The EU referendum 1975 versus 2016.

For seventeen years Nigel Farage nurtured a dream; an ambition to take Great Britain out of the European Union and on Thursday the 23rd of July, 2016 his dream became reality. A dream founded on the dissimilarities that existed between the present European Union and that of 1975, it had slowly become a political dynasty in Brussels with overreaching effects on the common man without an in-depth understanding of his individual, cultural or national needs. The interference of ECHR (European court of Human rights) on British court rulings and the inability of individual countries to negotiate individual favorable economic deals would suggest that there are elements of truth in Nigel Farage’s arguments. But it could also be seen as an attempt by the EU to maintain the status quo for every member and citizen.

Regardless of these facts, the process of achieving his dream was flawed, a total betrayal of true democracy. The present electorate unlike those during the 1975 referendum was not adequately or honestly informed, they were bamboozled by an array of doomsday forecasts and accused of being unpatriotic should they vote differently. The blame, in my opinion, rests with Nigel Farage, David Cameron, and their respective cohorts, they made costly assumptions on behalf of the electorate. The least they could have done was replicate the 1975 referendum format.

Prior to the 1975 referendum, a seventeen-page pamphlet (document) with detailed information was sent out to the electorate. The document had the single purpose of educating the electorate. Below are some relevant quotes from the pamphlet (italicized by me):

Page 2:

DEAR VOTER

This pamphlet is being sent by the Government to every household in Britain. We hope that it will help you to decide how to cast your vote in the coming Referendum on the European Community (Common Market). Please read it. Please discuss it with your family and your friends.

We do not pretend, and never have pretended, that we got everything we wanted in these negotiations. But we did get big and significant improvements on the previous terms.

Page 5:

Aims of the common market:

  • To bring together the peoples of Europe.
  • To raise living standards and improve working conditions.
  • To promote growth and boost world trade.
  • To help the poorest regions of Europe and the rest of the world.
  • To help maintain peace and freedom.

Page 11 & 12 

Will parliament lose its power?

Since we cannot go it alone in the modern world, Britain has for years been a member of international groupings like the United Nations, NATO and the International Monetary Fund.

Membership of such groupings imposes both rights and duties, but has not deprived us of our national identity, or changed our way of life.

Membership of the Common Market also imposes new rights and duties on Britain, but does not deprive us of our national identity. To say that membership could force Britain to eat Euro-bread or drink Euro-beer is nonsense.

Page 13 :

If we say No:

The Common Market will not go away if we say ‘No’.

The countries of the Common Market would still be our nearest neighbors and our largest customers. Their policies would still be important to us. But Britain would no longer have a close and direct influence on those policies.

Page 14:

If we say Yes:

Whether we are in the Market or not, Common Market policies are going to affect the lives of every family in the country.

Inside the Market, we can play a major part in deciding these policies. 

Outside, we are on our own.

Page 15:

AND NOW – THE TIME FOR YOU TO DECIDE

Your vote will not only affect your life and your neighbors’ lives. It will affect your children’s lives. It will chart – for better or for worse – Britain’s future.

To read the entire document click here.

It is interesting to find that the electorate back in 1975 shared similar fears and concerns regarding the future as those in 2016. The similarities, however, end there as the political class did nothing to elevate those fears if anything they fanned the flames harder, inciting old wounds and hidden prejudice. If an educated choice had been made by a majority of the masses, perhaps the racist attacks and bigotry which has reared its ugly head post-referendum would not be minuscule. If all parties including the European Union had laid aside their egos, gone back to the drawing board and retraced their roots perhaps we would not have found ourselves living the chaos that is Brexit. 

Like the story of the three little pigs, the electorate is waking up to find its house blown away by the big bad wolf called reality.

They are left clutching at straws … by what percentage will immigration be cut?

They are left picking up sticks … Turkey will probably not become an EU member for a long time.

They are left with an unfinished brick house … the amount of money going to the NHS as savings from EU expenses has slowly dwindled from £350 million to £161 million.

The agenda of the 1975 referendum was to empower the people to make a decision in favor of their future, in favor of Great Britain, in favor of democracy. The agenda of the 2016 referendum was to topple a political sect, to embolden an ideology with no informed regard for the future.

Nigel Farage got his dream, but he hypnotized the country into a frightful dream. 

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Source: Pixabay free images
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