Monday, 21 March 2016
I'm voting to leave because I want both sides to lose
I detest absolutely every single one of the people running the Remain campaign. They are uniformly patronising ideologue zealots. They are also lying bastards. I want them to lose.
But then my own side of this debate are mostly awful. Most eurosceptics are dogmatic, pig ignorant and superior. A great many of them are also racists. Ukip repulses me. I find them deeply unpleasant. I want them to lose as well. I want all of these people to lose. I nether want the depressing stagnation of EU subordination nor do I want to see Britain as an isolated, insular protectionist state. Thankfully, I can have my cake and eat it.
Y'see, by now the message is sinking in that Brexit isn't as simple as just knocking up a free trade agreement then hey presto we can slam the borders shut and burn all the EU rules. What Brexit means is the beginning of a long process of uncoupling. In this, we make strategic compromises and pragmatic shortcuts in order to put us on the path to where we want to be.
We'll most likely be joining Efta along with several ad-hoc trade alliances - and even if we did end freedom of movement, we would have a very liberal visa agreement with the EU. Britain has never been closed off, it has never had full border controls as some imagine and the ones who want that, when confronted with reality, are in the extreme minority. How they have held such sway over the debate for so long actually beats the hell out of me.
And though some expect that we will be having a purge of EU laws, we won't. At least not for a decade. It will be a gradual evolution where the worst is removed first and the common sense rules will stay in place. We will stick to existing arrangements for a long time to come until we design new and local means of administering agriculture, energy and fishing. That won't be happening in a hurry.
The Remain campaign are using the idea that Brexit will take years as a means of deterring people from voting out. That's their first major unforced error. By saying this they are effectively agreeing with us that Brexit is a process, it will take time, thus there is little uncertainty and no big shocks created by cliff edges.
What it is going to require is long and careful deliberations by the body politic. It is going to take rational, intelligent and disciplined minds going over the details with a fine tooth comb. As far as our politicians go, we will soon separate the wheat form the chaff. We will see who is capable and who is not. Very quickly it will become apparent that the Stella Creasys, Chuka Umunnas, the Andy Burnhams and the Tory blowhards are not up to the job.
Many of the trivial displacement obsessions of our media and politicians will have to go on the backburner, if not the scrap heap - and the dangerous, childlike fantasies that have become serious policy will have to go on the bonfire as the adults take control again. The bi-product of this can only be a revitalised media as it exposes the gossip columnists who regard themselves as gods gift to journalism. They will find they have to work for a living rather than churning out the same received wisdom and passing it off as expertise.
I may be being a little over optimistic, but I honestly don't see the likes of Karren Brady and the pseudo-celebs holding sway over politics as they have in recent years. People will be demanding answers from people who do know how things work. I see Brexit as a renaissance of politics. A gale of fresh air blowing through the corridors of Whitehall, ending a forty year orthodoxy where everything must be checked against the EU ledger to see if what the people demand is legal.
We will prune away the wastrels and start demanding local control of those things that have been confiscated by Westminster over the years. In turn we will see local politics taking on substantive issues once more - and maybe a light will be shone on the dismal corrupt corporate ineptitude of councils. It will be an amazing shake up that will focus minds and re-energise politics at every level. And in this there will be not time for petty squabbling because we will be fighting for our place in the world.
In this, parliament will be tasked with much of what the EU parliament is supposed to do in scrutinising the laws we will adopt, examining their potential impact, consulting the people who will be affected. While we can never say we will make all our own laws, we will have checks and balances that the EU cannot offer and we can decide who such rules reasonably apply to. In doing so, we then rediscover what our representatives are for: our line of defence rather than people we appoint to tell us what to do and how to live.
Both sides of this debate are offering up extremist ideas. At the Ukip ends we see a shrivelled, shrinking closed off view of Britain. On the other end we see a cynical bunch of authoritarians who believe that democracy is a regressive force and that people cannot be trusted with power over their own lives. They all need to be purged - and they will be when we leave the EU. It's going to be a challenge - and it will have risks, but the rewards are too great to pass up the opportunity. Should we squander this chance, this referendum will be the last time in a long time where your vote actually matters.