I was firmly in the ‘stay in’ camp until a week ago. That’s when my wife found out that I was planning to vote that way. She looked at me all horrified and asked why?
I explained the standard reasons where the vast amount of benefit goes unreported whilst we just hear about the tiny fraction of the bad.
That’s when she explained her reasons for wanting to leave.
“The only reasons to stay are about business and money” I started to pay a lot more attention to what she was saying at this point. “business will almost certainly suffer in the short or even medium term but that sort of thing always finds a way to adapt and recover”
“In terms of people we are better out of Europe”. I ought to put some context on this. We live in the East Midlands and the influx of Eastern Europeans has had quite large effects in the community; some good, some bad. The farms had struggled to find workers to do the work until the migrants arrived and they fulfil a role working the land that the locals don’t seem to want to do. Without these migrants the farms would really struggle. However these Eastern Europeans seem to have a different perspective on behaviour. It is unfair to tar them all with the same brush but as most of them seem to be young males, they do as a collective appear to treat women as lesser beings. I don’t know if this is normal and accepted in the communities they come from, or if it is do do with the perception that are not in their own country and that they can get away with it. It may just be a minority of them leading the rest, but to people like my wife it is a very real threat.
There are areas in my town, somewhere my wife has lived all her life, that she will no longer go because of the groups of young men that hang around on the street and watch the women as they pass. I have seen this for myself are I can see why it puts fear into the women on the receiving end of it. There are numerous examples where it has gone beyond just looking. The New Years Sex attacks in Cologne are one example, and there have been numerous individual attacks by Eastern Europeans in the UK. I don’t know the actual stats but the perception is that too many of these attacks are now being made by foreign nationals. Like I said, it is unfair to tar all non UK nationals with the same brush, I have no doubt most of them are decent and honest but while we remain in the European Union, we seem to retain very little power to do anything about those that break our laws. When we do catch them, the powers of the UK courts seem to be constantly challenged in the European Court of Human Rights which then drag out into lengthy and no doubt expensive legal battles that the UK always seems to lose.
That brings me neatly on to another reason for voting to leave.
The European Court of Human Rights. The UK is not a bad place. As a nation we do not treat people badly, are generally fair in terms of gender, sexual equality and race so we have no real need for this organisation. However it continues to exercise unnecessary judgements that incense so many people. The prisoners vote is just one example. I have to say I was already in favour of repealing whatever law it is that gives that court authority over our own parliament before my wife starting explaining things from her point of view. I can understand the need for such an organisation to have power over somewhere that has a bad record in such things, but I do not believe the UK falls into that category. The judgements coming out of that court that affect the UK are at best unnecessary and at worst offensive.
I am all in favour for anyone of any nationality to come to the UK and make it their home. These people for the most part have a huge positive effect on so many things. What I am not in favour of is the lack of power the UK has in dealing with those that have a negative affect and the lack of authority over the numbers that arrive.
At the inception of the then Common Market I should think that we as a country got a lot out of it for the investment we made; better and easier trade with other countries that were roughly at an equal level of prosperity to ourselves. Now, with so many countries as members, I feel we get very little for the amount we put in. We are the second largest net contributor after Germany; Italy and France give more but they also get more out. Yes, there is an argument for being the altruistic contributor for the benefit of others less fortunate, but there must be a two way street for that argument to work. The more recent members of the EU seem to be very good at looking out for their own interests and taking what they can get. Under these conditions altruism loses its appeal very quickly.
I doubt the UK will vote to leave the EU. If it does there are so many unknowns about what will happen on so many issues, all of which would need to be resolved. It would be years before we manage to extricate ourselves, years that would allow the adjustments to be made that would be needed to offset the changes.