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Teetering

As anyone who follows the Status Viatoris Blog Facebook page will know (and I apologise if you are finding it a little tedious), the run-up to the UK referendum on our Europe Union membership is seriously perturbing me.

Political referendums are tricky things. Essentially they are asking a public who has very little practical understanding of the political and financial workings of their country (myself most definitely included) to make a vitally important decision on… the political and financial future workings of their country. It is a big ask, denoting big responsibility.

But if said public were handed all the pertinent facts and figures in an impartial manner, and allowed to trawl through them and ask questions of impartial experts in the various fields before deciding which vote made the most sense to them as a layman, it would at least be a fair ask.

What we have been witnessing over the last weeks/months, however, is about as far from fair as it is possible to get. Both sides have preyed on the public’s ignorance in an attempt to frighten them into the desired vote, and the Leave campaign in particular has shown a viciousness and immorality that should cause any sane voter, even one that despises the EU and all it stands for, to stop dead and wonder what the hell is happening to their country.

For a large percentage of the general public will not be going to the urns armed with facts, they will instead be walking in with minds full of baseless yet highly inflammatory rhetoric, designed only to trigger existing preconceptions, fears and prejudices. The “facts” they think they have in their possession, turn out at best to be incomplete representations of the actual situation.

At worst they are quite simply lies, perpetuated by a group of people confident that their audience will be too busy enjoying having their existing preconceptions, fears and prejudices validated, to bother cross-checking the “information” they are handed with any reliable, and impartial, source.

Brexiteers are being promised a rosy future that nobody can actually vouch for, based on a premise that is no more than mere speculation and which is fuelled by hatred, mistrust, feelings of superiority, and a nationalism that history tells us we would be wise to be on our guard against.

We all know that there are many problems in the UK (as there are, always have been and always will be, in all countries), and I’m sure it is comforting for many to at last be able to openly slay their chosen scapegoats: Europe and the immigrants. There. One foul swoop and the majority of our niggles will apparently be gone.

I see exactly the same scenario being played out in my country of residence, Italy. Except here they have real problems as well: a corrupt (really corrupt, not David Cameron doing a small, perfectly legal offshore investment corrupt) behemoth of a ruling class, high unemployment, low wages, high taxes, minimum government assistance… And yet Europe and the immigrants are often top of the list in the blame game, simply because they are so ridiculously easy to hate: untangling the country’s actual problems is an infinitely more daunting task, requiring some serious and uncomfortable national introspection.

But beware of snake oil salesmen offering a quick fix: be it diet pills that will magic you effortlessly thin in a month or a single political decision that will seamlessly return us to a supposedly halcyon past. Such people are either after money or power; they are unlikely to be motivated by the best interests of their rapt audience.

The European Union (like any group of people just trying to get things done in an ever more challenging world) is not perfect, and mass immigration is far from ideal, bringing with it as it does undeniable complications.

But attempting to isolate ourselves (once again) from our nearest neighbours, rather than seeking strength in common good does not seem to me to offer any real solutions. And turning our backs on a massive humanitarian crisis rather than accepting the realities of the world we live in, acknowledging that sometimes we need to be flexible enough to absorb such consequences into our way of life and accepting that what is desirable is often not what is either right or necessary, does not seem like any kind of progress.

At the end of the day, if we were dealing in comprehensive facts and figures, both for and against, I would be able to observe this process more philosophically regardless of the outcome. But I cannot watch my country basing such an important decision on little more than hyperbole, scaremongering, preconceptions, fear, prejudice, hate, half-truths and untruths, without at least having a stab at expressing my feelings.

And for those of you who, like me, have been feeling hugely frustrated by the seeming lack of accessible, unbiased facts, I offer you this:

EU law expert responds as “industrial dishonesty” video goes viral

This:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b07jczmc

This:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b07jl61s

And to add some much-needed humour to the table, this:

Best of British for the 23rd, chaps. Use your collective power wisely.

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2 Responses to “Teetering”

  1. farfalle1 Says:

    Well, it happened. We’re in shock. Your article is spot-on about the research and preparedness of most of the electorate. What seems absolutely cuckoo to me is that one election (called for no apparently good reason that I’ve been able to divine), on one day, can undo the work of 43 years. It’s a sad day for Britain, according to me.

    Liked by 1 person

    • statusviatoris Says:

      I tend to agree. And the referendum was a condition for David Cameron retaining leadership of the Conservative Party, as far as I can fathom. He rather shot himself in the foot with that one, although to be honest, I don’t think the Eurosceptics would have rested until they had pushed through a referendum. It has been their obsession for a long time.

      Like

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