I always take an active interest in current affairs. I was one of the youngest Parliamentary candidates in the country at the 2015 General Election. I was born and bred in West Yorkshire, where I currently work for a charity, having previously spent time working in London. Both of the places I have called home so far are two very different but equally multicultural societies. I am involved in my local community and have been from a young age.
Yet I find myself increasingly frustrated by the coverage of the ongoing debate on Britain's membership of the European Union.
I, like many, have had enough of the constant stream of negativity.
At the moment, it would appear that people are being told they have to make a decision between what is bad... and what is worse.
It is a decision we are seemingly not allowed to make with confidence and optimism...but we are expected to just grit our teeth and do.
This is the biggest decision in generations... yet there is an ever-increasing apathy that has nothing to do with the vote itself, but the level of debate from both sides.
This does not wash with me.
As someone in my mid-twenties I am still full of the shameless optimism that I can make the world a better place. That we can make the world a better place. That there is a positive side to everything and if I am going to do something or vote a certain way, it will be for good reason and not for 'damage limitation'.
On 23 June I will walk confidently into my local polling station and will vote to leave the EU. I want other young people to feel they can do so too, knowing that the future is bright and that there are many positive reasons to vote to leave.
Leaving the EU will allow us to build more relationships with many more countries. If we vote to leave the EU we will not be voting to leave Europe. People arguing EU countries would suddenly stop talking to and trading with us are clutching at non-existent straws. We would not be splitting up and drifting away on our own little island but would still be able to work with European countries. Leaving the EU will mean we are freer to build relationships with countries further afield as well. Once we leave the EU we will be able to sign trade agreements with countries all over the world. Far from isolating us, leaving the EU would make us an ever more global nation that can reach out to Europe and beyond.
Leaving the EU will allow our local businesses and industries to thrive more and more. In leaving the EU, we will have more freedom to support sectors, such as steel, which have suffered at the hands of the EU. Being from the North I have seen the effect EU rules have had on industry here. By ridding ourselves of the endless EU red tape surrounding trade and industry, but keeping the British laws that enshrine workers' rights, protect business and support industry, our local economy and small businesses will be able to thrive and provide more jobs.
Leaving the EU will give us more freedom to invest our own money how we see fit. While people argue about the exact figures, there is no denying that we give billions of pounds a year to the EU. Money the EU then dictates how is spent and we put more in than we get back out. I want us to be able to spend that money on what matters most to us. No one knows their own local area better than themselves. By taking back control of it, we have the opportunity to use that money to strengthen the NHS, cut taxes further, protect the industries that matter to us and support working people.
The list of positive reasons to vote to leave the EU is endless. Too endless to include all of them here.
It is about engaging with countries in Europe and beyond. It is about having the opportunity to build new relationships further afield. It is about giving our economy the chance to thrive even more. It is about supporting business and industry. It is about having our say on where our own investment goes. It is about having control over what immigration we do and do not allow. It is about regaining our sovereignty.
Voting leave would be choosing the freedom of the entire world over being held by back EU red tape. We can do better than what we have now. Let our free trade be free and not dictated to us. Voting leave is not about isolation and building up walls, it is about breaking down barriers and having the freedom to develop great relationships with more countries in Europe and beyond. There is a big world out there, full of opportunity.
I hope you will join me in voting to leave the EU on 23 June. However, whichever side of the fence you are sitting on, let me end with three things.
Firstly, make sure you do vote in the Referendum on 23 June.
Secondly, whichever way you vote let it be with confidence and optimism.
Finally, whatever the result is let us not fall out over it but accept it graciously and move forward, continuing to work to build a society full of opportunity, life chances and support for all. We do not know what position we will wake up in on 23 June but whatever position it is, life will go on.
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