Dangerous Times: Holding and losing power
These are dangerous times. Ken Loach has argued that we should vote to remain in the EU because the alternative of a rise in far-right politics is so very dangerous. I, and many others agree , but we also know that the very rich have been laughing at us while hiding their wealth from tax in off-shore accounts, under British protection.
Recently the front cover of Private Eye depicted Obama telling Prince George “…and then your little country left the EU and was never heard of again”. It is possible. Scotland could leave and the Kingdom and we would no longer be united. The most powerful entity in the world, before the United Kingdom, was the United Provinces, in what is now the Netherlands. It is possible to disappear and be largely forgotten, even if you had once been so very central.
The UK is not a typical country in Europe. If we were more typical I would have more patience with those who suggest that we could leave and our lives would improve. But in many ways we’re a poorly performing affluent country. This poor performance has little to do with the EU, and a lot to do with us, and our legacy of having had an Empire. From the Suez crisis right through to the Panama papers, there’s a series of embarrassments that have occurred and, in a way, this referendum is just another one of those embarrassments.
Some people have a fantasy (enjoyed by the majority of the Brexit group, particularly the Cabinet ministers) that if we were to leave we would become ‘Great’ again. We could become the richest country in the world again, and our EU membership is why we are not ‘Great’. However, the UK is the most economically unequal state within Europe.
Or listen to an interview with Counterfire’s Chris Nineham in the run up to their Dangerous Times Festival on May 28th 2016, in London, speaking with Lindsey German and James Meadway at 2.15pm, Rich Mix – 35-47 Bethnal Green Road, London, E1 6LA