g x n x . u k
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(13 June 2016)
A better poster
I wanted to put a 'Vote Leave' poster in my window but I didn't care for any of the ones on offer. So I made my own. Here it is.
I'm rather pleased with it. If you like it too, feel free to copy it and print it out and use it yourself. Or post it on Twitface or whatever. Click here to download the full-size version in various paper sizes.
(16 May 2016; revised 30 May 2016 and 21 June 2016)
Some things about the European Union
" The level of intra-Tory hatred is really ramping up now.
The 'leave' Tories have just worked out the 'remain' Tories are all liars.
The 'remain' Tories have just worked out the 'leave' Tories are all liars.
The rest of us have known all Tories are liars for years."
(Craig Murray, 24 May 2016)
I intend to vote 'leave' on 23 June, but like
Craig Murray (who favours
a 'remain' vote), I am fed up with hearing from unpleasant right-wingers on both
sides of the argument inventing scare stories about petty fiscal matters and
immigrants. These are red herrings, possibly deliberate ones.
There are far more fundamental things at stake.
People I know are falling into the trap of thinking that because there are some nasty xenophobes who want us to leave the EU, that is a good enough reason for them to vote to stay, and they don't need to consider the question any deeper than that. But that is a logical fallacy: every vote counts equally, regardless of whether the voter has good or bad motivations. It is irrelevant who else is voting the same way as you. The only question that matters is what you think is for the best.
This is probably really is a once-in-a-generation opportunity for us to have our say, as we are constantly being told. So it's vital to make an informed choice, and to do that it is necessary to recognise and see through the smokescreens laid by the corporate media, who only report the piffle coming from UKIP and the Tories.
To help focus on what is important, I have listed the most persuasive things that have been said to me in favour of a 'remain' vote, and then tried to explain why I think each of those things is wrong.
"The EU keeps the peace"
Peace is the most precious thing we have, so if this claim were true, it would be unanswerable. But it isn't true.
The EU is not an internationalist organisation like the United Nations or the Council of Europe, even though the EU has stolen many of the latter's clothes. Rather, it is a polygamous marriage of convenience between a number of waning world powers, who have joined forces to further their own selfish economic and geopolitical interests.
There is nothing noble or benevolent about this. It is simply a ploy to improve the ability of wealthy and powerful individuals and corporations to exploit the people and resources of the continent.
Another way of saying all that is that the EU is an empire.
The goal of the EU has never been peace, but rather to accumulate wealth for its élites by whatever means necessary. Such is the immutable nature of capitalism.
To this end, since the formation of the EU, member states have been waging almost constant war. France marked the formation of EU forerunner the European Coal and Steel Community with a military campaign to reassert control over its imperial possession, Algeria; the ensuing war is notorious as one of the dirtiest and most brutal of the modern era.
Since then there has hardly been a single year when one EU state or other has not been blowing people to bits in some corner of the globe. EU nations have persistently supported disastrous (but profitable) US and NATO aggression. The grimly familiar roll-call of countries on whose citizens the US and EU have rained high-tech death in recent years includes Serbia, Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and Syria.
It is not even true to say that there has been peace within Europe since the EU was formed, as the grieving families of victims of intra-European conflicts in Yugoslavia, Kosovo, and now Ukraine, will attest.
When the democratically elected government of Ukraine declined to ally itself with the EU, high ranking EU officials visited Kiev and openly fomented the far-right nationalist coup d'état that plunged that country into civil war and re-booted the cold war between the west and Russia.
EU and neo-Nazi flags flying side-by-side in 2013 at EU-sponsored 'protests' that preceded the overthrow of the democratically elected government of Ukraine, and the banning of that country's most well-supported party.
(How could such action lead to anything but civil war?)
The portrait is of ww2 Nazi collaborator Stepan Bandera.
It is no secret that more, bigger, wars are being planned by the EU.
For example, Jaques Delors, the influential and supposedly 'moderate' ex-president of the European Commission, is quite unabashed about the imperial aims of the EU, baldly declaring
"We need a European Army to fight the resource wars of the twenty-first
So much for keeping the peace.
"The EU safeguards our environment"
This section is largely based on an article published by TUAEU (Trade Unionists Against the EU).
Supporters of the EU who are concerned about green issues often cite two benefits that membership has brought: clean beaches and environmental legislation.
The EU's 'blue flag' scheme has undoubtedly been a great success; clean beaches have been very good for communities that rely on tourism.
But it is an insult to British citizens and to British democratic institutions to assume that the same, or better, results could not have been achieved outside the EU.
As for environmental legislation, TUAEU identify three fundamental flaws.
The first flaw is that the legislation is driven not by the needs of the environment but by the failings of the free-market system. The focus is entirely on preventing individual countries from tweaking their own environmental regulations to gain a competitive edge over others in the EU.
In many cases this has achieved the exact opposite, with firms making environmental performance claims to gain competitive advantage. German car manufacturers promoted their diesel cars as having lower carbon dioxide emissions than those with petrol engines, but neglected to advertise that they have higher nitrogen oxide and particulate emissions, which are very harmful to human health. To make matters worse they exaggerated their claims and installed test-cheating software, which was overlooked in the EU and only discovered in the US.
The second flaw is that environmental legislation serves the needs solely of EU countries, even though most environmental problems require much wider action, often global in scale. For example, many migrant birds fly from Russia and Scandinavia to winter in Britain or fly from Africa in summer. They fly over continental Europe but in general do not breed there. Genuine environmental co-operation therefore must include many more countries than those in the EU and be driven by science and the needs of the environment, rather than the commercial or political demands of EU corporations and nations.
The most successful example of international environmental co-operation has been the action to close the ozone holes over the poles. This involved co-operation by all the world’s nations.
the third point made by TUAEU is that the content of EU directives and treaties is shaped by corporate lobbyists, including powerful chemical companies. Their influence is behind the current delays and derogations in the use of bee-killing pesticides (neonicotinoids), for example.
The issue of neonicotinoids is far from settled. The European Commission had placed a two-year moratorium on three kinds of neonicotinoids: clothianidin, imidacloprid and thiamethoxam. This moratorium expired in December 2015 and is currently under review.
According to Vytenis Andriukaitis, the European Commissioner for Health, an extension of the moratorium could be discussed if the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) were to reveal new information in its next study of the pesticides. But no such study is planned. French government attempts to ban these bee-killing chemicals have been met with prevarication and derogation clauses. Meanwhile bee populations are in grave danger throughout the continent.
Although Caroline Lucas, the Green Party MP, is a supporter of the EU, the Greens’ economic programme is incompatible with fundamental EU principles. It could not be enacted while the UK remains a member. The Greens want to limit the operation of the market internationally through exchange controls, and to limit capital flows for speculation. But these measures are contrary to the EU's founding principle of 'freedom of movement of capital'. As in much else, the EU serves the interests of the large transnational corporations at the expense of communities and the environment. A 'green haze' cannot hide this.
D e f y t h e r e m a i n i a c s !
on Thursday 23 June
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