Zealotry, pessimism, denialism, idiocy, treachery, materialism and sloth – the Seven Deadly Sins of those campaigning for Britain to remain in the European Union
The Financial Times reports on German moves to bring long-simmering plans for an eventual European army back to the boil with the submission of a significant new white paper – the release of which has been conveniently deferred until Britain’s EU referendum is concluded:
Germany is to push for progress towards a European army by advocating a joint headquarters and shared military assets, according to defence plans that could ricochet into Britain’s EU referendum campaign.
Although Berlin has long paid lip-service to forming a “European defence union”, the white paper is one of the most significant for Germany in recent years and may be seized by anti-integration Brexit campaigners as a sign where the bloc is heading.
Initially scheduled to emerge shortly before the June 23 referendum vote but now probably delayed to July, the draft paper seen by the Financial Times outlines steps to gradually co-ordinate Europe’s patchwork of national militaries and embark on permanent co-operation under common structures.
[..] At the European level, the paper calls for “the use of all possibilities” available under EU treaties to establish deep co-operation between willing member states, create a joint civil-military headquarters for EU operations, a council of defence ministers, and better co-ordinate the production and sharing of military equipment.
“The more we Europeans are ready to take on a greater share of the common burden and the more our American partner is prepared to go along the road of common decision-making, the further the transatlantic security partnership will develop greater intensity and richer results,” the paper states.
This is not shocking. This is not surprising. This is what the gradual creep toward European political union looks like. Proposals like this are raised before being quietly deprioritised, seemingly dropped in the face of political backlash, only to be resurrected and advanced once more, each time gaining a little more ground until the end result is achieved – not necessarily by its original name (as with the Constitution) but always in practical effect. No never means no with the European Union. It simply means brief retrenchment before pressing ahead the same thing with a slightly different label.
At this point I do not know what more can be said, what further evidence can be presented, to convince people that the European Union is not the benign, happy-go-lucky club of friendly countries occasionally coming together on a super voluntary basis to fight crime, Save the Earth and braid each other’s hair that they are so desperate to believe it to be.
The EU is not shy about its intended direction of travel. None of the EU’s “founding fathers” were remotely shy about what they wanted their creation to become. For all of its bureaucracy, the Brussels machinery is usually quite transparent in its workings, for those with the patience to look and discover what they do in our name. And yet there persists a massive disconnect between the European Union’s own self-declared purpose and the way in which it is perceived and portrayed in Britain.
I once ran for the train at London Euston station, intending to go to the city of Wolverhampton (don’t ask why). But I didn’t look closely enough at the departure screen, and accidentally boarded the service to Manchester, engrossed on a phone call, only realising my error when the train first stopped at Stoke-on-Trent. But crucially, once I realised my mistake I did not stay on the train in the forlorn hope that by staying in my seat I might still somehow end up in the West Midlands. No – I got off the train and rectified the error. I did so because like most people, on matters of travel I am capable of perceiving and understanding objective reality – in this case, the reality that I was sitting on a train taking me at great speed to somewhere I had no wish to go. My destination and that of the other passengers were irreconcilably different.
As it was with my ill-fated train adventure, so it is with Britain, currently being borne along on the semi-fast service to European political integration. It should now be abundantly clear to everyone that the destination is not “friendly trade and cooperation” as the EU’s desperate apologists claim, and yet many wavering voters still believe that if they close their eyes, ignore the mounting signs and stay fearfully on the train, it will take them somewhere acceptable.
And I don’t get it. I just do not understand those of my fellow countrymen who are educated people and not hardcore European federalists – people who do not want Britain to become subsumed into a European political union or cast aside as the rejected half-member with no influence on the periphery – but who nonetheless intend to vote Remain in this EU referendum. I’m not being dramatic. I have tried very hard to put myself in the position of a soft Remain supporter, and I can no longer do it. Clearly I have passed the Brexiteer event horizon and can no longer turn back, not that I wish to. And I speak as a former hardcore euro-federalist (back in my student days).
Basically, to vote Remain in this EU referendum, one quite simply has to either:
1. Be a committed euro-federalist, eager for a United States of Europe
2. Understand that this is the end goal, abhor it, but think so little of Britain’s prospects as an independent, globally-engaged nation that being part of such a European state seems like the “least worst” option
3. Summon enormous powers of denial in order to ignore the EU’s trajectory and accept at face value David Cameron’s fraudulent assertion that he has secured meaningful concessions from Brussels
4. Be incredibly ignorant of recent history and basic, easy to research facts
5. Actively wish harm to one’s own country and democracy
But perhaps that is not entirely fair. As I wrote recently, I can see how some voters – particularly those from my own Millennial generation – might choose to prioritise short term financial stability over long-term democratic health, though I think that such people seriously underestimate the risks inherent in surrendering the last vestiges of our democracy to an unaccountable supra-national government. And of course some people are just incredibly apathetic.
So there are also the further two possibilities:
6. Self-centred materialism
7. Laziness and apathy concerning an issue of fundamental importance
That’s it. Those are the choices. Zealot, pessimist, denialist, idiot, traitor, materialist or sloth.
If you are planning to vote Remain in the EU referendum, which one are you?
Agree with this article? Violently disagree? Scroll down to leave a comment.