When will they invent a cure for euroscepticism?
Well, it’s official. Caring about democracy, taking an interest in how we choose to govern ourselves and thinking like an engaged citizen rather than a terrified consumer are symptoms of madness, or a highly contagious disease of some kind.
Dan Hodges laments:
Boris Johnson is mayor of the world’s greatest capital city. He is currently the bookies favourite to be next prime minister of the United Kingdom. And yet the madness has claimed him too.
As it must claim anyone who signs up to the Out campaign’s cause. Because insanity is not a by-product of the Out campaign. It is at the core of its offer.
For Out to win they know they must first destroy reason. They must convince a majority of mature, rational British adults that we should withdraw from our largest, most profitable trading block just at the very moment the world is teetering on the brink of another global recession. They know they must convince them of the wisdom of turning our back on our most important diplomatic partnerships just as Vladimir Putin is casting his malign eye westwards. They know they must convince them the Britain should attempt to face – in isolation – the most significant refugee crisis and terror threat since the war.
And so to do that, they are trying to spread the contagion. Not though rational argument. No[t], actually, through fear. But simply by trying to drag an entire nation through the looking glass. To convince us all to see the same upside down world they see whenever the hear the name “Europe”.
And concludes, hopefully:
This is what this debate is doing to otherwise sane, intelligent people. It is literally making them incapable of confronting the realities of the world we face in 2016. They are being forced to flee through time, back to the windswept beaches of France, or the dusty hilltop forts of the Raj.
And there, huddled round their camp fires, belting out another lusty rendition the Eton Boating song, they will lose. The voters are hardly enamoured of Europe. They are concerned by immigration, and creeping ECHR restrictions. They have a healthy lack of respect for Euro officialdom. A few still hanker for a prawn cocktail crisp.
But they look at the Out campaign, and they know. They look at those advocating withdrawal, and they can sense it. An inflection in the voice. A glint in the eye. They can see they are afflicted with The Fever.
Soon it will be over. Britain will vote. Britain will vote to remain In the European Union. And then, hopefully, our friends will be returned to us.
I’m going to do something I almost never do, and let this one pass without comment. Because although I profoundly disagree with Dan’s view of Brexit, when it comes to the way the major Leave campaigns jostling for official designation are conducting themselves, there is absolutely nothing I can say in their defence.
It is hard to fight back against the trope that dissenting from European political union by stealth is equivalent to the pathology of “Europhobia” when some people – either losing sight of the grand prize or never having understood it in the first place – are determined to live up to their own worst stereotypes.
One quick suggestion, though. If we are indeed to remain “friends” once this bitterly contested referendum is over, it might be wise for those on the Remain side to stop pathologising their opponents.
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