It’s the eve of our Referendum. I know that so many of us are battered half to death with exhaustion over this issue. The debate has been acrimonious and terrifyingly costly. It’s claimed a life – indirectly if you please, very directly indeed if you hold the right-wing press properly accountable for its relentless scaremongering. In the course of this campaign, I’ve seen good friends with genuine reasons to vote Leave called racists. I’ve seen good friends with genuine reasons to vote Remain called idiots. This has been horrendous to watch. I’m glad that we’ve reached the end of this part of our road, and no matter what happens tomorrow, I hope we will be able to heal the breaches torn between us during the campaign and pull forward together.
If you’re voting tomorrow, I’m fairly certain you’ll know which way by now, and one more opinion is the last thing you need to see on your timeline. Normally I wouldn’t give it. I’m not extrovertedly political (though inwardly and in the expression of my life’s basic principles, extremely so). Having said all that, this is my statement that I will be voting REMAIN. I very much doubt that this will influence a single vote anywhere, but I gather from people I respect that it may be important to vocalise my intentions in order to help balance vociferous outpourings from the LEAVE camp. I’m not so sure. I think maybe enough of us are yelling already. That’s partly why I’ve put this post on my WordPress rather than my timeline: easier for the weary to ignore, this way, and I don’t intend to start or engage in further wrangling. I don’t do well in political debate. I am a slow thinker and can’t marshal facts quickly enough in order to acquit myself honourably.
But here are my reasons, put simply. Every humanitarian and environmental-protection group to which I belong is asking its members to vote Remain. The brightest, kindest, most rational intellectual lights of our country are hoping we will Remain. Jeremy Corbyn, the sole political leader I have been able to respect in this country for decades, is asking us to Remain. Sadly, so is David Cameron, but there is always one duck in the bucket, as my gran used to say. (No, I don’t know what it meant either, but you get the idea.) Scientists and economic experts of unimpeachable credentials want us to Remain. I have stayed on the sidelines of the campaign, but I have been watching, and I’ve been unable to find convincing arguments to refute the views of these organisations and individuals. For purely negative reasons, I can’t bear to stay in the same duck-bucket with Farage: those waters are fouled beyond cleansing.
Those are my logical influences. I doubt the referendum will be decided on logic, though, and all I can trust is that the outpouring of emotion that carries the decision one way or another will be of a good kind. Will be hope and optimism, not hate and fear. The European Union to which we currently belong is deeply flawed and needs reform. The advantages that accrue to us from belonging to this flawed organisation, however, vastly outweigh the advantages of leaving it – and we certainly can’t reform it from the outside. Tomorrow I will be voting on real, specific issues such as the protection of human rights and the best chances of protection for our environment, but also in a broader spirit of trust in the future. Quite simply, I cannot believe that any political steps of retreat, wall-building, isolationism and segregation can possibly be good for us in these hate-filled, rage-filled times. Tomorrow – rationally, emotionally, logically, illogically, in sincere truth of spirit and determined hope – I will be holding out my hands (I do have unnaturally long arms) across the Channel and the North Sea (both of ’em very recent innovations, if that kind of geological perspective helps), and voting Remain.