The People who Want Britain to Leave the EU

cropped-cropped-beach-photo1.jpgThe People who want Britain to leave the EU

The people who want Britain to leave the EU say it isn’t because they don’t like foreign people. They say it is because of democracy. They say they don’t want politicians elected by people in other places deciding what their laws should be. The people who want Britain to leave the EU say it isn’t democracy when politicians elected by people in other places decide what their laws should be.

I live in Wood Green. At the last election the people who live in Wood Green elected Catherine West to be our MP. This means we elected her to be the person that gets involved in deciding what our laws should be and we call this democracy. However, the main people who decide what our laws should be are mostly politicians elected in other places. David Cameron wasn’t elected in Wood Green. Nor was Michael Gove.  Nor was Jeremy Corbyn. Nor was Ed Miliband. Nor was Nicola Sturgeon. Nigel Farage wasn’t elected in Wood Green or anywhere else. The reason most of the people who decide what my laws should be were not elected in Wood Green is that there are lots of other places and lots of other people, including all the people who want Britain to leave the EU. The other people in the other places also chose an MP at the last election to help decide what their laws should be and we call this democracy.

Even my MP Catherine West isn’t in exactly the same place as me. Often we are both in Wood Green but not always. Even when we are both in Wood Green, Catherine West and I are usually in different buildings and even if we are in the same building (like at public meetings) we sit in different chairs. It would be pretty strange if I sat in Catherine West’s chair, especially if she were trying to sit in it too. The people of Wood Green elected Catherine West as their MP at the last election and we call this democracy.  The people of Wood Green did not elect me as their MP at the last election, and they wouldn’t want me to sit in Catherine West’s chair, especially while she was trying to sit in it too. Often Catherine West is in the House of Commons because that is part of her job and the House of Commons is where she (and other politicians elected by other people in other places) gets involved in deciding what our laws should be. I am not usually in the House of Commons because I am not the person elected by the people of Wood Green (or any of the other places) to be involved in deciding what our laws should be.

I am also not in exactly the same place as the other people who voted in the last election in Wood Green. Often I am in my home and they are in theirs. If I am at the shops, some of them will be in the park. Some of them will also be at the shops but they will either be at different shops or standing in a different spot in the same shop. This means that even the people who elected the same MP as me are not in exactly the same place as me. In fact, the politicians who decide what our laws should be are always elected by people in other places because each of us is only in one place at a time and most other people are in other places.

The only way the politicians who decide what our laws should be could be in exactly the same place as all of us is if all of us were in exactly the same place all the time, or if each of us made our own individual laws with no governments at all. I don’t think the people who want us to leave the EU would support either of these ideas.

If you don’t want everyone to be in exactly the same place all the time and you don’t want each of us to make our own individual laws with no governments at all, then you will sometimes need politicians elected by people who are not in the same place as you to decide what your laws should be and we call this democracy. One downside of democracy is that you can’t decide what most of your laws should be because the number of people who aren’t you is bigger than the number of people who are you (which is one because only you are you.)

In the EU there are politicians called MEPs. British people decide who some of them are and people from other countries decide who some of them are too. The number of MEPs elected by people in other countries is bigger than the number of MEPs elected by people in Britain because the number of countries that aren’t Britain is bigger than the number of countries that are Britain (which is one because only Britain is Britain.) Those MEPs decide what some of our laws should be. Like in the UK parliament, most of the MEPs were not elected by people in exactly the same place as me. The people who want Britain to leave the EU don’t mind MPs being elected by people who aren’t in exactly the same place as me but they don’t want MEPs to be elected by people who aren’t in exactly the same place as them. This is because all MPs are British but some MEPs are foreign. It has nothing to do with not liking foreign people. It is because of democracy.

David Cameron isn’t in exactly the same place as me and nor is Michael Gove. I am glad about that. However, David Cameron and Michael Gove can decide what my laws should be because other people (who aren’t me and who also aren’t in exactly the same place as me) decided that they could and we call this democracy. The people who want Britain to leave the EU don’t mind that because David Cameron and Michael Gove are British. The people who want Britain to leave the EU don’t mind politicians elected by people in other places deciding what their laws should be as long as those people aren’t foreign.

The people who want Britain to leave the EU say it’s not because they don’t like foreign people. They say it’s because of democracy.

Saying you want to leave the EU because of democracy sounds better than saying you want to leave the EU because you don’t like foreign people. So maybe some of the people who want Britain to leave the EU are only saying it’s because of democracy when in fact it’s because they don’t like foreign people.

Sometimes people say one thing when they mean another and we call this democracy.

13 comments

  1. This is very poor writing from a philosophy graduate and aspiring Head.

    It pains me to have to point out that Farage is in fact elected to represent the UK and won the last European elections as leader of the single largest party.

    This kind of contrived article adds nothing to the debate on the EU and reflects poorly on the author.

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    1. He wasn’t elected. In fact he said if he wasn’t elected as MP he would step down as leader. If my memory serves me correctly he did that for about 10 bours and then the rest of the party refused to accept his resignation and he is back again. Whoop whoop (tongue in cheek)

      He is an MEP. The only thing he is and fingers crossed, when his constituency vote again they will vote for the other guy (or gal)

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    2. Farage was elected to represent the UK, unfortunately he does not. He represents himself and 11% of the UK. When he can be bothered to attend his job he only talks down the UK in favour of some personal 1950s inspired Nirvan that did not, does not and can not exist.

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  2. Eh? That paragraph was fairly clearly about the last election. Where was Nigel Farage elected at the last election?

    Still, thanks for the feedback. The personal insults really add weight to your argument.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. I think you hit the nail on the head and I very much enjoyed reading this. Not every piece of writing needs to be sophisticated to the point where only academics understand what you are trying to say. A healthy balance of scaffolding for the lower achievers and sarcasm for foreigners like me to giggle about. Made my morning.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. In 2014, after 36 years teaching (29 as a head) the school I was then at was one of several closed to make way for a promised new state of the art area establishment (they are still waiting). Rather than take up the offers made to lead another school or accept a ‘school improvement’ position I chose to take early retirement. Looking back, I realised my health and personal life had suffered significantly from fighting to keep the school open, constantly producing reports on my staff, myself, pupils, curriculum coverage, peer school comparisons, preparing for inspection and the 22 education authority visits a year, etc, etc, etc. Teaching in, and leading, the schools in which I’d been employed had been a wonderful and privileged experience but the politics got in the way.
    I was attracted to what was to be my final school because it had been failing, badly and obviously, for some years but through hard work and a renewed belief in ourselves we raised standards to be in the top 10% nationally in terms of results for several years. However, in 2010 we were told, we weren’t achieving that success in the ‘right way’ and eventually succumbed to various threats and reports that criticised methods rather than performance or outcome. Our methods had not been ‘progressive’ but were quite innovative and based on fun, experimental learning, relevance and were directed by professional judgement. Children learned how to cooperate, apply learning in different situations and think critically. Unfortunately, we were eventually ground down to do things ‘the right way’ and almost immediately began to see a fall in measurable results, children were less likely to engage and their responses to questionnaires made it clear they preferred school in its previous form. For the first time since I had joined the school incidents of anti-social behaviour rose (minimal and minor but recordable) and staff absence increased.
    After two worrying years of this, we heard the school was to close. At a staff meeting we agreed to rip up the ‘right way’ directives and return to teaching our way, experienced teachers and others making professional decisions in a professional way. At the end of that final year, not teaching to tests but spending a little time on test techniques, our results returned to their previous very high standards and children (and their parents) once again considered school to be fun.
    I miss teaching but not the politics, ill health and feelings of inadequacy despite surpassing every target and hurdle government ministers and fearful superiors could muster.
    At a time when countries such as Finland, where I believe formal learning is not met until the age of 6/7 and national exams are not taken until well into the secondly level, are In 2014, after 36 years teaching (29 as a head) the school I was then at was one of several closed to make way for a promised new state of the art area establishment (they are still waiting). Rather than take up the offers made to lead another school or accept a ‘school improvement’ position I chose to take early retirement. Looking back, I realised my health and personal life had suffered tremendously from fighting to keep the school open, constantly producing reports on my staff, myself, pupils, curriculum coverage, peer school comparisons, preparing for inspection and the 22 education authority visits a year, etc, etc, etc. Teaching in, and leading, the schools I’d been employed had been a wonderful and privileged experience but the politics got in the way.
    My final school had been failing, badly and obviously, for some years (which is why I took up the headship) but we raised standards to be in the top 10% nationally in terms of results for several years. However, in 2010 we were told, we weren’t achieving that success in the ‘right way’ and eventually succumbed to various threats and reports that criticised methods rather than performance or outcome. Our methods had not been ‘progressive’ but were quite innovative and based on fun, relevance and directed by professional judgement. Children learned how to cooperate, apply learning in different situations and think critically. Unfortunately, we were eventually ground down to do things ‘the right way’ and began to see a fall in measurable results, children were less likely to engage and their responses to questionnaires made it clear they preferred school in its previous form. For the first time since I had joined the school incidents of anti-social behaviour rose (minimal and minor but recordable) and staff absence increased.
    After two worrying years of this, we heard the school was to close. At a staff meeting we agreed to rip up the ‘right way’ directives and return to teaching our way, experienced teachers and others making professional decisions in a professional way. At the end of that final year, not teaching to tests but spending a little time on test techniques, our results returned to their previous very high standards and children once again considered school to be fun.
    I miss teaching but not the politics nor do I yearn for a return to ill health and feelings of inadequacy despite surpassing every target and hurdle government ministers and fearful superiors could muster.

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  5. I have respect for the job and what it entails, I have respect for someone who is passionate and wants to see an improvement in children’s academic and personal development and it’s good to see there are teachers out there who care about what teaching should deliver to a child.

    However, I am sick to death of teachers moaning about their working hours and pay. Get a grip and enter the real world. Everyone in a profession is working harder for less these days, and teachers really do have the best of it yet still manage to believe that they have a terrible deal. Take doctors and nurses and talk to them about time off and pay – the author says ‘holidays don’t make up for it’. What a load of rubbish, most people would be delighted to have a similar working package. If you get 3 months off a year paid along with public holidays, you should be prepared to put in a 55 hour week. That’s 11 hours a day. There are plenty of people doing this for a lot less money and no where near the amount of time off. The majority of teachers I come across seem to enter the profession with a chip on their shoulder about how tough their career is.

    I am a pilot, I regularly work 12 hour days in a 5 day block at unsociable hours. Holidays level out at 28 days a year and are generally assigned to you and not chosen by yourself. You are lucky to have 2 days off over the festive period and spend vast amounts of time away from home. Weekends off are unheard of. Ontop of that, the job is very stressful and continually dynamic where days that were supposed to last 9 hours can last over 16 hours. I love my job and would love to have the terms and conditions a teacher has – so to sit and listen to teachers spout off about the holiday / pay aspect of the job really grinds on lots of people. I think many teachers need to regain some perspective.

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    1. What a ridiculous argument! Two wrongs don’t make a right. If you were around a couple of hundred years ago, you’d have been criticising women for moaning about having to take their children for 10 hour shifts down mines! Progess should mean working fewer hours, not more. I’m alarmed that you work such long shifts as a pilot. But just because you do, doesn’t mean I want teachers too knackered to inspire my kids or children ‘working’ (at school) for 8 hours a day, rather than being free to play. ‘The real world’ is whatever we make it.

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  6. I found your article really interesting and thought provoking and sad. I am at present working with the RSC on a project entitled “What’s the point of Schools” addressing this very problem and would love to talk to you and other disaffected teachers .I think that the people who are affected by the changes in education teachers ,parents ,and students are not getting a chance to talk . We are holding a research and development workshop 21st-25th March and the 4th-8th April . Could we come or could you come to the RSC rehearsal rooms to talk ? Ian Redford

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