Monthly Archives: June 2016

Your vote counts this time.

Whatever you feel about the EU referendum which will take place tomorrow, the one thing you should really do is actually vote. Please don’t forget, besides you have from 7am until 10pm tomorrow to put a cross in the box, and cast your single vote to decide if the UK will remain or leave the European Union. And this time, unlike at the general election, everyone’s vote really will count.
Both sides of the argument have chucked a load of statistics at each other for months now, most of which appear to be bordering on lies and all of which has only confused most of us anyway. We have been told that this is all about our democratic right to decide on what laws we want and what politicians we want to rule over us. It’s about the economy and immigration at the end of the day, apparently. And it’s all about ‘taking back control’, whatever that means. Clearly the ‘head’ argument has pretty much lost out to the ‘heart’. Ultimately this argument is actually pretty complicated, much like life itself, yet most people want simple slogans and actions, or simply someone else to blame. Why bother with a set of carefully thought through and even piloted policies when a hashtag will sort it all out in a few minutes on Facebook or Twitter?
Given we are pretty good at irony in the UK, it is pretty ironic that we hear all this stuff around democracy. Our voting system which delivers 650 MPs every five years to set the vast majority of our laws is so broken, it is beyond a joke. When a party wins an overall majority of 331 MPs i.e 50.1% in Parliament on only 36.9% of the votes cast (which was actually 24% of those eligible to vote) you know something is badly wrong. When another party gets only one MP  i.e. 0.15% on 12.6% of the overall votes cast, it really is beyond funny. Add in the simple fact that all laws that the MPs pass then have to be passed by an unelected bunch of ‘Lords’ who have all either been appointed by governments, are senior members of one religion in this country or have simply been placed their through their birth right and you suspect that someone is really having a laugh. The problem is they aren’t. It’s the UK’s version of democracy and it is simply far from that. How do less than 4 people in a room of 10 rule the day exactly, shouldn’t it be 6 people who have the majority on 4 every single time?
Then we have immigration, which has become the really toxic and divisive aspect of this referendum. Yes there are lots of people born outside of the UK who live and work here. But we are told every time a ‘Leaver’ opens their mouth that ‘we need to take back control of our borders’. Ignoring the simple fact that there are more arrivals from countries outside the EU than from inside the EU (the truth is often inconvenient) none of these ‘Leavers’ has any actual plan to tell us what sort of numbers they will allow to come here, simply citing some Australian points system which will ride in and save their day. Add the simple fact that we can’t stop people leaving the UK, yet anyway, and this whole exercise becomes somewhat theoretical. When Michael Gove states ‘the British people will decide on the numbers each year’ he not only shows contempt for the issue, he also lies. How exactly are we, the British people, going to decide on how many and who we will allow into the country each and every year? Don’t forget this man has form, just ask an teacher you know what they think of him and his ideas. And that is without any of Farage’s misleading and shameful poster from last week stirring up the fear and loathing. I am not going to waste my time on him.
I understand why people are so angry. I am angry. Yes our NHS is under pressure alongside our schools, housing and our jobs and wages. But to put this at the door of the EU is both simplistic and wrong. Our ‘democratically’ elected government has decided to pursue austerity and reduce investment in our country. We are importing doctors, vets and teachers from all over the world rather than train enough here. In my industry, we need skills to build our technology businesses and we don’t have enough of them to wait until we can train our young people up, so we have to seek them from both the EU and outside of the EU.
So we must invest in people and we should invest in people who live here, and are born here. Don’t blame the EU for this. The UK needs to take a long view, invest in our people through training and skills, build more houses, build more hospitals and GP surgeries, build more schools, build more unity and above all ensure we have a democratic voice that reflects the needs and wants of the people of this country. Vote Leave the EU if you think that will make this happen as I am sure people of the ilk of Michael Gove and Nigel Farage will deliver this vision for you. Or not.
Or vote Remain to ensure we have stability through trade and diplomacy with our nearest neighbours and then demand that our politicians, rather than blaming immigrants and the poor, deliver a society which ensures everyone in this country gets a fair deal and a good life.

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