Before you vote today please read this article
For the first time in my life I, like many of you, are going to be asked what is probably the most important question ever, one that could affect the country and all our lives for decades to come.
Whether we should stay or remain in the EU.
Some people like to boil it down to a simple question of little Englanders versus educated metropolitan elites. However everyone's perspective and experiences of living within the EU differs and one cannot gloss over certain facts and issues with promises and maybes. Whatever way vote it is a leap into the dark.
If we vote to leave there could be economic consequences and if we vote to stay there could be even more issues. Mostly related to living in an already overcrowded island and definitley as part of an undemocratic club that wishes to unite even further, pushing ever more towards a United States of Europe (source: http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/commentators/valeacutery-giscard-destaing-the-eu-treaty-is-the-same-as-the-constitution-398286.html)
I didn't get a chance to vote to join the EEC and many people who did have now decades later changed their minds. Why? Because we are no longer just in the European Economic Community we are in the European Union.
The change of name should tell you a lot as the EU is a very different beast to the EEC and even the remain campaigners admit there are many problems with a democratic deficit, migration, and pressures on our services and housing due to our membership.
The problem is that the EU needs to integrate even further than the current undemocratic bureaucracy because of the one part of the EU we don't belong to, the EURO.
Without a proper fiscal and political union the EURO is bound to fail. Nations like Greece, Spain and Italy have seen what happens when they cannot reduce or increase their own interest rates or de-value their currencies due to being locked into the EURO. It causes job losses, mass migration of their youth and austerity measures forced upon them.
Luckily, despite all the main economists, bankers, IMF, the World Bank and most of the same people who say we must remain in the EU now, we decided to stay out of the EURO. That helped our economy and we had one of the longest economic booms since the World War. We actually finally managed to pay off our debts to the USA for World War I and World War II!
If you can remember the 80's and 90's then you will remember interest rates of 12-15%+ which made borrowing expensive but it also meant you could actually get proper interest on your savings in the bank.
This was also a time where anyone in society could sign up to their local council to be put on the housing list and accumulate points the longer they were on it. There was none of this current shortage of council or housing association stock. A situation where you are turned away unless homeless or seriously ill, and sometimes not even then. All due to the lack of housing association stock which has been used up a long time ago and not replaced by the government.
Also during this time when Maggie Thatcher was exporting our manufacturing jobs offshore, closing the mines and turning the UK into a service economy whilst privatising anything she could,we joined something called the ERM.
This was the European Exchange Rate Mechanism where European countries pledged to keep their currencies in check with each other. I quote from the fount of all knowledge Wikipedia.
We joined the ERM in October 1990, effectively guaranteeing that the British Government would follow an economic and monetary policy that would prevent the exchange rate between the pound and other member currencies from fluctuating by more than 6%.
On the 8th of October 1990, Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher entered the pound into the ERM mechanism at DM 2.95 to the pound. Hence, if the exchange rate ever neared the bottom of its permitted range, DM 2.773, the government would be obliged to intervene. With UK inflation at three times the rate of Germany's, interest rates at 15% and the "Lawson Boom" about to bust, the conditions for joining the ERM were not favourable at that time.
The signs were not good and what happened? Speculators such as George Soros bet against the pound and we couldn't manage to keep within the range set. This caused Black Wednesday where over £3 billion was lost and Soros made over a billion by shorting the pound.
We were forced out of the ERM and we devalued our currency.
At the time it was all doom and gloom but by actually de-linking our currency from the Germans we actually managed to start exporting goods and a few years later our economic recovery started.
What does all this have to do with the EU you may be asking?
Well it shows you that without a proper federal Europe, which many politicians and EU commissioners have called for over the years in public, the EURO will fail.
When countries cannot control their own currency and interest rates due to the rules of a giant trading block in which certain countries like Germany do well in manufacturing, and others like Italy and Spain, are mainly tourist based, there are very different fiscal requirements for each country. Therefore if the EURO is to succeed more political and fiscal union must happen. This has been discussed many times and is openly admitted by many on the remain side.
Whatever good you may think the EU has done with the protection of workers rights, environmental concerns and free trade and visa free living, we are not in this central gang of countries that are heading towards a United States of Europe.
Whatever you may think, the Germans, French and others all realise that for the EURO to succeed they must have closer ties and they are pushing for a more Federal Europe.
This poses a problem for us.
Without being members of the EURO we will be forced to adopt EU laws and regulations that are made to help the EURO countries and not us.
We are just one voice at a big table and they want to take away the veto on many issues which would prevent us from stopping certain laws that come in to help the EURO ZONE countries not us.
Now you may not care who makes your laws, or whether you can't get a council flat or even find a place to rent or buy within your price range due to the mass shortage of housing in this country.
However if you do, you have to realise that the mass migration that started after Labour opened the doors to newly admitted Eastern European countries in the early part of the century, has caused pressures that we just cannot cope with.
Migrants help the NHS and they do wonderful jobs, pay tax and all the rest of the things English people do.
However if our governments, Labour and Tory, cannot build enough houses for the people already living in the country then how are they going to manage to build a city the size of Liverpool, every year for the current estimate of 300,000 migrants that enter the country. Whether half of these people come from outside the EU or not is irrelevant. Migration HAS changed the country.
You only have to walk around many towns to wonder if you are in England or Nepal, Poland or Pakistan.
You may like sitting on the bus hearing a myriad of languages being spoke and not understanding any of them.
You may like getting your car washed at the local garage for a tenner by what is really slave labour.
You may like being treated at the hospital by nurses and doctors we have basically stolen from poorer nations. Countries who had spent lots of money training them, just so that they could migrate here and get better wages.
You may like the multicultural society we have become, but you have to admit that we cannot cope with the current population pressures on our services as it is, let alone the estimated 80 million in a decade or so.
If our government cannot manage to build enough houses as it is how do you think they are going to suddenly start building millions that will be required?
It may be great if you are already a home owner as a shortage means your property value rises but if you want to buy or rent the prices are extortionate and you will be waiting a long time.
So when you go to vote tomorrow just think about what it will be like in 15 years time when our already over crowded country has an extra 10 million plus people in it.
We already have one of the highest levels of people living per square mile in the world. How will it be when rent for a single bedroom flat is over a grand a month and you have to wait 8 months or more for a hospital appointment.
I just got told yesterday that my current referral to the pain clinic which was sent off over 3 months ago will be in September, almost another 3 months away. That's 6 months for a serious condition and this is now. Imagine what it will be like in a decades time when our underfunded NHS has to cope with 80 million people. How long will we have to wait for an operation or consultation then?
I have nothing against migrants, nearly every doctor I have seen who has tried helping me has been one.
I have nothing against free trade, it helps our economy.
I have nothing against the Human Rights Act, it protects our rights when our own government wants to remove them.
I have nothing against co-operation with European nations on terrorism, crime and the environment. We need to join together to crack serious crime and stop ISIS gunmen attacking pubs and clubs.
However all this can be AND should be possible without having to be part of the EU.
I do have a problem though, as the left wing Tony Benn famously said, with not being able to vote out the people who make the rules I have to live by.
The EU may only make a small proportion of them but it is one of the most undemocratic bodies in the world. The most democratic part of it, the European Parliament has the least power within the whole giant bureaucratic body.
The EU Commission makes the rules we have to abide by if we want to participate in the free trade zone, even if you are not trading with the EU.
Many small companies don't even do business with European nations yet they still have to abide by the regulations they put out. They may be good for some things such as protecting our paid holidays and health and safety but telling manufactures of goods how they must be made when they are not even trading with the EU is red tape that small companies still have to comply with.
So just think today when you go and vote whether you want to have to wait half a year for a hospital appointment because of the number of people already waiting ahead of you and the failure of our government to properly fund and staff the NHS.
The remain campaign is right when they say this is not the fault of the EU but if our government is not doing it now WHY would they suddenly start if we voted to remain in the EU?
The same goes for the argument of reforming the EU from the inside out.
We have had decades to reform the EU and what has happened......nothing.
So what makes you think we will suddenly have a much louder and more important voice than the other nations if we vote to remain in the EU club?
Remember, we are the 5th biggest economy in the world.
When people claim that is to do with the EU they are forgetting the 400+ years before World War I when we were the biggest economy in the world.
We traded with all nations and we did pretty well before we had to borrow billions to fight 2 World Wars.
So whatever you decide to do today just think about the future first.
We may suffer a dip in the pound for a bit and shock horror, as one business man from the remain side said, wage rises! Also if we can reduce the number of people coming into the country and start building some more houses the prices will come down and you will be able to afford to get onto the ladder.
Remortgaging your house on the backs of the homeless isn't fair or right and your only gaining wealth due to the shortage of housing in the country.
Remember it was people remortgaging and living on credit cards that made our post 2008 recession so bad. The boom we had under Gordon Brown was built on debt. That is no way to build a strong economy.
Forget the experts, they are all globalists and elitists who want to see unions of countries all over the world. Less boundaries ensure that they can make more money themselves. They have got it wrong before and there is a good chance they will have got it wrong again.
I hate to have this vote whilst the Tories are in power as I don't trust them one bit and that is the one thing that worries me about leaving.
However if we do leave David Cameron and Osborne will be gone pretty sharpish and I have no doubt we will have a chance to vote in another government, one that would protect our civil and working rights without the need for the EU.
One last point.
If we were not currently in the EU would you vote to join it?
If the answer is no then you should be voting to leave. If it's yes then vote remain.
The choice is yours but it will affect our lives whatever choice we all make.