Friday, May 20, 2016

Brexit - it's emotional blackmail all around

I have been in a blogging hibernation caused by sheer laziness. Every now and then something blog worthy happened in the life of the Lindsey's - like the birth of a lovely daughter couple of months back or a trip to Finland to meet new a nephew and a niece, young sir's first solo flight, moving house to name a few - and stirred me in my slumber to contemplate about writing a blog. But hibernation won. Every time. Until now.

I saw the image below pop up on my Facebook feed couple of weeks ago for the first time. I read it and ignored it. Then it came up again and I ignored it again. But I've finally had to let my inner hobbyhorse go and release a rant:

To start - let me declare that I am not allowed to vote on the 23rd of June. I have faithfully supported the HM Revenue and Customs for the last 15 years through taxes. But as I am not a citizen - no vote. If I was allowed to vote, I would vote to stay in. One of the main reasons for this would be the impact on universities if UK were to leave the EU (Independent, Guardian, and Financial Times have articles on it which put the point across much better than I would). A selfish reason I acknowledge but at least is a reason.

My main problem with any Brexit related things on the internet is that very few of them offer you facts. They all sway into emotionally charged statements with no support for the claims. And the picture above is one of the worst offenders. Reading it, really really really annoyed me. So much so that by blog hibernation is broken because my hobbyhorse could not contain itself in the stable anymore so here we go - lets give it a good run around.

1. The E.U. IS NOT a Democracy

It's EU - not E.U and democracy should be in lower case while we are at it and the underlinining to make your point - honestly we can use words to make our point (she says using an exclamation mark)!

Most westerners would equate democracy to elected representatives making decisions on behalf of those they represent. Surprise, surprise, in EU the decisions are made by MEPs whom we have elected in and the European Council is formed of the heads of each member state who again have been elected. To  me, that sounds like a democracy. All of these statements are fascinating from discourse analytic perspective -  the implication here is to liken EU to a dictatorship like Boris Johnson rather unfortunately did couple of days ago. Here's a good article on something called democratic deficit in the EU - a term that gets bandied around and is to blame for the perception that EU does not follow democratic processes.

2. Surrender FOR ALL TIME your right to govern yourselves.

If there is anything to learn from history, it is that things change. This statement suggests that voting yes on 23rd would mean that things could not be changed or be different in say 10, 20 or 50 years time. No, no, obviously by voting yes you would doom your country to be part of the EU forever. And for the right to govern yourselves - I do not know a single person who thinks well of politicians, yet here we are - happily defending our right to govern ourselves by the people we dislike and distrust.

3. Surrender your CHILDRENS BIRTHRIGHT to a foreign power!
Oh, this one is my favourite - nothing like a mention of the wee bairns to tug the heart strings. By voting no you are obviously protecting your children and doing the best for them. Not exactly sure how they thing the 'foreign power' would steal this birthright...Also I would be happy if anyone wants to enlighten me what they think this birthright is other than a term that has emotional appeal.

And please, please, check your spelling before publishing something. The possessive of children is children's not childrens!

4. Surrender any CONTROL over our communal life, finances, land, resources and borders.
Rule number one when writing anything - make sure you are consistent in your terms. This wonderful piece of propaganda started with you this and you that, here it switches to our. Tut tut.

What doesn't this list include and cover? Communal life, finances, land, resources, borders. It covers everything. And I think it probably should be 'all control' rather than any control.

5.BE forever RULED by UNELECTED Bureaucrats following their own private agenda - not ours!
Says country who is probably the only one in Europe to have unelected members (the House of Lords) as part of governing arrangements. Nice one. Also if  you think about it, the government is chosen by the Prime Minister, true, it is mainly picked from those who have been elected but unelected people can be picked as well if the PM so decides. And whose agenda you think the PM has in mind? Yours or his?

Forever makes another appearance here. Believe me, things change, maybe not immediately but they will in time. But if you want to believe that yes vote means that you believe that  you will forever  be governed  by selfish bureaucrats be my guest.

And actually the 'unelected Bureaucrats' (oh they do love capitalising things, it gives the words validity) in the EU (the commission president and the council president) do not have a vote.

6. These are indisputable facts: EVERYTHING ELSE IS A 'MAYBE'!
This is my favourite - 'These are indisputable facts'. The only facts I could see in it was that they need to learn how to spell and write properly. Stop using capital (and colourful) letters and underlining words to make their point. But I guess they are right, the facts are indisputable as they are non-existent!

And the crowning glory is the line - EVERYTHING ELSE IS A 'MAYBE'!  And probably the only line I agree with. I think that's life full stop - none of us know what is going to happen tomorrow, we can plan but we don't know what tomorrow has until we get there.

There is a saying in Finnish - everything in this world is uncertain apart from death and taxes.

The END of the hobbyhorse outing!

The picture was shared from ' I support UKIP - vote to leave' group who had titled it 'The truth the government isn't telling us' - I am resisting the urge to comment and ask where this so claimed truth is as I couldn't see it anywhere in their claims ;)

The vote no campaign have spend a lot of effort in saying what they don't want. For a constructive argument it would have been nice to hear what they envisioned the UK to be like outside of EU, what is their vision and dream but no. And even some plain facts  (that area actually facts based on information rather than scaremongering sentences with no basis in reality - sorry the hobbyhorse broke down the stable door temporarily) without emotional edge attached to them.

So far the Brexiters are offering a soup of emotionally charged statements without an idea of what they would like to have instead. It's a bit like a toddler who knows they don't want to eat those peas on their plate but don't know what they would replace them with.