Why I am voting Remain

eu-flag

On Thursday 23 June, we will have the choice for Britain to remain in, or leave, the European Union. I will be voting for us to remain a member, and want to explain why.

This is not a short term decision

Both sides have argued over what the short term effects on the country would be. But the truth is that that is not really important. This is a decision about our future and one that will affect our entire lives. We need to think about what kind of country we want 50 years down the line.

I know what kind of country I want. One that is open and inclusive. One that does not shrink away from being a part of the global community. One that builds relationships and tolerance by saying that we are a united continent, held together by an organisation set up to promote the common good.

Relationships are better in Europe

My wife is from Finland. Our marriage was easy. She can live and work over here, or I can live and work over there. When we visit each other’s families, travel is easy. Pretty much everything inside the EU is easier.

marriage-signing

Most of my friends are EU immigrants. They’re all awesome people, kind people, interesting people. They all have jobs. Not a single EU immigrant I know is on benefits: they are all contributing to our economy. They’re not cheap labour, they’re the best that their country has to offer. And they’re humans. Humans with feelings, and fears, left wandering what will happen to the country they live in and love.

Freedom to go where one wants

When I was going to move to San Francisco to work for a software company, we had months of complexities trying to sort out visas. I’m a high skilled worker with a skill that the United States needs, and still it was incredibly difficult and complex to get me the right to work in the country, let alone settle there.

I found this an incredibly bizarre experience. As a British citizen, my passport is normally a golden ticket to anything. I won the genetic lottery when I was born in the UK. Yet here was a country that wouldn’t let me even, even with a passport in which Her Majesty “requests & requires” the barer to be allowed free passage.

Right now I can go to any other European nation. I can live there, I can work there, I can use their healthcare system. I have that right because of the relationships we have with our European neighbours. Risking that would be only be a step backward.

Lead, not leave

27 countries send MEPs to the European Parliament. We send over 10% of them. The average country sends 4% of the MEPs, we send more than double that. Along with Germany and France, we have the biggest seat at the table.

And what a community to lead. The European Union is the world’s largest economy. It is bigger than the United States, it is bigger than China. It is one of the few powers in the world that can stand up to global corporations.

Europe sticks up for workers, and consumers

Europe is not making judgements and legislation to make our lives more difficult. They make a positive impact on our lives. They guarantee us holidays, rights, a limited working week and maternity leave.

Consumers benefit too. Take mobile roaming charges for example. It is literally free for operators to do this. The idea that roaming costs money is bullshit. The whole internet works on people sending data all over the world. There is no reason for these fees to exist other than for operators to take advantage of consumers. The EU are putting a stop to that.

There is no financial benefit

All countries that want access to the single market, which we would need to do to continue to trade with the rest of Europe, we would continue to have to pay into the EU budget. This is the reality Norway find themselves in.

However, even if we did save some cash after the new EU bill, and we somehow kept the economy going, and thereby ended up with in the black, the idea that that money would go to the NHS is dubious. As one meme pointed out, if you trust people live Johnson, Gove and Farage to take the money we save and put it into the NHS, rather than giving further tax breaks to the rich, then I have some magic beans to sell you.

Nor will leaving the EU allow us to avoid the European Convention on Human Rights or avoid the judgements of the European Court of Human Rights. These are part of the Council of Europe and leaving the EU will now exempt us from them.

There will be no immigration controls

The other major touted benefit of leaving the EU would be that we would have control of immigration. However, it has now been shown how this would be the case. Norway and Switzland both have free movement agreements in place and actually receive a higher proportion of EU immigrants than we do.

Summary

I am voting for remain because the European Union represents a better world. A world where we can go where we want, work where we want. A world where we welcome in our friends and our lovers, and do not worry about whether our relationships will be allowed to continue or rejected for visa reasons.

A world where we stand side-by-side with our neighbours to defend human rights, and the rights of workers and consumers across the continent. There is no economic argument for leaving: our economy will function best when we have open trading with our European partners.

United we stand, divided we fall.

Timeline

Comments
Free newsletter

Don't have time to check my blog? Get a weekly email with all the new posts. This is my personal blog, so obviously it is 100% spam free.

Metadata

Tags: , , ,

This entry was posted on Monday, June 13th, 2016 at 2:05 pm and is filed under Religion & Politics, Thoughts. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.