My fear of a vote to Leave
I am a European, British, and Australian citizen. I have spent the last 17 years living in the United Kingdom and Ireland. I have also completed a BSc. (Hons) Degree majoring in European Government and identity. I am a supporter of the EU for a broad range of reasons, and I have a great fear of the consequences for the UK if a vote to leave the EU is successful on 23 June 2016 and I can't stay silent.
Economy and business
From a game theory perspective, there is little for the remaining members of the EU to gain from a healthy and prosperous UK that is outside of the EU if it comes at any cost to those that remain. The EU can only treat the departing UK in the strongest punitive way. The gains to be had are for the UK to be in economic, political and social turmoil, so much as that in some years the UK is desperate to return to the EU and to regain access to the single market. Some in the Brexit camp claim that Germany would temper any punitive action as they would not want to prevent access to the UK for large companies such as Volkswagen. Those making this claim ignore the fact that Germany may be well aware of a requirement to sacrifice access to the UK on favorable terms for its exports so as to retain the single market as a viable proposition. They would also have access to other markets such as China and America on more favorable terms than the UK, thereby making up any losses from reduced access to the UK. On those terms, they would surely much rather lose the UK, than the remainder of a disintegrating EU and the single market. This is supported by a statements from the German Finance Minister, Wolfgang Schäuble, reported this weekend (Guardian).
The consequences of this for the UK, a country that I regard as my home, would be substantial. Should the UK want to return in future, there is no guarantee that a request for re-entry to the EU by the UK will be granted on the first attempt, the UK already having been refused entry to the European Economic Community (EEC) twice in the last century. If a right of return to the EU is granted to the UK, it will surely require strict compliance with the same terms offered to other new members: acceptance of the single currency, open internal borders, and ever closer union. Why would the EU accept anything different?
Freedom of movement
On a personal level, I have worked outside of the UK in Europe on two occasions. I had also looked for work across five other European states when I was searching for a job some years ago. Having the freedom to move within the EU enables me, as an individual, the capability to take my skills to where they are in demand across a market of 500 million people. I retain a personal ambition to work in mainland Europe, either in Strasbourg, Luxembourg, Dusseldorf, or Berlin. I have a great fear that I will lose this right. I have a great fear that my children and any eventual grandchildren will lose this right.
The European Project
The European Union is a project that has been eight decades in the development of a post-war Europe. With advances in technology and the growth of the middle class across the world, the world is getting smaller. The problems faced by nation states such as environmental, security, and trade issues are best managed across borders in a uniform and collaborative approach. The EU best achieves this when it leverages the demands of business for access to a single market based on common law, and as the most valuable trading bloc in the world. It is the best approach, with the greatest benefit for nation-states and citizens.
"It's rare to see historic moments coming, because it's impossible to know how history will change and what course it will run. But sometimes you do see it. Sometimes you know something is about to happen that has the potential to change our world.
If Britain is clever, it will remain a member of the EU, because it will recognise that the future of the west is at stake."
Editorial, Spiegel Online, 11 June 2016, Spiegel Online
It is frequently hard to motivate voters to turn out in force to vote for what they currently have. This has to be overcome on 23 June. I have already posted my vote to Remain in the European Union. If you are a vote to Remain, you need to ensure that YOU turn up and cast your vote. You also need to talk to those you know and encourage them to do the same. The Leave campaign have a lot of voters who, for a multitude of reasons are motivated to turn up and vote. Those of us in the Remain camp will need to turn out in force, and to encourage those who are unsure to turn up and vote Remain, not to relinquish their choice through inaction - and to wake up on June 24 and find that Leave has won.
Please turn up and vote Remain on 23 June 2016.