Monday, 13 June 2016

The Future of Our Country

Paul Kent, author of 'The Lowdown: The EU - Should We Stay or Should We Go', is fed up with fearmongering!

Well, nine days to go, and I must say as far as I’m concerned, this whole wretched process can’t be over too soon. The past few weeks have been a sobering reminder (if we needed one) of how low the standard of political debate in this country can sink. Nobody seems to credit the Great British Public with the ability to think in anything but binary opposites, which is not just patronizing but simply plain wrong. Yes, at the end of the process we’re going to have to come down on one side or the other, but that doesn’t mean we have to sacrifice nuance and complexity while we’re making our decision – whatever it is - simply because our politicians and the media do. One of the reasons we published The Lowdown: The EU - Should We Stay Or Should We Go back in 2013, was that it was pretty apparent given their past behaviour that the closer we got to a referendum, the more misinformation would be passed off as fact by the interested parties. And so it has unfortunately proved. There’s very little genuine unspun data out there; and the lies and distortions have been repeated so many times, they are being taken for the truth, even by those who should know better.

The first thing to say is a reminder that this isn’t just about what we think as individuals: it’s about the future of our entire country. The UK. It’s not like a general election that comes round every five years. The consequences of what we decide on June 23rd will be with us for much longer than that. So we all need to park our short-term agendas and THINK BIG. The last referendum we had was in 1975, so that means we might not get the chance to vote on the issue again for another 41 years ...

There’s so much nonsense being written and spoken, I wouldn’t begin to know where to start correcting it. For example, you Brexiteers, Turkey is NOT, repeat NOT going to be joining the EU any time soon unless the 34 of the 35 essential criteria it currently doesn’t meet for joining are somehow ignored. And, here’s the clincher, Angela Merkel doesn’t want them in. So why pretend there’s going to be millions of Turkish economic migrants battering down our borders?

But are the Bremainers any better? Well, not really – if we are to believe David Cameron and George Osborne, everything, from pensions to food standards will be under threat if we leave the EU. Even house prices will fall, which, for the English, means ARMAGEDDON is coming - we’ll all be living in some Breughelian nightmare if we heed the paranoia being spread by what has come to be known as Project Fear.

So what’s REALLY going to happen if we leave?

We don’t know. Nobody knows. Or indeed can know, no matter how much they pontificate. For the simple reason that no full member has ever left the EU before. And not only that, if you asked these people at what level the FTSE’s going to close tomorrow night, they couldn’t accurately predict that either. What will have to happen is a lot of talking. Disentangling over forty years of trade agreements. Rewriting social policy. Getting a UK Bill of Rights. That’s going to take YEARS. Because on June 24th, nothing will have magically changed – it’s only the start. And if any of the Brexiteers had the slightest inkling of how much hard slog awaited them, they probably wouldn’t have begun this in the first place. Disengagement doesn’t happen “just like that”. It has to be addressed issue by issue, point by point. Massive amounts of new and revised legislation will have to be drafted, discussed and voted on.

I can’t wait, can you?

So what can we, the voters do?

Just don’t believe any of these dissemblers, of whatever persuasion: grab a cold drink, download The Lowdown: The EU - Should We Stay Or Should We Go, set aside a couple of hours to read it, and make up your own mind. Then switch of the TV and/or the iPad, bin the newspapers and go out and vote, secure in the knowledge that you haven’t been taken for a ride on anyone’s hobbyhorse. PLEASE. - Paul Kent

'The Lowdown: The EU - Should We Stay or Should We Go' is available in download eBook and audio formats.