Why I’m abstaining from the EU referendum

4 Mar

On most days, the main news story in the UK involves a rich middle-aged white man saying that the sky will fall on our heads if we leave OR remain in the European Union. The outcome is always catastrophic. It is never a case of ‘If you leave/remain in the EU there will be mild consequences’.

What is driving me to abstain from this whole referendum campaign is that the staging of this argument suits those in power. It suits them to divert our attention onto the EU issue while they continue with an anti-people agenda of privatising the National Health Service, taking benefits from the poorest in society, de-regulating the City of London, and dismantling universities. Every second of airtime given to this issue is a second that does not scrutinise a government of millionaires presiding over increasing homelessness, less care for the mentally ill, fewer police officers on the streets, and shoddy treatment of doctors.

So I am not playing the game. And this is a game. The issue of whether the UK remains in the EU is essentially an internal Conservative Party issue that the Prime Minister has decided to turn into a campaigning issue. It is an issue of choice. It is an unnecessary indulgence for a man who will leave office in three years and resume being what he is: a multi-millionaire elitist. It was entirely his choice to turn this into a major political issue. And to give him and his coterie attention on this issue is to play into his hands. Obviously, the media are playing into his hands. They love this issue. It is a simple binary choice. It pits supposed allies against each other. It touches on weather-vane issues beloved by the right-wing gutter press such as immigration, welfare, and ‘foreigners’.

If I were to vote (and I will not) I would vote to remain in the EU. My confidence in the European project was severely shaken by the patently undemocratic treatment meted out to Cyprus, Greece, Ireland and Portugal by the European Commission and the European Central Bank (but really by the German government). This foisting of bankers’ debt on populations was a crime against decency and democracy. This issue aside, the European project has generally been a good thing. The central message – that cooperation between states is better than unilateralism and nationalism – is an important one. After all, nationalism cost tens of millions of European (and other) lives in the twentieth century. The EU has been an important tool in blunting that on continental Europe.

What we are seeing with this UK referendum campaign is essentially theatre. The UK will vote to remain in the EU. If there is any doubt about this, take a look at what happened during the referendum on Scottish independence. The extent to which the people of Scotland were bludgeoned on a daily basis by London-based corporations, media and political parties was something that had to be seen to be believed. The corporations, media and political parties united to form a massive steamroller that bullied and threatened people about the ‘benefits’ of remaining in the UK. Cynically, the remaining in the UK campaign called itself ‘Project Fear’ – it was predicated on the notion that it would win if it scared people about tax, cost of living, pensions, and security. And it worked. Prime Minister Cameron and his rich white boy allies know this. Project Fear II will prevail and the UK will remain in the EU. And safe in that knowledge, I am going to concentrate on issues that matter – not on a sham referendum campaign.


3 Responses to “Why I’m abstaining from the EU referendum”

  1. McAllister 15/04/2016 at 6:28 pm #

    I agree with most of what you state, however, if the UK is not “in” the EU there can be no influence on changing the bureaucratic and vastly expensive machine in Brussels..
    The vote out should show those vast buildings and give some stats about how many thousands of people who work there and live in little Belgium, spend in Belgium and keep it rich! a big dilemma I reckon my conscience will dictate I cop out, although I did vote in ..in the 70’s!

  2. Maggie 12/05/2016 at 4:40 am #

    I’m pleased to see I’m not the only one who has decided not to exercise my right to vote in this referendum. It will be the first time in 45 years of voting that I will be abstaining.
    My reasons for doing so are simply that I feel overwhelmed by the nonsense both sides have presented in their arguments and I’m now not in a position to make a decision one way or the other. If I did vote (and I won’t) I would vote to leave. So at least we cancel each other out 😊.

  3. James Douglas 23/06/2016 at 9:09 am #

    I too am abstaining. Simply put it’s become a propaganda war, lies, deceit and obfuscation of truths on both sides.

    It would take far too much time to research beyond the misdirection’s and get to the actual truths in order to form a just opinion. I simply do not have the time to do this, therefore i see myself as being too ignorant to be able to formulate a justified opinion.

    If it wasn’t for all the lies and misdirection, it would be much simpler and faster to form said opinion.

    For me there seems to be a fairly balanced quantity of pro’s and con’s for both sides of the vote with the research that i have done thus far. So i am indifferent to which way the vote goes without further research, and so i abstain from this propaganda game.

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