Guardian chief reporter Nick Lakin took to the streets of Lancaster to find out what residents, visitors and students think about the Europe “in/out” referendum on June 23
Dave Maden, 69, from Morecambe, who has worked across Europe as an engineer, said: “I voted Tory at the last election.
“I don’t want to be dictated to from Strasbourg or Brussels, although the world is a smaller place now.
“We’ve got to make our own laws for our own country.
“David Cameron wants ‘in’ with reform, and for me, it’s marginal, but I think we should come out. Everyone needs to wrestle with the ideas.”
Josh Hawley, 20, a second year natural sciences student at Lancaster University, said: “I don’t really see anything wrong with being in the EU at the moment, so I don’t know why this vote has come about. At the moment I’ll be voting to stay in, but I’m going to be reading up on it over the next couple of months.”
Chris Bostock, 70, from Newcastle, said: “I think it’s vital we maintain ourselves as part of the bigger union of Europe. We need to embrace ourselves with a bigger understanding.
“We need to show everyone that we are one mind, and although we have our individualities, that we can live and work together peacefully.”
Trisha Jackson, 70, from Lancaster, said: “It’s definitely out for me. It’s about sovereignty. It’s undemocratic policies that I see the European Commission exercising. It’s wasteful and unaccountable and I never wanted it in the first place. I’m very passionate about it and this is my gut feeling.”
Tim Balderstone, 22, who lives in Lancaster and works for a charity based in Paris, said: “I’m going to be voting for ‘in’. I’ve done a lot of work with organisations based in Europe, and that work has been very positive. It’s a really interesting social project. To me Europe means togetherness, and I think we’re arguing too much about economics, rather than the unity it brings.”
James Sommerville, 36, from Morecambe, said: “In! I think the key things for me are the economy and workers’ protection. The EU legislates on things like working times and the rights of unions, and what’s been negotiated over the last 10 years is important. I think Britain out of the EU needs to be wary about ideological governments. To me, Europe means togetherness. I think we have a very strong shared history and more in common with Europe than with north America. If we’re out of Europe then we become more like America in terms of jobs and healthcare.”
Barbara Middlehurst, from Chorley, said: “I’m in. We don’t know 100 per cent either way, but I’m in because of the economy, and for our relationship with our neighbours, I feel safer with Europe.
“Europe to me means jobs, security, and free movement, although I feel we could have pulled together more about the refugee crisis. There’s been a lot of dithering, but ultimately this is the longest period of peace in Europe and that’s very important.”
Richard Bennett, 20, an international relations student at Lancaster University, said: “In. It’s good for the economy, and we can look at global issues together like the refugee crisis and climate change.”
Bradley Barrett, 20, a second year student at Lancaster University, said: “In. Better shared information and intelligence, more control over the economy, and free movement.”
Maria Olszta, 19, a student at Lancaster University: “To me it’s travel, and I don’t want to have to sort out a Visa everywhere I go. I was born in Poland and brought up in London, and my family want Britain to stay in Europe. I feel more Polish than British, but it’s Europe that connects us.”
Mandy Holten, from Lancaster, said: “In. I love having human rights. employment law, and also trade. I have a hobby, and I’ve stopped buying from America because of the customs prices, and you don’t have to pay customs in Europe.
“It would affect my hobby, and I dread to think how it would affect businesses.”