Despite my best instincts I’m thinking of voting leave for the upcoming EU referendum. Those who know me might be a bit surprised. After all I’m a left leaning British Indian and aligning myself with Farage and Gove seems a bit odious.
It is. I intensely dislike the ideas the Farage and Gove put about and instinctively I should be dead against immigrant bashing, little Englander toting, Hitler invoking politicians who have ruined our debate, our school education and our housing system.
However leaving the EU is not just about immigrants or a false sovereignity. There are a few left wingers who like the idea of leaving but again Farage and Gove and their screeching campaign make it difficult for any sense to be heard.
I think the main public arguments are fairly disheartening. Leave speaks almost exclusively in terms of immigration. Remain talks exclusively in terms of economics. So that’s it? It’s just about foreigners and money?
Behind these public facades there are deeper issues at stake. First, at the heart of all the passion is a search for identity in a globalised monochrome world. Second, there is also the mad all encompassing religion of neo-liberal capitalism which has swept across the earth devouring everything in its way. Both are interconnected and actually the good arguments for Leave and Remain are interwined with each other in combatting these twin problems.
Remain’s good argument should be that we should stay together in order to cooperate in multiple ways and protect our values. Leave’s good argument should be that we need a sense of freedom over our destiny in order fulfil our potential.
I think in that sense I’m slowly heading into my faith values here. As Christians I think we should stand against the powers and dominions of this world. Right now for the Western church the hidden and real danger is neo-liberalism. This is the beast of our time. And the truth is that the EU doesn’t really stand up to this mad form of capitalism. It only reinforces it. Remain’s constant harping on about the economic argument only shows how enthralled we are by this god.
We are told that the EU is a good way of protecting our values but increasing evidence shows members shunning liberal values by stifling human rights and a free press. Hungary and Poland are the prime examples here. So by staying who are we staying with and who are we staying for?
Leaving the EU I think will be at the very least will be or should be a call to a sense of purpose as a people which flows against the neo liberal capitalist tide which only wants one large common market to sell each other to each other.
I think a Remain vote will infinitely strengthen UKIP. A Leave vote might completely rob UKIP for a reason to exist. The Scottish referendum’s remain result really strengthened the SNP and wiped out Labour. I think if we remain Labour will lose out the most. The Conservatives will only be seen as honest folk who stood for what each believed in while the Labour will look like an ideological dinosaur.
A Remain vote will increase the animosity towards migrants. It’s easier to hate people coming when in when you feel you have no control over who comes in. Leaving might (and I say might because deep prejudice takes generations to get rid off) allow a softening towards migrants as there is at least a feeling that the borders aren’t wide open.
Leaving is a stand against a false god. But for the current campaign they’re just resurrecting the old gods of nationhood and fascism. I think at the core maybe the question is whether being part of the EU is any good for our humanity or are we just pacifying the gods of money and unaccountable power?
Honestly I don’t know and I’m probably far too idealistic and I might even change my mind. But in the likelihood of a Remain vote I’ll probably go with Leave.