Do I Vote?

Do I vote on Thursday?

Here in the UK, I’m supposed to do my meagre part in electing a Member of the European Parliament, yet I know very little about the running or conduct of that institution.  In this, I am not alone.  This is anecdotal, but I am prepared to bet only a very small percentage of my fellow electorate understand who they are voting for, or what alliances they will follow.

In UK general elections we vote using a most-votes-wins system, commonly called ‘first past the post’.  The D’Hont proportional representation system used for EU elections asks us to vote for our chosen political party and the party then allocates seats to selected candidates according to their percentage of the total vote.  So although the candidates’ names will be listed for the party of my choice I will not directly influence the choice of candidate:  that will be up to the party.

Once elected, the candidates will ally themselves to party groups within the EP, groups with names quite different to their party label in the UK.  Members of the UK Brexit party, for example, are likely to align with the Europe of Freedom and Direct Democracy (EFDD) group.  Others may choose the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe (ALDE) or the European Conservatives and Reformists (ECR).   Some may select the Greens/EFA.  I know about the Greens, but EFA?  Well, that’s the European Free Alliance which is an association of smaller parties, one of which is called the European Pirates Party!!

A massive disconnect exists between the British system of personal accountability and this complex, remote, mildly patrician institution, separated from the UK by more than the English Channel’s defensive ditch.  Few will feel any connection to it, and fewer understand the gurglings in its politically bilious maw.  Its edicts are impersonal, then, and often ill-judged; its laws inappropriate to an island nation.  The British are ferociously independent, and they conspicuously resent anyone who tries to tell them what to do.

Thursday will add a further layer of perplexity.  Whomsoever wins will most probably be a member of the new Brexit Party or UKIP (United Kingdom Independence Party), and therefore opposed to the institution they are legally required to join.  If the received wisdom is to be believed, they will then be forced to surrender their seats when the UK finally leaves the EU on 29th October.

These new ‘Members’ or MEPs will by then have been in place for four months.  The election that put them there will have consumed £100,000,000 of taxpayers’ money, which is clearly a very expensive fiasco unless there is an underlying intent to abandon the whole Brexit project, ignore the democratic process and keep the UK in the Federalist Union.

It is easy to become paranoid in British politics at the moment.  Machiavellian ‘Remainers’ are busy in the woodwork, digging new tunnels and hatching new plots.  Ever since a referendum came in with a result they did not want to hear they have been feverishly scheming, and it wouldn’t surprise me in the least if they produced another rabbit from their collective hat.

So, do I vote?  Do I contribute to this devious debacle, this deliberate travesty?

If I do, it will be to add my ‘cross’ to the millions of others our self-serving and arrogant ‘leaders’ will be compelled to find reasons to ignore.

Let’s Discuss Nationalism.

 

Particularly, let’s talk about Britain and its relationship, or its lack of a relationship, with the European Union.

Examine the validity of arguments for a United Europe, a ‘New World Order’ and its associated myths.  Internationalism is an ideology, not a possibility.  Discuss.

I am an English national who voted to leave the European Union.   This will not be a surprise, given my opening comments.  That I am an older voter is self-evident, that I am therefore by definition senile is a judgement I would hotly contest.

Am I nostalgic?   No.

Do I want to return to days of Empire and solitary glory?  No.

Before the Treaty of Maastricht and its love child, the Treaty of Amsterdam, I had hopes of becoming a ‘European’.  I declared myself as such – I gladly espoused the cause of world unity and I saw the promise of a slow, careful expansion of common interest as nations across the continent joined hands.

What happened?  A hijacking.  Overnight, the bureaucrats moved in; unelected, and with no mandate from the majority in the member states.  Overnight, almost, the original twelve member states became 27; rapidly and without planning.

I am a sentient human being who recognises that:

a:  political structures headed by bureaucrats do not work;  and

b:  A ponderous union of 27 countries many of whom have virulently hated each other’s guts for centuries, who share no common language, cannot be patched into a cohesive whole by anything short of a miracle, and miracles don’t happen.

I haven’t won the lottery yet, either.  The odds stack up about the same.

The dream died.  It died at Maastricht.

So…

Do I want to live in an independent, dynamic Britain, free to take its place in the world?  Yes.

Do I want to see the people of Britain determine the future of Britain?  Yes.

On a conspicuously memorable date in 2016 the government of the day, conscious of a steadily rising swell of discontent, decided to actually ask the voters – real people – if they wanted to leave this bloated, federalist EU.  They said yes.

It was an unexpected answer – it sent shock-waves through the pseudo-intellectual metropolitan elite and shook the putty from the windows of those who actually score from having no boundaries between nations, the big multi-national corporations, the financial institutions, the academic community, and the criminals.

So accustomed have our politicians become to manipulating public opinion, no-one in the ‘Westminster Bubble’ believed that an outbreak of common sense could happen.  Once they realised it had happened, they set in motion the biggest campaign of mud-slinging and deliberate scare tactics I think the British public has ever seen.

They galvanised a sympathetic media into action.  They compiled a small dictionary of gloom, utilising terms like ‘falling off a cliff’, ‘walking blindfolded into catastrophe’ and ‘the disaster of a no deal’ and fed it to the press pack.

A BBC reporter or presenter could no more omit a deleterious ‘Brexit’ reference from a news report or general interest item than they could appear in the month before Remembrance Day without sporting a poppy.

The Prime Minister managed to shelve the whole thing for nearly two years and then set in motion a sort of wheedling apology that masqueraded as a negotiating approach to the EU bureaucrats – a tactic meant to imply that the ‘leave’ voters were either deluded old fools or naughty children who hadn’t grown up.

The harsh truth I would wish you to consider is:

Those whose weeping and wailing is the loudest heard are those who represent the fatted calf of corporate capitalism, the big bonus guys, the golden parachute guys.  The industrialist who charges you thirty K for a car he made for 3.5 K, the multi-national producer of the incredibly shrinking candy bar, the purveyor of lorry-loads of sheep on three-days-long journeys from nation to nation in conditions that are conspicuously cruel and will only end in their slaughter.

The point I want to drive home is one for the little guys, because crushed beneath the thirty-stone arses of these corporate slobs is a fresh, vital queue of business wannabes who, given their chance to shine, can secure the future of this vibrant land three times over.   Britain has the ideas, the resources and the sheer talent to succeed far, far better on its own than as the member of an asset-stripping club like the EU.

We have so much to offer the world, and a world ready to listen to what we say.  We have the right to enact our own laws, to fish our own waters, to retain tax owed on British sales, and not have it leeched from our system by Luxembourg, or Dublin.

I beg you to think, as I have thought, about where your loyalties lie.  Sadly, all Europe ever wanted to do with our country was raid it for its natural advantages.   The truth of the European Federal State is that it is a leaking, institutionally corrupted hulk desperately in search of a sandbank to stop it from disappearing beneath the waves.

Leave them to it.  Become British and become proud of who you are.  Demand that those for whom you voted do your will.

Just leave.

 

 

Brexit; a Pointless Referendum

Cameron
…and a year’s supply of free pate…

 

Referendums are exceptional in UK, but it is likely one will take place this summer.  In a very little time loyal subjects of HM Queen Ltd are going to be allowed to vote ‘remain’ so they can stay not quite part of the European Union.  Of course, an illusion of a free vote on such an important issue must be maintained, so there will also be an option to vote ‘leave’ the EU altogether.  My advice is, don’t bother with it.

Those who think for us are anxious that a substantial number will select that option.  But not too many.  It would be embarrassing, after all, if the ‘remain’ vote was 70 or 80%.  Allegations of ballot-rigging would abound, protest groups would make inconvenient noises.  No, a sixty-forty split in favour of remaining should be sufficient, and could be proclaimed a ‘landslide’.  The people would have made a truly democratic decision – wouldn’t they?

The truth is, most democratic choices are reached undemocratically.  Unless someone behaves exceptionally clumsily, the choice with the most money behind it always triumphs.

As an exceptional curmudgeon and inveterate old-stager, I look back with nostalgic affection to days when simple propaganda was the parent of choice – when we, the rebellious people could be persuaded by a leaflet or two, a ‘Government Information’ film, or an authoritative  educational lecture to see the error of our ways and return to the fold of opinion advocated by the great and the good.  A stentorian voice would instruct us to put aside foolish dreams of freedom and individuality, and we would obey.   A penny off the tax on alcohol, threepence off tobacco would induce us to simper pleasingly and rest content.

No more.

I marvel at the array of tools which augment the present day spin-artist’s box.  Democratic manipulation is an intricate art, and rather like the Rolls Royce which is the last fading symbol of British engineering, its function should be as undetectable as it is silent, working smoothly beneath a well-polished exterior.   To assist our informed choice all the arguments in favour of staying with the EU or leaving it will be put, all information our masters feel we need  will be fed to us.  Coverage of salient points and consequences which affect us most will be impeccably balanced while that big engine murmurs discreetly, driving the ‘remain’ vote relentlessly forward.

On the face of it, the ‘remain’ crowd have a difficult task to convince us.   Like so many innocent children the ideal of a Common Market grew up to be a hideous monster.  It has few pretensions to democracy, and many ambitions as a neo-communist state.

Das Kapital (formerly known as Brussels) makes the rules, issuing random edicts from behind featureless doors whilst exacting tribute of millions of pounds every day.   Membership has destroyed Britain’s fishing industry and well nigh a third of the world’s prime fishing grounds, inflicted a common agricultural policy which works very effectively if you own a French smallholding, and bestowed laws upon us which, though commendable in theory, make their simplest practical applications expensive and unworkable.

So tightly stitched is the bureaucratic sack not one of these issues was even up for negotiation when our Prime Minister and knight crusader, David Cameron, sallied forth to challenge the Faceless Ones; to throw down the gauntlet on subjects such as immigration and Benefits, promising us he would sow the seeds for ‘real change’ within the European Union.   The Faceless Ones made some noises.  Cameron came home with a purse full of very watered down concessions to feed to the serfs; concessions, it turns out, that could be contrary to International Law, and likely to be voted out anyway by the European Parliament once his referendum is safely over.

No ‘real change’ then?

Honestly?  None.  Affecting change in the EU is a thankless task, unless it is undertaken by the core members, France and Germany.  Every door knocked responds with the same bland ‘occupé’.   So how does that immaculate engine ensure GB votes ‘remain’?

 

Well, bearing in mind that the balance of argument must be preserved, the spinners turn to those who are making the argument:  thus, all who support the ‘remain’ cause should be seen as upright and dependable, with a fairly low bureaucratic profile.  Those arguing to ‘leave’ must be high profile, iconoclastic figures given to excitement, air-headedness and cant.  Of course, you can find examples of each character type in either camp:  the skill exists in massaging public perception.   Thus Boris Johnson of the wild hair who wants us to vote ‘leave’ is something of a coup for the ‘remain’ camp.  We British, you see, don’t really like the amiable eccentric, no matter how clever and politically astute.  We abominate political falsehood, yet we recoil from those who tell us the truth.Viking Boris

 

(aside:  a current British nightmare is the prospect of Donald Trump as President of USA, Boris Johnson as UK Prime Minister, and Vladimir Putin as President of Russia – it could just happen!)

 

For or against, all those to whom we bend an ear must make their case in interview.  And the interviews will be strictly impartial in all respects, except in the opinions of the interviewer.  A good journalist can always swing an argument in his favour, without putting a word out of place.

 

Then there is fear.  The remain camp have all manner of ‘fear’ arguments to justify membership.  If we leave, we are told, our economy will collapse, our export trade with Europe will become complex and difficult.   The value of the Pound will diminish.  There will be unaccountable natural disasters and we shall all have to move to Bradford.

 

A few examples, then, of the spinner’s craft.  These incipient messages are carefully managed and discreetly scattered so we hear them whilst still believing we are being offered balanced argument.  The advantages of unfettered immigration will be propounded – after all the British Isles can safely nurture a population of two hundred million before the entire country is concreted over and people begin to fall off the edge.  Wise and logical warnings – that our health service, our social services, our police force and our infrastructure are already stretched to breaking point – will be gently tilthed over by entreaties for common humanity and the need for compassion, thus paving the road for anyone who preaches prudence to be treated with righteous disdain.

Only if the vote to ‘remain’ looks seriously jeopardised will the big guns come out.   Only then will the vote-winners which are known to always sway the serfs be brought into play: higher interest rates and more taxation.   By the 23rd June, when the referendum takes place, the machine will have ensured that the balance is safely in the ‘remain’ pocket.  However, should a disaster occur and we outdistance the  opinion polls; should a ‘leave’ vote prevail, no matter:  the government will step back, enter a protracted exit negotiation, the EU will dangle a few more meaningless carrots and a second referendum with subtly altered wording will follow.

So, my message to anyone who is interested:  vote ‘remain’ on June 23rd.  It will save us all a lot of trouble.