Fact-Checking Brexit: The Conclusion
Hugh Hancock

There has been a distinct lack of information of both sides of the debate.

Yesterday I made my mind up (finally) in favour of remain, though my gut has been telling me today (Weds) that I have been conned by both arguments.

I think that the onus for any rational change should lie with those wishing to propose a different deal. Personally I don’t have any problem with immigration, or with which bunch of buggers make the big decisions (they are all two-faced anyway) and am not well versed enough in economics to think that my opinion would hold much water… I do not believe that the case has been made, but feel that is as much a problem with organisation, established political norms and personality.

Let us take for example the claims about the £350 million that is ‘sent’ to Brussels. It has long since been discredited. It is a bending of the truth so popular with politicians who always select the set of statistics that suits. The experts will tell you it is wrong, the news has made it blatantly obvious, and yet thanks to the inability of politicians to ever admit they made a mistake, or to clarify, they hold on to the figures and brandish them well into the final debates. It doesn’t matter if the public understand they are lying, the game now is to dissemble and spin. They will defend the indefensible with lyrical flourishes and pepper their speechifying with outlandish attacks in defence. That is politics, and always has been. The same can be said of many of the arguments on both sides. However, it should also be noted that the 10 billion we send each year as a membership fee is hardly peanuts… That truth is the collateral damage between claim and counterclaim.

The leave side also have the problem of personality. With so much of the establishment having vested interests in the status quo, or even the expansion of EU territory and funded by the corporations that have an interest in TTIP and legitimate concerns about trade it falls to the fringes to make the positive case. This unfortunately includes the odious Farage, a man who has more cause than many to complain about democracy, but would perhaps be better focussed on attempting to reform the UK system that saw 5 million UKIP voters represented by just a single MP. The nastiest rhetoric came from UKIP, yet thanks to the binary nature of this argument, and the traditional whipped nature of Parliamentary discourse, the more rational side of the argument, or what might be called the lefty leavers was drowned out by half-hearted agreements parrying self-righteous attacks.

The Leave sides biggest problems were partly self inflicted. They have been waiting for this vote for aeons and should have been prepared with something plausible to offer. However they were not helped by the inbalance of the positions to start with. When asked continually what would happen if we left they had nothing set in stone. That of course is deliberate and the nature of diplomacy. The question on the ballot should have been between two visions based on experience and expertise. The government sought the renegotiation and offered it to the people without attempting to get agreement, or without even discussing with the leaders of other governments (those who are our allies in so many other organisations) what Brexit would entail. It is no wonder then that the Outers were forced to make straw men to attack the concrete houses of the establishment. In the absence of certainty people will usually opt for unoriginality, and it is this that the Bremainers have sought to exploit.

It is likely that Germany will want to exploit their cars without tariffs, just as it is likely that any other of the nation states will use their veto to block it. I found that the French and the Germans were always used as examples of those who would carry on free-trade, but not so much what Latvia might make of it, or Poland who get great benefits from the freedom of movement. It is likely also that the NHS will not crash and burn if we utilised migration from outside the EU instead of exclusively from within, but these are lies perpetuated from each camp. For every assertion that we will no longer cooperate on terrorism there is the wide assumption that EU nations will deport citizens who through no fault of their own are the victims of a failed treaty and economic area. The remainers are capable of claiming that house prices will crash, that the pound will stagnate and that the sky will fall if we go it alone (actually we’d be reaching out to a wider audience, so with more friends!) The lies are not confined to just one side. Like much here, whether in terms of jockeying for position from all the major players, it is a free for all.

Neither should Brexit advocates be asked what comes next. The vote is a matter for the UK people. The UK government is then tasked to seek the best terms possible in either event. It is not for the Leave side to negotiate but the conservative party as a whole. If manifesto promises are to be torn up, then there should be a general election where all political parties can set out their stalls. To listen to much of this debate, it seems that most are treating this matter like business as usual with one side playing as the government and the other as opposition, as we know things are not so simple. This is a matter of, we are told, the British taking back control, yet it is not the primacy of Parliament or the European Comission that is at stake, but the voice, however bigoted or sainted, of the UK people.

It is with a heavy heart that I vote remain. I do it not because I have been convinced of the arguments, but because I feel it is a false argument. Ten years ago, perhaps as little as five, the EU wouldn’t have ranked in the top ten of voters concerns. UKIP bought the matter to the fore, with the help of a clamorous media, but this has traditionally been a traditionalists struggle. We are told it is vital, but the migrant crisis aside, the UK doesn’t really face a crossroads due to timing, but out of Tory expediency. Polls suggest that as we helped to exploit Africa and bomb Syria that the public are happy to do more anyway to help the unfortunates who make such treacherous journeys to flee tyranny and drone strikes.

I vote remain because my head tells me that the EU deal we get right now isn’t so bad, and that it is the UK government that causes the ills in our society. It is Tory policy that led to austerity, it is the London bankers who broke our economy and who will warn of instability if we leave while seeking to profit when the market recovers. I don’t believe the myth that we are a powerful voice if we join in a chorus, but as soloists become mute. I vote remain I guess, because I believe that there are bigger problems than the EU, and that if we really were bothered then we would have voted for our MEPs in greater numbers, or at least could name them. Fact is, we are constantly told it is important, thus it becomes so… The most important choice of our generation since the last one and until the next one.

There are many things that need a referrendum. How about the right to die, or to legalise drugs? How about capital punishment? It seems we get our say only on an issue that few truly understand enough about so they can get bamboozled, or was only a while back considered so ‘boring’ that nobody really knew what the EU was about. It was a deliberate attempt by the establishment to promise reform, fail to obtain it, then offer an unbalanced argument as to why we should carry on as usual with the naysayers labelled as bigots (thanks to the usual bigots who will still be in jobs come Friday) or as fanatasists whilst given nothing concrete to propose, or worse as unpatriotic. I look at the conversation and energies stirred up and don’t see much in our country to be proud about. Perhaps that is why we need the EU to keep us in check? Perhaps why referendums are a bad idea when undertaken with few facts, but also why part of me still wants to vote leave so at least the elite that organised this farce will be so busy self-mutilating their parties and cleaning up the trade deals that they will finally leave us alone.

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