Tuesday, 31 October 2017

The ridiculous Abi Wilkinson

The government is refusing to release studies of the economic impact of leaving the EU. There is a bandwagon debate about it. Whatever excuse the government gives we know that the real reason they won't publish is because the official report (if it's any good) would tell us what we already know; that no deal is a non-starter with catastrophic impact - and the EEA as the least damaging and most viable path. It would tell us that the government is acting contrary to its own advice.

Having such a document might well be a useful stick with which to beat the government but I don't see that it would do much good for the simple reason nothing else has. Positions are more entrenched now than at any point previously and all the classic zombie arguments still refuse to die.

What is bizarre, though, is the pretence that we are all in the dark unless the government publishes these studies. There have been countless studies on the subject from various sources, all of which say the same thing. The narratives have remained pretty much identical since before the referendum and the consequences are well known yet Abi Wilkinson of The Guardian talks as though she just arrived on planet earth.
If democracy is genuinely to be respected, there needs to be a public debate. Every one of us has a stake in the future of this country. Every one of us deserves a voice in a process that will shape the rest of our lives. To enable that, the 58 government studies on the predicted economic impact of Brexit need to be made public. Farmers and other small business owners need to know how different deals will affect the viability of their businesses. We need to know how different options will affect pensions and the NHS. Which is likely to preserve the most jobs?
The lady has failed to notice that there has indeed been a public debate. One that has raged for more than a year now. It has been (literally) a full time occupation for me to debunk the torrent of crap coming from the ultra-Brexit camp. Moreover, businesses are not passive actors in this. They have their own lobby groups each of which have done their own analysis, complimented by the mediocre works of the CBI, IFS and IfD - all of which have been widely available. Businesses are already voting with their feet. All the signals are there.

As is so typical of our media, an issue is only of importance as and when they deign to grace us with their wisdom. Hitherto now to Ms Wilkinson (as we can see from her profile) has had very little to say on the matter. Only now we are staring down the barrel of a no-deal Brexit with obvious ramifications for her pet hobby horses does she choose to take an interest - and only in the context of a tribal Westminster bandwagon.

With an issue of such epic significance with major ramifications for just about every policy discipline, and hard choices for public spending, you would expect that Brexit would be of primary importance to those who claim to care about social welfare. Brexit should have been an obsession for the left to ensure that jobs and livelihoods were protected, yet collectively they still do not have a coherent position on the subject and are waiting to be told by a government report what to think.

Just recently I have dwelled upon how our media and politics has become self-absorbed and insular, failing to notice anything outside of its own myopic fixations, unable to break from its tribal habits. Our media is utterly failing in its duty to inform - and like Ms Wilkinson, sits passively on its hands.

From the 100k extra hits I've had from Wilkinson this month, she has shown that she has had the power at any point to raise a multitude of urgent issues with respect to Brexit, and could have found the details on this very blog.

Had she taken an interest she might even have noticed that leave voices outside the bubble have been screaming from the rooftops about the dangers of the WTO option - and how the government is being misled. But it's only when she noticed her cosy little world might be disturbed did she choose to take an interest. And that, Ms Wilkinson, is why your ilk are deserving of what is about to transpire. You cannot say you weren't warned and you can't say you were kept in the dark. Your ignorance is entirely through choice. 

No comments:

Post a Comment