In, Out and Shake it all about

The significant events tomorrow are Chemo 5 and a referendum. Not sure which is more important except that for me without the former (and the hormone therapy etc.)  the latter might be irrelevant. But it will be important for my children and grandchildren.

In 1975 I was very much in favour of a ‘yes’ vote in the last Referendum on Europe (and  helped a friend, who many years later became an MEP, with campaigning). Even David Amory who wrote ‘Confessions of a Eurosceptic’ was in favour – I am reading the book at the moment but doubt if I will finish it before I vote.  (The result for those interested was 67% in favour of staying in the EEC, aka  Common Market, on a 64% turnout, but even then there was a question over whether the result would be binding on Parliament. It wasn’t an issue in fact but what if the vote had been split 50.1%/49.9%?)

As someone broadly in favour of less government I am concerned about the growth of elected and unelected bureaucrats (growth in numbers and influence rather than girth). I am also concerned that this is an organisation whose Auditors refuse to give the  accounts a totally clean bill of health. According to the FullFacts website the numbers accurately reflect what’s actually happened, it’s just that some of it shouldn’t have happened in the first place.

Again as someone who remembers driving through London in the 1950’s and seeing derelict bombsites I wonder to what extent the EEC and now the EU has been a positive influence for peace in Europe, not just on the Franco-German border but also in Northern Ireland and elsewhere. Years ago I advanced the argument (to those who would listen, which was probably just the dog) that membership of the EU would make separatist movements less relevant.

I also think we focus too much on our relations with “Europe” and not enough on our relations with the Commonwealth. However at least we are outside the Schengen Agreement and not part of the Euro – which when I looked it up in the dictionary I discovered was a breed of wallaroo which probably explains why it was bouncing around all over the place when it was first launched.

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This afternoon I came across a post from Reverse Rett reposted by Rett UK which gave a perspective on the impact on research (especially for rare diseases). In addition work that Rett UK is doing with the European Reference Network will be detrimentally affected if we leave the EU. (I start to glaze over with the terminology but the European Reference Network seeks to  ensure  best specialists from across Europe join their efforts to tackle complex or rare medical conditions that require highly specialised healthcare and a concentration of knowledge and resources. Breathe.)

I have found it virtually impossible to unpick the blethering, bluster and banter from both sides (oh I forgot to mention bullying and bull****) except that ‘Brexit’ is a catchier name than ‘Vote Remain’. There are so many issues, some complex, some not so complex and knowing what weight to put on each of them is too much for a bear of little brain like me. And this complex problem is then reduced to a simple yes/no question when it really needs a whole series of multiple choice questions – or statements which you can rate as strongly agreeing with through to strongly disagreeing with. Someone can then add up the scores and report either that the answer is 42 (if you are a fan of Douglas Adams you will know why) or that the Isle of Wight should become the 51st State.

It’s no good asking an economist – the managing director of one company I worked for wanted to put out a job advertisement for a ‘one armed economist’ because he was fed up with them telling him ‘on the one hand this and on the other hand that’. However most newspapers are leaning ‘in’ or ‘out’ – some of them leaning so far they put the leaning trees of Geraldton to shame.  (I may explain about them elsewhere in due course – Geraldton is in Western Australia)

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So tomorrow I have to put an X in a box but just wish the choice was:

vote question

But before that, I have an appointment with a cannula and a bag of short-lived, light-fearing poison made from yew tree needles.

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3 thoughts on “In, Out and Shake it all about

  1. Very good musings Tim. Hazel and I were given our papers at a nice campsite in the Forest of Bowland and duly posted them back from somewhere near Keswick so they may arrive tomorrow. If they don’t then all that deliberation will have been in vain. (or vein in your case?)
    Take care, Peter

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  2. Many organisations, publications and people like to have a Bête Noire to blame for all ills. For Brexiters this has been the European Union. Should they win they will have to find a new Bête Noir – I wonder what/who it will be.

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  3. Oh dear, Tim. When you write it is too much for your brain then I know that most of Britain is in trouble. You are very used to reading papers and assessing information. How can mere mortals assess all that data. It is a guess for even the most informed. A referendum seems sensible. The pollies don’t have to take responsibility for the outcome. The detritus can be worn by everyone. Or at least those who guessed the wrong answer which will be more than half. Ha Ha. Good luck all.

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