Thursday 23 June 2016

Vote Remain

At the time of writing, a climax of indecision. The polls are a dead heat; one of the most vile and hate-fuelled political campaigns in recent memory scutters to its overdue conclusion.

The driving force behind the Leave movement has been a coalition of racists, xenophobes, nationalists and, it must be said, a huge swathe of the population that would love nothing more than to stick one in the eye of "the establishment," while at the same time projecting their frustrations and insecurities onto traditional enemies (France, Germany, Brussels bureaucrats…) against whom there is a wealth of folklorish enmity.

However, these frictions have run along fault-lines that in no way approximate the usual political alliances. Some have seen a chance to be rid of the Germany-dominated Euro-neoliberal project that has, in the last few years, been so gruesomely unveiled in all its snarlingly grey-suited, Greece-crushing ignominy.

These opportunisms leave me unpersuaded. Left arguments for Leave might hold water did they not require me to abandon more or less everything I know about the English electorate (and the Westminster political system). It's sometimes easy to forget just how conservative a country this is – and then you visit the south-east. Remain is making the best of a bad situation, in the present moment (i.e. for now); Leave would be making the worst.

My thought all along has been that I love the idea of a European Union, it's just a shame that it had to be this one. I won't exactly be jumping for joy either way but a defeat for this suffocating xenophobia and faux lager-swilling insularity would be something to celebrate. There is plainly good cause for Left Euro-scepticism but, today, it would be someone else's victory.