Monday, May 23, 2016

A Disappointing Debate

Well, so far the EU debate has been predicable and rather disappointing. When the date for the referendum was announced I was hoping that the somewhere in the discussion we're get to hear some thoughtful reflections and the purpose and direction of of the Union. But all we seem to have had is argument and counter-argument about money and sovereignty, migration and borders.

It's a mostly scare tactic driven debate, with each side making seemingly unsubstantiated claims about the impact on our economy and legislative processes. Financial forecasts are notoriously unreliable, and since we've been in the EU for 40 years it's hard to say whether we would have pursued political and legislative change in areas like the environment in the same way had we not been Europeans. Given that no country has ever left the EU, there's also no comparison against which we can even remotely reflect on possible future outcomes for our own.

So I come back to my fundamental ideological questions about the nature and direction of the community. Is the direction of the EU community a direction that we want to go? If not, then maybe we should leave, but if we leave we have no possible say in shaping that direction. That could be a poor choice in the long term.

While we let rhetoric of the leave and remain campaigns to focus on migration, border control, economic guesswork and sovereignty as if we're flooded with migrants, or not; ruled by Brussels based unelected eurocrats, or not; destined to be out in the cold when it comes to trade deals, or not, we're missing the point.

Do we want to be part of a wider European community in which we share responsibility for making decisions or do we want to be isolated? We can't have both.

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