I’m still organizing my thoughts about the result of the EU referendum, particularly in the face of all of the vitriol and anti-democratic bile currently coming from those that voted to remain (so much for a kinder, gentler politics). So I’ll be returning to this in due course. In the meantime here are three truly excellent comments on the matter which capture quite a lot of what I’m thinking.
Rich Nolan on what the referendum was and wasn’t
A vote to leave the political institution the EU.
What the referendum was not:
A vote to leave Europe
A vote to not be Europeans
An endorsement of the Tories/Farage/Hitler.
A rejection of the free market in Europe
A statement against internationalism.
An endorsement for any manifesto (including whatever bollocks was spouted by the various campaign groups on immigration and the NHS)
A vote for England to leave the EU and a vote for Scotland to stay.
The ballot paper had ONE question on it, ‘Should the United Kingdom leave the European Union?’ and that is the only mandate which can be taken from it.
It’s time to pick ourselves up, be proud and move forward in a spirit of liberty and internationalism. Hopefully both sides can let go of the rancour and bitterness to go into renegotiations positively. It’s time to redefine what it means to be European and hopefully put forward a positive example for the other countries who may soon be implementing referendums of their own.
Brendan O’neill on the EU’s racism:
Please, stop with the racism stuff. Your beloved EU is not some happy-clappy multicultural outfit. It is discriminatory, it fucks over Africa, and it forces non-white migrants into the most degrading, life-risking situations. You voted for that, and we voted against it, so come down off your high, white horse.
Pete North on what we actually want from negotiations with the EU.
I do not want to see us pointlessly setting up new institutions to produce regulations almost identical to those of the EU. I do not want to see an end to Europol and I definitely see no value in messing around with long standing areas of cooperation which work about as well as they are ever going to. So we do not seek hostilities with the EU. We will need to moderate our attitudes to it and we will need to push hard to make sure we don’t close up shop to Europe.
We will need to reach a national consensus on how we go forward and with the vote being as close as it was, the wishes of remain voters must be taken into account.
As to those concerned about immigration, Efta does give us more of a say and more flexibility and leaving the EU does give us leverage to reform the EEA agreement in the future. But the issue here is not immigration. It is about disentangling ourselves from the EU. We must treat immigration as a secondary issue and one for discussion at a later date.
If you are Ukip inclined then it is incumbent upon you to restrain yourselves and learn the difference between EEA freedom of movement and open borders. They are not one and the same. Brexit does give us some new powers but for the time being the focus is on securing a safe and amicable transition and you hobby horse will have to wait til the dust settles. By continually picking at the scab you risk endangering the whole process.
There are several approaches to dealing with immigration, but they are all comprised of multiple incremental policies that require joined up thinking. There is no silver bullet single policy and this empty mantra of “Australian based points system” is worthless rhetoric. It’s expensive, it doesn’t work and will probably lead to more illegal immigration with fewer immigrants paying tax. It really is time for Ukippers to grow up.
The EU is not our enemy, we have friends in Europe and they all want to see this resolved peacefully and without damaging our economies and without damaging Europe’s political reputation. We should not seek to antagonise. A lot is at stake here and the world is watching. How well this works is as much to do with how we react as much as how our politicians behave.