I’ve just come back from a couple of days away talking to people about Indycube in North & Mid Wales. Apart from a welcome punctuation of a night watching football on Monday in the ‘most Welsh’ of towns, Caernarfon, all of the conversations have come back to tomorrow’s EU Referendum vote. People may not have wanted this vote, but with only one exception, everyone I spoke to was engaged, and will vote tomorrow. I met one undecided – I have my fingers crossed. Everyone else, was voting remain.
Last weekend, I popped in to see my Mum & Dad (with a bottle of Penderyn Welsh Whisky – it was Fathers’ Day after all). We spoke about the usual; Grandad’s hospital visits, their break in Torquay, and the EU Referendum. My parents are in the early 70s, read the Daily Mail, holiday fairly frequently, and are keen to spend a good chunk of their retirement time in Spain. I wouldn’t describe them as prejudiced – in fact they’re the exact opposite. But, their paper and their friends have got them considering voting to leave the EU tomorrow. To be honest, I was shocked. I tried to speak to them, and they said they’d think about it……
So, on the eve of the most important of elections, I’ve written to my Mum & Dad, and wanted to share it, just in case you are in the same position.
Dear Mum & Dad,
I rarely write to you, as you know – it’s not my thing! But this vote tomorrow is important. I think it’s important to Wales; I think it’s important to the UK; heck I’d go as far as to say it’s important for the whole world. That’s all well and good – and you’ve heard all those arguments rehearsed night after night on the television screens, and day after day in the newspapers. What you haven’t heard is why it’s important to me. I’ve tried to come up with the top 3 reasons why voting remain is so important to me….
1– the generation who’ll spend the most time living with this decision overwhelmingly want to stay. This isn’t because they’re significantly different to you, or I. It’s because they have grown up in a world where relationships can be formed as easily with someone from the other side of the world, as with someone from the next town. Their world is a smaller, more connected place. Rather than build walls and barriers (which leaving the EU will effectively do), our children, your grandchildren, given the chance would want to rip them down. I wrote about this a few weeks back, you may find it interesting?
2– I’m genuinely concerned by the people who’ll likely be running the Country post Brexit. Not only am I worried about the politicians, but I’m even more worried by the darker forces the leave narrative on immigration has unleashed. It’s now OK to talk about ‘them’ & ‘us’ in ways that I thought we’d stopped. Newspapers like the Daily Express and Daily Mail have fuelled this toxic atmosphere, and the murder of MP Jo Cox, is linked. When people are constantly told they’re under attack, is it any wonder a vulnerable person chooses to act on those fears? Prejudices commonplace in your day, prevalent when I grew up aren’t welcome today. It’s not easy combining cultures, I accept, but we’re all descendants of immigrants at one point or another, and we’ve surely got to try better than laying the blame for all our ills, at the feet of those ‘other’ people.
The overwhelming evidence is that immigration is good for our country. Economically, for sure – immigrants (both from the EU and outside) pay in more than they take out. Culturally, they add to our lives, and the more we all integrate together, the more likely we’ll understand that they care about their community, their town and their adopted country as much as we do. And they also contribute with their skills. They work in our hospitals, our public services, our businesses. Without them, the Country just wouldn’t run.
3– and finally, as someone who runs a small business, I’m dreadfully worried that a vote for leave tomorrow will be the catalyst for another economic downturn. Business is built on confidence. This confidence is already shaky at the prospect of leaving the EU. Just imagine the impact on the economy if we withdraw.
I don’t think it’s scaremongering to suggest that the economy would be thrown into turmoil if we vote out on Thursday. More, I think it’s highly likely the economy will derail if we do, and the business I run will be one of those that will suffer the consequences.
I know you think about your votes, and I also know that you realise it’s an important decision. Unfortunately, the Referendum doesn’t have a ‘wait and see’ option, or ‘please go back and negotiate some more, David’ option. It is binary. You’re either in or out. For all the reasons above, I’m afraid your friends are wrong, your newspaper is wrong and Boris and Nigel are wrong (& dangerous). Please listen to the views of your children and grandchildren.
Please think, before you put your cross in the box tomorrow.
Please Vote Remain,