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Don't Eat With Your Mouth Full

Where can we live but days?

steepholm steepholm
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Bullshit Diary
I really don't know at this point how I'm going to vote in the EU Referendum. I am floating in the not-so-blue water between the two sides, waiting for one or both of them to throw me a lifeline in the form of great, evidence-based arguments. Hopefully that will happen over the next few months. (Meanwhile my daughter is fuming that the vote will take place just a couple of weeks before her 18th birthday, thus denying her a say.)

Meanwhile, there are already a lot of bullshit arguments floating about in these same waters, and since I don't yet know my own mind and so am not in a position to try persuading anyone, I thought the most useful thing I could do was to perform some turd triage by listing some of the arguments that won't do a thing to persuade me, either because they're non sequiturs, rely on emotional manipulation (usually attempts to scare people, or to appeal to some nebulous past or future utopia), or because they involve questionable premises. Here are some I've heard so far:

The existence of the EU is what has prevented a third European war in the past 70 years. (I think NATO and the Iron Curtain had rather more to do with it.)

Immigrants are coming en masse to claim benefits. (I've seen no evidence that this is happening on any significant scale. The free movement of people is one of the things most likely to make me vote for the EU, in fact.)

Britain has bad weather, which would be improved by continued EU membership. (I don't know if that's what Emma Thompson was trying to suggest, but it's the best I can do. Climate change may do the job anyway.)

The vote is to decide whether Britain stays part of Europe, and hence of European culture. (The EU and Europe are not the same thing.)

You don't want to vote the same way as [insert name of bogeyperson here], do you? (I have bogeypeople on both sides, though admittedly many more on the Leave side, but this is in any case a weird sort of ad hominem argument at one remove.)

We will definitely get favourable terms for trade with the EU should we leave. (I can see a number of reasons why this might not be the case. It's certainly not something we can be confident of.)

We will definitely get atrocious terms for trade with the EU should we leave. (See above.)

British Indian forces in the Second World War fought and died for "the European project". (Just no.)

This may be a continuing series...

I kinda see the EU as another layer of government.

If all it were was a free-trade agreement it'd be great. It's enacting and enforcing regulations.

Without the consent of the governed.

I've no problem with regulations as such: they're often necessary. (If I go Scuba diving, to pick a vanishingly unlikely example, I want to be sure that my equipment is safe.)

But the democratic deficit is certainly a problem, both in terms of the EU's various bodies' normal operation, and in terms of the ways in which democratic decisions and governments have sometimes been steamrollered by the EU. Examples (not unique ones) might be the the way that the Irish had to vote twice on the Lisbon treaty until they got it "right", and the appointment of Mario Monti as Prime Minister of Italy.

You do have a vote, you know, you can vote for your MEP. They pass the laws in the European Parliament.

This is true, but as you're no doubt aware the power to initiate legislation resides exclusively in the Commission, which is about as democratic as the House of Lords.