Wednesday, 22 June 2016

The Red Queen's Brexit race

Here's this blogger's obligatory post on how I've decided decided to vote in the EU referendum tomorrow (I'll be voting to stay). It's not chiefly because I think that the Leave campaign has told more and bigger fibs than the Remain side. It's not even the contemptible racism, xenophobia and scapegoating being encouraged by politicians playing the migrant card.*

I'm mainly pro-Remain because (as I've mentioned in passing before) Brexit would mean the UK wasting years duplicating things we already have in place.

The Leave camp makes a lot of "yuge" Trumpian boasts about how the UK could negotiate a series of "winning " deals, which may or may not come to pass (given that we'd lose the clout of being part of a trading alliance of 500 million people and would, like Switzerland and Norway,** still have to abide by many of its rules, I'm pretty sceptical that a bit of The Art of the Deal-style hustling would fill the gap). But what we do know is that a lot of that deal-making activity would be squandered in simply renegotiating 100+ trade deals we already have in place. Why would you want to move to a place where you had to keep running just to stay in more or less the same place, if you had an alternative?

'Now! Now!' cried the Queen. 'Faster! Faster!' And they went so fast that at last they seemed to skim through the air, hardly touching the ground with their feet, till suddenly, just as Alice was getting quite exhausted, they stopped, and she found herself sitting on the ground, breathless and giddy.

The Queen propped her up against a tree, and said kindly, 'You may rest a little now.'

Alice looked round her in great surprise. 'Why, I do believe we've been under this tree the whole time! Everything's just as it was!'

'Of course it is,' said the Queen, 'what would you have it?'

'Well, in our country,' said Alice, still panting a little, 'you'd generally get to somewhere else— if you ran very fast for a long time, as we've been doing.'

'A slow sort of country!' said the Queen. 'Now, here, you see, it takes all the running you can do, to keep in the same place. If you want to get somewhere else, you must run at least twice as fast as that!'
Through the Looking-Glass

Sorry guys, this time the status quo is an option.

*Not to mention the patronising faux concern for worried working-class Brits. Those politicians deliberately aggravating the migrant panic know that the people who feel that their jobs, services, or communities are threatened by migrants, or by people who look different are badly informed (believing, for example, that 31% of the population are immigrants, when it's more like 13% and that Black and Asian people make up 30% of the population, when it's actually around 11%).

Educated, informed people labelling such easily-corrected wrongness as "legitimate concern" aren't being respectful - quite the opposite. They're treating members of the public as if they're not just wrong - which is no shame, as we all get things wrong from time to time - but as if they're mentally or emotionally incapable of processing the truth. It's not respectful to know that somebody is wrong, but encourage their delusion. It's treating them like children you've taken to Santa's grotto - you, the grown-up may know that the jolly man in red is really that Mr Timms from number 39, disguised in a cotton wool beard, but you tell the kids that he's Father Christmas from the North Pole, because they're only kids and it's just a bit of fun. But the voters, by definition, aren't children and this vote isn't just a bit of fun.

**A good example of a country which is both prosperous and outside the EU, although the prosperity may have more to do to the Norwegians having invested their North Sea Oil windfall wisely than the supposed advantages of being outside the EU (not to mention the fact that Norway's Nordic neighbours which are all EU members, also enjoy enviably high standards of living).