Saturday 8 April 2017

Stop calling me pro-EU

I'm getting really sick of tribalist Brexiters misleadingly caricaturing my position as pro-EU. It happens on every single Brexit related thread on the Another Angry Voice Facebook page.

I'm not pro-EU or anti-EU. I'm a pragmatist who can see that like membership of any massive organisation it's going to have numerous positive and negative aspects. Anyone who adopts a completely pro- or anti- EU stance is clearly being incredibly glib and absolutist about an incredibly complex subject.

In reality I've probably written far more analytic criticism of the EU, the European Central Bank, enforced austerity in Greece and the TTIP corporate power grab than any of the Brexiter tribalists who crudely misrepresent me as being a pro-EU propagandist. But then stuff like facts, evidence, honesty and good faith debating tactics are clearly alien concepts to a lot of these people. They just crudely caricature me as part of the enemy pro-EU tribe and outright refuse to read the articles I've written for fear of suffering bouts of cognitive dissonance when their narrow-minded absolutism is subjected to scrutiny.

When it came to David Cameron's Brexit referendum I decided, despite having serious concerns about the EU, that it would be best to adopt the precautionary principle.

In my view quitting the EU with no plan whatever for the aftermath, and enabling the hard-right fringe of the Tory party to make things up as they go along, was highly likely to cause much more severe negative consequences for those who aren't wealthy enough to insulate themselves from the ruinous economic consequences than just leaving things as they were.

In my view Brexit was always likely to end up as a classic example of the "out of the frying pan, into the fire" scenario.

My articles hardly ever criticise the actual concept of Brexit, they criticise the Tory government's lamentable handling of it:

The rushed, under-informed and staggeringly dishonest referendum campaign; the total lack of a Brexit plan from the Tory Brexiters; the lack of a Brexit contingency plan from David Cameron who was so full of hubris that he assumed that he couldn't possibly lose his gamble with the nation's future; the immediate unravelling of all the Tory Brexiters' lies and false promises on the day after the result; six months of nothing but meaningless platitudes like "Brexit means Brexit" as the Tories tried to cobble together some kind of strategy; the Tory efforts to scrap parliamentary sovereignty that were twice defeated in the courts; the eventual unveiling of their toddler tantrum of a threat-based diplomatic strategy in Theresa May's woeful January 2017 clown costume speech; the revelation that the Tory government did absolutely no economic impact assessment whatever on the "no deal" scenario before making the threat of it the centrepiece of their "negotiating strategy"; the ridiculously anti-democratic Great Repeal Bill to allow Tory government ministers to redraw thousands of laws with no parliamentary scrutiny; bitter old Tory failures like Michael Howard coming out to bang the war drum for a war with Spain over Gibraltar; and Theresa May shaming Britain by sucking up to madmen and tyrants all over the world in search of post-Brexit trade deals ...

I'll repeat it again. Almost everything I've written about Brexit is criticism of the government's handling of it, not the concept itself. But loads of pro-Brexit tribalists insist on crudely caricaturing me as part of the enemy pro-EU tribe and outright refusing to consider what I'm actually saying for fear of suffering cognitive dissonance when their absolutist faith in this Tory administered Brexit is questioned.

It seems like it's literally impossible to engage these people. They've decided that Brexit is a good idea and it doesn't matter how much evidence is presented that the Tories are screwing it up, they outright refuse to consider even looking at anything that might shake their absolutist worldview that Tory Brexit is double-plus good and the EU is double-plus bad.

It's incredibly frustrating that these Brexit tribalists turn up on pretty much every single Brexit related Another Angry Voice thread to tribalistically misrepresent my views and demonstrate beyond doubt that they didn't even bother to read the article before spouting off. But what else can I do other than continue trying to get the basic message across?

Even if you think Brexit is a good idea in principle, how on earth could anyone be naive enough to imagine that Theresa May and the three Brexiteers are competent enough to oversee the most complex and risky diplomatic negotiations since at least the end of the Second World War?

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