Wednesday, 29 March 2017

Article 50 activated

It's official: The Prime Minister of the United Kingdom has activated Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty and the 2-year countdown to the United Kingdom leaving the European Union has begun. I'm still very much against leaving and for the following reasons:

1. The referendum was an advisory and non-legally binding poll; despite this and the narrow margin of victory (52% Leave to 48% Remain), it is being used an an excuse undertake a "hard Brexit" and some Leave supporters want to use it to pull the UK out of non-EU European organisations, such as the European Court of Human Rights.

2. The Leave campaign lied on key promises. For example, when it said the £350 million the UK sends to the EU each week could be spent on the National Health Service instead, this promise was redacted merely a few hours after Leave had won the vote.

3. Thanks to Nigel Farage, the former and now-disgraced leader of the United Kingdom Independence Party, the referendum last year became a vote on immigration rather than a genuine debate about the EU. Instead of discussing pros of the EU (redevelopment projects, education funds, equality laws) versus cons (too much power to corporations, more elections needed for the EU government), Farage poisoned the well with his anti-immigrant rhetoric and stirred up the far-right (which, down the line, helped cause the election result in the United States late last year).

4. Similar to #1, the 48% who voted Remain are having their views ignored completely, as are the Brexiters who voted against the EU for reasons that had nothing to do with the far-right. The latter didn't vote for Brexit for a far-right, non-EU UK to emerge.

5. The Leave campaign never had a plan in place in the event Leave won. Flying by the seat of the pants is hardly a sound policy when extracting a country from 40+ years of integration in an international orgnaisation.

But hey, what do I know? My side lost and the current consensus in Western democracies seems to be that if your side loses, you have to "get over it" and cease all debate (unless, of course, the losing side is the alt-right/far-right, who seem to be allowed to continue their protests even if their policies are soundly rejected).