It is a tribute to David Cameron and the Conservative Party that we are at all having a referendum, and a chance to have our say on Britain’s future. Promised by DC prior to the election, and enshrined in the Party 2015 election manifesto, we should celebrate the fact that the Conservatives are sticking to delivering what they promised- whatever the result may be.
The decision as to whether we stay or go therefore rests entirely with US- the British voter, and not solely with those we elected. It is a monumental responsibility on us all, and a very big decision, that we should not shy away from -but one that we should take – having understood fully all the ramifications of a “stay in” and a “leave” vote.
As a person who spent a large part of my adult life living and working on mainland Europe, I see only too well, the differences in culture and approach of Briton’s and our European counterparts, and have often been tasked by the inflexibility of some parts of this relationship with the EU. However, the union has afforded myself and may others, the opportunity to live and work and trade easily with Europe, made travel to and from Europe cheaper, faster and easier, and encouraged us to interact more readily with different cultures, getting to know our neighbours in ways that we perhaps, were slow to embrace in the past.
In seeking to radically change our status by leaving – because we feel some things are not how we want them- we forget where we have come from, and what we have achieved over the past 42 years as a member of the EEC and now the European Union.
Change is healthy, and I would be among the first to criticise the slow and cumbersome clogs of change within the union, and to press for greater openness and readiness to listen. However, one thing I have learned from business and politics, is that if any change is to be lasting and productive, it can only come from having influence- having a seat at the table- and being in a position to steer first thought processes- in order to ultimately drive practical change.
Leaving will mean a number of clear decisions will need to be taken- the future of borders with Ireland & Northern Ireland, the issue of Scotland & the desire for independence that will be re-ignited, the need to have clear understanding of what we do to ensure control on our borders; then there are the questions – what happens to the Single Farm payment that represents currently some 56% of income to some farm businesses, and the decision what happens to all the existing EU migrant workers who currently supply labour to our farms – jobs farms have been challenged to fill? The NHS is also not unaffected as it derives a huge number of its medical staff from Europe – what will happen in this regard?- and now to the big question- if the answer is to finance it all ourselves- from where will the money come from?
This piece does not need oodles of facts and figures to drive the point home- it is simply a matter of common sense – ask yourselves – Do you really know how this will affect YOU and YOUR FAMILY and what if we leave will mean for your everyday life? Is this a decision ruled by the head or by the heart?
I think whatever YOUR decision will be- these and many other questions need practical and tangible answers from the campaign to leave.
We know what to expect if we stay – and although not perfect, we can, and will have a seat at the table, to continue to influence the change we need going forward.
I will be voting to stay in the Union on Thursday 23rd June 2016, as I believe strongly that it will serve Britain’s interest best. Please do take some time to look at the www.strongerin.co.uk website where some of the issues we think needs answering are posed.