Saturday, 31 May 2014
Don’t even think about it
Remind me, again, of the relevance of John Major? All of a sudden the dinosaurs are being wheeled out to warn of the murky waters beyond the known world, the leviathans that lurk where the charts end and the deep, dark seas of despair that await all who would venture beyond the maternal embrace of Mother Europe. Ken Clarke, of course, never went away, but it seems that his constant insistence that life outside Europe would be a geo-political death sentence is no longer enough.
What the grey man said was that a British departure was unthinkable, by which he meant a waggy fingered “Don’t even think about it.” He even used that form of words on Radio 4 yesterday morning. Furthermore he insisted that David Cameron would emerge triumphant from reform negotiations and we would all move forward in harmony and peace and prosperity. I thought it was interesting how he was happy to predict the positive outcome of a process that has always failed in the past, yet utterly denounced the possibility that an independent Britain might not only survive but thrive, free from its Eurochains.
As evidence of Cameron’s statesmanlike stature Major cited his supposed negotiated reduction in the EU budget over a year ago, which fabricated victory was not only effectively rebuffed by every analyst in the land at the time, but has also been comprehensively trashed by last week’s demand for a half-billion quid more from British coffers. It’s fitting that the best example he could offer of Britain’s negotiating power was an abject failure to negotiate a single thing of substance.
If you want more examples just look at forty years progressive loss of sovereignty despite all the promises and posturing. “Up yours, Delors”? Don’t make me laugh. The EU institutions ride contemptuously roughshod over the wishes of formerly independent nations and the best that those nations’ leaders can offer is to repeat John Major’s advice “don’t even think about it”. But the prospects for a Britain outside the EU is exactly what we should be thinking about. And thinking about it long and hard and often and openly.
Because, if we don’t, there will be nothing to debate come a possible 2017 referendum. If people quietly lie down and “don’t even think about it” we will have a referendum that effectively asks you to choose between a well-rehearsed and heavily-funded ‘IN’ position which has been quietly propagandising for years with fearful predictions for calamity on Brexit, and a poorly researched ‘OUT’ campaign that asks you to vote on a gut feeling that we might be better off out. The in campaign needs no evidence, its job has already been done, but the out camp needs to do some real leg work to counter the non-arguments of the ardent Europhiles.
Be brave, be for Brexit
Whether your doubts are based on the loss of control of our national borders and laws, or the detachment and indifference of the political establishment; whether your antipathy for the EU is based on the over-regulation of your thoughts and actions; or whether you oppose major policies on energy, climate, economics and trade, if you want a genuinely informed and fair ballot the OUT lobby has to offer a viable vision of Britain outside the EU. If it doesn’t, the vote will go only one, predictable way and we will be dragged, not even screaming, deeper into a mongrel country called Europe. I don’t even want to think about that.