The Heart of the Matter: Equal Dignity, Respect and Opportunity for All
The BREXIT Referendum is not simply about whether the UK should stay within the EU or leave. It is about how we see ourselves and our role in the world, as citizens of the first union of four free nations into a United Kingdom of equal freedoms, opportunities, and dignity for all. The 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights’ Preamble begins with a resounding endorsement of the importance of human rights and the rule of law that have been at the core of British constitutionalism for the past eight centuries:
“Whereas recognition of the inherent dignity and of the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world,…
To achieve this vision of equal dignity, respect, and opportunity for all we must address ten key challenges - the TEN REPAIRS - that can be successfully mastered only if a strong United Kingdom remains at the heart of a reformed European Union:
- Trustworthy banking system: the lifeblood of our economic prosperity
- Effective peacekeeping: human security for Britain, Europe, the world
- National recognition: celebration of our nations and cultures
- Resilient sustainability: environmental, social, economic, cultural balance
- Empowered eco-regions: regions as new platforms of economic growth
- Participactive citizenship: giving us a voice & vote in shaping our future
- Accountable government: new transparent institutions of governance
- Infomedia access and security: Accessing online data & protecting privacy
- Revitalised 'glocal' cities: connecting local communities & global networks
- Safe and secure communities: safe homes & communities in UK & abroad
We are now asked both by those who wish to see the UK “leave” the European Union and by the Establishment supporters of remaining within the EU - but at the price of deeper retrenchment behind our borders and the creation of a large category of second-class citizens, to abandon our historical vision of who we are and what we should aim to be.
Instead of enlarging our arc of caring to all our fellow European Citizens, we are asked to start discriminating again on the basis of national origin, to deny them again the exercise of equal rights and equal responsibilities, to concentrate again vast and unaccountable powers in the hands of a Westminster elite that is no longer capable of successfully resolving the most urgent challenges we face today and is no longer responsive to the real needs, wants, problems, and dreams of most Britons.
These are the real stakes of the UK Referendum on Leaving the EU, most likely to be held in the Autumn of 2016.
The Big Picture: The Five Reforms a “YES” Vote Demands
A "Yes" vote cannot mean support for leaving things as they are. Nor can we allow Prime Minister Cameron, his Tory party, and City friends to claim that a "Yes" vote means the citizens of the UK endorse his narrow-minded, inward-looking, and frankly dangerous agenda for Isolation from Europe and the World. A "Yes" vote MUST mean a demand we address, debate, and decide how we can achieve, together, the five critical, interconnected challenges of our time. None of these can be resolved on its own, but only as part of a larger, comprehensive project for real change in the way we govern ourselves and interact with each other, across both real and virtual borders.
- A Strong United Kingdom: How do we both celebrate the UK's cultural diversity and at the same time ensure that this works to reinforce the UK's own identity and pride in its past, present, and future?
- A United Europe: How do we create a fair, dynamic, creative Europe, where all citizens can benefit from equal opportunities and are conscious of sharing similar responsibilities for their future and that of their families, friends, and neighbours?
- A New Trans-Atlantic Partnership: How do we address in an effective, accountable and legitimate manner major economic and political crises such as the 2008 Global Financial Collapse, the Ukrainian conflict on our borders, and terrorist threats connecting our cities with civil wars in the Middle East?
- Active Citizen Participation: Real democracy is more than casting one vote every five years and then letting our self-serving, often corrupt elected officials take whatever decisions suit their interests best - in our name. How do we ensure that WE have the power to do so?
- Effective and Responsible Governments: How do we re-form our old and no longer responsive institutions of government still dominated by an elite group of cronies, into a modern, flexible, adaptable, and democratic system of governance where each and every one can play a part and make a difference?
Top Fourteen BREXIT Questions: “What will happen with…. ?”
Instead of looking at the big picture we have outlined and examining the five fundamental challenges we now face and the many ways the interconnect and influence each other, most politicians, media professionals, and even academics prefer to break down "Britain's Exit from Europe" - or what they have dubbed the BREXIT Referendum - into a number of discrete and separate questions that, somehow, should serve us as guides in deciding how to vote - YES or NO. To make sense the answers to these questions must be put in their proper context and explained more thoroughly than has been the case so far.
"So, if Britain leaves the EU, what will happen with.....
...our Veto in Europe?" Depends what "Brexit" option we choose...
...our Economy?" On the Outside Looking In...
...the British Pound?" Ask the bankers...
...the City of London?" The Great Financial Migration
...our Parliamentary sovereignty?" An increasingly irrelevant talking shop
...our laws and court system?" Unaffordable, inaccessible, ineffective
...our natural environment?" The great crisis around the bend
...Scotland and the Union?" From Great Britain to Little England
...our borders’ security?" Just like King Canute and the Waves...
...foreign workers in the UK?" The Rampant Politics of Fear
...our jobs in Europe?" Let the Germans pay...
...our exports and trade with the EU and the world? The Free Agent Illusion
...the Special US-UK relationship?" The Donald and Boris Fringe Show...?
...our UN seat and our place in the world?" David's Daft Disappearing Act...