Guest Post: By Sebastian Handley
This has been an odyssey that has taken over my life, and the strain of the campaign has been enormous, but in the words of (possibly) my favourite song: “for every foe that ever I faced, I fought it full without regret or shame”. So this is my summing up…
This is not a referendum on the character of Cameron, Farage, Geldof, Corbyn, Johnson, Cox, Mair or Gove. This is not a referendum about immigration the NHS or the economy. It’s a referendum about what political system we have. Independence – yes or no.
Throughout I have disregarded ‘expert’ predictions and concentrated solely on empirical evidence. This is because forecasting models are scientifically unfalsifyable, notoriously inaccurate and easily manipulated by interested parties to generate the desired results, whereas empirical evidence is in the public domain so we can all easily check it for ourselves.
I am for independence because I see it working in India, the USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Iceland, Greenland, Norway, and Switzerland.
I am against sacrificing independence because I see that’s failing in France, Italy, Spain, Greece, Portugal, Belgium and Cyprus.
I am for directly electing the authors of law. I am against the appointment of the authors of law.
I am for the people telling the government what to do, and I am against the government telling the people what to do. So when David Cameron emerges from international negotiations to tell us he has struck a great deal, the virtues of the deal are irrelevant, the problem is that laws are being decided in secret and we aren’t getting a vote on it. His job is to listen to us – not the other way round. Similarly, regarding immigration, I don’t care if we have more or less – I care that YOU should get a vote on it. This isn’t a referendum about what policy we have, it’s a referendum about how we rewrite policies when they are not working.
I am for the political system that created habeas corpus and the Welfare State. I am against the political system that crushed Greece, removed democratically elected leaders from office in Greece and Italy, threw millions of young people in Southern Europe onto the scrap heap, and which transfers wealth from the weak member states to the strong.
I am for the system that created the NHS not the system that privatises it through TTIP.
I am for the political system that achieved 2.34% real GDP per capita before 1972.
I am against the political system that achieved 1.87% real GDP per capita after1972.
I am for the system that in 1972 had achieved 3.7% unemployment.
I am against the system that today presides over 5.1% unemployment.
I am for paying trade tariffs because they are doing this:
I am against paying EU membership fees because they are doing this:
I am for the political system that pioneered human rights, not the system that amends a few human rights, bundles them together then claims credit for all of them.
I am for the pre 73 political system that enshrined worker’s rights.
I am against the post 73 political system that dismantled worker’s rights.
Regarding disability law I’m for the system that created the benchmark British Standards BS8300, not the political system that renamed it BS-EN-8300 and then claimed to have invented disability rights.
Regarding environmentalism, I am for the political system that passed the Clean Air Act, set up the green belt and introduced Part L of building regulations. I am against the political system that signed the Kyoto Protocol but then failed to meet it’s targets, and which passes neo-liberal corporate laws dictated to it by unregulated lobbyists.
I can see it’s a myth that the EU gave us peace, so I am for NATO and against an EU army.
I am for the political system that (35 years before we joined the EU) declared war on fascism.
I am against the political system that (35 years after we joined the EU) appears to generate fascism.
I am with the unfashionable commoners not the sophisticated intellectuals who dream about working class revolution, but when one finally comes along its just not trendy enough for them.
I am with the nobodies that want change not the somebodies who don’t.
No political idea in history succeeds more and fails less than government of the people for the people by the people, so I am for independence because as Tom Paine said “the Sun never shined in a cause of greater worth“. Bereft of an equivalent vision anywhere near as compelling the Remain camp have simply resorted to waffling about hypothetical technicalities, they’ve sought to make disagreeing with them a thought crime, and arguing with them a hate crime. I have been insulted, traduced and threatened by people who really should know better; but as John Lennon said: “Being honest may not get you many friends, but it will get you the right ones”
Britain needs independence for the same reason why every house needs party walls. Not because our neighbours are evil, or because we are mean, parochial or insular, but because we need to effectively organise our own lives. Conversely, being in The EU is like knocking down the party walls between our homes but on a much bigger scale – it doesn’t make us more united, liberal, prosperous, safe or influential, it just turns the simplest decision into an endless technical negotiation.
So I am for independence because it is functional and the alternatives are not. Declare independence. It works.