Pausing only to fire the Polish nanny and sack the Spanish gardener, I left my East London mansion and headed with all speed to the local high street. The Bentley roared through the streets of London passing through all the red lights, because what do experts know about road safety? As I got out the illegally parked car, I shook Nigel Farage's hand, as Gove and Johnson patted my back, and laughed as he pinned a badge on my yak's wool blazer. The badge said: “Vote Leave because You're Racist”. For good measure, I punched a foreigner in the face and told her to leave the country. Turns out, it was Nigel's wife. #Awkward.
Hello, my name is Ben and I'm voting Leave because I believe Britain, and possibly the world, will be better for it. Those of you blinded by intellectual arrogance and class snobbery may be forgiven for thinking that the above paragraph is somewhat true. Such is the level that the debate has been conducted at that one can hardly express an opinion without being dismissed as an idiot. Well then, here are my idiotic words on why I finally decided to vote leave. Read them, if you want. Agree, disagree, vote, don't vote, you're a strong independent human being and you don't need me to tell you what to do.
My first reason for voting leave is that most of the arguments for Remain rest on the two great false gods of the Western world: money and fear. If we leave, predictions of doom and poverty abound. The economists and politicians of this age line up and each paint a more depressing picture than the last.
They may well be true. But in life, I try hard not to make important decisions based on money, for it is an empty and vain god. Just because leave is hard and painful does not make it wrong; often the worthwhile and right decisions are the hardest ones to make. I refuse to allow money to cloud my judgement. I refuse to allow false promises of wealth and stability to deceive me. This has to be a decision based on principle. What is right is not necessarily what keeps us rich.
I also try not to make decisions based on fear. I have a God and he is the Almighty and I should fear him alone. Fear of future can be crippling, how many of us have stayed in a job or relationship that was unhealthy because of the fear of what lies beyond? Yet we know this to be a bad reason for staying. We must face our fear and laugh at it, firm in the knowledge of divine care and protection. Fear cannot be allowed to control our decision making.
My second reason for voting leave is the example the EU sets in its treatment of Greece. It is barely allowed to elect its own leaders, forbidden from leaving the single currency, an economically sick country being denied the emergency medicine it needs. Greece has been slain on the altar, a human sacrifice, to the god of the Euro Dream. The fate of this country is in the hands of cruel and callous men who pay no heed to the misery and poverty being caused by a demented economic policy. What's worse, is that Greece does not stand along in this position. Youth employment in Spain is currently 50%, another victim of the grand European dream, almost beyond hope of recovery. If this is how the EU treats its members then why do we still want part of it?
My third reason for voting leave is because Europe is too small for Britain. We are an international country, with a global presence and the 5th biggest economy in the world. Were we to open our arms, the countries of the world would line up to trade with us. Europe is but a drop in an ocean of possibilities. I see migrants from other non-EU countries denied access to live and work because we are forced to give priority to EU citizens instead. I want to see our borders and our perspective opened wider, to encompass the globe.
My fourth reason for voting leave is because I believe in democracy and having elected representatives. In this, I find similarities with the American revolution. To have so little influence on a body that is involved with at least 50% of our laws is no good thing and should not lightly be endured. To see an EU Parliament with no opposition party is a scary thing. To have an EU Commission of unelected and unaccountable people passing and vetoing laws is far too open for abuse. I would not tolerate the EU as my only government so why should I accept it as a second government?
My fifth reason for voting leave is because I think the EU's days are numbered. Anti-EU sentiment is on the rise and it is resulting in the election of far right and far left parties who have policies that are deeply troubling. It is only a matter of time and another unsolvable crisis before the EU is driven apart. Even rats know to leave a sinking ship and we should spare ourselves the pain of going under.
My sixth reason for voting leave is that if the EU survives it will only be through the pursuit of total integration. The current status quo is no such thing. The end destination of the EU is no secret – political and economic integration into the EU superstate. Such a compression of power with such a wide range of interests and countries, cultures and opinions, economies and religions, is bound to go wrong for it rests on a fundamental misunderstanding of human nature and cooperation. Integration cannot be forced, it has to be nurtured, over time as different nations learn to work together in a way beyond that of political and economic union.
My seventh reason for voting leave is because of all the small niggles that still continue to bug me. Have the EU accounts been signed off yet? No, they never have. Do they continue to ban consumer goods for no good reason? Yes, powerful hoovers are the latest to go. Do they continue to support the Common Agricultural Policy which doesn't allow the developing world to compete with us? Yes. Have they even agreed a single location to have the EU at? No. Governments are a byword for inefficiency and stupidity but the EU takes the idiot's crown.
My eighth reason for voting leave is that the current level of immigration needs to be controlled. 300,000 is too high, Cameron's silly promise for ten of thousands likely too low. Economically, migrants are a benefit to us. Socially and culturally, we need to slow the pace down and make sure to avoid the situation where anger and animosity is needlessly created through overwhelming people with the pace of change.
My ninth reason for voting leave is because I am a small government, low tax conservative and one government is infinitely preferably to two governments. Governments wield a lot of power and as citizens we need to be protected from abuse of this power. It is much easier to do that when dealing with just one government rather than two!
My tenth reason for voting leave is because I trust the older generation. They are older and wiser and more Eurosceptic and can see more easily through the illusions of money and fear. I think we should not lightly dismiss their wisdom. In a similar vein, many of the writers I respect and value have come out for leave. This is something I cannot ignore and their arguments have shaped my own.
My eleventh reason for voting leave is due to the historic differences between the UK and Europe. We have a different system of law and a different system of Parliament. Both of these systems are too precious to cast aside and both are threatened by continuing European integration.
My twelfth reason for voting leave is because you can't change something that doesn't want to change. As David Cameron's “negotiations” made clear there is no appetite for reform or change in the EU. There is no admitting of mistakes, no humble enquiry into how to better rule and govern, instead there is denial and arrogance and a commitment to EU integration that will brook no arguments. How can we be a force for good in such an institution? Our every idea will be tossed aside, our every urge for caution ignored.
Nothing worthwhile is easy and leaving the EU won't prove any different. It will be hard, we will stumble and at times seem to fall, but it is worth the pain. What we stand to gain in a renewal of our ancient rights to liberty and freedom, a fresh international perspective not blinkered by the EU, trade agreements the world over, migration from the furthest corners of the earth, an example set of the primacy of the nation state in determining its own affairs and a demonstration of the power and importance of a democratically elected government.
Finally, as a matter of perspective, tomorrow is one of the most important votes I'll ever participate in. But it is small fry compared to the work of the church and this coming Sunday will prove a bigger day. For to gather together to worship God is more important by far than any referendum. And I say that not to diminish tomorrow in any way but to hold it up against the work of God and find it wanting. Whatever the result tomorrow God is in control, working all things out for the good of his church, in that we can all find peace and hope.