Here we are with my last opportunity for a Fluffless before the nation decides on its position on the EU. And it’s the final extended deadline for people to register to vote.
I’m very pro-Europe, in the past twelve months our team has worked in five different countries outside the UK and our films, press information and graphics have been translated into fourteen languages. We’ve gone about our business in English, in person and on the phone and we’ve been paid in Euro. Apart from the hotel and fuel and subsistence costs while we’re away, all of that money comes into Birmingham, where we spend it on employing a brilliant team. And nice restaurants. Our colleagues in Europe are a nice bunch and I’ve not heard a single one of them say that it would be a good idea if Britain left the party. We are very happy to be international, and it’s very easy for a small business like us to export. We just do the work, and send them the bill.
Many of the business people I’ve spoken to are in favour of remaining too. Those not involved in business or in Europe apart from their holidays have generally said they’re undecided. I’ve tried to do a bit of an explainer from my perspective, which answered some of their questions and hopefully got some of them off the fence.
Whilst the official campaigns have been making their extremely far-fetched claims and counterclaims, one of Birmingham’s favourite imports from Transylvania has been taking part in another campaign to persuade us that Europe loves us with #HugaBrit - I think that all of the team have appreciated that.www.pleasedontgouk.com
Luckily I’ve had the opportunity to hear some sensible arguments from both camps, formally and over a beverage. Gisela Stuart MP, chair of the Vote Leave campaign came to Opus at Cornwall Street to be on their debate panel and the impression I got from her afterwards was that she thought the EU didn’t have a very bright future, but there wasn’t any need to be having the debate or referendum right now, but since we were being forced to have it, we might as well get out before it falls apart. She was very convincing and had some very pragmatic arguments, with none of the headline grabbing scaremongering stuff we’ve been reading from other pro-Brexit campaigners, and very generously she accepted the point of view from this small Birmingham exporter. I didn’t convince her to change her mind.
On the other side of the argument, the Prime Minister, who I’d previously labelled as rude, when he failed to say thank you when I held a door open for him a few years ago (The Dutch PM had managed to thank me, so why couldn’t Mr Cameron?), chatted to an invited audience in Birmingham just yesterday. You can see the highlights on the Birmingham Mail website here.
He was eloquent, convincing, pragmatic and I thought, eminently sensible in putting the case for remaining. He answered questions from the audience on many aspects of the UK's prospects in or out. I didn’t think the one question I wanted an answer to would go down tremendously well, so I didn’t ask it, but I do really want to know: “What the hell were you thinking when you decided that a referendum on the EU was a good idea?”
I didn’t think I’d ever use a comment that I agreed with from any PM in one of my rants, but this one I do. Mr Cameron said: “I think you should vote remain. Whatever you decide - remember to vote on June 23.”
Please don’t let Britain go in the wrong direction because people couldn’t be bothered to vote.