By Jonathan Hesford a member of one of the SY2E – Remain in the EU groups.
I’ve been getting increasingly frustrated with the Brexiteers. They want to trade in the lifestyles and the prosperity of all of us who work in or with other countries in the EU for a slim chance of winning in an independent but isolated Britain.
Why can’t they grasp how great an advantage and opportunity it offers? Probably because they have no experience of it.
I’m a product of the EU.
My father came from a poor council estate in Barnsley. He started with nothing other than his determination and his brains.
He was an engineer working for a steel company with factories throughout Europe. Though born in Birmingham, I spend my infanthood in Germany and my early childhood in Spain because my dad learnt the languages and had the skills to take us there. That foundation made me a European. I’ve always felt culturally and socially part of Europe.
The IT company I joined after university was part French. The American bank I worked for in London was there because Britain gave them an English-speaking base in Europe. We merged with Italian, French, German and Spanish banks.
When I decided to change career to winemaking I was able to choose France as my base because it was so easy.
So I’m a person who has grown up European and taken advantage of what the EU offers. I can understand why someone who has never taken that opportunity, who begrudges those who have, who dislikes those who have come to the UK to work and enjoy the rights and lifestyle that he takes for granted feels pissed off.
If my dad had stayed in his council estate, never studied at night-school to learn French, Spanish or German and never taken the risk of moving abroad in the 1960s, he would probably be voting to leave now too.
This referendum should not be about bitterness or regret of not having taken advantage of the wonderful opportunity of EU. It should be about the determination to do so more.