(This column was published in the Herts & Essex Observer on May 19, 2016)
PROJECT FEAR! Are you, like me, infuriated by the Bremain campaign’s strategy of trying to scare us into staying in the European Union?
Hardly a day goes by without us hearing dire warnings from the likes of Prime Minister David Cameron, Governor of the Bank of England Mark Carney, head of the IMF Christine Lagarde, US president Barack Obama and the heads of state of our other allies, former chiefs of Nato, the London School of Economics, MoneySavingExpert’s Martin Lewis, the RSPB, the National Trust and other leading environmental groups, Professor Stephen Hawking and other eminent scientists, top health professionals and researchers, travel firms and airlines… well, the list is endless.
These so-called ‘experts’ indulge in hyperbolic exhortations about how Brexit would have a detrimental, if not downright ruinous, effect on the UK in terms of the economy, the environment, our health, our standing in the world and our security, not to mention peace across the continent in general.
I am appalled at the fearmongering by people whose only right to talk about the subject on which they are pontificating seems to be years of research and study and a so-called ‘expertise’ in these matters.
Well, I’ve never been one to scare easily. I’m more willing to listen to Boris Johnson, Michael Gove, Iain Duncan-Smith and Nigel Farage, who dismiss these doomy portents with a haughty exhalation and a dismissive flick of the wrist.
I’ll admit, I’d be more assured if they offered facts to support their rejection of the claims of these so-called ‘experts’ but, as one fellow Brexiteer opined wisely in conversation the other night: “You don’t need facts. It’s just common sense.”
Indeed, did we need facts when Britain owned half the planet? Rarely. The only fact one needed was that the British Empire was bally marvellous. Rule Britannia! Britannia rules the waves! We could have that again, you know, if we weren’t shackled to the anchor that is the EU.
How dare Cameron claim that a Leave vote on June 23 would plunge us immediately into World War III and a catastrophic nuclear holocaust from which the planet would never recover? Or words to that effect. I didn’t hear the speech first hand, merely read the analysis by Leave.EU – and it’s not like them to erect straw-man arguments just so they can tear them down.
Of course, Brexit could precipitate the break-up of the EU, as others decide to follow the UK’s lead. The worst that could happen then is that a bloc of countries – many with increasingly Far Right-leaning governments, with nationalist agendas rather than a co-operative, Europe-wide one – is left in its wake. And who’s to say that’s a bad thing? That type of scenario hasn’t caused an issue in Europe for 98 years (if you discount World War II).
Such tactics won’t put us off. Why should it?
It’s time we stopped being governed by fear. Everywhere you turn, there are signs warning of potential dangers. Our friends, our parents, our teachers and others in authority can’t stop themselves dispensing their cautionary pearls of wisdom, which come with the implication that disaster may follow if such advice is not heeded.
What we need to do in these situations is seek counsel from elsewhere. From those who tell us everything’s going to be all right. So let’s ignore anti-Brexit, anti-Britain, half-Kenyan Obama. At least Donald Trump is very much in favour of the Leave campaign.
So, too, are Marine Le Pen – leader of Le Front National in France – and Russian president Vladimir Putin.
These are the folk we should be listening to.
I know I’ve always found it useful, when my friends warn me against doing something rash, to turn instead to a cabal of assorted bigots who reaffirm my pre-existing convictions.
If Trump doesn’t become President and the American electorate chooses Hillary Clinton – who agrees with Obama that the US would trade with the EU ahead of an isolated UK – then screw ’em.
We don’t need the USA, either. We’re quite capable of negotiating trade deals with the likes of China and Saudi Arabia. Russia, too, will certainly be more amenable to doing business with us in the event of Brexit. No issues there.
The fact that there is not one reputable study which concludes we will be better off out is irrelevant. But our allies and so-called ‘experts’ advising us against Brexit is troubling.
It goes without saying that the EU is 100 per cent bad. Even the Remain camp admits there are massive flaws with it, which proves the point.
So, what have the naysayers got to gain by us staying in? Far better not to take their consternation at face value and instead believe there is some sinister-yet-nebulous benefit for them that isn’t for the greater good.
It may appear that shouting “Project Fear”, “Scaremongering” or “Boogeymen” every time the Remain campaign raises a seemingly valid concern is merely a diversionary tactic – albeit one as effective as the whistling of a man at a busy urinal trough who remembers all too late that he had asparagus for lunch.
But this climate of trepidation needs to end. Ignore the pessimists and doom merchants.
Drink that one for the road, date that convicted wife beater, put all your chips on black, take out that pay-day loan, eat those prawns with the January use-by date, pet that hungry ocelot, stick that fork in the toaster and live your life.
Vote Brexit without fear. What’s the worst that could happen?