The EU and the prostitution of Academia.
There can be no doubt that the up and coming vote on the UK’s membership of the European Union will be the most important decision many of us will take. It will after all, determine the direction our nation will take and shape the future for generations to come. It is therefore incumbent that the opinion former’s in our society, those in authority and positions of prestige should furnish us with the truth so that our decision will be made fully cognizant of the facts. This goes without saying, right? Yet at every turn we witness members of the British establishment failing us in this most important respect.
We have had to put up with the sight of the Prime Minister, in his determination to keep us in the EU , espousing untruths about the position of countries in EFTA/EEA because this is the safest, most appealing route out of the EU and he knows it. The British public has had to read the fumblings of the fourth estate which seems unable to fully get to grips with the key issues surrounding our membership and so badly lets us all down in the process. We have even had to put up with the BBC, whose licence fee we have to pay on pain of incarceration, churning out what many view as pro-EU propaganda.
Despite all this it was still with great dismay that I read this letter from leading historians as part of the stronger in campaign. Why this reaction on my part?Surely I am old and cynical enough to accept this as another bunch of academics arguing we should stay in because EU funding is 2.3% of HE income and so vital for its very existence, something some scientists are happy to argue. But you see History has been good to me; it inspired me at school, led me onto university and then a career revolving around it. And all the while I have grown to know, and been trained to view the study of history as a desire to reach and tell the truth and that through the rigorous analysis of the source material available. And this is why the ‘letter’ has irked me.
Take this phrase for example;
“But all are better met co-operatively through the EU.”
Do our prestigious Historians not know the history of the organisation they support? If they had done the research they would know it is supranational and so no inter-governmental co-operation takes place, ultimately all members are subordinate.
“We do not pretend that the EU is a perfect institution, and welcome efforts to reform it.”
Here there is no attempt, in even a brief way to outline what “…reform…” means. As good Historians I presume they have gone to original sources and so investigated the next step for the EU contained in The Fundamental Law. If so they should tell us which they prefer; full subjugation in the Eurozone or second class Associate Membership?
However the best quote is this;
“The UK economy depends heavily on the single market of 500 million people. Withdrawal from the EU would end Britain’s ability to shape that market and would prejudice our access to it.”
I know, boring isn’t it, but our eminent academics have conflated the EU and the EEA, an elementary ‘mistake’ we see time and again. And of course if we remain in the EEA(via EFTA) when we leave then we would still be able to shape the single market and our access to it would be full, as any analysis of the EEA agreement would reveal. The type of inquiry, I am sure I don’t need to remind readers, is not beyond the ken of academic historians.
The only conclusion to be made is that our prestigious Professors of History are quite prepared to ignore their academic training when it comes to having their say about Brexit. Their letter is a tawdry piece of propaganda that does not stand up to an analysis they would expect from their undergraduates. Sadly they are no better than their colleagues in Scientists4EU who clearly value 2.3% of HE income above informing the public correctly about Britain and the EU. When their main concern is not integrity but a few quid, are they all nothing but…whores?