As a young Brexit voter, I won't be made to feel ashamed about voting against a neo-colonial institution

'I'm deleting you right now,' raged one Remainer when I announced on my Facebook that I'd dared vote to leave the EU. 'I hope you’ll be happy when Prime Minister Boris gets into power,' tutted another breathlessly arrogant individual

Rudi Abdallah
Monday 08 August 2016 12:12
Theresa May has been urged by German Chancellor Angela Merkel to invoke Article 50 without delay
Theresa May has been urged by German Chancellor Angela Merkel to invoke Article 50 without delay

Young Brexit voters like myself have a lot to be ashamed about. I was 25 on June 23rd and one of the 44 per cent of 25-49s who flaunted our Michael Gove tattoos and trashed our generation’s prospects. The morning after, I posted a Facebook status celebrating the result.

Some people contested rationally; others were less conciliatory. “I’m deleting you right now,” raged one Remainer, bravely purging her social circle of immorality. “I hope you’ll be happy when Prime Minister Boris gets into power,” tutted a breathlessly supercilious individual, accusing me of ushering in unprecedented extremism.

It’s not like we already had fanatics at the reins; it’s not like David Cameron, the man who unrepentantly reduced refugees to a “swarm”, helped convert Libya into a jihadists’ Disneyland. “IT’S YOUR FAULT ALAN RICKMAN’S DEAD!” bellowed another pro-Remain voice.

One of those responses may be untrue, but social media played host to the campaign’s most demoralising aspect: the left’s enthusiasm for an institution neoliberal in tooth and policy. Owen Jones was a prominent “progressive” fighting to keep Britain in. However, writing in the Guardian in July 2015, Jones urged progressives to “reclaim Euroscepticism” after the EU’s “ruination” of Greece. He acknowledged the annihilation of Syriza’s mandate to oppose measures like a 20 per cent cut to public sector wages wasn’t “imperfect”; it was unambiguously dictatorial.

A year later, in an inexplicably cowardly volte face, he implored people on YouTube to vote in to show solidarity with Greece. Yes, Greeks instructed Syriza they wanted to stay in the EU, but they were betrayed by thuggish diktats from an unreformable bureaucracy. Jones spat on the left’s traditional Euroscepticism embodied by Tony Benn and Bob Crow. They knew today’s sympathetic socialist commissioner could become tomorrow’s hardened neoliberal acolyte; they knew the answer to our domestic ills, such as an unelected House of Lords, was not to embrace an unaccountable bureaucracy.

The casual demolition of Syriza’s mandate, coupled with Greeks’ powerlessness to resist monetarist Armageddon, show platitudes about “solidarity” are as meaningful as saying, “I’m turning gravity purple tomorrow.” We should celebrate our departure from an institution defecating on internationalism through economic vandalism which has resulted in Greek youth unemployment soaring to 51.8 per cent this January.

Jones was among many bleating for a reformed EU, but delusions over democratisation are evident when scrutinising the Common Agricultural Policy’s (CAP) effects on African economies. Brian Denny, spokesman for Trade Unionists against the EU, exposed how CAP suffocates African farmers’ business prospects. Denny writes: “The criminal £30bn-a-year subsidy regime allows the EU to dump thousands of tons of heavily subsidised food into Africa every year. As a result, local producers can’t export their products because they can’t compete with the lower prices made possible by CAP.”

CAP also hits British consumers at home: “Kenya, Nigeria and Senegal have been hit by cheap, subsidised imports from Europe while the £30 paid to British farmers for every ton of wheat they produce inflates the price of breakfast cereals, bread and other goods in Britain.” Like the crushing of Syriza’s mandate, this isn’t a “mistake”: if a friend asks for a Flake and I buy a Snickers, that’s a mistake; causing Mozambique to lose more than a £100m a year through contrived importing restrictions is neo-colonialism.

As the world media assembled at my door on Friday 24th June to barrack me for Alan Rickman’s demise, I couldn’t help but crack a smile. We voted to leave a bureaucracy whose law-makers worsen living standards by imposing neoliberal prescriptions. Britain hadn’t fallen for Remainers’ malicious conflation of the institutions with Europe’s cultural beauty.

In retaliation, Remainers accused an older generation of ruining their future, as if they weren’t entitled to a vote and hadn’t lived to see outrages like Ireland forced to accept the Lisbon Treaty after rejecting it.

Cultural exchange and co-operation will continue outside the EU’s anti-democratic framework through bilateral agreements. We should celebrate the rejection of an organisation that is determinedly trampling over Europeans’ quality of life.

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