Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Many a true word is spoken in jest

Several "Leave" campaigners have taken to retweeting all the "spoof" articles published by humorous websites suggesting that Britain leaving Europe might produce extreme disasters.

I'm starting to find the number of such messages mildly irritating unless the spoofs concerned are particularly funny, but one or two of them actually have been.

If Leave want to win the argument they will have to answer the talk of risks by remain, not just ridicule them: after all, in Scotland, the original "Project Fear" was right!

(Scotland would have gone into independence with a catastrophic budget deficit had "Yes" won because the concerns expressed by "Project Fear" that the SNP were basing their economic strategy on an overoptimistic projection of the oil price proved completely accurate)

And yes, the same goes for Remain in responding to "Leave" articles about "the risks of remain."

Nevertheless, one or two of the spoofs about the EU membership debate have been very funny.

I particularly liked the News Thump spoof which conflated recent science reports that dinosaurs were already in decline because of other factors such as the breakup of ancient continental land masses such as Pangea when the asteroid hit with those about the EU debate to get

"Dinosaurs were in decline long before asteroid strike due to Pangaexit!!"

Of course spoof sites have been having fun at the expense of both sides, whether Nigel Farage,  or  the Brexit campaign as a whole or the Remain campaign in gel and George Osborne in particular.

But the story which ought to be funny but isn't, because the story being spoofed is so infuriating, is the NewsThump piece

World stunned by revelation that Germany has a comedian.

Not that the idea of it being funny to suggest that Germans have no sense of humour is particularly amusing - most jokes along those lines belong in a museum of mid 20th century culture - but some of the other lines in the piece ought to be funny but are too true to be.

I'm thinking of

"Jan Boehmermann is to be prosecuted for ‘making jokes’ about Turkish premier Tayyip Erdogan, who is so thin-skinned that even a German comedian can get a rise out of him."

I know I ought to be laughing at that line but apart from being slightly unfair to German comedians it is so close to a precise statement of the truth that it makes me angry rather than amused. The same comment with the same reservation applies to the next line:

"This is widely regarded as the first time a German has been recorded as making a ‘joke’, but not the first time Erdogan has shown himself as being able to dish it out but unable to take it."

Quite. I don't know what the German government is thinking of to allow the prosecution. If Turkey complained about a joke made by a British Comedian I hope the Foreign Office would tell them, diplomatically if they must, that he was practicing Free Speech and they ought to try it themselves.


Jim said...

It's only fair to add that if Leave want to win the argument they will have to answer the talk of risks by remain, not just ridicule them: after all, in Scotland, the original "Project Fear" was right!

Name some, and I will do my best.

Jim said...

But will remain do the same about the real risks of remaining? now there is a question

Chris Whiteside said...

Yes, it applies to both sides.

Some of the risks alleged by each side are very weak - I'm not very impressed with what either has said on the NHS for instance.

The most serious risks which Remain have pointed out are the risk of dividing the West at a dangerous time and the risks that uncertainty and the length of time to resolve the issues created by Brexit would undermined our economy. Some exit options - particularly the WTO Plus one - also create a serious risk that we will end up with tariff barriers harmful to our economy, though I am not as convinced that either the Norway Option or Flexcit do.

Jim said...

Well yes, I am not convinced the Norway option or Flexcit do, but I still concede that Flexcit is not perfect. So I am not 100% convinced that Flexcit totally mitigates it.

One thing I am pretty convinced of though is that voluntary free trade and Inter governmental co-operation tend to unite people, they tend to bring them closer together. Politics tends to divide people, as do forced payments.

For example you may go into your local green grocer and by £25 of some fruit or other. Its a very friendly atmosphere, and the people around you can pick up on that. You go to a council tax office and somehow the atmosphere is cold, or at very best luke warm.

The Uk will certainly give off a cold atmosphere under the WTO option, but under Flexcit where we are trying to build friendship and co-operation via the EEA to begin with, shows us as a friend who wants to trade, but wants to trade on a free and fair basis, I think that gives the signal of trying to further unite the people of the west, rather than divide them.

Well I did say I would do my best to answer it, I hope that has at least given you some food for thought.