Fences and tiny islands

This is actually a rather nail biting experience and I’m sure I’m not the only person holding my breath in anticipation of the outcome of the referendum. I’ve never bothered going for the UK citizenship or passport as I’ve never had a compelling reason (although most people may think the right to vote in my home country would be compelling enough), so of course I won’t be voting. If I were, I would – even now at the 11th hour – be on the fence so I’m not sure if that right to vote would be of much use to me anyway.

Actually, “on the fence” isn’t accurate – I’m only on it because I simply don’t know enough to make a sound judgement and to me it seems irresponsible to cast such an important vote if one doesn’t quite grasp all it entails, the consequences of each outcome or the facts buried in scaremongering propaganda. What scares me is that I consider myself reasonably intelligent and yet I don’t understand this enough to make a sound decision, so that makes me think that a large chunk of voters will be just as confused. And that’s when people end up voting with their hearts and not their heads. And look at the mood here! You don’t see many days without headlines to scare us this way or that. Yikes.

I soon gave up on British media when it came to seeking out the truth – they don’t do unbiased reporting here (I think it was outlawed in the 70s) and even the Independent is anything but independent. The tabloids scream LEAVE and run ominous pictures of the UK sunk by immigrants (and of course I am one – my big backside weighing this country down as we speak), the death knell of the NHS and a bleak future for us all. The broadsheets except, interestingly, the Telegraph, all tell us we should REMAIN and preach how the UK would be screwed and go under without the EU.

I resorted to consulting Swedish opinion and analysis pieces. Because having an opinion is a punishable offence in Sweden, I could trust the coverage and analysis to be dry, factual and unassuming – just an easily digested piece on the important points to consider and weigh up. No propaganda, no opinion, just facts and explanations. What I came away with left me in exactly the same spot, if at least a little more educated on the workings of the EU: a better understanding of each argument for Leave/Remain and a counter argument in turn for each of those. Very balanced, very Swedish. Very lagom, in fact. (Lagom = not too much, not too little; just right).

What IS clear to me is that the EU is a failed and dysfunctional machine. I also know that the UK is a tiny little island that does not in any form bear even a semblance of the empire it might once have been.

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