Sub Editor Naked Politics
Locked in a Brussels basement for over forty years, the UK is suffering from the cognitive dissonance of an emotionally scarred hostage staring at an unlocked door, as her captor sleeps in a drunken heap: On one hand, the opportunity to live her own life on her own terms. No more (financial) punishments to keep her confidence in check. The freedom to write her own rules within sight. On the other hand, an agoraphobic trepidation. Frozen with fear, like a rabbit caught in the headlights. Will paralysis prevent the much needed “step into the dark”?
The ‘remain’ side of our national psyche appears to be under the influence of a collective Stockholm Syndrome, triggered by the trauma of economic crisis and the unstoppable tsunami of migration that threatens to prolong the effects. A fear-induced dependency brought with it the next phase; the infantilisation of a populace that now requires clear guidance on what we are permitted to eat and say, and presumably before long, when we can go to the toilet.
Small acts of kindness prompt powerful feelings of gratitude, with ‘acceptable’ behaviour rewarded, as our own funds are returned to subsidise the farmers and development projects that faithfully follow EU directives. Only mass denial prevents the realisation that resolute adherence to an overbearing political ideology is binding us to the constraints of stifling homogeneity.
Desperate scaremongering now floods the media, as our sobering corporatist tyrant wakes to find us contemplating Brexit: “If you leave, there’s no way back” they warn, quashing the prospect of a second referendum. “You’ll suffer the consequences”, the French Finance Minister threatens, with the proposition that the insensitively named ‘jungle’ migrant camp will move from Calais to Kent, ignoring the fact that the relevant bilateral treaty isn’t subject to our continued EU membership and that such an act would be self-defeating. “You can’t survive alone” they claim, as BMW attempts to bully their British Rolls-Royce employees with the vague threat that a vote to leave could “affect the company’s employment base”. The patronising tone would be insulting, if the deceit weren’t lapped up so readily by a wide-eyed electorate.
The abusive husband in this loveless marriage, fearing the loss of his servant, is clinging to the hope that the years of oppression have shattered our national self-esteem to the point that we are no longer capable of imagining a life without our parasitic master. Hence the principle criticism of the motley crew of ‘Leave’ campaigners being that they cannot guarantee what the future holds outside of the EU. At the same time, the establishment-backed ‘In-Crowd’ insult our intelligence by suggesting that they can somehow assure us of the only period of unchanging stability in history. Presumably they’re under the impression that we’re too preoccupied with the trivial distractions of modern life to notice the extreme volatility that engulfs the continent that we are chained to. We’re effectively watching a car crash in slow motion and somehow coming to the conclusion that the safest place to be is inside the soon-to-be mangled hatchback.
Over the coming months, the likelihood of riots in swelling migrant camps and further economic crises in the Eurozone will increase exponentially, fanning the flames on both sides of the debate. EU-Protectionists will take the opportunity to self-righteously claim the position of altruistic internationalism, as their hand-wringing UK-Protectionist counterparts replace reason with xenophobic hysteria. Genuine internationalists will appreciate that our ability to tackle global issues by continuing to work with our neighbours and supporting poorer countries, is in no way hindered by a vote to reclaim our sovereignty, and in fact, will enable us to end the existing discrimination against non-EU citizens.
As adversaries trade blows in the final stages of the war of least-worst outcomes, the eventual winner is expected to be the side that can most convincingly portray the most dystopian version of an alternative future. Perhaps we should focus instead on the not-so-fanciful dream that a country with the fifth largest economy in the world might just be capable of striking the balance between international congeniality and self-assured autonomy?