This referendum is about you. It is about the Britain you want to live in. It is about the future you want to have. On June 23rd, when you go into that booth and tick a box, make the decision that is best for you. Now, I’m not going to sit here behind an article and tell you which box to tick; only you can decide which box represents the best Britain for you; I’m simply going to offer you something to ponder, something to remember when you cast your vote.
Britain, the fifth largest economy in the world, gets a bad deal from this customs union economically. We give up our ability to negotiate free trade deals with China, India, America and the growing markets of the world, for membership of the world’s only declining market. A market with which our trade is falling year on year (even with the Rotterdam Effect and its exaggeration of UK-EU trade levels). There are those who say that we wouldn’t get a deal from the EU, they are wrong. Germany, France, and the other member states would not give up trade with Britain out of spite.
Democratically, we get a rotten deal from a political union we never voted to join. Democracy is about power being wielded as close to the people it affects as possible, it is about being able to see your representatives to hold them to account, it is about being able to vote them out. A supranational body, where Eurocrats in Brussels (and Strasbourg) are the only people with the power to propose legislation, is not just undemocratic, it is anti-democratic. If the European Union were to apply to join the European Union, it would not meet its own democratic checks!
We are, in Britain, one of the most powerful sovereign nations on the planet (as members of the UN Security Council), yet we are not sovereign over our own legislation, meaning the governments we elect cannot do the things we mandated them to. The Conservatives cannot meet their immigration targets, meaning this country has to be harsher when accepting non-EU migrants. I do not wish to make this a debate about immigration, but I simply put forth this: we have thousands of non-EU students at this university, all of you will know someone born outside of the EU. These students are brilliantly talented and yet there is a significant chance that they, or perhaps their parents, will not be able to settle in this country. Why? Because we have to meet an immigration quota. We cannot welcome a doctor from Delhi, because we have a plumber from Paris; cannot take a lawyer from Lahore, because we have a road sweeper from Rome. This is unfair and unjust. Leaving the EU would enable a skills-based approach to immigration, so that all of your friends can live in this country, regardless of where they were born in life’s first great lottery.
I would like, at this juncture, to correct something written in my opening remarks. This referendum is about us. It is about you, your friends, your family, your community, your nation. It is about our Britain. With that in mind, I would like to ask you one simple question. If the status quo were different, if Britain were outside the European Union, holding a referendum on whether or not to join, how would you vote? Would you give up your democracy, your sovereignty, your freedom to trade?
I wouldn’t, and that is why I will be ticking the Leave box.