Until the referendum


I came across this on Quora Digest, an app where people can ask questions for others to answer. Politics looms large in the content they send me. It was from Marco Geleijnse, who studied at Radboud University Nijmegen

‘Until the referendum in 2016 I couldn’t care less about the EU. I thought of it like a distant aunt you sometimes meet at birthday parties but with whom you’ve nothing in common.

Since then I have become far more conscious how much the EU has done in terms of balancing political powers in Europe – especially looking at the British drama unfolding – safe food and goods, less administrative hassle and how European cultures generally have grown to each other.

I identify more as an European since the referendum though I remain a Dutchman in the first place.’

A lot of what I read on Quora is of interest and appeals to me. It would, as the algorithms make sure it does yet this short response to someone else’s article has resonated. There is so much talk around the economic impact of Brexit, real, perceived, made up or lied about, yet when I went into the booth back in 2016, economics was not on my mind. I don’t really understand how the argument has become entirely about trade deals as the EU has always meant so much more to me than the price of goods.

Instead I was thinking about political stability, working conditions, fairness and peace. Initiatives such as the General Data Protection Regulations, the Working Time Directive and the Human Rights Act have all, in my mind been positive contributions that could only have come from a pan-national framework.

People have asked me if I mind paying all this money to the European Union? In reality it is a tiny amount, certainly no more than 1% of UK GDP. My answer is that it is good value and that I would happily spend more if it meant a greater and fairer distribution of wealth across the continent.

This is the trouble with referendums, a binary question is too simplistic for such a complex issue. Every one of us will have voted for our own personal reasons and expect different flavours from the outcome.

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