Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Polling Day is coming

So it's polling day in the great referendum tomorrow. Time for some last day thoughts.

If I'm really honest I'm far from convinced that the question of our membership of the EU can be settled by a national referendum. The issue is too complex for a simplistic in/out vote. I'm not saying that the electorate in general is incapable of understanding the nuances and complexities of membership, but the reductionist campaigning has failed completely to debate the issues in anything like the depth needed to inform anyone.

What we have been left with in tomorrow's vote is a choice between our least and worst fears. We've been told all sorts of worrying stuff from both sides that has little substance and have been allowed to continue to believe some ridiculous stuff about the EU that simply isn't true when you look at the wider context of what it means to be part of the community. I've said before that there is much that needs fixing, but that doesn't make it a bad idea in the first place.

My hope is that we vote to remain and then work hard to build a better system of European government and cooperation. I also believe we need to get better at letting people know what it means to be a member state, how to take our membership seriously and to embrace the responsibilities that come with being part of that wider community.

I would have liked to have seen a far more positive campaign to remain rather than the end of the world scenario that has been peddled these last few months. I do not see our future as a nation being under threat by remaining. On the contrary, the false ideas of what it means to be a sovereign nation poses a bigger threat to our identity with it's apparent desire to be isolated and insulated. Where does "controlling our own borders, making our own laws" etc really take us?

My fear is that the lack of a positive edge to the remain campaign has fuelled the leavers argument and people will vote out because they've been sucked into believing the rhetoric about bureaucrats and red tape. Yes there are some annoying regulations, but annoying doesn't equal unnecessary or unhelpful. And just because we think other countries pay no attention to the rules and regulations is no reason to suggest that they get in our way!

If the European Union is going to work we need to be part of the solution. My family, my work, my community are all richer because of life within the EU (and I don't mean financially). We get to travel without too much fuss. Although we're unlikely to adopt the Euro currency, you can't deny it's benefit when you travel through continental Europe. Imagine or remember the days when you had to carry four or five different currencies if you went on a European tour. I know that wouldn't disappear, but my point is that for all the problems, the EU has been a good thing and if we could only stop moaning about it for a while it might become something even better.

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