I joked about it six months ago, “if Brexit happens I’m out of a job”, happy in the knowledge that Britain is better off in Europe, that Wales is better off in Europe.
I still believe that. For me there are no compelling reasons to leave, the least of which is ‘getting back control of our borders’. We have control.
I’m not scared of immigrants. I’m scared of Fascists.
I’m not scared of refugees. I’m scared of the people who would deny them refuge.
So now I’m wondering, what do I know about the EU that makes me so sure it’s a good thing? What do I know that the other 52% don’t?
The European Commission pay my wages.
They don’t just give me money without a bloody good reason though, applying for funding to pay me around £100 a week requires a detailed plan, an 80 page application form, research, explanations meeting their strict criteria, coordinating a team of partners across Europe, finding the best people, assurances from accountants, weeks of unpaid work… and if the Commission don’t think it’s going to benefit enough other people, people who need it, it’s back to the drawing board.
And if we are successful? We have to work hard and deliver a high quality project, we have to prove that real people are benefiting, we have to provide research and evidence and reports and publications and make the project sustainable even after the money has all been spent and account for every penny and cent or the Commission will take it all back.
Yes that takes bureaucracy. I’m glad it does. It means that money from the EU goes to people who need it.
People like The Squad in London who worked alongside DragonHall Trust on the RadioActive project where young people with no qualifications, young people at risk of exclusion from society and young people with multiple profound learning disabilities were trained in media skills, given a platform, and empowered to make some cracking Internet Radio. The money from the EU ran out years ago but because of their initial contribution the project is still running in three countries, improving self esteem, increasing employability and giving a voice to people who need to be heard.
People like kids in Rhondda Cynon Taf, one of the poorest areas in Europe (It’s in a convergence region so the per capita gross domestic product(GDP) is less than 75% of the average GDP of the EU-25) who get to experience free tech-workshops, broadening their horizons.
People like teachers, everywhere, who get free CPD training and teaching resources provided through projects like Taccle3 (and then there’s CPD for NHS staff and Construction workers and Public Employment Services and support for people starting new businesses…)
If we leave, do you really think Westminster gives a damn about the at risk people, the people with disabilities or the kids living in poverty. We give money to the EU, the EU re-distributes it where it is needed most. I don’t trust the government to do that.