I've voted in
I’ve voted. I’m in.
I’d like to say thank God that’s over. Only I’m worried about tomorrow morning, whatever the result. The gloating on either side will be unbearable, the media’s over-analysis exhausting and if we leave, the markets will, at best, wobble. I’m no economist (although as an arts student I am pathetically proud of my economics A-level), but we know the financial world does not like uncertainty and, to my mind, voting leave is voting for uncertainty. As I said last week when I was trying to get my head round Jo Cox's murder, I respect anyone’s decision to vote leave but I’m not going to pretend I’m not worried.
So, I thought I’d share a few of my – very personal – reasons for voting the way I did.
#1 My Granny is a migrant
For the past 10+ years, my Granny has lived in Spain. In that time, she has had major knee surgery and a heart attack. In both instances she relied on the Spanish healthcare system to help her out. Frankly, they saved her life after the heart attack. She is still on the medication – provided to her for free – that is helping to support her heart. My Granny loves her Spanish life: the eight euro bottle of wine, the little coffee shop run by the girls who make a fuss of her, her landlord who checks in on them, her neighbours who kept leaving fruit on the doorstep after she returned from hospital. She is worried about the prospect of a leave vote. She doesn’t know what it will mean for her. She’s worried she will have to move back to the UK and the costs that might entail. I hope tomorrow she can stop worrying.
#2 People like this guy
If you’ve not seen Michael Dougan’s – professor of European Law at the University of Liverpool – review of some of the key points the leave and remain camps are peddling and you’re still undecided, please, please watch it. He is a remainer, he’s very upfront about that, but this isn’t a tub-thumping exercise. He runs through some of the things that will necessarily have to happen if we leave and the complications that brings. Oh, and the fact that we are one of the ‘big 3’ really should put an end to all this ‘them and us’ stuff.
#3 Having a voice
I believe that in life we have the opportunity to make most impact from within an organisation or an institution. Albeit one that needs a radical overhaul. I say this as someone who spent quite a long time working for an industry that gets its fair share of stick. This blog isn’t about that (former) life, but my point is I saw a lot of amazing, passionate people working to build something from the inside out that offered a different way of looking at the world. It didn’t work out quite the way I’d hoped but it happened and I fundamentally believe it will keep happening because, on balance, I think that the human race’s capacity for compassion and hope far outweighs its thirst for power. I am not saying that all leavers lack compassion. Just as I'm not saying that all remainers are the eptiome of human kindness. Of course that isn't true. Because people are much more complex than that. But, I do believe that it is absolutely essential to have a seat at the table – to use that awful expression – in order to bring about change, rather than standing on the sidelines shouting at the rest of the world, like I do at the television on an almost nightly basis. I really need to stop watching news reports about Donald Trump.
#4 Historical foundations
I can’t stress enough that I believe the EU needs reform. That its leaders really, really need to start listening to their people. We’re not the only ones dissatisfied with the way this union is being run. But, its very foundations are enough for me to keep us working at the problems. Yes, the EU of today is not the same as the 1957 Common Market, but its roots lie in peace and co-operation. I do not believe the dog-whistling nonsense about world wars if we leave, but I do believe that working together, being part of something bigger is a better option for my niece and nephew and their future.
There are other reasons that I am struggling to articulate, so I will leave it there. You may disagree. That's cool - all I ask is that you disagree kindly.
Whatever you do today, whatever side you come down on, please vote.