Brexit – the most important vote any British, Irish or (eligible) Commonwealth citizen has probably ever had to make in his or her lifetime. Indeed probably the most important vote that they’ll ever have to make between now and the day that they die.
I’ll start this post off wanting to stress a few things.
- If David Cameron had secured any genuine reforms of the United Kingdoms relationship with Brussels I would more than likely be pro-actively campaigning and voting to remain. Actually, if he maybe had secured any new legally binding reforms, (for he has not), I would possibly consider my position on this differently. He hasn’t. We are where we were and we’re heading towards where the EU wants us to head.
- In my opinion BOTH the official “leave” campaign and the “remain” campaign have been a crock of shit. An utter disgrace to themselves and to the British voting public. BOTH OF THEM.
- The media have been biased at worst and shoddy at best with regards to reporting facts with what the situation is. The Guardian has been right wing for quite some time yet some fail to realise it. The Daily Mirror (my old employers) have betrayed their core Socialist Labour readership over and over again on this issue. The Express and Mail are both toilet paper and always have been so nothing has changed there. The BBC have highlighted reports from partly or fully EU funded organisations above stories that should get the top spot; the former head of Mi6, former heads of our Military getting less coverage than other pro/remain stories is a disgrace to journalism. Apart from the Sky debates (can’t believe I am praising them) every other debate has been shite, managed and controlled. I have been at three live debates and lined up to speak on two of them – they’ve all been ridiculous behind the scenes and exceedingly stage managed for all speakers.
- I’m a card carrying Labour member and UNITE Union member. Membership numbers L1458316 and 20644162 respectively. I’m not a UKIP member. I consider myself more of a socialist and a libertarian as such. “Full Disclosure”…in the last London elections I voted for Peter Whittle (UKIP), Sian Berry (Green Party) and Dr Onkar Sahota (Labour). In the last General Election I voted for and was heavily involved in the campaign of Dr Rupa Huq MP. So much so that I was invited to appear (and did so) in various photoshoots/press events with Dr Huq, Tom Watson, Eddie Izzard, Steve Coogan and Ed Milliband. In the previous election I voted for Nick Clegg (let’s just leave that and say “I’m sorry”). In every single election previous to these I have voted Labour – from council, LAM, MEPs, MPs etc. My vote for Clegg was the first time I ever didn’t vote Labour. I am also friends with or close acquaintances with various Labour MPs and then various Labour and Lib Dem councillors. I have always, always, voted on manifesto promises and individual candidates previous voting records (where applicable) . Until the latter days of Blair I always considered myself a “Labour man”.
- I have benefited from the “free movement of people” of the EU/ EEA /EFTA. If you consider an adult life to start at 18 I have spent 25% of my adult life living, working and paying taxes within the EEA on a permanent basis. I have visited or passed through thirteen EU countries, with zero border checks, within the last 2 1/2 years alone.
- My partner is an American citizen. For over a year she has not been able to work due to the new immigration policies of the current U.K. government. We are currently in a legal battle against the UK government to allow her to stay and work in my country. My views on our EU membership have not changed nor are biased as of this – indeed, staying within the EU will benefit us as she/we are actually fighting her leave to remain case under EU and not British legislation.
So, that was the quick introduction. Now for the long post. I forewarned you that this would be long…I implore you to read it all.
I never really had an issue with the European Union. Yes, we had the whole pounds and ounces vs grams and kilograms stuff. Yes, we had straight cucumbers or bent or whatever it was. Yes, we had a “heh let’s all have the same currency” debacle – which seemed never to be a genuinely viable option in the UK from any party. I remember when I was younger vague Maastricht and EEC conversations. I couldn’t really give a monkeys. I’d visited countries on holibobs pre free movement and after free movement and, well, jack diddly changed..still didn’t need a visa so that was cool. As a little un I was in the back of my Dads passport as such – first time I got my own it was EU but whatever, it still had cool things from the Queen written in the front. That was about it. My first “negativity” towards the EU was actually more directed towards the Euro. I used to visit Amsterdam a heck of a lot and I remember when they were phasing in the Euro and it was basically a pisstake. Pay with the Guilder and it was X price, pay with the Euro and all the shops had just rounded shit up and it was more expensive. When i went and they had fully implemented the transition then bloody everything was more expensive. That annoyed me as did not having fun with drachmas, pesetas, guilders…well that and no cool stamps in my passport. Then I moved to Slovakia.
For those that don’t know me I buggered off to Slovakia to meet my other half. No she wasn’t a lovely Slovak girl I met on some Eastern European Bride website, she is American and was working there as a teacher at the time. Five years later, getting close to the day, I left the UK to travel to be with her. We’re still together and she is said American I mentioned at the beginning. I travelled freely from Soho in London to Zilina in Slovakia. I had passport control from the French at Dover on the bus I was on and in 24 hours of the worst coach trip known to man my passport was only checked once – in Germany. In the middle of the night a bunch of German plain clothed police stopped and got on the bus and wanted to check all the passports. I held mine aloft as the guys wearing sunglasses and with badges hanging around their necks (yes, they’d clearly watched too many US films) worked the coach. When they got to me it was ” no, no, you are English, we do not need to see, you are cool”. That was it. As I travelled across mainland Europe I never saw a border post, I only ever knew what country I was in as of t-mobile texting me to say “welcome to Germany”, “welcome to The Netherlands” etc. For me, the EU and the free movement of people was bloody amazing.
Part 2 tomorrow.