Wednesday, 20 April 2016

Michael Gove and spoilt brat syndrome

Better to be treated as children than to behave like them.  The motley collection of individuals who are peddling the Brexit line descend further into the latter camp on a daily basis.  Michael Gove's surreal outbursts around the advantages of the UK turning into Albania pale into insignificance in the context of his other incoherent rant that the government and other bodies are treating the electorate like children.

The chasm at the centre of the Brexit argument is turning into a black hole.  Whatever the merits and demerits of the government's arguments for remaining in the EU, the lunatic fringe can hardly argue that distributing leaflets that put forward the case that the Tories have actually delivered their election manifesto is illegitimate, nor that it is infantilising to put forward evidence that sets out the economic and social risks of taking a step that may not be in the interests of the vast majority.  It was ever thus.

Treating the electorate with respect does not mean pandering to the racist, the insane or the just plain hypocritical stance that has so far characterised much of the official Brexit campaign.  As a bunch of nutcases and has-beens this is undoubtedly one of the most impressive menageries ever assembled, as reminders of such relics of political success as Milords Lawson and Lamont, let alone John Redwood and Iain Duncan Smith, should send shivers down the spine of anyone who expects the debate to be carried out in the context of trying to inform those making the choice.

The rank hypocrisy of accusing the remain campaign of infantilising the electorate is on a par with the playground "Project Fear" trope.  It is the reaction of a group of people who are aware that their arguments are wafer-thin and being exposed, alongside their problem in mobilising support from those for whom dyspepsia is a curse rather than a lifestyle choice.  The risks to the UK are not just economic but also political, as evidenced by the views of the USA, for whom the allegedly special relationship will be torn up if the UK does not remain in the European project.

That these are risks should be acknowledged, and the consequences of leaving the EU will be unpredictable is the rational response of an adult.  At least the odious Arron Banks, who bankrolls the Kippers from offshore, is sufficiently honest to admit that financial crippling of the average household is a price worth paying for his nationalistic fantasies, which he indulges in while not having to suffer the consequences - a worthy companion for Nigel Lawson who is exhorting us to disconnect from the land from where he provides his pre-senile dribbling to a media struggling to find balance in the face of the lunatic fringe.

Perhaps we live in times of desperation for the Brexit campaign, despite the fanatical cheer-leading of those who see the chance of further neoliberal insanity and those who use fear of the other as a political lodestar.  They are the real infantilisers, playground bullies who don't like being called to account, and a group whose unappealing fanaticism undermines the prospect of a return to intelligent discourse when the whole unnecessary charade has been put to bed.

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