Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Look to the future, not to the past

Frankly it took me quite a while to get over the shock of discovering that A A Gill will be voting Remain in the forthcoming EU referendum before I could even begin to contemplate the rationale behind his viewpoint. For those of you unable/unwilling to access his article from beyond the Times paywall, his argument is essentially that those who will vote Leave are looking back with rose-tinted spectacles to a Britain that is long gone (if indeed it ever existed at all) and are of the mistaken belief that exiting the EU will result in a return to that prelapsarian state.

As a skewering of the small-minded petrified-of-change Little Englander, his piece hits the nail squarely on the head. However, as has been the case across the media, it fails to consider the fact that it's not just those on the right of the political spectrum who are in the Leave camp. Take academic Lee Jones, for instance, or Green Party peer Jenny Jones, who both argue that the EU is an undemocratic, unaccountable institution operating in the interests of political elites and big business. Nevertheless, that particular position depends on the belief that the EU is fundamentally rotten to the core and incapable of being reformed from within (something I'd dispute) and also shares the Little Englanders' quaintly naive belief that national sovereignty could be regained. As Gill argued, we need to look to the future, not the past.

(Thanks to Miranda and James for the links.)

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