The world’s population have entered a crazy period where extreme and unfounded opinions on important matters are being effectively spread on social media based on nothing more than a crude need for attention and power by ruthless individuals, politicians and companies.
Examples are the rise to power of Trump, Brexit and Hatred in its many forms.
Trump got elected because he used social media effectively and had the Russians backing him to win while they spread fake news about he Democrats. So much for democracy in the USA!
Within Europe we have seen how the Far-Right has managed to take control over large numbers of voters by stirring up fears about immigration and how the EU has “taken over” their nation. We see these strong currents in France, Poland, Hungary, UK, etc.
The UK has been seriously mismanaged by Cameron and his successors. Cameron gave people the right to vote on continued EU membership. That is a matter that governments decide on, not “the people”. Ordinary folk do not have the access to the facts or the time to make a proper analysis of such a complex and momentous decision. “The people” rely on their feelings and they are so easily manipulated by whoever gets his story across most effectively on social media.
This “Advisory” referendum was then taken to mean that “Brexit means Brexit” by Ms. May whose stubbornness and poor negotiation skills led to her downfall and to the third disaster called Johnson.
Social media continues to put out fake news by the ton in the UK. Johnson and Farage together with the news media owned and controlled by Trump’s running mate, the Australian called Murdoch. There is no end to the flow of such news which has not been effectively balanced by any other force.
We need to have better control over Fake News by regulation or by having something balancing out such attacks on objectivity.
The biggest losers of such attacks in the case of Brexit are ordinary British people who find that economic activity slows down and they lose their jobs. Tax receipts fall and the government is forced to cut education and healthcare benefits. The government also has to deal with the economic and social crisis that follows for the next ten years rather than managing the country in the best possible way that benefits from being an important member of the EU. It would be a foolish bet to believe that the UK can achieve a balanced and mutually beneficial trade deal with the USA. Millions of workers in the EU will also see their jobs threatened by Brexit – this disaster does not end on one side of the English Channel.
But there is a power that can slow and balance the Fake News being pushed out by social media and that is the behaviour of the EU itself.
That may seem to be a surprising and unexpected claim but readers should consider that the EU should never have allowed any country to ever consider leaving because membership of the EU is only there for the benefit of the nation state members.
During the last 10 to 15 years the EU has become an organisation for the benefit of the few – a few top leaders and a few big countries that have been trying to consolidate their power and influence over the rest.
Brexit should never have been a conceivable alternative for any member state – in fact it was never originally planned that a country would ever want to leave the EU!
The damage has now been done and the EU should stop to consider the next steps with Brexit. There can be no question that Barnier, Juncker and Tusk have done a bad job in the negotiations, and naturally the same is true for all of the leaders of each member state.
The EU is in dire need of reform to stop future arguments about the way forward. Brexit is a symptom of this need and a result of the failure of the EU to operate as it was originally founded. The dominance of Germany and France and their treatment of smaller countries is unacceptable.
The most important reforms should ensure a drastic rebalancing of power between members as well as the removal of the biggest scams like the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), Strasbourg’ second Parliament farce, opaque decision making behind closed doors, a big reduction in the size of Parliament and a clean up of all the known and report corruption and nepotism in the EU.
Your correspondent understands the complexities of reform, but that should not be excluded just because of complexity.
The EU has created decision-making system that fails to supply reform when needed. Legacy policies like CAP, Starsbourg, corruption and nepotism, etc., have never been dealt with because they have become untouchable topics. You cannot run a body like the EU if a few want to make all of the important decisions in an opaque manner.