After months of ferocious campaigning we are finally approaching the finishing line, the time to decide is nigh, and I’m IN.
First thing to say; I haven’t always wanted to remain in the EU, I too have become disillusioned by the state of affairs that we currently find ourselves in and was initially impressed with the consistent message that the leave camp have been dishing out.
That was until I realised that it wasn’t about just me, it’s about all of us and our responsibility to future generations who will feel the impact the most, of what is the biggest decision we have had to make in a generation.
Everything you read, see and hear isn’t always the truth, and if you are basing your decision and believing the media and sensationalist views rather than facts and doing some research yourself it’s difficult to know what to believe.
Britain is a great nation and I am proud to be British, and one of the reasons for this I believe; is our ties with Europe, and what that brings with it, Unity.
The years of peaceful co-existence within Europe cannot be ignored, one of the reasons the EU was set up was to ensure that what happened in previous world wars, which started in Europe can never happen again.
A divided Europe only seeks to gratify our enemies, we are much stronger together than we will ever be apart, and I firmly believe our diversities should unite us, not divide us.
A united Europe against the terrifying enemies we now face both at home and abroad makes me feel much safe than the prospect of a divided one.
Yes, there are problems with the EU, but I agree with Gordon Brown and we must unite behind his message, we should “lead, not leave”, by trying to implement effective change from within the EU rather than abandoning it.
For years’ successive governments have blamed the EU for failings in our country, effectively passing the buck. This I fear will now be their undoing, consistently telling the British people the EU is to blame rather than laying it at their own doorstep. By doing so they have put themselves in this position, facing the prospect of leaving the EU.
I believe our problems are home grown and will therefore remain problems long after a leave vote. The problem isn’t the EU, the problem is our consistent lack of strong leadership.
A vote to leave the EU would leave us governed solely by this weak leadership, and while some may view this as a fantastic great forward step to 'take back control’ we will be faced with an even weaker government that will be ill-equipped to lead in a crisis.
I mean who isn’t worried about the prospect of a world where Boris Johnson is Prime Minster and Donald Trump is President of the United States?
If you want an alternative to an elitist government a vote out won’t get you your desired outcome! WE voted this government in with a majority vote last year, if you aren’t happy with the result look in the mirror, that’s who to blame not the EU.
This referendum is about the future, when has taking steps back been progressive for moving forward?
This referendum is a farce in my opinion masking the fundamental problems we have in this country by putting the blame firmly at the EU’s front door, rather than where is should be at our own leaders’ front door, No 10.
The issues we face aren’t about taking back control of our country from the EU, it’s about taking back control of our country from within, by holding those who govern us accountable.
That’s how we ensure Britain remains a great nation, and it starts with a vote to stay in the EU.
So why do I believe we should stay?
Before the EU
Prior to joining the European Economic Community in 1973, Britain was floundering economically whilst France, West Germany and Italy were beginning to fare better having founded the EEC. After declining to join in the 1950s Britain changed its mind in the 1960s, as it is suggested that we were facing increasing economic decline, but were denied entry at first by then French President Charles De Gaulle.
Since the EU
Upon joining the EU Britain’s economy grew and was relatively stable between 1973 and 2010, when the recession hit.
Since the recession our economy has steadily grown but remains precarious, we may be the 5th biggest economy but would we remain so if we left the EU and instability ensued? 9 out of 10 top economist agree that the instability would have a detrimental effect.
There is no doubt that a vote to leave will have an effect on the economy, and while both sides agree, no one has a crystal ball that will tell us by how much. The leave camp thinks it’s worth the risk but when economic decline hits it’s not people like them that suffer, but you and me!
The list of economists, world leaders, business leaders urging us to stay for fear of economic repercussions cannot be ignored, and while some argue that they are only looking out for themselves something has to be said for the diverse range of people who share this view.
Ask yourself is putting us at a risk of economic meltdown worth it?
For me having struggled to find a job when recession hit last time and already seeing the chances of ever buying a house reduced; they are not. Why set us back now when we have just started to pick ourselves back up again?
And if it does all go wrong after a vote to leave, will Boris Johnson’s pledge to apologise on national TV, make sure you keep your job or put food on the table for your family?
Throughout the leave camps campaign, over and over again they have compounded the message of taking back control.
However, it’s not just EU membership that requires a level of trade off on sovereignty.
· Membership of NATO requires us to come to the mutual defence of any other member, “Collective defence means that an attack against one Ally is considered as an attack against all Allies” (Nato 2016), thus meaning we lose sovereignty over the deployment of UK Armed forces, but is deemed a trade-off to ensure security and support from other members.
· Membership of the World Trade Organisation also commits the UK to supra-national regulation and arbitration, but the loss of sovereignty here is seen to be out-weighed by the gains in prosperity.
Would we also want to leave the added security of NATO or the World Trade Organisation that enables us to trade globally?
I feel the notion of ‘taking back control’ is being used to evoke people’s emotional response to fear and nostalgia, to believe in a notion that we would be better off and safe going it alone. It is also important to highlight that isn’t just Britain that makes compromises on sovereignty, other nations trade off just like we do.
Why in an increasingly globalised world would we want to exclude ourselves to make us feel like we taking back control of things we have not lost control of, these small trade-offs on sovereignty, in the bigger picture are for the greater good.
Our multicultural society is something that I am proud to be a part of, our vast array of cultures gives us a rich and diverse society and we can learn so much from each different background.
While the country seems divided on immigration issues and the so called ‘migrant’ crisis, we seem to have forgotten the poignant photo of little Alan, who featured on the front of newspapers when he tragically drowned in his quest to reach safety. We seem to have forgotten that these are people fleeing conflict and persecution. Have we lost our humanity that much that we bemoan taking in those who need us most?
Once again this cannot be blamed on the EU, as part of the Geneva convention (and not to mention human decency) we are obliged to protect those fleeing conflicts.
Immigration has been the back bone of the vote leaves campaign, and is simply not a clear cut single issue. It is true that the levels of EU and Non EU migration to the UK are at highest recorded levels, BUT leaving the EU will not solve this problem.
I agree that we need to have a better handle and tighter controls on immigration, but that’s both EU and Non EU migration.
Free movement is good for business, allows us to travel freely around Europe and makes doing so easier and cheaper, but I agree it needs to be controlled.
Remaining in the EU and tackling this issue while we still have a ‘seat at the table’, I believe is the only option to tackle this problem, but our own government needs to deliver a plan on how they will tackle immigration.
Irrespective of whether we vote to leave or remain in the EU the issue of immigration will not disappear, free movement isn’t the problem.
The consistent lack of realistic immigration policy by successive governments has allowed the rate of immigration to rise in this country and can only be dealt with at home, a vote to leave will not be the magic solution that fixes the issues we face with immigration.
The Norwegian Model
Leaving the EU will not necessarily free us from free movement.
The leave campaign has been using Norway as an example of the type of model Britain could follow if we leave the EU; they are not part of the EU but still trade with them.
We have been told that it’s a great alternative, they aren’t part of the EU, they are independent, can govern themselves and trade with the single market, however it is not strictly true.
As a condition of their trade agreement with the single market they have to allow free movement of people. So even as a non EU member they still have to allow citizens of all 28 member states free movement, abide by some rules and regulations from Brussels, whilst not really having a say over what these are, as they no longer have a place at the EU table.
For me this doesn’t sound like a better alternative, we would have less power than we have now and while some argue we would get a better deal, it would be naïve to think that the EU wouldn’t impose this on Britain to make an example or to ensure other countries don’t follow suit.
Public services are severely stretched, the NHS is at breaking point, houses are in short supply and schools are over-subscribed. This has been widely blamed by ‘immigration’ and the sheer amount of people needing to access these services.
The NHS is a cause that I feel extremely strongly about and am passionate about protecting, as without a doubt, like many others its services have saved my life. It is under increasing pressure a fact that cannot be simply blamed on immigration.
Over the past few years the NHS has be faced with a multitude of home grown factors that are pushing it to the limit; austerity has meant cut backs in funding, rise in illness from poor lifestyle and an increasingly ageing population.
Infrastructure in our country is struggling, but again isn’t at the hands of the EU, immigration is not the only reason services are facing increasing pressures.
A United & Connected Europe
Peaceful co-existence is what the EU strived to achieve and has done so for 70 years’. The success of this cannot go unnoticed. For centuries Europe saw a lot of bloodshed, not least with two world wars battled on its soil and millions of lives lost. The EU has enabled the member states to replace conflict with negotiation, cooperation and unity.
Leaving the EU and dividing Europe will not make us safer from the increasing threats of terror at home and abroad. Together we are so much stronger, having a united Europe working together for common goals is a bigger deterrent than facing the rest of the world alone.
It’s a vote for the future
I graduated in the recession so know first-hand the impact, the first people to suffer in a recession are the poor and young people. 50% of young people are unemployed in Greece, caused by financial instability and the inevitable lack of jobs in the country.
This is a decision for our future and will affect the next generations for years to come.
It is no wonder then with the threat of more economic hardship, that the majority of young people want to remain a part of the EU, while the majority of older people are in favour of leaving the EU.
I have heard time and time again, “well I’m voting to leave for a better future for my children and grandchildren”, if you are truly voting for the next generation then surely you should listen to what they think and what they want, no more so than those under 18s who can’t have a say.
Young people want economic stability, jobs, unity and cooperation and ultimately want to remain in the EU.
A vote to leave will:
· Have detrimental effects on the economy, whether short term or long term.
· Not stop free movement and take back control of immigration.
· Not be the vote future generations want.
· Not get rid of an elitist government.
· Put us on the side-lines of an increasing united and connected world.
A vote to remain will:
· Allow us to continue to work with EU member states to reform the EU.
· Allow us to have a veto of who comes into the EU.
· Allow us to vote on laws passed down by Brussels.
· Maintain stability and security across Europe.
· Ensure unity and cooperation.
· Continue to put us at the heart of the world’s biggest trading bloc.
A vote to remain will ensure we will continue to work towards a world of peaceful co-existence, unity and cooperation and where our differences unite us and cease to divide us.
Vote to remain for all of our futures, not just your own.