Project fear is a fitting name, you should be fucking terrified

Brexit is a bloody stupid idea, if you’re not going to read past this first introductory paragraph, that pretty much sums up my views on the subject. What’s worrying is that like most stupid ideas (Donald Trump, war, Nickelback), there seem to be lots of people willing to get behind it. The more polling data I look at, the more terrified I become that Britain might actually be about to do the dumbest thing we possibly could as a country. Seeing the way the debate is heading I figured, ‘why don’t I chime in with my opinions on the subject?’ Just Like Nigel Farage, I have no qualifications in Politics, Economics or Sociology; if he can act as a geyser of oral excrement, why not I?

I should probably warn you that I’d describe my writing style as ‘man drunk in Weatherspoons at 11am telling you why he should be the England manager’, which is ironic because Tim Martin the founder and chairman of Spoons is actually a strong advocate of Brexit. Between me and you, I have a suspicion that he just wants the whole of Britain to be as depressing as The Plough and Harrow in Ravenscourt Park, god that’s a crap pub, but anyway I digress.

The economy

At times it seems that the entire economic discourse between Leave and Remain, has degenerated in to a tiring game of whiffle-waffle tennis. I can understand why people find it difficult to get an informed opinion when almost all the debate ends up in both sides shouting liar liar pants on fire (not just a popular children’s rhyme, but also a direct quote from Boris Johnson’s last mayoral election campaign, strong choice of leader there Brexiteers*). This isn’t helped by the fact that in reality most economic ‘experts’ are just slightly better paid and dressed village shamans, trying to predict the future of the economy through goat entrails. Let us not forget that almost no one, saw the 2008 crash coming. If something as mind bogglingly complicated as the economy was as easy to predict as both sides pretend, then those dour faced men in suits would be too busy spending the trillions they’d made on the stock market fighting in their robot unicorn league, to have time to do interviews for the BBC or This Morning.

  • What’s the Remain version of Brexiteer? Is it Bremainateer? Bremusketeer?

So how do we find a way of gauging the actual economic impact Brexit would have?

Well for all of its many faults, one thing that you can’t argue with is the global market. The global market doesn’t give a toss about principles, patriotism or refugees, it is by its very nature a capitalist entity; it is only interested in making money. So what does the global market think of the idea of Brexit? It thinks it will be an utter self-induced cluster fuck. Straight after Boris Johnson signed up to the Leave campaign, the pound slumped to its lowest point since March 2009. Can we put that in perspective please? Apart from the immediate aftermath of the worst economic crash since the great depression, the pound hasn’t done worse than it is currently doing because we are talking about leaving the EU. Can you even begin to contemplate the nose dive that the pound’s value would embark upon if we actually did it?

The most troubling thing is that this actually has the potential to be worse than 2008 because it wouldn’t be a global crash, it would be specifically targeted against Britain. The 2008 crash was brutal but it hit everyone pretty much equally, we all had to rebuild our economies from a similar base of downturn. In comparison this would be a softcore porn kind of crash; one where we are only screwing ourselves. At a time when all of the world’s major economies are starting to grow and flourish again, we could easily be going through a second recession.

Now I know that arguments similar to this have been presented to the Leave campaign and they’ve responded by calling it alarmist nonsense. A point of linguistic semantics that I would like to indulge in: calling something alarming when it is so, doesn’t prove that thing to be un-alarming and thus win you an argument. Johnson has shown through his impressively inappropriate H-bomb dropping, that he loves a good WW2 metaphor, so here’s one for his Brexit campaign: If you are in a foxhole and someone screams ‘incoming!’ The correct response is to take heed and duck. If you stand up and go ‘I declare that alarmist nonsense’, you are, quite rightly through Darwinism, going to get your bloody head blown off.

Anyway, after the declaration of alarmist nonsense has been made, the average Brexit supporter tends to counter by accepting that there will be a negative short term effect on the economy, but arguing we’ll quickly strike new lucrative trade deals with the EU and the rest of the world, and thus reap the rewards long term (at roughly a dozen points during this argument they’ll probably quote the fact that Britain’s economy is the 5th largest in the world). There are 3 main assumptions about Britain this argument relies upon that just aren’t real:

Speed: The notion that we will quickly strike up trade deals as easily as snapping our fingers, is so naive, and based on so many romantic fantasies about Western governments, that it is genuinely pathetic. The idea that Britain is suddenly this powerhouses of bureaucratic efficiency that can thrash out a trade deal in a couple of weeks is laughable. Britain in particular loves waffle, we love legislation and it will take years and years to sort out anything because, well, Britain. We’re good at 5 things in Britain

  1. Queuing
  2. Shouting get your rat out whilst on holiday
  3. Unnecessary bureaucracy
  4. Stereotypes
  5. Ironic lists

The worst thing about this is that we don’t even have a trade department to strike these deals. The EU negotiates our trade for us and has done for decades so there is literally no one working for the British government right now that is qualified to strike up these golden trade opportunities that Leave keep harping on about. In the two years time from the initiation of Article 50 to our exit from the EU we would literally have to form an entirely new trade department and negotiate terms with enough of the major markets in the world to ensure our economy doesn’t tank once we actually leave the EU. That doesn’t sound likely.

Trade deals: The idea that the EU will still trade with us under terms that we have a say in because they can’t afford not to is just deluded. Firstly can we just take a moment to think about how utterly grim that negotiation table is going to be. Politicians are as petty as normal people (the French especially so), and will be peeved that we’ve opted out of their secret handshake club. If you piss in the corner of someone’s dining room and then sit down to have supper, the conversation is going to be understandably tense (believe me).

The real problem is that even if we accept the Brexit campaign’s assertion that the remaining EU countries will be entirely motivated by economic greed, that will actually work against us because the playing field isn’t as narrow in scale as a simple question of trade between the EU and Britain. If we leave the EU and then manage to negotiate a better deal for ourselves out of it than we had in it, the EU will unravel. No country is going to stay in the organisation if we have just proven you can sack the whole thing off without anything but positive consequences. The EU member states (France and Germany especially) know this, and will be out to punish us, they will want nothing more than to watch us have 3 years where we trash our economy, only to come crawling back with our tail between our legs. They will want us to serve as an example of the damaging stupidity leaving the EU entails, so they can quell the Right Wing uprising that is currently gaining traction across all of Europe.

The EU will accept the short term negative impact of decreased trade with Britain in exchange for the long term benefit of continuing to exist as the EU. The idea that they will trade with us because they can’t afford not to is actually the wrong way round; they will refuse to trade with us because they know what the ramifications will be if they do: no more EU.

And by the way the argument that we will just replace our trade from the EU with trade from the US, China and other markets is again built upon a number of fundamentally flawed assumptions. For one the trade deals we enter in to straight out of Brexit will not be negotiated from a position of strength. Non-EU countries will know that we are desperate for trade, and will have far more power in determining the details of any deal struck than we do. Indeed there are plenty of world trade agreements like TTIP and TTP that could end up getting saddled onto Britain in a post-Brexit panic that make the shadowy influence of unelected EU officials look like a transparent socialist utopia.

Unity: Again the entire argument for this recovery presupposes a level of unity in Britain that just isn’t going to be there if we choose to leave. If you actually believe that David Cameron won’t resign as Prime Minister if he loses this referendum, then I am honestly impressed you’ve made it this far down my article, why don’t you close the shiny magic picture box and go back to colouring in. Cameron had drafted a resignation speech to deliver in the event of Scotland leaving the UK, something that, if he was really being honest with himself, he probably didn’t give a shit about.

There is no way Cameron will stick around if we opt out of the EU. You know who will replace him? That’s right, Boris Johnson. Boris. Fucking. Johnson. Boris Johnson doesn’t have a plan for Britain outside of the EU, I honestly wouldn’t be surprised if he knew that Brexit will harm us and just doesn’t care. Johnson has managed to cultivate a smoke screen of harmless buffoonery, hiding the reality that he is in fact a thoroughly harmful and nasty career politician who has voted with the Tory Right Wing for most of his career. Johnson doesn’t give a shit if he ends up as the leader of a pile of rubble, as long as he is the leader. Brexit won’t affect Johnson’s livelihood, he is rich now and he’ll be rich regardless of how our economy does, he is just a power hungry tory riding a wave of dog whistle xenophobic populism for his own ends that has been brought on by the currently frightening socio-political climate of Europe.

Now I want you to just take a moment to envisage the fractured political landscape that Boris Johnson will be taking the helm of. The Conservatives have constantly mocked Labour’s party division, but that will be nothing compared to their implosion after Brexit. The party will finally have to address the two different strands of itself: the shiny faced new era Camronites vs the nastier, more racist, UKIP leaning underbelly that has grown more and more venomous in recent years due to its diminishing say in how the government tells poor people it’s their own fault for being poor. Regardless of your political preference, having the country’s government fractured and divided is only ever going to be a bad thing, especially when that government is going to be responsible for negotiating the most important political, economic and sociological change since WW2.

The rest of the political landscape will not be looking much better either. Labour will still be going through the same internal struggle with itself, as the old school Blairites of New Labour continue to decry Corbyn and his merry band of ‘lefty loonies’ (which would be a great name for an alt rock band, #justsaying). Things actually get grimmer as we go up north (rule of life) to Scotland, with the SNP licking its lips at the prospect of Brexit. Here’s another bet I’ll take at any odds: if we do leave the EU, there will be another referendum in Scotland and this time they’ll vote to leave by a landslide. There’s a reason the SNP haven’t exactly waded in guns blazing to the debate. There’s a reason that current and past party members keep ‘leaking’ the idea that it would be in Scotland’s best interests for Britain to leave the EU, even though Scotland wants to be in the EU: a lot of the SNP want Scotland independent and we are about to hand it to them on a silver platter.

At a time when Britain needs to pull together and be at its most unified, we will instead be a state of warring factions splintering off from one another. With Scotland breaking away from Britain and both of our major parties divided in two, we’re going to find it hard to agree on the colour of shit, let alone the minutia of political and economic reform.

Finally, the introduction of Johnson (or any Brexit backing Prime Minister) as head of government, will exacerbate the problems I mentioned in the previous sections of Time and Trade deals. We will find ourselves in a position where both of the sides at the negotiation table can’t afford to blink, and that is only ever going to result in the discussions getting dragged out ad infinitum. In the same way that the EU can’t lose this game of chicken with Britain, Johnson can’t lose face in the deal he strikes with the EU. Having championed the Leave cause, he must come back with an agreement from the EU that is significantly better than what we have already, otherwise it will be career suicide. The only other option would be a fully ‘hard’ Brexit which doesn’t bare thinking about. With the two parties at the negotiation table starting from such polar positions, and with neither being able to lose, there is no hope of a deal being struck quickly and very little chance of one being struck at all.

Immigration

After the wide spread criticism of their economic arguments, the ‘immigration problem’ has come to form the major foundation of much of the Leave campaign’s rhetoric. Let’s start with the Syrian crisis and the influx of refugees the EU is seeing due to it: why is it that we cared enough about these people to try and make them in to a democracy — via our usual route of teaming up with America and bombing the right to vote in to them before running away from the ensuing power vacuum — but not enough to try and help them when the assorted shit hits the fan? We were an instrumental part of turning Syria in to the war torn hell hole it is today with a short term and vague bombing program and no defined long game, and we should be instrumental in helping the people suffering for our cowboy approach to diplomacy.

Even if you accept the idea that these people will make things harder for us economically, that we might have to pay more tax to support them, it is morally abhorrent to turn them away. Be clear about the statement you’re making about yourself and the statement we’re making as a country if we entirely shut down the borders to the Syrian refugees. What you’re saying is, ‘I’d rather allow people to die, people my country is responsible for putting in their current predicament, than pay more tax or spend more resources’. I pray that I’m not wrong, but I hope most people aren’t that callous, we can’t be that much a nation of cold hearted bastards can we?

Obviously we can’t accept every refugee out there but that’s one of the main reasons the EU was set up: a network of aid across nations to deal with refugees in a humanitarian way and stop more war in Europe. The Brexit campaign love playing the patriotism card, but you would be turning your back on decades of British values by voting to leave the EU, it was one of the crowning achievements of our grandparents generation and should be fought for vehemently.

The reason Europe is such an amazing success story is because of the humanitarian and inclusionist philosophies we espoused to rebuild it after WW2. That’s what defeats extremism: economic stability, inclusionist principles and education. That might sound like trite bollocks, but let me put it to you this way: is the death cult of ISIS anymore mental than the death cult of the Nazis? No. Could you imagine France and Britain going to war with Germany this year? No. Because decades of good work by the EU and its forerunner the ECC has made that unthinkable. Isolationism has never worked historically and it won’t work for us now.

In regards to actual EU-member state immigration which is another part of the overall angry immigration cluster fuck rhetoric that we’ve been seeing in the media recently I will simply say this: incoming EU immigration is a vital part of our economy bringing in more money than it takes out and helping to support what would otherwise be a top heavy ageing population, not to mention the huge cultural benefits that a diversity of different ethnic backgrounds has brought to our country. Handled properly it is a huge benefit to our society (just look at the NHS), handled badly it can lower the living standards and career prospects of our own citizens.

Our government has indeed handled immigration badly and there are absolutely people who have a harder time finding housing or employment because of it. If we could stop immigration right now without any negative repercussions it would be a conversation worth having but the price of that control isn’t worth paying. Do you really think in the ensuing economic crash post Brexit you are going to see anything other than more austerity and cuts to the bottom 40% of our society? Do you think it’ll be easier to find a job in a period of economic downturn?

We have to address the issues at home and that involves a rejection of our current pathetic austerity Osbornomics, investment in infrastructure for growth, regulation of labour markets to stop predatory undercutting from immigrant employment agencies and of course, most importantly, the government needs to pull its finger out of its arse and actually build some new affordable housing. If you have the same career prospects as a recently arrived immigrant who speaks English as a second language if they speak it at all, that says everything about the inadequacy of your government and nothing about immigration.

On top of that EU immigration only accounts for half of our overall immigration total so the argument that we could cut immigration down to the ‘tens of thousands’ somewhat flies in the face of the fact that our international immigration (which we have complete control over) matches our EU immigration.

By the way you might be thinking ‘oh but he’s left out Turkey, they’re about to join the EU and they’re a melting pot of extremist Muslim ideologies who will sweep through our country in a flood of immigration’. I honestly refuse to even engage with the stupidity of the Turkey fear mongering. They aren’t going to be getting EU membership anytime in the next 3 decades and the only way they could do so would be by becoming a fairer and more progressive country thus eliminating all the cause for fear of their inclusion in the EU.

Not to mention that only 14% of the country own a passport and this ‘flood’ of immigration would be a trickle that we shouldn’t have ever worried about, just like Poland and every other 2nd world country that’s ever joined the EU and been front page news for the right wing media core owned by Rupert ‘I may well be the anti-christ’ Murdoch. Stop letting the Leave campaign lie to you, you’re better than that.

Security

So this is heavily tied up with immigration and is what a lot of people claim to be the reason they want to tighten the borders without it meaning they’re racist. It’s something the Brexit campaign loves using to stoke fear and xenophobia with (ironic that they call the Remain campaign ‘project fear’, when much of their argument boils down to ahhhhh! Someone with different skin, SHUN HIM!).

I can understand why people are easily misled with respect to this issue, the world is a fucking terrifying place right now. Would you like to know something that sucks? Terrorists are terrifying because they are almost impossible to stop. Yes we can do better than we have done so far, and no one is saying that we should be allowing immigration without stringent and intense screening, but there really is only so much you can do to stop people with a mantra of ‘We love death as you love life’. Do you know how many of the deluded extremists involved in the Belgian and Paris attacks (including Charlie Hebdo) had come to the countries involved disguised as immigrants? 2 out of 15. The rest, including the ring leaders and organisers, were all French or Belgium nationals.

Obviously 2 out of 15 is enough to be a security concern and not something that should be taken lightly, but you’d be deluded to think that these attacks wouldn’t have occurred if Paris and Belgium had an absolute lock down on their respective borders. Short of turning your country in to a Big Brother-esque police state, where not only are you not allowing any outsiders in, but also constantly policing your own citizens every thought, you can’t make it impossible for terrorism to occur.

There needs to be huge amounts of time and effort put in to making it as safe as possible to allow immigration in to our country, with background checks and interviews. It will be difficult and a serious headache, but the idea that the easier alternative is to leave the EU is just idiotic. Do you know what the vast 99.999999% of refugees want to do? Get a job in a non war torn country, work their assess off and pay taxes. I’ll say it again: pretty much every independent study done about immigration shows it as a positive effect economically, with immigrants paying more in than they take, especially in an ageing top heavy social demographic like ours. This idea of the lazy, benefit claiming immigrant is a xenophobic fantasy.

https://www.ucl.ac.uk/news/news-articles/1114/051114-economic-impact-EU-immigration

https://www.oecd.org/migration/OECD%20Migration%20Policy%20Debates%20Numero%202.pdf

So please for everyone’s sake, stop listening to the fear mongering of the right wing, it’s utter crap. The world is a scary place and they’re trying to manipulate that fear for their own political agenda, they want to turn your fear of terrorism in to a wrongly placed fear of everyone not from Britain. Stopping immigration will not help our security or economy, the argument they’re making is based on people’s ignorance. The economy and the country don’t function in the simplistic way the Leave campaign is presenting it to.

Sovereignty

This is by far the closest the Leave argument comes to having a point, but it is still ultimately twisted nonsense. The argument that we should leave the EU if it was constantly affecting our laws in a bad way is sound, but the EU doesn’t, so it isn’t. When you ask the Leave campaign to point to an area where they’ve had the evil EU intervene to the detriment of Britain, it gets awfully quiet. One of the main things we’ve gotten antsy with the EU about, has been when its intervention has stopped us from deporting someone from our country as quickly as we want to. Are we really going to leave the EU so that we can violate more human rights?

That last sentence, whilst flippant, is actually much more of a concern than you might realise due to the likely post-Brexit political climate. Choosing Brexit will result in a huge shift to the right in our country’s politics. It would mean that UKIP has suddenly become a credible political party, and that means you could well see a coalition government between the nasty right wing core that survives a Conservative Party meltdown, and UKIP. That honestly makes me want to cry; the most right wing elements of our country, joining forces, with the power to tear up all of the EU legislation on human and workers rights as well as the ECHR.

The only way Brexit would become a credibly good idea, is if Britain post-EU would have better laws and a better social structure outside of it than in. That won’t be the case, things will get worse. Let’s not forget how utterly grim unrestrained Thatcherite free market capitalism is, and how little it gives a crap about the lower class. I promise you that if Boris and Gove write up a new ‘British Bill of Rights’, the first things to go will be your right to privacy and the protection on unpaid overtime and maximum working hours. EU economic and political legislation are again, pretty fucking tame, there are no sacrifice your firstborn clauses, if there was, countries wouldn’t be chomping at the bit to join the EU. The attempt to paint the EU as a corrupt den of bureaucratic thieves and rotten bankers might carry some clout, if our own country wasn’t such a more impressively corrupt den of bureaucratic thieves and rotten bankers.

Does the EU favour corporations and ultimately is it money that talks loudest? Yes of course, but unfortunately that’s the way a capitalist world works. If you want to have a conversation about inherent political structure and if we should change it, then believe me I am your man for that discourse I dig that shit hugely, but leaving the EU won’t change anything, it will make things worse.

The post-Brexit legislation we lay down will be done by a heavily right-wing leaning government, who want fewer workers rights and more freedom for corporations, because they honestly believe that helping the 1% get richer is the real aim of countries. People should be laughing in Boris Johnson and Michael Gove’s faces when they pretend the laws and legislation they will pass post-Brexit will benefit anyone but the ruling classes.

Allies

Now listen, I know it might seem a little bit hypocritical for me to talk about allies when Cameron and Osborne are on the Remain side, but Jesus if you’re supporting Brexit, can you please take a moment to look at who you’re standing with. Here’s a little reversal of a sentence structure that is ironically most often used by racists: I’m not saying that everyone who votes Leave is racist, but everyone who’s a racist will be voting Leave.

I am so sick of people pretending that the racism that keeps popping up in the Leave campaign, is the work of a few bad apples and doesn’t reflect on large swathes of its campaign tactics as a whole. Lets start with Nigel Farage, this is the man who shouted angrily at Mandelson to “stop rubbing our noses in diversity”. What does that mean, other than I want to have my nose rubbed in uniformity and by uniformity I mean white people? Can the media please start calling a spade a spade and a racist little shit a racist little shit. Nigel Farage and his party are a xenophobic movement of assholery and that’s who you’re lining up with if you think Brexit is a good idea. You’re saying I think that the party who employs MEP’s that refer to Africa as bongo bongo land, are the right people to get behind when it comes to our sociopolitical future.

Well it’s not just UKIP gunning for Brexit I hear you say, what about Boris Johnson, he’s not an elitist racist. Really? He suggested that Obama was only in support of Remain because of his dislike of Britain due to his Kenyan heritage. Are you kidding me? Yea, Obama leader of the most racially prejudice first world country, the man who gets regular death threats and insults on major American news channels because of the colour of his skin, can’t raise himself above racial grievances from the colonial era. He thought he’d just fly over to Britain for shits and giggles, because he wants us to make bad choices due to his spear waving, bone through the nose, tribal dancing heritage, bloody Kenyan savage.

Oh but don’t worry, Boris Johnson can sing German so he couldn’t possibly be racist. Boris Johnson should have been disqualified from all further political discourse after that statement, but as ever he got given a free pass because he’s just such a lovable un-PC little scamp. It’s like meeting one of your friends old school mates who thinks it’s hilarious to dip his genitals in your pint when you’ve gone to the loo, and who your mate explains, ‘is just like that’. What, like an absolute prick?

Well don’t worry Brexiteers, there are more respected world leaders waiting to make cameos in the debate: Donald Trump, the man who wants to ban Muslims, build a wall to stop Mexicans and punish women for having abortions, thinks Brexit is a good idea. So does Vladimir Putin, the man who has made it illegal to be gay in public, and of course only has Britain’s best interests at heart. He couldn’t possibly be hoping to prise us away from the EU and NATO community so we’ll develop closer economic and political ties with Russia, I’m sure that’ll end well.

What you’re saying when you join the Brexit camp is, ‘well I think those people are wrong about their abhorrent beliefs in certain areas, but when it comes to Brexit, they’ve hit the nail on the head.’ Is it not more likely that they’re just assholes? When I was at university I was considering joining the rugby team, I went out on a night out with the team and during the evening one of the lads went “oi look at that girl”, I said “yea she’s beautiful”, and he went “watch this”, pissed in a cup and threw it at her. I didn’t join the rugby team because they were serial offending bell ends. That’s the team you’re on if you fall for the Brexit campaign’s lies, Team Racist Piss Throwing.

So please, for the love of Jehova vote Remain. Get your mum, dad, sister, brother, cat and goldfish to vote Remain. Scream it from the rooftops, the only accurate thing Brexit has done is call the Remain campaign ‘Project Fear’, spot on, you should be fucking terrified.

@wgpjournalism

#BremainyMcBremainFace