Leave or Remain: If Only It Were That Simple

16/06/2016 12:09 | Updated 16 June 2016

So this is it. The vote of a generation. The ballot to end all ballots. The one poll to rule them all. Make no mistake. This one simple task will change history forever. One choice. That's it.

Or so we're told.

Because our politicians and their media platforms are all about simple choices, and simple solutions.

Simple solutions like you know, killing terrorism. Bombing an idea.

Because having an open debate on how to counteract a movement that started with oil deals struck by the West with Saudi Arabia in the 1920s, that led to a rise in income inequality and the subsequent spread of radical wahhabism that found its way to Afghanistan in the 1970s & 80s where it was exacerbated by Cold War politics and the ongoing global dependence on oil at the expense of lower income Middle Eastern families is, you know, really complicated. So we'll just keep fighting terrorism. Be it the Taliban, Al Qaeda, or ISIS / ISIL / Daesh.


Pictured: Consequences of a simplified approach to dealing with Middle Eastern unrest. Credit: BBC

Simple solutions like you know, fixing the UK economy by cracking down on benefits.

Because the fact that positioning ourselves as a global economy based heavily on both foreign investment and financial markets inevitably opens us up to the mercy of global fluctuations not to mention corporate influence, which means we can't get too heavy about collecting all that tax corporations really should be paying us is also, you know, really complicated. So, we'll just keep going after all those semi-employed people at the bottom of the food chain who really shouldn't be claiming their benefits anymore.


Pictured: A far less fundamental problem than Sarah next door who only has 3 kids but claims for 4. Credit: CNN

Now, politicians and those media platforms have a new Simple Fight. A solution to all the various EU problems. You know, those EU problems that we all struggle with day to day? Those ones.

According to said politicians, we've got two choices.

We Leave. Possible side effects: World War III, destruction of NHS, Shrinking of military (despite WWIII), George Osborne to raise taxes, because....we'll all have less money.

We Remain. Possible side effects: Ongoing slavish devotion to a bureaucratic empire that models itself on Hitler's Germany, the Roman Empire. More (non EU...?) Immigration.

It could perhaps be argued that, amongst all the hysteria, once again we're being given a bit of an oversimplified argument. Here's the thing:

It took Greenland three years to leave the EU.

They voted out in 1979. It took them three years to leave. Mostly owing to ongoing debates about their one major industry, fishing. Greenland has a population of 56,000.

If we vote leave, that actually has to be approved by the EU.

So....for those who hate the fact that politicians in Brussels call the shots: our actually leaving will ultimately depend on politicians on Brussels, calling the shots.

So wait, who's in charge at the EU?

More to the point: how many people actually read this 44 page intro doc before taking to social media? It's only a Google search away.....Credit: Screen grab/ authors own

Well, up to a point we are. The UK has the third most MEPs, led by Germany and France. We also have an equal number of votes alongside Germany and France, and considerably more clout than any other country at the table. More power to propose new legislation, enact changes, push reforms, enable-

Wait, but what about all this talk of constantly having to compromise?

Well, the UK are only on the winning side of votes in the EU 65% of the time.

Why only 65% of the time?

Because there are 73 UK MEPs, of which a full 24 are from UKIP.

Surprise! Credit: Class Online

Yep, the vote leave people. Having somehow got themselves elected as MEPs, the UKIP group only show up to vote 60% of the time. When they do, they vote to their political, not to the UK agenda. In fact, the Labour and Conservative MEPs are in the high 70-80% of the winning side of votes every time.


So as is stands the UK is among the most influential members of the most powerful trading alliance on Earth. We have the clout to demand systematic reform, employment change, immigration change, we have the potential capability to put forward just about anything.

Except that wasn't really explained to the voting public. By the politicians, or the media. Domestic elections far more important and all. So now, UKIP have the majority of the UK say in the EU. And they're not being very inspiring.

No one in Westminster is going to admit to that balls-up. No one in Westminster's going to admit that we've always had a tonne of clout in the EU, we've just sort of....ignored it.

Or, that voting to remain could be the first step in looking a lot more seriously into just how much information politicians and news outlets actually give us.

Or, that voting to remain could lead to fundamental reforms and a less bureaucratic, more direct involvement with the EU decision making system.

That's not going to fit into a headline though, is it?

So instead, we'll go back to Gordon Brown running laps of cathedrals talking about peace, Osborne threatening us with a tax slap and Bob Geldof (that great political mind and voice of the millennial generation) getting drunk in a dinghy.

Because that's much simpler than thinking it through.