Decision Time and I’m Leaning Leave

There is only one day to go in the EU Referendum, both campaigns have been woeful . We have not had one version of Project Fear, we have had two, and politicians from all parties are equally guilty of this. It has often felt like a civil war within the Conservative Party with both sides of it being equally as disgusting as the other. Add in Ukip and the more extreme right-wing and it becomes pretty much the most cynical, awful, disgusting, lying campaign fought in the UK ever. It has been even worse than the Scottish Referendum, although the lies have been recycled pretty well.

Up to this point I have been pretty much a very reluctant remain voter, I have taken on board the SNP mantra but the last few days I have started to feel very uncomfortable with that. Following the party line, even though I’m not a member of any party, has always been uncomfortable for me. Blind loyalty to political parties has pretty much gotten the UK into this mess in the first place.

So where does this leave me? Well still pretty much confused in so many ways. I have followed both sides of the argument as time has allowed. I have tried to filter out the shit and fear as best I can. Many argue that this debate and argument is between two posh and elitist sides of the disgusting Conservative Party. In many ways it is, I accept that. I have read the Bleu Book and I understand the alleged benefits of trade and jobs, I understand that in some areas on food, the environment and health and safety the EU has done ok. I get that free movement of people means that your rights follow you around the EU if you decide that is where your future lays. I get that.

I don’t accept the arguments on Fishing, I think the EU has pretty much killed the Scottish Fishing industry and it has been used as a bargaining tool by UK Governments over the years to the detriment of fisherman. I am also not convinced by the Common Agricultural Policy that pays huge sums of money to mainly already wealthy landowners, or worse pays farmers not to grow food. I have read the arguments that the EU costs less than Westminster to run and I don’t accept the arguments that EU immigrants are coming for social security benefits, but I am concerned that the strain on housing and public services due to under investment by Westminster Governments means that we just can’t cope with increased migration without major investment and that is not going to happen.

However, I am concerned that, like Westminster, the EU is a gravy train. Over 5,000 employees earn over £71,000 per year. Over 2000 earn as much as the UK Prime Minister and 250 receive over £160,000 plus per year. Add in very generous pensions, there are expenses for private education for children of MEPs to allowances that would make a Westminster MP blush and that takes some doing.

But overall the argument comes down to democracy for me. How democratic is the EU really? While the EU has a democratic structure and is representative, there is a serious lack of transparency, especially around the debates in the council. Failure here does lay with the member Governments and their failure to both explain the EU decision-making processes and to hold the EU Commissioners to account publicly in parliament committees. But it all feels so distant from me; it’s something that feels hidden away. How much of us have any real information about TTIP and how this will affect us! How many of us were comfortable with how Greece were treated! I wasn’t and it left a real sour taste in my mouth.

I can’t forget or forgive the EU intervention in the independence debate, they told us we would not be allowed in. That won’t change in the future whatever the outcome of the vote or any future independence referendum. The EU does not accept independence movements in the main and Spain will use its veto if we ever vote for independence, any arguments saying they won’t I don’t accept. I also believe in Scottish Independence and when that time comes and we have a vote on whether to apply for EU membership I will vote against.

As I have blogged before the EU is failing, it is failing every one of us, it has a failing economy and just as elitist a system as Westminster. Basically I feel that we lose if we stay and we lose if we leave. The money we pay or what we receive doesn’t come into it at all, we don’t even know the truth but I know that right now things in the UK and the EU are bad and we are being asked to vote to remain in a system that has made it bad. We are being asked to vote for the same failed politicians who got us into this mess and I can’t accept that. I have argued that the EU protects us from the worse ravishes of the Tories, but it doesn’t. The EU can’t stop austerity, attacks to public services, under investment or privatising of public services. In fact the EU supports the same neo liberal economics that pretty much impoverished us all, the same economics that have allowed the wealthy to get wealthier.

If we vote leave we won’t be better off, I get that but if we vote remain we won’t better off either and we won’t be protected either. The EU threat that it won’t trade with us doesn’t bother me, I don’t accept it. Will they impose levies, they might and so will we. I do think in the event of leave the Tories will fall pretty quickly as they continue to tear themselves apart. I do believe that a leave vote will result in serious strain on the union to the extent that we will leave it behind, along with N Ireland and maybe Wales. I have never been a fan of the EU, the EU have made that even worse in recent years so my vote on Thursday…..

Is looking like a leave vote.

Remain have just not done enough to convince me that I am better in than out, either way I am shafted so I would rather be shafted by a system of democracy, no matter how flawed, which is closer to home, that I mostly understand and that I can vote against the Government of the day. The EU is distant, as corrupt and inept, as elitist and as broken as the UK. It’s time to go.

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18 comments

  1. Awkwardboy

    Ordinary folk are going to get the shitty end of the stick what ever the result, it is only by a leave win that we may kick those holding the clean end. That said Wee Ginger Dug has convinced me to vote remain (which I will) while I want leave to win.

  2. Anonymous

    Awkwardboy

    I totally understand the conflict. I was the same, I was leaning remain but it was reluctant and resented it so unless something really drastic happens I will vote leave because it is what I feel is the right thing to do. The system is broken and the current politicians caused it. A leave vote is maybe, just maybe, the start of ordinary people taking back control from the people who f it up in the first place.

    Thanks for commenting.

    Bruce

    • Anonymous

      Lanark

      I’m 99% leave now. Jim Sillars has some compelling arguments but I just can’t vote for a system that has overall been a disaster and it could be the start of taking back some kind of control.

      I have no faith in the EU to reform or to reject TTIP, or improve things. I suspect they want ever closer union and I don’t. The appalling thing is I have to vote one way and both sides are equally as disgusting as the other. I hope whatever happens the Tories fall and take the Union with them. The SNP have made me feel like they are playing a game, I’m not convinced they really say what they believe, it feels false somehow. I can’t put my finger on it but it doesn’t feel right.

      Unless something really drastic happens I’m going with my heart and what I have learned, although no one knows the facts given they are all lying bastards, but anyway it will be leave for me.

      Thanks for commenting as always.

      Bruce

  3. lanark

    You’re spot on. It doesn’t matter how the vote goes, Scotland lost in September 2014. We are living in a Great British nightmare, summed up by,this horrible campaign. I have just sat and watched Ruth Davidson ranting away in full Ian Paisley mode saying how proud she is to be British. (Ugh!)

    I strongly support Scottish independence and will never give up my dream of seeing an independent Scottish Republic. If a Scottish government wishes to join the EU, then I may very well agree. Iceland and Ireland are OK with it and Norway and Switzerland are OK being out.

    I might not be popular with many independence supporters, but I rather like Jim Sillars and both he and yourself rightly point out that the EU were telling us to get stuffed in 2014. That and the treatment of Greece have soured me to it.

    I will vote Leave with reservations, but with fewer reservations than if I was voting remain. I am not in the SNP and I don’t feel any pressure to toe the party line. I just can’t bring myself to save Cameron’s career. I can’t vote with Brown and Blair, even though UKIP are nasty people indeed. There is more chance of a divided Tory party collapsing and a weakened UK with a Leave vote. That is why I will vote Leave.

  4. Sue Varley

    Hi Bruce. Seems to me that if you don’t accept most of the best arguments for staying in which you have listed above, there is not much point in making any others. So I will simply say two things.

    It is France and Germany trying to but the brakes on TTIP – UK is pushing it as much as it can. Any bets on how long it will take a post-leave UK to sign us up to something equally bad or worse with the USA?

    If Farage’s poster of last week doesn’t persuade you against supporting any argument he is making, then I guess nothing will.

    • Anonymous

      Sue

      I think there are pros and cons to both arguments. But it still comes down to the EU failing for me. Ever increasing enlargement will put further strain on it, there are growing leave movements in both Germany and France and recent polls put the Netherlands at 50 50. What started as a noble idea has become something very different in my opinion. The EU is made up of many of the things we complain about in the UK and in some cases worse. If the EU were serious about real reform then I could probably go for it but it’s not. While the UK has opt outs most so called experts accept that if it does manage to go down the ever closer union route the UK will be on the sidelines with very much a similar situation to Norway.

      TTIP will eventually be agreed, it’s the Unions in France and Germany putting pressure not the Governments. The only difference is they actually have good union laws and we don’t, we have some of the worst in the world.

      But either way it’s not about the benefits or not about the EU. The things I don’t like about the EU are the same things I don’t like about the UK. Both are not democratic enough , both are beholden to the banks, and big buisness and whatever result in Thursday little will change so I am going with how I feel. Either choice is crap so all we can do is trust our instincts and hope for the best.

      Thanks for expressing your opinions, I really appreciate other people’s views.

      Bruce

      • East Neuker

        There’s a lot in what you say, Bruce, but leaving the EU and remaining in the UK, which is what we would be doing by that vote, hands even more power to the Westminster right to savage workers’ rights, human rights, and the distribution of funds. The money that comes to Scotland from the EU will be withheld by a vengeful UK government (red or blue Tory). Their determination to hold on to Scotland’s assets and territory will be strengthened, and they will do so by force if necessary.
        We need independence first, then decisions about whether we want to belong to any unions, alliances etc.
        The UK leaving the EU at this juncture will make an already bad situation for Scotland worse. It will not, IMO, help the cause of Scottish independence.
        This is a vexed issue, with arguments on both sides, neither of which have been effectively made. That makes the decision difficult, but I WON’T vote alongside IDS, Gove, Johnston, Farage, Redwood, Patel, Hannan, and the other right wing nutters lined up on the leave side.
        With Greasy Dave and Shitty Gideon etc on the other side, I’m tempted not to vote at all – but that would be against my strongly held belief that if you don’t vote you have no right to complain about or even speak about the result.
        So, reluctantly, and with a deep sigh, I must disagree with you and vote Remain.

        • Anonymous

          EN

          There is a lot in what you say, I accept that but for me it’s like I have said before we are screwed either way but the Tories won’t always be in power and Scottish people will have a choice to make. I do think the start is maybe voting leave, whatever the experts say it will at least be the voters saying enough. Many, Such as happened in Scotland, will have learned from the debate and maybe, just maybe, enough will have woken up to the world we live in. It’s a risk either way but the status quo is not for me, could things get worse if we leave, yes. Could they get worse if we stay, yes. But by getting rid of one system will allow us to start to focus in on the one that is the biggest danger to us, Westminster. A vote to remain is an acceptance of corruption and elitism, at least a rejection at the EU level is a start. We do have to start somewhere, the EU can’t and won’t protect us from the Tories. We know that. Yes they might have some subtle things but those will be wiped out either way. TTIP is only slowing down in the EU due to the unions not the politicians but it’s coming. If we only have to deal with Westminster we can at least then fight for our beliefs on one front not two. I’m voting leave because I won’t both gone, staying in one just gives it legitimacy and the argument that at least it is not as bad as Westminster is not good enough. I want better than that, we are being screwed either way and we better make a stand somewhere and this is the start of the rejection of those pricks no matter what happens. The EU will not be in any rush to allow Scotland in given their rejection of independence movements and Spain will veto due to their own problems. Staying changes nothing, it just means in the next independence battle we are fighting both Westminster and the EU. If we are out we only have to fight one, if Scots then vote in a referendum to apply to join the EU I would of course respect the decision.

          It’s a hat one and all we can do is vote with what we believe is right.

          Thanks for commenting.

          Bruce sorry for any typos on phone.

  5. bjsalba

    I have made a point about finding out about the EU. Sad to say this is not the case with most of the UK population. As far as I can see you follow the MSM/BBC line – virtually all the reasons you give are the ones they have been touting for decades.

    You say you read the Wee Bleu Book, but given your use of the word “allegedly” and your grudging concession on the good things you think the good things. You assign almost all the blame to the EU rather than Westminster for the demise of the British fishing industry, so how come other EU countries still have thriving fishing fleets?

    You might also care to look at the agricultural landholdings pattern over Europe before you talk about the Common Agricultural Policy. The pattern of landholding in the UK and particularly in Scotland is very different from most of Europe. Are you aware that it was the conservative government that stood out against having any limit on CAP Payments?

    I do not see how getting out of Europe will do anything for our public services and it won’t stop immigration because there is no likelihood that Europe will agree to any kind of deal that allows market access without free movement of people. They simply cannot afford to. Westminster and Westminster alone is responsible for the crisis in housing and public services. I would also suggest you look at population densities in the UK.

    I do laugh at your concern over the salaries of EU employees. Looked at how many and how much the top UK Civil Servants get? Or all those Quango bosses? The same goes for our MEPs. The important thing is how well they represent us and our interests in Brussels. Unless you make an effort to find out about what is going on, you will not know, because as far as the MSM is concerned the EU exists only when the as the target for criticism. I do because I read some of the EU sites, and get a newsletter from an MEP.

    The thing is that Europe is not in itself sovereign. No legislation can be enacted that is not agreed on by all participant states. The talk of getting control back is a load of rubbish.

    I’m voting Remain.

    • grumpyscottishman

      bjsalba

      I am totally aware of Westminsters role in amany of the decisions that are made, esp fisheries, which the tories used as a bargining tool, and land ownership. I have tried to confirm much of what is in the bleu book and it is very difficult to get the information. As I noted the gravy train is on both sides and I find it hard to accept either to be honest. Leaving the EU will do nothing to protect public services, or minimum wage etc and that is the point. In the areas that we really need protection that protection is not an area that the EU gets involved in or even show any challenging of the impact. Legislation is applied by a qualified majority which only requires 55% of members for it to pass and not all areas are covered by any veto. This change came in around 2014. I have spoken to MEPs and have just not been convinced by the arguments to be honest. This has not been an easy decision at all and I have done the best research I could, I keep all of my links where I get my information from so I have made every effort to get my information not from the msm or bbc although I have used them in the past.

      Thanks for your comments and insights.

      Bruce

  6. Gary F

    Quite simple for me and always has been. Easy LEAVE for me.

    I detest neoliberalism and wish it gone. The EU is neoliberal to it’s core hence I cannot support it. To be fair I don’t think it really matters how the vote goes as the EU is a failing institution and will not be around for that much longer anyway. Unfortunately, the amount of money that will be thrown away trying to rescue the project will be incredible and staying in will mean were on the hook for the costs.

    I am an SNP member and will be voting out and know several others doing the same. I actually find the almost unitary position on the EU within the higher echelons of the party very sinister. Sadly, I feel the case for independence is being damaged by the positions taken by the SNP in this referendum and they will be thrown back in our faces big time when a second referendum hopefully comes around.

    I can’t get my head round the mentality of people who want leave to win but will vote remain. Scottish independence isn’t on the ballot paper here and to brutally blunt a second independence referendum will not be won on the back of Scotland leaving the EU. It will be lost again without better monetary and fiscal answers than the last time – plain and simple!!

    I understand the worry of losing the protections of the Social Chapter but I personally do not believe that much will change before the next election. The Tory’s have no mandate (and no majority in the Lords) for removing the protections inherent within it and I see no major change until after the next election. It is my personal opinion that the best chance Scotland has for independence any time soon is if we are out of the EU and the Tory part gets re-elected in 2020 with a right wing manifesto. Either way, I believe in democracy and the people should decide what protection we have or don’t have and if we don’t like what we see we vote for someone different offering change in an election manifesto – simple!

    • grumpyscottishman

      Gary

      I agree. I am not convinced and as I noted to EN this is about starting to take back a little bit of what we stand for from the very people who have pretty much destroyed the economy etc. The EU as a body is as much a part of the problem as Westminster but we can’t fight on two fronts. We need to get out of the EU and concentrate on Westminster, once we have our independence then it will be up to an indpenedent Scotland to decide if t wants to be part of the EU, if it still exists, which I doubt. I will respect any decision the voters make. I accept that I don’t have all the information but I have done my best. My decision is not being made in ignorance but on the information I have available. I don’t really believe either side but the argument that remain are telling the truth and leave not is pretty poor, both sides are telling porkies to be honest so all we can do is vote for what we believe to the best for oursleves and the wider community. I’ll be glad when it’s all over whatever the decision is.

      Thanks for commenting.

      Bruce

  7. squidgybidge

    I have already voted (postal) remain. On balance, I think the EU is just on the side of being a force for good, rarher than evil. I’m not a huge fan, but on that basis my decision was made.

    I’m not going to rehash any arguements for remain, as you have done your own analysis. Either way it will be an interesting Friday.

    • grumpyscottishman

      squidgybidge

      I’ll be glad when it’s all over. I was going to stay up and watch the results but I have to drive to Glasgow Friday morning at 4am so will be crashing out and getting the result on the way I guess.

      Thanks for commenting.

      Bruce

  8. I Clark

    Bruce it’s good to read of someone who supports Scottish independence and who is willing to proclaim clearly why he’s probably going to vote Leave.

    For months I have thought that I was probably going to vote Leave because – as a left winger – there is little value in supporting an anti democratic, neo liberal institution that has been, is and will almost certainly continue to be detrimental to the lives of ordinary people here, in the rest of Europe and elsewhere. I’ve read many articles in an attempt to more fully inform myself and clarify my thinking. About a week ago I read an article by George Monbiot which inclined me extremely reluctantly – on a real lesser of evils pragmatic basis – to vote Remain. I then started to entertain the idea of spoiling my ballot paper. Now with a day to go I’m inclining to my principled Leave vote again. I’m not looking for further information or advice about what to vote. I know enough. It’s choosing that’s the problem.

    This has been the hardest decision I’ve have ever had to make on a ballot paper. I offer no advice on what to vote. How could I? I have vacillated so much and am still undecided. I just want to add my tuppence worth about some related points.

    One, if I was an SNP member, I would have concerns about my party aligning itself so positively and almost uniformly with the EU (as evidenced by the ubiquitous “I know it’s not perfect , but …” rhetoric).

    Two, here’s one way of deciding who or what to vote for. Firstly, consider our principles, values and goals. Then make a reasonable effort to educate ourselves about the issues and possible consequences. To do this we should look at the facts, analysis and evaluation (as best we understand them). Finally decide which way to vote (and this may involve rejecting the options presented to us). If this is done honestly, we have nothing to reproach ourselves with, even if things do not turn out as we had anticipated.

    Unfortunately, there are too many commentators and posters on sites I have looked at telling us we are imbeciles, irrational etc. if we do not accept their analysis and evaluation or vote the way they suggest. These people need to respect the idea that many of the people who think differently from them may have honestly come to their decision as a result of the process I mentioned.

    Three, is there not something wonderful about the act of engaging in that process? I was thinking yesterday about how much effort I have put into thinking about everything and then reflecting on how mundane and anti climactic the actual voting procedure is and on how little my educated, principled or pragmatically calculated vote will count. My vote will be like a drop in the ocean, yet because of the engagement engendered, it feels so important.

    Ian

    • Anonymous

      Ian

      It has been very difficult. I have resented both campaigns to be honest and both leave a bad taste in the mouth.

      I have looked at a lot of research, I’ve looked at both campaigns and I was going to vote remain with a very heavy heart. But I have always said that people should always vote how they feel so I am voting leave. The EU for me is as bad as Westminster and tomorrow we can leave one of them so I am voting to do that. I want Scottish independence and then we have a debate as a nation as to applying to join the EU and I will vote against again.

      It’s a leave for me.

      Thanks for commenting.

      Bruce

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