After voting tomorrow I shall fly down to take part in an alternative online referendum results programme from the Ecuadorian Embassy with Julian Assange, to give you a chance to hear a discussion of the results without having to listen to yet more neo-liberal spokesmen spouting establishment propaganda.
It is no secret I am an enthusiast for the EU. However as an ardent Scottish nationalist it has of course crossed my mind that it might be a plan to vote tactically for Brexit, to provoke a new independence referendum.
I have decided against this for two reasons. First, there is no way the Establishment is going to allow Brexit to happen. And second, I love my mum, who is English and moved back from Inverness to Norfolk following the death of my father a decade ago. I wish England and the English nothing but well. It would be wrong to wish harm on the English to further a tactical gain for Scottish independence – which is coming anyway.
I cannot vote Leave in the hope that England will leave and Scotland remain, believing that would harm England. Besides, an independent Scotland inside the EU would be disadvantaged by having its only land border with an ailing England outside the EU.
Having successfully kept the EU debate off the blog, I think for the last day we can fill our boots. I like the EU because it has in truth burnt internal national borders. I like the EU because we cannot control EU internal immigration. I love all the vibrant Europeans who have moved here, and the fact I can leave whenever I wish and settle in Lodz or Naples. Without the EU immigrant influx, the UK would have experienced zero economic growth for the last ten years.
There is one anti-EU argument I detest worse than anything Nigel Farage has ever said. It is the “left wing” argument that immigration depresses wages for British workers.
This argument is pure racism. It presupposes that the chance that a British worker might get £10 rather than £9 an hour, is more important than giving a Romanian worker moving here the chance to get £9 an hour rather than £3. Just because one is British and one is Romanian. Racism, pure and simple.
There is of course a much more sophisticated argument about the massive economic boost given by migration increasing demand in the economy, including for labour. If migration harmed an economy the United States and Germany would be the poorest countries in the world, yet they are not.
But I prefer to point out the inherent racism of the Little Englander wages argument, because it pricks the “left-wing” credentials of those who make it.
I am a strong internationalist and I view the EU as the most solid achievement of internationalism to date. The danger of the EU has always been that its internal freedoms would be accompanied by barriers to the world outside, but that is decreasingly true in the economic field as trade barriers have fallen radically, especially to the developing world. It is only an increasing problem in the migration field with the EU reacting to the refugee crisis – whose acuteness is a direct result of neo-con war policy destabilising the Islamic world.
The EU has great supra-national institutions. These are broadly politically neutral. They are used for neo-liberalism at the moment because at the moment most European governments, including the British one, are neo-liberal. But neo-liberalism will not prevail forever. Its consequences in terms of economic insecurity for the many and an exponential increase in extreme wealth for the few, are already undermining popular consent. As only a few diehard economists cling to trickledown theory, the obvious consequences for social stability have started to undermine the intellectual confidence of the elite and their propagandists.
To put that another way, the cleverer rich (ie not Philip Green) have started to realise that if things go on this way, they will be decorating lamp-posts.
The pendulum swings back towards social democracy. Trade treaties with clauses demanding the breaking up of state ownership will fall into abeyance for a few more decades. They are in any event by no means confined to the EU. Banking regulation will, bit by bit, strengthen. Action on tax havens will accrue incrementally.
The EU is a powerful potential force for economic regulation, and we will see it being put to that proper purpose again, with a little patience.