Tuesday, 11 August 2015
Swinging the vote
Normal blog service is resumed following a couple of days of being incapable of sitting upright long enough to type the thing. I wish I could say I was that drunk, or so far incapacitated by hallucinogenic intoxicants I thought my fingers were enormous burning cauliflowers and too big to hit the keys accurately; sadly the real story, as is usually the way, is somewhat more prosaic. Damn you, lower back strain! (Surely there’s a much more complicated and tortuous phrase that doesn’t tell the truth that you just lifted and twisted like you’ve been told not to?)
Anyway, once again I was engaged in the odd sally regarding the supposedly forthcoming open and honest debate about Europe and the EU and how the vote will be won... or lost. And here, I think, lies the root of the problem; nobody - and I do mean nobody – knows how the UK would fare outside its suffocating embrace. So all the YES campaign has to do is stay all nice and fluffy, calm and controlled and act like your dad: “You may hate me now, son, but in the end you’ll see, I had your best interests at heart all along.” And given the current cost of housing the lad may well stay on in the family home... although the resentment will simmer beneath the surface forever. Prescient or what?
Meanwhile, the NO campaign is struggling to find a positive message for life beyond because, in the lives of most who will vote, there has never been a world outside the EU and for those who remember Britain before we were railroaded in, it was a pretty shitty time all round; two world wars and the poverty and blight that followed. Although many of those my age and older are anti-‘the EU’ a good proportion will abstain or vote to stay in because they believe their pensions depend on it. This means that the bias of the OUT campaign will necessarily be negative, stating what is wrong with the EU – principally the whole political union thing – rather than what could be beneficial for an independent UK.
Like general elections though, the majority of minds are already made up, with a near fifty/fifty split for each option, leaving only the undecided 20% of those who intend to vote to influence. For the IN lobby to be positive all they have to say is “Look what [unsubstantiated] bounty it brings.” and then point at all the signs that tell you how this school extension and that hospital wing has been built with EU grants, leaving out that the cost of a £50million EU grant is nothing for, say, Spain, but around £100million for the UK. When the NO movement points this out it is seen as mud slinging.
Logically, nobody unsure of the facts – and there are no verifiable ‘facts’ in this propaganda war – would vote to alter a status quo which offers them no apparent harm. And why would those who have never experienced self-determination chance their arm at going it alone? As defeatist as it may sound, a crowd-pleasing monstering campaign against the EU will be much like the Jeremy Corbyn circus – rousing cheers from the converted and the odd round of applause from curious bystanders, but at best a minority translation into actual votes from outside. My forecast, for what it’s worth, is a 60/40 IN vote and just like Scotland, much grumbling and unrest thereafter. The EU won't let go its grip until it ends in total failure.