This blog has been silenced by the sheer and utter state of uncertainty surrounding Brexit, the possible outcomes of the general election and hence the impossibility of making choices on the basis of expected outcomes.
Who can tell whether, a decade on, it will have been better
- to have stayed ‘In’ with the existing or any array or combination of additional or different ‘opt-outs’ or
- to have come ‘Out’ with a ‘clean break’ or with any combination of any of the array of possible ‘opt-ins’.
The options for opt-ins and opt-outs are too numerous for this blog to count. Worse, the medium to long term outcomes of choosing any of those many options are impossible to predict even in broad or likely terms.
As to the general election, as we cannot know the long term social, economic or political outcomes of any of the myriad options, even voting for a party that promised a clear and final outcome (which none of them does) could not be based on any reasonable expectation for the longer term. And if you throw in tactical voting and the impossibility for many voters of knowing whether their vote will help produce a majority, minority or coalition government or the complexion of that government, the mind goes into boggle-down. So, what to do?
Some might think that the best response is to go with one’s gut. To rely on identity politics be that being ‘British’ or being ‘European’. Some might to aspire to an ”orgiastic future” of an independent ‘Buccaneering Britain’ or of a ‘Unified Europe’ of prosperity, peace and harmony. What the unkind might call the appeal to ‘fantasy politics’.
Others might simply look to the immediate effects of ceasing to be a citizen of a member state of the EU. At an individual level, UK citizens will lose the individual right to participate in the governance of the Europe which will continue to surround them and impact on their lives. Worse by far, they will lose the individual right to trade unhindered in the Single Market; the individual right to travel freely around Europe; the individual right to live where they like anywhere in the EU and the individual rights to study, work and to set up business where they will across a continent of dizzying choice and opportunities in terms of culture, climate, geography and so much more. In return for surrendering that raft of individual rights, the only certainty is that they will have enhanced the powers of the British political class, albeit in a system that has not returned a government with a majority of the popular vote for over 30 years; which does not allow the individual citizen to vote for or even approve the Head of State, the Prime Minister and her ministerial minions or the members of the upper house of the legislature, the House of Lords. So much for claims of increased democracy.
It may be that UK citizens who value individual rights above surrendering themselves to power-hungry politicians in Whitehall and Westminster would vote for a government that would revoke Article 50 or at least deliver a People’s Referendum if only they knew how to vote to maximise the chances of such a government being elected. However, for many, apart from not voting for the Tories or the Brexit Party, making that choice might as well be made by a roll of the dice.