Stay or Go? A Fool’s Guide to Brexit!

You’re about to experience a Brexit referendum debate unlike any other. Get ready, I’m going to argue with my very-own-self. You may have to sign a disclaimer, because this could get ugly.

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Existing in my brain are two conflicting selves. My traditional left-wing side, who wants to stay in. We shall call her Sister Stay. And my libertarian hardcore fighting side Lady Leave, who wants to leave. You may be asking, “how can any left-winger have a reason to side with Brexit?” But you’re about to find out that the decision to leave or stay in the EU is not as easy as it seems.

Please listen to this whilst reading my article.

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Sister Stay: Dude, why do you want to leave the EU? There’s so many great things that come from the EU, like Prosecco, Dachschund puppies, German christmas markets and Prosecco…

Lady Leave: People keep talking about when Britain was paradise, when we could control the shape of our bananas, when we could eat the pure form of the blue smarties. I wonder, is there a better Britain? If the EU can’t accept misshapen bananas for their natural self, then what does it stand for?

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Sister Stay: But the EU stands for worker’s rights, like equal pay, paid holidays and maternity leave! The Independent wrote an article about how the European Union sustains millions of jobs, provides consumer protection and our economy depends on it.

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Lady Leave: Yeah of course the EU have done some great things, but that’s not likely to change, we would maintain those EU laws. Worker’s rights have become normal working practice, this won’t change over night. It would be illogical because new trade deals with other countries, especially the EU, would mean we have to implement these rights. Not because it’s the right thing to do, but because it would give us an advantage over other markets we are competing with. Read more on how leaving the EU would effect employment rights in this Guardian article.

The EU may stand up for working people’s rights, but what about how they handled the immigration crisis with the EU/Turkey deal. We talk about the EU being a left-wing body that represents freedom, but how does selling out Syrian asylum seekers to Turkey seem humanitarian or ethical? Amnesty International has recently exposed illegal mass returns of Syrian refugee to Syria as part of EU-Turkey deal.

I think the EU you’re talking about has disappeared.

Sister Stay: I get what you’re saying, but it’s better to stay in and try and reform it, than leave and rebuild it alone. If you’re suggesting by leaving, the conservative party might challenge the EU/Turkey deal, then you’re delusional! You’re handing power to Boris Johnston and right-wing conservatives.

Lady Leave: How can I vote to stay in when the EU treat asylum seekers so badly? But I also don’t agree with the Leave Campaign’s attack on economic migrants. The way they ran the campaign makes me feel sickly. 

Sister Stay: You have commitment issues! You can’t attach yourself to either side of the argument when neither side represents how you feel.

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Lady Leave: Exactly, I like parts of the EU, I don’t reeeally want to leave. It’s not wrong to ask for honesty in a relationship. I just don’t think I’m getting enough back. I don’t want a divorce, there’s still love there!

Sister Stay: Like gelato?

Lady Leave: What do you mean? That extremely delicious, expensive ice cream that I love so much?

Sister Stay: We could lose our highly skilled gelato makers and be left with the cheap tub of Neopolitan from ASDA. I mean gelato is Italian, so they might take it back or put the prices up. No one wants soft-whip ice cream these days.

Lady Leave: I suppose that might be life changing. But if the ice cream manufactures are British and it still says, “Ciao Bella” on the tub. I’ll probably eat it anyway.

Sister Stay: We’re in too thick to make a decision…

Lady Leave: Or too well informed…

And we’re back, thank you ladies.

As the political agony aunt you’re probably expecting me to provide some much needed enlightenment on the Brexit issue. It’s expected that up to 30% of voters are undecided or may change their decision the week of the Brexit referendum. You can read about it in this Guardian article.

What I’m about to type may cause you some light anxiety. I too will make my decision when I’m confronted with poll booth on referendum day.

As far as I can tell, there are three ways to help you make your decision:

  1. Good vs. evil. Certainly the leave campaign has its villains, cough cough Farage, Putin and Trump, to name a few.
  2. Get your facts and do your own research by ignoring debates between conservatives who try to make this some ideological battle over the future of the conservative party.
  3. Do the exact opposite of whatever the Sun newspaper tells you to do on referendum day. Here’s what The Sun has decided…

I’m going for option number two. As you can see from my inner debate, which in hindsight might not’ve been the best way to debate Brexit (oops). I started off pro EU, but the more I researched, the more complicated the decision became. There’s no good vs. evil, and like yourselves, my one vote ways heavily on my shoulders.

But there are positives from the referendum. This is the first and maybe only time in my life that one vote means one vote. Hallelujah you’re about to experience proportional representation in action, and depending on who you side with, you’ll probably realise giving right wing conservatives and UKIP voters a platform was a terrible idea and we should abandon democracy.

So on referendum day go out and vote, have a small taste of freedom and raise a glass to that beautiful beast that is democracy. If you’re confused about what to do on referendum day or need basic information on what you’re voting for, here is a helpful guide written by the BBC.

Work out what’s important to you, whether it’s worker’s rights, the economy or immigration. Don’t base your vote on what the media outlet or politicians tell you to do. This is about you and how you want your future to look. That’s your decision and nobody else’s. It will be a difficult vote and the result may be hard to swallow. But remember it’s a hard decision because we care.

As I was writing this article, Labour MP, Jo Cox was brutally murdered for standing up for what she believed in. Politics can bring us together as well as divide us. On Thursday please celebrate whether you agree or not with the outcome, and fight your own feelings of fear and hate. We can and will stand united, even if we are divided in opinion. That is the future of Britain!govote

Holly Macdonald is a political agony aunt for Kollektiv Gallery.

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