Not normally a political animal, me. I'm not someone who'll generally preach either - you vote for whoever, or whatever you want to - I'm not here to judge. However, I find myself drawn to write something about this upcoming European Referendum.
Friends, family and co-workers have asked me how I'll vote - which surprises me as people tend to be quite secretive about their political voting habits - like, you wouldn't ask a colleague at the office who they were voting for in a General Election, right? The Referendum vote is fair and open game though - are you in, or are you out?
And it's the question itself that bothers me the most - because, to me, this should be a cut and dried, zero brainpower-required answer, somewhere up along there with "Should you change your underwear every day?". I find myself wondering why are we even asking the question?
It's been done to death that both sides of the argument - the Brexiteers ('Brexit' - such a desperately horrible neologism) and the Better-Ins are focusing all of their attentions on the absolute, total and irredeemable catastrophe we'll end up in, should the vote not go their way. It's tiring, boring and leaves the voting populace frustrated and confused. People are seeking clarity, and because there just isn't any, folk turn to history to try and find some. This is a mistake.
The romanticised version of Britain, the one with the Empire and the colonies, and the massive military - the one that made everyone's cars, started the industrial revolution, that churned out supersonic aeroplanes, who conquered Everest and Antarctica, wore bowler hats, Howzats, Carry On films, Spitfires and Hurricanes, won two World Wars and one World Cup - is gone. It's gone. A relic. A myth. Forever consigned to the past. It's a reality that no longer exists, and cannot possibly exist again.
In the midst of all of the misery around the Referendum, I see lots of people sharing out and writing up their reasoning why leaving the EU is the right thing to do - and it's always wrapped up in this rose-tinted, Hobbiton-view of little old England, striving against the world and taking on all-comers - and winning - and how we can get this back again, if only we just leave the EU. It's that simple! Let's leave, and sweetness and light, everything will be fixed. It's nothing more than a sugar-coated, feel-good fantasy.
Nigel Farage, Boris Johnson and Michael Gove - these are the people who'll deliver your technicolour Little England, an economic powerhouse with tight immigration controls and who won't answer to the EU for nuffink, innit guvnor? Who the fuck are you kidding? Are you crazy?
Let's be utterly clear and unambiguous: These people are not out to restore your Turner-painted masterpiece. They're out for power, influence and political point-scoring. Gambling with the country, just so they can be the ones left steering the ship at the end of the day. That the ship is rapidly heading towards an iceberg built of world-irrelevance and crumbling economies matters not! They get to mix with the big boys, and rattle sabres and convince people this new Britain is relevant. It's a perfect job for this bunch of egoists; I can imagine Boris is getting moist just thinking about it. Frankly, however, I don't think they've got the stones for it, not to mention the intellectual, diplomatic and economic brainpower required.
There is no sound basis for the UK to exit the EU. Leaving the EU could set the UK back 40 years, or more - and coupled with the prospect of Donald fucking Trump running the United States of America, makes me weep for our future, and - more importantly - our children's.
Please do the right thing. Leave the rose-tinted glasses at home on polling day.