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.’

Feeling ick about Amazon? Alternatives for a positive Christmas

From the Guardian’s Alternatives to Amazon: MPs spread seasonal boycott message:

Big high street/online retail names: Four were singled out for praise: Debenhams, John Lewis, Next and Lush.

“Bookshops: Researchers rated 22. The two top-scoring names were online charity bookstore Green Metropolis, and Oxfam. Close behind was Better World Books, which works in partnership with literacy charities, followed by, Books etc, our very own Guardian Bookshop and The Book People. Foyles scores pretty well, as does WH Smith, Waterstones and Blackwell’s.”

Amazon aren’t always the cheapest option anyway – you can compare prices for specific books + delivery on

And as for why people might be boycotting Amazon, check out Ethical cosmetics company Lush takes ‘bullying’ Amazon to court and My week as an Amazon insider:

“It’s taxes, of course, that pay for the roads on which Amazon’s delivery trucks drive, and the schools in which its employees are educated, and the hospitals in which their babies are born and their arteries are patched up, and in which, one day, they may be nursed in their dying days. Taxes that all its workers pay, and that, it emerged in 2012, it tends not to pay. On UK sales of £4.2bn in 2012, it paid £3.2m in corporation tax. In 2006, it transferred its UK business to Luxembourg and reclassified its UK operation as simply “order fulfilment” business. The Luxembourg office employs 380 people. The UK operation employs 21,000. You do the math.

Brad Stone tells me that tax avoidance is built into the company’s DNA. From the very beginning it has been “constitutionally oriented to securing every possible advantage for its customers, setting the lowest possible prices, taking advantage of every known tax loophole or creating new ones”. It’s something that Mark Constantine, the co-founder of Lush cosmetics, has spent time thinking about. He refuses to sell through Amazon, but it didn’t stop Amazon using the Lush name to direct buyers to its site, where it suggested alternative products they might like.”

Boris hypocrisy in cultural provision and access?

Boris Johnson’s ‘Cultural Metropolis: The Mayor’s Priorities for Culture 2009 – 2012 (pdf link, front page showing one of those despicable central London cultural venues)’ states that:
“there are physical and sensory barriers that can reduce access for disabled and older people, as well as those with young children. There is real potential for cultural organisations to build new audiences by removing such barriers”
but at the same time he’s letting Transport for London “scrap an upgrade scheme to offer step-free access at South Kensington station”?
And if it’s so hard for ‘outer borough’ Londoners to get in to central London, how much harder would it be for outer Londoners on the other side of London to get to something held in an outer borough? Let alone for a tourist. So is he going to magically multiply the funding available so events can be held in the north, south, east and west, or do most people just miss out?
But hey, maybe it’s all part of his ‘donut’ strategy – suck up to London’s outer suburbs (the poor neglected waifs) and ignore the inner suburbs who were rude enough not to vote for him.
Yep, London still needs Boris Watch.

Boris Watch

London needs Boris Watch. It needs their ‘attempt to enhance the accountability of the new London mayoralty’.
Not just because he’s stopping public transport projects and scrapping the proposed congestion charge for West London, made the anti-racism Rise festival erm, not anti-racist anymore, but also because Boris Johnson and arts advisor Munira Mirza are so good at spin they’d have you convinced night was day if you weren’t careful.
Depress yourself reading between the lines at Boris Johnson shakes up funding for capital’s cultural events:
“Ritterband said if groups were unable to strike sponsorship deals for their events, it would suggest the event was not “commercially viable”.”
Since when was that a yardstick for whether a community event was worth putting on? Do artistic merit and community value not count anymore?
And I love their cheap south/north, inner/outer suburbs attempt at ‘divide and conquer’ London.
And it gets even more head-spinning in ‘Give young people high culture not hip-hop – Johnson‘:

Arts chiefs should stop patronising young people by targeting them with hip-hop and movies, and instead offer them access to high culture, Boris Johnson, the London mayor, will say today.

In a report outlining his strategy, his chief of arts and culture strategy, Munira Mirza, argues that too much emphasis has been placed on making events “user-friendly”.
She said: “Too often, it is presumed that young people will only like art that they can immediately relate to.
“Working-class students may be steered towards popular culture like hip-hop, new media and film on the basis that they will find older art forms such as opera or ballet irrelevant.” Mirza said this was “extremely patronising”.
She added: “There’s been a kind of inverse snobbery about culture. I get the feeling some people would look at Shakespeare and say, that’s a bit too intimidating for working-class people.

But isn’t there snobbery in assuming that hip-hop and film can’t have the same cultural worth as opera or ballet? And of course the assumption that ‘young people’ only like ‘popular culture’ because they haven’t been provided access to the ballet by well-meaning arts administrators rather than because some hip-hop or new media is actually good – well, that isn’t patronising, is it?
Of course it’s all masked in language for which they can’t be called to account – ‘get the feeling that some people would’ covers a lot of sins.
Btw, if you google ‘boris watch‘ a sycophantic load of drivel is currently the first hit, so if you also have a blog, why not link to BorisWatch and help people get to the right site?