Sunday, June 12, 2016

Brexit is a Pandora's box

Watching today the talkshow "The Andrew Marr Show" in the BBC, I realized that just the existence of the referendum is big victory for those in favour of leaving the EU. By the existence of the referendum, they have the right to a balanced presence in the media. That is why experts and elected politicians have the same TV time than clowns, demagogs or worse. Everybody calls the plebiscite "the Brexit referendum" and not the "friendship referendum," for example. A dangerous nationalist like Nigel Farage can present himself as worried about the spread of the extreme right in Europe (and find this an argument to vote for the extreme right projects of people like him). In Catalonia, the national-populists find an insult to be compared to Farage. They all believe that the dangerous populists are the others. We have been focusing too much on the economic arguments. But actually people like Farage do not care much about the economic arguments ("so what?" he said today). In fact, these are not the most important arguments. The most important thing is the type of world that we are building if people like Boris Johnson or Farage prevail. Think of what comes next if they prevail: what will happen in Scotland? What will happen in Northern Ireland? This is what Bill Clinton wrote in the New Statesman: "In a tumultuous world, marked by slow growth, excessive inequality, massive refugee flows, and sectarian violence, it’s tempting to believe we can reduce our exposure and increase our personal and economic security by turning inward and keeping the world’s problems out. We’d all like to have the benefits of global interdependence without the burdens. However, because there are disruptive forces we cannot escape, co-operation and collective action are much more likely than withdrawal and isolation to produce prosperity and security. For a nation as large, diverse, and successful as the UK, there is no escape from the growing pains and contradictions of the 21st century world. It is also important not to minimise the benefits of EU membership to the UK. For example, I was honoured to support the peace process in Northern Ireland. It has benefited from the UK’s membership in the European Union, and I worry that the future prosperity and peace of Northern Ireland could be jeopardised if Britain withdraws." 

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