Embed from Getty ImagesAs the weeks tick by towards Britain’s exit from the EU, and as it becomes ever clearer that neither the May government nor the Brexit fanatics have the slightest clue as to what to do, my mood darkens. If this was a storyline for a political drama on Netflix, it would not get commissioned on the basis that it is too far fetched, so let’s look at this plot outline.
David Cameron, the then British Prime Minister in an apparent attempt to ensure victory at the next general election, decides to pander to a significant minority in the country by offering a referendum on the UK’s membership of the EU, and, he thinks, simultaneously head off the growing popularity of the right wing UK Independence Party.
Having called the referendum he doesn’t even bother to make it clear that it is advisory and that Parliament retains the final say, so confident is he that remain will win. The government also decides not to take a neutral stance and declares itself pro remain, and in a great example of irony, when the remain campaign is unsuccessful, because of this pro remain stance David Cameron is forced to resign anyway.
Camerons’ smart move would have been to declare that he was holding a referendum to gauge the true feelings of the British people toward continued membership of the EU. He could have asked “If given the choice would you vote to leave or stay within the EU?”, thus giving those wanting to protest the status quo the opportunity to do so, without risking the current catastrophe. Should the result be negative and armed with this information he would then have truly been in a position to demand a renegotiation of our membership.
The problem with this is that thanks to Maggie Thatcher, we already had a sweet deal. We get a rebate on our contributions, whilst having one of the most powerful voices in the EU parliament. We enjoyed being the centre of the EU financial universe and have attracted massive investment from overseas investors such as the car industry because of our skilled workforce, combined with free access to EU markets, all of which is under threat from #brexit.
“Oh but we are slaves of the EU politicians and their rules and laws”, says who? We always had the power to create our own laws, we had a veto to stop anything that we didn’t like to do with foreign affairs, laws, taxes and the EU budget, and since ‘None EU Immigration’ was a big issue, maybe people should have asked why successive governments failed to tackle it.
Tony Blair has of course come out of the woodwork again recently to try to do his bit for reversing the article 50 process but it was New Labour as much as any government, that led us to this position. Lets remember it was one of his MP’s who was witnessed saying the “British people where inherently racist” because of rising concerns of apparently uncontrolled immigration, and this was compounded by that fabulously excruciating moment when Gordon Brown accused a lady, who had expressed concern over immigration, of being an awful bigot, whilst still wearing a live Sky News radio microphone.
Political arrogance and complacency led us to the point where we had a vote to leave the EU (our best hope for future prosperity) in order to resolve problems not caused by the EU but by our own hopeless political elite.
Congratulations Britain, we freed ourselves from freedom.