Wednesday 15 June 2016

Unremitting negativity

Barely a week to go until the Tory Party leadership contest EU referendum and the negativity continues apace.  The best argument that the remain campaign can come up with, apparently, is that leaving will cost us too much.  The effect may not be quite what they intend – every time I hear someone saying that, the subliminal message for me is that “we’d like to leave really, we just can’t afford it”.  Uninspiring is too modest a word.
It’s been clear from the outset that the main issue for many was always going to be immigration, but as the campaign moves on the issue has increasingly blatantly been brought to the forefront by the leave campaigners.  Never mind that the issue is only marginally to do with the EU; underlying distrust of those strange ‘foreigners’ is something to which the unscrupulous can play in order to advance their own agenda, which in many cases is nothing at all to do with immigration as such.
Labour’s role in the campaign has been almost invisible until this week; they have allowed the whole issue to be played out largely between the Tory Government and the Tory Opposition.  And when they do finally try and get some sort of campaign going, what do we get?  Blind – and almost certainly misplaced – faith in the ability of Gordon Brown to persuade anybody of anything, and an almost complete capitulation to the anti-immigration theme of the outers.
Yesterday, Labour seemed to want to stress that, even if the UK votes to remain, free movement of people has to stop.  No attempt at all to discuss the positive aspects of free movement of people, from which many in the UK have benefited.  Free movement is seen, by all concerned, as a one-sided ‘problem’ of people being drawn into the UK, and not as something which also gives freedom to all of us.
Where is the attempt to rebut the claim that immigration is changing the nature of the country?  Most immigrants to the UK seem to want to integrate rapidly; they want to learn English and become part of the communities in which they live.  (It’s interesting to contrast that with the approach of many people from the UK who move to the Costas or the Dordogne – or English people moving to north and west Wales, come to that.  There are object lessons there for anyone who really wants to see how ‘immigration’ can change the culture of a society.)
There has been an almost complete lack of a positive case for pan-European co-operation and unity, virtually no discussion of how the EU might develop and change, and a lack of a specifically Welsh debate around the best future for this small nation.  Sadly, momentum is moving in the direction of the outers, and it looks as though the result in Wales will be little different from that in England.  Scotland may yet save us from ourselves.


G Horton-Jones said...

You are right yet again
Have you noticed that Wales ,N Ireland and Scotland are hardly mentioned in all this.

Scotland has been labelled with the tag if we vote to leave Europe then they will leave us

The whole fiasco for that is what it is is about the implosion of the Conservative Party.

No matter how you vote there are going to be major changes ahead. The leave case could just as easily be viewed as Westminster has lost control to Europe and wants it back but wait a minute that is what we in Wales have been saying for centuries about our relationship with England and let us not forget that the relationship we are in was imposed and not made by free choice

All we need now is the Queen to die in 2016 to create the perfect storm

Anonymous said...

Not to mention that Great Britain once took over half the world - decimating entire languages and cultures. You can't profit from rampant imperialism and then try to protect that wealth by standing against immigration. :-)

Spirit of BME said...

Totally agree with your view that the whole saga of this campaign has been abysmal and shows no sign of getting better.
In regard to immigration and that most want to integrate, that is only partly true, when it comes to some English cities, government reports state that large communities are living parallel lives and new incentives are in place to try and teach the first and second generation to speak English. The same issues are also clear in rural Wales after decades of English migration.
The debate in Wales also centres around cash coming into the country and who will best supply it and under what rules. What has to be remembered here is that Wales is not a member of the EU and on the same basis it is not a member of the UK, as these two regimes were imposed on us by other people, so we are in no position to make any rules or safeguard our future. This over the years has stripped the Welsh of dignity and has turned us into beggars, so that we have to live on other people`s money, and that issue of where do we get the cash from, is the only debate in town.
Sadly, the debate by either side, is staying well clear of this question – even Plaid Cymru.