There's a large part of me that really can't be bothered with the EU referendum. For starters - and I really hope I'm not proven wrong here - I doubt the majority of UK voters are going to rock up on the 23rd of June and decide they've had enough of Brussels. And secondly, I just can't be even bothered trying to understand what the fucking problem is (other than OMG THE IMMIGRANTS, THEY STEAL OUR RESOURCES AND WEE JIMMY CAN'T GET A JOB BECAUSE THAT POLISH WOMAN STOLE IT). But alas no one quite predicted the Tory's win a year ago at the General Election, so let's play it safe and have a wee chat about the EU Referendum over some proverbial tea and biscuits.
It probably comes as no surprise to anyone that I want the UK to remain part of the EU. The title of the blog post was probably a dead giveaway but in case you didn't know I'm massive lefty weirdo. And lefty weirdos are generally voting to stay in and righty (do we even call conservative types righties?) weirdos are voting to leave. Well, generally. The Tories (and quite a bit of Labour) are on the right and they can't seem to agree on their stance. You see the EU has pushed through quite a bit of policy that improves the lives of a lot of people - and conservatives types don't like things such as workers' rights. I like equality. It's nice.
OBVIOUSLY, there's the not needing a passport to get into France thing. Anyone who has ever travelled outside of the EU knows what a bloody pain visas and immigration queues are (that queue on my 2002 Florida holiday was killer). The EU also makes it a darn bit cheaper and accessible to travel between countries 'cause you know visas but also free travel of goods and stuff and all that. I don't have a crystal ball but I'd reckon travel would get trickier (and more expensive) if we had to fill out a visa form every time we wanted a city break in Berlin.
BUT THE IMMIGRANTS. I actually can't believe it's 2016 and we're still at a place in society where we tell people where they can and can't live - especially when they're fleeing a warzone. Stealing jobs you say? I need someone to explain this to me: how exactly can you steal a job? I know how you can steal a piece of tasty cake from a bakery (which I've never done, obviously) or take a sweetie out the pick 'n' mix (which I have done, rebel). But steal a job? What do you do? Break into a company's office, switch the names up, change the bank details and wipe everyone's memories so no one knows you're not the real employee? If an immigrant gets offered the job and you don't, it's because they were a better fit and offered something you didn't (like, you know, not being casually racist). I know the frustrations of job hunting and shitty employers and not being called for an interview again-and-again, but take it out on the right people: government spending money on Trident rather than creating a first-class education system, cuts to the public sector, the cost of higher education and further education, the shitty economic situation we're in right now and that, even though it's 2016, people who are born rich will still more likely be rich as adults (due to private education, extra-curricular activities, more books to read in the house, better health as a child).
But if you want to talk policy here we go. The UK opted out of the Shengen Agreement and that means everyone has to show their passport at border control. I've been to Amsterdam twice this year, once by plane and another time by ferry and my passport was checked both times coming back into the country. I can assure you that passport checks are in place and people can't just hop on over (the big gap of water makes that a little difficult too). If you're pissed with border control, take it out on the UK Government as they're responsible for it.
And then there's the animal rights. Now I realise animals rights might not be the top of everyone's important-things-to-consider-when-deciding-to-leave-the-EU list BUT since this is a blog who's primary readership is vegans or vegetarians I thought it was important to remind everyone what everyone what the EU has done for animal rights. That animal testing for cosmetic ban that came in back in 2012? That was an EU law. Within EU borders you cannot use animal testing for cosmetic purposes. You can also not sell any products within EU borders that were tested on animals (though the company can sell products that were tested on animals elsewhere in the world - it's just the batch coming into the EU). And you know what else? The UK introduced a lot of these laws first - so they're not being 'forced' on us. If the UK wants to be a step ahead of the EU on animal rights, they can easily do so. But being in means we definitely get to keep that animal testing ban.
While this blog post has been more ranty than poetic, I'm going to get serious and be a bit of a self-congratulatory asshole. My degree was in International Management and I work in the travel industry (an industry already being hit). The European Union and globalisation were primary topics during my course and I wrote a mini-dissertation on Switzerland's relationship with the EU (Switzerland has got a pretty jazzy relationship with the EU but there's no guarantee the UK will negotiate the same deal, but you can actually read a draft of the essay I found in my Google docs).
There's a lot wrong with the EU, that I'll never deny and I've had Eurosceptic moments myself. It's bureaucratic and is in desperate need of reform. However, it has also brought us a lot of good in the form of animal welfare (aside from the live-stock export, that's one flaw I do want to change) and equal pay. I believe in open borders and I quite enjoy visa-free travelling. Just like the Scottish Referendum we don't know what the future of either result will hold - we can only take what we know and decide what sounds like it will offer the UK (and the wider world) a better deal in the long-run.
Therefore, I'm voting to stay in.