Monday, 13 June 2016

Grumpy about the referendum...

I realise that I am feeling very grumpy about this whole referendum.

I remember when Wilson called a referendum, my father remarked what a stupid thing it was to do - not part of the way we ran the country. At the time I didn't really understand what he was on about. Today I think I do rather better.

This referendum is costing £142.4m of taxpayers' money. It was called to help Cameron win the last election. It will resolve little - on present showing, about half the population will think it has delivered the wrong answer. It has promoted argument of the worst political kind: demagogues have flourished, and the politics of self-interest and economic benefit have been the dominant lenses through which the debate is framed.

When the vote is cast, vast numbers will be voting on the basis of large swathes of ignorance - my children told me recently they thought it was a vote on whether you were racist or not...

What it conceals, or perhaps reveals, is how broken our parliamentary democracy is. The Tories no longer stand for traditional conservative values - witness Cameron's destruction of traditional marriage, for example. Traditional Labour voters likewise feel that their party does not represent the best traditions of the Labour party. The Lib Dems are a joke in rather poor taste... Again, that opens the path to demagogues of the Farage kind.

The common ground seems to be that the EU is desperately in need of reform - the CAP being a glaring example - yet few seriously believe that we can achieve substantial reform. 

My own professional life would be very much easier if we were out, (it is untrue that the 'red-tape on small business' problem is a fiction) but that seems a very poor reason to cast a vote.

My preferred solution would be for an effectively functioning parliament to make a wise and principled decision. Given that is not going to happen anytime soon, why should I believe that our influence on the EU will be either effective or principled?

I am deeply and profoundly disillusioned with the whole political process.

And I still don't know which way I am going to vote.


Patricius said...

Sorry to split hairs. It was Wilson who called the last EEC referendum. Last time it was to save the Labour government. This time we're helping out a Conservative Prime Minister... if he hasn't bitten off more than he can chew.

Ben Trovato said...

Patricius - you are, of course, quite right. I have amended accordingly.

Unknown said...

My sentiments entirely. The whole thing is a waste of time and money.

Jonathan Marshall said...

Good evening Ben,

I tried to comment on this a couple of days ago, but I was having computer problems and it may not have got to you.

I wanted to point out to you a superb article by Ambrose Evans-Pritchard in the Business section of Monday's Daily Telegraph.

It's a dispassionate explanation of his reluctant decision to vote Leave, and it sums up my own position exactly.