The EU referendum vote is perhaps one of the most important votes we will ever take part in. We have been exposed to the arguments for and against all day in every form of media constantly now for weeks. Everyone has an opinion and most importantly every one has a stake in the result.
What fascinates me most is that virtually every person or organisation in a position of power and influence has an agenda and as such has sought to promote their agenda whilst trying to pretend that it has the greater good of the country and the people at heart. The corollary of this is that they are asking the millions of the great unwashed with the least power and influence to set aside their own personal agendas and vote for the greater good.
It could be Mark Carney of the Bank of England or the chancellor, George Osborne, urging us to remain in their capacity as experts on the economy but really is not their real purpose to ensure that they are not embarrassed by an economic downturn post exit?
It could be Boris Johnson, desperate to appear as the archetypal British Bulldog, a 21st century Winston Churchill, who really has an ultimate ambition of becoming Prime Minister. A few days ago Alistair Campbell, Tony Blair’s spin doctor, claimed on Twitter that the Brexit lie machine is run by multi-millionaire tax dodgers fuelling anger and hate, followed by yesterday 125 business leaders, surely not multi-millionaire tax dodgers, writing to the Times urging us to not vote leave.
I wonder if Martin Sorrell of WPP, for one, worries about getting a GP’s appointment in Boston, Lincolnshire ahead of a queue of Lithuanian cabbage pickers or that his Grandchildren are feeling isolated in their primary school because they are the only ones who don’t speak Urdu or Bengali. Perhaps Martin’s £70 million a year pay package allows him to mitigate some of those issues.
How do we make our mind up? Have we even considered the issues or are we just sticking to our primal prejudices and orientations without needing to look too closely. As someone from the North West, aged sixty plus, largely Conservative voter, playing golf and with working class origins I should be a definite out voter but then again I read The Times, enjoy a middle class life/style and have a degree so this makes me likely Remain fodder.
For a long time I believed I would vote to leave. I was not afraid of that leap in the dark, I want this country to stay as it was, but that’s the point – it isn’t what it was. Leaving the EU will not not significantly change the demographic make up of this country, immigration will continue in one form or another, those immigrants that are here already will not be going anywhere.
I don’t believe that the EC has been the prime factor in keeping the peace, that’s what NATO is for, but the EU is the braces to the belt of NATO.
With trade, we are not prevented from exporting to the rest of the world and , as the leave camp are fond of telling us, tariffs and barriers to trade are low in many areas where we do not have a formal trade agreement.
With many of the other issues with the EU , do they pass the “So What” test for me personally? In many cases the answer is no. Much is wrong with the EU and it desperately needs both reform and reining in but is that a reason to leave?
So what to do? I have decided on two things: firstly I will vote for my agenda and best interests and those of my immediate family and secondly, as in the most recent General election, I will keep in mind that the economy is the most important aspect of the whole debate. I believe that the economy will suffer following a leave vote, it is not inconceivable that we will move into recession, that prices will rise and interest rates will also follow. Do I want more expensive mortgages for my children? Do I want a recession in the economy? Do I want the financial services Industry start to drift away to Frankfurt or Paris? We have a stable economy at present and should devote energies into maximising tax revenues to pay for the increase in services.
I will be voting to remain and I hope that whatever the result, this country puts the result behind it and works to resolve the issues that at least half of the country feel important.