Ragged Trousered Philanthropist

Today is the day, the biggest democratic decision our generation has ever faced. It’s the first time I’ve truly had to think things through. I’ve been brought up in a classic socialist fashion. By a working class Glaswegian who’s been made redundant in every recession he’s lived through and was even black listed by Thatcher’s government due to his Union activism. One of his favourite books is The Ragged Trousered Philanthropist. It ticks near enough all the boxes, I have that tribalist mentality drilled into me that the Conservatives are never an option. I’ve spent my adolescence and twenties rightly or wrongly blindly voting Labour. My dad however has slowly become disillusioned as the years have gone on. Whether its because of the misleading nature of New Labour, the fight for Scottish independence or maybe the natural inclination towards Conservatism as one grows older.

It’s because of this Socialist upbringing that I’ve been more of a euro sceptic in my politically engaged life. I’ve spent a lot of time having heated discussions with close friends about why being against the EU is a left wing argument, with differing levels of success. But as we draw ever closer to the possibility of a so called independent United Kingdom I’ve reached a fork in the road and have become truly torn. Much like Jeremy Corbyn is. A life long Euro sceptic who has now come out on the side of remain. The reason being that the mainstream arguments for leaving the Union have been based in hatred and paranoia. Rather than the rights of the working people in the face of big business exploiting the freedom of movement. If it were any other way I’d probably vote out. This is the first time I’ve ever disagreed with my dad on a fundamental political issue. I’m quite hopeful that the right decision will be made today. I just hope the country and the left wing can recover. This European debate has opened up a gaping wound of conflict between so called socialists and the people they disagree with. Debate is generally ignored in favour of belittling language, name calling and the odd passive aggressive use of “lol”. The people of this country who are inclined to vote leave are all too easily called xenophobic or racist. It’s dangerous and will only divide our country more. It will also make sure that the kind of disillusionment that leads to hatred will only increase country wide. Whatever the outcome after today, I’m going to suggest we all read the Ragged Trousered Philanthropist together. My dad’s always told me it’s a life changer of a book.

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