In case of a Remain vote, brace for impact…
Pete North fears the consequences of a Remain vote:
If Britain votes to remain in the EU we will have permanently forfeited most of our rights to influence policy over trade, fishing, aid, energy and agriculture. These are absolutely crucial to our overall domestic industrial policy and these areas have a profound impact on our lives and our economy. Having sealed the deal to no longer take an interest in such affairs, parliament will be able to seal itself into its tiny little bubble where reality may never intrude. It will be the absolute final death of adult politics.
As much as Britain will withdraw from the world, it will largely delegate the important policy areas to the EU technocrats and will instead be fixated permanently on the minutia of our lives. Controlling what we do and our individual choices is all that will be left for them to influence.
And so I can see Britain becoming a distinctly illiberal place, where politicians use their remaining powers to restrict our personal freedoms in what we do, what we consume and what we say to one another. They will become ever more controlling over things which are none of their business. I see a political system making itself wholly redundant and resorting to displacement activity to fill the void.
Consequently the public debate will be an ever more diminished one, where the House of Commons becomes a gallery for vanity and virtue signalling. To many extents we are already there but a remain vote pretty much seals our fate.
It’s hard to disagree with this assessment. Unless, of course, one inhabits the EU apologists’ alternate universe, where a Remain vote signals a new era of enthusiastic British leadership in the European Union (despite not being a member of the euro or Schengen), and the EU starts falling over itself in its desire to reform and respond to the individual concerns of member states.
In Owen Jones / David Cameron / Jeremy Corbyn La-La Land, having positively re-affirmed our commitment to the EU with a Remain vote we will all join hands beneath a rainbow and “work together” to solve the intractable crises and internal contradictions of this creaking, mid century-era political union with a snap of the fingers. But for those of us back on planet Earth, the next few years will actually be profoundly depressing.
I do not see this coming without a price to pay. Certainly I don’t see that I have a place in the new model of post-democratic politics. We will have a political class which does not believe in Britain’s capabilities and lacks the will to govern.
We will be an insular country of diminished significance having turned our back on global participation. We will have empty shells of political parties neither of which are worth a vote. And voting to be rid of them will accomplish little. We have seen how the system neatly castrates insurgent parties and we have see how those not native to the system can be marginalised. There will be no value in voting.
And when it comes to Euro-elections, where we have the dubious honour of selecting overpaid button pushers to rubber stamp global regulations, the details of which are already decided, we will, at best, send the very worst of what we have in protest. If we even bother at all that is. I won’t.
We will in effect be an occupied country where there is no value in participating in the public debate since the conclusion of any debate will simply not translate into policy or reform.
Consequently politics as a subject heading will be a subheading of light entertainment, where if anybody holding any expertise wishes to influence policy they will depart for Geneva and never look back. Anyone with a hectoring and nannying agenda though, will head for the Westminster gossip bubble.
Meanwhile the disconnect between the governed and the governors will grow. From there, there are only two paths. Permanent idiocracy or a furious backlash the likes we have not seen for generations. There is always a price for turning our backs on democracy. Always.
This echoes my own thoughts exactly – it is not coincidental that our politicians increasingly seek to meddle in the minutiae of our lives at the very time they are divesting themselves of ever more power and responsibility for any of the truly big political and ideological questions.
And this is the reason why I simply cannot fathom so many people from outside of politics – usually the first ones to grumble about the state of the nation – enthusiastically cheerleading for the status quo and our continued participation in the EU.
Do these people like the fact that voter apathy is a major problem? Do they rejoice in the fact that all of the main political parties in Westminster fit within such a narrow ideological window that the views of many are entirely excluded? Are they happy that the British people have not been called on to strive together towards an important goal of any kind in nearly seventy years, and that we are increasingly a nation of passive, whiny consumers of public services? And assuming they are not happy with the status quo, how on earth to they think that any of this is likely to change while the single biggest drain on our democracy, independence and entrepreneurialism remains intact?
Already we have a parliament in Westminster stuffed to the rafters with politicians who would rather make grandstanding anti-austerity speeches in the hope of going viral on YouTube or wax lyrical about banning Donald Trump from our shores in a dismal act of virtue signalling than actually get to grips with policy. If we continue to divest power and sovereignty to the EU (and as Cameron’s fraudulent renegotiation shows, we sure as hell ain’t getting any of it back) then how is the calibre of our own politicians going to do anything other than decline yet further?
And yes, there will ultimately be a backlash. Pete is right. You can just about get away with governing in an aloof, high-handed and profoundly anti-democratic manner when you are delivering rip roaring economic growth – just ask the dictators of China. But in a mature advanced economy facing serious structural issues, the government can do little to distract us from the gaping chasm where real local democracy and an informed citizenry should be.
At some point the divergence will become too great. The EU’s primary purpose is to steadily integrate the various member states toward the goal of political and economic union – the common European state spoken of so fondly by Francois Hollande last year. This objective overrides everything else. Certainly, trivial matters like mass unemployment in Spain, Italy and Greece are utterly irrelevant compared to the obsessive desire to unite the continent under a single currency and government. The EU simply doesn’t care.
Of course, when the mass political disengagement and civil disorder comes, all of those now eagerly chanting hymns of praise to the EU and encouraging us to vote Remain will feign utter shock. In some cases it may even be genuine. But the blame will lie squarely with them.
For despite our material progress and the current flourishing of London as the world’s capital city, Britain is on a negative democratic trajectory right now, and a vote to remain in the EU is nothing less than a vote to pitch the nose downward a few degrees and turn up the throttle.
And the ground will make no distinction between Remainer or Brexiteer as it rushes up to meet us.
Top Image: Business Insider
Agree with this article? Violently disagree? Scroll down to leave a comment.