Tuesday, 3 May 2016
Spanner in the works
A few short weeks ago, the high and mighty, shitey-tightey piece of shit they’ve had to call President for the best part of a decade told Blighty to get to the back of the queue if she dared call time on the disastrous four-decade long EU dalliance. Yes, the weak and feeble cried, yes we must stay! Outside lies hunger and starvation and loneliness and decline. But inside, the machine will feed us and care for us and keep us warm. Stay, stay they pleaded, it’s so cold outside.
The overbearing, unaccountable European Union has been compared to the old USSR and echoes of 1984 appear in the news on an almost daily basis. The Ministry of Truth, the rewriting of history, but above all the aspiration to control every aspect of the lives of its citizens blinds it to the fighting instincts of human nature. If only the humanity could be bred or trained out of us entirely. The social engineering that has been more evident recently has borne down upon the last two generations as an apparently benevolent velvety-gloved fist... or a boot, stamping on a human face – forever.
1984 is, of course but one in a long line of allegories about big state control and the helplessness of the little people. Unlike many such apocalyptic visions it holds no hope for redemption; Big Brother always wins and the best you can hope for is that you want him to. If you encountered the absolute certainties of the Remainians outside of this context you could only conclude you were in the company of a cult member. The EU is unforgiving church, tough loving family and ruthless captor in alternate measures. Do as we say and we’ll stop beating you; you have the power to stop the pain
And the threats of beatings have been coming thick and fast of late, with talking head after talking head lining up to say how badly we will get bruised if we dare to take on the machine. Like the first Rocky movie, they land blow after blow but the underdog still has fight in him and just won’t stay down. Logan’s Run, The Matrix, The Island; all visions set in totalitarian regimes and in every one of them we root for the maverick. Nobody yearns for the machine to win. And yet in the most quoted allegory of all the future is bleak, fatalistic... WAR IS PEACE, FREEDOM IS SLAVERY, IGNORANCE IS STRENGTH ...this is the clear direction of travel of the EU story.
But a progenitor of all of these tales is E. M. Forster’s The Machine Stops, a tale of soft subjugation where divide and rule is taken to the ultimate degree. All are apparently served by the machine but give up their independence and freedom to do so. Who can deny that European leaders are building their machine with the collusion others and the exclusion of its populations from democratic choice? Is Greenpeace’s revelation of the aims of TTIP evidence for this? The Independent, a generally pro EU mouthpiece certainly seems to think so.
How we will remember washday in the EU
The most wondrous machines work best when their mechanisms are mysterious, unknown, yet perform an essential task and do so until a better alternative supercedes them. One day in the future the working parts of the EU will belong in a museum, alongside cassette recorders and washing dollies. One day, with our intervention or not, the EU machine will just stop.