Sunday, 19 June 2016

Opinion: The effect of the EU Referendum



It's Sundaymorning and I'm chilling in bed. It's one of those moments in a week that I think a lot about thing and this morning is not different from other weeks. I've been thinking of the EU referendum in the UK a lot to be honest. Not only because I'm interested in the UK or that we had our own referendum concerning the EU (less intense though). But one of the things that leaves me with deep thoughts are the consequences of this EU referendum.
To be clear, this is not going to be about whether you should vote remain or vote leave. As a foreigner looking into these decisions, it's not my place to push you one way or another. I don't want to. What do I want then? Well, I think it's the time to face simple facts that certain decisions or campagnes are developing a greater distance between groups of people, and perhaps that's the thing that concerns me most.

In my opinion there are two crucial aspects to look at to begin with. When there are elections or in this case a referendum, there are always debates. As it should be, debating with opponents and trying to convince the voters about certain subject. A lot of people are true to their party, but for some these debates are vital because they are what we call undecided voters.
So far so good right? Yeah I though that, but this has proven to be very theoretical approach to the voters and the voting system. The reality is that there are too few actual voters, so that means that politicians need to overcome the election threshold. You have to actively campaign to get people to the voting boxes. This is the point where political parties can't afford to lose voters over debates that end in draws. No, what the parties do is the following. They have to juicy, sexy and attractive. In order to do that, they come with scaremongering. A very american approach to elections to be honest. They use the fear of people to get them to vote for them, instead of focusing on their own positive mindsets and views. Mind you, this happens by both camps a lot.

The second crucial point for me is within the EU itself and is a quite logical development. The integration of Europe is very present. More bodies of the EU have a say in our national chosen governments and sometimes it feels (it does to me), that the EU is slowly transforming into a federation. An United States of Europe. Well that's very dramatically put, but the decisions made by the EU are aimed at a more intense integration of the nations.
You can think what you like about it, but to be fair you can't ignore one consequence of this policy: Nationalism. How bigger and more integrated the world gets, how more people cherish their region, their dialects, accents, their regional history and define their identity more regional than national. And I believe this thought has fed the need of a referendum.

So here we are, at the brink of a very important decision. A referendum that has been campaigned heavily. Leaving family, homes, friends, work and even parties divided. And how has this happened actually? I mean what do you really now of the actual consequences of the outcome of the referendum?

Vote Leave gives you scenarios that when you stay in the EU, UK will have less to say in the EU and the world. Back to the days of the great British Empire and all that. Vote Remain will state that Britain must stay in the EU because of principals and staying connected with the world.
All great mate, but where are the facts? Where are the actual facts that leaving the EU would be better for the people, where does it say that? Where does it say that the UK is doomed when leaving the EU? There are no facts, because this is unprecedented. Sending out a infograph or a little text is not equalled to the truth, it's gotten out of context.

One thing I can say, it's that the membership of the UK is very different to others. The UK joined in 1973, that is not a long time considering other countries membership. But David Cameron sensed the UK is different and made a sort of deal with the EU.
The most important thing to know about it, is the point of the 'Ever closer union'. Cameron made a deal which states that the UK won't participate in the further economical and political integration of the EU. This states that the UK will still have more to say as a member, as for example the Dutch. So this is a quite logical explanation, why it's not easy to say what will happen to the UK after the referendum, because we simply don't know. And in my opinion scaremongering makes things so much worse. I'd rather have a good debate where you lose a few voters, than this utter nonsense where everyone is getting scared and acts irrational to other.

It's gotten out of hand people. I've seen over 20 UKIP posters. TWENTY. Do you know where I live? In the bloody Netherlands!! This anti-EU sentiment is getting bigger and bigger. Well that's no problem at itself I think, but more and more radical groups are being associated with the leave-camp. Right wing extremist are getting more attention of it and certain individuals want to act on it. Left wing extremist, yes they are there too react to it heavily. Things go out of hand, big time. So has the tragic death of MP Jo Cox shocked us all, but it's also the consequence of bad campaigning on both sides. And perhaps the most tragic thing of it all is that the camps will take advantage over the murder of a MP. The most tragic thing is people stating: 'This is the best thing that could happen to us #voteremain' or something like that.

This referendum is driving a wedge between people. In my opinion this is all due to bad campaigning, not educating the people enough about what's the reality and the media doesn't make it any better if I'm honest. I don't know if this made any sense at all and I don't know if you hate me for it. I don't care to be honest, I just want to write about it.

Whatever you vote, please read enough, educate yourself. Don't rely on one source only, make up your own mind, discuss with like-minded but also with opposed. Vote what feels good, but don't hate the people who vote different.

Good luck

Marc

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1 comment

  1. UKIP posters in the Netherlands? Has the world gone mad? No matter what the outcome of the referendum, I was born a citizen of the European Union and proudly. European culture is so diverse and I cannot imagine a world where I am restricted to it. Peace out, Brother!

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