Tuesday, 12 July 2016

My thoughts on the EU and the UK government

It's been two and a half weeks since the EU referendum, and we've seen a lot of change (what an understatement). Most of us would not have watched BBC News 24 or Sky News so much in our lives before. (How many of us have wished for an alternate, exasperated by the continuing propagandising - have we not learned anything from the referendum result?!) I think first and foremost that it's great that so many people are actively involved in politics, in discussions, in debate. That's why it's taken me this long to even contemplate writing anything down. There's been so much talk and upheaval I'm not even completely sure what I think of it all.

When it was announced that Leave had won, I do remember that my first thought was of this video:

I watched it on channel 4 a couple nights before the voting, and I just couldn't believe what I was seeing. It was like 1984 was here. And it wasn't even subtle. This was totally obvious propaganda, and I didn't even need to be an expert in the EU or economics to see that. Unbelievable incompetence, unbelievable irresponsibility comes to mind - that this could be put together and advertised as factual. I believe the Leavers accused the Remainers of scare-mongering - well what the hell was that video?! I wish I could believe that no-one fell for it, but sadly I'm sure it caught itself a sway of voters hook, line and sinker.

It's not that I'm against the decision. What scares me most is that something like this video could happen without consequence. What scares me most is the complete failure to properly educate the society. How can you ask us what we think when we are fed lies? When we have to Google 'What is the EU?' post-decision? What scares me is that people we elected allowed a decision of this magnitude to be made by an ill-informed group of people - but worse, that people like Boris were allowed to use it as a political tool? Maybe it wasn't obvious to everyone, obviously it couldn't have been; but it was to me, watching the Leave versus Remain debates. Not one person on Leave had any actual authority to fulfill any vague promises they made. Boris, and certainly Nigel, had no authority to promise the things they were promising. The ones who did have authority were Remainers. What does that tell you?

If anything, it highlights the very simple fact that no-one is special - we are all just children in adult's clothing playing make believe, winging it. Just because someone can talk in front of a camera, win a popularity vote, be the fucking Prime Minister, does not mean that they are especially clever, astute, smart, competent, the synonyms can go on. We put these people up on paper pedestals and wait for them to buckle under pressure. (Incidentally only Corbyn seems sturdy on his, so far.)

I'm frankly astounded by the lack of competency that seems to be running our country. The lack of accountability. The lack of anyone doing their job which we pay them to do. Instead they're too busy planning coups, resigning, thinking about their personal position and what will happen in four years time (I'm looking at you Labour) instead of focusing on repairing the fallout of the referendum result. Why isn't the cabinet full of responsible, grown-up, adults, getting on with the business of running the country? All I see is politicking, maneuvering, back-stabbing (in the case of Corbyn). All wound up and fed by the media. A politician will talk at length about policies, plans of action, and all the media can talk about is the colour of a fucking tie or if one person does not quite get on with another person. What the fuck is that about?

Now that May is going to be PM, hopefully some of all that bullshit will begin to disappear (but only when the media can begin to talk policy, not politics). Is it any wonder more people are engaging, with the media spinning it out like a reality TV show?

That of course leaves Corbyn. There's still TV reality show coverage there, and may be for some time. It seems crazy to say that Corbyn, and lately May, (not forgetting McDonnell) appear to be one of the very few getting on with what they're paid to do. But it may be a little longer until Corbyn can fully concentrate on forming an ongoing opposition to the Tories (with back-bench support). It's frustrating, as a Labour voter, to see. Before I'm quickly labelled a Corbynite, let me say that I like the guy and his principals, and I would rather him, and his policies, as headmaster rather than a Tory - but that is not to say I completely agree with everything he says. It is merely because, at least for now, there are only two options and he, or Labour, would be my preferred choice.

I appreciate the difficulties of socialism versus austerity/corporatism, at least with my limited understanding. What I see is this pendulum where, ideally, societally, you need to be in the centre. You need to find a balance between economic growth and investment, and social welfare. Too much socialism (too far to the left) for ten years, and the economy would feel the brunt of it; it would be monumental goodwill for major companies to continue to invest in the country when taxes were consistently high and workers were (in theory) malaised through a healthy NHS and welfare system that looked after them. Immigration would be high, services would be pushed, and while it's all very well saying we can afford all this when the country is economically stable and healthy (say 2006-7) it was stable and healthy for a reason. Would an economy after 10 years of socialism be self-sustainingly wealthy? Likewise, ten years of corporatism and austerity would be a constant pressure on the public, with cuts to welfare and public services being sold off to the highest bidder (do we want to be like the States?) Put pressure on the public and it will fracture somewhere.

So with Blair we were as centre as we'd ever been, and economically, if not for the US housing bubble crash, it was successful. Then the Tories with the Lib Dems pushed it slightly right, and Labour stubbornly refused to counterbalance this. And then the Tories moved further right on their own, and Labour had to relent and Corbyn was elected. And now with May and Osborne they'll be moving the pendulum even further to the right, and the centrist Labour MPs are afraid of their Labour moving even further left to balance it. The further in one direction you begin, the further it swings to the other side. Centrist Labour MPs are gambling; they are trying to put up a hand to stop the swing, and then hoping their central position will be enough to draw some from the left, as well as some disenfranchised people not liking how far right the Tories are going. This is where we're at, with Corbyn fighting on to be the direct counter-balance to austerity and cuts.

How are we in this position? I read that back and I can't help but think there is something wrong - that the system is broken. How is an uninformed public meant to make a decision that affects the prosperity of the country? In fact, why are people, because that's all MPs are, allowed that responsibility? Would it not be better to have an independent governing body fully trained and educated with Masters in Economics running the economic aspects of the country, ensuring companies are happy and there is money enough for social welfare? That way, a cabinet would be told how much money they had for their policies, and wouldn't have to worry that there was enough money for the NHS and other public services - and would reduce the risk of lobbying from companies. It would make politics cleaner (in theory - and the economical governing body would need to be rigourously vetted). It would free up parties to appeal for votes on other policies, like Trident, immigration policies, military intervention, and so on.

Imagine how secure this would be. Imagine how secure companies would feel investing in the UK, knowing the economy was stable. You may argue the undemocratic process of this, but what's better; having a small minority in charge of something so essential to life, or having a majority of trained heads ensuring nothing goes awry?

I leave this article still unsure, certain only of uncertainty until someone steps up to the plate to be the responsible one, post-Brexit, to stabilise things. I hope we keep the free movement of people. I'm thankful for the work that so-called foreigners do in our country. I'm proud to live in a country that attracts people. We have very little sun, and a lot of rain, so there must be something that makes our country great. Or is that 'made'?


  1. Well written! I nodded many times when i was reading the article. However, I am not quite sure about the part about "Would it not be better to have an independent governing body ......for social welfare?", of course it sounds very logical, then again I think the actual quality of whoever they will be, has to be much more than just having the brain but not the heart. Can't really put my thoughts in words as good as you did! Thx for sharing.

  2. Hi Sai! Thanks! That idea of an independent body to manage and balance the economy would need to be infallible for sure, if it was to be responsible for everything from welfare to setting things like Corporation Tax.