It’s like voting on who gets to kill your granny


I’m starting to think this whole referendum debate is based upon a false dichotomy.

A vote for Leave is a vote for Boris Johnson and Michael Gove to rewrite the British constitution in favour of their rich friends.

Anyone who thinks that the majority of the Leave campaign are for the NHS are simply deluded.

These are free-market capitalists, Atlanticists, who want to reduce public services and sell off even more of our public assets than they have already.

According to John Major, Gove wants to privatise the NHS, Johnson wants to charge people for its services and Ian Duncan Smith favours an American style private insurance system.

If you you think they are really against an an unaccountable, bureaucratic, undemocratic organisation imposing itself upon our sovereignty, then ask them why they aren’t interested in pulling out of NATO?

But equally, those on the Remain side who talk about reforming Europe are talking codswallop. The EU has neoliberalism written into its constitution, and is profoundly anti-democratic. You only have to remember what they did to Greece to know that.

As Tony Benn said: “the Treaty of Rome… entrenches laissez faire as its philosophy and chooses bureaucracy as its administrative method.”

So a vote for Leave is a vote for less democracy, while a vote for Remain is a vote for less democracy.

Either way there is a democracy deficit and the democratic process turns on which undemocratic outcome we are going to have to live with after.

The constant trumpeting of individual campaigners shows up even more how false the choice is. Nigel Farage on the same side as George Galloway. Jeremy Corbyn on the same side as Jeremy Clarkson.

Personally I found the sight of Sadiq Khan sharing a platform with David Cameron—who had been denouncing him as an extremist only days before—wholly unedifying, and it inclined me to trust Khan less, rather than Cameron more.

It’s like a vote about involuntary euthanasia turning on who gets to kill your granny, and by what means: strangulation or a pillow over her face?

The only choice is no choice. How depressing.


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  1. I couldn’t have put it better! It’s hard to decide which outcome will be less bad. And now we have the whole website crash debacle and the possibility arising of challenging the result before the vote has even taken place. A dog’s dinner all round – and that’s insulting the dinner!


  2. NIce article Chris. I’d just add one (well maybe two) things. Voting No does not automatically mean Johnson and Gove get to decide what happens afterwards. That very much depends on us, and what sort of resistance to that sort of thing we put up.

    I’m reminded of the mid 1980s, when most trade unions switched to supporting the EU and they invited Jacques Delors to address the TUC Congress, claiming that the EU was “the only game in town”.
    In other words, they had given up self-belief and abdicated responsiblity for fighting Thatcher and her policies at home, somehow believing that the EU was going to save them, when they could not or would not save themselves by their own efforts (what I used to describe as like asking the big giant to save you from the littler giant — it doesn’t happen even in fairy stories).

    Of course, the EU didn’t, and wasn’t interested in doing so, regardless of all the guff about a social Europe. Instead we end up with the posted workers’ directive and the Lavall case, enshrining the right to undercut wages in EU law.

    Second thing, if you’ll forgive me for going on a bit, I read Varoufakis the former Greek finance minister’s article in the Guardian a few weeks back. He gave an excellent description of just how anti-democratic the workings of the EU are, but then went on to put forward a plan for reforming it that was about as pie in the sky as it is possible to get.

    I followed up his Democracy in Europe 25 (DiM25) campaign, and what it boils down to is to call a Europe-wide constitutional conference (within the next 10 years) with the authority to completely rewrite all the EU treaties and to set up an EU parliament with executive powers and responsible to the national parliaments.

    With the best will in the world, it’s not going to happen inside the present structures in a million years, let alone 10 or 20, is it? Does he really think the leaders of Germany, France etc and the EU Commission are going to give their unaccountable powers away just like that?

    In my view, there’s more chance of such Europe-wide democratic institutions or alliances of states coming about if the EU actually implodes and a number of the countries that come out of it — such as southern Europe, or even GB and Ireland — then come together more democratically in their own interests.



    • Dave, yes, I think Varoufakis’ ideas are far-fetched, but it seems to be what the Labour Party and Corbyn are wedded to. I suspect Corbyn is just trying to hold the party together, otherwise he would have stood for Brexit, but John McDonnell (who I admire) seems much more gungho about it. Really I’m confused Dave. Normally I have some idea where I stand, but on this I have no idea at all.


  3. I think Corbyn has taken a (sensible) tactical decision that if he tried to come out for leave he’d be slaughtered by the Labour right wing even more than he is being now, and it would be a battle he couldn’t win as things stand. So he’s decided to represent the party’s existing position as its leader, whatever he thinks privately.
    What I don’t buy is the argument that voting Leave means you automatically get an even more right-wing Tory government.
    I think it was Dennis Skinner the other day who made the point that we get the chance to vote this lot out in 2020. So that’s up to us. What we never get (except on June 23) is the chance to vote out the EU commissioners in Brussels and all the EU treaties, which actually make much of what any Corbyn-led government would like to do illegal.


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