Although some of the out campaigners have made some valid points about the European Union’s faults, there is certainly an underlying xenophobic and heavily anti-immigrant anger sweeping British society. Supporters of ‘leave’ or ‘Brexiteers’ as they have so irritatingly become named, use phrases such as ‘taking back sovereignty’ and ‘Britain is unique’ and ‘we gave [Europe] Magna Carta’ to sell their argument.
Here’s why the OUT argument just doesn’t work.
Once David Cameron had declared the 23rd June as our referendum day, we became swamped with meaningless statistics. ‘5 out of 6 Britons think…’, ‘we save blah blah blah millions every year’ and so on.
How unbearably dull.
The case for Britain to leave the EU rests on three pillars. The first is sovereignty. Who makes the laws and why should Britain follow them? The second issue is control over immigration. How low should immigration into the UK be and how best can Britain control that number? Finally, there is that all important question of history. If we leave the EU, will 2016 be remembered as the year Britain was set free from the constraints of Brussels or is it the time that our country rejected its duty to unite the continent after centuries of war?
On 23rd June, the choice is yours.
Anti-Europeans make some rather crass statements that Brussel’s based ‘Eurocrats’ are ‘taking our money’ and reinvesting it in the UK, all under the name of what they call the ‘European Project’. What narrow thinking. The world of ‘them’ and ‘us’ does not exist anymore. How arrogant to think that the rest of Europe should be subservient to Britain’s needs, willing to obey and grovel for our sacred blessing. How can somebody have such a gross misunderstanding of the world around us and the real challenges Britain faces today?
Sadly, this referendum is not about the economy or society or improving the quality of life for millions of Europeans. Instead, it’s become an extension of Conservative infighting that has been going on behind closed doors for years. Our television screens have presented a depressing succession of white, middle-aged, wealthy, privately educated London-based men spouting insults at one another, fighting for power in Downing Street.
But on 23rd June, your ballot paper is not asking you to vote for either David Cameron or Boris Johnson or Conservative or Labour. Nor is this an effective Conservative leadership election. In voting leave, don’t think you’re voting AGAINST Cameron. If you do that then you lose. It’s simple.
Alongside the usual anti-immigrant message, leaders of the leave campaign have highlighted some of the ridiculous aspects of life as a member of the EU. These aspects include salaries of advisors, the number of commissioners which are appointed and the amount of money spent on limousines, taxis and benefits for MEPs themselves. Here, the leave campaign does have a point. The European Union has a long way to go before it becomes truly democratic. Do we really need so many advisors and commissioners? How about trimming down the number of lobby groups that can invade parliamentary buildings? Why not alter the way in which the EU budget is agreed? This would be a good start.
Since revealing his position as a leave supporter, Boris Johnson has paraded up and down the country in a red bus, preaching his sudden love of democracy. Alongside Justice Secretary Michael Gove, Boris has called for the transfer of power back from Brussels to Britain.
But who would we be transferring this power to?
In many ways, the European Union is more democratic than Britain. Yes, that’s right. Brussels is often more representative of Britain than Westminster. Why? Well when Boris Johnson talks about taking back power, a lot of this power currently rests in the hands of the European Parliament and its directly elected representatives called MEPs. One would expect that Boris would seize this power and push in into the hands of Westminster and the House of Lords, a larger body of politicians that comprises of entirely unelected peers who are even less representative of the general public.
But having power isn’t everything. What really matters is how influential Britain’s power is and how the UK can use its power to benefit everyone else in the world. Leaving Europe would only diminish our scope of influence. In that sense, voting OUT is counterproductive.
But then of course, Boris would say that Britain is bossed about by all the other twenty-seven members of the EU. Does Boris know that Britain has the third highest number of MEPs in the European Parliament? Is he aware that because Britain chose to reject the single currency, much of European financial law does not apply to Britain and other European nation states that lie within the common market but outside the Eurozone?
I’m sure Boris would grow red faced and delve into deep thought, urging himself to come up with a valiant reason to reject Europe. ‘Ahh ha’, he would cry. If you’re under fifty-five years old, you’ve never had a vote on Europe. This is seems, is one of the reasons why we had a referendum in the first place.
But when did we ever have a referendum on joining NATO or the World Trade Organisation or the UN? And for Bojo to suggest that this vote is a ‘choice of a generation’ for our children and grandchildren is just utterly bizarre. The Conservative Party deliberately blocked sixteen and seventeen year olds from having a vote on their future. Johnson did not vote against the government on this issue. But that was back when he didn’t care about genuine public opinion. Of course now he is willing to puff his chest out and tell you how much he likes the electorate. He wants to tell you he’s a REAL man of the people.
Remember peace in Ireland
One often forgotten aspect of having to leave the European Union is the rebuilding of a border between Northern Ireland and the Republic.
At present, both countries remain members of the EU. As well as being a key financial aid to the two states, the European Union has served as a good negotiator in forming peace between the two countries since the signing of the Good Friday Agreement in 1998. In fact, the cornerstone of the agreement is the European Convention on Human Rights, which came into effect the same year at Good Friday was signed.
If we leave the European Union, the Schengen Area would no longer extend into both countries, forcing both governments to enforce border controls for the first time since the end of the civil war. In other words, all that was gained in 1998 is lost as the two state could become physically divided once again.
‘Divorce is the only way to end a messy relationship’…
If in June Britain votes to leave, a negotiation process would kick into action. The process would aim to outline terms of separation. UKIP leader Nigel Farage has previously described these potential negotiations as a ‘divorce’ between two tired old allies.
What a lovely analogy.
But unlike a normal divorce, nobody (including the lawyers) knows what’s going on and the outcome isn’t guaranteed. Separation could take years and Britain as an instigator of separation is highly unlikely to get a sweet deal from its former spouse.
Voting to leave Europe is not a vote to leave economic uncertainty behind along with threats of terrorism and the ever worsening humanitarian crisis. If Britain became independent, the refugee crisis, financial recession and expansionist threats from Russia will not evaporate before the early morning of 24th. They will become a larger threat than ever.
So if you care about Britain’s economic security over the next few years, vote to remain. If you want a safer continent where intelligence can be shared more freely between member states for our physical security, then vote to remain. If you understand the true value of peace in Europe and respect how far our relationship with the continent has come over the last century, then you must vote to remain.
Whatever happens, the result will be everlasting.
Vote wisely. Vote for a Britain stronger in Europe.