Merry meet everyone.
I don't normally get too political (if you ignore the feminism and environmental stuff!) but with the UK only a week away from a life-changing vote I wanted to share my views. I'm not asking you all to agree, but just listen to my thoughts.
I am taking the EU referendum very seriously. This is a life-changing decision we are all responsible for making, and I am sick and tired of trying to get information and all debates ending up in shouting matches. The leaders on both sides seem more concerned with point scoring and making their opponent look bad, and it is an unhealthy approach.
This is a simplified view of how I see our country. I choose to support smaller indie companies where I can, and if I can make it myself I will, but I like having the ability to go to a big supermarket or shopping mall if I need to get the best deal. I can look at how much income I have, decide how to prioritise my outgoings and what to do with any leftover cash, and I decide how to run my household. I have a certain degree of autonomy, but must naturally make concessions to ensure the benefit of the whole family, and I must live within my means and manage any debt accordingly.
If we as a nation vote to leave the EU next week I fully expect Europe to punish us and to make an example of us. I believe it will lead to many years of confusion, and some degree of financial hardship; in fact I guarantee it. However, even knowing that, my instinct is to vote to leave because we need to run our own affairs and sort out our own mess. We will still be part of NATO, we will still be protected and have a duty to protect globally; that won't change. Europe and the world will still trade with us. Yes, we get a lot of money from the EU, particularly for things such as farming subsidies, but we pay out a lot more than we get back, and shouldn't we as a country decide how our money is spent?
At a time when politicians are more concerned with point scoring and name calling, I can do no more than try to put myself in the bigger picture and think "If this country were my household, what would I do?" and that is why I will be voting to leave. Not because I am xenophobic as some "remain" campaigners have claimed, but because we are in a mess and sometimes you have to get yourself out of it. The British, and the English in particular, are a nation of mongrels, and I am proud of that! Celts, Romans, Norse, Normans, Saxons, Flemish, Huguenots, Irish, Indian, and from all corners of the commonwealth and beyond, immigrants have always come to our shores and brought us more in the long run than they have taken, and that is why this topic is just a tiny piece of the picture.
Another topic that gets a lot of discussion is the amount we pay in versus the amount we receive. We have to use the 2014 figures from the Treasury (if you want you can see them here) because the figure for 2015 are still being compiled. So, we pay roughly £18.8 billion a year, except we don't because our government negotiated a rebate for us, so we actually pay around £14.3 billion. Now, we also get money given to us by the EU for things such as farming subsidies, investments in poorer communities, as well as funding for research projects. What this means is that when you tally it all up it costs us roughly £8 billion per year more than we get back. On paper than means there would be plenty of money to not only keep paying the farming subsidies, research development and funding poorer communities and all the other stuff, but £8 billion to spend on schools, the NHS and all the other important services that have been cut back over the decades. However, if we assume my predictions are correct and we are looking at years of financial chaos, there may not be that much money left over, if any; should the majority vote to leave we will have at least 2 years in which to put plans in place to try to minimise the impact.
I'm not demanding you agree with me, just asking that you listen to what I say respectfully. I suspect if the EU had done that from the start we wouldn't be having this referendum at all. This whole situation is not as simple as we would hope, but in my opinion sometimes you have to bite the bullet, deal with the fallout and keep looking ahead to the day when you come out the other side stronger and more secure, and this rule applies whether it's personal finance, family finance, business finance or national finance.
If all this talk of money and running your accounts has made you realise your own finances could do with a check up, then have a look at my most popular blog post on managing your finances.
Until next time everyone, good luck with your decision!
Blessed be )0(