Search

EU referendum ‘puts a lot at stake for the people of Islington’

PUBLISHED: 09:31 20 April 2016 | UPDATED: 10:57 20 April 2016

Stronger in campaigners in Islington

Stronger in campaigners in Islington

Archant

The Gazette drops in on some campaigners for Islington’s branch of the Stronger In Europe campaign as they try to convince locals that Britain should vote to stay within the EU in June

Freddie Wilkinson Freddie Wilkinson

Is Britain better off in or out of the European Union? On June 23, Islington’s voters will get the chance to have their say.

The Gazette caught up with the Islington Stronger in Europe campaign as they leafleted in Islington High Street on Saturday.

Its members are trying to convince those who live and work in our borough about of the benefits of staying in the 28-member bloc.

Raj Sivalingam Raj Sivalingam

According to 43-year-old Nick Turton, who leads the local campaign and works in the energy industry, the referendum result could have a huge impact on Islington.

“A lot is at stake for people in Islington,” said Nick, of Rosebery Avenue, “where businesses small and large benefit from access to the single market. Students, tourists and workers benefit from the ability to move freely across the EU and we all benefit from lower prices and stronger protections.”

The campaigners are now planning a “business drive” to drum up local support.

Nick Turton Nick Turton

“We’re going to go and talk to local businesses about our views – focusing on the small businesses rather than the big chains,” 20-year-old undergraduate Freddie Wilkinson, who is in charge of student outreach, told the Gazette.

“Islington receives a lot of footfall from tourists. So if we suddenly have a period of economic instability that reduces the amount of money in people’s pockets – or if we suddenly have temporary restrictions of freedom of movement – then that could have a serious impact.”

He’s most concerned, however, about the impact a “no” vote would have on young people and students.

Anders lorenzen Anders lorenzen

“What got me involved in this campaign was the fact people of my generation are going to be hit hardest by a potential Brexit,” he said. “With good luck, I’ll be living for another 60 years or so – and that’s a hell of a lot longer than a lot of other people who are going to be making this decision,” he said.

“I think I speak for an awful lot of students when I say we do not want to enter a job market that is reeling from the economic shock of Brexit.”

Moreover, he claims, leaving Europe could end grant-funding for university research projects and exclude students from the Erasmus programme, affecting the quality of their university experience.

This in turn would have a negative impact on the British economy, he believes.

For 56-year-old electronic engineer Raj Sivalingam, whose parents emigrated to the UK in the 1970s from Sri Lanka, a big concern is that Brexit would lead to a rise in anti-immigrant sentiment.

“Islington is a hugely multi-ethnic neighbourhood, and everyone I’ve met says how nice the environment is and how much they enjoy living in the area,” he said. “But if we put the shutters up – in terms of our attitude to people who come here and contribute to society – then that’s going to create a negative climate.”

Fellow campaigner Anders Lorenzen, 36, agreed, describing fears over immigration as “scaremongering”.

“The debate has become too focused on immigration, when it should be a lot more diverse,” he said.

Anders, who lives in City Road – one of the most polluted areas of the city – said he was most concerned about the impact of a Brexit vote on climate change.

“Islington has done a lot to tackle air pollution, including encouraging cycling and becoming the first London borough to introduce a 20 mph speed limit. But if the EU didn’t keep lobbying the government to do better, I don’t think we would be able to form strong environmental policies.”

Are the campaigners hopeful Islington will vote to stay? So far so good, according to Nick.

“We had 20 volunteers out around Angel the other week, and the mood on the street was good – definitely more people for ‘Remain’ than Brexit,” he said.

Freddie, who lives in Copenhagen Street, added: “Of course, you do end up having discussions on the pavement with people who are in favour of Brexit, and occasionally it can get quite petty. For example, I’ve had Brexit campaigners accept a leaflet from me just so they can tear it up in front of me.”

One passerby even suggested Raj use his pro-EU leaflet as loo paper.

Whatever the outcome, one thing is for certain: most people have strong views on the issue.

“It’s good that people are engaged,” says Freddie. “The most important message I’m trying to put across to fellow students is to get out there and vote.”

0 comments

Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files
Comments

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other Islington Gazette visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by Islington Gazette staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique Islington Gazette account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

Latest Islington News Stories

Yesterday, 18:47

A prolific moped criminal found himself back in court – for keeping an exotic monkey in his bedroom.

Yesterday, 18:33

A serial burglar has been jailed for breaking into homes and attacking a man with a chair.

Yesterday, 16:45

A “Tinder-style” app designed to connect working professionals with young people has been backed by Jeremy Corbyn.

Yesterday, 16:06

Futuristic phone boxes offering ultrafast internet, charging pods and free calls could be on their way to Islington’s streets.

Yesterday, 15:46

A brave neighbour fought to save the life of a dying man after being woken by his cries for help.

Yesterday, 10:03

A murder investigation has been launched after a man was fatally stabbed on the Dover Court Estate yesterday morning.

Yesterday, 08:55

Firefighters rescued a man from a fire at a chicken shop in Holloway Road yesterday afternoon.

Mon, 18:11

A woman has been arrested on suspicion of attempted murder after a stabbing on the Dover Court Estate left a man fighting for his life.

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Most read

Show Job Lists

Digital Edition

cover

Enjoy the
Islington Gazette
e-edition today

Subscribe

Education and Training

cover

Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now