Brexit schmexit

I can’t quite believe we’re actually having a referendum on this, but hey ho. So here are some reasons to vote against leaving the EU.

1. We get the MEPs we deserve. If you want better representation for Britain in the European Parliament, then stop voting for UKIP and other parties who will just take our money and piss it away instead of turning up to votes.

2. Leaving the EU will not save Britain from TTIP, Caroline Lucas warns


4. 10 points to consider about Brexit and the EU Referendum by Andy Williamson

  1. We’ll have control over our own laws. No. We won’t, we will still need to harmonise with Europe. The only difference between now and then is that at the moment we get to influence those laws. If we leave we just have to adopt them (See Norway).
  2. British courts can make the final decision. More complex this one but, in short, no. They can’t. At least not any more than now. The European Court of Human Rights (the Daily Mule’s biggest enemy) has nothing to do with the EU. The European Court of Justice is the final arbiter of EU law (not national law)… see point 1.
  3. We can control our own borders. Er… We already do. You remember that passport thing you have to show the man?
  4. We can control immigration. In theory, yes, we could. We could pull up the drawbridge and fill in the tunnel too. But it won’t happen because we lose more than we gain.
  5. Staying in makes terrorism more likely. One of the more facile claims, this is so brilliantly stupid that it is almost genius. Staying in the EU makes us a hotbed for terrorism whilst leaving means we’re all safe. There you have it! The only problem is, it’s not true. First of all, see point 4 above. Then consider that terrorists are just like multi-nationals – they don’t respect national borders, they don’t play fair and they don’t care about you.
  6. We’ll renegotiate free trade deals to replace the EU. We won’t. Certainly not quickly at least. We’ll trade with the EU as a member of the EEA so we get pretty much the same as now but we lose the power to influence any future changes. Again, see Norway. And the US has already made it clear it has no interest in a FTA with a newly isolated and rapidly sinking UK. But if you believe we can do instant deals why don’t you start with Scotland. As it will undoubtedly leave if the UK leaves the EU. As eventually will Northern Ireland. And then Wales… starting to feel like the ugly kid at the school disco yet?
  7. We’ll be strutting our stuff as world power again. Newsflash! The UK is a world power. It has a seat on the UN Security Council. It punches enormously above its weight on the international stage. This is in part because of its connectedness to Europe and its power within the EU. Leave and what are you left with? There is momentum building to review the UNSC membership, what do you think are the odds that an isolated UK will still be there?
  8. The economy will thrive if we’re outside the EU. Seriously? It’s not even worth bothering trying to answer this one! The statement is just so blatantly devoid of logic. We’re not Norway. we sold off most of the family silver years ago. And what’s left is rapidly being outsourced and sold off too. And that great shining generator of wealth (for a small few), the financial sector? That will move to Frankfurt, did you ever see a bank with loyalty? (OK, I accept that this could be seen as a plus). In short, if we leave, we get to live through a fire sale at the sunset of a once great economic and political power.
  9. The EU is incompetent, badly run and a drain on resources. Yes. It is. It is beyond incompetent in many cases. But we’re stuck with it one way or the other – leaving does not change that. It might be hard to change it but at least it’s possible from the inside (now more than ever). What can we do from outside? It’s also worth pondering that many of the problems with supposed-EU dictates lie in the local implementation (remember, it was the UK’s fault it didn’t impose the moratorium in immigration in 2004, as Germany and others did).
  10. What’s it ever done for us anyway? Nothing much. Other than working time directives and other ways that protect your rights at work, protect your children. Then there’s consumer protection and European peace. Not to mention the wholesale transition of Eastern Europe from volatile authoritarian states into thriving democracies. Maybe you don’t care about any of those things. But you should.

‘What’s the EU ever done for us?’

Quoted for truth:

‘What did the EEC/EU ever do for us? Not much, apart from: providing 57% of our trade; structural funding to areas hit by industrial decline; clean beaches and rivers; cleaner air; lead free petrol; restrictions on landfill dumping; a recycling culture; cheaper mobile charges; cheaper air travel; improved consumer protection and food labelling; a ban on growth hormones and other harmful food additives; better product safety; single market competition bringing quality improvements and better industrial performance; break up of monopolies; Europe-wide patent and copyright protection; no paperwork or customs for exports throughout the single market; price transparency and removal of commission on currency exchanges across the eurozone; freedom to travel, live and work across Europe; funded opportunities for young people to undertake study or work placements abroad; access to European health services; labour protection and enhanced social welfare; smoke-free workplaces; equal pay legislation; holiday entitlement; the right not to work more than a 48-hour week without overtime; strongest wildlife protection in the world; improved animal welfare in food production; EU-funded research and industrial collaboration; EU representation in international forums; bloc EEA negotiation at the WTO; EU diplomatic efforts to uphold the nuclear non-proliferation treaty; European arrest warrant; cross border policing to combat human trafficking, arms and drug smuggling; counter terrorism intelligence; European civil and military co-operation in post-conflict zones in Europe and Africa; support for democracy and human rights across Europe and beyond; investment across Europe contributing to better living standards and educational, social and cultural capital.’

Simon Sweeney, Lecturer in international political economy, University of York

‘you will obey the people who made you, or you will be humiliated’

Yeah, yeah, Cameron fucked a pig, the Bullingdon boys burn £50 notes in front of homeless people – but why do these stories matter?

What the British are really laughing about 

‘David Cameron’s nasty little scandal speaks to a suspicion many people already have: that in British society, you don’t get to become Prime Minister because you’re talented or because you work hard. You don’t even get there just because you’re rich. You get there by traumatizing the homeless and skull-fucking a dead pig, and that ritual gives you power because you have demonstrated utter, pathetic submission to your fellow oligarchs.’

‘ Yes vote a statement that ‘it’s okay to be gay’ in Ireland’

You might not care about getting married (I don’t) but equal marriage is about a lot more than that. From a piece in the Irish Times:

Saturday’s strong Yes vote is a statement that “it’s okay to be gay” in modern day Ireland, according to Minister for Agriculture and Fine Gael director of elections Simon Coveney.

Mr Coveney said that while the referendum was ostensibly about extending the rights of civil marriage to gay and lesbian people, it was also a statement about Ireland as a country.

“In many ways, the statement that Ireland is making today is that it’s okay to be gay, it’s okay to be who you are, it’s okay to love who you want to love and your country accepts you for who you are.”


Meanwhile, leading marriage equality campaigner and Fine Gael TD Jerry Buttimer has hailed the anticipated Yes victory in the marriage equality referendum as heralding a new era for Irish society.

“It’s a great day and no words can describe what it feels like but what it means is the Irish people in their strength of numbers have said we are all equal, we are all cherished under our constitution.”

“I respect those who vote the other way yesterday but we are a democracy and today we stand on the threshold of a new republic where liberty and equality are the hallmarks of what we stand for.”

‘venom disguised as humour’

From ‘Why does Jeremy Clarkson get me so angry?‘ by

‘Now, I’m not for a moment suggesting a writer bears responsibility for ways in which any wicked person might misunderstand his words. But I think it is also foolish to deny that people are propelled into action by a thousand spectral hands. If I discovered I had become the busty centrefold inside the door of the hate locker of a mass murderer, I would at the very least search my soul very deeply. Words matter. Words hurt. And the higher your profile, the bigger the responsibility not to pour venom into people’s ears. I think Clarkson consistently did that. He poured venom. Dangerously, he poured venom disguised as humour.’

‘Is Tony Abbott the most incompetent leader of any industrialised democracy?’

Great question, and it was reported just about everywhere. Interestingly, the original blog post by Joshua Kurlantzick was called ‘Tony Abbott Has To Go‘, and you should read the whole thing, but first let’s just all take a moment in our busy lives to appreciate some quotes from the original piece:

in less than two years as prime minister, Abbott has proven shockingly incompetent … so incapable of clear policy thinking, so unwilling to consult with even his own ministers and advisers, and so poor at communicating that he has to go.


Abbott’s policies have been all over the map, and the lack of coherence has often made the prime minister seem ill-informed and incapable of understanding complex policy issues.


… In addition, he appears to have one of the worst senses of public relations of any prime minister in recent Australian history. At major economic summits, he has embarrassed Australia with his coarse rhetoric.

And for bonus points, Mother Jones on Abbott: ‘One of the World’s Worst Climate Villains Could Soon Be Booted From Office‘.