[This is a trimmed version of a diatribe that got even more long-winded. I dropped the detailed discussion because it was fractured and ill-informed. Which isn’t to say that this won’t be.]
Here in the UK we’re currently debating whether or not to leave the EU (I won’t use the term Brexit). I say we, but most of the debate comes from politicians, with much of the public bemused as to the facts. Bemused because as soon as one side presents a fact, the other side dismiss it as optimistic, or simply a fabrication.
The campaign has been particularly toxic – or amusing, depending on your point of view. Most of the facts are so flimsy because the truth is that no one knows what the results of leaving will be – despite the conviction on display when they tell you what will happen.
Many of the arguments focus on currently hot topics – immigration playing a large part. They seem to overlook that this is a long term decision, and framing it in terms of immediate problems only makes it look opportunist, focussing on people’s fears to achieve unclear ends.
One issue that could be considered long-term, and the reason the referendum was probably called (mainly because of factions in the Conservative party which have always wanted out of Europe), is sovereignty. Decisions on British law being made by unelected representatives in Brussels.
As a Welshman, I’m used to decisions for my country being taken in another nation (mainly by Saxon immigrants), so this isn’t so much of an issue. It’s not as though any of the candidates to replace politicians are noticeably different from them, so I don’t see being able to vote individuals out as that big a deal.
In or Out
Ultimately I’ve heard nothing to persuade me from my inclination to stay in the EU. It may not be perfect, but we’re unlikely to change it from the outside. And in an increasingly internationalised world, where corporate entities seem to be taking power from countries, I don’t see isolating ourselves as being productive.
Building barriers between neighbours only helps reinforce the idea of the other that leads to so much conflict. We need to be engaged with our neighbours, so we can try and deal with our shared problems together, rather than enduring them alone.