For the construction sector it makes sense to vote to remain in the EU, but personally I’ve struggled with many of the Remain campaign’s arguments, until now …
I wish there was a third box voters could put a cross in this Thursday. Ideally, it would say the following: “Remain – very reluctantly”.
A few weeks ago, I was ready to vote Leave. There are still many reasons to vote Leave – the fact that the EU is anti-democratic being high up that list; the needless expansion; the seeming inability to embark on anything resembling reform; the fact that 28 countries will always act in their own self-interest; exhibit A: the UK – but over the past few weeks I have been having second thoughts.
It probably began a couple of weeks ago when a GP, who is actually a Tory MP, which seems an oxymoron, said she was switching from Leave to Remain because of fibs, she said, being told by Leave about the NHS.
It wasn’t that that got me thinking. It was what she – Sarah Wollaston is her name – said about, of all things, leaflets. This is what she said: “If you’re in a position where you can’t hand out a Vote Leave leaflet, you can’t be campaigning for that organisation.”
When nine out of 10 economists polled say the UK would be worse off if we left then we do have to listen
And I thought ‘hang on a moment, would I be prepared to hand out Vote Leave leaflets?’ when I was beginning to have doubts myself about the wisdom of voting to get out. Running away from something is one thing – and here most of the boxes were being ticked – but what are we running to? So, like Dr Wollaston, if I was a bit iffy about handing out leaflets, could I then vote Leave?
Building has run a campaign for the country to remain in the UK. The magazine says it would be better for the industry to stay in the EU. To me, it makes more sense for this industry to stay than leave because of the impact on labour and inward investment which would undoubtedly be hit.
On a wider scale, most of the debate-winning arguments put forward for staying in have been economic as well. When nine out of 10 economists polled say the UK would be worse off if we left then we do have to listen: it is not good enough for Leave to say that people are fed up with experts.
That said, some of the claims by Remain have, frankly, been ridiculous and have no doubt hardened people’s attitudes to stick two fingers up to the establishment and cemented further their intention to vote Leave.
Some of the claims by Remain have no doubt hardened people’s attitudes to stick two fingers up to the establishment
But the economists – not George Osborne and his daily, dire warnings about financial implosion nor David Cameron’s suggestion a Leave vote would make war more than less likely forgetting that we didn’t join until some years after the 1957 Treaty of Rome – have won me round.
So on Thursday, I’ll hold my nose and vote Remain because I think we’ll be worse off if we quit. Pure and simple.
The appeal of Leave is still there for sure – and the irritation with the EU remains: it still has plans to expand even further and tie countries like Albania (with a GDP of $32bn) into an economic union with one mighty, dominant country at its heart, Germany and its $3.6 trillion GDP, which is just utter lunacy, like asking Rochdale to compete with Manchester United. No union among unequals is sustainable. And yet, and yet, and yet. For me, Remain has the trump economic card.
The choice that is being put before voters seems to be stick with an unpopular status quo – and a vote for Remain followed by a return to no change – or pin our hopes on a barely sketched out alternative. The roundhead in me wins over the cavalier. This time, anyway.
Dave Rogers, contributing editor, Building