Friday, 3 June 2016

Trapped by the Referendum It will be a disaster whatever the result

There is no escape. The referendum will happen and the result, whatever it is, will be a disaster, because it is addressing the wrong issue in a way that can only make the current situation more unstable.
from The Times, 31st May
Anyone with any understanding of reality can see that there are three very serious and complex threats to civilization as we know it.
  • There is a major war going on which is displacing millions of people in which the enemies main weapons are suicide vests, car bombs and waves of terror-driven refugees. Virtually nowhere in the world is safe, and even if the ISIS strongholds in Iran and Syria are destroyed there will be large numbers of terrorists to continue the fight underground worldwide. If the fighting in the Middle East spreads there could be a major crisis over oils supplies, while more refugees could seriously destabilize Europe
  • Climate change is a very real long term threat which will involve very significant threats - especially as rising sea levels will affect all the worlds sea ports and most costal cities. The longer action is delayed the greater the impact on future generations.
  • The capitalist approach to economics is looking more and more like a giant Ponzi scheme based on the idea of borrowing today because tomorrow we will all be better off so can repay the loan.  Everyone must buy a house because it is such a good investment because house prices "will go on rising for ever" - but no-one restricted to a "living wage" can actually afford one. Large firms such as Tata steel and BHS collapse, crippled by debts to their pension funds. More and more money disappears into tax havens in a way that weakens the society which created the wealth. The current economic system is indisputably unstable and, if it doesn't collapse under its own weight it could well be destabilised by the other serious threats
All these issues will need countries throughout the world to work together to minimise the dangers - and history (and current affairs such as the war in Syria) tell us that when things go wrong one tends to get fragmentation with more and more smaller groups fighting to defend their own narrow interests. In the current situation working closely and cooperatively with other countries is of paramount importance.

So what does the British Government do. It decides to divide the country into two warring factions where the "simple sound byte" choice is between the following two options;
  • Have our laws influenced by a large and varied democratically elected body, where there has to be compromise between parties with very varied views. This will obviously mean that on some issues there will be short term winners and losers - but in the long run everyone benefits from cooperation.
  • Have our laws controlled by a government elected by an archaic first past the post electoral system. This has resulted in a deeply divided government elected by a mere 25% of the population which believes it has a right to impose its the poorly thought out sound-byte promises in the last election. This government is so incompetent that when faced with a complex technical problem that involves considerable uncertainties it decided to divide the country into two warring factions leaving the issue to be decided on the basis of which pompous public school yob can come up with the most convincing unsubstantiated sound bytes.
Whatever the result of the vote, the general world situation is likely to deteriorate due to the impact of war in the Middle East (and the waves of refugees), economic instability, the first serious effects of climate change, and perhaps the election of a Fascist President in the USA. There may be other changes caused by international companies changing their policies once they know how the vote went. Whenever anything goes wrong the very fact that there has been a referendum has prepared about half the population to strongly object to the government on the basis of "We told you so" while many who voted for the winning side will feel that they were conned by misleading sound-byte promises based on distorted or imaginary statistics.

After the vote the  Conservative government will end up even more deeply divided unless those on the loosing side become "Yes" men voting the party line to keep the Government, with its small majority, in office for the full 5 year term. By doing so they admit that their campaign was based on lies and half-truths and that they consider their personal careers and the future of the Conservative Party is more important than the future of the country. How the country responds in the next election is uncertain but extremist candidates on the far left and right may well seem to be preferable to candidates which as seen to be too close to the establishment which created the mess in the first place. It could be years before the country (possibly less Scotland if Leave only wins in England) has a stable government which cab properly manage the country to the benefit of the majority of its inhabitants.

1 comment:

  1. Deeply, deeply depressing, but I agree with all. Have said all these things at different times and to different people in the course of the run-up.
    So far, post-vote, you have been proved entirely correct.