Over the last couple of weeks, we’ve been asking Pompey residents for their reasons to Remain or Leave the EU. Following on from yesterday’s referendum, here’s what they told us. Interestingly, we had more responses from voters in the Remain camp than in the Leave camp, which is why you will find a broader range of Remainers featured.
The Remain Camp
I’m off to vote. It seems to have been easy for people to decide which side they’re on. I haven’t found it so easy because there is a lot of information I don’t understand and quite frankly I don’t think I’m alone in that. This whole thing is ridiculous. I’ve decided to vote Remain as the idea of closing ourselves off from the rest of Europe seems daft to me. I like the idea of togetherness and solidarity. Plus, I can’t help but want to do the complete opposite of Nigel Farage and his thinly veiled racist agenda. Fuck that guy and fuck everything he stands for.
I find the reasons to stay compelling and those to leave unconvincing and at worst frightening.
Compelling not only because of the economy (where I think remain has overwhelmingly the better case,) but because I think it good that we across Europe have a parliament and some civil servants working for all us. This is good for many reasons not least but not most so we all can buy and sell knowing that we are on a fair and equal platform
I also like that the EU uses some of my small contribution to help poorer nations raise their game.
Leave is unconvincing because the economic case is so weak and their rhetoric is full of deceptive statements. And even lies.
Frightening because there is such a nonchalant dismissal of the peaceable history and purpose of the EU
I’m not sure how fragile the EU is but it certainly won’t do it any good if we say sod off EU. I do not want to see a breakdown of the relationship between countries in Europe. My generation has had decades of peace in Europe even while we have watched ghastly events and regime’s around the globe.
Are those who wish to leave hoping for a return of the past? The world has changed. We probably give away more of our personal sovereignty to Google and Amazon than to the EU.
I made my mind up on 5th June 2014. I was privileged enough to construct and manage an EU funded project that commemorated the 70th anniversary of the D-Day Landings, the final invasion that began the end of World War II.
On the 5th of June 2014 I had the superlative honour to accompany a group of D-Day veterans, their children and their grandchildren, back to the Normandy beaches for the commemorations on the following day.
On the 5th June 2014 I spent 6 humbling hours on a ferry with these brave veterans who witnessed their friends and brothers die, who fought for Europe to be free. They fought for my freedom so that I am able to travel freely to France for a commemoration of peace and unity rather than in an Assault Landing Craft like they had to.
On the 5th June 2014 these men shared stories how, 70 years earlier, they embarked on a journey from Portsmouth then fought and died on the beaches of Normandy to bring Europe together. They explained with pride how they felt that their actions were the foundations that the European Union was built upon.
These men, and the blood of those who did not make it back, were the principal architects of the European Union. Their sacrifice formed a unity between the European nations that have bought us lasting peace and prosperity. Their sacrifice bought my freedom to be able to vote freely tomorrow.
I am voting in to honour their sacrifice.
I am voting in un-swayed by fear or hatred.
I am voting in because I am driven by hope and unity.
I want to be a part, not apart.
The Exit Camp
10 Reasons for leaving –
1. An impotent parliament in which MEPs cannot propose legislation.
2. Unelected, appointed commissioners who are the only ones that can.
3. No direct democratic process by which we can remove those in 2.
4. Waste- the ridiculous farce of the parliament too-ing and fro-ing between Strasbourg and Brussels. Everyone knows it’s a waste but France vetoes any plan to end it.
5. UK Governments being able to bind their successors- once power has been handed over it cannot come back. In the UK parliament we can always repeal legislation.
6. Trade. Not just within the EU and being bound by its protectionism, but freedom to trade with the world.
6. One size fits all policies that have caused so much damage to the economies of Greece and Spain
7. Sustainable immigration policy. Not none, not ‘send people back’. Not any other racial slur or Farage nazi inspired propaganda. Just a sustainable policy. We cannot have that with freedom of movement within the EU.
8. If we go, we probably won’t be the last. There is a lot of disquiet about the EU and other countries may follow suit. We could actually rebuild a trading bloc without all the other nonsense that has crept up since
9. Fisheries policy- control over our own waters and the possibility of rebuilding our fishing industry.
10. A few quid extra in the government’s pocket. But far from this being number one as it is on Boris’ bus, this is the bottom of my list
Well here is my non-expert, unbiased view…a normal, married, working man’s view of this referendum.
The politicians – they are all set to gain politically depending on which side to the debate they are advocating so I listened, tried to find fact from fiction, and then put them to one side.
Independent experts. There are none. Think of an independent expert you’ve seen or heard in this debate, any one, and do some research. They are all linked to benefit from either being in or out the eu (depending which side they are championing).
We are not leaving Europe. We are leaving the EU. Make sure you know the difference before you vote.
We know the positives and the negatives of being in the EU [and] the negatives have started to massively outweigh the positives, so for me it’s a Brexit.
And my final conclusion is this is not about shall we remain or leave, but [about] when do we leave. When (not if) another country jumps ship first…that’s when the recession and economic meltdown will happen, and there is nothing we can do about it as [we’re] tied into the EU, and that’s a scary thought.
I’m voting Brexit as I’m in my 30’s. I know I will see the benefit of a Brexit within the next 15 years when the dust has settled, but this isn’t about me. This is about the UK I wish my children to grow up in. And a Brexit would be one of fairness and opportunity and hope.
The Undecided Camp
Still undecided, but think I have it down to two related issues.
If the UK government gets power over the stuff currently handled at EU level, will they use it to help everyone or big corporations and party donors?
I’m thinking about farm subsidies and employment laws for example. Yes, it’s theoretically easier to change the government here than the EU structures, but looking back over the last couple of decades the decisions of governments of all colours don’t give me much confidence.
The other big question for me is whether or not the EU can move away from neoliberalism, handing more and more power to unaccountable corporations, forcing national governments to privatise everything. If not then leaving may well accelerate it’s demise and eventual replacement.
The answer to both seems to be no, which doesn’t help
I’m not voting in the referendum because I think this is too important a decision for the country for it to be made in the way this debate has panned out, with no one being able to trust anything they see or hear in the media or from politicians. Maybe I’m an idealist, but I’d like to be able to trust my democratically elected government to weigh up the pros and cons of exiting or remaining and make the decision on behalf of the country. I thought that’s why we elected them. I think the overall campaign on the referendum as it’s unfolded in recent months shows that when a decision like this is handed over, the public become a pawn in a much bigger game. That’s why I don’t want any part in it.
The Desperate For This To Be Over Camp
Where’s my boat? 😉
With huge thanks to all who contacted us by email or social media to share their views, who spoke to us in person, and who agreed to let us share their views where they had shared them in online forums. A special thank you to the members and admins of Portsmouth Politics, both for allowing us to canvas for opinions on their page and for creating a space in which local residents can discuss, debate, disagree and form a consensus on local politics.
Image available without attribution from Wikimedia Commons.