It’s not about the budget
What passes for democratic debate in this country is apparently mostly squabbling over how many millions some made-up tea-bag predictions say you’ll make or lose personally if you’re in or out.
Economic projections aren’t really important either way compared to the political, constitutional issues.
The very future of capitalism and human rights is under question and people are distracted by the news babbling about astronomical numbers and made-up predictions.
The refugee crisis affects all of Europe.
Environmental collapse is facing the whole world.
We have regulatory capture and the open perversion of democracy though financial lobbying by multi-national shell corporations beyond the reach of any national government!
Austerity is sucking life out of what little demand is left in the economy after rents and loan-repayments and other capital-extractions have already sucked dry the worker’s incomes.
Not just here, everywhere! Demand failure is global.
Technology is replacing employment at an exponential rate, and inside fifty years the internet, deep learning AIs, self-driving cars and 3D-Printers are going to make most of the people in the world unemployable everywhere there is internet access.
And none of these problems would stop at our borders, even if borders were actually real things with walls and fences rather than in fact just being lines drawn on a map by a king or a colonialist more than a century ago.
The only way to solve ANY of those problems (or pretty much all the others that are headed our way) is more unity across national-borders, more coordination of our various democratic wills, more representative union on wider scales.
I care about Europe
And even if we could just split off and go it alone, let johnny foreigner look after their own interests, we’ll look after ours, this isn’t enough.
It isn’t enough to save just the UK, even if saving just the UK were actually possible.
I care about this continent and the people on it, I care about my friends who have gone to live and love and work all over it. I care about the places they now call home. I care about my Euro-friends in the city, and the old homes they have come from and families back there they still love.
All those people, and their friends and their families in turn, I care about them all. Not just the ones this side of a line drawn on a map by some inbred royal’s cartographer.
I’m not gonna try and pretend I care equally about everyone. That’s surely not possible. But those national borders from golden crowned rulers a thousand years ago do not capture the complex network of all the various fucks that I give for the people in the world even one tiny bit.
This whole continent is facing huge continent-wide problems like refugee issues, wars, pollution, unsustainable production. And global ones like environmental collapse, the functioning of markets and corruption of democracy.
The only way to solve any of that is for all of the nations to get together and cooperate, find common cause, unite in solidarity and democratise their governing institutions.
Balkanisation and retreating into a nation’s own shell, believing you can isolate yourself from those huge global issues, isn’t helpful and isn’t true.
If the EU didn’t exist, we’d rightly invent something like it.
A democracy-club, where any country with a functioning democratic state which can meet the minimum-standard guidelines gets to join and be represented.
And we’d negotiate, democratically, together, to determine those minimum-standards and figure out how to express our various democratic wills at all levels of organisation.
And, you know, I would like Turkey to join too!
Just as soon as they’ve got their democracy and national apparatus up to spec.
And all the other countries!
If your country is democratic and fair enough, then you can join.
That’s the rule.
That’s how we spread democracy, which is how we cooperate across national boundaries to face global problems when we urgently have to.
And we urgently have to.
But The EU isn’t That
I doubt I could put it any more clearly than
“The EU is not, as its cheerleaders claim, a coming-together of European peoples. Rather, it represents the outsourcing of key parts of national political life to the unaccountable, unreachable realm of the European Commission and other Brussels-based bodies. It directly waters down our democratic clout through granting ever-greater authority to institutions like the EC and the European Court of Justice, whose edicts and rulings can be imposed on nations regardless of what national governments, far less national plebiscites, think of them. That is anti-democratic. End of. And it should be viewed as intolerable by anyone who considers himself progressive, and who recognises that every radical, inspiring leap forward in modern times – from the Levellers to the Chartists to the Suffragettes – has been about people wrestling from the authorities the right to choose who governs them; the right to political say-so.”
I view it as intolerable too.
All those things are true.
Well. Exaggerated, but have truth. Allowable hyperbole.
Which is why it needs saving so badly!
Unless it can become accountable, transparent, democratic, it’ll fall apart. EVERYONE will leave for the same reasons some here want to leave: nationalism, economic fear, xenophobia, the mistaken belief that going it alone will make it easier to solve the massive crises headed our way, when the one thing we can’t afford to do is be disunited from our neighbours.
We need to be fighting for our union, not against it.
Fighting to make it better.
It’s easily the most democratic trans-national organisation that exists, but it is not nearly enough so, and I’d wish for it to grow more democratic as well as to grow in scope, and in size.
Ideally Europe’s people would be united.
Ideally the world’s people would be united!
Voting Leave Won’t Fix It
Voting “Leave” won’t unite the world’s people to face the enormous challenges we have to keep the global economy working at all. To keep the continent from balkanising into hostile factions.
Refusing to help determine the future of the trade-club won’t increase our sovereignty, just give up our voice.
Quitting our voice in what little democracy the EU currently has won’t influence the existing countries to make the union more democratic.
Replacing the EU with unilateral trade agreements that contain no democratic clauses at all, like TTIP, does not increase our democratic power to politically unite with the rest of the world.
A real exit
What if the EU is not reformable. What if it’s permanently and irreversibly corrupt to it’s very core? What if we really should be doing a Bender from Futurama and saying “Screw you guys, I’m gonna start my OWN union, with blackjack. And hookers…”
Well, then we should be gathering a few names for that new club first. Draw up a short-list of cool-club countries. Have some talks, maybe write a properly democratic constitution or form a global constitutional review panel to determine entry criteria.
Start the new club before you quit the old one.
Especially since I know how the right wing of the Tory party think, and they are not going to negotiate to start a new union with liberty and democracy and transparency at it’s core. They’re not even saying that’s what want do.
What they are saying they want to do is remove human rights legislation, cut back on workers rights, cut public services and privatize national institutions even more than they can inside the EU.
That is what this “Leave” vote will get you.
They are going to put capital at it’s core.
Them being massive capital owners and all.
Voting leave without all that prep-work, without a new union to turn to, will not solve any problems real people face. It’ll only solve the problems big business faces, like how to better exploit workers or encourage race-to-the-bottom international tax-regimes.
Voting “Remain” won’t fix it either
Voting “Remain” also won’t democratise the EU. That’s more work than just a vote. Civilisation is a pretty flimsy thing which needs constant political action to maintain I’m afraid.
Grouping together, being united, campaigning for democracy and fairness for all, takes more than just ticking “yes”.
The European Council that employs the executive to write policy is made out of national representatives. We need to ensure ours has one mission there: Transparency and democracy across the EU.
And we need to campaign with other countries, locally, continentally, to encourage all the peoples in all the continent to do the same.
All the people across Europe need to unite and campaign for that single cause.
Force each of their governments to send a democratic reformer into the European Council.
If we can’t do that, if we can’t democratically force change across the continent, then it’ll prove impossible to solve the huge global coordination problems that face us in any way that hopes to have the best interests of the people at heart.
Instead it will be balkanisation. Nation against nation. One-upmanship. Brinksmanship. Treaties negotiated in secret and enforced without the consent of the governed. The rise of the far right. Increasing inequality, further environmental destruction at the hands of profit.
We did invent the EU for a purpose, to promote peace and the common good.
We still want to do that don’t we?
Isn’t it reckless to give up any chance we have to reform the EU without first trying to fix it, without even trying to build a more democratic replacement first?
What’s the quickest route from here to the kind of international union and democracy we urgently need?
I really don’t think it’s “quick, destroy the best one we have”.