The way I see it is thus: look at the big picture and see firstly how the two options affect you, as an individual, then how they affect your inner and slightly outer circle. Then look at what you would like the UK to look like in ten or so years time and by extension what you want Europe and the rest of the world to look like.
Do not look at who is promoting what, since they are all fuckers who have vested interests in the outcome. A referendum is about what you, as an individual, want in a particular matter.
I have gone back and forth on the whole thing for months now. I am an immigrant here, but I have lived all my adult life since the age of 18 in the UK. I have been naturalised and became a citizen, I have paid all my taxes here and my life is here. Equally crucial, I see the UK as my accepting host country and will forever live like this. I am more British than Greek, for all intents and purposes.
I loathe how the EU has made an example of Greece (fucked up and corrupt as it was/is) and I am not at all fond of the overarching political and economic power (and vested interests) of the EU bureaucrats. I think the euro is fundamentally flawed and I am glad the UK has kept the pound. Greece got fucked (even more) the moment the euro replaced the drachma (a bunch of parsley sold in the farmers market went up in one day from the equivalent of 0.2 euros in drachmas to 1 euro).
The immigration policy of inner EU is something I accept and I think is a good thing (the free movement of EU citizens). The outer immigration has been in shambles for a while now, though, not helped at all by Merkel’s foolish open invitation a year ago. You simply cannot go against the wishes of a good half of the indigenous population, things are tough economically as they stand, people do not want yet more problems or strain on resources.
I have been particularly critical on the continual erosion of the secular nature of the European society that was emerging in the last couple of decades. Unfortunately, and I accept this is a sore point of discussion, one of the major reasons is the imbalanced acceptance of islamic religious practices into secular societies.
I see pockets of unrest everywhere in the world the last few years. Minor (or major in some cases) wars, religious uprisings (Maldives), emerging dictatorships disguised as populist democracy (Turkey, Thailand), political populism based on people being fed up with politicians not at least tending to (let alone championing) local communities/cities/countries (USA and the whole of Europe).
Both in and out campaigns in the UK have been terrible. Especially the in campaign, which uses scaremongering and in many cases outright lies to put the fear of change and demise in people. Not that the out campaign is much more positive, mind.
At the same time, the sheer progress in the last 30 years that the EU has achieved in terms of uniting a warring Europe has been astonishing. Europe has prospered, there is no denying in that. The average quality of life has improved dramatically. People started travelling, seeing the world, bought houses and tvs, met and talked to people and cultures in a rate like never before. Infrastructure has improved tremendously.
This morning I am posting my referendum vote. I am voting “stay in” because, even if I see the current bloated state of the EU as problematic, I want things to improve and not regress back to a state of individualistic countries. I want to be able to travel with less restrictions, not more. I want the UK (myself included) to have a say in what happens in Europe. I want to be part of something bigger, even if big comes with its own problems.
This crisis, just like every other crisis in the past, will be surpassed at some point. Things will get a bit better, more stable, the economy will get better, things will find yet another (temporary) equilibrium. When that happens, I want to see that progress has been made, on the whole, and not a state of regressed protectionism.
No one can see the future, but we can all hope and strive and throw in our tiny contribution on a future we actually want to have.
(sorry for the blanket post, I’m not used to writing these things and might have thrown in the kitchen sink, but ho-hum!)