When this whole sorry and dreary business of the EU referendum started I promised myself I would say nothing about it,indeed I have tried not even to think about it.
But it is everywhere, and as a blog or erratic record(as opposed to one of erotic record) I probably should record my view,for what it's worth.
My first thought,and almost my only thought on the issue is that it's an enormous sideshow and irrelevance to real life and to the lives of real people.
It is happening because Cameron had to appease the most reactionary elements of his party,and those clever strategists (commonly known as PR hacks) thought the offer of a referendum would keep the nasties at bay and even put a spoke in the hardline nasties that inhabit the depths of tory pond life-you know, the ones called UKIP.
There has always been a strain of national chauvinism at the heart of British conservative thinking (please ignore the word thinking) that has been predicated on a dislike of foreigners,especially if they have dark skins and don't speak english.On top of that undisguised racism there is the overlay of Empire and the assumption that the English ruling class were creatures with the divine right to rule.
just think of all those jingoist songs and stories,of gallant adventurers who captured great swathes of the world and brought 'civilisation' to millions.By 'civilisation' of course tey meant pestilance and disease,cruelty and slavery,exploitation and expropriation,a monarchy and of course the usual old bollocks-a religion.
There is an interesting comparison you can make between Nigel Farage and Oswald Mosley, both old etonians, from the landed gentry,active Tory Party members (it's true Oswald spent some time in the Labour Party too) combined a populist message about helping working people with blatant racism-and of course they both went off and formed a new party.
Enough of the comparisons ?
Back to Europe.In 1975 I voted against joining what was then the EEC on the perfectly sound grounds that it was the European Employers Club.
Of course in truth not a lot has changed, it still represents the multi-national corporations and has done little to advance workers rights since day one.
However the simple truth is that as capital has grown more powerful and become more trans-national then the only way for working people to challenge it's power is to combine.
To ignore national boundaries and artificial state lines and to work not in national interests but in class interests.
Ron Todd the great General Secretary of the TGWU understood perfectly the power of international capital.He knew that when representing workers at Fords of Dagenham the management decisions were not taken there,but in Detroit.
If ever there was a case for internationalism that goes beyond the slogans and the rhetoric then the time is now.When the Greek government were coming under the cosh from the EU and the World Bank and the IMF what could have helped the people there defeat the imposition of austerity the like of which we have never known?
Concerted action by the people of Europe.Practical solidarity of the kind the world has never seen before.
we are a long way off achieving such solidarity,but we have to start somewhere,and the worst thing for the working people of this country is for it's government to drag it into a laager of xenophobia and isolationism.
I do not believe that the EU is a solution, or even part of the route to a solution, but as sure as hell the other way is the road to perdition.
I shall vote Remain with a heavy heart because there are too many other important things we need to be doing collectively before this government destroys even the last vestige of social democratic values,but we need to win this needless vote.
And if you are ofv the left and think that there is a socialist case for exiting-just look at whowill be in that lobby with you!