Posts Tagged ‘gym’

Stronger In or Vote Leave: The view from the gym

01/04/2016, 10:14:47 PM

In the fourth in a series looking at the views of people from outside of the political bubble, on the EU referendum, Lucy Ashton gets the perspective from the local gym.

Peter is chatting while strolling on a treadmill, working out at the sprightly age of 82 at a special gym session for people with medical conditions.

The gym members, who are mostly over the age of 60, are debating the EU referendum between bursts on the rowing machine and cross trainer.

“I want to come out of the EU,” says Peter, determinedly. “They are passing laws which we then have to accept without any discussion. The EU even decides how many seabass you can take home after fishing.

“There are too many regulations and I don’t think we should be told what to do.”

Jeff, who is 76, agrees. “Anybody with any sense wants to come out,” he says, while lifting weights on a machine.

“I voted in the last referendum in 1975 on whether we should stay in the Common Market and back then I said yes because it was helping us.

“But that’s now changed, it’s grown into the EU with a huge block of 28 states. It’s all talking with no business getting done. We have finished up with the tail wagging the dog.”

Two women on neighbouring treadmills are also in deep discussion.

“I don’t know what to do, how should I vote?” one asks her friend.

“Out, definitely out,” her friend replies. “I read somewhere that we give £35m every day in subsidies to the EU but we can’t look after our own people and are constantly told we don’t have enough money to pay for services in our own country.”

“But what about my European Health Card when I go on holiday? Won’t that be affected?”

“Have you ever used that card? No. Besides, everyone has travel insurance anyway.”

She starts a comical “out, out, out” chant reminiscent of a union leader rallying the workforce, laughing along with her friend.

There’s a discussion about whether UK farmers would be worse or better off and the general view is they would be better off. One woman puzzles about what benefits she receives from Europe.

This handful of people seem firmly in the exit camp without any canvassing from the politicians. As one man pulling on weights sums up: “There will be a small minority who are swayed but I think people already know in their heart which way to vote.”

Lucy Ashton is a journalist and former Political Editor

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