I'm a fully paid-up member of the Labour Party. A Blairite. I welcome immigration and support freedom of movement. I wanted us to join the euro. I love Europe and I'm passionately Pro-EU.
But, after a long period of indecision, I'm going to vote Leave on Thursday.
Why? Because for Labour voters like me this is one decision that must be made with the head and not with the heart. And despite what I - and many others in my position - once believed, the 'head' decision is to vote Leave.
Neither side in this campaign can hold its head high
This whole EU Referendum campaign has been a trauma. It has divided us and pitted us against family and friends. The hard-right Leave rhetoric has been appalling: hate-filled, incendiary nonsense that encourages division and welcomes verbal aggression. For me, migration is a good thing. Immigration is good for our economy and it's good for humanity. Freedom of movement is one of the EU's proudest achievements.
The Remain rhetoric has been equally outrageous and unfathomable. Outright lies at every turn: scaremongering and patronising; threatening and provoking by equal turn. The UK economy will not collapse if we leave the EU. We will not be cast out into a global wilderness. Workers' rights in UK will not be affected, and war will not break out on Friday morning if we vote Leave.
Both sides have been savage, heartless and disingenuous. When this campaign started, no one knew how vicious we could be to each other. How much division we could create and how much suffering we could cause by our needless words and thoughtless actions.
There are very few voices on the Remain side that resonate and cut through the cacophony of exaggeration, vitriol and spin. And even fewer within the Leave campaign. However, there are some measured tones from people including Gisela Stuart for Leave, who make a left-wing case I can relate to.
The decision must be made - we must vote
We have to vote. We will never get another chance in our lifetimes to have a say on our future in the EU. So a decision must be made. For all its inflammatory rhetoric, for me, the decision on which way to vote boiled down to just one single question:
Is this incarnation of the EU right for our future and right for the future for Europe?
And, as a Labour supporter, when you look at the issues with a clear head. The answer must be 'no'.
Youth unemployment and tax avoidance
Look at Spain, Greece and Italy. Look at how the EU has treated them and continues to treat them. It ran roughshod over Greece and its people, ignoring their pleas, threatening, blackmailing and leaving it with a youth unemployment rate that currently stands at 50 per cent. In Spain it's not much better. Their youth unemployment is 45 per cent, and in Italy it's 36.9 per cent. These are real young people with no hope. And it's the EU's obsession with saving the euro that has caused this abject and continuing misery.
Take another issue: tax avoidance. The EU promotes tax avoidance. Mega-corporations that do the bulk of their business in the UK have been given carte blanche to set up in the cosy tax haven of choice, Luxembourg, whose former Prime Minister, Jean-Claude Junker, is now President of the EU Commission. The European Court of Justice enforces the rights of EU states as tax havens and outlaws attempts by the UK to crack down on tax evaders.
Animal welfare and the spectre of TTIP
I'm a vegan, so let's look at animal welfare. In principle the EU should be a good thing for animal welfare both here and across Europe. But in practice it most definitely is not. The UK has a ban on intensive battery cages. EU law ignored this. The UK banned sow stalls in 1999, but 17 EU countries continue to use them. And under EU law, the UK is powerless to stop the utterly inhumane and horrendous practice of exporting live animals, many of them lambs, abroad for slaughter.
Let's take TTIP. This secret deal is a huge threat to the UK. It will become the template for all future EU trade deals and if, as Labour voters, this alone doesn't scare the pants off us, then I'm not sure what will. War on Want say TTIP will cost 1 million British, European and American jobs and sell off all UK public services including the NHS to the highest bidder for ever.
A Labour government in a regressive EU
Suggested For You
SUBSCRIBE AND FOLLOW
Get top stories and blog posts emailed to me each day. Newsletters may offer personalized content or advertisements.Learn more