Okay, I am coming out of the woods with my hands up – with just over three weeks to go [well, barring any extension of the Article 50 deadline for Brexit of 29th March and in these weird times one can rule nothing out] – and declaring to the world that I’ve completely changed my mind and have become a Remainer overnight.
Over the last four or five years regular readers will have been bored to death with my reasons for voting Leave in the 2016 EU Referendum – viz. the opportunity to break the habit of a lifetime by actually ‘voting’ just for the hell of it, but mainly because it seemed to be the quickest route to ditching the perpetual dragging-anchor of Scotland that has been holding the UK back from going into a bright brand new world future – but recently I’ve been beginning to have my doubts.
The final straw was watching Prime Minister’s Questions on BBC2’s Politics Live show yesterday which, as ever, spent 45 minutes speculating as to what the main event’s business might be before it happened, scheduled kick-off time 12 noon.
Chaired by Jo Coborn, said discussion featured as main guests a pair of B-list politicians (ladies from Labour and the SNP); Harry Cole, a journalist from the Mail on Sunday I had never seen or heard of before; and the Tory Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Children and Families – Nadhim Zahawi, MP for Stratford-on-Avon, an Iraqi of Kurdish ancestry who had originally arrived in the UK as a youngster unable to speak a word of English.
Mr Zahawi, is a politician straight from Conservative Party Central Casting, a prosperous-looking – indeed my researches confirm him to be a wealthy – man who effortlessly gives off an impression of having a direct line to the certainties of life in every detail.
In his case, public service consists of going out into the world and doing his best to convince everyone he comes across that he is right … er, sorry … that whatever the Tory press office had decided earlier that morning was the Party line is right … upon any topic or issue that may arise during his walking hours.
The trouble is with Mr Zahawi (and politicians like him) is that, although on the first occasion he visits the crease on live television or radio he can generally be relied upon to score a healthy amount of runs and create an impression of being well-set and in-form – quite capable, perhaps, of going on to a century against any type of bowling the opposition may deploy – with every subsequent innings (or topic) the positive effect of his rhetorical bluster is less and less effective as its ‘hot air politico-speak’ becomes progressively more apparent.
In other words, despite his always passionate delivery, he gradually becomes pigeon-holed in the onlooker’s perception as a bore.
One should have expected this, of course, given its headline acts – firstly, a robotic Prime Minister who uses riffs such as “I am absolutely clear …”, “That’s why we are ensuring that the police authorities will ensure that their policy on knife crime will ensure …” in every sentence and on every topic, irrespective of the degree of priority or importance each commands.
And secondly, a ‘fish-out-of-water’ lefty outsider of no particular intelligence or common sense who – the hand of cruel Fate having dealt him the leadership of one of the country’s two main parties – cannot even translate his prepared script’s intended pauses, word-stresses/emphasises and questions into a recognisable speech form.
The spectacle left me with two unwelcome conclusions.
Firstly, that we’re in a hell of a mess.
And secondly, that in the current circumstances – sod my former principles of the rule of law, self-determination and even democracy itself – actually as a nation we probably would be far better off bending the knee, begging the EU to take us back, and accepting a future in which someone – somewhere else in as far-off unaccountable bureaucracy – is going to be telling us exactly what we can and cannot do.
After all, what’s the point of democracy at all if there is no guarantee its decisions are going to be implemented – or worse, they’re going to be ignored?
It’s surely far simpler and easier to accept that “The Establishment” does indeed know (better than we do) what is best for us, for two perfectly logical and sensible reasons: (1) we need no longer waste all the time that we do at the moment deluding ourselves that, if we could only get our act together, we could have an influence upon our future; and (2) we can always blame “them, over there, in Brussels” for everything that goes wrong in the UK, in the full knowledge that (as has always been the case) we cannot do anything about any of it anyway.
At least that way we’d be accepting the reality of life.
And also, if we acknowledge that we’re powerless to influence the course of our lives and national future, at least the truth is out there and transparent.
What’s not to like about that? We can then stop worrying about any of it (as we have been recently, all to no effect) and simply get on with our lives.
Vote Remain, you know it makes sense!