Dear Little Ones – Brexit

Dear Little Ones,

I too was super excited to hear of the launch of a new breakfast cereal.  Turns out that Brexit is something entirely different and unfortunately not something you can eat.

Instead it means the grown-ups in this country, the ones who can be bothered anyway, are going to vote to decide on whether or not you should grow up in a Britain that is part of the European Union or not.  If the decision is that we should leave the European Union it’s going to take quite a few years to do it and alot of the people who have voted to leave will be dead by the time we’re ‘free of Brussels’.  It’s you who will have to live with the consequences of this election.  I thought, therefore, I should probably write to you and tell you a bit about it given that it’s going to fundamentally shape your entire lives

So what is the European Union?

The European Union (EU) is basically a club which whole countries join.  You pay money to join, and how much you pay depends on how much you can afford.  We pay the third highest rate because we are a rich nation.

In exchange all the member governments work together to keep the peace.  Seventy odd years ago there was a big old war called World War 2 and the EU came about out of that.

The EU club is about all being friends, sharing our resources and money around when we can, giving one another a good price on the things we sell and not dissolving into a great big massive fight which would result in nuclear war and we would all die horribly.

And they have a pretty flag!

Remember that Peppa Pig episode where Madame Gazelle sings “Peace and Harmony, in all the world” – that’s kind of the EU.


Sounds amazing – why leave the club?

Not everybody wants to leave the club which is partly why we’re having a referendum, to find out just exactly how many of us do and don’t want to leave.  Then we’ll do whatever the majority say (unless the Queen disagrees with the decision and dissolves parliament).

There seem to a few key issues that the grown-ups are debating.

1. The Immigration issue

Anyone who lives in the EU is allowed to move freely around the EU.  This means that people can live where they want, with some exceptions.

Let’s look at this as if it were a birthday party.

Mummy Britannia is throwing a birthday party and has decided to invite everybody in Europe.  Europe is a big place and lots of other people are having parties in Europe too so she’s not worried.  Some people will come, but not too many.

Word gets round that Mummy Britannia throws the most amazing parties with super party bags.  The best party bags infact.  People flock to the party.  Mummy Britannia didn’t expect to have quite the numbers that arrived.  The European party guests run riot through Mummy Britannias party, taking all the food and party bags so there are none left for the British people who came to the party.  Some of the British people feel sad, and a bit annoyed.  Perhaps Mummy Britannia shouldn’t have invited those Europeans – the party would have been nicer without them.

But some people at the party think that’s not quite what happened.  The Europeans who came to the party did turn up en masse but actually they behaved, and some of them even brought food with them for the party.  There were other people who weren’t invited at all who turned up.  They snuck in.  Any mummy will tell you that when an uninvited child turns up at a party you’re throwing it’s infuriating.  You don’t have a party bag for that child but the child won’t understand and then they cry and the mummy feels bad and angry at the parent who is taking the mick.  Some parents are just rude.  If you go to a party and your mummy tries to sneak in your sibling have a word with them, please, for the sake of the EU and peace and harmony everywhere.

This is more about party rage than immigration now but it’s a point equally worth making!

However it’s not just the fault of the people who turned up at the party.  Mummy Britannia should have been a bit more prepared.  She knows that she throws a damned fine party and that her party bag is one of the best in the world.  If she issued an open invitation then she should have known that invitation would have been taken up by alot of people.  She should have got more party bags ready – then the British people who don’t want to share with the Europeans could have been given their own party bags (people who sneak in don’t get party bags – that’s the rule at my parties and I think that should be scaled up into international law).

Of course, some of us don’t mind sharing our party bags, especially with those who come from countries where party bags don’t exist.

That said, Mummy Britannia worked hard on making those party bags as good as they are.  Why should others just be allowed to come take them.

Personally I’m up for sharing but I can see why people want to protect their party bags.  They have pride in their party bags, and that’s not a bad thing, unless it starts to hurt other people.

These are tricky questions we’re being asked to wrestle with here.

2. The Economy Issue

Seriously don’t ask me about this.  I run my own business which puts me ahead of the average mummy or daddy in terms of understanding how the economy works.  It’s proper complicated hardcore politics and maths.

Instead let’s ask my local MP, James Berry of the Conservative Party!  After all, it’s his full time job to know all about national politics and how that relates to us here on a local level.  Let me just go check his website and see what he says.  Back in a tick………

……..tick, tock, tick……..

……….I still don’t know.  There is nothing on his webpage about the EU Referendum.  There is a whole page dedicated to his expenses though and he’s campaigning for more schools and another swimming pool built in Kingston.  Yeah – more swimming!

Here’s what I do know.  An economy is a bit like playing shops.  It’s more fun to play shops if you have more money (you can use stones or connect 4 counters if you’ve run out of real money).  Infact your economy is judged to be doing better the more ‘money’ you have in it.  But it can’t just be sitting there; it has be to be used.  Exchanged for goods.  Paying wages etc.

Lots of banks have their European Headquarters in Britain.  If we leave the EU they will leave too because banks are run by the descendants of Cruella DeVille and Maleficent.  They would happily leave us all to die here on this island.  Infact Maleficent’s heirs would probably conjure up a big man eating dragon before they went which would go around chomp chomp chomping everyone who got in the way.

But really, as evil as they are, we want them to stay because they have the coins and stones and connect 4 counters for the game.  Without them we might be playing with just stones and connect 4 counters.


3. The Sovereignty Issue

The people of Britain don’t like being told what to do by Brussels.

The people of Scotland don’t like being told what to do by the people of England.

The people of the north don’t like being told what to do by the people of the south.

Girls don’t like being told what to do by boys.

Dogs don’t like being told what to do by cats.

You get the idea.  The trick, little ones, is to be the person telling somebody else what to do.  This works in every scenario, except parent vs toddler.  Toddler will never listen to parent – it’s the law.  Damn you toddler.

You’ve probably guessed little ones that I think this is the silliest issue!  The internet has changed everything for your generation and, thanks to it, you will be citizens of the world.  You will be able to share creative ideas with somebody in Japan whilst reading the blog of somebody who lives in Namibia.  Your understanding of the world will reach further than your grandparents could ever imagine.

You will be British too, because this is where you come from.  But you won’t be limited by it.  Being British will be the beginning of you, but not the end of you, because you  can be more than one thing.  It’s possible to be British and European.  To be British is already to be part of a union because you’re either English, Scottish, Welsh or Northern Irish!  Be proud of your British routes and learn your British history because it is rich and incredible and has shaped the world as we know it (Tim Berners Lee, the inventor of the world wide web, was British!)  Understand all of your history which is steeped in collaboration with other cultures and countries because it is the story of where you came from.  Know your families story too because that will make clear to you how you came to be, and when you know that, and where you are right now, in this moment, you’ll see where your future lies.

You won’t be any less British for being a European or even a citizen of the world, because to be British is to be pioneering, at the front of the charge, making friends, working together, routing for the underdog, drinking tea, joking in the face of danger despite being terrified, inventing amazing machines and above all striving to be the very best we can be all whilst having an incredible soundtrack playing in the background.

And if you drink coffee instead, you’ll still be British.

4.  The Food Issue

People aren’t talking about this one so much but as far as I’m concerned it’s probably the most important!  Also I’m right in my comfort zone on this one.

It doesn’t quite fit to the normal tune as some of the words are a bit longer.  You have to cram them in.  Maraccas  at the ready…

Old MacDonald had a farm, ee u ee u helped!

And on that farm he had some cows, ee u ee u helped

With a subsidy here, and a subsidy there

Here some cash, there some cash, everywhere some cash cash

Old MacDonald had a farm, ee u ee u helped

Oh yes, the EU has been keeping various nursery rhyme characters going for the best part of 40 odd years.  Old man went to mow – he’s been getting hand outs too.  And without this money some of the Old MacDonald’s in the UK wouldn’t be able to afford to keep their cows, pigs, sheep and, in our house, giraffes!  If we leave the EU Old MacDonald will stop getting the subsidies which means he’ll need to put his prices up which means that we’ll have to pay more money for his cows, pigs, sheep and giraffes.

In all, we’ll need to pay more for food at a time when a record number of us are having to turn to foodbanks for our food (food banks are where mummies go when they have no food, nowhere else to turn and have starving little ones to feed; the mummies leave their pride at the door on the way in – in a perfect world no mummy should ever have to feel so helpless to provide for her family but sadly there are mummies right on our very rich doorstep who feel like this every day).

And if there is a shortage of food, the EU will feed everybody else before us!  We’ll be bottom of the list again.  It’ll be like Eurovision but without the mummy juice.  They’ll be exporting to Australia before us!

It’s all so complicated – why aren’t the experts deciding?

Well quite.  Quite.  Why aren’t the experts deciding, them being our MPs.  My MP hasn’t even put a statement of where he stands on his website!!!!!  THIS IS HIS JOB.  MY JOB IS TELLING STORIES – WHY AM I MAKING THIS DECISION?

And didn’t we already decide this at the general election when we got to vote for the political parties then.  The conservatives won – not UKIP.  Even with proportional representation UKIP wouldn’t have significant numbers in the houses of parliament.  Referendums cost millions of pounds little ones and right now we’re having major cut backs.  Some of you in wheel chairs are having your services removed.  The hob nobs at the town hall no longer have chocolate on.  But we’re having a referendum?

All sorts of people are voting for all sorts of reasons.

The nan of somebody I know is voting to leave the EU because she doesn’t get on with centimetres and is under the illusion that we’ll go back to inches if we leave the EU.  This is real.

The EU is a complicated and far reaching organisation.  To put it another way, this referendum is the equivalent of the teachers sending home a letter saying…

“we can’t decide what we’re going to teach tomorrow so we thought we’d ask the parents.  Please fill in the slip below and we’ll teach the most popular idea.”

…but in this case the teachers teach A level physics!

I think the main reason we’re having a referendum is that at some point last year David Cameron and Boris Johnson had a sleep over party.  Boris wore his Star Wars PJs, David was dressed as Marshall from Paw Patrol.  They watched ‘Trading Places’, an awesome film from the 80’s starring Dan Ackroyd and Eddie Murphy.  The Duke brothers own a trading firm and they have an argument that nature rather than nurture determines how well a person will do in life.  They then have a bet that they can’t ruin one of their traders (Dan Ackroyd) and ‘replace’ him with a homeless man (Eddie Murphy), the bet being for the sum of one dollar.  The brothers then set about proving one another wrong by destroying lives.  Along the way Dan Ackroyd and Eddie Murphy realise what’s going on and turn the tables on the Duke brothers, ruining them in the process and making all the mummies and daddies laugh.

“Wow” said David and Boris.  “We wish we could do something like that!”

The winner will receive One British Pound, and gets to be the Prime Minister.

Wish us luck little ones.  Whatever happens we are a nation divided and we’re not the only nation that feels this way.  The EU isn’t perfect and somewhere along the line the people it serves seem to have lost touch with what it’s trying to achieve.  Or indeed what it is achieving.  This makes us think that perhaps the people who make up the EU have themselves lost touch with what they’re trying to achieve.  I doubt that – I think they know but they’re just not very good at telling us.

Whatever the result little ones you must remember that every single person who casts a vote, whether it be to leave or to stay, is doing so because they want your future to be the best it can possibly be.  Only time will tell if we get this decision right.  In thirty years you may be patting us on the back, or you may be dancing on our graves.  Either way little ones please know that we all love you, and in these dark days that we find ourselves, facing this incredibly daunting and overwhelming decision, we will do our very best.

Lots of love


PS I’ve written this blog to share with my 6 year old to teach her about the EU referendum. I hope you’re talking to your little ones about it too.  It’s so important that we engage our young generation in politics, from all walks of life, and we do this by introducing them early.  We need the next generation of politicians to be a bit cleverer than this lot!


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SARAH CANTRILL is a woman on a mission to inspire every young child to become a reader for pleasure.  She is the Artistic Director & Founder of STORY STORKS, a social enterprise that delivers interactive story workshops to early years children and their grown ups, that help kids to fall in love with stories and develop their early language skills meaning that they have an easier time of learning to read when the time is right.  Infact 80% of the kids who come through STORY STORKS  are right where they should be or ahead in terms of progression through the reading book scheme once they get to school and the ones who are behind are trying hard because they know that it’s worth it – that to read is to unlock a whole world of fun and adventure and learning and imagination and they might take a bit longer to get there but they’re determined that get there they will.



41 thoughts on “Dear Little Ones – Brexit

  1. I want to hear what happened after they all exchanged their pocket money in different currencies and played with a new one, the Euro. But that was so difficult that some of them were crippled by the new money and couldn’t afford to buy any sweets, but they were stuck and couldn’t change back

    1. I love requests!!! I’ll work on it but I guess it’s going to involve some hair pulling, tantrums and once again the descendants of Maleficent and Cruella De’Ville. I’ve also had a request to put together a children’s guide to the Euro 2016 football tournament that’s coming up. I’m going to be busy!

  2. Too late! I had a postal vote – filled it and sent it. Now I wait to see whether I have what I want or not!!!!! The wait will kill me!!!

  3. Brilliant post – one of the clearest, most sensible and reasoned articles I’ve written about the referendum. Thank you so much for writing it – I’ll be sharing this with my 6yr old too … and as a postscript, TBH I’m shocked that our local MP has nothing at all on the referendum on his website!

    1. sorry I think this is brain washing .why don’t you tell the kids the truth that the eu are now bullying UK for more money .now we have said no we don’t want to play with you any more there telling us if we leave the gang there going to try and frighten us in to staying but to stey we have to do more for the gang than before because we upset them by telling them we want to play with everyone not just them the eu .

      1. Thanks for your comments. I appreciate you taking the time to share them, as the more points of view everybody gets to hear the more informed a choice we’ll make. I’ve had so much feedback this week which has ranged from I’m an angel to I’m a ‘brainwashing’ devil. The emotion behind this referendum is extraordinary. We may seem like a nation divided but we are all united in our passion to make the right choice. That at least gives me hope for the 24th June!

      2. Rachel, you are certainly entitled to your opinion, but I absolutely disagree that this article is “brainwashing”. IMO this article actually does a pretty good job of trying to distill a whole lot of misinformation and straight-out lies that have been bombarding the electorate, and to allow people to see some of the wood for the trees.

        At no time has the author presumed to tell anyone else how to vote, simply to explain the situation that we’re faced with.

        But having said that, your analogy isn’t all that silly – I mean, who wants to reason with the tantruming child in the playground who doesn’t want to play anymore because “it’s just not fair and I don’t like the rules and this game is silly and I don’t want to play anymore unless you do it ALL MY WAY!!!”? Certainly not me! I don’t have time for that sort of passive-aggressive bullying tactics in my day-to-day life … so scale it up and why should the rest of the EU be impressed with the UK kicking off and whining “What About ME?!?!?! IT’S NOT FAIR!!!!!” and then threatening to stomp off in a huff?

        I’d much rather be part of the group working and negotiating towards changing the rules from within the game, than be throwing a futile tantrum on the outer.

  4. Forget about sharing this with my ‘little ones . This should be shared with all the ‘big one’s as it makes more sense to me then any other so called politician or ‘knowledgeable person’s had said. Will share with all my big friends. Thank you Sarah for making this subject a little more pleasant and amusing to read !

  5. This writer should stick to her children’s stories! Making this huge decision sound like a children’s story book is very irresponsible.

    There will be many women of her generation that do not agree with her views, hopefully, and will vote for freedom in this coming election for their children’s sake … Freedom from the grip of Europe … The freedom many of our forces fought and were killed for in the war she mentioned!

    The generation that she so flippantly mentioned would be ‘dead’ by the time the exit was completed were the generation who voted to go into Europe with optimism of peace and harmony, and are now disappointed and disillusion with what is happening in Europe. They would like to leave the country in the condition they found it at the beginning of their lives… which was an independent and optimistic country

    1. Hi Gill. Thanks for you comment. Powerful stuff and I’m pleased that you wrote it. The subject is up for debate after all and we should be hearing arguments from all sides. I apologise if the tone has offended you because that’s certainly not what it was intended to do. In actual fact what this blog has done is to reach a whole load of people who were otherwise completed disengaged in the whole debate. Although I wrote it for kids, or more as a tool for parents to use to talk to their kids about the EU Referendum, in reality a change of delivery style from ‘politician’ to ‘comedic kids letter’ has engaged a few thousand more people. I don’t mind whether those people vote to remain or leave. I do mind if they don’t vote. I’m sure you’ll agree with that! You’re right in that today I’m thinking I’ll vote remain but I wasn’t always that way and neither campaign has shown me a clear vision of what they hope to build after the 23rd June. You are right – the EU has moved away from it’s primary objective of integration to make war impossible and turned into something else. I’m not happy about that either. But no other nation seems to be falling over itself to say that they will be doing trade deals with us if we leave. I was born in 1975 so I never knew Britain outside of the EU. But despite it’s faults, somewhere under all the bureaucracy and disagreements and trade agreements is its primary objective of making war impossible in Europe and I think that it’s worth staying in and fighting to get back to that.

      1. It’s that last sentence that just does it for me…every time…no matter which way it is said! Can I quote you?

    2. If you go to vote on the 24th you will be on your own as it is 23rd. There is one very good reason to leave the EU – it is a DICTATORSHIP. What other reasons do you need. If we stay in all your children will be conscripted into the EU army! If that is what you want for your children go ahead.

      1. The 24th is definitely the day we need hope for. This campaign has raised such emotion and created such division, even amongst families. If we do leave we’ll need to pull together more than ever which means that rift will need to be healed pretty darn quickly.

    3. This story puts the whole thing very well indeed and is no more demeaning of the subject than the scare-mongering rubbish put out by the two campaigns. Speaking as one of the 67% who voted to join, I am neither disappointed nor disillusioned with what is happening in Europe – just annoyed with the UK governments and MEPs who consistently fail to make the EU work for us. We should be fully on the inside helping to make the whole thing work, not whingeing from the sidelines all the time!

    1. Obviously I don’t agree with the nonsense bit, what with me having written it and all, but I certainly agree with the “torrent of misrepresentation.” I suspect you’re a man of few words but those three words pretty much nailed the whole campaign.

  6. sorry I think this is brain washing .why don’t you tell the kids the truth that the eu are now bullying UK for more money .now we have said no we don’t want to play with you any more there telling us if we leave the gang there going to try and frighten us in to staying but to stey we have to do more for the gang than before because we upset them by telling them we want to play with everyone not just them the eu .

  7. Well well well. Dear children
    The British people have protected Great Britain for many years, working hard and holding on to very important values. Mummies and Daddies want their children to go to good schools that are not overcrowded, see the Doctor when they feel poorly, travel to see Granny without a traffic queue, speak freely to express their points of view, have the security of a job with a company that won’t be given an EU grant to relocate to another country, afford to buy their own homes, have a picnic with teddy in the countryside before millions of Europeans come to live in Great Britain and the countryside is built on to give them homes. Dear children, I’m sure you have mummies and daddies who want the best for you and will make sure we leave the big bad EU. Night night sweeties x

  8. Im with you Vicky, dumbing it down like this is just the Remain lot once again trying to belittle those who want to leave.

    1. That’s not what she said. Vicky wrote a brilliant comment full of well structured arguments about why we should vote to leave the EU and she did it cleverly and with humour. You’ve just written an insult. Infact most of the comments I’ve received from people who are voting to leave have been insults, many of which have been so insulting, racist, anti-islamic and bigoted that I’ve not been able to publish them in the comments section of this blog, and that is belittling. Tell me why you’re voting to leave. Tell me why you disagree with what I’ve written. Tell me why you think we’ll be better off being independent from the EU. Give me concrete reasons. Show me your evidence. I want to hear what you have to say because if I’m honest I could still be swayed (although with every bigoted insult that I receive the chance diminishes). But don’t insult me. I’m not belittling you sir – it is you who belittles me. I would fight for the right for you have your opinion, even if it differs from mine. Could you say the same?

  9. While i applaud the effort to make the whole thing understandable to children, the result is very one sided. I hope my own attempt to explain Brexit to my daughters (who are 18 and 20) has given them a more balanced and fair explanation as I want them to make their decisions based on the opinions they themselves have formed. If not Im just a dictator manipulating my position to influence young minds. I have brought my daughters up….I now have to trust in the values I taught them, to make their decisions.

    1. Thank Jill. I think it’s important to teach both fact and opinion. I’ve used this blog as a beginning of the subject but I talk about both sides and how I’ve come to my own conclusions and my husband has done the same. I’m in an unusual position in my house as my husband is a staunch conservative and I’m a labour supporter. My girls get to hear both sides – and do quite often. Given the debate she gave me about wearing her waterproof to school this morning she may be learning a bit too quickly!!!

  10. The EU was originally The Common Market which we joined to allow free trade between a few (at the time) European countries. It was not born out of WW II. That may have been NATO. We joined the common market to increase trade, not to have our country run by unelected Brussels officials. This is one the main reasons that a lot of us want out of the EU, it is not what was voted for in the 1970s.

    1. Cut and pasted from the EU website, here are the objectives of the EU as agreed in the treaties and signed by the leaders of our countries. Hence my point in the blog that the EU today has strayed somewhat from these objectives. I’m sure you’ll agreed, particularly as number 1 is to keep the peace!!!!


      Article I-3 of the Constitutional Treaty, which covers the internal and external objectives of the Union, merges the provisions of the EU Treaty and those of the EC Treaty. These objectives must guide the Union in the defining and implementation of all its policies.

      The main objectives of the Union are now to promote peace, the Union’s values and the well-being of its peoples.

      These general objectives are supplemented by a list of more detailed objectives:

      an area of freedom, security and justice without internal frontiers ;
      an internal market where competition is free and undistorted;
      sustainable development, based on balanced economic growth and price stability, a highly competitive social market economy, aiming at full employment and social progress, and a high level of protection and improvement of the quality of the environment;
      the promotion of scientific and technological advance;
      the combating of social exclusion and discrimination, and the promotion of social justice and protection, equality between women and men, solidarity between generations and protection of the rights of the child;
      the promotion of economic, social and territorial cohesion, and solidarity among Member States.
      In addition, the Union respects cultural and linguistic diversity and ensures that Europe’s cultural heritage is safeguarded and enhanced.

      To the objectives already set out in the existing Treaties, the Constitution thus adds the promotion of scientific and technological advance, of solidarity between generations and of the protection of children’s rights. Economic and social cohesion now additionally acquires a territorial dimension. Cultural and linguistic diversity, and the safeguarding and enhancing of Europe’s cultural heritage, also become Union objectives.

      Paragraph 4 of Article I-3 is devoted to the Union’s promotion of its values and interests in its relations with the rest of the world. This paragraph brings together the objectives from the EU Treaty relating to the common foreign and security policy, and the provisions of the EC Treaty relating to development cooperation:

      sustainable development of the Earth;
      solidarity and mutual respect among peoples;
      free and fair trade;
      eradication of poverty;
      protection of human rights (in particular the rights of the child);
      development of international law (respect for the principles of the United Nations Charter).
      The Constitution includes as a new objective the protection of children’s rights on the international stage.

      Finally, in Part III of the Constitutional Treaty, Articles III-115 to III-122 contain provisions relating to more specific requirements which the Union must fulfil in implementing the Constitution, in particular, equality between men and women, the combating of discrimination, requirements relating to employment and social policy, protection of the environment and consumers and consideration for the specific nature of services of general economic interest.

  11. I’m with the following report on the British exit of the EU. Which I believe will be running all week just after 12pm.

    In my opinion I think the idea of Greatness is a rather sad one. It idealises power, and I generally believe power tends to create polarising hierarchies. So with that logic if the point of leaving the EU is to be Great then I disagree. I think the idea of the EU economically is to create a economic rival to other powerful economic unions and nations for trade. I think that is no bad thing, and a pretty pragmatic approach to trade economics.

    It’s well document that in economic terms the money that Europeans bring into the country vastly out weighs the costs, I’m sure you can find the independent report online somewhere. I think it was released last year or the year before. It’s argument was sound and compelling from my recollection. I can’t remember it being heavily criticised, mostly because it was so overwhelming. But people believe what they want to believe and ignore good evidence to do so.

    There is perhaps a more interesting question about ideas of unilateral or multilateral approaches to politics. I personally believe people(s) are stronger together, I don’t have the insecurity to care whether we are a powerful great nation, like I said above, it’s quite a sad narrative, I feel sorry for people who pine for power, the will to power brought colonialism and slavery, neither of which I am proud. I’d rather we concentrate on our rights as citizens. Our mental health welfare. I think there is a strong relationship between materialism, economic narratives of determining happiness and mental health problems. I think any argument that places economics at the centre is therefore misguided by its very nature. And in that sense I’d dismiss the prioritising of any economic argument on either side of the debate.

    Inequality socially and economically has nothing to do with the EU, it has to do with power, the powerful, income, and capitalism as an innately unequal economic model in an ethically diluted form. That causes hierarchical wealth polar extremes. If anyone wants to change the system, don’t look to Europe, look at your home turf.

    And by and large the EU conventions on human rights etc, that the EU implements were written by the UK, as far as I am aware. There is a pretty amusing video starring Patrick Stuart about it you can probably find on youtube.

    I’m with Story Storks on the immigration debate, I don’t understand mentality that thinks we need to be pure or something.

    To Vicki:

    If people don’t want the roads to be over crowded they should car share, and not be four car families, and not drive their kids everywhere into their teens. And that has nothing to do with immigrants, that’s to do with the greed and inclination to buy rather than share large noise and air polluting machines in a measured approach. People should cycle more, and take public transport more. Or perhaps, shock horror, they could walk more.

    Being able to buy our own homes has little to do with immigration either. It’s partly related to foreign investors for the rental market pushing up prices in London, and then rippling outwards. Its partly to do with a failure to provide enough new homes by consecutive governments to account for a growing coming of age population, some of which are immigrants, but not all. It’s also fed by media programmes telling us we should all own our own home and make profit from it. So sellers won’t accept a loss on their investment, forcing the prices to continue to rise, because of the assumption and expectation of profit.

    What are these very important values you speak of, because I thought very important values were openness and fascination with humans in all their diversity and cultural nuances. I thought a sharing approach to being in the world rather than a protectionist approach are important. Sorry are our values different? Because perhaps the point that I’m really making is that there are a wide diversity of values, beliefs and philosophies held by the peoples of the British Isles. To suggest that there are core values is reductive and rather blind to that truth. We can get into social mores if you want, but it won’t be pretty. I tend to think the core values we should aspire to are included within the idea of membership of the EU project, more social cultural inclusion and openness not less.

    I’m not really sure what we’ve been protecting ourselves from for the last 50 or so years, in fact I’d probably argue we’ve been on a geo-political offensive for the last 20. An offensive that has aggravated tensions and further endangered our freedoms and lives from a domestic government that in reaction, legislates on minority issues that negate our majority freedoms, freedoms that are more than likely to be protected by EU convention on rights. Which if we leave will be replaced by a Bill of rights thrown together to fill the hole left behind.

    There are probably valid reasons for questioning the EU membership, but I haven’t seen any. I have seen some bad statistics. There are also valid reasons for staying in and consistently fighting for reform year in year out to rebalance the system to better account for our domestic needs and other nations needs too. At the moment Germany is all powerful in the EU, but if we further integrated not less, I believe that would force Germany to relinquish some control. But our half in half out approach to the EU, alienates us somewhat from the project and this is well known. I believe Europe can be reformed to better account for individual nations needs and priorities domestically. But that does take time, and I strongly believe that people should be patient, patient with an idea that when it fully blossoms will be seen as a wonderful world leading idea about living and working together multilaterally. And not about unilateral power egoism. Egoism is not a great characteristic in my opinion as far as virtues go, it kind of sucks.

    One of the reasons Hitler came to power was because of the great depression that began in 1929. The people disillusioned and broken by the shattering poverty that ensued, began to try to allocate blame groups such as the Jews. Hitler fed off this, and came to power as a result. The reason I am citing this, is because people are blaming Europe for our own systemic failings. People are failing to fight to reform the system within, because of bias, a blindness to sufficiently criticise the nation they inhabit. “Our countries terrible”. “Yeah you’re right, its the EU’s fault”. And that’s really in a nutshell what people are saying, and the reductiveness of the thinking and argument is a divine comedy. I’m not saying the EU is perfect, far from it. But it’s not the devil.

    1. Wow. That’s a blog in itself. Thanks so much for taking the time to write and share your thoughts and for sending the report. All noted with interest (by me anyway!!)

  12. Absolutely fabulous Sarah! In fact the only question your post actually left unanswered, is why on earth you aren’t running our country :)! Thank you for helping to educate our youngsters about such a vitally important issue for all their futures.

  13. Brilliant! Loved every bit of it! The only things I would disagree with you (slightly) on are: I don’t think the Queen would be silly enough to get involved – and as the referendum result isn’t binding on the UK Government, quite what the point of the whole exercise is I don’t know.
    The other thing is you summed up the historical background to the formation of the EU in just two lines! As this is the whole point as far as I am concerned, I wrote a story of my own, which ended up as a page-and-a-half. This website doesn’t seem to let me post attachments and I don’t want to steal your thunder, so I’ll keep it to myself.

    1. Hi Jeremy. Don’t keep your story to yourself!!! I’d love to see it if nothing else. Can you send it via Facebook? Otherwise e-mail? And yes, I’m sure the Queen won’t get involved. She seemed rather cross after the Sun reported her as supporting Brexit!!!!

  14. Nice post. I agree with all of it, but it fails to address the one reason why I will still be voting to leave.

    The issue of democracy in the EU – or rather lack of it. Increasingly we live in a continent where power has gone to unelected officials. Ask these five questions of the EU Commission, the IMf and the ECB.

    ‘ -one can ask five questions [of democracy]: what power do you have; where did you get it; in whose interests do you exercise it; to whom are you accountable; and, how can we get rid of you? Anyone who cannot answer the last of those questions does not live in a democratic system.”

    How can get rid of the heavily lobbied EU Commissioners that create legislation that effects us? Officials that I never voted for? If I can’t vote them out, how are they in anyway accountable? I didn’t have the chance to vote for my MEP – I have to vote for a party and the MEP is appointed.
    It’s the most absurd bureaucratic in the wold, and it isn’t democratic.

    If EU reform were on the cards you could count me in, but it’s clear it is not, so I’m a reluctant out. And the EU’s unwillingness to reform means that there is now significant hostility to it among populations of member nations, and there is a good chance it will fail.

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