17_february_2016A letter a day to number 10. No 1,345

Wednesday 17 February 2016.

Dear Mr Cameron,

I’m fascinated by the upcoming referendum on Europe and all the shenanigans that must go on as you negotiate the terms for our continued membership or our exercising the nuclear option to launch the dread Brexit.

In my better moments I wonder if anyone in Britain has any idea what Europe is all about with a kind of vague curiosity of the type that makes me feel slightly guilty because I don’t have any idea.

In my more lackadaisical and whimsical moments I gaze out at the Somerset hills and the capering worms which, unlike in cities, can emerge for air freely without smashing their little heads on concrete and realise that Europe has got nothing to do with me, my hopes, dreams and aspirations.

You’ve promised us an EU referendum as if you’ve given us something really important, something that matters, something terribly vital without a single consultation or any transparent information about what the hell it’s all about. Instead you clear off over there and that’s the last we hear of you or from you, until you emerge and tell us that you’ve swung a better deal for Britain and had little Merkel in a head lock and scrubbed her tousled little head with your knuckles and forced her to compromise for Great Britain’s vital interests.

Meaningful referendums, or referenda perhaps, would be on benefit sanctions, the privatisation of our NHS and health insurance, student grants, the imposition of ideological austerity, ending the Independent Living Fund, depriving disabled people of Motability, welfare reforms and the car crash of Universal Credit which at every stage of its hideous roll out has spread, and will continue to do so as intended, chaos and despair.

Once upon a time the EU was the Common Market and that was much easier, the clue being in the name, a conglomerate of nations trading with one another without those niggling trade tariffs and all that nationalism stuff. Now it’s a faceless entity lacking any identity and subject to tens of thousands of lobbyists looking out for their own self serving interests. Nationalism gives way to corporatism, ultimately leading to TTIP, negotiated behind closed doors, with no public consultation what so ever, and selling out the last vague vestiges of democracy and national sovereignty. Where’s the referendum on that?

Am I really fascinated by the referendum or the EU? No, not really, it’s more like the kind of fascination a rabbit might feel in being caught in the oncoming glare of headlights, waiting for the final car crash of neoliberalism and the inevitable implosion of capitalism. My sympathies are with the rabbit whose last abruptly ended thought might have been, ‘I should have stayed in my burrow and sealed the entrance’.