There is a cartoon in the History of Underground Comics (1974) which I wish I could head up this piece today. Unfortunately my copy of this large format book fell apart some years ago and the relevant page has since disappeared. It shows a large box sitting under the shadow of a tree and from the box we can read the voices of people inside. They question why they are in the dark and so they ask someone to make a hole so they can see what is outside. A hole appears and we see an eye blinking in the light that pours in. A voice says “Oh, that’s frightening! Quick! Quick! Close the hole! Close the hole!” And the hole closes. The last frame of the cartoon pans back so that we can see that the box is sitting in a vast unspoilt countryside of trees, meadows and grazing animals.
The analogy to today and the situation we now find ourselves in will be clear to all readers of these estimable pages. The electorate have punched a hole in the EU dome that has engulfed us all these years and taken a look outside. However there are forces afoot which would have us seal up that hole and ensure we stayed in the dark. Indeed, that very darkness has been their friend all along, ensuring that we never got to find out what the true intentions of the EU has been from the very start. I voted in the first EU referendum and I voted IN. I was in my mid 20’s by then and the choice seemed eminently sensible although I had already visited a number of European countries before that time with no problems apart from having to show a Visitor’s Passport and ensuring that I didn’t bring back more than 2 litres of wine or 1 bottle of whisky. I moved freely through France, Belgium Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Spain and the old Yugoslavia. I couldn’t see any problem in applying some kind of market to the continent of Europe. Little did I know about the vested interests already muscling in on the deals. The French farmers right from the start, the Greeks in 1981 with a tax-collecting system that was virtually non-existent and then when Spain joined in 1986 the peninsula’s fishermen rubbed their hands in glee. In hindsight we can now judge the various “Treaties” to be equivalent to the Mafia’s “omertà” – the code of silence imposed on those involved in the deals to ensure others – in the EU’s case this means we, the electorate – don’t get to find out what is really at the heart of their plans.
And they nearly did it, didn’t they? But..
There are forces within the UK who would dearly love to have this referendum expunged, declared null and void, reversed, run again and again until the “correct” vote is attained. The bullies of the EU, the unelected bureaucrats and those who throw their weight around the EU parliament and British television – Verhofstadt one among many – are now tub-thumping, threatening and accusing. Like many here, I watched Farage’s speech to the EU assembly on Tuesday morning and was astonished at the virulence of the opposition. The Scottish SNP/MEP made a rousing “we are not EU haters” and got a standing ovation from the assembled delegates. The logic of the SNP’s stance on the UK viz-a-viz EU membership makes absolutely no sense whatsoever and would doom Scotland to the poverty that has now engulfed Greece. Of course taking only 8000 of the 160,000 EU immigrants that piled into the UK last year would make them believe that all is well with the world and what on earth is England complaining about? His little EU eulogy was followed by a Sinn Fein representative spitting hate towards the UK. I wonder how many of the delegates there in the assembly who gave her a loud cheer knew that she was involved in the bombing campaign? The session following on the Farage speech was an eye-opener to anyone who has never seen the EU in operation before. Schultz waded through amendment after amendment and asked for votes. Every 5 seconds the rubber-stampers of the MEPs pressed their little buttons and just who knows what was being passed, amended or agreed? This is what passes for democracy at the EU level and Farage has called it right all away along the line. He has been traduced and vilified by everyone from the oily Vaz to the imbecilic Evan Davis. Year after year Farage warned what was happening and few took him seriously, preferring to shout “Bigot!” “Racist!” and “Far Right!” at him rather than open any kind of discussion. And still it goes on. Which brings me to my final point.
The Box. The Goggle Box. The role of the media during the Referendum and the days following has been not only to undermine the democratic choice of the electorate but also to actively campaign for a negation or watering down of any of the deals that the UK could make with the EU. In particular we have seen the publicly funded BBC in open hostility to the Leave campaign and it is now working hard to foment a meltdown in the stock markets just so they can say “well, that’s what was forecast. Now you [stupid people] have got it.” Every minor tick down in the FTSE is reported with hardly disguised glee. Any tick up is ignored. Graphs show that the “precipitous” fall of the £ is hardly that at all and its value is still way above what it was just 4 years ago. The competitiveness of our exports with a lower £ is completely ignored in favour of “your bottle of French wine” will be more expensive. Oh, the humanity!
If, out of the turmoil that we now see the main two parties indulging in, a new Centre Right party emerges that can form a government the very first thing I would like it to tackle is the bloated BBC. Cameron promised much but delivered nothing. There will be much squealing from the corridors of Broadcasting House and the Islington dinner parties will be rife with plots to try and smear such a government but the time has come for the BBC in particular to face up to the rest of the country – not just London – and speak for ALL of us, not just the vested interest corporate bullies, their favoured celebs and the coterie of Leftists who have been revealed to be as anti-democratic as Caligula’s horse.
Out of the box and into the glorious uplands of a new day. Excelsior!
Roger Ackroyd ©