An obvious choice
On Thursday history we’ll be made. Lives of millions of people might be turned upside down, perhaps forever.A few minutes ago I heard a British teenager tell a journalist that he would vote to leave. Why? Because ‘we’ will make decisions which are right for ‘us’. He repeated it over and over again. We’ll decide, we’ll get back control, we’ll do this, we’ll do that. And the journalist didn’t ask him the most obvious question: “Who, on earth, is we?” He and his family? His friends? Or is it a few politicians who are as far from him as Bullingdon club is from the local community centre? Sadly, he cannot see that he is not part of any ‘we’ that will in fact make his life harder and, potentially, his vote will authorise them to do it
The vote on Thursday is the most important vote of my life – perhaps after the vote in 1989 when Poland got rid of communism. I actually have already voted. Why did I vote to remain? There are many reasons. I’ll give three.
1. One comes from a tweet (I have not saved it) which represented European history so:
Discussions about bananas.
The European Union allowed us to worry about the bloody bananas. Yes, it is sometimes most infuriating (as many things about the EU are), but I have lived my entire life not knowing war; the EU gave me and many like me the possibility of living without real hardship. It also helped my country to get rid of the legacy of communism quicker.
2. European Union, Europe, gives me an identity. I will never by English (or British), I am probably no longer Polish. But I am European and I will always be European. And as I travel across Europe, as I recognise shapes of houses, cities, plazas, I feel at home. This year I visited Prague and Rome. Yes, I felt at home. In Rome I had dinner with a German, Austrian and a Swede. Our conversation was smooth, we shared a set values and stories which make us belong together.
3. I am an immigrant. I am a foreigner. It can be challenging as I wrote earlier. But the European Union makes my immigration acceptable. It normalises it. It makes me welcome.
Problems of bananas, identity, acceptability of immigration. These things are invaluable. This is why I voted to remain. It was an obvious choice.