On 23rd June we will vote on whether or not we should leave the European Union.
This is the source of some quite heated debate, frankly - and I am thrilled on one level that people are actually engaging in politics at all. That's a fantastic change. I asked for some quotes on my Facebook, some of which are presented below:
"either way it is the elite who win"
"In because our government wants to rewrite the human rights act, take away workers rights and dismantle the NHS."
"Out democracy over bureaucracy!!"
"To quote a Clash song...should I stay or should I go !!"
I will put my heart on my sleeve right now, for purpose of bias sweeping: I think we should stay, and this blog is in part to tell you why - but also an observation on the campaign on both sides.
I'm not going to touch the amount of waffle there is in the media. There's a hell of a lot. Nor am I going to really touch on the absolute shitstorm of somewhat inaccurate facts being thrown around as gospel both for and against - though I suspect in a couple of cases on the Stay side that is rather deliberate, such as in the case of the BBC.
Anyone who pays attention will notice that the BBC's somewhat left-centrist news has shifted to the right a hell of a lot in the past three years. Could this be because their previous head of news was forced out after some vague allegations, and replaced with a former News Corp employee? Given that they now often toe the same line as the Murdoch press, it's hard to imagine otherwise.
Pardon. I digress.
What I'm going to touch on is those apparently in favour of staying, and those apparently in favour of leaving.
...well I never, David Cameron.
Anyone who knows Dodgy Dave must know that leaving the EU would be a huge feather in his cap. They've been decrying his party's actions for a long time. Their troublesome clinging to the Human Rights act and their awkward tenacity for worker's rights - it's kind of counter to policy.
So why is he voting to stay, when most of the rest of his party - the NEW Tories it bears mention, not the old school like John Major - are voting to leave? Notably Theresa May, Iain Duncan Smith, Boris Johnson?
It's simple: he knows full well he is one of the most hated men in the country, and has said himself that he won't run in the next election. He's the perfect sacrifice.
It's the only reason he would publically condone something his friends and allies - including Rupert Murdoch - actively condemn. Even more so than the people actually making the policies that are killing and disenfranchising British citizens, the country HATES David Cameron, and will - like Pavlov's dogs - instantly go against anything he stands for.
Think about it.
If we as a nation vote to stay in then it is a final victory for him, a high point for him to end his career on. "At least at the end I could stick to my principles," he may say, as he waves and leaves Downing Street. A legacy. In 20 years, when we're not looking down the barrel of yet another recession, someone might look back and stay - hey, if we weren't in the EU, we might have had some serious issues. Bravo, David Cameron. Bravo. Release biography, make millions, retire to life of consultancy.
On the other side of the coin - if we vote to leave, then his party gets what it wants. He can slip out of the door having been shown it after supporting the Stay campaign, and leave the party in the hands of one of those folks that supported Leave. He's done a solid for his chums, and they won't forget it. Bravo. Release biography, make millions, retire to life of consultancy.
He wins both ways.
He's not the only fifth column, either. I mentioned the BBC earlier? Well, with their steadily more obvious right-wing leanings and the degradation of their brand as a news service, their apparent support of Stay by scaremongering Leave is going to undermine the Stay campaign significantly.
Which is of course exactly what Rupert Murdoch - you know, the BBC's head of news' previous employer - would want. He has his hooks in our government, and they love it; the less interference from outsiders, the better. He can't make a phone call and make the EU do his bidding - but he CAN engender some scurrying around from Tory HQ.
The same Tory HQ that will be making decisions on whether or not the BBC continues to exist - a BBC that is losing support daily in part down to its news direction; that old Thatcherite trick, to undermine while miming support, to allow failure, to declare unfit for purpose, and to monetise.
I don't believe in conspiracy theories. I believe the truth is right there if you look for it. It's not hidden in a huge web of deceipt and double-talk. All this that I have just told you is fairly simple, if you just look.
If we were to ever leave the EU, then it should be when our economy is strong, and we can easily weather the temporary hit that we are guaranteed to take in doing so. Negotiate from a position of strength. Right now - we don't have that strength. We like to think that we're the strong twenty-something that can leave any time they want and be just fine (which anyone living in this country will realise is just as much a fallacy, unless you have a REALLY good job). In truth, we're the frail old man, cantankerous and stubborn. We talk about how we can leave the nursing home any time we want, back in our day we did all this, we did all that, of course we'll be fine.
We think we're Dick Whittington. We're closer to Don Quixote - and if we keep going down the path of austerity, we'll end up as Weekend At Bernies.