1 EAGLETON NOTES: Cynical Campaigning

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Saturday, 11 June 2016

Cynical Campaigning

I have always been committed to the idea of the European Union: anything that increases inter-country understanding is, in my mind, a Good Thing. Whether the UK's current membership of the European Union achieves that may be open to question. Many, perhaps most, people are cynical about the great bureaucracy that is the EU. That, combined with many other considerations, may well lead to a vote on the 23rd June to leave the Union. 

It doesn't end there, though. The regional makeup of the vote may also have huge ramifications for the UK. If, for example, English votes are sufficient to take us out of the EU but Scotland votes to stay in what then? If the Scottish vote is sufficient to 'overrule' the English vote what then? There are many permutations. 

There is certainly the possibility that the result could lead to a renewed call for Scotland's independence.

How does one make a decision based on the outright untruths and emotional arguments that are being made? They look more and more like a fight for the leadership and political control of the two main UK political parties.

However what really bugs me is the most cynical of all advertisements: the NHS advert. Wouldn't it be wonderful to think that we could spend that £350 million a week on the NHS. The possibility that the £350m a week could ever be available in or out of the EU is a complete myth. But even if it wasn't the three main protagonists: Michael Gove, Boris Johnson and Ian Duncan Smith have all supported directly opposing policies when it comes to the NHS: Gove wants it privatised, Johnson wants it charged for and IDS was responsible for one of the the most iniquitous of all policies: PIP (which targeted so many of the genuine claimants because they were the easy soft targets).

Put them in charge of the country aided by Nigel Farage and then have PM Boris Johnson negotiating with President Trump and world politics will certainly be 'interesting'.

I'm just not sure I want to be living in it.

34 comments:

  1. I'm fed up of seeing that £350 million claim as everyone, including the leave campaigners, know and admit that it's an outright lie. If they really cared about the NHS then instead of spending thousands, probably hundreds of thousands, on adverts and leaflets etc. pushing this lie they would instead make a charitable donation to their local hospitals as that would be money better spent. Of course that requires some moral fibre and we are talking about self serving politicians who are more concerned with how high up the greasy poll they can ascend than the welfare of the UK.

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    1. I'm afraid that I agree with you Mark.

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  2. I don't understand any of it. I don't understand why this referendum has been named after an industrial jointing compound - "Brexit". I don't understand why we are even having a referendum. I don't understand why there will only be one simple question on the ballot paper. I don't understand what European Commissioners are or even know who they are or what they do. I don't understand why the European Parliament has two locations that they shift between. I don't understand why Serbia and Montenegro are on the verge of joining The European Union. I don't understand why two long lost brothers - Alan and Boris are against each other - like Cain and Abel. I don't understand how the SNP can on the one hand wish to leave The United Kingdom and yet wish to stay in The European Union. I don't understand why Blair and Major have been given a voice. I don't understand why thousands and thousands of extra people from faraway places have been allowed into our little country when friends from Australia, New Zealand, Sri Lanka, Canada, India and the USA have met huge obstacles. I don't understand any of it. I might as well just toss a coin.

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    1. YP I think you are part of the Great Majority.

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  3. I will vote with my heart. I'm an outer.

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    1. PS, if you think the campaign has been full of half truths and for the most part lies then wait till they start counting the vote.

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    2. With your heart is probably as good a way as any Adrian.

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  4. For months, I've been reading about what I find (and I am not alone in this, it seems) a very complicated subject. My weekly paper, the ZEIT, has just this week a brilliantly written feature about the possible consequences if the result of the Brexit vote should indeed be "out".
    I do not envy all of you who are expected to vote, but I do think it is very important that you DO vote and not pass on the opportunity. It is certainly not easy to make an informed decision, and then there are still the millions of fellow voters who will NOT make an informed decision, but will base where they make their cross purely on emotional and populist arguments.
    Hardly surprising, my mother-in-law, who is a firm "Daily Mail" reader, says she'll be voting "OUT".

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    1. You'd think with family in mainland Europe your mother-in-law would be more likely to vote remain. Mind you the outrageous headlines the Daily Mail spits out are designed to persuade people to vote the way the proprietors wish, which of course has nothing to do with what's best for the country.

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    2. Meike I would like to think that the turnout will be high.

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    3. There's no way that I will be smoking marijuana before I go to the polling station Graham.

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  5. You paint a grim picture. Like many people I have been thoroughly fed-up with all the EU bureaucracy, and desperately wanted to vote 'LEAVE'. But in the end, the cross on my postal vote was placed in the box for 'STAY'. Maybe as I've lived in France for about 45 years, my vote was more selfish than logical.

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    1. So I suppose you are still registered as living in the Uk within the last fifteen years despite that you write that you haven't lived here for the last 45 years. Hardly seems fair or honest does it?!

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    2. I confess I was a little curious about that Cro.

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    3. There were very brief periods when I returned to spend time in the UK (e.g the deaths of my parents), and I managed to get back on the electoral roll. When I first came to live here I held a 'resident's permit', but as such things are now no longer necessary, I think I am officially resident in the UK. I do own homes in the UK, although I haven't seen them for many years.

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    4. No doubt we'll have Saudis voting as well. This will be a farce.

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    5. I am very much an Englishman, even though I live elsewhere.

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    6. Yes Cro we've discussed this before. I have never been able to adapt my (very English) accent but I've very much become part of my adopted country and identify with it to a far greater extent than I ever did to England.

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    7. Why do Irish citizens have the right to vote in the referendum?

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    8. YP I have absolutely no idea why. British, Irish and Commonwealth citizens who live in the UK, along with Britons who have lived abroad for less than 15 years, are eligible to vote. However if, like a friend of mine, you are a German citizen who has lived here for years and is married (to a Scot) with children you can vote in local (including the Scottish Parliament) elections but not in this one. I'm not sure why there should be a distinction between a German and an Irish citizen.

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  6. As you can probably guess from my post above I'm voting to remain. I've benefited from the EU through my work and have seen nothing but good from the people I've worked with throughout the EU. Yes there are issues but I think the they are vastly outweighed by the advantages.

    Also it's worth remembering that if the UK does vote to leave, not only is it likely to trigger another Scottish independence referendum (one which the SNP are likely to win this time), but we'll never be able to rejoin on the same terms we have now. If all the economists are right and leaving would be disastrous there would be no easy way out as to rejoin the EU we would probably have to meet all the requirements for any new country which I believe also includes signing up to the Euro and Schengen.

    Whatever you feel (and I know some of you disagree with me) it will be the most important vote many of us ever make so make sure you vote. If you are undecided then it's worth noting that in general there is a huge age divide with the younger generations (definitely the under 25's but also the under 35's) strongly favouring remain as that is the world of free movement and interaction that they know and love. Both sides have tried to play the "think of the children" card, so maybe we should listen to what the younger generations (I'm old enough not to be in either of those two age brackets now!) are saying.

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    1. I think, Mark, that perhaps the greatest percentage of the vote will go to the heart (whatever it says) because there is so little information for the head.

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  7. Well, GB, you know what the Chinese curse says: "May you live in interesting times." And it seems that we certainly are doing that. I have no idea how this is all going to play out, either on June 23rd or in November (in the US.) I just hope that whatever happens, those of us with the "boots on the ground" as they say in the Army can cope with the result. Hugs to you, and a very belated happy birthday. xoxoxo DeeDee

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    1. DeeDee I had the Chinese curse in mind when I wrote the last few sentences. I Have a feeling that whatever happens in the votes that we are going to be living in interesting times in the Chinese sense.

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  8. Politics in general always gives me headache... I was never a big fan of all the EU bureaucracy but I hope Britain stays or else it will affect a lot of other countries as well.

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    1. It will indeed affect a lot of other countries Monica.

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  9. It's rather sad that we have so many loonies in power at the same time.

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  10. I don't understand the arguments for and against but it seems neither do a lot of your people. The thought of anyone negotiating with President Trump makes me shudder, so, from here, there are two lots of "interesting" politics to watch.

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    1. There are sometimes distinct advantages to being relatively isolated Pauline. But imagine if Kim Dotcom had triumphed.

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  11. We all have to wait and see how this whole thing plays out.
    Even though here in Barbados we are independent and we have broken ties with our Mother Country, the outcome will still affect us greatly.
    Red has said it oh so eloquently above "It's rather sad that we have so many loonies in power at the same time."
    Trump can start World War 3 all by himself. We too will be affected by his folly if he ever becomes President of the USA.

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    1. Virginia all I can say is "Heaven help us."

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  12. What a frightening boat you've all been made to embark on with this referendum. I'm glad I'm not British and don't have to vote, I'd been hard pressed to say what's right for the country and its citizen.

    I'm French, both my parents have known the war. I don't want to see hatred and war tear our countries again. I'm a pro-European, no doubt.
    But why can't we vote YES on the principle of Europe and NO to a lot of things that are wrong with the EU?

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    1. Nathalie I was born two days after D-Day so can remember the affects of WW2 even though I don't recall the war itself. I have often talked about the 100 million people who lost their lives in wars during the last century and anything that helps reduce wars and increase cooperation is, in my view, to be grasped with all the enthusiasm that we can muster. I fear that whatever the outcome of the vote on the 23rd there may be no winners.

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