For Argyll Editorial on EU Referendum

It has been marked that each of the opposing campaigns in the EU Referendum ‘debate’ fully took their strategy and colour from their sister ‘In’ and ‘Out’ campaigns in the 2014 Scottish Independence Referendum.

Each campaign for staying in the respective unions was negative, arrowing in hard on the economic consequences; with the level of consciously dishonest ramping up of that position even more pronounced in the EU Referendum – presumably fuelled by the ‘success’ of the tactic in the Scottish excursion.

Each exit campaign had, in equally conscious dishonesty, offered unfettered promises of a land of milk and honey in waiting outside the union in question; and dismissed out of hand all warnings of economic damage and risk of more of the same, regardless of the weight of legitimate evidence.

For Argyll was contemptuous of both campaigns in the Scottish Independence Referendum for these reasons; and is so again of the EU Referendum campaigns – for the same reasons.

As with the Independence Referendum, we expect the result of the EU Referendum to be a definite but not resounding result in favour of continuing membership of the union in question.

It is not unreasonable for the majority of people to play safe with their futures; and both a Scottish exit from the British union and a British exit from the European union carry some certain costs and some potential penalties.

Conversely, an independent Scotland and a Britain outside the EU would be viable – if those that support either were and are willing to take a period of genuine economic pain and to work to pay for the achievement of their dreams.

The fact that the SNP’s Yes Scotland campaign did not present its audience with that reality but chose to disguise it in a patently false and  morally ramshackle prospectus for indy – and the current replicating of that strategy by the Brexiteers – would indicate that politicians do not believe that the people are ever willing to pay for their preferred constitutional position.

For Argyll’s enduring contempt for both of the exit campaigns is that these particular deceptions put most at risk those in society who are simultaneously the most financially vulnerable and the most susceptible to believing without challenge false arguments of the ‘something for nothing’ kind.

We would have respected either or both of these campaigns had they the integrity to say to their audience that there would be a period where the country and they would be worse off – but that together the country and they could come through that and prosper, if they determined and worked to do so.

It is worth recording [and the published archival evidence demonstrates this] that For Argyll vigorously supported Scottish independence – until this direction of the Yes campaign became evident. No one with any probity could have supported it after that.

It could not be more clear that the single primary issues of each of the EU Referendum campaigns were the economic risk [Remain] and immigration [Brexit].

There has been so much smoke and mirrors conjured up on these issues by their promoting camps that there is absolutely no point even in beginning to challenge their deceptions.

We propose to add a couple of simple insights into these issues and leave it at that, before setting out our own commonsensical standpoint on the vote.

On economic risk

In the EU campaign, the single trustworthily independent expert analysis came from the Institute of Fiscal Studies – which found that the cost of Brexit would be two additional years of austerity.

No one could say that, for those who want out of the European Union, this would be an insupportable price to pay.

In 2014 and today, flight of capital and diminished inward investment in the event of an ‘out’ vote are not scaremongering threats but a commonsense reality.

This is what moneymen do. They protect money from as much risk as possible by taking it to the most secure and profitable places – and their investors, including the vast pension funds, expect them to do so.

That flight of capital would be immediate and indeed in both referenda instances, there was evidence of advance protective activity of this kind.

But capital and inward investment are equally quick to respond to the opportunities where there is evidence of promising new directions and of growth.

On immigration

Fear of immigration is not automatically racist, although a hefty proportion of it undoubtedly is. Much of it is an ingrained human fear of ‘the other’, with each of us being, in national origin and in faith, ‘other’ to others.

Some such fears, however Canute-like, are the perfectly respectable and sympathetic fear for the loss of the settled regime of a culture.

This country has made a mess of immigration in many ways, some of them dishonourable, some actively dangerous and some simply systemically incompetent.

Historically, we denied British citizenship to the people of Malta – whose little island was almost flattened by the Luftwaffe in World War II – because we needed to use it as an advance naval harbour; and whose people were literally starved – but not into submission – by the German blockades and attacks.

Instead of the citizenship they had a right to request, we conferred the George Cross Medal upon the entire island – a cynical cheapskate substitute for substance that is to the shame of both nations – ours for enacting it and Malta’s for accepting it.

Then we chose similarly to neglect our responsibilities to Nepal’s Gurkha fighters whose legendary courage and whose lives had for long been given to the military support of Britain. It took Joanna Lumley , her shout of the Gurkha war cry, Ayo Gorkhali and her magnificent public manipulation into supine concessions by the British Government Minister of the day – to get any shift in this disgraceful state exploitation.

More universally damaging has been the lack of conviction in the cultural rightness of our own laws – or a disconnected lack of respect for them – which led Jack Straw to be the senior government minister to come out with the absolute idiocy of suggesting that in some areas Britain might introduce either elements or a proportion of Sharia Law.

Other countries straightforwardly and reasonably expect those who choose to come to live there to obey unquestioningly and to accept the discipline of the prevailing laws of the land.

Why don’t we?

But Britain has weakly cavilled on the natural authority of this position and has allowed a situation to develop which can only lead to an almighty, shapeless and unmanageable mess in law.

Any nation ought to require new residents to live under its laws and cultural mores. That has to be the sine qua non of living in any country – and the great majority of migrants have choices they are free to make.

Britain’s post-imperial loss of self-confidence, which is understandable and sympathetic, has led to Britain no longer knowing where it stands itself.

This weak ‘anything is possible’ [and it never is] evinces the absence of leadership that underpins the genuine authority any nation needs; and breeds the sources of antipathy that express themselves in forms of indigenous racism and, less poisonously but equally impactful, in deep rooted fears of otherness.

So what to do on Thursday?

Our editorial position could not be more simple.

Regardless of the full spectrum of sound and shoddy issues put forward by both sides, one single fact is all but unarguable.

Family matters.

Family supports the troubled in bad times and reins in the triumphant runaway successes by foregrounding internal mutual responsibility.

Family is not comfortable but full of internal rivalries, fallings out, predations, shifting alliances, mischief, sulks and selfishness.

But family comes good under fire and family does not sacrifice the weak.

However successful a person or a nation, fortune shares her favours. Any individual and any country hits crises from time to time.

Loners can do fine in good times but come the storms [and they routinely do], every one of us – even the naturally strong – needs to know that there is certain shelter for us.

Beyond that, for the weak, that shelter is a permanent need.

We see every reason why those who are naturally strong should accept responsibility for protecting those who are naturally weak.

This is how any family works.

We will therefore vote for the family of the European Union – and we recommend it; just as we voted for the family of the British Union and continue to recommend that.

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Related Articles & Comments

  • The “family” of the EU? Shouldn’t they be charged with child abuse for what they’ve done to Greece and other southern European countries?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

    Andrew Argyle June 21, 2016 11:19 pm Reply
    • I think you are referring to the Ukok family. Abuse being their trademark.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

      Nae Fear Here June 22, 2016 2:22 pm Reply
  • Newsroom, whilst I agree with you about family matters, in this instance my own family comes first and it is not the EU. As half Scots and half English, I regard Scotland and Britain as my family in the context you are using in your article. What started with the EEC (a trade agreement) has now burgeoned into a monster which is going to get even bigger and put more pressures on our services and culture – whether it be UK or Scotland. What is the worst of all is that the un-elected Commission get to make rulings that affect all our lives and we don’t get a say. How many people have had any information in general about our MEP’s work and how that individual is helping us? How many ordinary folks even know who are MEP is – yet we’re forking out £millions?
    I’m not saying the EU is all bad – it has brought in some good things but it’s also taken away a lot.
    Your article was your opinion; this is mine and guess what – no bitching about any political party, just a straightforward response. No doubt the usual effluent will now appear but I don’t care – I know loners can make it.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

    Jade June 22, 2016 12:04 am Reply
  • Knud’s little play was to demonstrate the limitations of a monarch’s power.
    He sat high in his chair while the courtiers ( flatterers in Danish ) who had insisted that his word was law, were made to remain kneeling before him while the tide rose. When the lesson had sunk in Knud threw his crown into the tide. That this incident has since been twisted around illustrates how political propaganda works.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

    Arthur Blue June 22, 2016 9:36 am Reply
  • As one who lived in Malta for 4 years in the 1950s, albeit as a small boy, I was aware of the poverty of the average Maltese family at that time. One of the factors was the stranglehold the Catholic Church had over the population.. The priests seemed to live a life of near luxury by comparison.

    The granting of UK Nationality could not be carried out without the support of the Church who would have not supported the idea as it would have weakened or even destroyed their control over the masses. Perhaps the George Cross was an element of appeasement?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

    JimB June 22, 2016 10:45 am Reply
  • There’s another aspect that takes precedence in how I choose to vote – my opinion of the politicians shouting the odds for ‘in’ & ‘out’.
    I’d rather hell froze over before Boris Johnson took control of Britain, because I know just how devious, manipulative and downright dishonest he’s been while Mayor of London – and Andrea Leadsom is not so much a ‘dark horse’ as an outright rogue who’s spent her financial career in the service of tax avoidance and now has great ambitions to further her political career supposedly in the service of Britain. These two articulate chancers are about as disreputable as it gets, Michael Gove has something of the nutter about him, Nigel Farage is an opportunistic populist rabble-rouser and Jacob Rees-Mogg should preferably be kept confined to a darkened room.
    That’s the Brexit lot, but some of their opposite numbers are of similar quality – both David Cameron and George Osborne are far too ‘lightweight’ to be convincing, and overall the Conservative Party have a lot to answer for in terms of the quality of their politicians on both sides of the debate.
    Looking at the more informed of the commentators outside Westminster, it seems clear to me that – on balance – it’d be better to stay with the devil we know than cast off into the North Atlantic – although there’s a lot of ‘unfinished business’ to be done (EU fishing policy for starters) despite today’s posturing from the grubby Luxembourg politician who’s currently Top Dog in Europe.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 2

    Robet Wakeham June 23, 2016 1:07 am Reply
    • Vigorous summary of the realities.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

      newsroom June 23, 2016 2:05 pm Reply
  • I feel no affinity to the EU nor most of its member states. I do feel some to Commonwealth countries like Canada, Australia, NZ etc and even to a certain extent to the US.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

    Lundavra June 23, 2016 6:31 pm Reply
    • I feel no affinity to uk.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

      Nae Fear Here June 23, 2016 7:55 pm Reply

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