Today is the last day you can register to vote for the EU Referendum, and you should. You really should. And it’s not because Emily Davison threw herself under a horse (that’s not why women can now vote, but it helped) and it’s not because countless people in the world still can’t (although this is wrong and we should do all we can to fix this). It’s because you spend more time online in the average day clicking ‘like’ or ‘angry face’ than it would take to go to your polling station and make a decision.
It’s the making the decision that’s tricky, but not making a decision is a choice in itself. I’ve heard many a folk in the last couple of months say that they are not going to vote because they can’t choose/ it’s too complicated. Come along people. The voting is the easy bit (it requires a pencil, a voting slip and they actually provide those). You need to make a decision!
I’ve been clear about my ‘Inniness’ and they fact that I have explored ‘Outiness’ just to test my own opinions. And my decision is the same. What’s perhaps more fun is trying to puzzle out why I still think that way. How did I choose?
In an ideal shiny world we would all vote positively and proactively, for the very thing that we wanted. But the world is messy and society seems it find it easier to work out who and what it hates, like a toddler turning up its nose at dinner because you put green stuff on their plate. So be that way.
Some folk are voting ‘In’ because they don’t trust the current Government to manage the getting out of an ‘Out’ result. Doesn’t take the brains of an archbishop (who always seem to be quite brainy) to tell you that that is a referendum on the whether you trust the current Government and not about the EU. But if it gets you there on polling day, so be it.
There’s the aggressively fought patriotism route that says you have to leave the EU if you are truly English, and truly care for your country and truly, madly, deeply deserve your passport and the Queen and Bourbon sodding biscuits. Take your brew and biccies and vote then.
The small business owner who hasn’t slept for three months because no one has bought anything, or invested because they deal mostly with folk in Europe, and half their work force is in Europe and it all might go monumentally tits up this month. They have to vote and if you give a crap about your fellow countryman’s wellbeing, you should too.
In all of this boomfuzzle of shoutiness and political petulance, those with the loudest voices have displayed such defensive emotion that I’m glad at least that should the world go to hell in a hand basket, there are enough peasants with the gumption to wield a pitchfork that the security of the nation is guaranteed. The most enraged clutch onto their ten learned ‘facts’ that have become the foundation of their personal opinion, and declare with passion and vigour how this is a rational and calculated decision made by their heads and not their hearts.
I’m no professor of economics and I don’t have the time required to become one in the next fortnight, and so my head based decisions have to be informed by what I can access. And I do that and keep doing that. Then I step away.
Because in 70 years time what will my heart tell my grandkids when they ask how they should be with the world? How shall I tell them best to go and live their life? I won’t be telling them how you should cut off your allies for the sake of a dragon, a flag and a Bourbon biscuit.
We are part of the world, and it’s not that big really and it’s here, not ‘over there’. We are no better, nor no worse that the person standing next to you and you are entitled to no more, nor no less than them by virtue of your birth. You are a human and so are ‘they’. Think big, then when you’ve done that, think a bit bigger.
(Those that hate idealists because they ‘don’t live in the real world’ can content themselves with anger, frustration and an empty biscuit barrel).