There is so much woffle being said on both sides in the British Referendum debate — whether to remain in the EU or to leave — that I’m ruminating whether I’ll bother to vote at all. The real test is not whether the EU has a future as a United States of Europe (USE) — which is being planned as a copy of the United States of America (USA) — but whether it’s going to hang together for much longer anyway.
The evidence is about equally balanced both ways at present. On the one hand, we have an implacable EU civil service based in Brussels which is intent on nothing else than a USE. On the other, we have the continuation — if not intensification — of sharp cultural divisions between the 27 member countries which, according to some, will only get worse each time the EU meets new problems. We actually needn’t wait for those.
The EU still has an enormous financial and economic problem with countries such as Greece still receiving a bail-out and Italy and France shortly needing ones of their own. Also, the EU still has another enormous problem since, along with America, it decided to oust President Bashar Assad by bombing Isis but avoiding other dissident groups in Syria. The devastation caused by the bombing actually became a twin problem — the enticement of Isis jihadists out of Iraq and into Syria, and the forcing of millions of Syrians into either refugee camps in adjoining countries or, if they can afford to pay traffickers, to flee to the EU.
Politicians tell us that we’ve all got to vote because voting in a referendum is only a ‘once-in-a-generation’ thing. Who says so? Is that a law of physics? If Britain votes to stay in the EU in June I wouldn’t be surprised if we didn’t vote again in two or three years’ time when the financial problems and the immigration problems — singly or together — become altogether too much for the would be arriviste USE