As we enter what will be a defining week in our country's history, meals chez nous will be inspired by the dishes of some of our fellow EU member states. We will gorge ourselves on stinky French cheeses, nibble on tapas, and get drunk on Port and shots of Wyborowa Polish Vodka, for if we go down we will go down with full bellies and sore heads. As much as I love a pasty and Yorkshire Pud, this week we will be eating the EU.
I have heard so many arguments from those in favour of Brexit, lamenting the loss of British sovereignty and fear-mongering about immigration, but when middle-Englanders get hot under the collar about these issues it often seems to be the principle of 'meddling Brussels' and uncapped immigration that gets them in a tizz, rather than the actual negative effect it has had on their own lives. I'm sure there may be some valid cases, but ask most for specifics and they struggle to identify how immigration has made their lives worse.
It is important then, as a europhile, to be able to identify how being part of the EU has had a positive effect on my own life. As a former migrant worker myself, being part of the EU has made me the person I am today, probably influenced who I married, and played a role in the educational development of my child, and it is for this reason I am starting my cooking with Hungarian Goulash, the famous dish of slow-cooked beef with heaps of paprika.
When my wife went back to work after maternity leave, we hired a nanny to look after our daughter. Monika was a Hungarian 'migrant worker' and the first person entrusted with the care of our child. She looked after Honor well, and after some time in her care, we thought it a natural progression for Honor to move to a nursery where she could interact with other children and so we registered her with our local nursery in South East London. We took her for a trial day to see how she would get on, but we were so disappointed by the level of care there that we took her out pretty swiftly. Other local nurseries were full and so we were stuck for what to do for childcare. Monika told us that she knew the owner of one of the local nurseries who was also Hungarian and she managed to get us a place.
The Hungarian-run nursery was a wonderful place full of happy children. In contrast with the British-run nursery we originally tried, the level of care was outstanding, with engaging nursery staff and clear organisation. Honor formed a very close bond with a Nigerian worker called Tunde who looked after her everyday, and the knowledge that she was being well looked after allowed us to go to work each day without any worries or stress.
Without EU migration, the nursery may not even have existed. It gave us a choice when we needed it most. Those who complain about EU migrants stealing British jobs are using the wrong terms. Migrants are competing for jobs not stealing them, but if competition also has the benefit of creating choice and raising standards then how is this a bad thing for Britain?