I couldn’t sleep last night because as a foreign national living in the UK I am not allowed to vote in the referendum. I never felt the need to become a British Citizen because I was European. But now I’m scared. I grew up in the European dream which far from perfect has allowed many people to move around Europe creating work and family ties. My extended family and my own has been a product of this exchange with mixed nationality marriages, living in different countries within the EU, and some moving abroad to retire. But if the UK leaves the EU, we are not just losing out on so many things, we are also giving the far right a thumbs up and who knows where we’ll go from there, but it certainly doesn’t feel like forward.
I’m not sure exactly what the UK is defending by wanting to close itself from the EU. Since I moved here in 1992 so much has changed. The old values are gone, this is no longer a Miss Marple cup of tea country. It’s multicultural and energetic and brilliant, open to all sorts of new things, and allowing us all to go out there and explore, exchange and gain from the union. Just last night my son (a child of mixed european nationalities) and I were watching the making of the Airbus, the biggest passenger plane in the world, and how it being so expensive to make meant that several European countries had to make different parts for it. So the wings for the Airbus are made in North Wales and Filton near Bristol. Outside of Europe, will the UK be able to continue providing the engineering and jobs for this and similar industries? (Just a tiny but big example.) I have also just returned from holidays in France where I visited 2 British families recently settled there thanks to the European Union flexibility. What will happen to them and so many if things change?
I am scared that so many people are falling for an outdated imperialistic dogma and they will be the ones with the energy to change things for the worse. That in a few months time we’ll wake up outside of Europe in a Conservative government with Boris Johnson’s hairdo as a defining figure of British identity. It’s a scary thought but many supposedly intelligent people are happy to be leading us that way.
If you’re reading this today — 7th June — and are legible to vote in the referendum, make sure you register to vote, and please, pretty please vote to Remain.