I know this is a bit last minute, I started drafting it on Monday but work was crazy, anyway better late than never & just in time for tomorrow.
Honestly, on Saturday, I could not sleep. Thinking about the people I know who have forgotten to register, those who are abstaining and those who are voting to leave the EU. I am scared, terrified in fact. If Britain votes the leave the EU, the impact will be huge, devastating and catastrophic. I am not exaggerating. This is truly how I feel after months of research and trying to understand the pros and cons. I’ve been fair, I’ve be unbiased but the evidence was overwhelming, I have to vote to stay.
Normally, I would not talk about politics, I am old school in that way, I rarely tell people who I am voting for in local and general elections, and I do not agree with people asking me who I am voting for.
However, when it comes to the EU referendum, I have to speak out.
Why? It’s much bigger. This is a final decision. There is no re-election in five years. There is no-going back. Don’t listen to those politicians who tell you to vote leave, that they will re-negotiate with the EU and have a second referendum. We won’t. I’ve researched the law (EU law and UK law). It cannot happen like that, there will not be a second referendum – a chance to re-join the gang. This is your ONE CHANCE, ONE DECISION, ONE VOTE. That is why I am sharing with you how I am voting.
Actually, I am not voting myself, I have nominated someone to vote on my behalf as proxy. It is great, even as an expat I can still vote. What is a shame is that thousands of British citizens (namely expats) have been excluded from this vote. Thousands who would have voted in favour of remain. They are the thousands of people that live in the EU and elsewhere in the world and have done so for over 15 years. I do not believe these expats should be excluded. Maybe I would have understood this decision if they allowed people who are not British but have lived in the UK for over 15 years to vote. But they didn’t, in my opinion, that was unfair.
So here are some of my thoughts on why we should remain in a higgledy piggledy manner. You may not agree with me but I hope you will understand my points and if your minded to leave, think twice, please, this is a forever decision.
n.b. I do not believe the European Union is perfect, but I am certain that we are better off with it than without it.
R E M A I N
- Our darling pound
If we vote to leave tomorrow, the pound will crash.
Experts (even those without a real interest) have concluded that the pound will crash. This is already clear, the uncertainty of the vote has already caused the pound to fall. In fact, whenever the poll shows in favour of leave, the pound falls and whenever the polls show in favour of remain, the pound recovers.
I don’t think I need to spell-out to you what it will mean if the pound crashes, we all know how it works but if you think of it like this, a weak pound means we will not get good exchange rates for our summer holidays, in fact, “I can’t believe how cheap the food and booze was there” will not be a phrase holidaymakers will be expressing this summer.
Another point about Europe, did you know that every year it published an EU Air Safety List, that is a list of aircraft that is deemed safe to provide travel to EU citizens. They send experts to investigate these airlines and check they meet the standards for safe flight. Without being a member of the EU, what will we do? let these airlines operate in the UK? or spend, what is probably a lot of money (a lot more than when we club together) to investigate these airlines ourselves?
2. Our businesses
Continuing from the above point, don’t forget the businesses, who already loose out on millions in exchange rates every year because the UK does not have the Euro, a plummeting pound will just worsen the situation.
The main points here are trade and customs related. We will have to re-negotiate trade deals with, well practically the World. Without any trade agreements in place, what will happen – will the UK markets been flooded with cheap imports from third countries such as China, er yes. What does this mean? Cheap products, perhaps not meeting EU health & safety standards, perhaps containing chemicals that are banned in the EU, will enter the UK market. Well, why would we not want cheap products? Maybe as a consumer, but not as a UK business selling good quality products because consumers will go elsewhere for cheap products.
The main question is – will these new agreements be as beneficial as the current ones? We do not know and indeed its only speculation – but are you willing to risk it? What about UK car companies such as a Land Rover and Jaguar who also rely on exporting – will they have to face high tariffs? What about smaller UK companies that rely on exports? They may have to pay higher taxes, customs, etc. Will they really survive.
What about big businesses, that employ hundreds or maybe thousands in the UK, they may take flight and move to the continent because of trading advantages of being in the EU. So that’s job losses, less rent and less spending in London.
On a related point, geographic food names are protected under EU law, such as Cornish Clotted Cream and Scotch Whiskey, if we leave Europe, these products will no longer be protected and the UK market will be filled with cheap knock-off clotted cream and whiskey (and other protected products). Great, you may think for your bank balance, but not great for (a) quality; and (b) these UK based business that need this protection to survive.
3. Our beauty products
As above, but also, you may not know that the UK beauty industry generates billions for the UK economy (it’s so big, I think it was last year, Downing Street held an event to celebrate the UK beauty industry on its billions, especially as it is women dominated) and its largest export market – the EU.
If we are no longer part of the single market, the UK beauty industry will suffer.
Again, not to exaggerate the point or anything, but cheap imports *yukky*.
4. Our clothes
As above for beauty and business.
Of course, I have one more thing to say on the subject, you know those lovely French designers, fabrics from India, etc. yeh well the price will be affected by (a) trade agreements; and (b) plummeting pounds. UK based buyers, importers and designers will not get such lucrative deal on the clothing and fabric imports which will mean the price of our clothes will increase.
5. Our homes
Actually according to my research first time home buyers will benefit if the UK leaves the EU but I am still not entirely convinced.
Is it because skilled foreign labourers may leave London, therefore, opening up a lot of rental property? Sorry Landlords – doesn’t sound good for business.
All I know, is that while we have all been discussing Brexit the UK housing market has fallen asleep. Nobody is really investing or moving. People want to know the outcome AND NO they won’t know the outcome this week. Remember – we have two years of negotiating ahead if we decide to leave …. so that’s two years of a struggling housing market – I’m not convinced that is good for the economy. However, if we vote to stay, we will know the outcome and the housing market can recover, because investors can invest with certainty.
Nobody is gambling in this climate, unless your betting on England, Northern Ireland or Wales in the Euro 2016.
6. The unknown
This point can swing both ways. We do not know what the UK’s relationship will be with Europe at the end of the two year negotiating period. We also do not know what the UK’s relationship will be with the rest of the World. Everything is uncertain.
Here’s one more thought, remember when you learnt in history class that Britain dominated, the colonial empire, our navy the strongest in the world, our army that was victorious (with its European and US counterparts), that is no longer the case, we are not as strong as we used to be, our services have been cut – just like we experience everyday with NHS cuts – the military has too suffered. We can barely control our borders. We receive regular help from Europe. We are combating terrorism together, sharing intelligence – what happens if we leave the EU?
If you have registered to vote, but don’t know what to do, I’d suggest going back over these six points (and/or other points you are aware of), and seeing what you agree with and don’t. Tally up your results and see what side of the fence you fall.
I’m not going to tell you what to do or how to vote. I believe everyone should be able to make their own decision – that is fair, that is equal – even if you decide to abstain.
I hope that on Friday, we will still be part of this, albeit not perfect, European Union.