Friday, June 19, 2015

Brexit: We need to quit before it gets ugly

The bunny's a little hot
As we get into the minutia of trading agreements and bogged down in the detail of Brexit, we find ourselves in the position of a mounting a gargantuan political and diplomatic campaign in order to leave the EU, only to get where we are now with our trade agreements. Brexit brings only fringe advantages now that much of governance is global. As we outline here, things are outpacing our collective ability to comprehend. The world is changing in ways faster than any of us can keep pace with.

Up until just a few years ago it was always assumed by a great many eurosceptics that Brexit was as simple as pulling the plug and ripping up treaties. If it wasn't that simple then, it's nowhere near it now. A sudden Brexit would indeed be suicidal, which is why we always impressed it upon Ukippers that they couldn't expect to be taken seriously unless they had seriously good answers as to how we would leave. The fact they did no such thing is why the no campaign is in a bit of a pickle. Were it not for Flexcit, the eurosceptic cupboard would be completely bare. Even our own offering is a little late.

But in the processes of discovering how we must leave we also find a few more good reasons as to why we should leave. The problem with politics on such a massive scale as the EU is that policy takes a long time. A very long time. Just plugging the domestic policy vaccuum in energy took a number of years - and that's just for the UK. Such interia put us in the position of having to pay not only for our future vision but also for emergency stop gap measures such as STOR.

Now imagine such intertia on an EU scale, with various lobby groups, NGO's, corporates and national agendas all pulling in opposite directions in the face of a crisis. Whatever compromise we reached would be inadequate, meaning we take an enormous hit or are forced to leave the EU in precisely the way we have always said we shouldn't.

So it then becomes a risk assessment on whether such a crisis is likely to happen. As it happens, events do happen and it may be that in a very short space of time, Greece is ejected form the Euro. It will happen in a rush in conditions not ideal. We've already spent billions trying to stop that from happening to seemingly no avail. If a sudden Grexit is bad, then a sudden Brexit is a disaster - for everyone.

Now, when we look at the emerging global refugee crisis, we find Bulgaria and Hungary erecting border fences to keep our migrants, an explosion of migrants attempting to cross the Mediterranean and an ill-at-ease Italy threatening to hand our passports like candy. Not only is it bad now, with 59 million refugees escaping warzones, it is said to get worse in the years to come.

The root causes are many and diverse, but the EU's aderence to the 51 Convention on Human Rights is a huge pull factor, and it's codified in the treaties of the EU. Not only would a reappraisal require a new global agreement, it would also require a rewrite of certain EU rules, many of which would threaten the fundamentals of free movement within the EU, which many eastern European nations simply would not ratify. So we then find ourselves in a stalemate, left with a solution that satisfies nobody, while becoming increasingly cut off from the world inside the EU.

We have already seen European leaders unwilling to budge on something as basic as welfare discrimination, putting us in the position of either breaking with treaties or giving up on certain domestic benefits altogether. Brits are tolerant but at some stage the venom will reach boiling point, causing the UK government to take extraordinary measures. What happens then within the EU is anyone's guess but the rows will not be pretty - and may even rip at the very fabric of the EU. It's not looking good as it stands. We would probably cave in to keep the peace, but I fear the Ukip surge is just a rehearsal for something more ugly yet to come. If we want to avoid that, we must leave the EU.

Essentially, our relationship is like one of those insecure couples who stay in a dead marriage. That lack of self-esteem to end something that isn't working, letting it drag on until the inevitable breakup destroys everything and ends up in bitter recriminations, court cases and an argument over who gets the U2 limited edition box set and custody of the cat.

Some hard choices are coming fro Britain in terms of welfare and immigration. They are already tough decisions set only to get tougher. We are best able to mitigate those consequences if we have the powers we need. Brexit is less about cutting off ties as it is agreeing to be friends with benefits rather than live in partners undermining each other. It's an amicable divorce while there is still time to have an amicable divorce, before it gets ugly, and to maybe reshape the relationship in such a way that we can gear the whole of our trade toward the new globalised paradigm.

With a project as fragile as the EU, constructed with no demos and no clear mandate, a crisis of democracy is a certainty, thus if we want to avoid a sudden death Brexit, as is so frequently warned against, then we must now set in motion the process of leaving gradually while we still have a choice in the matter - not least so the EU can take the measures it needs to independently secure its own future.

A Europe not at peace with itself within the confines of the EU is more likely to make the Eastern bloc look toward Russia in the long run. Euroscepticism is gaining traction all over Europe. Peace and security depends on the freedom of the people to determine their own policies more than trade - something the EU has never understood. The EU as an obsessive bunny boiler who wants to keep the relationship together at any cost is one that might well shatter the peace.

Brexit may well point the way for the EU to abandon it's persistent attempts at federalisation and step into the present. The age of empires is over, we don't want a new cold war and we'd rather be part of a global community than a little Europe stuck in the ideals of the last century. Let's get out before we are forced out.