PLEASE PLEASE read this right to the end it might help you make your mind up
If you're undecided you should read this 🤔
On June 23rd, I am expected to make one of the most important decisions in my life which could affect my children and grandchildren in a way I don’t even understand yet. I am an average guy with a family, a house, and a normal lifestyle. I am sort of Joe average. Some people have asked me recently about how I’m voting, mainly because they don’t know themselves and want another view or opinion. I’ve actually been quite interested in the opportunity to vote in the referendum and I’ve done some research and a lot of thinking and I know how I’m going to vote and why.
I am however, concerned about the broadcasting from our elected government. They also know what they want and why but we, the people, need our government to provide us with a balanced view so we, the people, can make our own mind up. For that to happen, we need to understand all the good points, and all the bad points. At the moment, I can understand why some people are gripped by fear that the world will end if we leave the EU.
But will it?
Well, I see 3 main areas, which I thought about. Political, economic and immigration.
Before I go any further, I have already accepted one thing. Any change will result in good things and not so good things. I can’t think of one example, which has changed, which hasn’t created some benefits and burdens.
Let’s get the easy one’s out of the way….
Political. – As a UK citizen, I want my laws determined by the MP’s we elected as a democracy should be. Our Lords are the regulators of the decisions made in the commons and I’m good with that. What I don’t want are laws imposed on me by people who weren’t elected and are trying to find a “One size fits all” solution to many different countries who all have different tolerances, expectations and cultures.
Of all of the imposed laws from the EU, I can live without a law that stipulates that cucumbers must not have a bend in excess of 10 degrees. Some of our politicians quite fancy a career in the EU after their own political career has come to and end in the UK and this is the reason why I think some of them are so keen to stay.
Economic – This is where I see, and accept, that things will be a little worse before they get better. Let’s get one thing clear though. Big business leaders only want one thing. More sales and bigger profits. That’s not wrong, it’s their job, and what shareholders expect. Quite simply, if the companies they’re running don’t make more money every year, they lose their job.
Imagine owning the only supermarket in a town where for the past 10 years, more and more people have come to live there and for the next 10 years, more and more people will arrive. If you owned that supermarket, you’d be rubbing your hands together. Now imagine that someone said that no more houses could be built and some people had to leave. You wouldn’t want that to happen so would disagree. And that’s what the impact will be, less people spending less money is not good for business. You can’t blame them for voting for Remain, but they’re only concerned about themselves.
I’ve also thought about the impact on house prices and rent. In 2000, I remember renting a massive house while I was in between house moves. The rent was £750 per month. Since the bulk addition of several European counties in 2004, rents have consistently increased beyond the rate of inflation. This is easy to understand, more people, not the equal number of more house increases competition for housing and increased rents. Increased rents mean better profits for landlords so people start to buy houses to rent out. Competition for houses increases which increases house prices.
And we all think this is great that the house some of us bought in the 90’s is now worth 3 times what we bought it for, we’re rich! But then I think of my children who can’t afford to buy a house now and I sometimes wonder whether they ever will. I was chatting to a guy at work last week who at the age of 32 had bought his first modest house with a 30 year mortgage. He was so pleased. But that doesn’t sit with me right. I bought my house (3 bed semi) when I was 22 with a 5% deposit and 3.5 times my salary. If the average salary is £22k, £77k doesn’t buy you anything now.
It might be an unpopular thought, but I want house prices to come down so my children can buy a 3 bed semi with a 5% deposit for 3.5 times their salary. And house prices will only come down if there is less competition and more houses built. I’m afraid you can’t achieve that by staying in the EU with an unlimited amount of potential people able to live and work here.
Also, on an economic front, there are too many people telling us that our economy will fall dramatically as we’ll have to negotiate new trade agreements with all the current EU countries. And let’s not forget Obama telling us all that we’ll be at the back of the queue with a trade deal with the USA.
Firstly, we’re a bigger importer than exporter, it’s always been that way. We buy more than we sell so therefore our buying power is more important than our selling power. For sure, some UK goods might be less attractive if import taxes are imposed on them from the EU if we leave but our customer is the world.
We have some of the most prestigious brands in the world. In no particular order, the one’s which come to mind are JCB, Rolls Royce, Burberry, Hotpoint, HSBC, Barclays, Tesco etc etc. I think we can confidently go global. Why do we want the EU to negotiate on our behalf?
And now for immigration. I have no idea why we’re all afraid to even bring up the subject but it does have a big impact and affects us all personally, socially and economically.
Over the past 12 years, since our immigration started to boom, I’ve met a lot of people who have moved to the UK to live and work. In general, I find the people I’ve met to be honest, hard working people with families who intend to make the most of the opportunity of living and working in the UK.
Our service industry is better for it, with many EU migrants choosing to work in many different sectors from coffee shops, to supermarkets. We’ve benefitted from many skills including the main building trades. Many trained nurses and doctors have joined our NHS. No doubt many more have arrived who have filled a skills gap we just don’t have and we, as a society have and are benefitting.
But there’s a problem that comes with this.
As a UK citizen, my personal belief is that the UK is the most attractive country in the EU. If you create a law that says that any citizen can freely choose where in the EU they can live and work, many will naturally choose to move to what they believe will give them the best opportunity to better themselves. Nothing wrong with that, it’s completely normal behaviour.
But if that country does not invest in infrastructure and services at the same rate of population growth two things happen. Things go up in price e.g. houses. And services become overstreched e.g. Doctors, schools, hospitals, roads etc.
The other thing I have an issue with is the type of immigration we have. I am absolutely convinced that we need immigration to thrive and prosper. Not just to ensure we have the right skills but also to make our society richer.
OK, so I can have my car hand washed for £3 just about anywhere now but how many unskilled people do we really need? I don’t think we need any. We have around 2 million of them sitting at home most days looking for a job. The broader problem is that we have created a society that believes not working is a choice and if they can’t be an instant celebrity, they refuse to work for minimum wage. We could solve that problem if we really wanted to.
I also see communities within communities. There are street’s I walk down now that I used to walk down 12 years ago where I only ever hear foreign languages being spoken and European shops selling European goods to European people. That doesn’t feel like an integrated society and I don’t really like it.
I want immigration, but I want to attract people from all over the world who have skills we need and who can add value to the place I live and work. I want those people to choose to come here because they like the values we live by, and want to be part of it.
I also don’t like the laws which are imposed on us that says we have to pay all EU immigrants the same social security benefits as UK citizens when we have no control over where that money is spent. At least the 2 million people sitting at home claiming job seekers allowance are spending that money here, benefitting our own economy but I can’t get my head around how a working father from the EU can claim working families tax credits, family allowance, income support and send as much back to his family in his native country as he chooses. When the minimum wage in the UK is 10 times higher than some eastern European countries and benefits are higher, how can we allow that money to be used in another economy where the cost of living is a fraction of the UK?
Imagine being a call handler in a call centre, a pretty average job on £18k to £20k a year. Now imagine another country you could move to, to do the same job for £200k a year. It’s an opportunity not to be missed. You’d live as cheaply as possible and send every spare penny home.
There are many people who are doing just that in the UAE. But the UAE are a growing country who need and want our skills. They’ve already stated to create laws themselves to ensure emirate people are at the front of the queue for jobs and skills. And there’s no hand outs or public services, everything is private sector and when you have no work, it’s goodbye.
I completely understand why Churchill had his vision for a “United States of Europe” after world war two. When created, the common market was brilliant and has served us well over the decades. But nothing lasts forever and things change.
I don’t remember agreeing to or voting for all the things which have been imposed on me. And I certainly don’t like what’s ahead of me either.
So on balance I’m voting to leave the EU. I accept it will have an economic impact. My house may reduce in value, some people may lose their jobs, the £ may fall in value so holidays might cost a bit more.
But if my children can buy a house and pay off a mortgage within their working life, if their children can go to a school that they choose, if I can get an appointment at the doctors or hospital treatment and not sit in hours of traffic every day then I’ll be happy with that.
And in the future, when the UK is back to being the greatest country in the world that attracts the most talented people from all over the world who create the industries and brands that create job opportunities for the future generations, I can look back and feel that I did the right thing.