Are EU in or EU out?

A few people have asked me if I was going to write a blog on the EU referendum. I had thought about it, but I realised my main reason for doing it would be to make some bad EU/you puns.
Reasons for not writing one outweighed the opportunity for bad puns:

1. It’s a complicated issue, one that I don’t feel I can do justice with my limited knowledge (which raises the question of why the British public are being asked to decide).

2. Many other people have already given some good assessments of our current situation, and there isn’t much new I feel I could add

3. I couldn’t work out a way to do an “in, out, shake it all about” pun.

Lastly, this referendum has felt so combative that I honestly couldn’t face any arguments that might come my way. Not because I don’t like debate, but because there are some people who are so sure of their view they won’t listen to any other. There is literally no point arguing with them.

But certain thoughts have crystallised for me over the last week, and it feels important to express them, even if no one reads them.

This post is aimed at the undecideds, those people who have genuinely not yet made up their mind, or even those who have, but still have doubts.

What will happen after the referendum?
Regardless of the result, nobody really knows what will happen. That’s why you’re hearing a lot of doomsday predictions, because neither side has a real argument, backed up by facts, to be able to convince you of what you should do.

But there is a little thing that doesn’t often get used in politics. Calm, reasoned logic. Here’s three things I want to talk about:

Business

Many businesses large and small deal with the EU, and at the moment are subject to a lot of EU red tape. Any business who wants to continue to deal with the EU after a British exit, will need to continue to comply with their regulations, but we will no longer have any say in deciding what those regulations are.

Maybe you’re a small business who doesn’t deal with anybody in Europe. Maybe all you do is create little plastic widgets that you sell to two other companies who are a mile down the road from you. Maybe you should vote leave and avoid all that red tape?

Chances are, though, those little plastic widgets are going to become part of another product that will go out to Europe. If you’re not complying with EU regulations, those other companies will be forced to buy their little plastic widgets from someone else.

The EU isn’t perfect, but it isn’t going away either. By being part of it, we can still influence it.

Immigration

Boy, is this a hot potato issue.

If we leave the EU it is entirely possible we will be able to negotiate a deal with them that doesn’t involve the free movement of people. Other countries have not been able to negotiate this, but let’s stop for a moment… Why would we want to?

There isn’t exactly a shortage of jobs in this country, what there is is a lack of skilled workers. That’s the fault of our education system.

Everyone is encouraged to go to university and they are told they can be better than they currently are. But nobody is helping them to do that. That’s the fault of our education system.

That results in a swathe of people who can’t get the jobs they want, but don’t want the jobs they can get. Guess what? That’s the fault of our education system.

Immigration brings in a lot of people who can and will do the jobs we can’t and won’t.

Also, a large part of immigration into this country comes from outside of the EU. Whatever problems you think immigration may cause, leaving the EU is not necessarily going to solve them.

The free movement of people works two ways. Guess what? We can go anywhere in Europe, either to work, live or visit without jumping through hoops. Imagine having to stand in that other queue with the Americans at the airport when all you’re trying to do is go for a dirty weekend in Rome.

A couple of years ago, I applied for a job in Australia. I couldn’t do it because Australia’s points based system rejected me because I don’t have a degree. I could do the job, the job is less than what I’m doing now, but better paid. If that job was in France, I’d be there right now.

I can even retire to Benidorm if I wanted to, no questions asked.

The EU isn’t perfect, but it isn’t going away either. By being part of it, we can still influence it.

The Future

So this is a pretty broad topic. It covers the economy, our cultures and traditions and the term ‘ever closer union’. But I feel they are all one thing.

To talk about the future, we must first look at the past.

The history of the world, is the history of war, the history of division. The more divided we have been, the more violent a place the world has been.

The events of the past week have come about because of different things, but things that can be boiled down to intolerance. The best way to get rid of intolerance is to encourage integration. That doesn’t mean becoming one homogeneous entity, but it does mean being part of the same thing, whether that’s the European Union, the United Kingdom or the United States.

Some people will talk about the loss of national identity, the loss of tradition and culture, and yes there might be some erosion or change of those things, but our culture and our national identity have been in a constant state of flux since William the Conqueror touched down in Hastings nearly a thousand years ago.

These things evolve, and I for one I’m glad they do, otherwise most of us would still be in baked mud hovels paying unfair taxes to the Lord of the manor, just up the road. Women wouldn’t be allowed to vote. Most of us wouldn’t be able to read and write.

There are some things of the past that would be great to preserve, and there are some things that are only tradition because the oldest person you know remembers it from their youth.

In a hundred years from now, it will be an age old tradition to send a picture of an aubergine when you want to tell someone you’re horny. We’d laugh at our descendants who refuse to accept progress because it means the aubergine emoji will no longer be available.

Culture and national identify are different to tradition. They are things that exist outside of any one act. We’re a nation of tea drinkers, not because I had a cup of tea this morning but because, as a country, we drink a lot of tea. That national identity doesn’t change because my mum only drinks coffee.

We can accept people who are different to us, without losing who we are. Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and England all have very different national identities, despite being part of one union, I don’t see why the EU would be any different.

The EU isn’t perfect, but it isn’t going away either. By being part of it, we can still influence it.

While it might need shaking all about, I’m in, not out.

Vote remain.

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