3 Simple Reasons All True Brits Will Vote Remain

1. OUR ENEMIES WANT BREXIT

Putin

Evil Putin

Do I have to say more? Oh, okay then. Let’s take it from the top. The dictator of the new Soviet Empire is not a very nice man. He’s a man who has invaded and annexed vast swathes of both Georgia and Ukraine, despite Russia being the biggest country in the world to start with. But Russia is obviously not big enough! Not for Putin.

It’s no secret that Putin wants to wrestle back control of the states that “got away from him” when the first Soviet Union fell in the early 90s. He’s already got Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan firmly on board, he’s gone in hard after Ukraine and Georgia (and thousands of people have been raped and killed as a result), and now he’s setting his sights on EU members Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia.

After spitting his dummy out of the pram at the thought of Ukraine joining the EU, Putin is now crying into his teddybear at the thought that Serbia – one of his (very few) allies to the west – might also join.

It’s no surprise then at he is very much in favour of the UK leaving the EU because he knows that as well as ruining the UK economy (thereby allowing even more of his terrifyingly corrupt cronies to buy up half of London), it will cripple the EU and may even result in the EU collapsing altogether, paving the way for him to “retake” his much-desired gems of the Baltic Sea.

Murdoch

Evil Murdoch

Australian-born Rupert “Dirty Digger” Murdoch has always held Britain in contempt. He hates our country, allows his newspapers to print lies about British football fans, allows his journalists to tap the phones of murdered British teenagers, News UK (formally News International) has not paid a penny in corporation tax to the British Chancellor for over 35 years.

Murdoch can’t stand the royal family and after he helps finish off the British economy and the UK as a union, you bet your bottom dollar he’ll hound our dear old Queen into an early grave… much as his gutter rags did to Princess Diana.

The UK pulling out of the EU would be a boon for Murdoch. He would have much more freedom to own even more of the media, to buy MPs with impunity and fulfil his long-standing goal of destroying the BBC – that last great bastion of Britishness which stands in this nasty little foreigner’s way.

Trump

Evil Trump

American-born Nazi-sympathiser, tyrant billionaire. Hates me, hates you, hates everyone. Has managed to annoy more Scottish people with his guns-a-blazin’ method of building golf-courses than Labour managed to do with the Scottish referendum. My granddad didn’t join the Navy and risk his life fighting Hitler to then have his grandchildren vote to give neo-Nazi toads like Trump exactly what he wanted.

Trump wants us to leave the EU because he knows that it’ll be good for business. Not our business of course… his business! With the pound plummeting in value, he’ll be able to buy up more property, build more golf courses and drain money from this Sceptred Isle like the litigious money-sucking vampire he is.

The Neo-Nazis

Evil Neo-Nazis

And then look at these groups… the EDL? Britain First? The BNP? They’re not British. British people are known around the world for being polite, considered, articulate and reasonable. The British Empire, for all its faults, gave the citizens of what is now The Commonwealth a higher authority to take matters – they knew the Brits would play by the rules and not scream and shout and act like a bunch of bleedin’ hooligans. A inbuilt sense of moderation and fair-play some have called it. It’s no surprise then that the European Convention of Human Rights was drafted by a Brit.

When I see horrible bullies like Katie Hopkins and George Galloway foaming at the mouth, yelling at the good people of Britain, all I can think is “that’s not very British.” British people are known around the world for their sense of honour, humility and decency. They don’t pick on people less fortunate than themselves for their own material gain, we’ve historically left that kind of behaviour to the Yanks.

2. BREXIT WILL MAKE US POORER

I confess I don’t know much about economics. However, there are two things that I picked up while studying history and politics at Manchester University: one is that printing money willy-nilly causes hyperinflation and that uncertainty spooks the markets.

I currently live in Panama, where they use US dollars. How much bang (pound) I get for my buck (dollar) has been diminishing all year. Why’s that? Well, because pretty much all the top economists say that Brexit is going to be massively disruptive to the economy… and that spooks the markets, and that causes the pound to drop in value.

Pound-Declining
This is what the UK economy losing billions of pounds looks like. If we vote out of the EU you better get used to it.

And this is before we leave! God knows what the situation will be like after June 23 if we vote out. But I’ll tell you now – it’s not going to involve a vote of confidence from our major trading partners and friends – all of whom do not want us to leave.

And here’s the thing – if we do vote to leave the EU, the EU is still going to be our biggest trading partner. That means we – like Norway – will have to shut up and do as we are told, bring in legislation that we had no hand in crafting and – more importantly – still permit the free flow of labour from the rest of the EEA countries. That’s EU migrants to you and me.

To be part of the EEA, and using Norway as a model, we’d have to pay up to 95% of what we pay now to be a full member of the EU… but the rebate that Margaret Thatcher negotiated for us? Gone. So there’s a good few billion pounds up in smoke each year – for what? To have less of a say? To take in just as many immigrants? The EU isn’t perfect by any means, but we can only hope to change matters from inside.

Being part of the EEA but not the EU? Economic and political suicide.

Come on Britain… we’re smarter than this. Which brings me to…

3. BREXIT IS NOT VERY BRITISH

We’re British. We invented modern democracy, we invented the modern legal system, we gave the world football, cricket, rugby, F1, golf, tennis, snooker, darts, tiddlywinks… don’t even get me started on our literature, inventions and scientific breakthroughs, I’ll be here all day.

The world sets its watches by our time, billions of people speak our language, ships navigate the seas based on lines of longitude set by us Brits with Britain slap bang in the middle. Zero degrees. IN THE MIDDLE OF ALL THINGS.

The UK punches enormously above its weight on the international stage. It’s the spider in the centre of planet Earth’s geopolitical web. The UK is a permanent member of the security council of the UN, the head of The Commonwealth of Nations, a founding member of NATO, the world leader of “soft influence”, the master of whisperers, the UK is the team the world looks to for advice and guidance and support… because we have a reputation for moderation and fairness and we have it all over the world.

Don’t believe me? Why not ask the ADB (nonregional member), AfDB (nonregional member), Arctic Council (observer), Australia Group, BIS, C, CBSS (observer), CD, CDB, CE, CERN, EAPC, EBRD, EIB, EITI (implementing country), ESA, EU, FAO, FATF, G-20, G-5, G-7, G-8, G-10, IADB, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC (national committees), ICRM, IDA, IEA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IGAD (partners), IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, IMSO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, IPU, ISO, ITSO, ITU, ITUC (NGOs), MIGA, MINUSMA, MONUSCO, NATO, NEA, NSG, OAS (observer), OECD, OPCW, OSCE, Pacific Alliance (observer), Paris Club, PCA, PIF (partner), SELEC (observer), UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNFICYP, UNHCR, UNIDO, UNISFA, UNMISS, UNRWA, UNSC (permanent), UPU, WCO, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO or the ZC?

We are members of them ALL. Before the vast majority of international agreement are made, people have to ask… “what does the UK think?”

Our opinion matters. We don’t sit out the fight. We don’t pull up the drawbridge and pretend the rest of the world doesn’t exist. For over 500 years we have striven to make ourselves involved in what’s happening, all over the world, because we know something that these tin-pot dictatorships like North Korea, Zimbabwe and Guinea will never understand – that no man is an island.

The more allies we have, the closer our ties, the more we trade, negotiate and party with our friends: the stronger we are.

Winston Churchill understood this. Churchill’s grandson has gone on record to say that Winston would vote to remain a member of the EU and push to reform it from within, from a position of strength and unity. To do otherwise would be thoroughly “un-British”.

FILE - This is a Aug. 27, 1941 file photo of British Prime Minister Winston Churchill as he gives his famous " V for Victory Salute" . Churchill Britain's famous World War II prime minister died fifty years ago on January 24 1965. (AP Photo, File)
Churchill not only defeated the Nazis, he also won the Nobel Prize for Literature. The Greatest Briton of Them All.

We are Great Britain. We’re not some cowardly backward nation, standing on the world stage with our knees a-tremblin’. We do not shy from our global responsibilities. Nor do we gamble with what’s best for this incredible island we call home.

Be like Churchill. Be strong. Be proud. Be British. Vote remain.

No man is an island,
Entire of itself,
Every man is a piece of the continent,
A part of the main.
If a clod be washed away by the sea,
Europe is the less.
As well as if a promontory were.
As well as if a manor of thy friend’s
Or of thine own were:
Any man’s death diminishes me,
Because I am involved in mankind,
And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls;
It tolls for thee.

John Donne 1572-1631

The Ten Hats of Graham David Hughes – Part 2

Hat 5 – The Daredevil

February 2010 – November 2010 (Lost)

Graham Hughes in Saudi

Libya, Algeria, Afghanistan, Yemen, Eritrea, North Korea… 2010 was the year of backpacking dangerously, and Hat 5 was on my head for almost all of it. From my home in Liverpool it came all the way across Eurasia (via a few leftover African nations) without a hitch. It’s kinda amazing that it got so far – across the hottest deserts and the highest mountain ranges, over pirate-infested waters and down into the dingiest dives SE Asia had to offer. I strode through the “Axis of Evil” and so much more with only Hat 5 to protect me.

Graham Hughes in Eritrea
From the sun, mostly.

It’s a shame then that Hat 5 was lost in such mundane circumstances. I was in Bali taking a motorbike taxi back to my friend Neil’s place just north of Kuta. So Hat 5 wouldn’t blow off my head I put it between me and the driver, but when we arrived the hat was nowhere to be found. We headed back the way we came in case it was laying at the side of the road, but nada. Hat 5 was nowhere to be found. Oh well. At least I have this awesome video in memoriam.

 

Hat 6 – The Swashbuckler

December 2010 – April 2012 (Stolen)

Graham Hughes in Papua New Guinea
Fav pic ever. You can use this one at my funeral.

No time to lose, I headed off to country number 183, East Timor, sans hat. Mandy, being the darling that she is, bought Hat 6 in Melbourne and had it sent to my friend Neil in Bali – I would have to swing back that way to get the Pelni ferry to West Papua anyway. Hat 6 was a good’un. It was with me all around the Pacific Islands, making it to The Solomons, Vanuatu, Fiji, Tuvalu, Kiribati, Samoa, Tonga, New Zealand and even Nauru.

Graham Hughes in Nauru 2
Naaaaaauruuuuuuu!!

In the April of 2012 I had just 6 countries left to visit – Micronesia, Palau, Sri Lanka, Maldives, Seychelles and South Sudan. In a windfall of lucky circumstances involving a very long bus journey and some of the most dangerous snakes and spiders in the world, I managed to get myself on a cargo ship from Brisbane to Taiwan.

Graham Hughes on the Kota Juta
Specifically, THIS cargo ship.

On the way we crossed the equator and I was informed that with all my 0° latitude-crossing shenanigans thus far on the journey (not just in the Pacific and Indian Oceans but several times during the one trip from Gabon to the Atlantic island nation Saõ Tomé and back) I had apparently seriously pissed off King Neptune by monkeying about on the high seas without his “permission”. Anyone who has read Homer’s Odyssey will know why that’s not a smart thing to do. It was time to placate the God of the Sea before he was Poseidon self in anger. See what I did there? Poseidon self?! Like beside himself? Oh never mind.

King Neptune
King Neptune thought my joke was funny. But then he is clutching a bottle of whiskey…!

So we did the traditional crossing-the-equator ceremony. The oldest man on the ship – in this case the boson – dressed up as King Neptune (with the aid of a mop wig, a bedsheet toga and a broomstick-and-tinfoil trident) and I, together with a couple of deck hands, were each given an old oil drum filled with seawater to clamber into.

Graham Hughes and King Neptune
Barrels: impossible to Irish dance in.

Once in the drums, the ceremony began. I was soaked with a deck hose, had eggs thrown at me, was painted half green and half red (with deck paint – Christ that was a bitch to get off) and had my head shaved by the captain (the shortest it has been since 1999).

Graham Hughes Head Shaved
Noooooooo!!!

After that I was forced to drink the foulest alcoholic concoction of all time (vodka, whiskey, rum, seawater, raw egg, tomato juice and Worcestershire sauce… ygads!). It was frikkin’ hilarious.

Graham Hughes Drinking Neptune Cocktail
YUM!!

That evening we sung karaoke. I did my Sid Vicious impression with My Way. I was told by one of the Filipino crew that I shouldn’t sing My Way badly, because “you’ll die”. His words not mine.

King Neptune Karaoke
Note to self: Some Filipinos think karaoke is a matter of life and death… but it’s actually much more important than that.

It wasn’t until I reached Taiwan and looked up “The My Way Killings of The Philippines” that I found out this wasn’t an urban legend… people had been killed in The Philippines in a string of otherwise unrelated murders after singing My Way badly. Seriously! Look it up!!

Graham Hughes Short Hair
No, really!

So now I was in Taiwan and looking to tick Micronesia and Palau off the list. There was a ship leaving in the next couple of days from the southern port town of Kaohsiung. I had permission from the shipping company and the master of the vessel, but at the last minute the ship owners were like “WTF?!” and I had to do the fastest talking of my life in order to persuade them to let me on board. But persuade them I did. I can be very persuasive sometimes – generally speaking once a century, when the moon is in the Eighth House of Aquarius.

The night before the departure I was out in Kaohsiung and I met a group of backpackers who recognised me off the telly. They asked if they could get a photo with me, which of course I was up for (mo’ photons no problems), but while photos were being taken, somebody grabbed Hat 6 off my head and (I assumed) put it on theirs.

Only they didn’t. They just walked out with it and disappeared into the night.

Seriously.

The stream of expletives that issued forth from my gob would make a Geordie docker blush. All this way… 195 countries without flying… and somebody had the gall to steal my bleedin’ ’at.

I would like to point out that whoever it was, he was not Taiwanese. He was almost definitely American. Like seriously, screw that guy. I hope he put my had on his head and it did to him what Khal Drogo did to Viserys Targaryen.

Viserys Targaryen And His Golden Crown
Death’s too good for ’em!

Hat 7 – The Folly

May 2012 – May 2012 (Lost)

Okay. I have a confession to make. Mandy, if you’re reading this, I lost Hat 7. The one you sent to Hong Kong. It’s been my filthy little secret for years, but now, four years on, I must atone for my sins.

You may have noticed that most of my hats last around 18 months, one way or another. Hat 7 lasted less than a week.

So there I was in Taiwan, leaving the next day on a cargo ship and absolutely no way of getting my hands on a new hat before we left. So far the only country in the world I had visited without my hat was East Timor. Now I would have to add not just Micronesia and Palau to that list, but also Okinawa, the Northern Mariana Islands and Guam.

Now as I wrote earlier I need my hat. I don’t just wear it because I like hats (although I do like hats, one of the many reasons I fell in love with Madagascar). Without my hat on my head I get sunburnt to hell. And that’s exactly what happened to me after a day mooching around the island of Yap in Micronesia.

Graham Hughes in Micronesia
Yappity Yap

The next day we arrived in Palau.

Graham Hughes in Palau
Sans hair, sans hat.

As the sun was totally getting the better of me I bought one of them floppy hats that people wear for some reason even though they look utter bobbins.

Graham Hughes in The Philippines
Feeling rather unfaithful in this pic…

One thing was for sure: I desperately needed my trusty old Akruba back. Once again, Mandy went out to Melbourne city centre and purchased me a new one. This would be Hat 7, the hat that would be with me to the end (of the Odyssey Expedition). Or so I thought.

Graham Hughes at Radio Hong Kong

I arrived in Hong Kong on Saturday May 5 2012. After sorting out my passport shenanigans I headed over to meet my CouchSurf host Michael, a stand-up comedian from America. The hat was waiting for me at the post office. We went in together and, happily, my bonce was once again united with my erstwhile head-furniture. Here is some rare footage of Hat 7 on my head:

A couple of days later I was invited to go out with a few of Michael’s mates “after work”. Of course it descended into drunken anarchy as nights like this often do.

Graham Hughes in Hong Kong
Note there is a dog in this picture, and it’s not ours. It was one of those nights….

I awoke in the morning splayed out all over the floor of Michael’s flat (I have no idea how I got back, or got in!). Whenever I awake in such circumstances, groggy and dry-mouthed, there is a set routine along the lines of WHERE ARE MY GLASSES?!?!? Oh they’re here. WHERE’S MY BAG?!!?? Oh it’s there. WHERE’S ME HAT? Oh it’s……..

Bollocks.

 

Hat 8 – The Record Breaker

April 2012 – July 2014 (Gifted)

So then. It was time to get a new hat. More specifically, it was time to get a new hat without Mandy finding out I lost the last one on a drunken rampage through the Special Administrative Region of Hong Kong. So for the first time, I ordered a new hat online (isn’t the twenty-first century just magic?). Now, predicting where I’m going to be and when is not an exact science at the best of times, but no ships out of Hong Kong were happy to take me to Sri Lanka, country 198 of 201 of the Odyssey Expedition.

So I had the hat sent to the DHL depot in Singapore.

Funnily enough, I had travelled from Singapore to Hong Kong ten years earlier. Now it was time to do that journey in reverse, but (horrifyingly enough) without my hat.

So off I jolly well popped, through Guangzhou and Kunming, down through Laos and a night out in Backpacker Ground Zero: Bangkok.

Graham Hughes in Thailand
BOOM!

Then it was a long bus journey down through the rest of Thailand, Malaysia and finally disembarking in ol’ Singapore. While I was battling bus schedules, my new hat was winging its way over from Australia and was waiting to greet me in Lion City. I felt complete again.

Graham Hughes CouchSurfing in Singapore
Like a divorcee reunited with his balls.

Hat 8 was one of the greats. It was with me through the good times and the bad. It travelled with me to Sri Lanka…

Graham Hughes in Sri Lanka 2
Here’s me attempting to fly. But I’m not allowed to fly, remember?

…it gave me something to cry into when Mandy and I decided to call it a day at the end of August 2012 (maybe she found out about Hat 7), it accompanied me on my mad rush to Kerala in India and then across the Indian Ocean to The Maldives and The Seychelles.

Graham Hughes in The Seychelles
Hatty McHatface

Hat 8 saw Obama elected for a second time while I was in Reunion and witnessed my name appearing on the ‘Drink Your Way Around The World’ plaque in the Keg and Marlin pub in Mauritius (one of my greatest achievements).

Graham Hughes in Mauritius
I’m KING OF THE WORLD!!!

Hat 8 kept the sun out of my eyes and me looking cool as I thundered through East Africa for a second time: from Durban in South Africa to Kampala in Uganda.

And then, on that day of days, it joined me as I announced to the world that I had made it to South Sudan and therefore completed The Odyssey Expedition.

Hell. Yeah.

Graham Hughes in South Sudan
BOOM!

It also came with me to the top of the Great Pyramid of Egypt.

Graham Hughes at the Top of the Great Pyramid
No really, BOOM!!!!

And featured heavily on my return to Liverpool.

Graham Hughes in Liverpool
It’s good to be back.

I wore it on the BBC Breakfast couch and to the Telegraph adventure show.

I took it to Russia with me, but it was just too damn cold to wear the thing, so I wore a big warm hat instead.

Graham Hughes in Russia
Ice Cold in Kaliningrad

Hat 8 was the hat I wore for TEDActive, Thinking Digital, TEDxBrixton, TEDxLIverpoolYouth, TEDxBathUniversity, TEDxSheffield…

It was the hat I was wearing when I met Michael Palin.

Graham Hughes Meets Michael Palin
With over 250,000 land and sea miles between us, the Overlander Dream Team.

And when I was invited over to the New York to appear alongside Charlie Rose and Gayle King on CBS This Morning, guess who came with?

Graham Hughes on CBS This Morning
Lookin’ good, G…

In fact, it was the hat I wore all through 2013… including while I was on SOS Island…

Graham Hughes Les Stroud and Contestants of SOS Island

And the eventual winning of SOS Island…

Generated by IJG JPEG Library
Can I use “BOOM” again, or is it going a bit tired now?

And the presentation of my Guinness World Record certificate…

And then I took it to Panama with me and wore it all around the Mayan sites of Central America….

Graham Hughes in Mexico

But, much like Hat 4 (the last great hat) in the hot tropical heat of Panama it eventually got wet, dried and shrank.

When I was home in Liverpool for a week or so back in 2014 I wrote to bushgear.co.uk who kindly supplied me with a brand new Akubra: Hat 9! Thanks bushgear.co.uk! You’re awesome!!

Sadly, Casey (my then-girlfriend) would not be returning with me to Jinja Island. She saw me off from Heathrow airport and as a parting gift I plonked Hat 8 on her head. It fit perfectly. Nawww…

Goodbyes

 

Hat 9 – The Jinjista

July 2014 – January 2016 (Retired)

Unlike its eight predecessors, Hat 9 never got to go on any grand adventures in exotic locales, but then again, I guess Jinja Island is pretty damn exotic.

Jinja Island Jinja Wonder

Jinja Island GangHat 9 did well for the first year, but then in June 2015 I went to the awesomely-named Wizard’s Beach on Bastimentos Island for a party.

On The Way To Wizards Beach
Specifically, this party.

I was standing waist-deep in the water with my hat on and a beer in my hand chatting to a girl when something grabbed me and pulled me out to sea… it was a riptide. I survived but my hat got soaked, and like 4 and 8 before it, it eventually shrank. There’s not much you can do about it. By the end of 2015 wearing it felt like the golden headband that Monkey had to wear which got tighter when he was naughty.

However, I had to wear it for a few audition interviews over Skype – my stupid hat is part of my public persona now. But eventually pulling it down over my XXL-sized head caused the front brim to rip. And that was it, really.

Jinja-Hat-9
No coming back from that.

It now hangs up in the kitchen of Casa Jinja, a little forlorn for it didn’t ever get to live up to the kind of adventures of its illustrious forebears, but thems the breaks kiddo, at least I didn’t lose you at a festival.

Hat 10 – The Big Break…?

January 2016 – Present

Which brings me to this one.

Graham Hughes at Home in Liverpool
Badabing BadaBOOM

Lindsey brought Hat 10 with her when she came to stay on the island at the end of January 2016.

Graham Hughes in Panama City
Lindsey brought the hat; I brought the beer.

I wore Hat 10 when I toured around the Bocas Archipelago looking for frogs with Paul the photographer for Geo magazine in April.

Graham Hughes at Shepherd Island
Yay frogs!

I also wore Hat 10 in Cyprus when I was doing that presenting gig for Aegean Airlines.

Graham Hughes in Cyprus
LOOK AT ME SSSSMOULDER! Yes of course this shot has been added to my Tinder profile 😀

And it’ll be with me for my 13th Glastonbury festival this summer (look out for the Flaggy McFlagface flag).

Graham Hughes at Glastonbury 2013
Glasto… my second home.

I don’t know what the future holds for Hat 10, but I hope it’s the hat I wear to launch my first two books: Man of the World and Food: A Global Odyssey. I hope I get this damn visa for the USA so I can drive around the States on a promotional tour – with Hat 10 as my trusty companion.

Graham Hughes in Cameroon
The girls love it. FACT.

There’s plenty more adventures to be had, and (I’m sure) plenty more hats that’ll come and go through the years, but one thing is for sure: as long as I’m still able, I’ll never hang my trusty Akubra up for good. There’s such a lot of world to see…

And I very much intend on seeing it all. While wearing a hat.
And I very much intend to see it all. Whilst wearing my hat.