So as most of you will know, (unless you have either been living in a cave or have had your head stuck in the sand) we are due to vote on the 23rd June with regards to the EU referendum. What I hear you cry can this have to do with a Mum Blogger. Well my friends, I have to admit that I am no political expert, but then again after the last election who is?
I can’t say that either camp has persuaded me. In fact I would say that I am totally confused about the whole thing. There seems to be a whole lot of scare tactics going around. Some are saying that staying in the EU will mean our borders will be flooded with immigrants and refugees on the other it seems that without the EU our trading ability could be hampered. Apparently voting leave will enable us to take back control and save our country millions of pounds a year, but the Keep Britain in camp tells us that public services will be cut and wages will go down. Of course we will apparently be allowed super fast toasters and hot cups of tea if we leave – but what our are priorities here?
For me personally the immigrant bashing makes me pretty angry, this underlying assumption people have that families only travel to the UK to claim benefits and abuse our health system is not true on the most part. There will always be some who see the UK as a free meal ticket. But most come here for a better life, for the chance to work and build a secure future for their families. A lot work here for many years and send money to their relatives at home, and hope that one day they will return to their own country. People come here to enjoy all the freedoms that we as Britain’s take for granted. What about all our young people and their need for jobs I hear you howl? These people come here and provide cheap labour etc etc; well let me ask, why do you think that is? Is it because our young people are perhaps a bit over privileged and have no desire to do the kind of labour intensive jobs that pay such low wages? Maybe it is. Maybe it’s because these days the norm is to have aspirations of attending university and entering the workforce as a graduate. Of course not all will achieve this or even aspire to this. There are plenty of people out there working their noses to the grindstone to make ends meet, but do we have the right to stop people coming to the UK because of this? Surely if we close our doors on immigration we will lose plenty of skilled workers as well as the unskilled.
The EU allows not only free movement of people in to the UK, but free movement of people out. Something that a lot of our young people take advantage of in their gap years as they travel and work across Europe, in the most part without a need for a Visa. Having lived among South Africans, Americans and Zimbabweans during my time in London I can tell you that this is not to be scoffed at. Even with a Visa to work within the UK a South African citizen has to have a Schengen Visa just to travel into Europe! I never realised how much my British Passport was worth until I met these guys, with that little red book I could go anywhere, almost without restriction. Will leaving the EU weaken the power of my passport, or my childrens? Will gap years working round Europe now require a special Visa? Or certain conditions?
The trade issues are massive for many people, but I have to confess that I have no idea about what the real impact will be to the man (or woman) on the street. I can’t believe that trading to the EU will cease if we leave, after all as an island we need trade in and out. Plenty of countries like America for example have trade agreements with the EU, so I guess we would be the same. Could this potentially make goods more expensive? Or would this mean that our government would negotiate trade deals that reduced the price of imported items? I don’t know, like I said I am not a political expert, but I think it might be worth finding out.
One side tells me that we will be saving loads of money and the other side says we will have cuts in our services. Now this makes no sense to me at all. Surely not both statements can be true? If we are saving money, surely that money will be put into public services, thus improving them not cutting them? Where exactly is this £300 million that we will save if we leave go? And in all honest how on earth does being a member of the EU cost £300 million? I thought my Sky subscription was high, but this membership fee is ludicrous! Maybe if we threaten to cancel they will offer us a new package? Oh no wait, didn’t David Cameron try that already?
Of course having a faster toaster and hotter tea is quite appealing, but as a Mum I rarely get a hot cuppa anyway! Personally and all arguments aside, I am beginning to wonder if the EU is better the devil you know. I still think there is something to be said about unity and having a coalition of countries. Surely this cannot be more important than now with the world in its current state, where as a Western Society we are under constant threat from fundamentalists. Have the events in London and Paris taught us nothing? We are stronger together. Stronger sharing our intelligence, manning our boarders and trading our goods.
I think I know which way I am leaning – but what about you? Have you got strong views on the EU Referendum or are you like me? Still questioning the information provided by both sides and trying to make an informed decision.