EU Vox Pop: Workers' Rights, The Big Picture But Pressure on Schools and Hospitals

Problems are solved by working together

I would vote Remain because I believe that more problems can be solved when people work together. I felt that staying in Europe was a good idea before the campaigning really got started. But after they did, I felt pushed further towards the Remain side. When the leaders of both major parties agree on something, you've got to trust that it’s probably the right thing to do.

I am generally friends with like-minded people (left wing, Guardian readers) and a lot of them go on about politics a lot. For someone like me, who isn't 100 percent into politics, I find myself thinking, ‘Oh well, if a friend I've known for a long time and regard as being intelligent, sensible, and trustworthy, thinks Remain is the right way to vote, then I'll go with that.’

  • Tom Girling from Oxford, 28, Graphic Designer

The EU is part of ‘the bigger picture’

Living in France for half of the year, I find that I have an affinity with Europe. I travel backwards and forwards using both the ferries and the Tunnel. When leaving Dover I am always struck by the enormous sign which indicates the staggeringly high number of passengers, cars and lorries passing through the port each month. The number of lorries is in the tens of thousands. The thought of that trade being lost because we were not part of ‘the big picture’ worries me.

Turn on the television anywhere in Europe and you will see the same pictures in every country. You can watch many of the same programmes, including the biggest sporting events which always include individuals or teams from throughout Europe. In a couple of weeks’ time, every football fan in Europe will be glued to their TV sets to watch the European Football Championships.

When it comes to the economics, I doubt leaving will greatly affect me. I receive a pension in pounds but I know that, although there might be some currency fluctuations at first, my pension will be safe. I am deciding on the basis that, culturally, we are European, whether we cut the political ties or not.

  • Chris Pye from Chelmsford, 63, Retired Banker.

‘Leave’ Are Harking Back to Empire and the ‘Good Old Days’

I have already lived through a serious recession. My husband and I were relatively lucky, though we did have to deal with losing a substantial amount of money on our mortgage. I don’t want to have to live through something like that again, especially something brought on by ourselves, in pursuit of some nationalistic dream that I don’t share. I want to remain.

I look at those campaigning for Leave and think, ‘I have nothing at all in common with them at all.’ These people are a group of right-wing, libertarians who, essentially, seem to hate foreigners and want to hark back to the ‘good old days,’ when Britain ruled its own empire. Yes, there was a time when we ran an empire. We don’t anymore. Things are not going to be like the ‘good old days’ if we leave the EU.

I can understand that some feel uncomfortable about immigration but it isn’t something that I have a problem with. The ‘drain on resources’ argument, seems to be as much about austerity and poorly funded public resources, as it is about the actual number of migrants. The people that come here largely do so to work. They contribute to the economy and pay their taxes. 

Whilst I wouldn’t describe myself as hugely pro-EU, I don’t want to vote for change when I am content - happy even - with the situation as it is.

  • Barbara Bews from Gatwick, Administrative Officer, 35

To a sceptical public ‘Facts’ Now Feel Like the Opposite

I can see a rationale for choosing either option at the moment, but my inclination is to vote to remain in. This is because I don’t believe or trust those who represent the Brexit perspective. I respect and agree with the argument around the EU’s lack of democracy, workers’ rights and that it doesn’t represent what it was created for. I also think, however, that those in favour of Brexit are using the EU referendum to drive hard-line conservative ideologies and a patriotic message that looks a lot like racism.

I think that the one sad legacy of these campaigns will be their redefinition of the term ‘the facts.’ These campaigns have managed to push the, already disenfranchised, voter into a position where ‘the facts’ feel like their opposite. They have stripped the public’s, already minimal, trust in politicians to the point where they are now so confused. The fear-mongering has made the public even more sceptical.

Despite my upset at the tone of the debate, I haven’t entirely made up my mind. I find the arguments of further left perspectives engaging but at the moment, I’d rather stay in for the wrong reasons, than leave for the wrong reasons.

  • Jon Moss from Leeds, Lecturer, 40.

The EU offers workers protection from the Tories

I want to remain because being part of the EU gives some protection to workers’ rights. Since we are likely to be ruled for a long time by the Tories, any protections against their future plans is important for me. They want to take away rights from ordinary people and give everything to their buddies in the private and banking sectors.

Also, I spent my formative years in Scotland. I was educated there. I consider it a part of my cultural identity and the thought of them voting to leave the UK in the future is of real concern to me. If we leave the EU, Scotland will almost certainly leave us. This is unthinkable.

I have found some of the campaign arguments on the leave side xenophobic. This scares me. I think, the world is becoming a smaller place and we should be uniting, not fragmenting. I do understand some points that the leave side are putting forward, but I don’t want to live with an unfettered Tory government. Anything that prevents them from furthering their agenda to privatise everything and destroy workers’ rights has to be good.

  • Susan Warren from Stirling, Teacher, 59.

Schools, hospitals and prisons can’t cope. We don’t need interference

I want to leave for two reasons. Because of immigration and so that our laws are not always being overridden. They (the EU) have gotten too big for their boots. I was just reading about directives on ‘bendy bananas’. Boris Johnson has been talking about them and all the regulations. His lot are right, there is too much of it. I am old enough to remember what this country was like before we were a member of the EU. England was successful. And, proud. We didn’t need all the interference.

Now there is pressure on schools, hospitals and prisons. Schools can’t cope with all the languages and we can’t seem to stop robbers, and the like, from coming here to commit crime. And, the way human rights are used is ridiculous. There was nothing wrong with the way [the Human Rights Act] was intended. I think folk should have protection. But, when prisoners get the vote and things like that I think, well, why should they while normal folk can’t get school places or a doctor’s appointment?

  • Ann Millar from Halifax, Retired Nurse, 85.

More about the author

About the author

Leon Zadok writes on politics with a focus on opinion and analysis, and tea. Being a recent graduate in law from Leeds Beckett and having written for the local press and online, Leon is sure he has got it all figured out. Previously contributing to Column F, The York Press, The Wakefield Express, and The Yorkshire Post, to name a few, Leon works on a freelance basis and writes regularly for Disclaimer.

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