So the long awaited next blog from me has come…. because so many have been asking for another one LOL 😉 I don’t just write every brain fart that I have, that’s just dull and well I don’t have enough going through my head to fill up a blog that regularly. However, this may well be just that…. a brain fart but it’s an EU brain fart at that.
So we have an EU referendum coming up this week, an important time for our nation and probably something that I will only see once in my lifetime. Now, before I go any further you must know I am not writing this to get into a political debate but simply to get something (my thoughts) off my chest. I won’t engage anyone that bates be for an argument or if you want to tell me I am wrong, I’m not interested in right or wrong in this, I am not so sure its really about that.
I don’t personally care how you vote, however, I do care that you do vote, and that you vote out of conscience. Voting based upon scaremongering stories from the media or campaigners, that may or may not be true, is destructive. I care that you make a choice that feels right in your heart. I genuinely feel that this is the only choice I can make, one out of a conviction. I’m also not here to persuade your vote, it’s too late for that, plus I probably don’t care about you enough to make you vote my way.
Confused about what side of the fence I should be on (in recent weeks I have swapped numerous times) and what is best for my country, Europe and the rest of the world; I am not small minded enough to think that this is just about me and my little island in the North Atlantic. I have prayed, sought advice from the wealthy, the wise, the religious, the irreligious, the ordinary and the extraordinary. None of which made my decision any easier. In fact asking probably only served to make my decision more difficult. I listened to the news, watched debates and listened to all the rhetoric my phone/tv/tablet/computer can give me but still it was no clearer to me. The truth is I could find so much that thought me about fear and what I should fear on both sides of the argument but nothing that could give me peace, or that illustrates the kind of love that I find and follow for the fellow man that I find in Christ. So I looked at some issues that keep coming up and they just seemed to be ridiculous, to me…
The Muslim issue, this is tired and centuries old. You only have to look at the statistics and you can see that we haven’t got a problem with Muslims, any more than we do with any other minority group. And I say minority because they are, surprise surprise, still a minority (4.9% of national population). But are Muslims even a problem, NO!
I say the “Muslim issue”, because bigoted xenophobes pick on them, largely because the ladies attire stands out; they’re different, so what! I saw something on Facebook the other day that was ranting about a Muslim woman in a bank wearing her hijab and this guy was ranting that she gets away with having a “coin slot” on her face and he wasn’t even allowed to wear a baseball cap in the bank, it stirred up some seriously disgusting comments, it make me feel sick. What’s worse is I have friends that “liked”it (should I ‘unfriend’ them now or what do I do with that, coz that is an issue to me).
If you want religious and cultural freedom in this country it cannot be for the religions and cultures that ‘I approve of’ it must be for all religious groups, otherwise it’s not religious/cultural freedom. It sickens me when people pick on Muslims because of how they choose to dress. Yes it separates them from the rest of us but why is that so bad, why do we concern ourselves with that? Yes we don’t understand it, but how about we get off our high horse and take the time to understand Islamic culture. Perhaps that’s the whole point, you have to understand it to appreciate it. I’m not going to entertain the massive distraction of Islamic extremists.
(didn’t know I had this much in my head)
The immigration issue is equally as over used. This is the UK, a land of many nations, just look at our history. In my blood I have Irish, Spanish and some Jew (lucky me), I was born in India too. I am very definitely sure there is more in my DNA that I don’t know about, however, I still call myself British (because I am). That’s what we ALL are, we are a melting pot of other countries, a community with many cultures, faiths and skin tones.
Protecting our boarders, we are currently protecting ourselves within the port of Calais as well as on our own turf, if we leave the EU that deal with the French may have to change and personally that doesn’t seem too bad, might save some money there. So if we stay are we really going to get 200,000 more immigrants each year. Someone on the radio said we will get the population of Norwich on and annual basis if we remain in the EU. Do you really think we will just fill up and fill up until we are completely bankrupt and there is no more land for us to develop? Fear tells me that is exactly what will happen!! Again it’s this imagination, inspired by fear, that paints this hideous picture, but one that simply isn’t true and neither will it become true.
What about your freedom of movement? How was your last trip to Italy, Spain, France, Portugal, Holland? Did you have to pay for the pleasure of entering that country? Did you even get more than just a glancing look at your passport from the boarder control? How easy is it for you to purchase a house in an EU country? Ever worked in an EU country? Or needed to fill out loads of paperwork for your work visa? Any way my point is that if you appreciate the ability to move round the EU with complete freedom, be it for work or pleasure, then you have reaped yet another benefit of this post war set up that Churchill worked so hard for.
As for the migrant refugees that are flooding in from Syria, well they will come even if we are in or out of the EU. They are a humanitarian issue for us all to come to terms with. The global community needs to engage with this in a very real way, it’s not letting up and the EU referendum will not stop it. As part of the UN we have a responsibility to them and to give them sanctuary (as a christian there is an even bigger responsibility). I have to hope and pray that our systems are good enough to determine that they are genuine refugees on my behalf. However, let’s be compassionate about this problem, and it is a problem, these people are trying to get to our countries because it is far better for them to freeze in a tent in February, than to be bombed by their own government everyday. Anyone been bombed by David Cameron recently…. I didn’t think so.
(Wow this is getting long)
Sovereignty is really not a good argument either. The “unelected” EU parliament are in fact elected, by who? Us! Our MEP’s were elected by us and they represent us in the EU. So yes, I do have a say in the governance of the EU. However, my level of personal engagement must increase and I would like an increased invitation too, otherwise I will continue to feel disenfranchised by the EU. So I can see room for improvement there. I appreciate the European Commission are the unelected ones that put forward policy but the MEP’s have the power to veto them. It is foolishness to say that if we stay in you are held ransom by them. All the nations represented there have representatives chosen by us and it’s up to me to engage with that. It’s meaningless and hypocritical to argue about laws that are passed in the EU that I don’t really know anything about, when the chances are I don’t know about or give time to our own laws. British MEPs sit at the same table, in the same discussion, steering that discussion for the interest of the people of Britain. It’s only that we don’t know about the discussions that it causes us concern. If I did know and I were invited into the conversation I would likely be very generous and tolerant, historically that’s what we are like as a nation. In this EU debate we have gotten our nickers in a bit of a twist, it’s that kind of ‘Not In My Back Yard’ type of thing. My neighbour can’t have that new tree in their back garden because it will ‘restrict my sunlight’. Rubbish!!! I just want to be asked first. Because like most British people I love to complain, but when actually asked about the subject first, I am sweet and polite and ‘why of course put that tree there, in fact get a bigger one, who needs all that sun light anyway, you carry on. Oh and thanks for asking but you crack on?’. We just want to be asked and in a democracy that is fair and right. And that to me is the problem with our involvement with the EU, the lack of it.
(you’ve gotten this far, might as well carry on)
The economy IS going to be unpredictable, the referendum will not destabilise our economy in the long term. Yes in the short term but not, in my humble opinion, to the extent of a recession. If a recession comes then I would argue it was on its way anyway, irrespective of the referendum. We had a huge recession in 2008 and we didn’t see it coming, so why are we accepting that a Brexit will usher in a new recession? Perhaps our economy isn’t really as stable as we are told it is. Perhaps it’s because the economy, while we are in the system that we are in, will always rise and fall! The truth is it has to rise and fall, it does all day everyday, but it is only to the extent of it falling that we are concerned.
How affected were you by the last recession? I heard lots of dramatic statistics back in 2009/10/11 but I didn’t see much change in reality. I am privileged to run a charity and work with the poor overseas, in the last recession the pound lost quite a bit of weight, which meant sending money to our partners was more costly. Thankfully we had supporters who were committed to the cause and they continued to give, some even gave more, some said to me that they didn’t see the evidence of the recession in their bank accounts but they did in the equity of their homes. We experience a shift in giving, which meant that people had faith in their regular income but not in their disposable income, which to us mean that one off gifts slowed right down, that it still the same today. Anyway my point is I am not sure Brexit will cause anything like that, and if that fate befalls us again then perhaps, as part of a global economy, we need to look further than our own shores to see what could be causing it. Yes, uncertainty will not help us but if we take the kind of dive that we are told could happen then who is responsible, or perhaps that is the whole problem with a globalised economy. The moment others lose faith in us they ditch us like an unwanted girlfriend. Our nations economy cannot destabalise just like that, there has to be external forces that pull the rug from under our feet and they are likely to be Germany, France, the US, India, China etc. We aren’t going to all of a sudden stop trading with ourselves and cause an implosion, it’s not possible. It will be the external influences that will cause it to happen.
So call me a communist, lefty, liberal bla bla bla, I’m ok with that, but I am engaged with this issue. The truth of the matter is that we have a choice, we have a vote, we have a voice and don’t be fool by those that serve you a large portion of fear, because fear will disable you. I am brought to some words from Dave Andrews who when speaking said “we make our choices based on one of two things 1) love 2) fear”. If you pay attention to that which builds fear in you then I can guarantee you will make a wrong choice. In anything, if your choice is fear based then it’s the wrong one, but conversely if your choice is based in love then not only will it be right but it will benefit more than just yourself.
No one can tell you what will happen either way, to our economy, our boarders or to our ability to make laws. In or out, all I can tell you is that as long as your choice in this referendum is not self-centred, fear based and xenophobic but is found in love, commonality and hospitality then you will not only make the right choice for the UK or the EU but it will be the best for you too.
Happy Referendum folks!!!
(the end, you made it, well done)