This indecision’s buggin’ me (Indecisión me molesta)
If you don’t want me, set me free (Si no me quieres, librame)
Exactly whom I’m supposed to be (Dime! ¿Qué tengo ser?)
Don’t you know which clothes even fit me? (¿Sabes que ropa me quedar?)
Come on and let me know (Pero tienes que decir)
Should I cool it or should I blow? (¿Me debo ir o quedarme?)
June 23rd 2016. It’s a big day for the people of the UK. The EU referendum to decide whether we remain a part of it or leave it takes place and it is a huge decision that will affect us for the rest of our lives. I guess like many people I have some thoughts on the topic. This blog post contains my meandering opinions on the whole thing. I’ve read about it and thought about it a lot. And I know nothing. But here it is anyway…
There are many people in the UK who have been sceptical about the European Union for a long time and this has meant that David Cameron had to let us have a referendum to appease these Eurosceptics. So now we actually get to choose. We are currently part of a 28 nation EU and we are a little bit of a special case I suppose. We’re not connected to the mainland of Europe as we are a little island under the clouds. We’ve also managed to keep our lovely pound coins instead of having the Euro monopoly money. British people are strange. I can’t really explain why I love the pound coin. But I do. We love our traditions. We’ve very proud. There is a a feeling amongst British people that we are different from continental Europeans. We identify as British and within that identity we also are either English, Scottish, Welsh or Irish and we’re very proud of that too. The majority of us are nationalists. You can see it when England play at a major tournament and we basically scream our national anthem. We love the Union Jack and St George’s flag. Many people are proud of the empire we used to have. Our history is incredible really. Right up there with Egypt, Italy and Israel as the most eventful existences. We love our language. We love our humour. We love our fish and chips. We feel we gave the world football, cricket, rugby and tennis. We became industrialised first. London is the best city on Earth. We fought the bad guys and won in two World Wars. We’re simply bloody amazing in our own eyes. I often feel it myself. When we hosted the Olympics in 2012 I would get choked up as we won medals in front of the home crowd. I guess almost everybody loves their country. We always have pride in our heritage and it is a deep part of who we are. The weather might be shit. But it’s our weather and we get wet together.
So with us being all British and loving it there is a feeling amongst many that our very sovereignty is under threat due to the EU. The EU is an institution that is largely undemocratic and has the power to bring about laws in the UK that the UK may not actually want. The people don’t like it. The nationalists see this as going against our own values. We fought and won wars to be free and yet are giving away power to Brussels. They see more nations joining this union and as we get to a closer union people are fearful that eventually we will lose the pound and everything else too. Britain will stop being Britain and just be another part of Europe. Maybe eventually we’ll be the United States of Europe and our little island becomes just the equivalent of California in the USA. Many people think we are heading that way and are afraid of it.
The economy is important. Undoubtedly if we leave the EU we’ll probably be worse off. We’ll have tariffs to pay where currently there are none when trading with EU countries. Maybe the main reason some non-EU corporations invest in the UK is for easy access to the EU market. Would they do the same if we were on our own or would that investment go elsewhere? It’s a tough one. There are a lot of scare tactics on both sides of the argument regarding the EU and the economy. One side claims we give over £350 million per week to the EU and though we get some back in the form of investment we have no say at all how that money is spent. These Brexiteers don’t seem to acknowledge the fact that due to our trade deals we actually make money from the EU. It is claimed by the remainers that for every £1 we put into the EU we actually get £10 back. Whether this is true is unclear as there are many exaggerations that have been thrown around lately. And is £350 million even that much money when you are talking about government spending? The fact that Team Leave say that if we could save that money it could be used to save the NHS really irritates me. There is no way that these people would save the NHS. The Brexiteers mostly seem to want things that harm the NHS. To use it in their argument wreaks of bullshit. If we leave we’d save some money and lose some money. Same if we stay. The whole thing is uncertain because nobody has ever left an EU before. The truth is we don’t really know what will happen. Especially if we leave. How long will it take to set up new trade deals? We became the 5th largest economy in the world whilst being in the EU so is it really such a bad idea to stay in it? Or could we do better alone? Is it holding us back somehow? Economically it is tough to know what to do and for most people this is not even the main issue. My opinion is that whether we stay or go does not matter as much as either side says it matters. If we leave we will be ok. We’re still worth trading with and we’ll continue to import and export with the EU whilst trade with non-EU countries will be unaffected. The likely outcome will be that we get a similar deal with the EU anyway. Which means we’ll still have to pay the EU and accept their non-negotiable free movement of labour. In that case why bother leaving at all? If it changes nothing accept our place at the negotiation table just why would we give up our vote? We’ll surely be left to accept whatever rules the EU comes up with and will have given no input. Currently we may not always get our way but at least we have a say. If we formed the right arguments in Brussels we have a chance at influencing ourselves and our neighbours in a positive way. If we leave we might just have the rules dictated to us. So are we more free? Or less free? We’ll be able to govern ourselves and apparently save a load of money. We’d be free to deal with countries however we choose. But would this “freedom” be a mere illusion? On a global level would we lose some of our influence? It is a fear I have.
On the flip side I hate rules. I really think there are too many of them. Silly little rules in our insanely bureaucratic world. And the EU loves rules. Whenever anybody says to me the term “EU regulations” it just makes me want to throw myself down the stairs. Some of the rules are obviously great. Guaranteed holidays for workers and all of the other workers’ rights that are protected by the EU are things that we should be thankful for. Would we keep these rights if we left? The fear campaign ran by the remainers warns us that we should not leave these rights in the hands of David Cameron and co. The thing is that any changes to these rights if we left would be made by a democratically elected government by British people. So we could only blame ourselves if we lost some rights and then in retaliation we could bide our time until the next election and get rid of the bastards and get the rights back. So I have no problem with the fact that we could govern ourselves there. We always have and I have to believe in us as a nation. My problem with the EU is that it is a massively capitalist institution and I’m not the biggest fan of capitalism in the first place. That is a whole different story. But there’s a part of me that does not think like the average person thinks when thinking about this referendum. This is my blog and my thoughts and I guess I can be honest here so let’s just get it out there. On the balance of arguments regarding staying or leaving I think it is probably best to stay. I hate the fear campaign but sort of trust the people in team remain more than I do with the Brexiteers. But…there is a part of me that would like to see us leave. This side of me thinks that things need to get worse before they get better. Maybe the EU is a failed project and we should ditch it. Maybe other nations would then also leave. Maybe our economy will be wrecked if we leave. And maybe we need that to happen. Maybe we should upset the status quo and mix things up. Perhaps the fear campaign is right and there would eventually be war in Europe again and it all starts from Brexit. Who knows? Obviously I don’t want war. But there’s a part of me that thinks the world might be going to shit and it has to go to shit before it can rise from the ashes and become something better. We need a new way of doing things that can give the people hope again and bridge the gap in wealth as things are distributed more evenly. If we keep the status quo the rich keep getting richer and the poor get poorer. Banks and corporations already run the world and that is the true reason democracy is dying. So if Brexit causes shockwaves and an economic crisis then so be it people. We’d have voted for it. I would enjoy the drama with some popcorn. And while we’re at it let’s get Donald Trump in as President of the most powerful country on Earth too. Why the hell not? Break up the EU. Break up the UK. Bring anarchy to our shores. It would be one hell of a story. I doubt things would ever get that dramatic but it’s far more likely to happen if we leave the EU. Inside the EU things will go as they do now. Kind of mundane. Yeah we have nice rights and a decent economy and no war and nothing much to complain about. But still we complain anyway. The papers whip up nationalism and a hatred of immigrants and many people feel outraged. I don’t think they have anything to be outraged about and they annoy me. So yeah. Let’s leave. Give the people what they want. And then laugh when they realise the mistakes finally. When it’s too late. And we’re just little Britain. A little insignificant fish in the vast ocean.
That’s the asshole in me. And the asshole wants the nationalists to choke on their words so much that I’d actually walk down the path with them and vote leave myself. But I guess that would be cutting one’s nose off to spite one’s face because at the end of the day if we leave the EU and it’s the first step on a winding road to destruction then I’ll also be sitting amongst the rubble instead of typing words on a laptop. And the popcorn wouldn’t taste so good then. So I have to push the asshole down and think like a normal person again. Do what’s right and vote for what I actually believe and not listen to the anger in me that wants to see the apocalypse. And so what do I believe in? The key issue for many people seems to be national pride and the fear of immigrants. People don’t like the free movement of EU nationals. It means people from Romania and Poland can come and live here and work here. The argument is that British resources should go to British people first. And we don’t want to dilute our society too much. These aren’t my views but are the views of a huge proportion of the UK. They see mosques in their cities and they see Polish sausage in their supermarkets. They work with people who aren’t British and they see our money flowing into the hands of non-British people who then hand it to family members living back in their own country. People idiotically think the NHS is under pressure due to these immigrants. They give little thought to the immigrants that are necessary to run the NHS in the first place. This proportion of British people are very much against the free flow of people from the EU. They vary from just being conservative and right wing all the way to just being totally racist. Not all but many of these Brexiteers are using politics to act on what is pretty much just plain old fashioned racism. Every now and then they let the act slip and truth comes out. “Fuck the muzzie scum”. You hear it a lot. And it’s just hateful. All of these people are in the Vote Leave camp. And I just do not want to be associated with them. Immigration is a part of life. We need immigrants and are also free ourselves to move abroad. At the end of the day we’re all humans living on a stupid rock in space. The whole thing is our home. Borders are man made (well, I guess they’re kind of natural when you live on an island but still) and whilst a dose of patriotism and national pride is a good thing there’s no need to take it so far. I’m an idiot when it comes to national pride. I watch the English players before the match and hear our anthem and I almost cry with pride for our beautiful land. But then I hear the opposing nation’s anthem and ridiculously I almost cry for their pride too. I bloody love Italians and would love to go there. I love Norwegians. And the French and the Spanish. They all have their own heritage and the whole history of Europe is awesome. It’s a great continent to be a part of and every time I’m abroad in Europe or anywhere in the world I find myself fascinated with the culture. It’s much deeper than some stupid nationalist zealotry. We’re more than that. We’re part of humanity and we need to think on global levels rather than just focusing on the British people on this little island. Scottish people have much pride and it almost lead to them leaving the UK but they saw sense that we were better together. We’re always better together. The EU isn’t perfect at all. But how is it a bad thing that we get together with other nations to come to decisions? Maybe it needs to be reformed and become more transparent and more democratic. But if that was to happen then surely it’s just a great thing to be a part of? Together with other EU countries we advance technology and scientific understanding of the world around us at a faster rate than we ever could do on our own. Free trade and free movement of people and decisions made for the benefit of all the people in the continent must be a good thing. People worry about TTIP but it looks like it won’t come into place due to the people putting pressure on the EU and a veto looks likely. That is true democracy. The people have power. Especially with the power of the internet in our hands. A united voice makes things happen in the world. But if we’re not at the party then how can we tell the DJ’s to play better music? If we leave we’ll be in the room next to the party and will still hear the music. But our requests will never be heard. The tracks will go from Rammstein to Andrea Bocelli. Coldplay will never get a spin. Regardless of what the campaigners of either side say it is better to work together with people than be exclusive and look solely after our own interests. We share the world. Decisions made by the EU will affect us whether we are in it or not so we would be daft to give up our voice. I fear that foolish pride is going to lead us to making a decision that costs us influence on a global scale as well as economically. Yeah we’ll be able to have less immigration but maybe that won’t be down to us. Maybe nobody will want to come here and we’ll have to clean our own toilets. I hope as a nation we can overcome our absurd distrust/dislike of other people. We’re better than that. We love curry and Islam is only as daft as Christianity. We’re all just silly humans. We should be inclusive of all of our quirks and embrace them. The British people will always have a place on this rock. Our sarcasm is going nowhere. Our story is forever cemented as a crucial part of the total story of all nations from all of history and our story will carry on. Interweaving with the stories of other nations. We need to be a strong character in this story and be sociable with others. Not run off sulking because we want our own toys only for ourselves.
Well, I said that I don’t think the EU decision was as crucial as either side is making out and yet I’ve made it sound massive. It is a big decision as it affects us on many levels and says a lot about us as a nation. I’m really interested to see how the vote goes as it really could go either way. And I do believe that either way we’ll be fine probably. I just think we’ll be more fine if we carry on as a member of the EU. I guess all I can do now is cast my vote and then sit back with a beer and see what happens and then try to make sense of whatever result comes. Que sera sera! I’m sure I’ll write more when we have a clearer picture of our future. Peace and love my fellow humans x
VOTE REMAIN (…unless you look forward to chaos, if so mischievously vote to leave because fuck ’em!)
Rule Britannia! God save the Queen! Rule Europe! God save the EU! #TEAMWORLD