This Thursday sees Britain hold its European Union elections, electing MEPs to the European Parliament along with all other member countries. It was an election that many were not expecting Britain to be holding as the country was meant to have left the European Union by now. And is still likely to in upcoming months, meaning that we are running an election costing the country around a hundred million pounds, or a hundred and twenty million dollars, that will give us elected representatives for a few short weeks. Maybe. As a result of this madness, the electoral landscape has gone arse over tit.
Traditionally leading parties the Conservatives and Labour have lost two thirds or three-quarters of their support. Nigel Farage who quit the Brexit-supporting UKIP parties as it became more alt-right and just launched The Brexit Party, gaining a third of the electorate’s support. While the remain-supporting Liberal Democrats with their slogan Bollocks To Brexit have tripled their support, topping both the Conservatives and Labour. While Remain-supporting Labour/Tory splinter group Change UK which has also just launched, has failed to capitalise on initial publicity and is in the doldrums with the Green Party – though they have had a boost against usual polling. While Scottish and Welsh nationalist parties, SNP and Plaid Cymru have had boosts as well.
It’s one hell of a mess, we have a Labour Party supporting Remain led by a Leaver and a Conservative Party supporting Leave led by a Remainer, and between the Lib Dems and the Brexit Party, it looks as if this Thursday may be used as a rerun of the original referendum and swing to a hard Brexit.
But what’s all this doing on Bleeding Cool you ask? Well, today’s Guardian newspaper has printed a letter from writers warning of the dangers of Brexit. This includes a number of comic book writers, including Neil Gaiman, Warren Ellis, Al Ewing, Chrissy Williams, Kieron Gillen, Andy Diggle, Si Spurrier, Al Ewing, Dan Watters, Mike Carey, David Barnett, Adam Christopher, Rob Williams and Alex Paknadel – along with a load of prose writers like Philip Pullman, Marina Lewycka, Nikesh Shukla, John le Carre, Sarah Pinborough and Laurie Penny.
It reads as follows:
We are writers. We are your writers, the United Kingdom’s writers. We write the TV shows on UK screens and the books on UK shelves. We are part of the bubbling soup of the creative industries – along with games, film, theatre and the rest – which together are worth £10m an hour to this country. In fact, the UK publishes more books per head than any other nation on Earth, and millions of UK citizens believe they will one day join us and write the book they have inside them – and lots of them will.
That is possible in part because books printed here, in English, can be sold into Europe as easily as at home. Exports account for 60% of UK publishing revenues, and 36% of physical book exports go to Europe, and that is only the most straightforward concern about what will happen. It’s fashionable among politicians to sneer at the creative industries, but our work is work just like anyone else’s, and like anyone else’s it can only happen if we get paid. Without any idea of what Brexit might look like, it’s impossible to know exactly what we might lose. A tenth? A fifth? A third of what we live on? We’ll have to make compromises. Should we ditch part of the beginning, the middle, or the end of the story? Would audiences prefer not to know whose fault it all is, how the crime was solved, or who’s still standing at the end?
In TV it’s even starker; rules on tax funding for production could mean we’re simply excluded from projects filming in Europe. And that’s already happening as companies – from the US and elsewhere, not just from the EU – prepare for Brexit. It’s not just writers. It’s whole crews: carpenters, props, sparks and riggers. It’s our globally renowned visual effects industry being thrown on the fire.
It seems to us that the same question is facing every industry and every person in the UK: what will you choose to lose? Because we used to hear about the advantages of Brexit. We used to hear about the bright future, the extra money, the opportunities. Now the advocates of Brexit just assure us that it won’t be as bad as the last world war.
What will we choose to lose from the NHS? Apart from one in 10 doctors and thousands of nurses? What will the north-east choose to lose? Apart from 10,000 jobs already. What will the British car industry choose to lose? Apart from Honda and Nissan and the other companies which have already gone. What will science choose to lose? Apart from funding, staff and investment? What will farming choose to lose? Apart from 97% of our export market for lamb, and this summer’s fruit crop.
We are the people who spend our lives making things that are not true seem believable, and we don’t think Brexit is even a good effort. In the elections for the European parliament, and the referendum which seems almost inevitable, we want to urge everyone to vote to stay in the EU – unless they know what they are choosing to lose, for themselves and everyone they know, and are happy with that. We choose a better environment, better healthcare, better food, more working protections, bigger markets, more jobs. We choose friendship and peace and better days. We choose Europe.
One name not included, of course, is Mark Millar.
Just once I’d also like to see the media say ‘opportunity’ instead of ‘crisis’ when talking about enacting the biggest democratic mandate in British history.
— Mark Millar (@mrmarkmillar) 1 April 2019
But that’s okay, he’s just fine with the Americans making Jupiter’s Legacy right about now… here’s how it looks to me.