Thursday, May 22, 2014

A nerd's perspective - the EU is the model for humanity's future...

Well there we go, it's that time again. Today's the day when we've all flocked out to the polling booths for the European elections (I hope there's been a good turn-out, too; ye can't complain about who gets in if you didn't vote in the first place).

Anyone who's been following the news in the UK over the past few weeks (or, let's be honest, hasn't been comatose during the last few weeks) will know that the topic du jour is Britain being part of the EU.

Nationalistic sentiment has been spurting out all over the shop, rapidly transmogrifying into jingoism, and the results have been oh so very telling...

For starters, it's become almost impossible to see the motives of people who, say, want to vote for one particular political party (and you know which one I mean) as being anything other than simple xenophobia, masquerading as some kind of patriotic desire to "put Britain back in the hands of the British" (as if Britain isn't a nation whose population comes entirely from people coming and settling in/conquering the country). The language of anti-EU parties is one of fear, after all, with certain parties (yes, them again) encouraging the British population to fear the outsider.

However, the fact that UKIP is a party founded on xenophobia and bigotry is a rant for another day (and about 17,000 more words, give or take).

No, today is the day where I take a look at why pulling out of the EU would be A Very Bad Thing. There are, in fact, two reasons why it's a bad idea...

The sensible reason: Britain's economy will flatline 

There's a lot of talk about how we need to pull out of the EU to bring Britain back under our own control, which isn't just wrong, it also neatly sidesteps the main issue: if we pulled out, Britain would, by turns, become a third world country.

Sure, maybe I'm being a teensy bit hyperbolic for effect, but look at what the ramifications of such a move would be. For starters, many companies have said they will cut funding to the UK if they pull out of Europe. Unilever is one of the big ones, then there's Airbus, Citi... the point is that we would become less economically attractive, so investment dries up, jobs disappear, and the whole thing gets compounded by countries (notably Japan) saying the same thing.

Still, at least UKIP's goal would come true, eh? There'd be less "foreigners" coming here to work. Sure, it would be because Britain had become an economic wasteland, but hey, like they say, you can't make an omelette without killing the very future of your own country breaking a few eggs...

The idealistic reason: the EU and the United Federation of Planets are the same damn thing 

So that's one reason. That's not my favourite reason, though, although it's the most important one in the short-term. No sirree, my favourite reason is the one that takes the long-term view...

Ignore the economic reasons for staying in the EU for a second, and think about the other reasons. The pulling together of humanity in pursuit of a common goal. A union of disparate people, working towards the common good. The very notion that humans can pull together, for the common good, bonded by our core humanity.

And now, look at the European Union, then look at the United Federation of Planets from Star Trek.

They're the same bleedin' thing!

I'm fully aware that some people are undoubtedly lining up to call me naive, or they might decide to call me idealistic, as if that was ever a bad thing, but the point is this: while the EU may have its flaws (and I'm not blind enough to say it doesn't, but we don't get to help fix it if we're not a part of it), it's a symbol. It's a symbol of how humanity can rise above differences to become more than we were. The EU, quite simply, is humanity pulling itself up by its own bootstraps, and making itself better.

Regardless of political leanings or creeds, that should be the goal of our species. And that is why groups like UKIP are so pernicious; they want only to divide, to separate humanity into warring factions separated by mutual hatred.

They strike at the very soul of what gives our species so much potential for greatness, and we have to stand strong in the face of, as King Theoden of Rohan would say, such reckless hate.

We owe it to ourselves...

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