In the forthcoming referendum on British sovereignty, you'd be forgiven for thinking it were some sort of X-factor style contest on the relative merits of continental Europe. The latest propaganda from the StrongerIn campaign press all the right psychological buttons:
Young people want to stay in Europe. If you're young in fact or at heart, so should you. Although partly true, this is a purely emotional argument. If asked most young people would also favour democracy and self-determination. Here they are really just passing a judgement on the virtues of Europe as opposed to Africa, the Middle East, the Indian Subcontinent or any other cultural macroregion. However, as the pace of globalisation advances unabated, regional lifestyle differences are fading anyway. You can be an online gamer or Manchester United fan in any locale with Internet access these days.
Better educated people are more inclined to vote remain. This begs the question: in what way are university graduates, usually from more privileged backgrounds, wiser or brighter than those who left school at 16? So if you like to think of yourself as intelligent, you might want to vote remain. But shouldn't intelligent people think for themselves and always weigh up both sides of an argument critically?
Englightened celebrities want to remain in Europe. This is just a variant of arguments 1 and 2. If you want to be like these smart cultural icons, don't think for yourself, but be positive about Europe and of course its cherished governing body. Why don't you recycle all the usual hype about reforming the EU and joining forces with progressives from other European countries to campaign for change. But what change? The EU is currently at loggerheads with many national governments over debt management and migrant quotas. For some inexplicable reasons many voters in national elections are not keen on either having neoliberal economic policies imposed on them or having to accept massive migratory flows. The truth is the Identitarian movement is growing across Europe, especially in France, Austria and Eastern Europe. Identitarians reject enforced globalisation and seek to reassert their national and regional identities and culture in the 21st century. While the EU used to pay lip service to European culture, its leaders are busy overseeing the dismemberment of viable nation states, economic and cultural convergence with the rest of the world and mass migration to wealthy regions. These trends are not merely coincidental, they are a consequence of an extreme concentation of power in a handful of corporations and their tentacular network of lobbies, NGOs, charities and spurious campaign groups. The EU really just plays a role in managing the transition from compact nation states to a form of global governance. Mistaking the EU for Europe is like confusing Russia with the old Soviet Union. Europe is a cultural entity built on civilisations that took 3000 years to mature and most Europeans still identify with their countries first. The EU remains a remote institution that few ordinary Europeans trust.