Against my better judgement, I couldn’t let this week pass without scrawling something reasonably cohesive on my thoughts about the EU. I’ve deliberated about exactly how to tackle the topic for a few days, because it’s a difficult one.
I do think ‘against my better judgement’ is a nice way of summing up the whole referendum though – since even the man who called the thing doesn’t believe we should even be considering the door.
The EU is one of those strange things which, despite being incredibly dull, is made exciting purely because it produces endless quantities of issues which can be misconstrued for the purpose of moaning about every day stuff we all hate anyway.
You can’t have magnolia paint anymore, cucumbers have to be a certain shade of green and you aren’t allowed to put milk in the mug before the hot water either.
British people just don’t like being told what to do. Frankly, it’s not hard to believe that if we had a similar referendum on health and safety law we’d end up voting out.
The case for leaving the EU is made up of guesses at best and outright lies at worst. The remain campaign is more honest but, frankly, a little uninspiring.
No one really knows what will happen when we vote to leave the EU. The ‘experts’ we’re so sick of hearing from say it’ll be a catastrophe – but the reality is that a broadly pro-EU Parliament is likely to find some kind of fudge to minimise the impact, and the extent to which ‘leave’ means ‘leave’.
If we stay in, a quick glance at Scotland hints that we might have to see more of Nigel Farage’s baggy little face and endless headlines about poor EU families deported by our uncaring Government for not finding work quickly enough once they got here.
So what’s the best thing to do? It’s a tough one.
To me, whatever you think of the EU as it is today or as you think it might be in the future, a vote for leaving the EU is a vote for a rose-tinted dream of a past where Britain had an empire, where terrorism was more local and where the world was less global.
It’s a vote for a country where people think that building a new hospital a week is even an idea worth writing down, for people who care what colour or religion their neighbour is rather than whether they play loud music till 2am every night and never cut the grass.
For a world where helping Turkey get up to the standard expected of an EU member is a bad thing. For a country run by people who would actively accept sub-standard bananas, even though we already eat and sell them now.
Voting to remain in the EU isn’t that sexy, or that fun – and arguing for why we should stay in the EU is really hard because it’s what we’ve already got.
There’s no big promises of change, no viagra-like promise of ‘taking back control’ of anything that we’ve not really lost anyway.
Voting in means jobs are as secure as they are now – whether they rely on EU trade or not – and whether they’re taken by people who were born here or just people who think that Britain is a bloody great place to live.
Voting in means we’ll be able to work together with all those other countries to solve problems like the refugee crisis, like ISIS and like Greece’s economy for the benefit of us all.
Voting in means accepting that the best thing to do is be part of the club, even if sometimes we disagree.
I remember what it felt like being the kid stood on his own in the corner of the playground. Let’s not make ourselves that kid.