by Callum Brooks @callumebrooks
Once again a referendum on Europe is held in an attempt to ease party infighting
1973 is a key date that should stick in one’s mind, well, if you were alive then. Regardless, it was the year that the United Kingdom joined the European Economic Community. At the time and before, there were many notable people telling the UK public and government not to join the European Union. Winston Churchill, for example, was in favour of a “United States of Europe” with a “Council of Europe” but did not want the UK joining back in 1951.
“We have our own dream and our own task. We are with Europe, but not of it. We are linked but not combined. We are interested and associated but not absorbed.” – W. Churchill
Winston Churchill’s post war espousals regarding Europe continue to epitomise Conservative interest yet indifference to full immersion into European Political Union.
Over 40 years later the UK public have been charged with an important decision that will effect their beloved country, arguably forever. Unfortunately, the majority of the general public have expressed a mass uncertainty of what the “right” choice is. In fact, the last time we saw an ill informed public of this scale was back in 2011 when the Alternative Vote Referendum was cast. The public didn’t know what to choose and the 42.2% of eligible voters chose to maintain the status quo. I’m quite sure that many of you reading this will have researched extensively online what the pro’s and con’s of voting to leave are and so I will not insult your intelligence and rattle off lists of statistics and predictions. However, I will offer an unbiased opinion, in plain English, on the things that you should consider before June 23rd.
What should I consider?
The EU is classed as a single market which means that we can import and export to countries within the EU without paying any additional cost on top of the trade deals. If we were to leave then there would be a degree of uncertainty on what sort of trade agreements we would establish and whether they would be better of worse than we are now. It is easy for one to exclaim that we could follow suite as Canada and Norway and have fantastic “toll-free” trade but without leaving there is no way to predict what the outcome will be. Lacklustre trade deals would have a significant impact on businesses all over the UK. However, if were to establish even better trade deals outside the EU the businesses would flourish over the country.
“That’s all very well” you say, “but what about the effects the EU have on day to day life?” Well there are two points that can be brought up here, immigration and financial cost. It costs the UK around £350 million a week to be apart of the EU, which I have been told is around the cost of a brand new hospital. We are arguably paying to lose a proportion of our sovereignty as we do not have complete control over everything in our country. Immigration seems to be the main topic that everyone fights over and is a key point. If we were to leave the EU then, yes, it would be more difficult for us British to travel overseas into other European countries, one would most likely have to get a visa. On the flip-side we would be able to increase border restrictions and could potentially implement a restriction where only individuals who can actively contribute to society, for instance those that possess a working skill (a doctor or a teacher for example). This would put us more in-line with the US’s immigration policy, where you can get working visa’s to allow one to stay in country as long as he or she is working.
The outcome of the referendum remains up in the air, and Brexit a possibility.
I’m still confused and this article didn’t help. What do you think?
Well unfortunately a key part of this referendum is that nobody really has any idea of solid factual outcomes of Britain leaving. In my opinion, I believe that no matter what, the UK will remain a member of the European Union and nothing will change on June 23rd. As I previously stated, nobody has a clue what will happen as a result of a Brexit and therefore the voting public will choose to maintain the status quo. The majority of all pre-referendum polls have shown that the public will vote to stay. Do I like this outcome? Not particularly, I just hope that the turnout is high enough so that the result is truly democratic and representative.
If you wish to contribute a similar piece covering contemporary economic and political events or left wing politics in general. Please contact James Clark at: @jclarkpolecon firstname.lastname@example.org