When we wake up on Friday morning, one thing will not have changed. We will still have a right wing Conservative government that will continue to do nothing to correct the ever-widening difference between the rich and the poor, the haves and have nots and an insecure, low wage economy. We will still have the Bedroom Tax, over 50% of George Osborne’s public spending cuts have not yet kicked in and the wages of many people will remain frozen for the foreseeable future. Friday will not bring in a brighter dawn. This is particularly true if we remain in the EU which I profoundly hope we do.
The campaign itself has been ghastly to behold, pitched as it has been between the voices of the establishment, the old boys from Eton, and Westminster. The Remain campaign has been all about the dangers to Britain if we leave the EU. These dangers are very real and will cause untold damage on the next generation as their opportunities in life diminish. Even the most hardline leavers now acknowledge that the economy will take a hit if we vote to leave, the only question being just how big. No matter how big the hit, it will not matter to right wing bigots and racists like Nigel Farage, or the 57 varieties of Trotskyism who see Brexit as an opportunity to bring about the collapse of capitalism. But where has been the positive case for Europe? It has come from Labour, albeit half-heartedly. The EU benefits ordinary workers in all manner of ways, it has contributed hugely to keeping the peace since the second world war, it has given us freedom of movement, freedom to live and work abroad, in the EU we have the biggest single trade market in the world.
Every major organisation, almost all economists, the vast majority of FTSE employers, almost all our partners abroad believe we will be better in. But Michael Gove, the man who almost destroyed our education system, now condemns expertise, as if expertise was bad. Presumably (and what follows was not my anecdote, but it’s worth repeating) if Gove needed an operation, he wouldn’t bother with an expert surgeon: he’d let his mate Nigel Farage have a play about with the scalpel instead. Who needs experts?
Whether we like it or not, Project Fear, at least from the official Remain group has plenty of valid points. The scares are for real. It’s made for a grim campaign, but there is some truth in what Cameron and co are saying. Meanwhile, Gove, Johnson and Farage have led Project Hate, a filthy dirty campaign of lies and deception. Lies over immigration, lies over Turkey, lies over the costs of the EU, like about how much Johnson and Gove love the NHS, likes about a European army. Lies, deception, scaremongering and no plan – NO PLAN – to deal with Pro Brexit Britain.
Let us be crystal clear about this: a vote to leave the EU would represent an almighty step into the dark. The big employers like Rolls Royce are not urging their employees to vote remain for fun: they know that the impact of their business, and so jobs, could be enormous.
We are a sovereign state, we make virtually all our own laws (the EU wasn’t able to stop the Bedroom Tax, cuts to tax credits, the slashing of Sure Start or just about anything else the Tory government has done since 2010). Ask people which EU laws they dislike, they don’t have a clue. But the Sun and the Mail has said it’s true, so it must be.
For me, peace and unity in Europe are the clinchers. Europe has a horrid history of conflict and war and in such an uncertain world, the very last thing we should be doing would be to cut ourselves off from the rest of Europe. Who would love that most of all? Putin, for sure. Marine Le Pen, Norbert Hofer would too.
The entire campaign has been about two issues: the economy and immigration. The in side of the debate won the economic argument many months ago, but immigration has been used ruthlessly by the leavers to scare us. Farage and his odious party, often referred to as the BNP in blazers, have taken the level of debate back to the 1930s, using the language and images of Hitler’s Germany. The outers are not stupid and they know that matters of immigration are complex and that it will not suddenly stop if we take a step into the unknown. That Gove and Johnson have been subtly encouraging the so called Muslim community, through their puppet front organisations, by saying that if we cut back on EU migration it will enable us to encourage more people to come here from Pakistan and Bangladesh illustrates the sheer hypocrisy of those people. Funny how that one didn’t appear in the Sun or Mail. We need a national debate on immigration – I have been saying this for ages – but we have not had one in this campaign.
The Mail said today that if you love Britain, you should vote to leave the EU. I believe the exact opposite. Within Europe, Britain is one of the big players with huge influence. I believe we should stay in the EU to build still further our influence and to work inside to improve the lives of ordinary workers, to give them more rights, not less, to enable them to share the proceeds of economic growth, not be excluded from it.
Nothing much will change on Friday if we remain in Europe, but David Cameron is surely on the down side of his premiership. All prime ministerial careers end in failure and Cameron’s will be no different. He only called the referendum in the first place to placate the wild-eyed anti-Europeans in his party and to spike the guns of Nigel Farage. That went well then. The Tory party is split as never before and whatever the result, I believe Cameron is soon to be toast.
If we vote to leave, Cameron will be toast by the weekend, as will be the likes of George Osborne. Within weeks, Boris Johnson will be installed as prime minister with Michael Gove his chancellor and a cabinet which will undoubtedly include hawks like Liam Fox, Priti Patel, Iain Duncan Smith and, by 2020, Nigel Farage, his job at Ukip completed. This is not what everyone is voting for tomorrow – except for the likes of Johnson, Gove et al – but that is what will happen. A bonfire of the sanities.
It is not exactly the sexiest slogan to say vote remain because things will be so much worse if we leave. A reformed EU, with Britain leading the reform, would surely be the best option.
I see a united Europe as a beacon of hope in an uncertain world. If there is anyone out there who has not yet made up their mind, then hold your nose and vote remain. Continued membership of the EU offers the best possible future for the young, as well as protection for the old.
If you are still in doubt, click here If you still want to vote to leave the EU after watching it, you are Nigel Farage.