QOTM: Would more knowledge about the EU decrease euroscepticism? by YEM Warwick

Euroscepticism is often based on underlying narratives that have questionable grounding but that are easily sold to the public. Take for instance Farage’s most recent claim that open-door immigration is the reason for traffic congestion on the M4, which is nothing short of scapegoating. The external is so confidently presented as the reason for the internal problem that it avoids analysis. More people = more traffic. Settled. The problem then feeds into the bigger picture. Traffic is caused by foreigners (probably on their way to the benefits office, right Nigel?) just like Britain’s problems are the fault of the EU. The deficit, that humanity-threatening and austerity-justifying buzzword, has come about because overpaid Eurocrats like to send out £1.7 billion bills randomly for fun. We can all clearly see the gaping holes in this narrative and so it should just be a matter of clearing out the cobwebs, yet they remain the content of the daily headlines, for fact has never outsold fiction. As David Hume demonstrated, scepticism is only possible if empiricism is untenable. But scapegoating jumps over empiricism and lands straight at myth. Through research we have all for the most part arrived at the consensus that the EU is in some form beneficial, and therefore it follows that greater knowledge would de facto decrease euroscepticism, but we find ourselves on the wrong side of the eternal struggle between the truth-bearers and the dramatists. Like football managers we can appeal to history, but in a constantly demanding climate of results we find that past achievement counts for little. We appeal to reason and publish statistics, but then the tabloids print a widely-read story about a benefit-fraud immigrant. How can we convince people that the M4 might be busy because it’s always been busy? The question is a difficult one, and finding the answer must be seen as the goal of our movement.

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