First of all…. I have to say this… all of the EU referendum social media stuff circling for the past few months made my headache! It simply felt like it was trying to scare me into a decision. I for one don’t respond well to such tactics. In fact it makes me more skeptical.
The first thing I read was from Boris Johnson on why England should be able to make up it’s own rules and have complete control over it’s shores. It gave some ridiculous EU rules as examples, rules which effect the UK. He also pointed out that a lot of people on the EU commission board are not English! He made a good point, right?! I personally want to feel like I have some say, as an English man, about what happens here. I didn’t like the idea that a group of people in Brussels could essentially change rules here without us having any say! I posted this content on my Facebook page…
Then someone on Facebook sent me another campaign about why we should stay in the EU. The initial campaign from Boris Johnson did not highlight any of the benefits of staying in the EU. This second article talked about the economy here, what effect it would have upon leaving on the EU, travel perks, brits living abroad in the EU, the positive effects it has on preventing another war in Europe and generally saying that staying in the EU makes the UK greater!
Each thing I read is totally in favour of itself and against the other. Of course it would be like this, but it is really confusing and both arguments are trying to scare me into a decision. I see many people in my social circle in favour of leaving the EU, and these are people I respect… But I must admit I know more people who want to stay in the EU…
So where do I sit on this? Well, as a gay man living in the UK I am blessed with many things. The ability to get married. To feel safe walking around the Cambridge holding hands with Samuel. I feel I am well represented in law and have the support of the local police. Something generations before us worked so hard to achieve! My first impression is that the EU, as a whole, is really pushing for gay equality and rights for all EU citizens. In fact we have seen a domino effect in the EU where country after country is legalizing gay marriage! Now… what if UKIP get into power? Bad news for the gays I think! It’s clear that UKIP are not pro-gay rights or marriage! So if UKIP came into power now, we would be protected by EU legislation. But what if we left the EU and then UKIP came to power??? Well I very much doubt life would be as enjoyable and I would feel as safe and as free as I do today! So this is one of the main reasons I am voting to stay in the EU.
However, there are others. Most people who support Brexit (that I see) say that leaving the EU will enable us to regain some control over our borders. I totally get the frustrations of some people with the welfare systems and the everyday working man getting shafted! But people coming from the EU are not getting priority over jobs! They work hard and make a life for themselves. I know so many who have done so. The people who tend to think their jobs are stolen by immigrants are usually bloody lazy to be honest and I see it as an excuse as to why they cannot get their dream job. When in fact they just don’t work hard enough! Might sound harsh, but I live opposite a council estate and some of these families have a flat, just as nice of ours, in fact it’s the same flat but they get it for free! We work hard to buy this flat and make ends meet… but some of them steel, play loud music, do drugs, do not work and get loads of benefits and all have a fancy TV and phone! It is a joke! These people are British!! The foreign people who live opposite us, who do get the same treatment do not take it for granted and not the trouble makers. So no, I don’t think EU citizens are stealing our jobs. In fact I work for a new startup who’s founder is not from the UK. Without her I would not have a job!
What about the transport system, healthcare and housing? Well lots of hospital workers are from the EU for a start because we had a shortage…. but that aside, all of these systems can be approved. If people coming here from the EU work and pay taxes then we can put money into these services. If this doesn’t happen then it’s a problem with our government, not the EU! Many hands make light work after all? What I really think we should look at is why people leave their native lands in the first place? Why come to England? How will it make their life better? I think if more countries were like the UK then people will not want to come here so badly. I am sure most want to stay in their homes and towns but come here for the chance of a better life.
Another point I think about is UK citizens who are living in EU countries. Take Spain for example. I am damn sure the British people retiring in Spain don’t want us to leave the EU. I think people here tend to forget about all the people who move abroad. Some people only see the negative. They just see the EU people living here!
Anyway, when you take all the politics away and I listen to my gut, I share a view very similar to Stephen Hawkins, and I am proud I said these words before I heard him say them… If the earth and humanity is going to succeed and flourish in the future we need to unite, not hide away on own own. We cannot just fret about what happens on our soil. What about global warming? What about war? What about hunger and famine and poverty? What about our brothers and sisters who need our help? I think it is easier to change something from the inside than it is out. These people who are pro Brexit and ‘we want to make Britain great again’… I wish they had as much passion, drive and commitment to helping other people and the world. Seems not though, seems like they want to shut their doors and try and ride the storm and think that worldwide issues will not affect them. I want to stay in the EU, make it better, get more countries on board and make them better and eventually we can unite the whole world. Not saying Europe will become the world but if we band Europe and unite the America’s and Asia and Australia – well we really would be able to make a difference on a global scale. And this isn’t just about Syria and people fleeing war, it’s about financial, legal, commerce, environmental and so much more. I know Syria is another issue but I still think supporting the EU to support other countries is the way forward.
I implore everyone to exercise their right to vote and whichever way you vote I will respect you but that does not mean I will stop being a campaigner and being a fighter.