Sunday, 19 June 2016

Read the question!

I've written one post about the referendum, so might as well write another. This time next week it will be over and we'll be licking our wounds.

So this is a plea for all those voting on Thursday to read the question. How many times did they tell us that before exams? It's equally valid now.

The question is not: are you fed up with powerful white men ruining the country, not giving a monkey's toss about anyone else? I think a lot of us would love to give them a kick up the bum, but that's not what we're being asked to vote on.

The question is not: who, if anyone, might be telling the truth and who is making things up as they do along? You might think all them are guessing and have been trained to sound convincing, but that's not the point.

The question is not: are there too many people of colour or with European accents living in this country? The leavers might tell you it's a simple as that, but it's not. Immigration is complicated - it brings huge economic and cultural benefits as well as challenges.

The question is not: do all rubbish laws come from Brussels and good laws come from London? All institutions are capable of making crap laws - that's why they have arrangements to review them in the lights of any difficulties in their implementation or changing circumstances.

The question is not: what is in it for you? Or for me? Although, as a traveller, I understand the value of free access to health care across Europe that shouldn't be the tipping point in my decision. Rather, I need to think about the implications for my grandchildren - will the decision we make now make the world safer and more comfortable for them?

For the question is: do we want a place at the European table, where differences can be talked about and resolved, or do we want to sit on the sidelines without being able to contribute or influence anything?

If this were an 'A' level essay question you might include discussing some of the above. You might also explore the fact that, since the creation of the EU, we have experienced the longest period of peace in Western Europe since ... *goes off to check history books* ... forever. That's what happens when people are committed to sitting around the same table, however tough it is at times.


  1. Jo, I think it's very sad that prejudices of all sorts have become the debate. I cannot vote as I've been away too long, but it saddens me to see how reasoned argument has disappeared from the rhetoric being spouted on both sides.

  2. I loved this post. You're so right. People forget about how long this continent has been without a war. The minute Britain leaves, most nationalistic, far-right movements in France, Germany, Austria, Italy, Holland and other countries will lobby for their own referendum and then... well, who knows? Thanks.

    Greetings from London.