Vote remain — not just for you but for my kids

So much has been said during this ill-tempered referendum that the facts have got lost in the noise. I’ve lived here for almost 20 years and I can’t recall a campaign where the political discourse was less illuminating or more depressing. I say this as someone who has traditionally admired the informed political debate here. But what kind of country has this become where Ukip is treated with respect?

In truth, it’s a pretty simple calculation about what type of country you want to live in — and, more important, what kind of opportunities you provide for your kids.

I know many of the experts who say that on the balance of probabilities, the risk to the economy is greater if we leave than if we stay. I’ve talked to those who run big businesses AND entrepreneurs who run small start-ups, and they all say access to a single market is a huge boon for them that can only get better — not one has complained about being burdened by ‘EU regulation’.

I’ve met Nigel Farage. He isn’t a pleasant guy. And he doesn’t give a crap about any of us. You know the barking way he talks? He does that all the time. He’s not interested in anything other than his own narrow-minded perspective. Voting leave will give him a bigger platform. Do you really want that?

And having lived in France — the only place where I’ve experienced daily institutionalised racism — I know the UK has much to teach the rest of Europe about progressive, multicultural politics. There is a lot yet to do but I’m certain that my family would not achieved as much had they pitched up anywhere else on this continent. Britain is so much further ahead than many of its European peers.

But everyone knows all of that. And for many, it hasn’t made one bit of difference.

That’s why I want you to think about my three lovely boys when you go into the polling booth. I don’t usually post pictures of them publicly but this is too important and I hope it will make anyone voting to leave or undecided to rethink. Because where you put your ‘X’ on the ballot paper matters more to their lives than to yours.

They see the ability to move across borders as an almost fundamental part of their lives. We with British passports take for granted just how valuable that is, even though the fact that so many risk their lives to secure a European passport should point to just how incredible a possession it is. Why would you deny them and your own kids the right to live and work across the EU if they wanted to later in life? Why close that door?

My kids get it and I bet yours do too. They are growing up as British boys in a European capital in a European city. They don’t see outsiders — immigrants, non-Britons — as evil or taking their jobs. (I guess having an Indo-Canadian dad helps with that.)

They feel as comfortable hanging out with their Anglo-Indian cousins in the Midlands or their English grandmother in Eastbourne as they do with their Italian-Swedish friends in north London or their Canadian cousins in Calgary. They are open to those changes and I’m convinced that being able to deal with the world as it is rather than trying to go back to the 1970s (in case you missed it, you can’t) is essential to their future.

So even if you’re pissed off with the political class or angry about the lack of democracy in Brussels, don’t throw away my kids’ opportunities. Vote remain.

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