Being off work thanks to illness means at this time I get to see things like this morning’s debate on the EU Referendum on the Victoria Derbyshire programme on the BBC. It managed the what I thought unachievable which it actually made me sympathise with Yvette Cooper who was shouted down by those on the Brexit side, but that’s to be expected. What was telling was the British-Asian chap who was voting to leave complaining about the racist rhetoric coming from many on the Leave side who was also shouted down and sneered at by those around him. In fact whenever the camera switched back to him the looks of disgust he was getting was telling.
Yet this is a result of a campaign that’s been in the sewer for weeks with Cameron’s promises of World War 3 and Armageddon and Johnson and Gove’s often pitifully wistful idea of an imperial England (let’s be blunt, this is a referendum about England’s place in the world with Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland being dragged into the slipstream) with Boris Johnson at it’s helm. Yet, like Donald Trump, it should be clear for all that Johnson isn’t fit to govern and should be held in the utmost contempt but some do give him respect and that’s an astonishing thing.
This doesn’t let Cameron off the hook. He’s the man who’s taken us to the brink of leaving the EU because of an internal Tory Party debate that’s been raging since before I was born and I’m approaching my half century. He can make the case for the EU by saying ‘well actually the reason you’ve not got a house or a job is because of UK governments like mine. We’ve fucked you over. Sorry.’ Obviously he won’t, but this is such a disingenuous debate that we face leaving the EU not based on a progressive, leftish argument but because we hate immigrants and foreigners. The example of the chap being jeered on the Victoria Derbyshire show highlighted just where the Brexit campaign now occupies and thanks to Nigel Farage’s increasingly repulsive rhetoric which assumes every immigrant and refugee is a rapist we now stand ready to say to the world ‘we are a vile, racist, closed country that hates the world. Fuck you.‘. Is it any surprise those other countries in the EU and Europe are now looking at the UK with fearful, nearly hateful eyes because they know what a Brexit based upon fear of the Other would unleash across Europe. Before those Brexit supporters say ”it’s about democracy‘ then that line would work if the likes of Johnson or Farage supported abolition of the House of Lords and at the very least, a federal UK, yet neither do. For them it’s a return to England’s heyday at the centre of Empire and for them, the world.
And Cameron knows he’s fucked up. The event today where he’s got Labour, Lib Dem and sadly, The Greens with him to support a Remain vote shows he’s trying to temper his bullshit, but as any student of the Scottish Independence Referendum campaign will tell you, being a so-called progressive politician sharing a platform with Tories is dangerous which is why I’m annoyed at the Greens and glad to see Jeremy Corbyn wisely decided to avoid being seen at the same platform as Cameron. For all of Corbyn’s many flaws, he’s smart enough to realise he’d alienate many of his voters standing next to a man that is accused of putting his penis into a pig.
Yet the positive arguments are there as Scottish First Minster Nicola Sturgeon has Tweeted.
Yet with just over a fortnight to go making the positive case this late may not get whatever side over the line as it’s been a contemptible vile campaign that has bottled up the very worst of the Independence Referendum, mixed it with the worst of all sides of Toryism, thrown in, a lot of English/British exceptionalism, bullshit, and racism with a side order of xenophobia.
Look, the EU isn’t perfect by any stretch of the imagination and there’s seriously compelling arguments to leave and to stay but up to now neither side is making them. The Remain side look like they’re starting to drop the apocalyptic tone, but if you’ve got Nigel Farage calling immigrants potential rapists it’s hard to pull back once you’ve went there because you’ve crossed a line and there’s no coming back. Yet here we are, 17 days out from a vote that could see us pull out of the EU, and by action, that would end the UK as we know it too.
There are good factual reasons to stay and I’ve pointed people in that direction before, and as someone who wants to remain but realises the democratic deficit of the EU, I also realise there’s a good argument to leave but I’ve not heard it. I’m not going to vote to leave thus empowering Johnson, Gove and Farage with all the mouthbreathers that will come out of the woodwork once the rhetoric on immigrants and refugees step up a gear after a Brexit. Both campaigns are contemptuous but this is really about voting for the lesser evil and I’m not handing the far right, iimperialistic Tories control of the UK because this is what this has become. A vote about what Tories are going to fuck us the least in the future, not democracy, not self determination.