Yet again we face a referendum on our relationship with the world, in this case the European Union. To be honest, after already voting in three polling days in as many years and another (Local Council election) ballot lined-up for 2017, I’m a bit fed-up with direct democracy and fervently hope our politicians will just get on with governing and making our nation better.
However, this will be impossible if, for at least the next 10 years, ministers and civil servants are desperately re-negotiating a whole raft of international treaties, administering emergency CPR on an economy deprived of its largest single export market and coping with numerous threats to security as our enemies exploit the sudden souring of relations with 27 formerly-staunch allies.
Brexit is madness. They assert that EU bureaucracy is poised to tax our toasters and swamp us with immigrants from new member states, conveniently forgetting that we have a veto on most matters and, if push came to shove and their dire predictions turn out to be true, we could leave at a later date of our own choosing. They vilify the free movement of labour, ignoring all the analyses that demonstrate how much this boasts our own economy and allows us the opportunity to travel and work across numerous countries, from Portugal to Poland. They tell us that EU membership costs Britain £55 million per day, neglecting to mention the existence of our rebate and the many other direct grants, whether for agriculture or science, that flow our way and mean the actual figure is more like £23 million (fullfacts.org). If they can’t even tell the truth on this fact, why on earth should we trust Farage & co. on any assertion they make?
Consider the tone of their protestations. Shouting down all those who point out the gaping holes in their arguments; accusing everyone who disagrees of being part of some monstrous conspiracy; comparing the European Union with Hitler… does this really appeal to you? Finally, remember that “Brexit” would be final – there is no going back to the hard-won terms of membership and protections we currently enjoy. Is this a risk we can afford?
Please vote to settle this issue and stay with a partnership that, though needing reform like every democracy, actually accomplishes much good. Whether that’s stopping national rivalries becoming full-blown conflicts, promoting environmental responsibility across the continent, increasing our living standards by boasting trade or just giving more people the opportunity to freely travel and work in many fascinating countries, the EU is not a scapegoat for our every woe, but a means to improving all our lives.