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When I Became British, I Also Became European. Best 2-for-1 Sale Ever!

This blog originally appeared on the Huffington Post here

When I became British, I also became European - it was a great day - like a buy one get one free offer. I thought it was going to last forever, like a DFS sale.

As someone who is a naturalized British citizen, originally from America, I have always seen the positive side of being part of a Big Union. While there are many flaws in America, one thing it does well, is give people a sense of a united American identity.

That doesn’t exist in the UK. Often the most common element of a British identity is the principle of not liking other people who claim a British identity. It’s not surprising that we also dislike Europe as well, it’s what we do.

While it’s easy to see the things that make us different from our fellow Europeans - we have more in common with the rest of Europe than we like to admit. And we have lots to gain by staying in. At least until last orders.

The Remain group haven’t led a positive campaign focusing on the advantages of the EU, things like: shorter queues on holidays, a common set of like minded socially progressive values, cheap booze and a right to live and work anywhere in Europe. If they lose it’s because they failed to sell us on the things that make our lives better, united together as European citizens.

For me freedom of movement, just like we have in the US, is the biggest selling point to staying in. While at the moment some feel too many migrants are coming here, because it’s where the jobs are, some day the tide could turn. We might need to get a job somewhere else or at a minimum we should want to keep the right to move to a place where the sun exists.

We’re incredibly lucky that English is the language of Europe since (also like Americans) we don’t do languages. Every time I go to Europe and meet someone who speaks English I say, “Thank you!” In English of course, because I haven’t learned their language.

Unsurprisingly, there has been a lot of name calling and falsehoods in this debate, especially as it gets closer to the wire. I’ve seen people on the Remain side be particularly condescending, accusing Leave supporters of being a bit thick or ignorant. I wouldn’t do that, the Leave campaign have Donald Trump on their side, and he’s never supported anything stupid.

I have to give the Fear Factor Award to the Leave side though. Their flyer showing the “immediate” threat of the people of Turkey arriving tomorrow(!) is nearly Trump-ionan in it’s fiction and race-baiting.

The only good thing about this EU referendum is that it shows that it isn’t only Americans who miss out on irony. Watching the SNP defend how great it is to be in a Union after saying it was bad to be in another Union, is almost as much fun as watching UKIP say that it’s bad to be out of one Union but was better for Scotland to stay in another Union. Maybe the SNP and UKIP should consider some kind of personal union but that’s a picture of Nigel Farage and Nicola Sturgeon I never want to see.

Don’t get me wrong, I respect people who believe we would be better off independent. But if you’re thinking of voting leave because you think it’d be fun to “give it a go” then give me a break. You want to mess with my kids and my adopted home’s entire future cause “it would be cool to see what happens”? Let me say this as only a British person can, don’t be a tosser.

Yes, the way that Europe is governed needs improvement and transparency, but those are fixable. There are real problems in the world to fight together: poverty, lack of women’s rights globally, climate change, and giant lizard people.

I’m against leaving the EU because a mild sense of independence it isn’t worth the price. We need the world to get closer. It’s silly to to cut ourselves off. We shouldn’t go it alone. No nation is an island.

Erich McElroy is an American born, British and European citizen.

This blog originally appeared on the Huffington Post here

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