EU: In or Out? None of us have a bloody clue – but let’s not lose friends over it

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eu flagsThe days are ticking by and 23rd June cant come quickly enough. I’m getting pretty bored with the subject but I find it’s addictive reading.

We’ve listened to both camps and maybe like me, you’ve been torn. I’m a true Fabian democrat and like to hear both sides of the argument. I’m naturally an IN person of course – cottage in Brittany, no delusions of grandeur about our colonialist past, French influence to my business, Italians counted amongst my best friends, many lovely European employees and (as you know) a penchant for jumping on the train to Paris for an impromptu day’s shopping. BUT just like you (and you the UKIP voter), I see the thousands of refugees or economic migrants and I worry about our “green and pleasant land”. Anyone who has visited China, India, Indonesia will know that we have plenty of space – space we like and selfishly want to keep. I also hate the EEC bureaucracy and waste, worry about our schools and NHS capacity as much as the next person.

Whilst Londoners have voted for democracy in a socially inclusive society via their support of Sadiq Khan, we will also secretly hang on to the fact that we don’t want to be overrun. Our house prices are ridiculous and our younger generation have no chance of getting on the ladder, so a price crash may be no bad thing.

So yes, I do listen to both sides of the argument. But I keep falling into the Stay In camp. For one thing, I don’t believe we are as amazing as some British people brag. Alone on the edge of Europe we will yield little power and and be vulnerable. If we leave, Scotland will rekindle their independence obsession and maybe Northern Ireland too. So Great Britain may become England & Wales, which, without our Celtic warrior cousins is scarily small.

Then there is the fact that whilst we may be terrified by the swarming mass of young men heading this way, they are fired up with the power of needing to prove themselves. First generation immigrants want to work and send money home. They have twice the energy, passion and drive of most of our home grown boys. Don’t underestimate what they can achieve for our economy. Plus immigration works both ways – have you forgotten how many of us have opted for retirement in the sun? Yes, over 1 million ageing Brits, dodgy-hearted through excesses of our beloved fish, chips and booze will no longer be able to afford their hedonistic lifestyle on the Costa del Retirement. The scary thing is that due to the over development of southern Spain, many will head home penniless refugees – looking for support from local councils and NHS trusts they long since abandoned. Returning old ex-pats will not boost the economy.

In the meantime we should be congratulating ourselves that at least we won’t have to offer refuge to those poor Syrian and Afghan refugees. But no – guess what, we may just have to keep the borders open anyway. Trade agreements have to be sorted, we will be on the back foot and need Europe more than they will want us. With the agreements may come the imposition of immigrants, bale-outs, financial support. We know how good we are in getting what we want from our negotiations – good work Cameron – not. We just don’t know what we will have to agree to in order to secure our trade deals – but we have been warned they won’t be friendly.

So all in all, I’m for Staying In, of course with reservations and if we vote to leave well, hey its not going to be Armageddon – we will survive and maybe in time we will prosper again. We know it will take 5, 10 or even 20 years to get things sorted and while we do, we will have commercial insecurity. Insecurity leads to lack of investment, lack of investment leads to recession, recession leads to redundancies and that’s tough.

But please let’s stay friends on this – I know I’ve been teasing the leavers, but it’s done in jest. I do love a good-natured vicious argument but I will be the first to kiss and make up once the vote is counted. May the best camp win. The subject is now closed.

x Laura

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