Sunday, 2 April 2017
So who else is bored of remainer finger-wagging?
As a seasoned Brexit campaigner, having fought for this outcome all of my adult life, I have noticed (and I'm sure I am not alone in this) that the very shrillest of the remain movement tend to be a crowd who have never previously paid all that much attention to the EU - or politics in general.
This is something I'm finding especially irritating this week. You may have noticed that my word of the week is "supercilious" for that is exactly what they are. Twitter is awash with these types wagging their fingers at leavers. I'm not putting up with it.
One thing about us leavers is that we are very much single issue obsessives. David Cameron was quite correct when he said all the right ever did was "bang on about Europe" - but for good reason. We know better than anyone what the EU is, how it works, or rather how it doesn't work, and its track record of failure. We have charted it over a decade or more.
From the egregious failures of the Euro to the more corrosive aspects of its trade policy to the low grade corruption and fraud - we have seen it all. To the remainers though, it seems to be all about how it affects them - and their rights. Nevermind that most never utilise any of these rights and that most are not worth the paper they are written on. All of a sudden this anonymous entity to which they give zero attention has taken on messianic properties. It is as much an article of faith beyond any scepticism as the NHS.
What I find so offensive about it is that the EU is antiethical to virtually every mainstream left wing platform. From the rape of African seas to the aggressive trade policies screwing Kenya, to the corporatisation of farming - turning mainland European agriculture into an oligarchy. Oh and let's not forget and unreformable fishing policy that has driven a number of species to the brink of extinction.
There was a time when the left used to care about ethical foreign policy - and to a point still does when they can wag a finger at the USA, but there seems to be a blind spot when it comes to the EU. In a lot of respects the British left and right have switched places. The right seems to bang on more about this stuff than the left does - simply to highlight the hypocrisy.
What's interesting is that none of this seems to rate with remainers. It's like when there's an earthquake in some far away province in the back hills of god-knows-where killing several thousand people - but it only makes the news if there are British casualties. I notice just yesterday one of the largest ships in the world sank off Uruguay with twenty two missing crew. The Marshall Islands-flagged VLOC had crew of 16 Filipinos and eight Koreans. I have yet to see anything in UK media. I doubt I will.
There is good reason why leavers are unhinged about the EU. It's not about blue passports and restoring the empire. It may be for octogenarian Tories but for the rest of us the EU represents the creation of a world power that is just a destructive as the USA but not in any way accountable for its manifest failings.
The catalogue of EU failures is a rich and diverse one. One wonders if there would be a conflict in Ukraine had the EU been more careful in its approach to securing the association agreement. There was a real opportunity to de-escalate tensions with Russia yet now we are looking at a second cold war. So much for keeping the peace.
All of this though is blithely written off with the ignorant assertion that we could stay in the EU and reform it. We leavers have heard that lie repeated for two decades. Serious reform does not come without reform of the treaties - which David Cameron proved could not be done. The EU even said so. They bent as far as they were willing and that was barely at all. If I have learned anything about the EU in the last decade it's that what is broken tends to stay broken.
The problem for us leavers though is that the EU has a very cushy PR set up. It manages to appropriate credit when things go right and pushes the blame on to member states when things go wrong. It's no coincidence that the EU is seen as a benevolent entity to the uninitiated. In the eyes of remainers national governments are the manifestation of all that is evil in the world while the EU government is puppies, rainbows and kittens.
Course, I'm being a little unfair here in tarring all remainers with the same brush but that does really seem to be the order of the day. If I have to wear being a "xenophobic little englander craving for days of empire and a blue passport" then remainers have to wear being historically and politically ignorant virtue-signalling, issue-illiterate narcissists. Wag that finger in my direction and I shall break it off.
Whether or not Brexit proves to be a remedy to what ails us remains to be seen. For a long time I rather suspect it won't be. What I am certain of though is that the EU was not going to change nor were the terms of our relationship with it - and we can only ever expect cosmetic structural reform. Politically and economically we have reached a stalemate that isn't going anywhere and politics is suffocating because of it.
I don't see it as any coincidence that recent times have seen a rise in populist movements and anti-EU sentiment. Citizens from Birmingham to Budapest are starting to recognise that government and policy is no longer in their hands - and that the EU is not a democracy. They have realised that their political elites are in thrall to the EU delusion and no longer serve the people they notionally represent. Brexit at least starts the ball rolling on tangible change.
We don't know just yet how Brexit will pan out. More than likely the Tories will make a pigs ear of it and we will pay a far higher price than we ever needed to. A lot of damage will be done. Then and only then will we see any kind of serious enquiry as to how our politics could have failed us so badly. That will be the beginning of a renewal process in our politics. Brexit has everyone's full attention and the once politically passive remain crowd are now interested in adult politics. I'm not seeing a down side.
For the moment the Tories look like they have an untouchable lead but this cannot last. The Tories are every bit as much a zombie party as Labour. They just don't know it yet. Their Brexit failures will catch up on them and it will become apparent that neither party offers any solutions - nor indeed does the present model of government. Even before the spectre of Brexit it was abundantly clear to everyone that politics was in a death spiral. As much as anything the vote to leave was a vote of revulsion at our own political class.
Those of us who did vote to leave knew full there would be consequences but considered the present political settlement so abhorrent we were willing to risk radical change. We don't need any lectures. I don't see that we had any other choice. No other vote was going to change anything and the EU was not going to reform. We have forced the issue - and now change is finally happening. It's the one opportunity we will have in our lifetimes to reshape politics for the next generation. I don't see that they would thank us for leaving things as they are.