julian.lesaux at gmail.com
Tue Jul 5 21:01:48 CEST 2016
I would rather that the referendum vote had gone in favour of staying in
the EU, but I don't think the result was all that surprising and I don't
think we should be too dismayed by it either.
Certainly there are people who will have voted out on the basis that
they don't like immigrants and they don't like being told what to do by
foreigners. Probably a lot of people. But beyond that, I think it was a
case of ordinary people voting against the establishment, because they
feel that the establishment has betrayed them. Essentially it was the
same kind of vote that brought Jeremy Corbyn to power. 'Anything's
better than what we've got now.'
The Remain party made the mistake of basing their campaign on the line
that the UK ought to stay in the EU because that was the best thing for
big business. But ordinary people dislike and distrust big business as
much as they do politicians. They've just been through a recession which
was caused by big business. Why should they vote the way big business
wants them to vote in a referendum?
I was in favour of staying in Europe because Europe has forced the
British Government to accept certain environmental standards and
workers' rights - and also because we need a Europe-wide solution to the
refugee crisis. But to many people, the EU is virtually synonymous with
things like the IMF and the G7. It's overwhelmingly monetarist in
philosophy. It subscribes to the model of everlasting growth rather than
sustainability. Countries have to be profitable first: they can only
afford a welfare system afterwards. Business is the most important layer
of society, from which everything else flows. Governments are actually
controlled by markets and banks, not vice versa. So when a crash comes,
the markets and the banks don't have to pay for it, the poor people do.
And countries like Greece have to be forced to pay debts they can't
really afford, in case they set a bad example that leads to the collapse
of the whole system.
In or out of the EU, this is the status quo against which people are
kicking. Immigration and sovereignty are really side-issues. We have to
find more sustainable, environmentally-friendly, inclusive and humane
ways of organising society. We have to find ways of generating wealth
that also generate wellbeing.
On the subject of artworks, it would be nice if we could launch an
artwork that allowed people from the Calais refugee camp to enter the UK
virtually, as they're prevented from entering it physically. It would be
nice if they could scan themselves from head to foot, and life-size
images of them could be printed off by 3D printers within the UK.
Failing that, life-size pictures, complete with writeups of who they
are, where they come from, how they have travelled to Calais and why
they want to come to the UK, which could be guerilla-pasted onto the
walls of UK towns and cities, Banksy-style, during the night. Or maybe
even virtual 'empty shell' identities could be created here, complete
with National Insurance and National Health numbers, ready for the
refugees to step into if they ever manage to get this far.
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