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Tuesday, 14 June 2016

Orlando and the EU - Too Much News

I am having one of those 'too-much' days, news wise. Between the horrific massacre in Orlando and the slow motion car crash that is the EU In-Out campaign, I'm kind of genuinely despairing for humanity right now. Political rant follows.

A few random, possibly incoherent thoughts on both:

- If you STILL don't understand why homophobia and toxic masculinity and bigotry (justified by religion or not) is not just harmful but actively dangerous... well, I hope you do get it, that's all.

- I am blessed with LGBTQ+ family and friends. I value and love you all. I ache for you. I want the world to be better than this.

- I have yet to see a single argument for 'Leave' that a Leave vote will actually help progress, and several where people's reasons for leaving will be made worse by the act of leaving. Seriously. 'Leave' won't fix immigration, and will in fact make it harder to police. 'Leave' won't fix our economic problems - it will make them significantly worse, and there is a non-trivial chance of permanent economic damage. The level of cognitive dissonance on this issue I find genuinely frightening. What have we come to in our political discourse, where facts count for so little and feelings for so much? Also...

Well, okay, here it is: The Leave campaign is lying. The lies are many and numerous, but the biggest lie, and the one that is getting the most traction is immigration, so let me just pull this one apart.

The Lie (which predates Brexit, and forms the foundation of UKIP's existence) is that immigration damages the UK. Specifically, it's that immigration puts a strain on local services.

THIS IS A LIE. Here's why.

Immigrants are a net financial benefit to the UK. That's a FACT. Immigrants pay more in tax than they cost in services, and it's not even close.

Too leftie for you? How about The Economist?:…/21631076-rather-lot-according-ne…

Got it? The 'scrounging immigrants' stereotype is a LIE. Factually untrue. Don't buy it. Don't believe it. Don't propagate it.

So here's the thing - if there's a net financial benefit in terms of tax receipts, then immigrants actually FUND public services. Our public services would be WORSE with lover immigration rates.

Immigrants fund better public services. Immigrants IMPROVE public services.

Or at least, they would. If our public services were properly managed.

Here's what happens: An immigrant community moves into a city. They work hard, pay taxes, and send their kids to local schools. Their tax money goes into the Treasury. And then, instead of coming right back out and into the schools budget for the area, it's spent on... pfft. Tax cuts for the rich. Trident. Subsidized help for first time house buyers to re-inflate the housing market. NOT SCHOOLS AND HOSPITALS.

Our public finances are being run into the ground. Our public services are being run into the ground. There is a name for this policy. That name is austerity. There is a party pursuing it. That party is the current party of government, the Conservative party. They, and they ALONE, are the reasons your local school/hospital/council service is overloaded, understaffed, collapsing under the weight of need. Not immigrants, who are paying more than their fair share of taxes (and in many cases, working in our under-payed, overworked NHS into the bargain).


PLEASE understand this. If you're voting 'Leave' becasue you think immigration is the root of our financial misery, you are the opposite of correct, and you are voting to do MORE harm to the economy, not less.

Please reconsider. My kids don't get a vote in this referendum, but their futures will be materially affected by the outcome, and I am desperately afraid for them.

I understand that there are left wing arguments against the EU. I do. TTIP sucks. The way the IMF and Eurozone rounded on Greece was despicable. But voting leave will change NONE of that, and will only utterly destroy our chances of influencing any future decisions. It is the very definition of cutting your nose off to spite your face.

I understand too there's a huge general anti-politics vote out there right now. I get it. But the planet faces some existential challenges over the next 30 years - most obviously climate change. This global issue will require global cooperation and solutions. Removing ourselves as a nation from one of the biggest institutions on the planet capable of reaching those consensus levels we desperately need is, at the very best, incredibly counterproductive.

It really does feel like the UK is on the brink of punching itself in the face as hard as it can, and that really, really scares me. Whatever your anger, whatever your grievance, I promise you: an out vote won't help you. It won't help any of us.

Please don't do this to us.

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