With the referendum on Britain’s continued membership of the European Union less than a month away, it is only to be expected that it will come up as a topic of conversation with both friends and strangers between now and polling day
It is i think fair to say that some of the conversations will, like the 2014 Scottish independence referendum be focused on the the big issues or at least the issues the press and media want us to believe are big. Other chats will be heated as this is an issue which evokes strong passions on both sides of the debate but sometimes the chatter will just be bewildering and you’ll wonder how it ever got this crazy.
This last description certainly sums up the discussion I had on the issue recently with an acquaintance of mine who if truth be told isn’t actually in the political premier league when it comes to understanding the issues at the heart of the debate. In an attempt to make polite social conversation my acquaintance asked me if I would be voting to remain or leave in the referendum and said that she would be voting remain. The woman concerned said that the reason for making this decision was that she believed it was better the devil you know than to do something that involves risk.
This to me sounds like someone who doesn’t quite understand how politics actually works and hasn’t quite got to grips with the fact that every decision we ever take involves a degree of risk as nothing stays the same in our ever changing world.
I told my acquaintance I had made my mind up a long time ago as to how I voting on June 23rd and nobody could say or do anything to change my mind now.
On informing her of this news, I waited patiently for her to make her judgement call on how she believed I would be voting and let’s just say I was quietly confident she would without thinking jump in and land at the wrong conclusion. I didn’t have to wait long before I was proven to be right.
Without taking the time to mull over my thoughts or ask me any questions as to what factors influenced my decision she just rushed in and said she thought I would be voting Leave. I have to say I wasn’t surprised at this comment and it shows that the person concerned doesn’t know me half as well as they think.
When I asked my companion why would I want to leave the European Union, I was informed without a trace of irony that since I voted for independence for Scotland and wanted to leave Britain, then it followed at least it did in their world that I would want to leave Europe.
Seldom if ever, have I had to try so hard to suppress a chuckle as I did on hearing this nugget of information which I immediately classified as comedy gold. I assured my contact that under no circumstances would I ever consider voting leave as this was playing a dangerous game of Russian roulette with the Scottish economy and also risking workers rights which the British government had to be dragged kicking and screaming before being forced however reluctantly to accept.
I went on to say that though I didn’t particularly like being on the same side as unprincipled charlatans like David Cameron, and Gordon Brown, I could live with the fact just this once. Well, the way I see it is that they are agreeing with me rather than the other way round. Now difficult as it is to have these two as fellow travellers, it is still a damn sight bearable than the Brexit gang of Nigel Farage , George Galloway, and Boris Johnson. Honestly having to rely on this lot as the three wise men of your campaign then believe me you are in really serious trouble.
As for the Scottish leadership of
the leave campaign, well if there was any doubt about me voting remain then appointing the world’s most lethal double act aka former Labour MP’s Tom Harris (Glasgow South) who seems to have a problem with immigrants, and Ian Davidson (Glasgow South West) who has an issue with SNP members, to lead Scotland’s leave campaign would surely have sealed the deal. I didn’t raise this with my acquaintance as I doubt if she would have known who I was talking about.
What I did say however was that though my reasons for voting remain were many and varied but my main one is not to make Britain stronger in Europe but actually to weaken British identity by keeping the UK in Europe. You see I’m not just scared of the idea Britain leaving Europe I’m absolutely terrified of it. Make no mistake the British establishment needs the civilising influence of Europe to reign them in and keep the lid on shall we say the more imperialist amongst out number as left it’s own devices it could become a very cold, insular, and unkind place to live in for the reason stated in the picture below.
Imagine if you will, an untrained stray bulldog with anti social tendencies left unleashed to wander the streets of Britain. This is not a picture I ever want to see. The thought of such an image gives me nightmares but this is the image of Britain I have post Brexit. This would be a Britain which repeals the Human Rights Act it would be a Britain less inclusive and less understanding of difference where those seen as other would be labelled rather than loved and reviled rather than respected. How anyone could assume I would want to risk such a Britain just because I voted yes in the independence referendum leaves beyond incredulity with rage.
This judgement on my character shows someone who believes they know me a lot better they actually do. It is based on a set of causal assumptions about me based on one particular choice I happen to have made in September 2014 which was on my long standing belief that Scotland should be an independent country.
To make this judgement on such limited information is both a misleading and inaccurate representation of my wider political values and the circumstances that shaped them. It is based not on knowledge of me or my background but the lazy politics of assumption. Now if there is one thing I don’t do it’s make assumptions because to assume is to make an ass of you and me and that is something I don’t do.
With only three weeks to go until the vote I take nothing for granted and I certainly won’t be claiming victory before the votes are counted. As I said I don’t do the politics of assumption and why I will be campaigning hard to win every vote to stay in the European Union and make sure Scotland and for as long as I’m a part of it Britain, will get the best deal for the citizens of our collective of countries. So it is in the spirit of friendship that I hope you would expect from a supporter of the British And Irish Lions that I will vote to remain in the European Union not because I have suddenly converted to unionism but because I have always believed that to truly love your own country you must also love all countries accepting their cultures and learning from them in the respect of what they do differently from us and why what works for them may not be applicable for us.
To me it is by taking these steps that you illustrate the vision of an internationalist and prove to the world that real independence is not based on the isolationist tendencies of right wing conservatives but the very real choice of genuine co-operation with others and that is how politics should be conducted in a forward thinking society. It is this kind society that I seek to build locally, nationally, and globally.
It is with this very much on my mind I say that though I voted for a different constitutional settlement for Scotland with the full powers of independence I won’t be voting Brexit. Well that would be akin to slamming the door on our friends in Europe and giving the Tories cart blanch to destroy Scotland and that is something I will never ever do. Well I am reliability informed that no turkey has ever be known to vote for Christmas and I would never contemplate any move which could or would damage my county in any way, shape, or form.
Looking to the future should we decide to hold an another independence referendum I can say now it will be same again for me and I will voting yes. Well I may want to remain in Europe but as for the possibility of a Westminster exit, that is they say is a completely different story.
Love And Best Wishes