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Thoughts on Brexit

“Democracy is our saviour, the West’s gift to the world.” That is until the vote doesn’t go the right way…”

From Emma Kathryn

Brexit. You’ve probably heard the term and know what it means. The UK’s plan to leave the European Union.

It’s become something of a dirty word (and not the good kind!), with those who voted to leave being called everything from thick to racist to ignorant by the mainstream media. Now, I’m sure there are many that fall into this category, who voted because they thought that leaving the EU would end immigration, that no more would foreigners  be able to come and use what we have made for ourselves.

However, I do believe that most people who voted to leave did so for many other reasons. I voted to leave and I am not racist; indeed immigration had nothing to do with the reasons I chose to vote to leave, and I do think that it’s the same for most people who voted to leave.

Humans have always migrated – how else have we colonised the globe? From the very earliest of times, humans have moved across the face of the Earth, searching for food, water, fertile lands. We continue to do so today, seeking out better economic chances, safety from war and so on. My own grandparents were immigrants, coming to England in the early 1950’s from Jamaica.

I would never be against anyone seeking to improve their life, or the lives of their families, would do it myself if I had to.

When Britain does finally, if ever, leave the EU, will immigration stop? Er, no, and so it shouldn’t. So why else would someone choose to leave the EU then, if not to curb immigration?

Now, I’ll admit, when the European Union was first created, the intentions were good. Why shouldn’t you have good trade agreements with your closest continental neighbours? So what’s the problem then? Well, governments are my problem!

Governments become so big and cumbersome, unwieldy and unanswerable to the very people for whom they were first created to help. The EU is no different. Look at the Common Fisheries Policy, the EU imposed limits on the weights of fish trawlers can catch. Sounds like a good idea, doesn’t it, in a world where there is increasingly more plastic than fish in the oceans? In theory, it sounds fantastic. But what happens when a trawler, having hauled in its nets and weighed its catch, has too much? Well, those dead fish have to be tipped back into the ocean. How does that help conservation? It doesn’t.

There are countless other little bureaucracies that I could cite.

Ultimately though, my issues with the EU are not much different from the issues I have with my own government, or any government, come to that, regardless of the party in charge at any given time.

 

I don’t like politicians, or most of them anyway, like 99.9% of them. I’m sure there are those that enter politics because they want to make a change, but you know the saying, how power corrupts and all of that. Show me an honest politician and I’ll show you a liar. You see it time and time again, when they’re interviewed and can’t give a straight answer. It’s always spin, how can they use this or that event to gain votes, to gain more power, to make themselves look good. All the time!

I don’t know about in other parts of the world, but in Britain there are few trustworthy MP’s. Look at scandals like the MP’s expenses where they use tax money to pay for the upkeep of their duck ponds, or to buy houses, because you know, we all know how poor MP’s are. Politicians have no idea what it’s like to live and work in the real world. How can they, when being a politician is all that they have done, straight from their elite colleges?

So what does this have to do with the EU? Well, one government trying to fuck us over is enough, thank you. Don’t think those MEP’s don’t claim ridiculous expenses, or are quick to lower the power of vacuums all in the name of the environment, yet Juncker, the President of the European Commission thinks nothing of spending twenty five grand on a private jet to Rome.

The truth is that I have no idea who represents me in the European parliament, no idea how they got there or who voted for them, what they believe in or what their visions are. I can guarantee you that most British people, the ordinary, everyday people who just want to go to work and then come home and enjoy their lives, who just want to get on, will feel the same.

I get that leaving the EU might be scary to some. Better the devil you know and all of that. But how can we ever hope for change when we are too scared to do anything but hang on to a system that just doesn’t work?

Sometimes I think that we have a tendency to put on those rose tinted glasses whenever we are at the precipice of change. The EU isn’t as great as some of the remainer’s would have us believe. Have we forgotten the PIGS countries (Portugal, Italy, Greece and Spain), all countries who have fared particularly bad in economic terms under the EU’s single currency, even against the backdrop of the wider global financial crisis. And if we take a look at Greece, and all of the cuts faced by the people who live there, cuts forced by the EU, on the ordinary, everyday people, then we can see all isn’t as rosy as some would have us think.

The EU acts like a bully boy when it doesn’t get its own way, as do many of the world’s governments.  I understand that negotiating the terms of departure is going to take some extremely important and detailed, and no doubt tense  discussions on how we depart from the political structure that is the European Union, but all you have to do is look at the rhetoric it uses when discussing Britain’s departure. Listen to or read any news outlet and you’ll see that they demand this and threaten that.

“Democracy is our saviour, the West’s gift to the world.” That is until the vote doesn’t go the ‘right way’, when the result isn’t the one intended. Everyone thought that Britain would vote to remain in the EU. It really was a shocker. Even today you’ll still hear people saying ”Yes well, you only won by a slim margin.” I bet they wouldn’t have been saying that if the results had been reversed, if Britain had voted to remain. Even now, there are calls for a second referendum, because, you know, we didn’t know what we were voting for the first time round, or so the media are always telling us.

I ultimately think that most people, when they went out to vote, didn’t feel strongly either way. I didn’t know for sure which way I would vote until the very day. And that’s part of the problem as well. Politics has become so far removed from the everyday lives of the people. We don’t trust politicians. Their slick words no longer fool us, and yet, we feel powerless to do anything else than to go out and vote for whoever we believe will be the lesser of two evils.

We go out and vote with the knowledge that whoever we vote for will likely screw us over in one way or another.

Ultimately, whatever happens, I don’t think much will change, not for folks like me or you. There will be good things and there will be bad things, and like most of the problems this world faces, the man-made problems at least, we will be the ones who face the brunt of it. Not our politicians, not the rich, nor the elite. It will be the everyday folks, like me and you, as it has ever been, who will bear the brunt of whatever our governments decide.


Emma Kathryn

My name is Emma Kathryn, an eclectic witch, my path is a mixture of traditional European witchcraft, voodoo and obeah, a mixture representing my heritage. I live in the middle of England in a little town in Nottinghamshire, with my partner, two teenage sons and two crazy dogs, Boo and Dexter. When not working in a bookshop full time, I like to spend time with my family outdoors, with the dogs. And weaving magick, of course!


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

6 Comments »

  1. Just not sure. “We go out and vote with the knowledge that whoever we vote for will likely screw us over in one way or another”. True, but I’m hard pressed to recollect a government more committed to Social Sadism (to borrow China Miéville’s memorable phrase – http://salvage.zone/in-print/on-social-sadism/) than the one we have negotiating Brexit. Only last year, the UNCRPD accused our government of “grave and systematic violations” of disabled people’s rights. I can guarantee their use of Henry VIII powers to transfer EU law onto the British statute book will be exploited to make systematically cruel policy changes.
    “And, in the lowest deep, a lower deep
    Still threatening to devour me opens wide”

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  2. I have problems with the EU too – as a British citizen living in Ireland, Brexit will affect me in all sorts of ways. But I consider that the EU is much more than a central market. It is an ideal for people who were at war for hundreds of years (not just the 2 World Wars but French vs English etc etc) to come together and make sure they would not fight again. Also, the only reason you don’t know who was representing you in Europe is because you didn’t bother to find out. Here in Ireland a lot of people are a lot more aware of their MEPs, knowing they are doing a really important job. I’m afraid for the UK, Brexit seems to have given permission for some of the worst racist, sexist and generally ill-informed elements to express their ignorance and prejudice openly. I fear for human rights, animal rights and the survival of our ecosystem under a right wing Tory party who have been given a ‘do-whatever-shit-you-like’ by the Brexit vote. I just wish the UK had stayed in Europe and worked harder to make things work better. And the lack of consideration for what happens here in Ireland is disgusting. People have worked for decades to bring about peace here, to dismantle the border so that we can all come and go in peace and friendship. Now that border is going to be the edge of the EU. We don’t want a hard border (which means barracks, barbed wire, armed soldiers, check points). Yet how else will the UK keep out those ‘undesirables’ which may not have been the reason you voted out but sure as hell are the reason many others did. Politicians are usually deceiving, self-serving bastards – as you point out – but we need reform and constant vigilance, not an impossible attempt to opt out of the process.

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  3. The EU is an “evil bureaucratic supergovernment” and yet it is the main reason Britain has things like maternity leave, some online privacy left, (theoretical) parity between agency workers and permanent workers, flight delay compensation, the right to delete your personal information online, sick pay and holiday pay, and a whole load of other worker’s rights and environmental protections. The behaviour of some EU institutions during the crisis was reprehensible to the highest degree and I stand by the fact that the EU needs to be reformed in a more democratic and transparent sense, but Brexit is not going to make things a whit better, and actually is paving the way for a lot of corporate power-grabbing and the cavalier removal of a series of rights and protections, such as the need for a thorough environmental impact study when planning oil pipelines underwater (it is in the White Paper about the “Great Repeal Bill”, apparently). Also, the government is going to bring the “reforms” about in an undemocratic, opaque way without a vote in parliament thanks to a widespread, unregulated use of the so-called “Henry VIII powers”, taking away whatever hint of democratic control was left in the process. This is not “taking back control”, it is letting the Tories, who were already in power at the time of the Brexit vote, do whatever they want with the law.
    Finally, you might not be racist and xenophobic yourself, but the campaign for Brexit was based on xenophobia and racism, and bare-faced lies and has empowered a rise in hate crimes, especially against migrant workers from the East of the EU. This climate of xenophobia against EU citizens is patent, let me tell you. I am one.

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  4. “Ordinary everyday people” is a phase that always bothers me, because it seems to rely on oppositions that (in my lived experience) don’t really exist. Who are the ordinary everyday people? And what makes them ordinary? It’s worth bearing in mind that, for a lot of people, that phrase would exclude pagans.

    The same goes for the phrase “in the real world” – in the context of a blog which regularly deals with peoples relationships with deities, how do we qualify real? What do we mean by the world?

    When you say “read any news outlet and you’ll see that they [the EU] demand this and threaten that” I have to disagree – what you will in fact see is that the media chooses to use those words. They are an interpretation of how the negotiations are going, a presentation of the facts designed to elicit a strong response from consumers of the news – as they have from you, in this piece.

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  5. Thanks for reading!

    Firstly, when I talk about everyday folks, I mean those of us who just want to get on with our own lives, whatever that may be. When I use generic terms without fully going into them, I do so hoping that the context of the piece will make that clear, so when I talk about ‘the real world’ for me, that means my actual day to day life, and that of others who do not work for or with the capitalist media.

    Finally, with regards to the media, here in the UK, the media was very much pro Brexit. I don’t really follow the news, read mainstream papers, or magazines, but you can’t seem to escape it completely. My own position is that the media serves the capitalist system, much the same as politicians (whether conservative or liberal, left or right), and I can’t be arsed with the banality of mainstream media, and actually feel that I can make more of an informed choice without it.

    Again, thanks for taking the time to read and respond.

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  6. Thanks for a clearly written piece which shows why a majority of people decided it was time to leave the EU. Like yourself, immigration played little or no part in this decision for me but rather the undemocratic nature of the EU was the deciding factor

    Liked by 1 person

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