglehold. And though in recent times I have been far more critical of privatisation and neoliberalism I don't actually mind if a hard Brexit forces a complete rethink of the fabric of the British state.

But then there's the decider. The question is whether remaining is functionally better than a no deal Brexit. Yes it is, but does that change my view that we should leave the EU? No. No it doesn't. And since this is probably the only chance we will get then I'm afraid I'll have to take it. I always knew there would be a risk of a no deal Brexit, and though at the time it seemed unlikely, we are where we are.

It really comes down to one fundamental principle which is a red line for me. Britain must be an independent self-governing nation - largely because that is the only way we can adequately practice and safeguard democracy in a meaningful sense.

In that respect, I am no moderate leaver. If there was a less radical option available I would take it but if forced to choose then my instinct tells me we must leave. I am certain that it will not be good for the economy but I know it will be a very necessary democratic corrective and the beginnings of an entirely new era in politics where, for once, we have a chance at fashioning something entirely different.

This makes for an uncertain political future. God alone knows what the Tory right might try to pull off before they are wiped out, and one dare not think what Corbyn would attempt, but for once there is a very real high stakes game and real politics has been brought back from the grave. I have faith that the British public will reject both extremes in the end.

At the moment I am politically homeless. I want nothing to do with the Tory party and Labour has no redeeming features. I am certainly not alone in that. The forthcoming turbulence will hopefully re-engage those of us who want tempered good governance. If not then I rather expect we will have what we deserve.

But that is also one other facet of Brexit. It is a teachable moment for those who think we pay politicians to do our politics for us. It has been a bucket of cold water on the notion that somebody somewhere knows what they're doing and we are safe in their hands. It will certainly make us vigilant. The powers granted by the withdrawal bill will have every democrat watching this government like a hawk - and will hopefully get them in the habit of it. From that we will retake our democracy.

It is that lack of vigilance over the EU that makes me believe membership of it is untenable. The systemic obliviousness to the EU and its workings runs from the top all the way down to the man in the street. It is, therefore, intolerable that it should be our supreme government, operating out of the spotlight. Brexit at the very least puts the decision making back where we can see it - and back where our media is watching.

I am under no illusions that this is going to be a very ugly, very expensive, very messy process. It need not have been, and I did everything in my power to do this another way, but ultimately I accept the consequences of my choice. I voted to leave and would do so again. I regret the circumstances, but not my decision.

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