Anyone else have Brexiety? I turn on Good Morning Britain in the mornings to be greeted with yet another Brexit discussion, generally talking about the same issues as they do everyday. If Piers Morgan talks about how he voted to remain but accepts democracy so thinks people should stop asking for another referendum I think I will end up throwing the remote at the TV. My biggest issue with Brexit is that I don’t think people knew what they were actually voting for. When you vote for a political party in an election you are told their policies beforehand. The citizens of the UK were asked to vote on whether they wanted to leave the EU, without knowing how this would happen. They weren’t told how much it would cost, how much time it would take to negotiate, what would happen with the Irish border, how companies may be forced to leave the UK, whether we will be part of the single market and generally what could happen to the UK economy. Surely these things should have been worked out before asking the public to vote, because how can you make an educated decision without knowing the facts? I am no political expert and definitely don’t know all of the ins and outs of the EU or Brexit, but I do have an opinion from the little that I do know, and it is something that really worries me.
We were living in Lithuania (an EU country) when the Brexit vote took place. We applied for a postal vote, but our forms never arrived. We were actually in Poland (another EU country) when the voting and the results were taking place. We went to bed thinking that there was no way we would leave the EU. There was a touching light display on a building in Warsaw about how Poland wants the UK to vote remain. I was pregnant with James and woke up early, checked my phone and was shocked to see the BBC news notification that we were leaving the EU. I woke up my husband and we turned on the TV. For the first time ever I was actually ashamed to be British. What kind of world were we going to be bringing our baby up in?
Now Brexit is fast approaching I really worry about what will happen. To me it all seems like a massive waste of money and time to be leaving the EU, for very little gain. I want James to have the same freedom of movement between EU countries that we have had. I want him to be able to easily visit his birth country if he wants to, and have the opportunities to visit other wonderful EU countries. It seems like we are going backwards. Before 1990 when Lithuania was part of the Soviet Union, we wouldn’t have been able to even visit the country.
I hear people say that they want the UK to be more like Norway. We have lived in Norway and yes it is great, but I think it is more to do with the fact that it has so much money from oil, than it not being part of the EU. As for regaining control of our borders, the UK already has stricter border control than many other EU countries because it isn’t part of the Schengen Zone. Before living in Norway I didn’t know what the Schengen Zone was, and was puzzled as to why I wasn’t having to go through passport control when entering some other European countries. It seemed that only when we went back to the UK we were having to show our passports.
I know a lot of people pro Brexit voted because they wanted less immigrants entering the UK because they are “taking all of our jobs”, but really, are they? Have you been into a hospital recently? How many of the fantastic NHS staff are immigrants? These are highly skilled intelligent people who have chosen to come and work in our hospitals to help us get better. We should be welcoming these people with open arms, not making them feel like they are unwelcome. I know that a lot of restaurant staff are from other EU countries, but I still don’t see it as them taking our jobs. British people have just the same right to apply for these jobs as other EU citizens.
In the countries we have lived in and visited I have never been made to feel unwelcome. We have always made friends with local people as well as other foreigners and nationality has never been an issue. I feel that Brexit is making some sort of divide between us and other EU countries. I really think that being part of the EU is a wonderful thing. The UK is not better than other EU countries, and surely we are stronger in the EU than out of it? I love learning about other countries and the experiences my international friends have had. I think we should relish the opportunity to be part of the EU and see it as one big family. We will always teach James to be open-minded and accepting of others, and not to see nationality as a barrier. It is scary to think that he could be living in a very different world when he is older. He may never get to learn to drive, with the emergence of driverless cars, and who knows what will happen with Global Warming?