E+E Column: Should I stay or should I go?

I tend to apply the same rule to column writing as I do to friendships, avoid talking about religion and politics. Although actually, when you think about it – that’s a rubbish rule! True friendships should be able to withstand some healthy debate and it’s certainly more interesting to have deeper conversations with people than the usual platitudes and pleasantries. Anyway, I digress. So, no politics. Except on this occasion I’m kind of breaking it as I want to talk about the upcoming referendum on the EU. But, I will preface it by stating that I am completely on the fence at the moment.

I tend to be a fairly impulsive person, that’s how we ended up shedding all our wordly posessions and moving onto a boat less than 3 months after the thought first entered our minds. Dan briefly mentioned the possibility of moving abroad earlier this week and by today I found myself about to register our ‘expression of interest’ on New Zealand’s immigration site. I tend to follow my first gut reaction when faced with a decision and actually, as things go, I haven’t found myself regretting those choices very often. When it comes to political leanings I’ve been the same. I’ve always chosen a more socialist, environmental option when it given the choice and in my personal blog, have been positively evangelical about the Green Party.

However, this time I am stumped. I have no gut instinct. I am confused by the sheer volume of propaganda being shoved down our throats and am struggling to wade through it to find out the truth. On one side, the bremain team are claiming the average family will be worse off by the tune of £1000-3000 a year if we leave and on the other, the brexit followers are claiming it would save us billions in tax and would give us more accountabiliity. I’ve just discovered fullfact.org which claims to be an impartial source of information on topics regarding the EU and our membership so am currently scouring it to try and make things clearer in my head so I can make an informed decision.

One thing is clear to me though, it is massively important that we do all utilise our democratic right and go and vote on June 23rd. We all love to moan about the state of affairs (me included!) and regardless of which way the country votes, it seems inevitable that big changes will be coming. So I would urge you not to be apathetic but to go and take the few minutes it does to vote in a few weeks time. Make a decision, put a mark to it and then whatever the outcome, at least you’ll know that you had your say, you did what you could to have your say in the future of our membership in the EU.

25.05.16

Update

I wrote this for the Express and Echo almost a month ago and since then have concluded that I am most definitely voting to remain in the EU. I’m going to take this opportunity to say please don’t get sucked into the sensationalist claims of the brexit camp and their smoke screens. I won’t ask you to vote to stay (athough let’s face it, I basically am) but if you are voting to leave, please please make sure you’re doing it for the right reasons.

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