I don’t usually do politics. But the standard of debate in the recent elections and the current referendum campaign has driven me to protest.
I will stick to the referendum; enough has been said about the divisive campaign run by the losing candidate for Mayor of London, and the arguments used in the Scottish parliamentary elections were also rather short on logic.
The “in” campaign have said hardly anything worth noticing. But the “out” campaign have distinguished themselves by their poor taste. The morning after the Brussels bombings, they were using the incident, with scant regard for facts, as a reason for Britain to leave the EU. Then, when Barack Obama remarked that if Britain left, it would be at the back of the queue for negotiating a trade deal with the US, he had to endure what could be regarded as racist abuse from the (now ex-) mayor of London.
But they missed something very important in their childish reaction. The trade deal he was referring to was the notorious TTIP, which would reportedly give multinational corporations power over elected governments, enforceable in offshore courts, and would mandate the selling-off of public services in Europe to American corporations. The negotiations are taking place in strict secrecy, so that nobody knows the full horror of the deal. I do believe we might be better off without it.
Even then, it is not completely clear-cut. If it were simply that Britain were opposed to Europe going blindly into this deal, things would be clear. But, of course, there is substantial opposition to TTIP throughout Europe, and it is possible to argue that the best course for Britain is to stay in Europe and mobilise this opposition. I fear that is not what any of our leaders want …