There is a saying along the lines of published and be damned, I believe. Let me do that, although I suspect that the several, maybe ten, people who read this blog on a frequent basis (thank you all) are not going to be too harsh in their damnation. To quote one of the most celebrated 12" remixes of all time, then, condemn me, history will love us all.......
This is one of them “serious” blog posts that I say I do not do too often, but all of a sudden it seems they are getting quite frequent. Sorry for that, look you see, in my defence all I can write really is whatever comes to mind.
In this instance, what comes to mind is that which will dominate much of the news and a fair number of conversations over the next ten or so weeks. It ends when voting starts in the EU referendum on 23 June of this year (2016).
The Prime Minister, the Leader of the Opposition and, weirdly, the leader of the SNP are all in agreement that we should stay as part of the EU. To that end, a booklet funded by taxpayers has been delivered to me, explaining why we should stay in the EU. Actually, it says why “The Government” thinks we should, which is quite strange when you consider just how many of the incumbent Government have said leave.
I shall use this booklet as the point of departure for this blog post. Up front, let me say that a few months ago I would have said my vote was “open”, leaning slightly towards “leave”. In the here and now if I was asked I would say that my mind has been made up, and it will be “leave the EU” which gets my vote. So, now you know that, if you have no wish to read why you can move along to another corner of the internet.
My main reason for voting leave? Personal. I mean, this is, at heart, the only reason anyone can vote or decide on anything. Personal, but not private. I am happy to share. As a direct consequence of the EU open border policy and the acceptance of EU member nations that did not meet the criteria to join, the British Government passed laws which sought to block me from coming home. Let that sink in for a moment.
I am no one special. I was, however, born and mostly raised in England. I have never given up my British citizenship, no matter where I have lived in the world. Over the years I have worked in and paid tax in England, having had one of them smart National Insurance numbers and cards since I was, what, 17. I wanted to come home, and I had every right to do so.
The trick, however, was that the British Government – at first – refused to give my (considerably) better half permission to join me. They could not stop me coming home. They could not stop our two boys, both British citizens, coming with me. But they could – at first – stop my wife of then 10 years and the mother of two British citizens coming with us. And this is what they tried to do.
We had to fight and argue to be allowed to remain as a family and to live in my country of birth; a country which let us not forget is supposed to be at the forefront of the defence of freedom and rights. We were very nearly in the farcical situation where I would have had to make an appeal about a Human Rights violation as the British Government were trying to say who I could and could not love, remain married to and live with on the basis that they were not an EU citizen.
You may not like me very much, and indeed could not care less about me. That’s fine, and I would probably agree with you on that one. But put the “me” part of this out of what I have just said. As a result of the number of people the British Government now has to let into the country from the EU they are not so much actively seeking ways as they are creating laws designed to stop British born and raised citizens from living in their own country.
The above happens to be true. I am very sorry if you are shocked or surprised by the above, as it does sound like one of those vile, somewhat crass “meme” things from the likes of UKIP or Britain First, or some other right wing concern. An unfortunate, or if you like inconvenient, truth in this case is that EU members are given preference over British citizens in regards of living in Britain.
On a personal level, then, why the hell would I vote for my country to stay in the EU when they put me through the above as a consequence of being in it? I do, however, have other not quite so personal reasons for voting out, and here’s a look at them in the light of what the Government book says.
FREE MOVEMENT AROUND THE EU
In every instance of me referring to The Government from here on out I am referring to what it says that The Government says in this book. And, according to the book, if we vote to leave we risk losing things like free movement around EU countries and cheaper mobile phone roaming costs, and could face an increase in the cost of some household goods. This is, of course, all nonsense.
In terms of Britain being welcome across Europe, our money is very, very welcome. British tourists and retirees are always welcome because they are big spenders. I refer you to Euro 2004, held in Portugal. When Portugal knocked England out of the tournament, Portuguese businesses complained bitterly about it, as that meant that more than 50% of the tourists in the country – and a considerably higher percentage of spending – were gone. As for the “threat” of losing out on cheaper calls if we are non-EU, well, the feral millenials who currently send thousands of selfies from Ibiza and Croatia and similar at a high cost now are unlikely to stop doing so just because they will be paying the same price as now to do so. The risk of higher prices for some household goods? The Government does not indicate which are at risk, or what sort of increase. So, prices “might go up in the future” shock.
The Government also mentions that EU reforms in the 90s saw a drop in flight costs by some 40%. As EU countries will still want British tourist money those flights shall remain cheap. Worst case here, folks, is that people need to go to Dublin or France to fly around the rest of Europe cheap.
This could get lengthy, and no I am not going to quote the bizarre equation from Treasury and that b@stard cigarette taxer Osborne.
It says here that EU Countries by 44% of everything we sell abroad. Also, it says that 3 million British jobs are linked to exports to the EU. Why exactly would this change if we left the EU? As things stand at the moment, the only possible reason that this is the case is because Britain delivers these goods and services in a way no other EU country can. The EU members will, presumably, still require these goods and services, no? If another country within the EU could compete with us in regards of them – whatever they are, since The Government does not mention bar some broad titles – then you could be sure that the EU would have made deals to host these jobs and services in other nations long before now. They haven’t, which suggests they can’t.
There is a rather cheeky comment which says that over the last ten years “foreign companies” have invested ₤540billion in the UK. Note it does not say EU members. For a start, several billion of that will be the money “invested” in football clubs by people and businesses off of Russia, the Middle East and America.
The Government also unleashes a bizarre rant against Canada. It points out that negotiations between Canada and the EU about market access and trade have been going on “for several years” and are not close to being in place. Somehow this is pointed out as a reason why we should stay in the EU. Frankly, all it does is show the slow, bureaucratic nature of EU negotiations and suggests that Canada are “difficult” to negotiate with. I think perhaps it might be that when they wrote this The Government “forgot” that Canada is a member of the Commonwealth. I would suggest that a negotiated trade agreement between Canada and the UK would be achieved faster and in a far more mutually beneficial way than would seem to be the case between Canada and 28 or so nations, some of which Canada has never heard of.
There are some thinly veiled references to “economic stability” made by The Government in respect of staying in the EU. Someone will have to remind me what the EU did to either try and stave off or eventually help fix the economic crises which the UK went through during, off the top of my head, the late 70s, the mid 80s, the early 90s and the late 00s. My memory is they were mostly created by ourselves and worldwide factors beyond our control and they were fixed by ourselves.
WE HAVE CONTROL OF OUR BORDERS AND IMMIGRATION
Yeah, sure. Please see my personal reasons above for what exactly the British Government has decided to do with that theoretical control over borders. Any control we have over our own borders at this stage is subject to, or influenced by, EU law in this respect.
Also, we have a bit of form and some history in defending our borders……
WE ARE SAFER IN EUROPE
The Government says that EU Membership means that UK police can use law enforcement from 27 EU countries. I would suggest that Interpol membership does this – as point of fact it gives us access to co-operation from 190 countries.
How about the idea – that The Government does not mention but hints at – of EU ensuring that there is never again a war between nations within Europe? I am pretty sure that in the past treaties and unions have been broken for the sake of a war. Should Europe ever be plunged into war once more, I would suggest it would come in the form of an invasion from the East or the South, and in either instance it’s likely that the rest of Europe would accept our involvement in repelling the invaders, whether we were EU members or not.
SCOTLAND WILL KICK OFF AND DEMAND A NEW REFERENDUM
That angry Scottish lady, Nicola something, says that if the UK votes to leave the EU, then Scotland will be entitled to another referendum on independence as they would like to remain part of the EU.
Sigh. Nicola, before the last Scottish independence vote the EU made it clear that Scotland would not qualify for EU membership on its own. This is unlikely to have changed much in the last year or so.
Yes that is me playing swingball whilst wearing my smart hat - just a picture for the sake of some more pictures, move along to the text now.
With a plan to keep using the British pound, to retain the British monarchy as Head of State and an ambition to remain in the EU, I have to say I find Scotland’s idea of what constitutes as independent as being somewhat peculiar. For the record, whilst I am proud to be British and proud of the UK, I am inclined to say let Scotland be independent, and then, once and for all, all of us can be free of the question. Maybe that way we can just all get along with trying to get along, who knows.
WE HAVE NEGOTIATED A STRONG POSITION IN EUROPE
Debatable. To put it mildly. And whatever “strong position” we have now will be gone with a vote to stay in. How politics works is that by voting to stay in is to give a mandate from the masses for more EU integration, more EU regulation and more EU control of what we do. Unless we’ve all of a sudden found ourselves in a world where politicians stick to promises and pledges, I don’t for one minute believe our “tough stance” will remain the approach.
IT’S RACIST / XENOPHOBIC TO BE PROUD TO BE BRITISH
Actually it isn’t. It never has been and it never will be. There are racist, xenophobic right wingers who are proud to be British, but that does not mean all who are proud to be British are racist, xenophobic right wingers. That is a ridiculous generalization that has been allowed to be perpetuated for far too long.
Yeah, that is a picture of my recently restored CD stand that I never got around to doing a blog post on. Sorry, ran out of pictures from the EU book and you people like pictures.
Again, from my personal perspective – I am British born and raised, have always been a British citizen and yet I was forced to plead to be allowed to live in my own country. Yet someone from Estonia, Latvia, Hungary, Lithuania or any other member state of the EU could come and live here without needing to so much as ask. Does it really make me racist or xenophobic to be angry at a system which has made this the case? Or does making such an accusation help in swiftly trying to sidestep the issue?
To be pro-English, pro-Scottish, pro-Welsh, pro-Irish or pro-British does not automatically mean you are anti- something or everything else as a consequence. stop letting mindless keyboard warriors of the internet bully everyone into thinking this is the case just because they lack the imagination to have a balanced view on life.
The flaws in the case for staying in the EU put forward by The Government are so obvious that it feels at times like they are saying “yes, we want to leave too, but we have to pretend that this is not the case”. That or they just believe the population at large are simply too thick to read this brochure in any detail, or think about it themselves.
What would see me turn around and say vote yes to staying in the EU? A set in stone pledge from Cameron and Osborne that cigarette taxes would be lowered to the levels they are across Europe. If I had that guarantee, right, I would be out there waving the EU flag, learning any language they cared to mention and not minding so much about having to ask permission to stay in my own country.
Well, there you go. Yeah, that’s pretty much a soap box statement from me saying vote no, get out of the EU, now. And yet the decision is made by me on purely personal reason and experience. All I can really do is ask and encourage you to decide which way on the basis of your own personal reason and experience. Set aside warnings of dire consequences of leaving, of dire consequences of staying, of promises of greatness if we stay or go. Consider only you’re here and life up to now and if the UK being in the EU has made it better or worse.
above everything else,
be excellent to each other!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!