Growing up as an international kid, it’s easy to see why I think we should remain part of the EU. But for me it really goes far beyond the economic and socio-political reasons why staying is the sensible choice. I, like many of my generation, see myself as a global citizen, not in the sense of being able to go on a gap year to Thailand, but in the sense of feeling a quite minor connection to any nationalist ideals.
I don’t really “do” sport, but if I did, I wouldn’t support England or the UK. Unless they were good. Or inspirational. Or the underdog. In fact, I’d be quite likely to support a British athlete, but I absolutely wouldn’t support them because they were British. What does that even mean after all? Since time began we’ve all been wandering into each others’ fields and onto each others’ islands. I know for a fact that I’m a good quarter French, if not a touch more. The only thing which unites me to a British athlete is the fact that the same government agreed to give us both a specific national identity, and when you think about it, that’s really not much.
Of course it is much for a lot of people, because having certain identities makes life much easier. I am incredibly lucky that I am not one of the “immigrants” trying to find a home in the UK right now, because just not being “British” is making their lives pretty intolerable. They may have key skills, share cultural and societal values with their neighbours, and may have an extensive amount to contribute to the country, but none of that matters in the limiting eyes of state-centric law.
At this point let me state that I’m not an idiot. I know we can’t truly have a free global society. We wouldn’t be able to break the perception that “west is best” and herds of people would move to far sadder and more complex lives as they tried to climb up the ladder towards the “developed world”. It would be chaos.
But, dream with me for a second. Imagine a world unified, recognising that we are bound by more as humans than geography and family ties. A culture rich with experiences and unlimited by what colour a certain someone’s passport is. There’s more, once you get into the concept of a world where no corporation can dodge tax, and no criminal can claim diplomatic immunity. But we’re getting ahead of ourselves.
The point is, what exactly is so special about being born on this rock anyway? Or marrying someone born on this rock, or having a parent born on this rock, or having the money to buy a bit of space on this rock? We spent centuries taking over everyone else’s land because we were so fed up of being stuck on this silly little rock.
And now some self-obsessed red-faced buffoons want to cut us off from it all – and what? We’re going to let them?