Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Opinion - Brexit

A friend of mine asked the following question on his Facebook feed:

"A sincere question for anyone who wishes to join in; if you voted to leave the EU, what do you expect to improve in your life as a result of us leaving? (By your life, I mean employment opportunities, the cost of food, ease of travel, quality of life; the kind of stuff that actually, really affects you). I'm not looking to start an argument, everyone already knows my opinion. I am just curious."

I thought I'd reply:

"Me, I don't trust the politicians. Even when it was ten nations it was hard to get national insterests put aside in favour of the whole. There is no sense that they are building for the future, just their own place in the history books.

The Euro is one glaring example of politics over sense. Most of the nations in it should not have been allowed in it because of their economies. Look now at Greece, Spain and Portugal.

Now there are 27 (excluding the UK) it's got worse. While the majority of the western nations have taken in refugees, the eastern nations haven't. They would have received money to help, but they stood against it, mostly, on nationalist grounds.

CAP? They've been trying to reform it for decades without any momvement.

In short, the EU, as currently established, is stuck and unable to move. There is now talk of reform after Brexit, but that's what it took. Whether or not it will be enough, who knows.

For me personally, I don't care. It was never about me, but about the future. At my age, voting soley for myself is ridiculous. I doubt I'll be alive in 30 years time to see the full result of all this. I voted for what I believed was the best for my children and, hopefully, grandchildren.

On a side note, I think the majority vote was caused by a large number of people voting for Brexit because politicians have alienated them. Jobs have not been created to replace the skilled jobs that went with de-industrialisation and MPs live in a world unrelated to that of most people. The election of Trump over Clinton, and the rise of populist parties in Europe are further signs of this rejection of the status quo.Unless the political elite acknowledge this and change, which I don't think they will, the future looks dark and it won't matter whether we are in or out of the EU."

There was then a follow up question:

"So the short answer is that you don't expect any personal benefit from Brexit? How do you expect it will benefit your children and possible grandchildren?"

 My reply:

"What I'm hoping for is a shrinking of power. I've noticed over my lifetime, both in politics and industry, that the bigger something gets, the less efficient it gets. You have people doing things, people managing them, others watching the managers, people managing the watchers and so on. Processes increase, less real work gets done.

It may be cheaper in the economic scale, but the end result is that the majority have less influence over the things that matter. (If you want me to get started on voting, be prepared)

By pulling out of the political/economic union of Europe we get more local. By shrinking central government, we get more local. That's my ultimate hope. More power to the people, more control to the local. I doubt it will happen in my lifetime, but I hope that my vote has signalled a start in that direction.

My kids are bilingual and bi-national, as are a number of people in their twenties. They also travel more, see more and, thanks to international, social communication, know more about the world around them. As they grow and take things over, that attitude will mean greater co-operation.

They can best do that without being encumbered by 20th (or 19th depending on your viewpoint) century forms of governance that are based around power being held by a few at the expense of the many."

I stand by that and my vote.

Since the referendum there has been a lot of frankly dictatorial speech from both sides. "We won, get over it" from one side and "We must overturn the result" from the other. As in the referendum debate, neither side is looking or sounding intelligent. 

I'll leave the final word to Barak Obama, as it's a comment that everyone involved in this debate needs to take heed of.


1 comment:

Patrick Stahl said...

I like hearing this perspective. It's similar to the American right-wing ideal of emphasizing state and local power over national power. The EU, of course, is a group of nations, but our regions each have their own character to them that makes them border on being a "nation," perhaps.