Now, before you switch off, this is not about the ins and outs of why ‘Brexit’ may or may not be a good idea. I am not interested in that here, here I am interested in expressing a point of view, a point of view that I am often cut off from before I begin speaking. Perhaps an argument that you have not heard before.
A common opinion is that ‘no leave voter voted for the same thing’. This is true. However, I would say that no remain voter voted for the same thing either. Having spoken to many remain voters I have heard a great deal of accounts, some voted for the ‘status quo’, some for the ‘ever closer union’, other reasons have been just a sheer love of being a part of the (agreeably amazing – some of the best food comes from Europe) European culture (seriously, Italian food, its amazing) as well as the people who voted mainly to maintain the benefits of freedom of movement.
All of which are entirely valid. People are complex, experiences different, social groups expansive.
Having spoken to some leave voters, the common answers were voting due to the idea of sovereignty, some with the belief that we can (eventually) have a burst of economic growth without the ‘heavy weight’ of the EU, other reasons have been a sheer hatred of all political systems (Polish food, also amazing), as well as people who voted for reasons concerning race and immigration.
I would like to talk to you about race and immigration and how these influenced my decision to leave.
Whatever came first into your mind, remove it, and stick with me. It is (from experience) probably not what you think.
I am very proud to be British (keeping sticking with me), the reason for this is that from a historical perspective I think that Britain has continuously shown the most growth and development. Particularly in social comings together. I love living somewhere where for the most part, you can be who you are, regardless of skin colour, gender or sexual preference.
I am not anti-immigration, I do not want to stop freedom of movement. I want to increase freedom of movement, and I want to increase it across the globe, because I want to increase all ‘freedom’. I think the EU, this may shock some of you, is really white. The EU definitely affords some economic benefits to its member states, arguably due to freedom of movement and free trade. But again, and I can not stress this enough. The EU is really white.
In my opinion, we should not place ourselves in an organisation, or group, or club that encourages prosperity within a single region, or continent, or race. I would sooner leave the club, and fight to see a global equality.
On opinion pieces...
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A well written argument, probably one of the best thought out pieces by a “leaver” that I have seen. Well done, and I liked the surprise ending. I could have read more, however I would still disagree with your decision. I am studying EU law at the moment and the more I learn, the more of a ‘remainer’ I become, but then I was a federalist back when it was still called the EEC.
I look forward to reading more articles and opinions from you.
Thank you so much for your kind words. I was very nervous.
I understand the positives of remaining in the EU and definitely do not expect to change anyone persons mind.
What I do hope to do is show people as best I can that there alternative reasons that aren’t based on hatred.
We might not agree on Brexit, but I’m so impressed by how thoughtfully you approached the topic. Can’t wait to read more from you Tegan!
You say you think that ‘…Britain has continuously shown the most growth and development.’ That would only be true because we’ve been a member of the EU. Before we joined, this country was the ‘sick man of Europe’. Since the war, we had low economic growth and awful industrial relations and joined the EEC in 1973 to try to turn that around. As you noticed, we succeeded. However, Brexit to date has cost over £66,000,000,000. Many large employers have relocated to mainland Europe and we haven’t even left yet. What, if anything, will replace the lost tax revenues? Too many EU doctors and nurses have returned to their home countries and the current government is selling off the NHS. A post-Brexit trade deal with the USA would be the last nail in its coffin.
You seem to think that the EU is somehow ‘white’. Have you considered why you might get that impression? This country had an empire that at one time included roughly 23% of the world’s population per Wkikpedia. That 23% would have included a large number (all?) of non-white people and it’s only right that some of their decendants are now British citizens. Some other European countries did have colonies, but nothing on the scale of our Empire, so it might be expected that their non-white citizens would constitute a smaller proportion of their populations than ours. Wikipedia has a page on ‘Ethnic groups in Europe’ that you might find informative: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ethnic_groups_in_Europe
I can’t help finding what you say about freedom of movement very strange. You’re for global freedom of movement, but against our right to live, love, study and work anywhere in the EU. Global freedom of movement has to start somewhere.
Sorry for the lack of response, EMA has taken priority this month.
I will only be brief in my reply on this page, but I am happy for you to message me privately as I love listening to a variety of opinions.
To your first point, you assumed I meant economic growth, I did not, I meant political growth, development of society and standards, I was talking about sufferage and learning from our mistakes.
To your second point, makes my first point in some ways, we no longer hold those colonies, rightly so, although we do still ‘hold land’ in places far away, which I disagree with. France also held a great Empire during a similar period, unfortunately I’m not sure the size or number numbers of historical colonies matter in this context, my majority of the EU are white, and the majority of the countries we do not give the same rights to, and this includes asylum seekers, students and economic migrants are non-white. In short again you miss the point, the global North and the Global South are alive and well.
And finally your third point, this is the easiest point. The EU has borders, we don’t talk about them, but they have borders, borders which are policed by contracted security agencies like G4S and Mitie, If you have never heard of ‘Fortess Europe’ and it’s implications on immigrants then this is a fascinating read from start to finish and very informative: https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/jun/10/sunday-essay-how-we-colluded-in-fortress-europe-immigration. I would argue that I want a true #openborders and not only an open EU, that excludes the rest of the world.
Thanks for your time on responding.
Whilst I don’t agree with you this is a well thought through opinion and argument for your position. I hold concerns over the effect Brexit will have on STEM funding and the wider engineering community. I do think that Brexit and the recent European election results must be really pushing the case for reform at a European level which can not remain ignored for much longer
This in particular regarding the new/updated Horizon Europe programme which is on track for coming into effect 2021. I do hope we can find a way through these definite issues, or at least adapt to them in a sufficient way.
Nicely written piece Tegan. Some thoughts of mine on the topic;
1. If the EU is ‘white’, Westminster seems pretty white too! So it begs the question of what is being achieved on the ground of tackling that issue with this shift of powers.
Being from Wales, which is relatively poor when compared with England, I know how much EU grand money finds it’s way here. That well will dry up, and i cant say that i have much trust in the centralized government here to do better.
2. There seems to be an unavoidable reality to engaging with the rest of the EU. That the ‘leaving’ is a partial fantasy in practice.
Part of me feels that Brexit is in denial on this, and is promoting an isolationist and nationalistic ethic above the coming together and collaborative effort to solve problems on a united front with neighboring countries.
3. There is an accumulation of knowledge and value within the EU that we may be trivializing by throwing away. I’m not sure the destabalising cost of its loss has been properly accounted for.
4. Certain legislation only covered by the EU would disappear, particularly that which covers environmental issues and animal welfare. These area get put at risk when we leave, and there is a danger that certain interests may work against implementing any replacement. Especially so if we find ourselves aligning with a Trump USA…
(On that point too, some of the strengths of the EU are to counter balance the world superpowers such as the US and China, to allow a stronger position in negotiations.)
3. I didn’t like the premise behind the the referendum, personally. The question of staying or leaving seemed shallow and irrelevant to the real questions about social and political improvement. Whatever the flaws are in the EU, and there are of course always flaws, we should be working on them collaboratively rather than leaving the table. The issues that lead to Brexit were repackaged into a false dichotomy of leave vs stay.
4. There is a subtext to us leaving on the grounds of problems within the EU, a gesture that we see ourselves as arbitrarily special compared with the other EU countries. For if we identified core problems, they are also in principle core problems for everyone else too. To leave is to abandon a sense of human equality and solidarity with regards these issues. It feels as though superficial identity has been put before a commitment towards progress for all.
I must say, I felt a cultural shift in recent years to a more protectionist and reactionary mood. A brittle, outrage culture that has emerged, more intolerant and fearful of the unfamiliar and the new. Dealing with issues by dishing out blame and pointing fingers. To the degree that Brexit is a symptom of that political/cultural shift is unfortunate.
All the best,
Everyone ignore the fact i apparently can’t count :DD
Wow! What a good POV piece. You are right, those of us that voted leave are shut down almost immediately. I find that very depressing. I voted leave, not for the same reason as you. I believe we can become great on our own. (Feel free to disagree folks!)
However, I find your opinion very poignant and valid. We just have to look at how the rest of Europe dealt with the (non-white) refugees a few years ago! Whereas in Britain, we are very multicultural!
I want freedom for all too! I want there to be one nation on this planet, the Earth nation, where people are free to go wherever they want. But I must be away with the fairies.