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Yes every country has its unsavoury undercurrents, and sometimes they can seize power. So far, the EU, for all its faults, has been able to hold the line. Maybe it too will succumb in time - with more and more national governments moving to far right, there is only so much the EU can do.
But defeating Brexiteers and the politics they represent will be an important victory, even if it results in significant economic dislocation all round. It will signal that there are some values the EU is not prepared to compromise on. It will not throw Ireland or a beleagured nationalist community in the North under a bus. It will not sacrifice free movement or worker rights on the altar on de-regulated capitalism. It will not allow UK disaster capitalists to game the system and have their cake and eat it.
That cake has been very painstakingly built up, and is for our children and grand children to inherit. Nobody eats it without contributing to its continued growth and welfare.
You can point to Greece and any number of other shortcomings in the EU. But lets not ignore a kleptocratic Greek elites role in their disaster. Ireland had a similar bad experience when our economic and political elites "lost the run of themselves". Mistakes were made at EU level as well, but generally the institutions were as helpful as they could be within their limited mandates.
The rise of the far right in Europe has many causes - fears about immigrants overwhelming traditional cultures, the legacy of government austerity in the wake of the financial crash, globalization and its impact on regional, economic and social inequality. The EU is not blameless, but generally it isn't the primary causative factor either, however much nationalists like to paint it in those colours.
The reality is that many of the factors cannot be addressed satisfactorily at national level and the EU needs more powers, not less, if it is to make a more effective contribution towards alleviating them. The success of the nationalists has been to simultaneously blame the EU for being all powerful and at the same time ensuring that it is as ineffectual as possible.
We will not miss UK nationalism in that regard.
Index of Frank's Diaries
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by Oui - Jun 219 comments