Tag Archive: politics


UK-EU Referendum flagsI am not an expert on the UK-EU relationship. I don’t know whether we would be better of in or out in the long run. Most of the “facts” being bandied about are estimates, misrepresentations or vague guesses which makes it hard to know what to believe. There are both valid and stupid points on both sides which makes it hard to know what’s important.

The “facts” I have settled on to guide me in the referendum are these:

  1. Out of all of our democratically elected politicians, 471 back remain, 156 are in favour of leave. That’s 75% for remain. Almost all of those on the leave side are Tories. I am not particularly pleased about how that party is running the country so why would I trust them to guide me in a big decision like this? If you take the Tories out of the mix it’s 293 to 19 or 94% in favour of remain.
  2. The political party for which I feel the closest affinity unanimously backs remain.
  3. The MP for my constituency backs leave… I didn’t vote for him. The guy I voted for backs remain.
  4. The majority of business leaders seem to back remain. Businesses… collectively, also known as “the economy” and “employers”.
  5. Unison backs remain. Politicians and businessmen could have their own interests in mind, but unions are there to represent their members. It is the only thing they are their to do, and the biggest union in the UK says its members are better off if we remain.
  6. Politics and business aside, the list of other people who back remain contains far more people I respect than the list of people who back leave. What’s more, the list of leave backers contains some people I seriously distrust or dislike.
  7. But, more importantly, facts aside, I know this:

It is too simple to say membership of the EU is the root of all evil.
Leaving the EU will not “fix” all the things that people
in this country are dissatisfied with.

Many people are going to vote leave tomorrow because they are unhappy. They are unhappy with the way things are in this country, with the way it is run and how that impacts them. People want a good stable job with decent pay, a place to live and access to healthcare and education services of good quality. Many people are struggling with one or more of those things and feel that nothing is being done about it.

Those people crave a quick fix achieved through change and politicians in this country do not offer change. To them, change is risky, when every four years they are held to account in an election. Instead they work to maintain the status quo while promising reform that is never delivered. They tinker about with small scale things but never bite the bullet and make changes which people actually experience in a positive, definable way. They are too short sighted and self serving.

For once we get the opportunity to choose and enact a big change ourselves so I understand why people are attracted to voting leave. It’s change, for better or worse, rather than faffing about not doing anything. I wish sometimes I could shake the government by the shoulders and say “do something! ANYTHING!”

Leaving the EU has all the appearance of the solution people desperately want. A substantial, decisive change which will address the problems in this country. But that is an illusion. This is not the quick fix you want it to be.

I will be voting to remain.

If you choose to vote leave, do it for the right reasons. Do it because you can identify a tangible way in which it will positively affect you. Do it because you agree with the principles. Do it because someone you respect and believe in supports it. But, don’t vote leave just because you are angry with life; it won’t make things better and it could make them worse, especially in the short term.

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Independent

As I entered the polling station and handed my card to the lady at the desk, I still didn’t know how I would vote. Nothing I’d heard in the run up to the election made me want to vote for any of the parties. I did feel quite strongly about voting against most of the options.

The lady drew a ruled line through my name and handed me a long ballot paper. “Please choose one option and put a cross in the box. Don’t write anything else on the paper. And, when you’re done, just pop it in the box here.” She patted a black steel box beside her.

I gave her a weak smile and I took my sheet over to a wooden booth. A chunky black pencil tethered by a piece of string waited, expectantly. I unfolded the sheet and slowly, deliberately, read through each option, hoping something would click and I’d suddenly feel some kind of rightness about one of my choices.

Voting

Reconstruction, not an image of an actual ballot paper.

Nothing leapt out.

I picked up the pencil. Maybe I should just stab blindly at the paper and leave it up to chance. Or I could scribble NONE OF THE ABOVE in big childish letters. I wished just one of the candidates could be qualified, trusted, to represent me.

At the very bottom of the page lurked a name I didn’t recognise. An independent candidate with no logo next to his name. I knew nothing about him except that he was willing to go it alone. He didn’t feel like he fit in with any of the parties either.

I put my cross in the box.

 

 

This is a fictional story about voting. It’s not about me, or how I voted. It’s about a disillusioned voter recognising they have something in common with a candidate.

Happy voting everyone!

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