EU Referendum – political and personal
May 14th, 2016

EU Campaign Wolfgang Tillmans - Between Bridges_26.04_11_web_900px
Poster by Wolfgang Tillmans.


The European Union (EU) is fundamentally a neoliberal project with a democratic deficit at its core. It’s pro-austerity and represents the interests of a bureaucratic and corrupt political class. EU treaties and directives enforce free market policies and privatisation of public services and utilities across the union.

The leftist government of Greece experienced this and more in 2015 with the democratic will of its people being overturned. Paul Mason’s documentary film #ThisIsACoup brilliantly shows how the EU destroyed europe’s first radical left government in modern history.

I don’t believe for one moment that the EU can be reformed. Even the former Greek finance minister Yanis Varoufakis (founding member of DiEM25) thinks that is a long shot.

So vote leave?

I’ve lived under neoliberal and pro-austerity governments for most of my life. As a teenager in the 80s I witnessed first-hand how Thatcher destroyed communities, jobs and civic society. Blair and Cameron gleefully picked up where Thatcher left off. Voting to leave the EU will not end neoliberalism in the UK.

“My identity is European. City-wise, I’m a Londoner. Nationally, I’m German. But, really, I see myself as a product of European reconciliation and cultural exchange.” – Wolfgang Tillmans.

The Turner prize winning artist Wolfgang Tillmans pretty much sums up the experience of many of my friends and colleagues. The right to work and study in other EU countries without visa restrictions and the right for our friends to live, work and study here is important. To give this up for the hope that a radical left social democratic government in the future may take on neoliberalism is a big ask.

I will be voting to remain in the EU with no illusions in the political class of the UK or Europe.

Catch me working in Berlin in July.