Born in Liverpool, lived all over the UK, lived in Europe, lived in South East Asia and fortunate enough to travel across countless countries around the globe since I first left the UK aged 17 – nearly 21 years ago. But for my entire life I have been European and a citizen of the world and that is under threat.
As a man reaching the age of 40 in the next couple of years I’ve taken to combining my love of running and coupling it with seeing the very best that (currently) Europe has to offer on its trails. France, Italy, Switzerland, Finland, Iceland and soon Spain have all had me running across them either in training of racing and being European means I’m welcome in these countries – I’m not an outsider – I’m greeted with a warm charm whatever I go because I’m part of something great.
In a few weeks time the UK government will ask its citizens if they would like to remain part of the European Union – it will pose an ‘in’ or ‘out’ question.
The answer you’re looking for is ‘in’. Ignore the rhetoric of both sides political games and number crunching – it’s all guess work and stupidity. Don’t look at the Daily Mail, the BBC, Guardian or The Times, etc – they all have bias.
Look inside yourself and I’m hoping that you’ll find the answer for yourself but if you don’t here’s a few handy hints;
Immigration: Had Hitler defeated Churchill would you have hoped that say America or Canada would have taken us in? Would you have wanted to be safe, in a country where persecution wouldn’t have been hanging over you daily? Then why do you worry about taking in refugees? These people need us and as a part of Europe we are better placed to help than we ever will be alone – let’s not forget though when we stand alone we will still have international commitments – Europe isn’t the problem – our fear is.
Perhaps we could also try and remember we are a nation built on immigration – even if you want to exit Europe you must realise the benefits of a diverse and often progressive society?
Money: we pay a tremendous amount into Europe? I can agree on that point but we also take a tremendous amount out, European money is everywhere helping develop and re-engineer cities like Cardiff and Liverpool, it puts money into projects that the UK government wouldn’t back or worse can’t afford to back.
Our inflated opinion: the UK is a small island nation that punches above its weight – partly because of historical dominance and therefore we are still welcome to the global party – but we stand on the shoulders of our European neighbours increasingly because we are better together, stronger together and more influential together. You can’t build a stronghold with just one brick, you just have one brick – in Europe we have a home and it’s a good well built home.
Sure it’s not perfect and all homes can be improved – we all know this, but if I asked you to name me one perfect political movement then you’d struggle because there isn’t one. Individual governments, individual countries are no better than the EU – for the UK they’ve just become a bogeyman and they’re not. You need to think carefully about what you do when you vote.
If you vote out I believe we are then on a course to destroy our country and if you want to know what we’ll end up like, then go watch ‘Escape from LA’ it’s like a documentary of the UK post Brexit.
And so to running: When I next go running in mainland Europe I want to be able to know that the ground I’m running on is my stomping ground is a Europe I’m part of and a Europe I’m welcome in.
Scaremongering: I heard that they’re going to ban all British runners from European events*, something about being ‘back of the queue’. Something to think about.
Please vote: please do take the time to vote – this is your future as much as mine.
*This statement is a lie, much like a number of the in and out campaign messages!