While they're all out voting, I'll post this here especially because nobody really reads this space any more.
And no, I do not get to vote in this British referendum about staying in or out of the EU. But members of Commonwealth countries who live here do, it seems.
I have found three streams of though about leving the EU:
- A disenfranchised protest. There are many of those here in the UK; the Conservative government has spent the last 8 years pushing through a reformist Austerity agenda that in the end is a transfer of wealth from poor people to the older middle class, who vote Tory, and themselves. Austerity has actually not helped up clean up the national books, as the insecurity and reduction of demand it has created has forced the government to borrow more money than ever. The result is that an underclass has been expanded significantly, who have been agitated with 20 years of anti-EU outright porpaganda. Many of them will admit they do not know that Brexit will be better for them or the country, but at least they get to say up yours to the people they perceive as an unaccountable EU elite (see propaganda). The Labour party has been unable to reach this voter.
- People who stand to gain power and influence by the exit. These come in a number of flavors, with the main two being the politicians and pundits who have gained popular appeal slagging off the EU for decades, who finally see their time has come. A Brexit will vindicate them entirely, which they will be able to translate into positions of power. The people who fund them, like Rupert Murdoch, will then be able to get rid of a whole lot of laws and controls the EU currently imposes on employers not to be total dicks, thus being able to extract labor to add to their capital. Whether the politicians and pundits who have been doing the dirty work for dismantling minority and labor protections are actually as racist and xeonophobic as their campaign of lies indicate they are, we will probably only know if they win, or on their deathbeds. All indications are that the most respectable of the mouthpieces actually is not a racist, but will say anything at anytime to further his career. He has his sights set on being Prime Minister, and he may just get it for the same reason he became Mayor of London: people thought it would be funny and shut him up.
- The third stream I have seen, and it is the one that scares me most, actually lives inside the first two groups as well, but also in Brexiters, at significant levels in my opinion, outside of what I have already outlined: people who think the UK is fundamentally still a country and culture that should own the world. They genuinely think the UK has something better about it, something more dignified and smart and worthy than the other countries in the EU. They have looked down on other countries and nationalities forever, and do not understand the rebate and and refusal to join Schengen and the € are irritants that have undermined the UKs position in Europe for years, but think this is all simply due to the UK from 'that bunch'. They giggle at the joke that the way British people speak foreign laguages is to just yell English louder, but also never learned to converse in anything else. These people are as convinced of some form of English exceptionalism as nationalist Americans are convinced of theirs, but it goes so deep in their atttiudes they have never even really noticed. Of course the UK does not need the EU. Of course they are still an economic super-power, and they always will be. Of course the other European countries won't pull the services and currencies and headquarters away from London, they'd be foolish to; don't they know the UK is an economic super-power? They genuinely think they can do trade deals with the US, China, Brazil, and India, especially India (those fuckers owe us everything) on their own, because the UK is just simply better. That's why everyone wants to migrate here, so obviously, well...