With his ‘I could quite feasibly be wearing a dead Labrador as a hat’ haircut, general dislike of peasants and New York heritage, Boris Johnson is already doing a credible Donald Trump impression. I honestly wouldn’t be surprised to open the paper tomorrow and find that nylon stocking full of mashed potato that he calls a face plastered across the page with the headline ‘we’re gonna build a wall to keep the Scottish out’. Not that Scotland resembles Mexico in anyway, Mexican food is good.
In his recent attempt to become Britain’s answer to a question nobody asked, he has even taken to mirroring Trump’s childish repetition of certain heavily group tested campaign slogans. For Trump this is saying things like “Crooked Hilary” or “I’m a winner”, for Boris and his cohort of Brexit backing buddies it’s “Take back control”.
So what’s going on here, who are we taking back control from and why do we need to? Well the axis of evil that is Johnson, Gove and Farage (now there’s a tough game of shit, shag, marry) would tell you that we are, of course, taking back control from the undemocratic and generally evil EU, regaining our sovereignty and taking the first step on the long path towards putting the great back in to Great Britain, yay colonialism, I mean Britain. Well why do we need to regain control? Immigrants of course! Britain is full and everything bad about our country would be solved if we could just get rid of those pesky immigrants who do evil things like introduce us to the wonders of chicken tikka and pay more in to welfare than they take out, the evil shifty eyed shits.
Let’s start with the first part and my many issues with the latest catchphrase of xenophobia. The idea that leaving the EU would give us greater sovereignty is based upon a definition of sovereignty that has been lifted out of Lord of the Rings. It’s the image of a king or queen sitting in their castle and declaring to a page “Hence forth we shall no longer suffer the evil scourge that is the brussel sprout within the glorious realm of Brettania, for too long have we suffered the entire taste of a cabbage in a single bite sized package of evil.” And thus brussel sprouts are banned from across the kingdom and the good people of Brettania danced and were merry.
The problem is that the world doesn’t work like that anymore, the issue of sovereignty has become much more fluid and difficult to pin down. So what is sovereignty and how do we have a discussion about it? Well I’d argue the the idea of sovereignty implicit in the Leave campaign’s ‘Take back control’ slogan is actually pretty spot on: for me sovereignty is the ability to control and affect what happens to your country with the assumed aim of making sure the things that happen to your country are beneficial.
So how is leaving the EU going to allow us to take back control? Well for me it won’t, indeed we will be giving control away. Yes in theory there are some things that leaving the EU might allow us to do which we can’t at the moment; we could for example stop all of the immigration we were receiving from the free movement aspect of being a part of the EU, and this has been the main focus of the Leave campaign’s rhetoric. The campaign purposefully forgets to mention two things:
- Leaving the EU would take away far more sovereignty than it would restore.
- It won’t even give us the sovereignty that they claim it will, specifically in regards to immigration.
Let’s start with the first point: when it comes to the EU we are currently one of the top countries in terms of power and influence, as hard as it may be to believe, Cameron is absolutely invited to the back of the EU bus with all the other cool cats of policy making. Whether you like it or not, the fate of the UK is tied up intrinsically with the fate of the EU, the policies and decisions it makes have a huge impact on every level of our country so taking ourselves out of that decision making process actually reduces our ability to affect what happens to us, thus reducing our sovereignty.
We’re giving up our right to veto things that might affect us adversely as well as our ability to pursue legislation that benefits us. What would we do for example if the EU decided to pass new legislation that forced all pubs and clubs to bolt down seating? Can you imagine the heartbreak across the football hooligan world? Honestly what’s the point of going to the Euro’s if you can’t even lob a chair at some baguette guzzling French bloke?
Obviously that is a silly example but what if it were something more serious? What if one of the EU member states proposed a petty piece of retributive legislation to punish Britain for playing havoc with the European economy with an ill informed referendum? What if the French stopped expending any effort to police Calais? What if the EU decided the fairest and most ironic way to deal with Syrian immigrants coming in to the EU was to take them to the north coast of France, supply them with a boat and point them towards a post-Brexit Britain with a map to Nigel Farage’s house? What if the EU decide that it would be a great idea to have Turkey join seeing as apparently that would cause armageddon? You know what would be a good way of guaranteeing Turkey doesn’t join the EU? Stay in the EU and veto it for fucks sake!
If you take yourself out of the decision making process of the EU you are losing a voice in all the major EU policy and debate. You know what no one has ever said at an EU summit? “Oh hey wait guys, I know we’re about to make huge sociopolitical changes to the entire landscape of Europe, but we forgot to ask the opinion of Switzerland and Norway!”
With all of that said many Brexiteers will still argue that it doesn’t matter; that a lack of say in the operation of the EU is a price worth paying to gain control of immigration. Firstly I’d like to point out that if you were to close the borders tomorrow to all immigration that the UK receives from its membership of the EU, it would only reduce our overall immigration by between 50–60% (it fluctuates from year to year). Secondly I’d like to add that if we want access to the EU single market (which we absolutely do seeing as our entire economic structure is built upon the assumption that we have it) we will have to accept the free movement aspect of belonging to the EU thus making the entire immigration argument of the Leave campaign bollocks.
Take Switzerland and Norway, the two examples of successful non-EU countries that Leave love to point to as a shining beacon lighting the way for Brexit. They have both had to accept accept free movement of EU citizens to access the EU single market. Indeed in proportion to their overall population, both countries receive a higher rate of immigration than we do. When you combine that knowledge with the studies showing incontestably that immigrants put more money in to a welfare system than they take out, it strongly suggests that the problems faced by organisations like the NHS are the fault of someone else. It’s the work of another article but I would argue that the blame lies at the feet of Conservative austerity and Thatcherite principles, not tax paying immigrants that help prop welfare up.
So for me the two corner stones of the Leave campaign are built upon shitty Trump like foundations. Leaving wouldn’t actually result in more sovereignty but less, wouldn’t actually allow us to stop EU immigration without trashing our entire economy, and finally even if we did stop all EU immigration to our country it wouldn’t solve the problems Leave are falsely saying it will.
As a thank you for reading all the way to the bottom of this article here’s my answer to shit upon, shag or marry for Gove, Johnson and Farage: you just have to shit upon Farage, whether it was his assertion that lots of people refer to the Chinese as chinky when speaking colloquially, or his unbelievably offensive poster with Breaking point splashed across it, the man is a straight up grade-A douche nozzle (I don’t know what that means but I heard it on American TV and have always wanted to use it). It would give me great pleasure to shit upon that man from a great height, a fitting metaphor for what he’s done to political discourse in the UK.
I’d shag Michael Gove because I think it would solve a lot of his problems. I think most of this EU nonsense comes from some pent up sexual frustration, plus he strikes me as someone who would be a generous and considerate lover underneath all the anger and false bravado. Michael Gove, I wanna be inside of EU. Finally I’d marry Boris Johnson, history suggests he’d cheat on me and then I could get the kids (Bartholomew & Cumquat) as well as the house in the divorce settlement, bosh!
P.S. I’m a firm believer that you should get a balanced view of any argument; here is a very well written (but in my opinion still wrong) counter argument to mine about Brexit: