“They are lions led by donkeys.” General Erich Ludendorff (about the British Army in World War 1)
A nation with the feeling of shame is like a crouching lion ready to leap forward. Confucius
With somewhat tedious regularity these days various Establishment ‘opinion leaders’, including the Prime Minister, other politicians, ‘voices’ of big business etc., are spreading a scary word about the supposed dangers of leaving the European Union (EU). The unsubtle message is that we desperately need the EU and the subliminal one is that by ourselves, despite our past achievements, we are useless. Sometimes called ‘Project Fear’ it is hard not to conclude that this is being orchestrated in some way, but why? Is attempting to influence, manipulate or even deceive the Electorate by spreading fear the right thing to do anyway and what could be the unfortunate consequences?
Behind the various, vacuous pronouncements usually lie very little substance, subtlety or logic when the bigger picture is considered. For example, the Prime Minister was claiming recently, apparently based on his belief, that we would be far safer inside the EU than outside. However, he did not elaborate how the harmful effects on our security arising from membership could be addressed. Presumably then the existence of open borders and an alien judiciary handicapping our law and security forces are not seen as being detrimental? And by the same logic, we can prosper inside the EU with much of the economy (of smaller and newer businesses) hamstrung by disproportionate EU regulatory burdens and costs and excluded from major public sector markets.
Control or manipulation by fear says a great deal about the perpetrators. In particular it shows poor management skills, insensitivity and inhumanity towards us, and contempt for democracy which needs honest information to facilitate informed decision-making. This is hardly reputable, honourable and responsible behaviour. It is also a distraction that avoids consideration and discussion of the major issues at stake. Perhaps, then, this is the reason for its use, that there is at best only a weak or rational case for remaining in the EU set against the bigger picture of, for example, our loss of liberty, democracy, justice based on our laws, social justice and prosperity for everyone based on free enterprise. These are at variance with the slow, inflexible, dogmatic, autocratic, control-freak, centralised and bureaucratic operation of the EU with its associated taxation, profligacy, waste, corruption and pursuit of ideological aims of creating a superstate. The EU today is an institution of little actual competence, as shown by its recent disastrous track record on competiveness, mass migration, security, the job-destroying Euro etc., which exists for its own, its gravy train and its cronies’ sakes, not for ours.
There is a simple explanation for the Establishment closing ranks in enthusiasm for the status quo of EU membership. They gain from the EU and/or being part of the ruling Establishment. Consequently they are afraid to ‘rock the boat’ leading to losing this privileged situation and comfort zone. In effect they have too much invested to want or be interested in change, whatever the benefits to the rest of us and to our children. There is also hysteresis or inertia, typically relationships and expertise have been built up, and again change requires an effort so it is easier to remain unchanged, including the continuation of mistakes. Yet the modern world requires change and somewhat regular re-invention, something our Establishment have lost the cutting edge with and rather than be world-leading have become world-following, except in their delusional eyes. Is it no wonder they all like the EU, with open borders – our resulting low wage economy and abundant low cost labour, delivers their cosy world with less need for risk taking and their brain power.
Creating a nation fearful of the future, of change and progress, whose citizens are required to obey (the EU, politicians, the Establishment) but not think for themselves must inevitably undermine the national mojo of confidence, energy and motivation towards making a better tomorrow. In addition higher taxes, regulatory burdens and exclusion from markets largely reserved for favoured big business makes it more difficult, if not impossible, to actually break out from the status quo.
But what does Mr Cameron’s ‘Project Fear’ do to us as individuals, to our self-images and our opinions of our manipulative rulers? Traditionally, certainly from the time when Tacitus the Roman historian wrote about our ancestors, we have admired and willingly followed a courageous leader, and despised the cowardly, brutal or manipulative one. To give in to such a ruler, rather than standing up to him or her, whatever the cost, makes us despise ourselves and our weakness (our cowardice). Try walking tall with self-confidence when you are actually submissive to a bully or have betrayed the sacrifices of earlier generations for your freedom.
Our feelings of humiliation and loss of self-worth by surrendering to Project Fear can, theoretically, also be felt within our shamefully complicit ruling Establishment. Some, who do not harbour self-delusions or opinions of superiority over us, are undoubtedly embarrassed by huddling together to protect self-interests and machinating an incomplete or fake story for Project Fear against the people. They know that they have a price and can be bought, despite the concocted alibis. Yet this also indicates that once free of the EU, our ruling Establishment will rapidly accept the new situation and work within it.
We are at an exciting turning point, the dawn of the information technology age facilitated by the Internet and cheap computing power. Just like the previous information revolution around 1450 with the invention of the printing press, it will be many years before its full socio-economic and political ramifications work their way through. The sclerotic EU and corporatism (rule of the privileged few for the privileged few) cannot survive long when its failings are plain to see, its business model of bureaucratic bigness prevents progress and empowered people (rather than capital) are increasingly the innovative and inventive wealth creators of tomorrow.
Economist Joseph Schumpeter’s Creative Destruction of the EU is essential not just to restore our lost liberty, democracy, justice and free enterprise prosperity, but more importantly, to drive them on to greater heights in a fast moving, increasingly competitive world. And to do it in an environment free from fear, manipulation and exploitation.