So the vote is nearly here and, if the polls are to be believed, those of us who feel that EU membership is fundamentally good for Britain, and Britons, could be disappointed on Friday morning. David Cameron was profoundly ignorant/clever to give the British public a vote on a decision as horrendously complicated as the EU – something that the majority of us will never be able to fully understand. The entire debate has lead me to become a passionate advocate of the EU and Britain’s membership of it.
The reasons for and against are not really worth debating further at this 11th hour. The campaigns on both sides have been shocking, albeit for different reasons. I’ve found the ‘Brexiteers’ to be very accusatory, negligent of facts (even when they’re proven beyond reasonable doubt) and insidious. The discourse from the guys at the top – Boris, Farage and Gove – has been deeply worrying. What’s worse, swathes of the British public are behind them. The messages are easy to digest and don’t require much thought. We’ve heard about the criminal rapists from Turkey, asylum seekers on boats who shouldn’t have tried in the first place (and what are they doing with mobile phones?), we’ve heard about how we could fund our entire NHS by leaving the EU and how undemocratic the institution itself is. Aside from being essentially wrong on all counts, it does demonstrate that an apparently “plain talking” politician can hoodwink most people into believing anything on the back of pseudo-nationalism. There was a group very good at this in Germany in the 1930s. Here’s the thing: you can’t talk plainly about the EU or nearly any issue surrounding it. If you can, you don’t understand the depths and complexities of it. You’re parroting.
So who are the people leading Britain’s exit from the draconian, undemocratic, unmovable EU back to a magnificent superpower?
Michael Gove: a man so fabulously arrogant and contemptuous of the people he serves, he chose to ignore nearly every practitioner and academic in his position as Education Secretary and force through legislation that the entire education establishment proved time and again to be damaging and detrimental. I don’t think there’s a man in modern politics who cares less about what’s good for the people of Britain and more for his own career and ego.
Boris Johnson: On record as supporting EU membership and his new bugbear, Turkey’s membership of it. Curiously, now against those things he’s spent most of his career supporting. An odd U-turn as his position as London Mayor expires and David Cameron’s premiership looks less than tenable. He’s wilfully distorted the figures, insisting the EU costs us £350m per week, peddled absolute crap such as the mythical “straight bananas” law, plain made up some of it – such as supposed EU regulations on bridge heights – and basically shown a complete disregard for reality or fact. And your middle-Englander UKIP voter will swallow it all as further evidence of how awful the EU is. It’s an easy sell and he sells it well with a veneer of British eccentricity. Good old Boris – piss off you other politicians with your complicated arguments and reasoning we don’t understand. I’m fed up of EU regulation on flammable clothing – if I want to put my daughter in a highly-flammable baby grow, I bloody well will. Take back control.
Nigel Farage: really? If anyone reading this truly thinks Farage is credible as a person, let alone a politician, they’re reading the wrong post. And friends with the wrong person. There’s an ‘Unfriend’ button if you scroll up.
And here’s the crux – never mind that an overwhelming majority of business leaders, politicians, academics and public service workers support Remain for reasons that directly affect them – 60-year-old Barry from East Anglia (the statistically ‘average’ Brexit voter) “BeLEAVEs in Britain”. And there are a lot of Barrys with a lot of free time they can use to vote. And here’s the other thing: Barry won’t be affected either way, but you and I will be.
I believe in Britain. I believe in an open, tolerant and inclusive Britain. I believe in the Britain that co-founded the European Union in the first place and I believe in the EU’s founding principles. I believe in a Britain that doesn’t think it’s obscene to give money to developing countries and countries in need when we’re the fifth largest economy in the world. I believe in an EU that’s invested quite literally billions more than we’ve given them in this country alone. Above all, I believe in a very different Britain to Farage, Gove and Boris. That’s what I’ll be voting for on Thursday.
I sort of quite like Britain as it is and I quite like the innumerable things the EU has done for me, my family, my business and Britain as a whole. I do not want to follow the path the champions of Brexit are laying out for us. Neither do you. #VoteRemain.