Thursday, 16 June 2016

The Thamesmead Grump 

Guide to the EU Referendum

For the last couple of weeks, I have been preparing my own guide on the EU referendum. Should we remain or should we leave.

As the debate has gone on I have become more and more disenchanted with the whole thing. I have found the ever more hysterical claims and counter claims made by the opposing sides leaving a sour taste in my mouth. This is more than just the usual political rhetoric you would expect to get in any election campaign, it has turned into something altogether much more nasty and frankly, not very British.

This leads me to start to consider whether, in this case, those who are not going to vote either way are actually making as important a statement as those who do. I'm not talking about those people who just never bother to engage in any political debate or to vote in elections. What I am talking about is a an increasing number of people who have made the decision not to vote as an expression of  how they feel about the whole charade.

While the various polls and the media are focusing on who will vote in or out, they are paying little attention to those who are intending not to vote. There is nothing unusual about this. In the past, those non voters had no relevance in deciding the outcome so were just dismissed. I think that they are going to have to change that view if after all the votes have been counted, there is an overwhelming majority for the "didn't vote" camp, especially if it becomes clear that the reason for a low turnout wasn't apathy but disgust.

What that means is that, although I was originally intending to vote to remain, I am now seriously considering, for the first time ever, tearing up my polling card and sticking two fingers up the lot of them. I suppose I could always go down to the polling station and write something rude on my voting slip. I haven't decided yet.

As far as the actual debate is concerned, if we can even describe the kind of hysterical garbage coming out of both camps as debate at all, those who want us to remain in are the establishment who personally benefit from continued membership while ignoring the issues that concern ordinary people the most. The out brigade seem to be an unholy alliance of mega rich corporations owned by people like Rupert Murdoch who are looking at prospective EU legislation making it more difficult for them to avoid paying their taxes with increasing alarm and the semi-literate half-wits who keep posting bigoted ill-informed rants about immigration and refugees on my Facebook page.

It is said that you can tell when a politician is lying because you can see their lips move. Well, I can see all your lips moving.

Anyway, so as not to waste all the effort I have put into this post already, I will present you with some stuff you might want to consider if you are deciding to vote.

Here is a list of political parties currently registered in the UK and Northern Ireland that have an official position on the EU that I have been able to find, and divided into those supporting a pro EU vote and those supporting an anti EU vote. 

This is not a complete list of all UK political parties, there are currently 392 of them. You can find the list here. Many of them are single issue parties and have a purely local agenda. Some are pursuing an issue not related to the European Union and some - who knows? I don't yet have an official position from the Al-Zebabist Nation of Ooog, (I hope that's the right number of o's), but I might have come referendum day. Their Facebook page header features the logos of a number of anti-EU parties but personally, I think the whole thing is a Poe so I won't include them on the "no" side just yet.

If anyone from a political party not listed below and who feels they would like to be included, they can contact me and I will amend the list.

The Thamesmead Grump recognises the fact that there is some dissent within the major parties so I will list them according to their official position.

UK and Northern Ireland political parties with elected representation who officially support the UK remaining as a member of the European Union.

Labour Party
Liberal Democrats
Scottish National Party
Sein Fein
Plaid Cymru
Ulster Unionist Party
Green Party
Alliance Party of Northern Ireland.
Green Party in Northern Ireland

The official position of the Conservative Party is one of neutrality during the campaign.

UK and Northern Ireland political parties with elected representation who officially oppose the UK remaining as a member of the European Union

Democratic Unionist Party
UK Independence Party

Below is a selection of other minor political parties who officially oppose the UK remaining in the European Union. I can't go through them all; parties on both the extreme right and left tend to split and go off in different directions in a manner not unlike something out of Monty Python's Life of Brian. They are all, as far as I can see, opposed to Britain's membership of the EU.

Respect Party
British National Party
National Front
Britain First
Monster Raving Loony Party

On the far left there are a whole raft of political parties, most with very similar sounding names and popping up then disappearing with some regularity. There is, for example a Communist Party of Britain, Communist Party of Britain (Marxist-Leninist), Communist Party of Great Britain (Marxist-Leninist), Revolutionary Communist party of Britain (Marxist-Leninist), etc., etc., etc.

It's almost impossible to tell where any of them stand with regard to EU membership. Historically, most British far left parties were heavily influenced by the politics of the old Soviet Union which was opposed to the existence of the Common Market, as it was called back then, and so opposed to British membership. It's very likely that this position has not changed much.

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