Sunday 26 June 2016

50 ways to leave your lover

It's all about Article 50, until that happens we are as in as we ever were. Stop messing about with the red herring of a second referendum - the refuge of a spoilt loser. The big game of politics is a more complex and subtle beast and things are going on at a very high altitude. Officially, the EU is split on should Article 50 be initiated now or some time later. It is highly possible that this is being done to put on just enough pressure on the next Tory leader. Cameron's refusal to initiate Article 50 is him saying to Boris, 'you broke it, you fix it'. and as is becoming more obvious to all, we are so tied into Europe that Remain weren't exaggerating, there will be massive damage at all levels. Potential damage includes a permanent shrinkage of the UK by losing Scotland, probably losing Gibraltar and even Northern Ireland. The sight of Ian Paisley jr saying constituents should grab an Irish passport is one of the most remarkable ever seen in politics. The alternative is to put in a hard border. This proved impossible when only one side of the divide wanted one, when neither side does, well, who would want to stand on that thin green line? The economy has had a very expensive but survivable crash, but Article 50 would signal a freefall. Who wants to start their premiership with that? Boris, who was never a believer in Brexit has to put up or shut up. Pull the trigger and shoot the economy in the head or have his bluff called by not invoking Article 50. He richly deserves to be in this position. Never have the victors been so silent. you can also bet that the US and others will have been on the phone regarding the many billions wiped off their economy by the uncertainty. Perhaps this is why the leading Brexiters have been looking like they've just found a horse's head in their bed. Never have the victors seemed so depressed. Even the deranged Dan Hannan's taking a break from his little echo chamber on Twitter, perhaps he's simply overcome by the fumes of victory. The way out? General election with Labour and Conservatives pledging to stay in Europe. By, say November the leavers will realise they were conned, the brightest already do and the Brexiters discredited. Sure UKIP might pick up some votes, but disaster will be averted. The big question for the Tory leadership campaign is "If elected will you invoke Article 50 and, if so, when?" Democracy? Since when did democracy trump pragmatism?

Friday 24 June 2016

EU Referendum verdict, some initial thoughts

The nation has voted to leave something they know absolutely nothing about. I've only met one person who knows the difference between the Council and Commission in the last year. Now comes the reckoning. Will the sky fall in as Remain argued? Will the NHS be 350m a week better off as Leave pledged? And that's the problem. An electorate that is deeply suspicious of politicians - which has increased greatly since 2008 - is about to find out that Remain were exaggerating, Leave lying. What happens when you whip up anger and resentment and people find they've been conned? The official Remain campaign was a disgrace, let's hope we never see Project Fear again. Le's hope we hear nothing more about Mandelson, Will Straw and the rest of them. They were almost a parody of the Leave's parody of Europe; with a dictatorial our way only approach, turning away people with other ideas regardless of experience. The other guilty party is the EU. Their communications are abysmal, yet the practitioners and the pet PR agencies think they're simply wonderful, Darling. I've long taken them to task for their, not just inability to connect with citizens, but their disinterest in doing so. I've rages against their wasting of hundreds of millions of euros every year on stupid ideas. Yet they continue. If they carry on as usual more nations will have referendums, more will leave - essentially because of this disconnect. Until a few months before the last European elections, Commission officials were happily dismissing concern over the pathetic turnout at the elections, arguing that it showed people were happy with the EU. They aren't. It's no longer a question of turnout, it's a question of winning hearts and minds and all my experience says the EU will be unable to do this. It's not euroscepticism that's killing the EU; it's their own hubris.

Friday 17 June 2016

Race to the gutter

Compare to the photo below, same idea, different times
There are several reasons why immigration is a difficult subject for mainstream politicians to openly discuss. It's bottled up on the top shelf, next to one marked Race'.

The main reason these issues are rarely addressed directly is that there's something about race that speaks to the reptilian brain, the place of primitive instinct and wild ego. This is why it is so hard to have the issues discussed rationally by the public. The psychological reasons for this are easily understood, but it often appeals to those who are under achievers who want to blame others for their own inadequacies and failures.

In the heat of the EU referendum, those deeply opposed to the EU have reached up and opened those bottles, being the perfect opportunity to blame the 'EU' for absolutely everything. The same folk who decry it as being an attempt to impose fascism can also describe it as a communist plot. While many nations that have lived under both dictatorships regard the EU as a way out of the wreckage caused by totalitarian fantasies and have been eager for membership.

Not every person voting to leave the EU is racist, but every racist is voting to leave.

If Hitler were alive, he could sue UKip for plagiarism
UKIP, once claimed to be a party dedicated to reforming politics, bringing in more accountability and so on, have slowly turned away from that and fallen further each year into the racist gutter.

Remember when 25 million Romanians and Bulgarians were supposed to flood into the UK on 1 January 2014, when restrictions were lifted? It didn't happen, but the rhetoric never changed. Now they are claiming that Turkey is about to send countless millions to despoil dear Albion's sacred soil. As before, it won't happen, but the fear of an invading foreigner continues.

These are minority views, held by a hundred tiny insular circle-jerk groups, from the aggressive - usually to each other - openly neo-Nazis, such as the various National Alliance groups, to those with just enough brainpower to realise this could rebound on them PR wise. These groups usually have a leader enriching themselves at the expense of the groups, these would include the EDL in its various guises.

Then there's those playing at politics, such as the now virtually defunct BNP, Britain First and other proto-parties.

These people know that, no matter what they do, people just refuse to join in their fantasy world. It's an echo of the other side of the coin, the Al Qaeda and similar. The Islamic extremists thought the world's Muslims would rise up after each terror attack exactly as the far-right bomber David Copeland did when he put bombs around London.

What happens though, is that the racist genie is let out of the bottle, praying on our most primal fears and it allows an atmosphere where violence slowly rises. It's like boiling a frog, we don't see much of it, beyond occasional brief items in the press, but every now and then it bursts out.

So, where are we today? A man - like many on the extremes - with mental health issues, murdered a MP while shouting - according to two witnesses - "Britain first".

On the day that Nigel Farage exhibited an anti-immigration poster - 'Breaking Point' that was a facsimile of Nazi propaganda.

On the day that England fans in France mocked and threw coins at refugee children.

In the final week of a referendum campaign that disgraced the idea of public debate.

One of the main cries of the sordid campaign was 'we want our country back'. If this is the country you want back, take it. Take it away from reasonable folk. Put it in a bottle on the top shelf and never open it again.

Tuesday 14 June 2016

Whatever the result of the EU referendum, trouble lies ahead

'Won't someone think of the children?' Photo A Carling
Way before the referendum was announced, I said that Out won't win, but In could lose it. This is what is happening.
I also said that a way to win would be to look at the SNP's Independence campaign and follow that as an example, by building up grass roots groups, holding lots of public meetings everywhere etc. Remain decided to repeat the 'Better Together' campaign strategy, concentrating on ramping up the fear and concentrating on the economy. And nothing else. Only those sworn to be on message were allowed on board, people with different ideas were cast away.
The result has been to confuse and alienate those likely to support them. I know several waverers, all are reasonable people, none conform to the stereotype of the frothing at the mouth hyper-Ukipper.
In the last few days, several of them have said the same thing: They don't believe the claims by either side and ,crucially that they have been waiting to hear the positive case for EU membership and, not hearing it are wondering if there is one. Out of these, those voting to stay in the EU will be doing do *despite* the remain campaign, not because of it.
According to Remain, the EU is so scary we can't leave, because they would come after us, humiliate and punish us for wanting to leave. If a woman came to you, as has happened to me, and said they were thinking about leaving their partner but were terrified about what he might do if they did walk out, would you advise her to stay, grin and bear it or to get out and as quickly as they could? Exactly.
The Remain strategy has horrible echoes of this for me, advocating that we remain in an abusive relationship, rather being part of something positive and good.
David Cameron is not believed by the voters, in or out and his claim the Remain campaign was “hugely optimistic and positive” is the cry of a man adrift from reality.
Like the Better Together campaign, Gordon Brown has to come to the rescue it's too early to say if it will make a difference.
However, there are some grave problems for the future. By using fear it has failed to build any support for the idea of Europe and, if the vote is narrow, the Out team will be as dead as the SNP following their referendum and the positive case for membership will still have to be made. One can only hope that this will not be put in the same hands as the Remain camp was. In fact, many hope the entire Team Remain are never heard of again.
If Out win, well, we shall see just how many of the threatened horsemen of the apocalypse turn up, but also how the promises of the Out are achieved, such as the extra £350m a week on the NHS, immigration cut to a fraction etc. Many of the Out claims seemed to be those of a government in waiting not those of a temporary, single issue campaign, unable to set policy, write legislation - a point that eluded Remain, but an indication of the fantasy world all campaigners seemed to inhabit.
Expect turbulence as the lacklustre Corbyn and the hapless Cameron are either ditched or mortally wounded, in place only to await the pre-election kill.
The referendum campaigns have meant that not one of the problems facing Britain have been lessened and larger, graver ones have been conjured up by this squalid campaign.
It's not quite over yet, but no side deserves to win and the nation will definitely be the loser in this. All of us. We deserved better, neither side was capable of giving us the standard of debate we deserve. I fear for the future.