Beyond the haze emitted by the economic forget-me-nots scattered over the referendum debate, amongst the empty and endless rhetoric being barked from one side of the fence to the other about tariffs, trade deficits and Norway there lies on either side a professed morality and charge of fear cushioning each bid. When we are weighed and our allegiance measured, it is this moral distinction and this sense of fear that will draw our ‘X’ wherever it may lie.
Remain calls for unity, for greater ideals and collaboration in the face of unprecedented adversity. Out hails our democratic foundations, hollowed by termites in Brussels in an assault led by figures we know little about.
The leading argument from the ‘Out’ campaign claims that in releasing ourselves from undemocratic claws across the channel we might be able to erect again a semblance of true freedom and popular autonomy. It’s sworn that our own representatives are shackled by the EU and our freedoms compromised as a result; decisions are being made by a wealthy elite who seek to maintain a status quo that demands subservience and our unconditional fidelity.
However it may be painted, the democratic nirvana to which we return is no different in its leaning or persuasions at all; the boundaries between the corporate and administrative spheres have become so blurred that the personnel entrenched cross between them as if from one side of a room to the other. The members of governmental panels established to offer security on climate change, agriculture and law represent institutions with directly opposing interests whilst media oligarchies exacerbate fear and muzzle alternative thought.
Within our own democratic chambers we find our Prime Minister and former Mayor of London to be relatives of our head of state, our chancellor rooted in the aristocracy and our MP and failed mayoral candidate hailing from a two hundred year old financial dynasty, married like his parentage into the oligarchy; Goldsmith and Rothschild, family names from the days of the Empire occupying the top table of our open elections.
These conditions are not only apparent, they are rife; if we leave the EU and all it alludes to we will not wake to find that their being ousted has uncovered streets of gold, the conceptual roots of the amalgamation of business and state spread indiscriminately and are not born in the European Union, they pay no heed to nationhood, to arbitrary borders, they are 1’s and 0’s. Our concerns are not born abroad, only manifested there as they are here, they are the systemic descendants of the empire and imperialism, they are the widening cracks in the swan song of the nation state.
As we respond to division with division, to fear with fear and terror with terror we further tread a path that has left us in dire straits. The EU is corrupt. It is at times unaccountable. Its interests perhaps lie not with the electorate but with the great neoliberal abomination. Yet to think we are apart from this is to fall prey to the same line of thought that thinks us separate from our brothers and sisters by way of a channel of water or a language spoken.
The alternative is to slip further into the Atlantic and towards the corporate hub of the United States, to align ourselves further still with a conglomerate that charges toward the precipice, one that stokes conflict and spills an unsustainable economic gospel. It is an ideology with a frightening and sophisticated hold. As we lumber into the twenty first century a delicate and teetering future lies ahead; a changing climate, a rush for well buried goods, monstrous inequality and escalating global tensions stand between each of us and greater prosperity, such tasks demand unity. Alone, these Goliaths will pick us off one by one and gobble us up until we fall under the same invisible hand, the same despotic umbrella that we seek to avoid.
The ‘Remain’ campaign has pledged itself to this unity that formed the foundations of the European Union and honours the ideals of cooperation and fellowship that will be of such importance over the coming century. From these foundations have risen great things that have been written and shared many times and do not need repeating, yet growing from this base is a struggling institution that fails to stand against any of the concerns mentioned with any authority or readiness at all. Now is the time to demand and rapidly sanction a greener future, the Union is taking tentative steps, now is the time to deal with a refugee and migrant crisis with roots boring across the spectrum, it is time to follow those roots to logical conclusions, to restitution and reform, again the union fails. It has presided over the Ponzi bailout of Greece, a period of punishing austerity, it watches meekly as the United States implements coups and rapidly expands its military presence across the world, it is ready to outfit itself with a constricting, backward free trade agreement and presides over the stagnation of real wages and rising depression. The EU is losing face and ground on every front but surely remains our best vehicle to navigate through the coming period of turbulence.
This is not ‘Project Fear’, this is our future. The shared slur is slung from one side of the debate to the other and the argument it lands on is discredited as speculation, exaggeration and scaremongering. We have a responsibility to envision the consequences of treading the darker path, whether it in or out. The idea that the outcome one way or the other could be scary is valid and likely; the next 100 years are fragile and plagued with vast and complex issues. They are problems we can tackle and further damage can be limited given the right steps are taken. They are threats that will overwhelm us if we do not. We are offered the choice of an isolated and vulnerable faux-democracy in leaving or an integrated, albeit sluggish faux-democracy in staying. We must focus our attention on the bigger picture, why we are here and what we must achieve.
Crises that zigzag across a changing climate, global poverty, food and water scarcity, military expansion, growing bacterial resistance to drugs and the impending toll of the current extinction event are all titans that may send us hurtling over the edge if we deny ourselves the facilities required to topple them. In one month we will take a fork in the road in the history of our 21st Century that will set us on one of two daunting paths. Our decision on June 23rd will have consequences across Europe and the world now and in the future. We must decide how we are best equipped for that future, not as a nation but as a people with shared hopes for the coming years in the face of shared threats; we want for the same things, for sustenance, for safety and prosperity.