A historic week for Britain approaches. The great EU referendum arrives at our doorsteps after what seems like a lifetime of painful, bad tempered and often fruitless campaigning. I shall be happy when it’s over.
The economic, scientific and artistic arguments for staying have been offered and countered vigorously, although vacuously, by the leavers, despite the voices of reason and experience generally sitting in the Remain camp. So is there a explanation why, despite the often more solid case to remain and the majority of politicians who have held any real power in recent years telling us so, a sizeable slice of the British population intends to vote Leave?
It’s not just about the all-time-low in our trust of politicians and our apparent need to put our faith in colourful characters who have no substance and perhaps no integrity either.
The reason, is that the vote on Thursday 23rd June is intrinsically an ideological and emotional choice for many people.
Are we an insular island nation that is choosing to ‘take our ball back’ when the game gets hard? Do we no longer see the value in sharing cultures, in a smaller more varied and exciting world? Do some of us actually and truly blame the EU that Britain is no longer the land of Jeeves and Wooster, afternoon tea, leaving your front door open, street parties and standing up for the Queen’s speech? That immigration has apparently taken all of this way, as well as our jobs (although those usually being the ones we plainly feel too superior to do!)? Have we become so insecure that we actually believe that our noble culture and heritage, nurtured and built over thousands of years is really at risk from being part of a broader community…of a larger world?
Are we a forward looking country that sees its place in the world as an experienced ‘statesperson’, ‘spokesperson’ and ally of justice, battling unfairness, building a safer and more equitable world for us and everyone else in it? Do we realise that time has moved on and turning your back on the march of time doesn’t mean it stops, but rather that it just tramples you? Do we understand that to achieve the best in us and recognise or leverage the best in others, we must work as a community, as a team and improve from within not without? Do we see ourselves as shapers of the future, or happy to let others get on with it while we stay at home and perfect the art of making a damn good steak and kidney pudding?
Before you put that cross in a box, forget your opinion of Cameron, Farage, Osborne, Gove and Corbyn. Think about who YOU are! Try to look past the transient challenges like the economic crisis of 2008, of war-fuelled migration and think to how we sent our builders to the EU in the 1980’s when our own economy tanked. Remember how our cooperation with the wider world since World War II has bought so many good things. Think big for your children – allow them to aspire to be citizens of the world not just a big fish in a small pond (one that is probably evaporating due to global warming).
The Panda chooses to ‘Remain’ and urges you all to think carefully for the future of our descendants and the increasingly smaller world that we cannot turn our back on. Think before leaping into the dark hole that the Leave campaigners have decorated at the entrance with shimmering lights and the prospect of sherry trifle for all. It will not be a soft landing.
Let’s truly be a part of this world and have our say.
Oh yes…and those under 25’s….please get out there and vote. We are relying on your untainted and unjaded optimism and your vision for the future to steer your sometimes misguided, older forbearers into a fairer, brighter, more cooperative future.
The Panda has had his say. Let the cards fall as they may.