So I haven’t written a blog post for over a year and I thought what better time to bore you all than the night before a historical day. Historical for good or bad reasons is debatable.
I quite openly said at the time how I voted Remain by a whisker. There have been a few polls in the last few days asking people that if they could vote again, would they vote differently. Quite a number of Leave said they would switch to Remain given a chance. I think I am in a minority (so what else is new!) of people who would switch from Remain to Leave.
The whole thing was always going to be emotive issue for all age groups concerned. Most of you, including me, were born into being a member of the EU and we do not know any different. The elder generation, were taken into it (without a referendum) and told it was something else, so for them it is escaping a lie.
You know what one of the main things that nearly caused me to vote Leave? Immigration. How original you think and what a traitor you may think because I myself am of immigrant stock. For that reason, how could I ever be against immigration and why would I ever be against it. There is a case for lowering the number of immigrants, but anyone who voted to get the numbers down, I knew at the time, were probably getting hoodwinked. However, there is a case for control, and there is a case for fairness. It is no accident that many ethnic voters voted for Leave and for people to assume they wouldn’t, is a form of bigotry in itself. Now, I may be biased being Asian, but my parents’ generation had to endure decades of grief before being somewhat accepted. They had to put in the years from being told “oi pakis go home” to where they are now. Are they much further forward? Debatable. However, in the last decade, they have seen a new wave of immigrants just ease into the country, with access to the jobs and benefits they had to work hard for. Of course that is not the fault of the immigrants and immigrants from both inside and outside the EU have always been beneficial to our country. But the system has always been loaded in favour of people inside the EU than from outside the EU. One might say, well on the whole, immigration has always been higher from outside the EU than inside the EU but I wouldn’t really expect anything less seeing as there are more countries outside the EU. But how is it fair that Imran from Pakistan, Emmanuel from Nigeria or Bert from New Zealand have to go through so many hoops, show a certain amount of income, have to speak the lingo, before they can have a crack at coming here whereas people in their droves from the EU, from France to Bulgaria, Greece to Malta, don’t need the lingo or a job and can just come here easy as pie? That isn’t fair and yes it is a rule because we are in the EU but that is why I would want to leave so we don’t have to adhere to that rule. Don’t get me wrong, a significant segment of the Leave voters are racist and want all immigration stopped and have conflated any foreign people hence the spike in xenophobic attacks since the vote. But, all I see from a lot of Remainers, is selective outrage. Outrage that EU nationals rights are up in the air, outrage that they have to fill in an 85 page form for citizenship when non-EU have had to fill in the same form for years. I was watching a debate on BBC last night, and Suzanne Evans, formerly of UKIP was the only one who mentioned she wanted a fair immigration system. Yes, we all know it is probably lip service, but she was the only one who said it. What is so wrong with a fair immigration system that treats all foreign nationals the same?
There is also the case for social cohesion being upset when there is too much immigration. Immigration from the EU has been manageable for many years until 2004 where we were the only country for four years in the EU to allow people from the new members including Poland and Bulgaria. This meant we had a significant wave of new people in a short space of time. It takes other immigrants some time to integrate and sometimes we live in our own bubble in London where immigration has always been part of our fabric, that we do not appreciate how sudden change in demographics can change the fabric quite sharply elsewhere. Segregation works for no-one. There is a reason why segregated Asian areas in the north, lag behind on so many factors and lack of integration. Add the Class of 2004 to the mix and of course many places up north have become a total melting pot with the earlier wave of immigrants angry at those who have arrived in the last ten years.
The economy could go either way. The referendum was fought with hyperbole versus hyperbole and it still is. The forecasts by Remain were always a bit ridiculous and I was hooked in by them. There is no way one can accurately predict the economy for the next fifteen years, Brexit or not. People talk about the lies. The lies were on both sides, the rules of the referendum were the same for both sides. People say all successful economies are part of trading bloc. Maybe so, but they don’t have to adhere to an ever increasing amount of political union. But our economy is too big and we import and export too much for countries not to want to trade with us. Maybe I will be completely wrong about that but it transpires to me, that the only people who are positive about things are the Leavers. The whole thing could turn out to be a mess, but at the same time, it might not. I just do not understand the mindset where people genuinely want their country to fail, just to prove a point. What is done, is done, why can one not be optimistic about things? Yes jobs and families etc may be on the edge for a bit but is a country that got through two world wars, just going to give up now? I don’t pretend to know what Brexit will be like, but then we don’t know what remaining in the EU will look like in ten years either. Remainers turn their nose up at trade deals with India and suchlike and suggest that Leavers would not like that. Again, showing some kind of bigotry that they accuse the other side of. Either way, Brexit or not, the world will not end. I suspect very little will change apart from details of trade. As I understand it, we are seeking access to the Single Market. That IS different from being a member of the Single Market, shame people are not getting that. No, we do not get to influence the rules through not being a member, but is that not why people voted to Leave in the first place? To get away from the rules? So all this Soft Brexit and Hard Brexit is pretty pointless to be honest.
Throw how the EU has handled the migrant crisis into the mix, passing people from pillar to post, not adhering to the Dublin Convention that they all signed up to. In addition, leaders of EU countries saying how Islam has no place in Europe and how they would only let in Christian migrants, and people think this country is so so so xenophobic. Try going to established countries in the EU, so called developed countries and look at the plight of people of colour there, be you a resident or a tourist. I am immensely grateful that the UK is light years ahead of the rest of the EU in terms of race relations and other social indicators.
These are just a starter for ten. Maybe there will be a Part 2. I mean I have not even got onto the future of the British Union or democracy or a bunch of other things. Would I do that to you?