The referendum that will decide whether Britain leaves the EU is coming up this Thursday. I can’t vote — and I wouldn’t be able to vote even if they did allow 16-year-olds — but I feel like this is one of the most important decisions yet in my life. I’ve seen over the last year I’ve been trying to have greater political awareness, and the more I’ve read into this issue the more passionate I’ve become in my belief that we’re better off in the EU.
This post may not change anyone’s mind. It’s pretty late know, and I’m not exactly famous. Plus, three quarters of people under 25 want to stay in anyway so perhaps I’m preaching to the choir. But I the polls are incredibly close and feel so, so strongly about this. I want to be able to look back and say: I said something. I really hope it’s not from the perspective of a Britain out of the EU.
For any readers who are a bit confused: Britain is a member of the European Union. I mean, the EU is kind of complicated and I don’t know all the ins and outs, but it’s basically a political and economic union of various states. This mainly means we can trade easily with member nations and that free movement of people in the EU is allowed. The two main issues of this debate have indeed been the economy and immigration.
I don’t think the campaigns have been the best. Both sides have gone for really negative campaigns, which I think is such a shame. Remain in particular had such a strong case to present the facts logical rather than go for crazy scaremongering. But, putting that aside: I want us to stay in. I think that the Leave campaign has really reminded me that there are people who don’t want to be inclusive. That it’s better to cut ourselves off and build a wall.
Perhaps that’s not everyone voting Leave. Obviously there are a lot of different factors. (Please do check out Em‘s post which explains the details a lot better than I can!) I’m sure there are people voting Out with a lot more legitimate reasoning. But in general I’m scared by the idea that we need to ‘take Britain back’. I’ve seen our country, inexplicably, compared to the USSR by educated people…?
I don’t want us to return to being Good Old Britons who sneer and hate foreigners. That’s not how we should be thinking. Yes, Britain is still a democracy; no, the EU is not going to remove our voting rights.(It placed sanctions on the current Polish government because they are doing some very shifty things. Like messing around with the Supreme Court. It’s not a ‘mildly conservative government’, guys.) In particular the EU does reduce the effectiveness in some areas of law, but I think that the benefits outweigh that. We can’t be all take and no give. There are lots of great EU policies! Worker’s rights. The environment. It’s not all doom, gloom and red tape.
I admit that I also believe we should stay for more selfish reasons. I want to be able to travel around Europe! I love that I could go for a day trip to France if I wanted. We can’t know the future of Britain or the economy, but most people agree that Brexit would mean higher prices for some time after, especially whilst we re-negotiate all our trade deals. I don’t particular feel like being a student during a time with both high prices and more difficult travel. Any of my current plans would basically die. Also, my parents’ jobs would be a lot worse and Boris Johnson would potentially become PM. He is a) extremely unqualified and b) not a nice person, so. I don’t love David Cameron, but he’s way better than a lot of people.
This post is not perhaps the highest political analysis you’re going to get. I realise that I’m speaking from a pretty privileged middle class perspective But I do believe, ardently, that Britain is better off in the EU. If we leave I feel the economy and security of our nation would suffer, and I don’t want us to reject all our ideas of co-operation and inclusiveness. We are not so important that countries will just make trade deals with us again. We are not so important that the EU will help us when we need it. Yes, the EU needs reforms, but you can’t change the system from the outside.
If you are able to vote this Thursday then I hope you make the right choice. And I hope that I won’t wake up on Friday to Brexit.