At last the starting pistol has been fired for our in, out, in, out, shake it all about EU referendum. Dave has decided, to no one’s surprise, that the referendum will take place on 23 June. He likes referenda, does Dave, and he always wants to leave things as they are.
The Alternative Vote was his first one, loved by the Lib Dems, crushed by the Tories. Then independence for Scotland where he had a double victory, with Scotland staying in the UK and Labour being obliterated at the general election that followed. And now the EU.
I’m dreading the campaign, as I dread many political campaigns. The whole point of Cameron’s vote is to try to appease the right of his party, well the even more right than him, I mean. He doesn’t really want a vote at all, he’s just weak. Now we will have the sight of George Galloway, Michael Gove, Nigel Farage, Iain Duncan Smith and sundry nasty politicians from all over the spectrum trying to set England free.
I say England because if the referendum is lost, little England will soon be on its own. Scotland will certainly have another independence vote and this time they will go for it. We will be doffing our caps and begging the EU to let us trade with them. We’d might as well let Farage be PM right now.
We are voting on a package of measures that were not needed. There’s no new deal that we couldn’t have come up with an evolutionary style, dealing with each problem as it arises. Cameron is pretending that he has been negotiating something wonderful. No, he hasn’t. There’s nothing new at all. But don’t worry: Dave will be trying to convince us what a genius he is right up until polling day.
We will have staged debates, almost every single day. There will be soundbites, then more soundbites, followed by even more soundbites.
I fear we are sleepwalking to Brexit and surrendering access to the open markets of Europe. I can see us missing out on the benefits of free movement across Europe and even small things like cheap air fares and missing out on the end of mobile phone roaming charges across the EU, all in the name of hating foreigners (which is what the leave side is all about and let’s not pretend otherwise).
Perhaps by plumping for a four month campaign, we will all be bored senseless by 23 June and vote to stay in just to silence the politicians once and for all.
One thing is for sure though: in or out, the Tory Party will never be the same again. The divisions, already wide, are going to become chasms and there are wounds which will never heal. The politics is as cynical as ever with Boris Johnson, behind his fake buffoon mask, deciding on how to cast his vote with both eyes on the succession to Cameron who will be either damaged goods following the vote or finished. The EU to Johnson is a plaything, a lever to power. Don’t be taken in. He acts the fool, but is far from being one.
I am already trying to avoid referendum-mania which is being played out everywhere by doing and watching anything else. How I will succeed in doing that for another four months is anyone’s business.