A Republic, if we can keep our TV shows

When Scotland was getting set to vote on whether to leave Great Britain, “stay” supporters raised the specter that an exit might mean loss of access to popular BBC television series. The “leave” movement took pains to assure Scots they would still be able to watch such shows as EastEnders, Doctor Who, and Strictly Come Dancing.

Scotland voted to stay, so we never found out whether an independent Scotland would have had to endure TV hardship.

Now, as Britain decides whether to leave the EU, Brits are being warned that a Brexit might have adverse consequences for Game of Thrones. The Telegraph reports:

If Britain votes to leave the European Union in Thursday’s referendum, it may be more difficult to film HBO’s smash hit series. That’s because Northern Ireland provides the backdrop for many of the show’s most dramatic scenes, including the Battle of the Bastards from last week’s episode, and the EU helps subsidise the cost of production.

Should the UK leave the EU, those funds would potentially dry up.

According to Foreign Policy, the European Regional Development Fund contributes to the cost of filming the big budget series on location in Europe.

Those locations include Spain, Croatia and Malta in addition to Northern Ireland, where scenes from Winterfell and other parts of the North are shot.

In the event of Brexit, the fund, which is designed to boost the European economy, would be unlikely to continue to foot a portion of the bill for filming there.

I’ve never watched Game of Thrones, but I’m aware of its popularity, Given that popularity, it’s difficult to imagine that EU funds are needed to keep production going. Same for any popular show.

However, a number of movie stars (and other cultural figures) signed a letter published by the Telegraph last month urging Britain to remain in the EU for the sake of movies and television. The group, which included Benedict Cumberbatch, Keira Knightley and Helena Bonham Carter, wrote:

Leaving Europe would be a leap into the unknown for millions of people across the U.K. who work in the creative industries, and for the millions more at home and abroad who benefit from the growth and vibrancy of Britain’s cultural sector.

I can half understand the temptation Brits feel to ratify the loss of their democracy and the ceding of their freedom to EU bureaucrats out of fear of serious economic decline. I cannot comprehend doing so out of fear of losing television shows.

A country whose populace would even entertain staying in the EU for the sake of TV doesn’t deserve democracy or freedom. Can we say that 20 years from now our populace won’t seriously entertain this sort of argument?

Can we say with great confidence that the argument wouldn’t be entertained today?

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