These are the views of Social We Talk director, Ben Elliott
Social media is great. The last time the UK had the chance to vote on the EU, if we wanted to share our thoughts with everyone we know (and potentially more) we would have had to write them a letter or invite them to a function and declare are perspectives. Now, thanks to technology we can share our insights with all who care to listen with a few clicks. Awesome hey!
So, this is my piece of history, my opportunity to share my thoughts on this monumental referendum. When I look back I want to be able to say I shared my view, and I tried to shape the decision in this vote. I have shared lots of information across Facebook and Twitter in recent weeks, attended debates, spoke with friends, and I need to have a clear conscious that I did what I could to help prevent this wonderful nation for walking into the worst decision of it's recent history.
These are all my own opinions and I’m simply sharing my perspective, of which I know some, maybe many, will disagree.
So, I’m in. Remain. All the way.
I'm at the point of tears with frustration that people would consider to vote to leave the EU. I'm praying and hoping that those on the fence vote remain, and that many in Leave would have a change of heart.
So here we go. What has made me decide to remain? Well, to be honest, the Leave campaign has actually driven me further to the remain vote the remain camp itself. They have helped convict me of my decision on a daily basis. Here's why:
The £350 million lie. Yep, it's a lie. The Leave campaign would have had a far greater argument if they’d actually given a balanced figure incorporating the rebate and investment in the UK, rather than flogging this figure. It's not an accurate reflection of the cost to the UK.
When you consider what that money gets us, it’s actually, in my opinion, a pretty good deal. We are part of biggest trade partnership in the history of the world, yet we keep our currency, borders and we’re free of the Schengen zone.
I would compare those who want to leave to a child who’s been given a better Christmas present than everyone else in the room but is prepared to sacrifice it and everything else they've received on the chance that they might get more gifts from the other families down the street. You don't know what you've got til it's gone!
Man this winds me up. As a Christian we are called to love and welcome foreigners (When a foreigner resides among you in your land, do not mistreat them. The foreigner residing among you must be treated as your native-born. Love them as yourself, for you were foreigners... (Leviticus 19:33-34). It’s biblical. So there’s no budging there for me.
More people from outside the EU come into the UK each year, so actually it’s the government that’s failing us, not the EU, if you believe there’s an immigration issue. Some say we can’t keep out criminals. Actually we can. Anyone who poses a threat to the UK can be refused entry.
France refused to allow humanitarian aid to refugees in Calais a few days ago as proof of nations powers within Europe to stop free movement. Also, as we know, immigrants add more to the UK economy than they take out and underpin the NHS.
I was, as most people were, shocked by UKIP ‘breaking point’ advert. It’s vile, nazi styled propaganda and whilst I empathise with those voting leave from the left, I cannot fathom the evil and racist rhetoric that exits within some members of UKIP and parties on the right, who use even lower forms of tactic. Blaming immigrants is in no way constructive.
Australian Points System
The Leave campaign have waved the Australian ‘points system’ as the holy grail of example for immigration. The Australian government has, in my opinion, one the most horrid of immigration policies and limit their hospitality to the few. Whilst I love all my Aussie mates, their governments attitudes towards those in need (and sometimes even their own citizens such as the Bali 9) sucks! Their immigration model is no recipe for cohesion and should not be seen in any way as a guiding light.
Using the NHS as an argument!
The leave campaign use the ‘take back our NHS’ line. If we leave, the economic shock, lack of trade, won’t really mean there’s anything more for the NHS! And what about all the EU nationals who work in the NHS, sure they'll feel right at home if we vote out!? We can't presume the government would actually point any more funds towards it.
If we want to invest in the NHS there is one easy way to do so. Abandon Trident. We should lead by example and lay down our nuclear weapons and save ourselves a fortune! That would give the NHS the investment it needs!
The Leave campaign point out that we can make our own trade deals. Well, as Obama pointed out, if we leave the EU we’ll be at the back of the queue for a deal with the US. We currently have access to the single market and yet if we leave we shun that completely. They use the whole ‘you don’t have to be in the EU to trade with it’. Of course you don’t, but you do have to abide by all it’s laws and regulations and by being out of the EU we have no say in any changes or influence against them at all.
The Leave campaign reference nations like New Zealand and Australia in it’s arguments. Countries that collectively have a population quarter of the size of the UK and have shrinking economies due to mining downturn are somehow the leave campaign poster nations. China, the US, India all many more nations want us to remain in the EU, surely we'd be mad to say no to them!
The Leave campaigns pin-ups
The list of leaders the Leave campaign shares as it’s pin-ups are really rather crude compared to the remain, to say the least. I'm not going to list them, but it's pretty obvious that the Leave campaign are clutching at straws for viable ambassadors for their cause. Would I rather put my trust in the leaders of every political party in the UK (with the exception of UKIP of course), yes I would.
Nigel Farage has been a pivotal example, and convinced me of the need to remain. Thanks Nige.
He is the worst example of an Brit I can think of.
The use of his rhetoric at the EU is shameful, as is his attendance to actually speak up for those who voted for him in the European parliament. His views in the election and referendum have highlighted him as having opinions which can only segregate and separate communities, faiths and opinion. I’m ashamed that some people in the world may think that he reflects what Britain is.
It’s hilarious in a way that a man who can’t even win his local election as an MP gets such a national platform to voice his views.
UKIP policy on the UK aid budget and wanting to decrease it saddens me considerably. It's madness. We should send more overseas to help vulnerable people and do our bit for humanity. We are not a selfish nation and UKIP stand against our warm hearted and caring British nature. Helping those in poverty makes us safer.
Sovereignty is a big claim. Leave are trying to say we have none. What rubbish, we still have it as do every other EU nation. We never lost it and Cameron has secured the right for the UK to veto several key elements such as ‘ever closer union’.
Some people freak out with the thought of ever closer union, I actually don’t see a problem with it and see its benefits. A united Europe would be no bad thing in my opinion (shock horror for many I'm sure!).
Turkey and other nations who want to join
Turkey wants to join apparently. Good, they are in Europe, so why not! First though they need to meet all the required standards and when they do they should be welcomed with open arms. We can veto their such nations joining if we wish and the rate Turkey is progressing it will be many decades before they join.
The Leave campaign highlighted Turkey, Syria and Iraq on their printed propaganda. Why? To cause fear. But there should be none, these are nations that need our love and compassion as apology as our government is partly responsible for their situation.
Yes there’s some daft things about it, but it is democratic. We vote in MEPs. We get a seat at the the top council and our government (who we vote in!) decides who represents the UK at that table. We’ve been on the winning side for over 2,500 EU votes on only on the loosing side less than 60. So, pull the other one. If we want to change Europe we can only do so by being at the table.
Stability and safety
The claim that leaving is safer. Claims like this are completely unsubstantiated. When the Bank of England, WTO and a whole host of leading institutions point out that we will face serious economic repercussions I only see this as a lie! The leave campaign are lying to the nation. Again.
Freedom of movement
This is flown as a bad thing, the cost to us. Well, I love that I have freedom to travel, work and can set up business across Europe. I want that freedom. Please don't take that from me! I like the idea of retiring in France. Some people can be so ignorant and dismissive of what we have at our doorstep. I want my passport, unlike Nigel Farage, to say ‘European’ on it. Because that’s what I am. I was born in the continent of Europe, the nation of the UK, country of England, county of Lincolnshire, town of Lincoln… I could go on towards number of room in the hospital where I entered the world. The fact remains, I was born, and I am European. Why is this such a bad thing? I love that we have a shared identity with so many others and I want to retain my freedom.
The EU success
The leave camp doesn’t acknowledge the good the EU has done. Creating equality for employees, and human rights, the environment and pushed for improving standards across the spectrum. They’d have a stronger leave argument if they could speak of all the good that EU has done and acknowledge that. The Leave campaign are ungrateful for all the good that has come from our membership.
The EU has been the biggest success story of peace in history. No more war on the continent, and instead a collaboration of nations working together, trading fairly and looking forward to a stronger, partnered future. In an age when Russia has become increasingly hostile, do we want to give Putin the gift of a fragmented and broken Europe, ripe for the picking? I think not!
If we leave, we will survive. But survival sometimes means being on a desert island, loosing all you have and running the risk of starvation. I don’t want the UK to survive, I want it to thrive and create a strong future for my son. Working together with our friends in Europe to build a better world.
To walk away from the EU when we have it so good would be absolute madness. Love for one another and our neighbours must be bigger than the fear that the Leave campaign have tried to instigate.
So often the leave camp is about us, our space, our NHS, our health, our money. No. That’s not right, we should love our neighbour and put others first, help those in need. We need to club together and make Britain and the world a better place, not become the overweight kid scoffing burgers in the corner whilst others go hungry.
As I said at the start, these are my views. I respect others and their right to share it, however my beliefs are steadfast. I'm praying that everyone has wisdom in making their decision in respect of the EU.
There is so much at stake, please, please, please vote REMAIN.