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Should we stay or should we go?

Should we stay or should we go Image by Matthew Broomhead

You may or may not agree with some or all of this article, but I hope that you will be voting on Thursday as it is an important issue that should not be decided just by those with narrow minded extreme views but have the impetus to vote. While the apathetic majority sit by and watch the country change.

The question is to either remain connected to Europe as part of the EU, or leave and start the process of severing the ties that have kept this country safer.

In my articles I write about leadership and learning so I am going to try and explore this a little. However, if you are after an objective viewpoint then I’m afraid you are not going to find it here.

How you vote is your democratic right – something that few of us really appreciate. So I implore you to exercise that simple right.

What does business need?

If you are a business leader in the UK then one thing you require is confidence and stability within the marketplace. When it isn’t there, then investment, borrowing and expansion becomes more difficult.

So ask yourself will staying in the EU maintain stability and confidence or will spending the next two to seven years (depending who you listen to) severing the ties of the EU and then spending however many years re-negotiating trade agreements with individual counties?

A History lesson

I gave up history at 14 years of age and did geography instead for GCSE. I couldn’t quite see the point of studying it. The primary reason was that no-one seemed to learn from it.

History has quite conclusively shown us that during economic Depressions (usually every 75 or so years) people with extreme right wing views pop up and pray on people’s fears. They are seen initially as insignificant but with persistence and the naturally occurring compound effect then all sorts of trouble can emerge over time.

Double standards

It’s interesting that the two key figures of the remain campaign that are using immigration as the main reason to leave the EU have family that are immigrants:

Boris Johnson according to Wikipedia was actually born in the U.S. The BBC website states his great grandfather was Turkish! The family changed their Turkish name from Kemal to Johnson during WW1 because Britain was at war with Turkey and they were concerned about the children in school being bullied.

Nigel Farage is married to Kirsten Mehr, a German national.

I don’t have a problem with these two facts, as virtually all of us are immigrants in some form, whether we came to the UK more recently since the end of WW2, or going back much further and coming from Romans, Vikings, and Normans etc. I enjoy the diversity of my home city of Birmingham and its 180+ nationalities.

What I get frustrated with is one rule for one and one rule for others.

Jim Rohn years ago in his wonderful wisdom said try and turn your frustrations into “fascination”.

When it comes to Mr Farage then I find it very difficult to be “fascinated” by him.

If you are wondering how he behaves as a leader in the EU then watch his tirade at the EU President back in 2010 on YouTube. Completely unprofessional and makes me embarrassed.

Why is there such an immigrant and refugee crisis?

Again this is where we seem to have forgotten about history and have “goldfish” like brains. People are fleeing from areas that Britain either sold military arms to dubious regimes at some stage over the last few decades or invaded. An online article from 23/07/14 in the Guardian states that according to British MPs, new Labour awarded five export licences to Syria for chemicals that could be used for weapons. They call it a “highly questionable” decision.

You or I had nothing to do with that, but as a country we need to start behaving like an adult and take some responsibility for past actions.


When we decide to follow a leader it is always important to understand their motives. Their mission and why they are doing what they are doing. So why is Boris really pushing the leave campaign? It is important to consider if he has done this to progress his plan to become candidate for Prime Minister as it would be very awkward for Cameron after the referendum if remain fail? Is he doing it for his own ends or is he taking the true leaders path of believing he is serving his followers?


However easy it is to do, the leader does not throw their arms up the air when they don’t get their way and say “I’m off!”

When we are younger it is understandable to behave like this because maybe we didn’t have the staying power or the skills to influence. But these are middle-aged adults who are well paid to ensure we get the most out of our EU membership.

The leadership position is to lead. To understand the others point of view. Debate the issues. Influence those around you to create followers. If you’re not happy with the direction of the organisation you change it from within, however long it takes.

How, on the one hand, can it be said that Britain is great, the fifth largest economy, speaking the most influential language – English, part of the G8 etc and then be packing our bags and becoming fearful and insular and complaining that others in the EU are telling us what we can and can’t do.

A sporting metaphor

Imagine a group of people that absolutely love rugby. So much so that they earnestly believe that the only reason Mother Nature created grass was so that people could play rugby on it. The only thing that they are more passionate about is their hatred of football. Football is for the weak.

Now imagine for some bizarre reason they are voted onto the board of Leicester City football club. So every board meeting a proportion of the members complain that they hate football and really the club should now be playing rugby.

I think you would agree that it would become untenable. A situation that was ridiculous.

And yet some of the British public have voted in representatives that oppose the EU, but get paid to represent their constituents at the EU. No wonder we don’t get the most out of the EU if the people that are supposed to represent us don’t agree with the organisation that is paying them. If it wasn’t so serious it would be some sort of silly joke.

If you don’t vote you really can’t complain.

66.1% of the electorate voted in 2015. Some people complain about not having control over our own laws etc because of the EU and yet one third of the population didn’t even vote for the people that actually determine the laws.

Enough of my rant…

As someone interested in Leadership then will your vote create confidence and inspire other countries to be better? Will it encourage people to communicate with each other and make Europe a more stable and safer place? Do you think we should be acting like leaders and demonstrating how to behave ethically and democratically and influence other countries to develop and grow too?

Or will your vote create division, uncertainty, more bureaucracy and encourage the extremist elements in our society?

It doesn’t matter if you agree with what I think. What do you think? However you vote on Thursday then instead of doing it from a place of fear, then be a Leader and vote from a place of confidence, ethics and inclusivity.

Matthew Broomhead
“Raising the level of Business Skills in Britain”
Creator of Broomhead Business Channel

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