So, I’ve just cast my vote in the EU Referendum. I’ve voted to Remain. In some ways, to me, it’s an obvious choice. Some of my reasons are political, some personal. They’re all long-term, though.
In or Out, the UK has problems. In or Out, the EU has problems. Remain or Leave, those problems won’t vanish overnight.
In my mind, a vote to Remain isn’t automatically agreeing with everything the EU stands for right now. It’s also not assuming that the EU can or will always act in the UK’s best interests.
Similarly, I don’t buy that a vote to Leave is a racist or jingoistic response.
There are short-sighted, short-term and selfish reasons to vote in either direction. There are plenty of spokespeople on each side of the debate whose arguments are based on those very reasons. Yes, it’s easy to point out pro-Leave supporters who have one or more or those traits but there are too many pro-Remain supporters with them as well.
I’m 39 years old. Not that old, not that young. I’ve seen quite a lot of change in my lifetime. This is not the world of my childhood. The fact that I’m writing something that could easily be read by someone almost anywhere in the world within minutes of me posting it and agreeing/disagreeing/arguing with me almost immediately it proof of that.
In some ways, the world has shrunk and borders have become less relevant. They still matter, but in a different way than they once did. I see them more like the lines in artwork. They don’t have to keep regions totally separate. You can draw something and colour totally within the lines and it work to enhance the big picture.
They can give shape, not separation.
Instead, too many people see borders as push-up bras. Lift into view and separate out. “We’re better than you!”
I know there are some who are voting Leave because they think the UK is better off fending for itself. There are some who are voting Remain mainly because of what the UK can get out of the EU, as opposed to what we can help put into it.
To me, though, the EU is about being a part of something bigger. Having our own identity yet feeding into and feeding from a greater overall entity. Working together with other countries and cultures. Learning how we can be better. Helping those who need it. And everyone banding together when it all goes pear-shaped.
Since I first really heard about the EU as a kid in the late 1980s, it always seemed so full of potential to me. I don’t think it has currently reached anywhere near its potential but that potential is still there. And it’s a potential the whole world needs. Cooperation instead of Conflict.
And that’s why I voted Remain.
I believe in working towards a world where maybe we can work through our differences. Remaining in the EU might help achieve that. Leaving the EU would be a step away from that dream. To be fair, I don’t think it would be a permanent one. But it would be more of a significant step during my lifetime. And if people are going to vote in either direction for selfish reasons, my Selfish Reason is that I want to see the world become slightly less crappy before I die. I want to see it in my lifetime, dammit!
The EU’s like a family. Families don’t always get along well. And even the ones that do, some achieve that with distance. I don’t have any family members “just down the road”. Even my immediate family, my parents and my brother’s family, are an hour’s drive away each. I’ve not live with my parents for a decade, and not lived with my brother for two.
I couldn’t live with them again easily. But they’re still my family. They’ve been there for me when i needed it. i try to be there for them when they need it. It’s what family do.
Family also squabble. The stereotypical Family Christmas is everyone getting a bit tipsy and having an argument over the dinner table. Well, that’s what the EU is for. It’s the dinner table we all argue around.
And those arguments are why we’ve not had a major punchup in the metaphorical pub car park since World War II.
The EU is far from perfect. But thats no reason to leave. All we’d be doing would be putting up higher walls and sending a signal out to the rest of the world that looking after your own interests first-and-foremore is all that matters.
The dinner table would break up. Arguments would escalate. And the next punchup would be waiting in the car park.
And that isn’t something I want to see in my lifetime. (Or anyone else’s to be fair.)