There is no point trying to convince those people wanting to vote to leave the EU is a good thing because they’ll bring up how Nigel Farage said everything would be fine, and how things will be better even though none of them can actually detail any facts. As someone voting to remain and doing so not because I’m an enthusiastic lover of the EU (though it benefits us with human rights, employment laws, aid grants and a sharing of cultures) but because I’m genuinely fearful of empowering the hard to far right of the Tory Party, opportunists like Boris Johnson and the far right from Nigel Farage’s beige xenophobia to Britain First’s more aggressive fascism.
So I’m talking to undecided voters. I’ve been straight in regards what I’m voting for but on the 23rd of June you have the most important decision you’ve got to make in your life, because one way or another this is going to change your life forever. With that in mind, I’ve come up with some questions to ask but firstly you probably never thought the EU was important, but it is. Hence the rather heated debate which is still at its core a Tory versus Tory debate and had the campaign been longer a more nuanced debate may have sprung up. It hasn’t. David Cameron thought he’d have a short campaign in summer and BOOM! things would go back to normal. This though is a man who hasn’t learned from the Scottish Independence Referendum so is making the same mistakes that’s seen his party (and Labour) in Scotland decimated. Remember that a remain vote here isn’t advocating support for David Cameron here, it’s a vote to remain in the EU.
With that out the way, here’s some questions and/or points to ask and consider if you’re undecided:
- If you hate the Remain campaign’s Project Fear, (and its hateful at times) don’t just assume the Leave side are all sweetness and light as this now deleted Tweet shows.
- Do you know what the EU actually is? Do you know what the UK actually is? From the Wikipedia article for the EU..
And from the article on the UK..
The United Kingdom is a constitutional monarchy with a parliamentary system of governance. The current monarch—since 6 February 1952—isQueen Elizabeth II. The UK consists of four countries: England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland. The latter three have devolved administrations, each with varying powers
Do they look alike? Of course not and each article does a pretty good job explaining where the major differences lie but basically, the EU is a union of 28 independent countries where and the UK is a state made up of four countries. The UK has a large democratic deficit due to people in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland having to deal with the fact the largest part of the UK will always influence it. People in England rightfully feel aggrieved due to lack of devolution from Westminster.
Now ask yourself why it is that the Brexit campaign isn’t offering any sort of democratic reform of the UK in event of a leave vote? Why ‘get control back’ from the EU if you don’t do anything to reform the system in the UK? Who are ‘we’ when the likes of Boris Johnson says ‘we’ll take back control’?
- Boris Johnson (or Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson to give him his full name) is saying he’s ‘fighting the establishment. This is Johnson at the same school he went to with David Cameron.
Now when Johnson says he’s fighting the establishment does this say to you that this is an anti-establishment figure? Does his time as London mayor suggest that? Does his voting record suggest that when he’s supported the austerity policies that are the real problem here?
Ask yourself whether you believe Johnson is in this to ‘shake up the establishment’ or to not just further his career, but to make sure the establishment carries on but under his terms? Ask yourself why Johnson is positioning himself in the way he is?
- Immigration is an issue but ask yourself whether the issue is millions of immigrants coming to live, work and contribute or cuts to say, UKBA, so illegal immigration is harder to police, or a lack of house building policies from successive governments or indeed, a huge number of reasons before immigration is even thought of?
At some point in I imagine virtually all of us there’s an immigrant in our family. One side of my family came to Scotland during the Irish famine. Do you think these people advocating ‘controlled’ immigration realise that we already do that where we can, and the problem is a lack of funding thanks to austerity and successive governments failing to cater for the entire country as opposed to one part of one country in the UK.
However it’s the rhetoric from many on the Brexit side that concern me. I won’t link to it but I do ask anyone undecided to look for themselves and ask if they agree with what’s being said and if they don’t, would they be happy empowering these sort of ideas post Brexit as that’s what could happen?
- If there’s a Brexit and we don’t like the Tories we can vote them out.
True, but without meaningful constitutional reform and a change in the voting system its pointless.”What about Jeremy Corbyn?‘ you may say, and that is a fair question, but seeing as Corbyn and his party voted with the Tories to send the Investigatory Powers Bill to the House of Lords, so I frankly don’t trust Corbyn or his party to let go of the authoritarian streak they’ve had for too long.
Although there are decent Labour politicians can you trust the ones on the Brexit side to tell you the full story? Gisela Stuart for example. Labour have many of the same vested interests as the Tories so do you want to take us out the EU and remove what protections we have to let the Tories and Labour do what they want?
- But what if you like the Tories? Then its down to you whether you’d like your party ruled by the likes of Cameron or the likes of Johnson. To me, they’re both bastards but as much as a bastard Cameron is, I know Johnson will be worse.Plus look at the state of your party after decades of in-fighting. It’s come to this and your party faces being ripped in two. Good luck trying to patch that one together.
- Universal human rights is something we all have. Politicians focus on the cases where a criminal’s human rights are protected yet they have the same rights as you or me. That’s the point with the universal rights because then we don’t start advocating that some people are worthy of less rights than others and you end up down a very slippery path.
If you want to worry then listen to various on the Brexit campaign who’ve spoken of ”British rights for British people’. Do you want to lose the ability to take the UK government to a higher court? That’s what we’re potentially talking about as Brexit is talking of the ‘supremacy’ of Parliament. If you feel happy with an unreformed Westminster having supreme control vote to leave, if you’ve doubts look into this because it is vitally important.
- If you like going to Spain or France then consider that harder to do. We’l need visas and possibly permits. Are you happy with that or not?
- If you like an NHS, ask yourself where the skilled staff it needs is going to come from if EU staff are now excluded? It’ll take years to train British people up, and the Commonwealth is a red herring.
- Do you feel any concern about Iain Duncan Smith’s comments that workers rights should be ‘flexible’ after a Brexit?
There’s dozens of other questions I’m sure will pop into my head as soon as I hit ‘publish’ for this blog, but one last question. Do you think there’s a viable, workable, fact based plan from the Brexit campaign? If so, do you think it will benefit not just you, but your family, children and friends?
If you’ve worked out you’re willing taking a chance with Brexit fine, your choice, but search out answers to the questions I’ve posed for yourself and see if you agree with me or decide to take that jump and leap with the likes of Johnson, IDS and Farage.