On deadline day they crashed the system for voter registration – so they say. Some saw conspiracy when this reported event was immediately followed by an extension of the deadline by 48 hours, putting registration and validation perilously close to the possibility of legal challenge. There has been, they say, a last minute surge in younger people registering to vote, which is expected to benefit the Remain war effort. But then Abraham Baldry wrote in the Independent that young people won’t vote anyway because – wait for it – the Conservatives have put them off politics.
What bollocks. ‘The youth’ have been propagandised by the teaching and student unions all of their lives to believe the Tories are evil child molesters and rapacious slumlords and the only way to get them out is to vote. The reason young people don’t generally do so is that in their modern extended childhoods they have little interest beyond themselves. ‘Twas ever thus, except today there are many more distractions in the way of them growing up and taking responsibility. The biggest concern of generation snowflake seems to be their obsessive insistence that all of their ‘rights’ flow from membership of the EU; an impression the Tory machine is now happy to reinforce.
These will, of course, be the rights to self-identify at whim as whatever gender, race or perceived combination of impairments garners the most attention. Me, me, me has never been so accepted an orientation as it is now. Childish behaviour used to be frowned upon once the lofty status of ‘adult’ had been attained; now it is fawned upon. I don’t mean acting a bit daft from time to time; I’m referring to full-blown, slappable reversion to a childish insistence that the world be shaped to suit only you. Take George Osborne... no, really.
Last night, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, under questioning from Andrew Neil, responded like a petulant student being grilled about plagiarism. Somebody else had done his homework and Brillo wanted to get to the bottom of it. Where did the numbers come from? Why are you continuing to use discredited research? Why didn’t you show your working? You and Christine copied each other’s homework, didn’t you? In response, Osborne’s ‘debating technique’ seemed to consist of outright denial (“I never!”) deflection (“It wasn’t me!”) and repetition of worn tropes no matter how hackneyed.
I wouldn’t have been surprised had his argument been to insist it wasn’t fair and to repeat back Andrew Neil’s statements in a mocking, sing-song voice, or to demand “No, YOU explain it, fatty!” At one point the discussion concentrated on Cameron’s ‘renegotiation’ and the issue of migrant benefits. Despite only marginal and ineffective concessions on the entitlement of visitors to claim UK welfare cash, Osborne insisted over and over again on sticking to the transparently fraudulent claims of his boss. If the ‘yoof’ have learned one thing it is that adults eventually tire of trying to engage with them and move on.
I think Andrew Neil missed a trick. The hot issue in this debate is the lack of control the UK has within Europe to control who comes here and how they are treated. The question shouldn’t be about how long EU citizens have to be in the UK before they can claim benefits, but why we are compelled to pay British taxpayers money to people of other nationalities in the first place. Low paid migrant workers will never make any financial contribution to Britain’s economy (currently we need a tax take of £7,500 a head just to balance the books) so subsidising them seems to be madness. It’s not about the economy, stupid!
Of course I know how the economy works!
You can talk about reciprocity all you like but the idea that you can go anywhere in the EU and live off benefits paid for by their citizens is a crock. It could only possibly find acceptance if there really was a single country called Europe and nobody in their right mind wants that. (Do they?) That gigantic, controlling edifice is exactly the sort of thing you end up with when you let children demand ever greater rights, by law, to never to have to face up to reality. It’s time Osborne was made to face the reality that haunts so many citizens of the EU. Joblessness.
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