The last ditch battles are being played out as the UK enters the final hours before the EU Referendum vote. The rabidly eurosceptic Sun has gone out on a high, with a final message which is – entirely un-intentionally – absolutely f***ing hilarious.
— Bonnie Greer (@Bonn1eGreer) June 22, 2016
The invitation to ‘look into his eyes’ brings to mind a very unfortunate comparison, in the Little Britain sketch about a hypnotist called Kenny Craig.
“Look into my eyes, look into my eyes. The eyes. Not around the eyes, don’t look around the eyes. Look into my eyes”
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Once again, Rupert Murdoch’s news team goes full throttle on Project Fear, and doesn’t bother to even point to the elephant in the room: that this referendum is a sham.
As The Canary reported in an editorial this week, there are many perfectly good reasons to Vote Leave. It’s totally reasonable to want to rebel against the crushing bureaucracy, neoliberal economic orthodoxy, and impending TTIP– that comes with our membership of the EU.
But in the absence of a general election, there is no chance of a Lexit (left wing exit) whatsoever. This leaves an entire swathe of left-wing eurosceptics with a truly horrible choice. First, they can vote to remain in an EU that has become so anti-democratic that it deposed the democratically elected leaders of Greece and Italy in order to push through its economic and political agenda. Second, they can vote to leave on the terms of a UK government to the right of that anti-democratic institution. This means, whether they like it or not, they are voting to lose key civil, human and workers’ rights, to accelerate a TTIP-style trade deal, to see British science, technology and engineering take a massive hit, and see any resulting recession become the pretext for austerity on steroids.
But it isn’t just the left who are being shafted in this vote. At the other end of the spectrum, the right are being done over too. Those who wish to see Britain cut immigration dramatically are going to be bitterly disappointed in the event of a Brexit vote. The economics embraced by David Cameron and the conservatives doesn’t permit protectionism – or ‘looking after our own’. This is why they do nothing for working class Britons losing jobs because their bosses choose to exploit immigrant labour. This is why they do nothing when companies ship British jobs overseas to exploit workers in far away countries. They are not patriots, or nationalists. They think as part of a trans-national capitalist class. The bottom line for them is the profit and loss accounts of themselves and their peers, not the personal aspirations of 31 million working people in Britain, or the near 2 million unemployed. The right can rest assured that if Britain leaves the EU and the Conservatives stay in power – there will be every bit as much, if not more, exploitation of immigrant and overseas labour, and all the losses of jobs, wages and working conditions that go along with it.
All things considered, we are forced to conclude that the only groups to win from this EU Referendum are the very same groups that have won for the last two decades: those who know the price of everything and the value of nothing. Those who see the NHS not as the foundation rock of our public health, but as a cash cow, ripe for milking. Those who see housing not as the basis for family and community life, but as a market in which to speculate and accumulate. Those who see education not as a ladder leading people up to a better place in the world, but as a means of turning our young people into debtors with hefty student loans which shackle them for life. Those who see immigration as a way of lowering working conditions and wages to the lowest common denominator. Those who see trade deals as another way of doing the same.
The rest of us – UKIP voters, one nation Conservatives, traditional or social conservatives, socialists or social democrats, radical lefties, greens – all of us are being screwed by this seemingly untouchable, indifferent political and media class. While we might disagree on the solutions, we are all craving remarkably similar things at the heart of it: community, safety, prosperity, good neighbourliness and civility, respect, integrity in our institutions, individual freedom. And none of us are going to get these things through this EU Referendum. Instead, it is likely that whichever way we vote, they will remain firmly out of our reach until we take far bolder steps at the ballot box come general election time.
This whole sham of a Referendum is a giant missed opportunity to reshape our nation in real and fundamental ways. Proving once again, that if we want a genuine transformation of this country, we’re going to have to do it ourselves.
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