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Brexit, a well-planned denial
by Thanos Kalamidas
2016-06-09 09:46:45
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It was more than a year ago when the keyword in EU was Grexit. Aside came some other words, like: domino effect, euro-crisis, debt-crisis. But the word – next to Grexit – that really inspired fear was the domino effect. On June 23rd, just days away, we might heading for another euro-crisis, one that extents from the close cycle of the euro-zone and actually reaches the fundamentals of the European Union but ….that’s it. It is like everybody is in a well-planned denial. No talk about domino effect, nothing at all about eu-crisis, not much about consequences to the EU economy. There is some talk about consequences to the UK, but nothing really much. That while one of the biggest fundraisers and investors of the Union might leave.

It is like there is a denial conspiracy in action. It is like they don’t want to shake things, hoping that the outcome will be a huge yes to EU. Perhaps “they” don’t want fear in the stock market, they don’t want questions which have no answers. Because just like more than a year ago with the possible Grexit, nobody really knows what a Brexit means. It’s all hard speculation. And all these threats, from all sides, are imaginary and empty cells. Nobody really knows …again.

A small example. The biggest importer of German cars in Europe and perhaps globally is Britain. With that in mind who would ever expect from Frau Merkel to change attitude towards Britain in the case of a Brexit, harm Germany’s automobile industry and the country’s exports? In which planet, which dimension exactly this will happen? So real interests debunk all these arguments and threats. What remains? What the ordinary British people – the ones who will actually vote - understand about this referendum and a possible Brexit. And what they do understand has absolutely nothing to do with EU. British people are heading for a referendum about the European Union with their minds in immigration and state benefits.

bre01_400The truth is that the British people are absolutely misled about the whole thing and they are victims of both, the pros and cons of a Brexit. Furthermore EU immigration policies are just the peak of the iceberg in the UK immigration issue. Britain is the oldest European country to face immigration issues, starting strongly sometime before the end of the 19th century; and it is a country that hosts citizens, with sixth and seventh generations of immigrant background. And in fact, some of them are Muslims, just like there are Hindu or Buddhists. To rephrase Bill Clinton’s quote, it is the colonization, stupid; and not EU.

There is a well-known joke from 1980s in Britain which has all the semantics to explain what I just wrote. A British football team plays a game with a German team in Germany and a group of friends travels to the German town to watch and support their team. Having arrived the evening before they decide to go for dinner in the centre of the city and looking for some different, something exotic, one of them spots an Indian restaurant. The rest immediately react angrily pointing to him that they said exotic food, not home food. Think of it.

The Schengen open-boarders agreement, was first signed on 14 June 1985 and actually came in full force in 1990. Poland, Hungary and the rest of the east European countries, often mentioned as part of the problem by the supporters of the Brexit (the Polish plumber), became members of the EU just in 2004 and citizens of Romania and Bulgaria, in violation of the EU laws, are still not able to move freely in EU. So blaming EU for the immigration problems in Britain is at least ridiculous and the majority of the people in Britain with foreign origins have moved to Britain long before the open borders policy. Again, the demographics of their origin proves that their immigration to Britain has mainly to do with colonization than anything else. The biggest immigration wave to Britain, the last few decades, didn’t come from Poland or Bulgaria or wherever else the pro-Brexit argue, but from Hong Kong in late 1980s and oddly most had already had British passports. But nobody talks about it. What they are talking about is illegal immigration from Calais and the benefits immigrants take. Seriously? Even comparing the numbers of immigrants landing to UK from Calais with the ones entering the country after fake marriages you will find that the numbers are not compatible.

Actually is worth checking the five largest foreign-born populations in UK, which are India, Poland, Pakistan, Ireland and Germany. This nationalities are followed by French and US citizens. Over 65% of those pre-existed in UK long before the Schengen open-boarders agreement (most of them 2nd or 3rd generation) with most carrying British passports nowadays and having fully integrated.

Still if you check the Brexit supporters, they pinpoint at Arabs and Africans, mainly Muslims. Actually the whole talk about immigration has nothing to do with legalities and EU but with race. Nobody has said anything about the nearly 250,000 Germans who live in UK, or the 150,000 French. There is absolutely no mention about the nearly 130,000 US citizens. They are immigrants, French and Germans did use the open-boarders policy. Is it because none of them ever applied for benefits, none of them has ever committed a crime or anything illegal? Really? So 250,000 Germans they are all saints? These are things only …the others do? The ones with the darker skin, the black eyes, the beards and the veiled wives? Only that shows how hypocritical and racist the whole argument is.

So the problem is how some identify these unwelcome immigrants and not immigration per se. Furthermore is not about EU immigration. Otherwise you would have Farage burning French, German and US flags in Trafalgar square. Talking about UKIP’s Farage, for him every Muslim, not WASP, who doesn’t breakfast with a pint of lager is an unwelcome immigrant. And here lies the trap I’m afraid the whole Brexit movement has fallen into.

By supporting and voting for a Brexit you don’t really go against a bureaucratic with anti-democratic behaviour establishment, that destroys the European Union’s fundamentals and believes, but you line up with the xenophobes and the racists who are dreaming a WASP UK. As far the benefits issue you don’t have to check statistics and surveys; you just need to have a look at Daily Mirror, the media representative of the Brexit. Ok, there is one report about an immigrant who has done something illegal, perhaps a crime and for that there is always a legal punishment but then there are another five-six reports about benefit cheaters who are holidaying in Bahamas, playing golf or doing jogging. All of them ….very British. Another amazing thing and oddly Daily Mirror can be a good resource for that, is the fact that the people who complaining most about immigrants taking benefits are the once who …actually fully live on benefits. I suppose their motive is, less benefits for the immigrants more for us! Talking about legitimate arguments and losing perspective.

Of course there is the other side. The anti-Farage and anti-Boris side. Let’s see who represents the pro-EU side. A former Prime Minister who destroyed the only thing Thatcher had managed to efficiently make work while destroying so many others, stabilize economy. John Major was called from the veterans of the conservative party to help the pro-EU campaign. The man most Brits prefer to forget and see him only as an inconvenient parenthesis after Margaret Thatcher.

Then another former Prime Minister. This time the one who destroyed the welfare state, the health system and education and in the end with lies dragged UK in a war, while in his spare time he destroyed the Labour Party with his cronies. Tony Blair. A man that should be in court apologizing to a nation for his lies and misleads. A corrupted politician who profited from his service to the public. And last but not least are coming the present Prime Minister and his chancellor, David Cameron and George Osborne. With these last two carrying the most laughable economic doomsday arguments.

Still all of them – the pro-EU – argue their stand talking about excactly the same things Boris and Farage talk. Is like Boris is leading the whole exchange. Most important, with the low profile and sometimes confusing attitude, Jeremy Corbyn is acting like the whole things is a Tory internal conflict. It is Cameron Vs Boris for the leadership of the conservative party with Farage dreaming of a WASP UK in the background.

Last and the most schizophrenic players in this game are the EU officials from Jean Claude Juncker to Angela Merkel. Having learn absolutely nothing from the Greek referendum a year ago, they insult and provoke the British voters with sad threats and pathetic warnings. They have become Boris Johnson’s best allies unintentionally.

Coming now to the Brexit issue per se. Both sides with their arguments have managed to confuse the situation even more, leaving the British voters to their survival instinct or nationalism. Pros and cons are played in the hands of extreme elements of the British society with an uncalculated result, doesn’t matter if Britain will remain in EU or not.

Personally, I would have liked to see a Brexit if that would help EU to wake up. The European Union has failed its fundamentals. It has nothing to do with the ideals it started with for a united continent, enjoying the same democratic values, an open market, strong economy and all that in a spirit of solidarity. A Europe for its citizens. This has become a dead dream and perhaps the shock of a Brexit would bring it back. Perhaps. If the Barossos, the Junckers and the Merkels haven’t murder it for good. You see a Brexit will undoubtedly lead to a domino effect for the simple reason that Britain is not Greece; while EU could do without Greece in a case of a Grexit – and that only in the euro-zone - EU will not survive without Britain. EU needs Britain more than Britain needs EU.

However, as things have become, with a little help from the far-right and the nationalists, the arguments have taken a racist and blind nationalistic turn. I’m afraid that while EU might profit from the shock, Britain will lose far more and that has nothing to do with neither immigration nor economy but with democracy. Ironically, what the pro-Brexit accuses that EU lacks.

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Emanuel Paparella2016-06-09 14:04:25
Indeed, the EU founding fathers, or even Aristotle could have told us 2400 years ago that when the extremes prevail virtue disappears and fanatical ideology takes over as a sort of pseudo-virtue. We are witnessing that as we speak. At that point "Democracy" is ready to put a Socrates on trial and condemn him to death. What will die this time around will be democracy together with all the commendable ideals of the EU founding fathers and the return to an ethnic chauvinistic divisive nationalism will be well on its way. We do indeed live in very interesting times.

Emanuel Paparella2016-06-09 14:36:05
A pertinent follow-up: in a very recent article on Brexit (June 7) which appeared in Modern Diplomacy Giancarlo Elia Valori writes that “Brexit is the materialization of Great Britain’s dream of a new global role, the memory of an imperial past, as well as confirmation of the fact that the British people are not, and will never be, fully Europeans and the other way round.” This was written, mind you, by a European whose nationality happens to be Italian but perhaps feels fully European and supports democracy. Logically, one cannot but reflect that if within the EU there exist member states who do not feel Europeans or perhaps have no inkling of what might have brought some 27 nations together, of what its Constitution stands for, or don’t have the foggiest of what the core EU cultural identity might, are we to be too surprised that the center does not seem to hold and the union, whatever there is left of it, may be more centrifugal than centripetal and may be fast coming apart?

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