REFERENDUM: ‘Why I’ve come off the fence on Europe’

Darren Clifford, chairman of Morecambe Town Council.
Darren Clifford, chairman of Morecambe Town Council.

Darren Clifford, chairman of Morecambe Town Council, says he is no longer undecided on the referendum vote.

At the start of the EU referendum campaign I was genuinely undecided.

Like many I believe there’s a lot wrong with the EU, but I also see the benefits.

I didn’t want personalities to get in the way of the issues and colour my decision (there’s politicians on both sides I can’t stand).

All I wanted in fact were to hear about the facts, but it turns out there are no facts, only perspectives.

So in the end, and I suspect I’m in good company, I’ve had to go with my gut. There were two clinching issues:

Firstly; I watched a Vote Leave broadcast which claimed that the NHS would all of a sudden be less busy.

Because, as the undercurrent of the broadcast suggested, not only are immigrants coming over here nicking jobs while also claiming unemployment benefit, but they’re also simultaneously all ill.

It also suggested that the money we’d get back from the EU (which is nowhere near the bogus £350m peddled by some) would be miraculously spent on the health service.

We’re told this by the very people who’ve spent their recent careers systematically dismantling the NHS and giving every spare penny to millionaires in tax cuts.

I have to admit I had a shout at the TV.

Secondly; the amount of flag waving false patriotism with people claiming we stood alone in WW2. I’m bored listening to this jingoistic myth.

Those who could, came from Europe to stand with us, including a Polish spitfire squadron in the Battle of Britain.

It also includes my Dutch-Indonesian Nan who fought in the Dutch resistance during the war and then came to Britain to train as a nurse and serve in the newly formed NHS.

I believe there’s a bond between our past and our future and I believe the result of the referendum won’t just be about our EU membership but will say what kind of people we are and what kind of country we want our children to inherit.

My frustrations with the EU were why I hadn’t made my mind up, but my concern about my kids growing up in a country that is happy to blame immigrants for everything including traffic jams is why I will be voting to stay in the EU and then campaign to reform how it works.