It’s hard to ignore coverage of the EU Referendum, especially with only a few days to go. Moreover, in 2016 it seems as if prominent figures outside politics are more eager than ever to become politically relevant. Eddie Izzard is no exception and after backing Labour in the 2015 General Election, he’ll be taking his Stand Up For Europe tour to the Attenborough Centre at the University of Sussex.
The 350-seater auditorium will host the legendary comedian on Wednesday afternoon as he attempts to persuade the people of Brighton to vote ‘Remain’ in the referendum. After relaying his points for half an hour, the audience will then have a chance to ask Izzard questions on what will be the eve of the referendum.
And with more people than ever listening to and abiding by politically relevant figures from outside the world of Westminster, Izzard’s visit on the final day before the vote is sure to stir passions and help make up the minds of the wavering.
So with that in mind, is it perhaps time to take a look at how this referendum impacts upon Brighton specifically? With such vigorous and thorough nationwide coverage, it’s possible that the voices of individual cities and regions could be lost, including that of Brighton.
Indeed, the Liberal Democrats in favour of remaining claimed earlier in the year that a vote to leave would mean that Brighton and Hove’s thriving tourist industry, thought to be worth over £750m per year, would be at risk, as well as the 19,000 jobs it provides. Local campaigners for the so-called ‘Brexit’ such as Councillor Tom Bewick, claimed that the opposite was true, stating that more visitors than ever would be attracted to England’s premier seaside city.
Former Sussex cricketer Toby Pierce described Brighton’s link with Europe as “inextricable”, while Brighton and Hove’s Liberal Democrats chairman Michael Wilbur referred to the newly implemented British Airways i360 as a reason why attracting tourists was more important than ever.
Aside from the obvious tourism aspect, Caroline Lucas, the Green MP for Brighton Pavilion, argued that it was only down to the EU regulation that the air over Brighton remains clear, as there is significant pollution which often gets blown over from France. She goes on to say that this also affects the natural habitats all over Sussex, furthering her point that “no single government” can fix the environment on their own.
So there’s food for thought for the people of Brighton — what exactly leaving the EU would mean for Brighton is anybody’s guess but there’s a huge amount to mull over in the coming days.
UPDATE: Eddie Izzard will now be speaking on Tuesday 21st June instead of Wednesday 22nd June.