You may have noticed that I’ve not posted much here for the last few weeks. Partly, that’s because of day-job stuff. Partly, it’s because I’ve had some freelancing work, which I can’t talk about publicly on here, but which may lead to a very good outcome for me. Those things will pass, and with luck I’ll soon be able to make this a daily blog, with something good and new every day.
But mostly, it’s because I have been in a state of panic.
As in, having to take Monday off work because my blood pressure’s so high it actually distorted the shape of my eyeballs and made me unable to see my monitor properly. As in, my dog tries to bite me because the stress has changed the smell of my sweat. As in constant suicidal thoughts — not just occasional ideation, but full-on “I would seriously be better off dead than living like this”.
As you can imagine, feeling like that is not conducive to writing… well, anything, really.
So I apologise if this is incoherent, if it isn’t nuanced enough, if it seems irrational. I am irrational right now.
But I’m irrational because I am terrified that the people of my country want to commit economic and political suicide, and I have to do something to try to stop that. I’ve not been able to campaign because of my health, and while I gave a day’s wages to the Remain campaign, I know that’s a pitiful effort. So while I’m in no state to write here, I have to.
Now, before I go on, I do have to say that I know several people — some of whom I consider very good, wise, decent, kind people — who are voting Leave. They are not bad people, and I would be heartbroken if my posting this caused me to fall out with any of them.
But the thing is, none of those people have been able to give me anything that even seems vaguely like an actual argument, based in facts or principles, for leaving. I haven’t seen such an argument from anyone.
And this is something that the utter incompetence of the Remain campaign has helped disguise. The arguments for Remain haven’t been presented well, but there have been no arguments at all for Leave. Not as I understand argument anyway. Such arguments may exist, but I haven’t seen them — and I’ve looked, because I’m looking for any sign that tomorrow’s referendum won’t be a horrible, horrible, mistake.
If we leave the EU, there is the near-certainty of an economic crash that makes 1992 look positively mild by comparison.
If we leave the EU, the Northern Irish peace process, whose treaties depend on every level on the EU treaties, and which depends on free movement between the North and Eire, is destroyed.
If we leave the EU, we “get rid of the red tape” — the “red tape” here being laws protecting LGBT+ people and disabled people, protecting the environment, and protecting the rights of workers. Things like holiday time and laws against unfair dismissal will be a thing of the past.
If we leave the EU, Scotland will have another referendum, leave the UK, and doom the rest of us to permanent Tory majority government.
If we leave the EU, the hard right of the Tories, rather than the comparative centrists like Osborne and Cameron (and yes, in the context of the current Tories, they *are* moderate, which is in itself a scary thought), will take control of the government.
If we leave the EU, we are leaving an organisation that has been the direct cause of the longest period without wars in Western Europe since 180AD.
And possibly worse than all these, if we leave the EU, then the winning campaign will be one that has been literally the most pernicious, mendacious, at times downright evil campaign in modern political history. (Again, I am talking about the national campaign here. The individual Leave campaigners I know are decent people). A campaign that has sent battle buses round with lies emblazoned on them, that has used the lowest forms of racism to stoke people’s fear of refugees (as if there could be a less scary group of people than people with nothing, coming to us for help!), and that finally today sank lower than I ever imagined possible in a British political campaign, disrupting a memorial for a murdered political opponent by flying a plane with their slogans on it, three times, above the memorial, while her husband was speaking.
I’ll repeat that. They disrupted a man giving a speech about his dead wife, murdered less than a week ago, at a memorial service for her. That’s Westboro Baptist tactics. That’s Gamergate tactics.
Quite apart from the rights and wrongs of the actual issue — and again, I literally have not seen *any* positive argument worthy of the name for leaving the EU now (as opposed to not joining in the 1970s or leaving in some future socialist utopia, the “arguments” put forward by so-called “Lexit”) — if we let those be the tactics that win political campaigns, that’s what we’ll have to live with from now on. Next election will be the Gamergate election.
Please, if you’re undecided, vote Remain tomorrow. Please, if you support Remain, go out and vote. And please, if you’re one of the good people supporting Leave (and half the population apparently is, so there are many good people among them), please, please, please consider the possibility that you might be wrong, and what you’re risking if you are, and weigh that against whatever you think we’ll gain from leaving. I beg you, reconsider.