In the final part of my series on why I voted to remain, I am going to change tack – the other 3 posts were about how I saw the European Union affecting the country as a whole. This is about me.
I appreciate that the European Union is not perfect. I’d like to scrap the common agricultural policy, it should have more of a pro-business focus and a reduction of regulation where possible.
The Eurozone is a large problem. Since around 2010 I’ve been arguing that one of two things needs to happen – either the Eurozone needs to have common taxation and spending, with transfers between rich and poor countries – like what happens within the United Kingdom. Or it needs to allow an orderly disbanding with the southern EU countries such as Spain and Greece, re-instating their own currencies and being able to devalue to become competitive again.
Until then, the Eurozone will have this great imbalance – northern countries such as Germany doing very well, southern countries such as Greece and Spain suffering disastrous unemployment.
The Eurozone has muddled through the last few years thanks to Mario Dragi’s commitment to do what it takes.
This is not good enough.
I’d like to see a multi-speed/mutli-track European Union. Those who want to commit to ever-greater union should be allowed to, those who want to stay somewhat on the side should also be able to. The framework would be a bit trickier to implement but the union has problems at the moment.
This could also allow for some form of basic association membership for neighbouring countries such as Turkey and north African countries, if and only if they met democratic expectations (I’m not sure any do now), and not with free movement of people until the economies have caught up. This could help to settle neighbouring countries, reduce the risk of war on our borders, along refugee flows, and help solidify European borders.
I would not be surprised if you saw the European Union heading in this direction once the French and German elections are out of the way next year. Which would tend to suit Britain’s taste in membership rather nicely.
Onto my life specifically, I know that one of the companies that I worked for in my life would not have based their European headquarters in the UK were we not in the European Union.
Quite simply, I am more likely to have a job if we are in the European Union. I am current job-hunting, and uncertainty really would not help my prospects of having work in 6 months’ time. My current job is uncertain without a recession, due to the takeover, and my future job will be easier to find if there is no post-Brexit recession.
Do you really want me to work in a pea factory?
Also, I absolutely cannot stand the racism and xenophobia that has been inflicted by many leavers during this campaign (and not only then). I cannot associate myself with the likes of Farage and his disgusting racist posters. Just admit that you are a racist, you fucking scumbag.
Yeah I know that’s Glastonbury – I’m not repeating his cretinous bilge.
One of the most important aspects of being a European Union member to me, is the free movement of labour.
Without us being a member of the European Union, it is unlikely that I would have mixed so much and so well with people from other European countries. There of course would have been some immigration without membership, though possibly more likely from commonwealth countries such as India and Pakistan, instead of France and Spain.
Don’t get me wrong, I love my British friends. I have very good friends from Cumbria, Oxfordshire, Glasgow, Devon, Wales, Wolverhampton, and a variety of places – gosh even some from Reading too. All immigrants from within the United Kingdom – which is a union in itself.
Different attitudes and cultures are clearly visible throughout my friends, but this becomes more notable when compared to friends from other countries.
I learn so much from speaking to people from other countries – whether that be the history of the country, how their education system works, their food – their going out culture (oh if only we had a Spanish going out culture instead of the chain pub down your drinks and fight culture), or in the case of eastern European friends, how communism affected their upbringing.
I’ve been to BBQs with almost only Europeans, I’ve lived with French people and hung out with them, gone clubbing with eastern Europeans – all of these experiences have added value to my life. Many of them may not have happened without free movement of labour.
The European Union adds cultural value to my life.
This works both ways too. I’ve had friends move to European countries and been able to visit them for the weekend. Of course, I can go on holiday to Europe whenever I like, but having someone in a certain city that you know gives a slight edge to the enjoyment of a weekend away as they will often know the best restaurants, the best bars, etc.
And I might want to move to Ibiza one day. I might not, but in an ideal world I would like my own web development company in 5 or so years, which I could run from anywhere. I don’t want to be restricted to just the UK. I do not want my right to live in another European country to be taken away from me – a right that millions have enjoyed over the past 40 years. Why should this be taken away from me by a bunch of xenophobes?
I really would be utmostly angry if this happened.
And what if there was a life-threatening volcano from Iceland? You might wonder what the hell I am on about, but in 1783 there were around 10,000 deaths in the UK due to poisonous gases that escaped from Laki. Those with respiratory problems suffered the most, ie people like me.
Or slightly more likely (only slightly), what if Jeremy Corbyn became Prime Minister and tried to implement communism?
I want the opportunity to escape that being a member of the European Union brings. Do you not want that? We shouldn’t always assume that life will be a bed of roses in this country. Things do change.
There would, of course, be a plan to allow myself free movement if disaster strikes. Get married to a European. Any very attractive young European Union lady that wants to be able to work over here please do let me know.
To any British ladies reading, if we vote out then you have no chance with me. Sorry. We can be friends, still, though. Maybe even with benefits – no not the sort that British people claim far more than immigrants.
I also note that over the last 10 or so years, since the influx of some very attractive young ladies from the likes of Poland, British women have become more attractive. It seems that they have upped their game. Co-incidence? I think not.
I have to admit that I am very happy with the large influx of Spanish women, especially into London. It is no secret that I have a special affection for Spanish ladies, ever since I fell in love with the holiday rep in Majorca aged 13. Plus have you seen the women in Ibiza?
I’m on the assumption that we will still be able to go holidaying in the EU without a visa. I don’t know this but I’m assuming this.
It does bring other difficulties though. Flights will go up in price – not only because of the likely devaluation of the pound – low fares are due to the single market. A cheap weekend in Europe will become less affordable.
Extortionate roaming charges have been scrapped by order of the European Union. This is not British law. Leave the European Union and it will become much more expensive to communicate when abroad – I remember the time when I avoided using my phone abroad, fearing how much it would cost.
Most importantly and most at the top of my mind, my very closest friend is from the European Union. It is highly likely that I would never had had the opportunity to meet her were we not in the European Union back when eastern European countries ascended to the EU. I also thank Tony Blair for ensuring that we allowed free movement to the eastern European countries, John Major for fostering a very strong economy in the 90’s which meant that we needed the workers, and of course, my number one woman, Margaret Thatcher, for helping bring about the end of communism.
I don’t want to deny the opportunities that I have had to future generations. And I don’t want future opportunities to be denied to myself either.