Some personal reflections by Simon Hood on why remaining in the EU is important to him.
Remaining in Europe is important to me both at a personal level but also from a broader perspective. Of immediate concern to me is my daughter, a mother of two very young children who is suffering with cancer and perhaps selfishly I do not want anything to undermine the stability of an already underfunded and overstretched NHS. From a more general perspective we are increasingly becoming aware that the survival of our world is dependent upon cross global cooperation. Viruses and bacteria are no respecters of borders and more easily spread as a consequence of our ability to travel across continents in hours and days not weeks and months. And yet, in the third world, we are seeing the unregulated use of antibiotics resulting in undermining the efficacy of these medicines. From an ecological perspective there is increasing concern on our use of plastics polluting our seas and other contaminants that are increasingly poisoning the food chain. And of course, the impact of global warming.
The EU came about in response to the Second World War to unite European countries economically and politically in order to secure lasting peace. For me, I do not care whether I am considered British, European or simply an occupant of the planet. What does concern me is our future, the future of our children and the future of their children. All our survival is irrevocably linked with world cooperation and the EU is an important stepping stone in achieving that aim.
Many may argue that securing a People’s Vote exists outside politics. I wish that was the case, but those proponents of Brexit are rooted in politics and separatism. Nigel Farage, Arron Banks, Jacob Rees-Mogg, Boris Johnson, to name but a few, delivered their distorted messages supported by the right-wing press. They inflamed negative stereotypes of immigrants and incorrectly blamed the EU for Britain’s inability to exert its sovereignty. These individuals, devoid of any moral compass, would stop at nothing to promote their prejudices. To cite just one example, Nigel Farage expressing discomfort at being on a train where no one spoke English when his ex-wife is German and like many people, his two daughters are bilingual. Are we to assume that he does not allow them to speak German on the train? These individuals would stop at nothing in promoting their lies and remain undeterred, irrespective of whether their approach leads to division, distress and conflict. The truth gave way to fiction as epitomised by the Brexit bus and the extra £350 Million for the NHS. Now that the lie has been revealed, even they prevaricate, cough and splutter in an attempt to distract the interviewer from pursuing their dishonesty.
Much of my working life has been concerned with those who experience poverty, the threat of homelessness and how to provide the next meal for their family. The stress of simply living is debilitating and it is perhaps no surprise that the hollow promises offered by the Brexit entourage convinced swathes of our community that there was an opportunity for them to break free and into a more economically prosperous society. Such messages were and are more poignant against a backcloth of the working-class facing wage stagnation, a housing crisis, punitive benefit arrangements (Universal Credit) and devastating cuts to our public services. Services that are aimed to support the most vulnerable.
Finally, it strikes me that if people were asked to vote before we knew the terms of leaving the EU, why then now when we have so much more knowledge is there so much resistance to having a further referendum to decide whether the terms of exit are acceptable and are going to offer benefits to the many and not simply the few?