Saturday, 13 February 2016

Brexit - Hocus POTUS

"Across the atlantic, POTUS turns his gaze to the UK to have yet another say over Brexit. When is a matter for the British people, not just a matter for the British people?"

Cameron's incompetent handling of the renegotiations draws international attention.

Forgive me for my naivety, but I thought that the forthcoming referendum on UK EU membership was a matter for the people of the UK. That's how democratic nations work when a referendum takes place isn't it? A question of great 'national' interest is put forward to the people, at which point 'they' are consulted and 'they' directly steer the country in the chosen direction. After all, it is 'they' who have to live with the results. A matter of national democracy.

Yes, under Brexit there will be a wider impact to EU members, but that's the risk you take when you precariously construct a supranational entity like a Jenga stack using nations which wish to retain a semblance of sovereignty. Should a country want to extract itself, then it's going to have to be handled carefully in order to minimise the subsequent tremors. They knew that when they got involved in the first place, right?

The way the media are playing it, it's as if both the Leave and Remain camps have set out their stalls, independent of the mechanics of the state - and are making their case to the people as part of some even handed battle. It's painfully obvious though that this couldn't be further from the truth.

A balanced and fair referendum?

In reality, this referendum is a wholly one sided affair, with the Remain camp being gifted a number of distinct implicit and explicit advantages. In spite of his craven attempt at 'reform' and fickle assertions that he would campaign for brexit if needed, David Cameron is overtly campaigning for the Remain side whilst leaving skeptic cabinet ministers in the 'dungeon of collective responsibility'. In effect, he is the Remain campaign leader and is throwing his weight behind them at all levels. Raheem Kassam (he of Breitbart fame) suggesting the other day on Twitter that representatives from Britain Stronger in Europe (BSE) grace the doors of Tory HQ on a daily basis.

I spy - with Raheem's little eye, something beginning with BSE

Whether it's in front of the nation's cameras in a carefully staged talk at a factory in Chippenham - or standing up in Hamburg suggesting that he doesn't want to retreat from the world, Cameron's made it plain for all to see where he stands. Yet at the same time, he suggests that he's campaigning for Britain and working hard to negotiate a deal. This guy has some serious work to do on his poker face. The pretence is paper thin and only perpetuated by some elements of mainstream media that find it impossible to state the obvious, doing us no service as a result.

In addition, there's another angle to look at here. That's the 'life after' scenarios for the Leave and Remain vote outcomes. With 'Dave' busy creating a snake oil cocktail of half measures to peddle on behalf of the Remainians, it's left to the Leave camp, not the Prime Minister, to propose what would happen in the event of a Leave vote.

Am I the only one that finds this just a little bit lop sided? By their very nature, the Leave camp will bring together a variety of people from disparate backgrounds who want the same outcome, yet will want to go about it different ways because of different priorities. And until the Electoral Commission designate a lead campaign, public perception will not recognise what's suggested as authoritative anyway; point being here that in many ways David Cameron controls the timing of this designation and so will be happy to string out the Leave campaigns disarray for as long as possible, muddying the message.

Yet it is the governments responsibility to implement a post Brexit world. In spite of all the plans and suggestions that we as Leavers make, the Government will have to take the wheel and guide us through to the destination. Surprisingly (or perhaps unsurprisingly given their form) the legacy media is only looking to the Leave camp for answers. Surely some questions should be being asked here of the government?

The best that Leavers can do is organise themselves. That means taking a collective and collaborative look at the options available and making strategic and well informed decisions about the paths we can take. Failure to consult those with the technical experience on the matter will be to our detriment. I'm up for open debate on this and think the more options we can bring to the table, the better - yet my money is still firmly on Flexcit as the soup to nuts, end to end solution. This debate is sadly lacking, although I'm assured seminars are in the pipeline by at least one of the campaigns gunning for designation.

It will take strong characters to pull this together and resolve the matter. Acrimony generated in the meantime is just a gift to David Cameron.

Uncle Sam at your doorstep again .. and again

It seems that everybody wants to have their say about the future of the UK - and none more prominent that the President of the United States of America.

We have seen him intervene on a number of occasions now, keen to steer thinking towards continued integration of the UK with the EU. As revealed in recent press articles (The Guardian and The Sun ), more interventions are planned in the near future.

In some ways, nothing underlines the trembling weakness of the EU more than this act. If the EU were such a valuable proposition to the UK people (and let's face it - it's had a free ride for the last 40+ years to demonstrate its value to the UK), then it wouldn't need presidential intervention from the USA. Yet the risk of Brexit is so great that in order to preserve self interest, Obama has repeatedly involved himself.

The latest planned act?

In these reports, we're advised by the Chair of the Senate foreign relations committee Bob Corker that - Obama will make “a big, public reach-out” to British voters to stay in the EU. Washington perceive the vote situation as risky and feel compelled to drive the result away from Brexit. This doesn't appear to be as a result of any collusion with Cameron, but more out of fear from his handling of the situation. Referring to the negotiations, Corker is quoted to have said “It is hard to discern whether they are real from the standpoint of substance or whether he is just looking for something, if you will, to say he got something or whether it is being totally driven by internal politics.

I'm glad they find the man as vague and lacking as the rest of us.

And today, we've seen failed presidential candidate and Herman Munster look a like (I know, this sort of language should be beneath this blog but it's more gratifying right now to hurl abuse than take the high ground) John Kerry stand up and further try to persuade the British people in to Remain territory. Speaking in Germany, he advised "Now obviously, the United States has a profound interest in your success as we do in very strong United Kingdom staying in a strong EU."

This indulgence is a matter of complete hypocrisy from a nation that would never, ever agree to hand over the powers of Capitol Hill and the White House to a supranational entity, simultaneously disenfranchising its people. They'd be lynched by them for such an unpatriotic act.

These 'stately' interventions are not for our benefit and I think few will be fooled. Ultimately, the US looks after the US. When senior figures are motivated to intercede on the matter of Brexit, they will be motivated by:

  • the need for one throat to choke. It is not in their interests - and more importantly, the interests of the vast corporations that lobby both them and the EU so heavily, for nations to peel away and take control of their own destinies again. Brexit is a threat to their control of matters, whereas remaining is a risk to our democracy and ability to control our own destiny.
  • the UK is a significant economy and hence, it's also a competitor to the USA. It is wholly in their interests to see us performing 'averagely' rather than becoming agile and setting the bar. Certainly, remaining in the EU will only serve to kerb our ambitions and international profile.

Two fingered salute

The UK population have a huge chance to effect real change to the order of things and to take the lead in turning the nation away from the inward facing EU and towards an exciting global forum. This act could transform our place in the world and cause ructions at a multitude of levels, especially if other nations choose to follow suit and release the yolk of supranationalism in favour of inter-governmentalism. There are only so many blocks you can pull from the Jenga stack before it collapses in a heap.

That Obama and associated cronies believe they have the right to assert any direction in this matter at all shows how little they understand the British people. We are belligerent lot sitting on a matter that has been boiling away for decades. Cameron may have taken the lid off the kettle, but it's too late for this not to boil over. We have a belief that our nation is a world beater that has perpetually kept us punching well above our perceived weight. Regardless as to whether you can trace your lineage back to King Henry the 8th or whether you're a 2nd generation immigrant, the spirit of Britannia (see Roman heritage) compels us to go on and do great things. The USA is a mere newcomer with a comparatively shallow history. When it was founded, Britain already had pubs that has been around for more than five centuries. Forgive us if we keep our own council on the matter of our destiny.

Those in established positions of power will fear the changes that Brexit would bring. Without even our own Prime Minister standing up for us, this truly is a case of the people of the UK versus the establishment. Just think of the power of the vote that you have in your hand on referendum day. It's enough to make the most powerful man in the world turn his head.

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