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Undecided

I was genuinely undecided how I would vote in the EU referendum right up until the moment I entered the polling station. During the months of build up I did everything I could to find genuine factual debate on the subject which turned out to be almost impossible on anything other than a one to one basis.

Immigration

So let's get the elephant in the room out of the way first.

I am not going to try and pretend that immigration was not a major issue for many people who voted leave. However I can honestly say it was not an issue for me.

The "remain" camp have almost without fail labelled anyone who has considered voting leave a racist. I feel this has, in some way, contributed to the strength of the leave vote being a surprise. People didn't want to admit they would vote leave as they didn't want to be branded as racists.

I think racism is a major issue in the UK but not just among those who voted leave. Just look at Britain's response to Syrian refugees ( a response by a government and opposition who mainly supported the "remain" campaign). We agreed to take 20,000 refugees over 4 years while our European neighbours took hundreds of thousands in a single year. A fact we should be totally ashamed of.

As a nation we have an issue with "foreigners" and we need to get past it and change. When we are being totally honest the prevailing attitude of both the "leave" and "remain" camps to immigration is awful. We only need to look back just over a year to see that every political party made controlling immigration a central part of their general election manifesto. In fact immigration has been a major part of every election I remember in my lifetime. (I am 49 years old).

As a nation we have issues. It's convenient for the "remain" camp to lay the blame on the "leave" camp but any honest reflection would demonstrate that it's a problem we all need to own.

So if I am not a racist, why, when it came to put the mark on the piece of paper did I finally choose leave.

Vision.

I have been the leader of an organisation that had a vision but also contained a group of strong, vocal people opposed to the vision. Those people wanted to be a part of the organisation but they didn't want to go where the organisation wanted to go.

As a leader this was totally miserable. My entire life was consumed with trying to persuade this group to move forward or sorting out the mess their resistance created within the organisation.

The EU has a vision to become one political and economic state of member states. I am not sure if that is a good vision or not but I do know it is not a vision that Britain as a whole wants to adopt. Even the remain camp were saying lets stay in and get them to change their mind on this.

I don't want to us to be those people who want in as long as you don't move forward. I don't want us to be those people who cause an organisation to be paralysed because we don't want to go on the journey.

The Needs of the Many

I am pro free-trade, pro open borders, pro workers rights etc etc etc. I can see the huge benefits to the UK of being a part of the EU.

However I know how much pain those people on the sidelines trying to stop the vision caused me. I am not prepared to be one off those people even though I will probably be worse off by being out.

Basically the EU is better off without us. Without us constantly vetoing everything the EU can pursue its vision at full speed. (Even without us that won't be that fast).

I have decided I am prepared to personally be worse off to give the EU a better chance of succeeding.

Once Out Always Out

We were told throughout the campaign that once out we could never return. That's just not true. If the EU succeeds without us , as I hope it does, we will always be free to apply to rejoin the EU as a fully paid up member of the club as long as we sign up to the full package.

No special vetoes , no half in , half out. We will have the choice to be all in. If the EU is worth having then let's be a full part of it not a thorn in its side.

Of course if the EU totally fails we will be able to feel smug at how clever we were to stay out but I really hope that is not the case.

So What About In The Meantime

I don't believe being out of the EU will destroy Britain. It might mean we are not quite as great as we could have been but we will be OK. I am not one of those people who think being out of the EU means we have have to give up all the laws we adopted as members of the EU.

Democracy

One of the supposed benefits of leaving the EU is the ability to reclaim our own democracy. If that's true we can have whatever laws we like now. (Well soon anyway).

If we want to keep workers rights, environmental concerns and human rights at the centre of our society (as I do) then we simply need to vote for the party that offer them in our own elections.

Equally controlling our borders does not have to mean closing our borders. Let's create the most fair, generous and humane worldwide immigration policy that has ever been seen.

One of the things about the referendum campaign that both annoyed me and caused me to fear was this idea that without a group of bureaucrats in Brussels we would lose these principles.

If we allow these principles to depart from our laws and our society then we can't blame the "leave" campaign or the EU. We can only blame our ourselves.

This Does Not Have to Mean We Go Backwards.

But what if our political parties don't offer these policies. Well lets start one that does. We are a democracy, we can do that you know.

Just look at how UKIP, the SNP and the Green Party have become relevant over the last 10 years. The days of two (or three if you count the Liberal Democrats as relevant) party politics are over. We don't need to be tied by Tory or Labour historical dominance as we once were.

We can create whatever Britain we want. If we don't end up with a nation we can be proud of then we can't really blame it on anything other than our own unwillingness to make it happen.

Move On ... Please

I accept that there are probably many holes in my argument. There are probably lots of issues and subtleties I just don't understand. But that's OK. I can live with that. I was asked, as a British citizen, to give my opinion as a simple yes or no. I did my best. I thought it through as carefully as my limited intelligence would allow and came to a decision based on multiple dimensions and not just emotion, upbringing or class.

I know that my decision will bring some pain to us as a nation but it is a pain I think has to be paid. I hope the pain is temporary and Britain either learns to thrive as an independent nation or gets on board and becomes a full EU member.

Thankfully as a democracy my opinion got added to everyone else's and although I take full responsibly for how I voted I am relieved that the decision was not all mine to make.

I know many will disagree with me and that's OK. I am sure I will receive some hate mail but even that is OK. We live in a democracy and that gives you not only the right to have an opinion but the right to do something with it. However please remember that no one forced us into this position. A democracy made a choice.

Democracy often makes poor choices and this could turn out to be one of those occasions. However I will defend a democracy's right to make poor choices with every fibre in my body rather than accept that all our choices should be made by a few, no matter how well meaning or clever those few are.

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At the moment I am working in the centre of Bristol each day. The Journey involves a 25 minute drive to the station followed by a 30 minute train ride then a 15-20 minute walk. In an attempt to reduce my commuting time I have bought a folding bike I can take on the train and hopefully reduce the 15-20 minute walk to about 5 minutes hence saving 20-30 minutes commuting each day.

Dahon 2016

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436 Beck - Sea Change

The Review

I have actually listened to this album three times. Which I know is against the rules but each time after listening I didn't write the review and by time I came back to it I couldn't remember what I wanted to say.

That pretty much sums up the album really. It is very enjoyable to listen to and has some great tracks but once it is over you just sort of forget it.

This album is a good album to work to as its mellow tones do drift into the background allowing you to enjoy it while it doesn't really distract you from what you are doing. (Apart from a few moments at the end of Sunday Sun) However that also means it's not an album that grips you and grabs your attention.

I am not sure I could ever just sit and listen to this album while not doing anything else ... there is not quite enough there to hold on to me.

Favourite Track: End of the Day

Why Does This Review Exist?

I am working my way through Rolling Stone’s 500 Greatest Albums of all time list and reviewing each album.

  • Each album is listened to only once.
  • The album is used as background music while working so how much attention I pay to it will depend on what I am doing at the time.
  • I do no research about the album or the artist.
  • The review is a one off, one moment opinion that may change with further listening.
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437 Lil Wayne - Tha Carter III

It's been a while since I listened to an album on the top 500 list. I think the fact that this 92 minute Hip Hop / Rap album was next on the list also made it harder to come back to than might have otherwise been the case.

As with most of the hip hop albums on the list so far it was more enjoyable than I expected but still not something I will probably listen to again.

Most of the time it wasn't hard to listen to but the subject matter, as with most of the previous albums of this genre, was just so alien to me it was hard to relate to.

There were some moments when I would stop work and listen more intently but to be honest this was often when something I recognised had been sampled or covered into the song.

Favourite Track: Mrs Officer

Why Does This Review Exist?

I am working my way through Rolling Stone’s 500 Greatest Albums of all time list and reviewing each album.

  • Each album is listened to only once.
  • The album is used as background music while working so how much attention I pay to it will depend on what I am doing at the time.
  • I do no research about the album or the artist.
  • The review is a one off, one moment opinion that may change with further listening.
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438 The Cure - Boys Don't Cry

The Review

Even though I own a number of the albums in the top 500 I set out to listen to all 500 albums using Apple music (or spotify). Boys Don't Cry doesn't exist on Apple music (Not in the UK at the time of writing anyway). However all of the studio versions of the tracks were available on other albums. (Boys Don't Cry was released as an alternate version of the band's 1979 debut album Three Imaginary Boys with a slightly different track list so a majority of the tracks were on Three Imaginary Boys).

One track that was not on Apple music in studio form was "Killing an Arab" but it was still available on the "Concert: The Cure Live " album so in the end I did manage to build a playlist the just about represented the album.

Anyway after all that how was the actual album? I am a huge Cure fan so of course I thought it was brilliant :-)

Favourite Track: Subway Song

Why Does This Review Exist?

I am working my way through Rolling Stone’s 500 Greatest Albums of all time list and reviewing each album.

  • Each album is listened to only once.
  • The album is used as background music while working so how much attention I pay to it will depend on what I am doing at the time.
  • I do no research about the album or the artist.
  • The review is a one off, one moment opinion that may change with further listening.
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