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In the realms of fantasy again

Sometimes in this crazy 21st Century world, even when on an organ like this you’re running an occasional (head-shaking-in-disbelief) column entitled Things Which Are Actually Happening But So Loopy That, Even If You Were Trying, You Couldn’t Possibly Make Up you begin to wonder whether in fact – any moment now – you’re suddenly going to wake up and discover that it was all a dream … it’s about 0610 hours and you’ve got less than 50 minutes to shave, shower, grab a slice of toast and a coffee and get to the station and catch your commuter train in time to make that tricky first meeting at the office.

As per usual, I shall leave the attendant issue of whether the male Rust reporters are collectively turning into (or reverting to type as) a misogynistic cabal of out-of-touch dinosaurs – or, alternatively,(as might arguably be the case) just quietly from time to time pointing out one or two home truths about Society as we hurtle towards the future, without regard as to whether anybody is registering, let alone taking notice of, anything we’re saying.

Which brings me to a piece by Jenna Norman on how badly a no-deal Brexit might affect women that I spotted overnight for the first time – even though it apparently made its debut on 31st January on the website of – see here for a link – THE INDEPENDENT

At this point we might as well get the disclaimers and declarations of interest out of the way.

Whether or not the UK population has  progressed from having voted differently to each other in the 2016 EU Referendum – or indeed (like some of us at our advanced ages) forgotten how and why we voted how we did then – I’d hazard a guess that nearly three years later (February 2019) most of us are now reduced to defending our then choice primarily by using whatever facts, arguments and developments have emerged since.

I shouldn’t really have voted in the 2016 Referendum because I don’t believe in political systems, period.

However, – as Rusters will be tired of hearing – I did eventually do so.

Partly, this was because I had never previously voted for anything or anyone in my life and felt that this was an omission that (if I was ever going to) I might as well rectify now, just in case I should peg it before there was another opportunity.

And again  I did so partly because I was hoping that (as Nicola Sturgeon had promised) – should the UK vote to leave the EU – then the SNP would organise another Scottish Independence Referendum, leave the UK, and then seek to re-join the EU on its own account.

This prospect I regarded then and now as potentially a total win for the UK.

It would not only rid the UK of Scotland but also potentially manacle it to the EU so that – when that particular Titanic hits its iceberg as it inevitably will – it would take the both of them down with it … thus leaving the UK as free as a bird to go forward into the sunny uplands of a global world of milk and honey on or before 2035.

Anyway, to the point of my post today.

What I find remarkable about some Remainers – specifically those who argue that we will be better off economically within the EU, we shall be better able to influence EU decisions if we are in it, and/or we may be in danger of ‘losing’ rights and benefits if we should ever Leave – is their basic lack of understanding of the EU and how it works (or maybe that should be ‘their delusion about how little influence any individual country member of the EU actually has over any EU decisions’?) – and just the straightforward logical implications of what they are saying.

The fact is that over the forty-odd years since the UK joined what has now become the EU, if you totted up those EU decisions and directives that the UK initiated, supported and/or voted in favour of … and measured them against those which the UK wasn’t bothered about, didn’t vote on, and/or voted and argued against for as long as this was possible until the decision went the other way … it wouldn’t surprise me if you found that the numbers would end up roughly equal.

In the EU, sitting at the table doesn’t necessarily mean having much ability to influence or indeed determine the outcome of anything. Ask David Cameron. Ask any Brit who’s ever deal with the EU.

Secondly – here dealing just with the theme of Jena Norman’s thrust in her Independent article I have featured today – i.e. that “We must guarantee the rights of all workers, women, etc.,etc., as handed down by the EU are protected …” (and by implication, hinting that the UK population will potentially lose out upon in the future as the ‘liberal progressive’ EU forges ahead with more and more of them whilst the [departed] ‘reactionary old fossilised UK’ remains in the 18th – or maybe 12th – Century drifts away and atrophies somewhere offshore in a state of dishevelled isolation).

To Ms Norman, and those like her, I would just point out this.

Have you somehow forgotten that the UK Parliament can make – or unmake – any laws that it wants? (Or used to be able to, before we were in the EU).

So what are you saying, exactly?

It is that you prefer to have your worker’s/women’s/disabled’s/diversity people’s rights handed down to the UK forever by the EU? In other words – leaving the UK population and Parliament powerless to make laws contrary to (or dare I say “even more progressive than…” those the EU might bring in?).

What’s your problem?

That you don’t trust any future UK Government or Parliament to make laws at least as good as those made by the EU?

Or is it that you’re afraid that if the UK retained the right to make its own laws on such subjects – in a context in which theoretically the political party you support might never gain the popular support of the voters and ever win you a UK General Election – some of all of these ‘workers’ etc. rights’ that we have been so magnanimously granted by our EU masters might be repealed and/or dropped?

Whichever of those it is, does it not strike you, Ms Norman (and those like you) – as indeed it strikes me – that (as far as you are concerned ) the principles of Democracy and any notion of the rule of law are inferior to what you – or even in this case some foreign continent-large power – decide are ‘good things’ … and therefore can and should be ignored.

If you should say so.

But that’s where the danger lies, isn’t it?

Supposing – in the world as you want it to be – those unelected and unaccountable people running the EU (to whom you seem so slavish happy to bend the knee) should suddenly go crazy and start enacting all sorts of ‘bad’ laws?

I don’t know – for example – say that all women now have to wear hijabs and can no longer drive cars?

What would – what could – you do about that, should it happen?

“Not a lot”, I’d suggest if – as you appear to desire – the UK has effectively given up both democracy and its right to decide and create its own laws.



About Simon Campion-Brown

A former lecturer in politics at Keele University, Simon now lives in Oxfordshire. Married with two children, in 2007 he decided to monitor the Westminster village via newspaper and television and has never looked back. More Posts