Tag Archives: referendum

Dear Brussels

Dear Brussels,

Erm… well. This is awkward. So the UK went and did something daft. Let’s be honest though, the tone of voice you adopted while we were making the most critical constitutional decision of a generation wasn’t very helpful, was it? And it can’t be said there aren’t many folk in every other European nation that don’t share the feelings of those here who voted for the UK to leave.

You can pretend like you weren’t aware of this, that your attitude towards the inconvenient statistics that are the normal, working, struggling people of Europe, was the right one. This would of course be quite typical of you, being so viciously possessed of a disconnection between the ideals you’re striving for and the reality you’ve created for just too many people.

And what now? All we hear are your leaders trying to push us off the deep end, when in fact this isn’t something Europe wants or needs. And actually, as soon as the referendum result came out, wasn’t even something huge numbers of Leave voters wanted. The picture is clear – a terrible and embarrassing mistake was made, predicated somewhat on the basis of the lies these people were told, and that you failed to effectively respond to.

Really it should have been the easiest argument in the world to win. But somehow you lost it. YOU lost it, because while we were having the conversation, one worth having if we’re being honest, you behaved largely with irritation and scorn.. And now you’re acting like a pack of petulant infants, throwing your toys out of the pram and further risking alienation and the entrenchment of the minority attitude in this nation that the UK doesn’t want to be a part of the Europe.

As the clear message goes out, “Get out now!”, some of us are left to wonder who is having the quiet conversations in the wings at the highest levels as to how this whole mess can be resolved to the benefit of everyone. Because sure enough, if you now want to go about punishing the British political class and British people for saying, on one level, we are simply not happy with the EU, then actually is the EU worth defending?

I’d rather see some mature politics now, some recognition of what really happened here. It was a coin toss that fell heads and immediately told us we really, really badly wanted tails. The protest vote that actually did to our horror return the protest candidate. For the moment however, the whole bloody lot of you, including plenty of our own clowns, continue to be pathetic disappointments.

If the referendum was held again tomorrow it’d probably be a ten point swing. Chew on that before being so determined to make a stupid example of us.

Regards,

One of the 48.1%

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BREXIT

In this metaphor, my blog is a strategically sorted vampire. Staked, chained, soaked in holy water and wearing a wreath of garlic as it rests beneath a thousand looming crosses. It was put away, it was done. This was good, I had better things do to.

Then Brexit. FFS.

Nice one folks, we’ve gone and fucked it. We’ve stuck our fingers up, turned over the table and stomped out of the room. Whatever triumphalism there is about this will turn quick enough, and an associate is indeed already taking bets on who can find a Brexit voter by Christmas.

So here’s my quickfire assessment. The Leave camp are so self-evidently venal and toxic that little need be said there. They lied their way through the whole bloody thing, leveraging emotions and appealing to an unsubstantiated set of optimistic predictions. Gove, Johnson, Farage… remember these names, because further down the road they’ll be trying to stick their head in the sand. Which will not be permitted, thank you very much.

But really I’m angry in the most part at the Remain camp, and at the EU itself. From the moment it was clear that Leave were going to go about their business and play the game entirely on their own terms, the message should have been obvious.

Desperate, fawning, pleading. Please god UK, stay in the EU. You are desperately needed. We love you. Incessantly. Persistently.

Is it true? I don’t know. I don’t care! But it’s what was required. The UK public needed a little affection, but instead the Remain message was, largely – and in this regard Leave were spot on – fear. They spent the whole goddamned run-in trying to make us lay bricks at the very notion of Brexit, with EU figures like Tusk helpfully indicating that the draw bridge would pull up. Whatever time on the floor that remained was dedicated to simply looking indignant and scoffy at any number of Leave claims.

As far as a failure of politics goes, this is about as big as it has gotten in my lifetime. How utterly fucking tone deaf. Some antagonism in the response was almost guaranteed, and this was almost certainly the root cause of the swing.

There are already strong indications across the globe that attitudes towards Britain are not favourable, see… the news, everywhere, which is understandable given how much the already shaky tub has taken another major rattle. I suppose I would disconsolately remind everyone that 16m+ did vote for Remain.

Though as for the nearly 17.5m who did vote to Leave, let’s not pretend they’re a mass of xenophobes and idiots either. A few, sure. But if we’re actually saying the conditions that inspired this referendum weren’t easily read and that the matter was conducted with even vague competency…

Well then, screw ya’ll, no one is honest here, fuckedy-bye now.

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Indyref Scotland

So it’s 3 in the morning. What else to do other than start rattling out thoughts for a blog more or less abandoned since the advent of having… an actual job. Obviously. But my fellow countryfolk north of the wall just made a fairly bold constitutional statement, which I’m eminently pleased to say fell favourably for those with any vestige of a rational mind.

The Union will remain.

Clearly, this issue isn’t over however. Crass chancers like Alex Salmond and Nicola Sturgeon are two a penny and if it’s not them in five or ten years time, it’ll be the next generation trying to lead Scotland by the nose into a cataclysm of redundant sentiment and needless division.

As emphatic as the results of yesterday’s referendum are currently appearing to be, albeit with most districts still to declare, this rankling little agenda of nationalism isn’t without some vigour. Something I think is a shame, because I might go so far to say that it’s all bull. Not the notions of self-determination and democracy, or giving Scots the opportunity to express an opinion on their nation’s fate, but the actual substance of the SNP and the frankly nauseating dishonesty of their campaign.

I wasn’t allowed to vote. I live in London, although my father still lives in Edinburgh and I have lived in Scotland in the past. The first black mark against the basic integrity of the Yes campaign. Salmond can publicly rationalise his decision to exclude non-domiciled Scots all he wants, but the truth of the matter is clear. The numbers never panned out for him were I and the hundreds of thousands of other outward looking Scots included.

But this vague form of gerrymandering wasn’t enough. So the SNP had to include voters over the age of only 16 in the hope that undeveloped minds would be easier to appeal to in the manner they knew would be most effective in advancing the cause. Emotion and the leveraging of dissatisfaction.

To hell with complexity and empirical evidence to back the raft of claims that Scotland would undoubtedly thrive, despite the raised voices of concern and caution against basically every one of those claims. Westminster isn’t implicitly serving every one of Scotland’s professed needs in terms of political and social identity, so let’s just piss off into the sunset, undoing over three centuries of a union that unquestionably brought stability and a long era of prosperity to the Isles.

What Salmond and company have done is so audacious that it might actually be impressive if it weren’t also preposterously reckless. Asking a nation to take a leap of faith into the unknown is… insane. It was insane. Romanticism be damned, this is the lives and livelihoods and well-being of millions of people potentially at jeopardy for the sake of a politician’s gambit.

Currency union? We’ll figure it out. Lifespan of the resource that would theoretically underpin the Scottish economy for generations? Inflate it, how can important can that be. Can we realistically and adequately fund our own healthcare and education systems based on an independent Scotland’s tax haul? Errr, sure why the hell not! What about the sensitivity and logistical and diplomatic burden of, say, redistributing shared military assets including Trident? And so on…

Like a petulant adolescent Salmond swatted away these legitimate questions as pessimism, sure signs that the institutions of the UK and broader global community had it out for the dreams of a small nation that only wanted to govern itself. It still utterly astonishes me.

So why am I ranting after the fact? And why I am being so entirely negative, you might wail? Or not, as who the hell is reading this anyway. Because the issue isn’t dead and buried. I daresay Scots independence is a bit like our favourite Black Knight, and likely can’t be killed whatever murderous blow it’s dealt. I would also counter that far from being negative, I’m simply being ruthlessly pragmatic. I mean, as mentioned… it’s only a nation we’re talking about here. Recall momentarily that thing called cruel reality would you? Hate to say it but the world at large doesn’t necessarily give a shit about Scotland and it’s dreams. Sink or swim chum.

Moreover though, it may surprise you to know that I rooted my hope that Scotland would stay in the United Kingdom out of a sense of optimism and pride. The No campaign may go down in the history books as a pathetically conceived beast as far as strategy went, and yes John Oliver nailed it when he said “Better Together” sounds like the anaemic rationale of a couple who haven’t the energy to bother breaking up, but they were pretty exclusively in the right as far as I was concerned.

The UK is a good thing. I won’t launch into an impassioned speech in support of it, see anyone from Gordon Brown or Bob Geldof or any number of public figures who have done the rounds this last week. Anything that closely and positively ties nations together, especially over existing bonds of culture and history, is worth defending.

Don’t call it rigid or antiquated. It has in fact just evolved yet again. The coming months will see further powers and control divested into the Scottish parliament, if the party leaders weren’t speaking total lies. I’m a happy chap for now. Although I hope that Scotland stays with the team for as long as the course of history permits, I would say that the next time the conversation arises, and it will, all Scots deserve a more honest, and plainly better, enterprise than the SNP to lead the charge.

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The Good Ship Eurofeud Embarks Again

Well well… it turns out our Prime Minister has a little fight in him after all. Quick to chide cabinet ministers Gove and Hammond over their indiscretion concerning the European question, and holding the course on the 2017 date for the referendum, it seems he’s not ready to bend over to the Eurosceptics quite yet. Although doubling down on holding the referendum if renegotiation is rejected by Europe will hush the right a bit, two and half years after the general election is certainly less politically expedient than it could be. A smattering of confidence in the party’s 2015 intentions, and in his own renegotiation policy.

A cheeky little endorsement from Obama on his support for a “fix” is nice, but isn’t certain to shake more than a few MPs out of their intoxication, drunk as they are on pandering to this transient UKIP bounce. The American president isn’t exactly every conservative’s cup of tea. This week, from the comfort of a New York armchair, Cameron gave his fellow party leaders Clegg and Miliband a minor savaging on their own undetermined positions regarding the UK’s relationship with the continent. “Heads in the sand,” as the PM phrased it, omitting entirely his own firmly lodged disposition up until the last few days.

While a very large question mark remains over the issue of what this renegotiated position would look like, the suggestion is that it would come heavily down to Cameron’s individual abilities as a statesman. In the face of Hadal level confidence and even whispers amongst conservatives that here is a latter-day John Major, the embattled leader’s resurgence, of sorts, is vital to his prospects. And judging by the debate in the Commons yesterday over the Queen’s Speech and this theatre about the absence of the EU question, Cameron does appear to have turned some of the guns away from himself. Rigorous criticism was circulating around the entire House, notably in Clegg’s direction.

The amendment was easily defeated 277 to 130, but the 114 Tory MP’s who voted in favour are still a long term issue for Cameron. And with 29 year old Eurosceptic MP James Wharton winning the private member’s ballot for the first attempt at a referendum bill today, we can anticipate early problems in the process. Wharton is a staunch in/out referendum supporter and will certainly be trying to lock down the House on the 2017 date. It was by no means an overwhelming rebellion on Europe, but with backbench support up from 81 in favour of a referendum in a late 2011 vote, the already blatant swoon rightwards by some MPs is further indicated.

Now it remains to be seen how many in the Commons will actually get behind Wharton’s bill, and while it is currently likely to be shot down, the Tory’s did announce this morning that the three line-whip was coming down in favour of it. Cross-party backing is in short supply right now, although 11 Labour votes in favour of the Queen’s Speech amendment shows some desire in the opposition for Miliband to take a stronger stance on Europe, and as Tory Eurosceptic John Baron was suggesting earlier, there will be hopes a few Lib Dems could be rolled over in favour too. This issue remains something of an anathema to me though.

At the time of the Lisbon Treaty, Clegg was a bold little mouthpiece when it came to Europe, calling for a referendum then, and carrying this message through to 2008 and beyond. Despite criticising Cameron on the radio today for the renegotiation policy being “clear as mud”, where he stands and wants his party to stand on the matter is now one of Westminster’s total mysteries. To “lead the reform and then give people a say in a referendum when that leads to a change in the rules”, is ostensibly a position loyal to the coalition agreement, which stipulated that changes in the EU relationship would trigger an automatic referendum.

Sadly, the agreement also states that he and the Lib Dems have to be integral to such a reform process, and in light of Clegg’s hateful fecklessness, born from a confusing amalgam of power hunger clashing with a party political need to remain distinct from his coalition partner, I predict he will be true to his spanner-like identity. Thrust himself firmly into the works he will, the unmitigated pillock and architect of Liberal Democrat ruination. He’ll be the linchpin of political deadlock for the next two years while his party begin trying to carve themselves a more distinct and electable identity for 2015.

Rant over. They just annoy me, the Liberal Democrats. Not being a Eurosceptic myself but recognising the problematic relationship between the UK and an increasingly integrating continent, at least politically, it seems clear that public sentiment is generally in favour of strong and determined action to achieve the relationship the public is comfortable with. I believe in renegotiation, albeit ideally helmed by someone less precarious and subject to the sceptics gaze than Cameron, and I don’t think there’s anything wrong in questioning the very one track European trajectory that has been.

As disturbing as it is to say this, as long as Cameron can hold his nerve he remains the best prospect for moderate change. Labour haven’t shown signs of offering the British people what they want and I doubt the Lib Dems under Clegg will ever have the guts to follow through with their supposed position. UKIP simply want the UK to slip into obstinate and isolated ignominy with their extreme position, more to the tragic irony of their general “Rule Britannia” understanding of the world. So… yeah. If Europe is the central issue in your mind, then the man even I had virtually written off last week is indeed your flickering, faint supermarket-bought pocket torch of a thing once known as hop… shop? Hope! Hope.

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