By Ed Pond
The news was dominated this week by the terror attack in Westminster. It reminded us that there is a common cause we all believe in, even if there are differences in the country over Brexit’s delivery. We feel strongly about the future of the UK and who should shape it, but we have that fight through debate and democratic process. Perhaps both sides should be a little more civil sometimes, but it’s a damn good system.
The attack was used by some on the right to cast aspersions on multiculturalism and immigration. There are, it should be said, only minimal links between these policies and domestic terrorism. Many also tied the outrage into the Brexit debate. Where the EU is concerned, the only detrimental effect on security has been caused by the Schengen-land arrangement and Merkel’s mishandling of the migrant crisis, which have made terrorism rather harder to contain (although our security services have managed very well, aided by the Channel). Also, indirectly, many people who evangelise about the EU tend to keenly push political correctness and identity politics. These can go too far and make discussing or tackling security problems more difficult. However, there are way more significant problems with the EU, especially economic and democratic ones, and these are where Labour Leave’s objections are to be found.
Michael 'Tarzan' Heseltine continued his one-man crusade against Brexit by making odd remarks about Germany. He asserted that by leaving the EU, we put it entirely within German dominance and they will have “the opportunity to win the peace”. Right... A few things wrong with that, Tarzan. We haven't been at war for 70 years - the peace has already been won, by everyone. If it hasn't yet been won, which it has, I'm not sure the Germans are trying to win it for revenge purposes. And if they are, which they're not, then they did that a long time ago. That was very soon after the war, in fact, when West Germany quickly re-industrialised and deregulated under Ludwig Erhard, becoming an unstoppable economic force. They have dominated the EEC and EU since the beginning when they helped set it up (without the UK), and then when the French economy gradually fell back. They've dominated even more, of course, since the single currency was introduced. Cue Heseltine saying that shows we should have joined the Euro as well. No mate.
Now this is the kind of thing that those truculent Brexiteers might say, but isn't really what you'd expect from someone fully invested in the utopian European vision. It sounds almost cynical and… stuck in the past? Little Englander, even… Yeah, keep talking Lord H, this is good stuff. Talking of cynics, the same goes for Alistair Campbell, who in an extraordinary moment debating Nigel Farage on ‘Good Morning Britain’ leaned forward with a self-satisfied grin and said: “Believe me, Brexit can be stopped”. The Machiavellian that did all of Blair’s dirty work and now co-edits ‘The New European’ said Britain would be a “laughing stock” and he was going to spend his time “trying to stop this madness’. Every boy needs a hobby.
A rather larger number of people on the same mission attended a ‘March for Europe’ in London on Saturday. It’s the EU, not ‘Europe’, folks - you’re at it again - but moving past that, let’s discuss the situation. OK, you’re unhappy about losing the referendum and want to express that. Fine, but what is that going to achieve? What’s your answer? Overturn the vote and disregard our democratic system just because on this occasion you believe you know better than the majority that participated? Sounds legitimate, doesn’t it. None of your excuses (public were lied to, they didn’t know what they wanted, etc) are reason enough to do that. We in Labour would love to use excuses to overturn the 2015 election, but really it was a case of ‘people don’t reckon Labour enough’. That’s yer democracy. And yes, you are well within your rights and in the spirit of debate I described at the start; but I would seriously question the usefulness in waving those blue flags and balloons about in vain. A ‘Brexit is racist’ placard isn’t helping. We’re leaving – people didn’t want the EU, and the EU is not some symbol of lost humanity. It’s just a power bloc that won’t rule our country anymore. It would honestly be better if you accept the decision and instead campaign for a fair exit and a healthy trade-deal with the EU. Most of us want that.
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