Image: Shutterstock

I suspect like all of us, I’m pre-occupied with this week’s EU referendum.

I wasn’t going to write about it, honest I wasn’t.

I wasn’t going to write because I tend to think once people make up their minds on this stuff, you can’t change it. You think the EU is undemocratic and has taken away our ability to rule our own country. I think the EU is responsible for 7% of our laws, which are ratified by an elected parliament that’s arguably more democratic than our own.

You think I’m a fool for believing the lies we’re fed by the “elite” who want to destroy our country. I think you’re a fully-fledged, tinfoil-hat wearing paranoid person.

You can see why reasoned debate gets tricky. And besides, I support freedom of thought and expression. There’s no law that we all have to agree. That would be boring.

But here’s the thing – if you go to your polling station this week and tick ‘leave’ you’re giving a mandate to the sort of people who do this:

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And this:

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And this:

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Maybe it’s right to leave the EU, maybe it’s not. But I know with every fibre of my being that THIS? This isn’t right.

Of course, this isn’t necessarily your world view. You’re probably a perfectly nice person who doesn’t confuse the words “immigrant” and “rapist”.

But in voting leave, I would suggest that you’re giving that campaign, that view, those people your tacit support. You’re saying that this is okay. That leaving the EU is worth opening the door to these racists and extremists.

Like it or not, your vote says you are okay supporting a man who says the EU is trying to succeed where Hitler failed. Or a man who says remaining in the EU means our women are at risk of mass sex attacks. Should the “leave” campaign win, these are the men who will gain power and influence in our country. And we should all be ashamed if that happens.

So that’s why I’m writing about it.

Because I want my daughter to know that when you see something this wrong, you speak out. That when some racist is on the TV, pretending to represent the British people, we need to stand up and say, “You do not represent me.” 

This isn’t my country. My country is liberal and tolerant, and engages with the wider world. My country is ambitious and smart, and values education and experience. It doesn’t sneer at experts as “the elite”. It doesn’t pretend that doing the bidding of Rupert Murdoch is the same as standing up for the working class. My country isn’t afraid, and suspicious and it doesn’t close the doors to those in the most need.

Honestly, though, I don’t need to change your mind. I’m just one person and my view might be the same as yours, it might not. But if you are using your voice to support division; if you lend your voice to those who believe this human or that human is more worthy of life than another, then no – you most certainly do not represent me.

Image: Shutterstock

10 thoughts on “Remain”

  1. First I want to say that I don’t have a vote because once you’ve been an expat for more than 15 years you can’t vote. However, I have been following the news obviously. My question is – why are all Brexit voters assumed to be anti immigration and against helping those fleeing from oppression? There are other factors to consider. I get the impression (from far far away admittedly) that many Bexiters are just fed up with the EU treating us like s!@#t when they so obviously need us. I would hope (maybe I’m being naive here) that immigration control means just that and not completely shutting the door in the faces of everyone in need. It was good few years between colonialism and joining the Common Market during which the UK built up a strong sense of justice for the whole world.

    1. If you read the post, you’ll see I make no assumption as to why someone might vote ‘leave’.

      My argument is that voting leave gives a mandate to right wing, extremist politicians and media owners who peddle an agenda that is almost entirely based on reducing immigration, usually based on some bullshit variation of a) they’re not refugees, they’re terrorists b) the reason the schools and hospitals are overwhelmed is because of all the immigrants, not austerity cuts or c) the reason wages are so low is because of immigrants coming here and taking all our jobs.

      When the national agenda is being set by Britain First and UKIP, then you’ve got a problem. When the word “jew” or “muslim” is added into headlines about stories that have no religious element to them, then you’ve got a problem. And history clearly shows us that pretending it’s not there won’t make it go away.

  2. I couldn’t agree more Sally. Not all vote leave people are racists, but by voting to leave the EU we are giving the racists ans xenophobes a louder voice, more power. When you have a party leader stood in front of a giant poster claiming that we’re the ones at breaking point, not the thousands upon thousands of innocent people fleeing war, abuse and poverty, that’s the real crisis. Superb post.

  3. Great post Sally. I’ve also seen too much abuse from “leave” supporters rather than well constructed arguments. I’m voting to remain because you have to be in it to have a voice, make changes and influence and if we have to work harder on that front, fine.

  4. So very well put Sally, there are so many elements of this that have made me feel very uneasy. I too don’t speak publicly about politics, but when campaigns turn to scare tactics and hate it must stop.

  5. I do not think it’s OK for us to vote and say we don’t want to help people and we are turning our backs on the EU. I worry how it will go tomorrow as I think people will vote for the wrong reasons. The EU isn’t perfect, but then no political system is. Working with the EU is important to address so many of the real humans crisis that people are facing. Even if people vote to leave, it doesn’t mean immigration will stop or we won’t give out Foreign aid, and people are very naive if they think that is the case. I worry what our country will look like sinking into recession while the EU starts to grow. I wasn’t gonna write about this either, but now you’ve got me started. It’s OK if I just of load here isn’t it??

  6. How strange it is that so many of those who want to vote LEAVE are the same people who rushed up to Scotland two years ago to prop up “Better Together”. A case of not practising what you preach perhaps.

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