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EU Polaroids

What do EU make of the referendum?

We took to the streets of London to find out how four young people will be voting in tomorrow’s referendum

It’s the day before the EU referendum, and people all around the UK seem to be losing their minds – understandably so. We have been subjected to the likes of Nigel Farage floating down the Thames on a barge. Boris Johnson, rather like our very own Trump, proclaiming we have the opportunity to create ‘Britain’s Independence Day’ tomorrow. And RyanAir has taken to the referendum like a marketing strategy. To cut through the craziness, we decided to take to the streets to see what a small percentage of voters in London were saying – the ones who will feel the effects of the decision most.

While people have been pretty vocal online, whether mocking up their own statuses or sharing a wide range of articles, people IRL were less so. While happy to have their photograph taken, they were less keen to share their views. Given that those for Brexit have been branded racist, people feel that their qualms about the European Union have been tarnished. Others said they didn’t feel comfortable explaining their vote because they felt they didn’t totally understand what was going on anymore, something that’s been an issue since referendum coverage started to gain momentum. Despite this, armed with Impossible’s latest Polaroid camera, the i-1, we managed to find a handful of young people who were eager to have their portrait taken and explain their views and thoughts on the EU referendum.

GEE LINFORD GRAYSON, RECENT GRADUATE IN POLITICS

“I’m going to be voting to remain because I want to live in a country which is open-minded, cooperative, and aware of its own flaws and weaknesses. The flag-waving, blindly patriotic rhetoric of the Leave campaign has never appealed to me. Perhaps once we were a great nation capable of standing alone, but we were standing on the shoulders of millions of people who lived as subjects of the British Empire. I’m pleased we’re not that country any more, but it also means we have to recognise that we aren’t as important on a global level, and our best bet of securing national interest is to be part of something bigger – the EU. On a personal level, I want to be able to travel and live freely in other European countries, and I want European citizens to do the same. I want to be able to start my own business and have access to a market of 750 million people, not 65 million. I don’t want to be stuck on this rainy island with a bunch of close-minded, navel-gazing, fear-mongering Brexiters. If Britain leaves the EU then I’ll most likely leave too.”

MEGAN CARNEGIE BROWN, JOURNALIST

“I’m voting to stay in because without the UK’s membership to the EU, I would not have been able to spend an Erasmus year living in Paris, which in turn set me on to my career path as a journalist. I hold out hope that one day I can return to live and work in France. Yet a vote to leave would reduce Britain to what it really is; without the support and influence of the EU, we are just a small island that is too big for its boots.”

CHARLIE BRINKHURST CUFF, JOURNALIST

“Luckily my parents are both voting to stay in, but I have a few friends whose parents are first-generation ‘Commonwealth’ immigrants and have decided to vote leave. While they are perfectly entitled to their decision, I have been urging ethnic minorities to vote remain, as in my eyes the outright racism and xenophobia of the Brexit-eers taints any genuine arguments to be had around the issue.”

MARI SHIBATA, JOURNALIST

“As someone who has grown up both in mainland Europe and in the British Islands for most of my life, I am frustrated that Commonwealth citizens have the right to vote in this referendum. Although I was born in Tokyo, I spent five years of my childhood in Germany, and it’s now my 20th year living in London. Despite having benefitted from both from the European Union and British political system – probably more so than the newly arrived Commonwealth citizens – the rhetoric on immigration from the leave campaign has made me feel isolated from the country I grew up in.

“It’s especially frustrating as David Cameron has repeatedly quoted chief executives of big Japanese companies to defend his economic argument to remain in the EU, without giving those like me a say on the ballot. With just 24 hours to go until the vote, the prime minister visited a Honda plant in Swindon this morning, campaigning by scaffolded buildings set to be housing for those working at the Japanese car manufacturer.

“With the polls leaning towards the country voting leave, I am very worried about the divisions that this referendum has caused and how it would impact me and my fellow immigrant friends in the years to come. We are already having to negotiate our identities with our families back in our countries; they worked hard to give us an education so that we could assimilate and contribute to British society. We’ve paid taxes to use the NHS, and many immigrant parents have paid international fees to ensure their children could have a chance at life. The last thing we need is to feel that the only place we could live in is London, where house prices are rising and the prospect of owning a home is becoming a distant reality.”

The i-1 camera and Polaroid film were sponsored and provided by Impossible Project, find out more here