The not so great EU Debate

If, like me, you have been frustrated by the lack of clarity from both the leave and remain teams, I thought it time to do my own investigation based around the truth behind the arguments from both sides.  Remember, we’re voting to stay or leave an EU both as it is now, and how it will develop over the next 20 or so years because this is a once in a generation chance to have your say.

Immigration:

Staying in the EU:  We will keep the ability to go and live and work freely in all the EU countries.  The flipside is that everyone in EU is also allowed the right to live and work in any other EU country, including ours.  Ours is quite a draw for immigrants from the poorer EU countries because our minimum wage is one of the highest and our healthcare is free and of a good standard.

Leaving the EU: We will have the chance to control our immigration like we do for non-EU nationals.  Some businesses like Indian restaurants have said that our tight controls are limiting the number of chefs available.  With a points based system we could choose who we want to enter the country.

The Jungle: I’ve heard it said that The Jungle in Calais would close if we voted to leave. The agreement that keeps the Jungle in France is a bilateral agreement between the UK & France, not an EU thing.

Contributions:

Staying in the EU: It costs the UK a net £8.5billion per annum to be a member.  This figure is from fullfact.org.  That’s the latest figure.  The better the UK performs & the more VAT revenue the taxman collects, the more we will have to pay.

Leaving the EU: It’s been said that this would go to the NHS. We don’t know this for sure, we just know it wouldn’t be given to another EU country.  It may be that we are asked to make some contribution to trade with the EU, we just don’t know until we leave. We could always refuse.

Security:

Staying in the EU: Well, it’s true to say there hasn’t been a war between member states  since we joined in the 1970s.

Leaving the EU: We punch well above our weight on the World stage and have a seat on NATO which we are very unlikely to lose.  We were a founding member and even Iceland has one.

Trade:

Staying in the EU: We have free movement of goods, without tariffs across the EU.

Leaving the EU: We may still have free movement of goods without tariffs across the EU, it will depend on what we negotiate. We buy much more from the EU, than they buy from us so the Spanish strawberry farmers and the likes of BMW & Mercedes will still want to sell to us.  This puts us in a very strong position. We trade successfully with lots of countries outside the EU and they want to trade with us.

Economy:

Stay or leave, who knows. Economists don’t have a great track record in predicting huge crashes or massive booms.

Sovereignty:

I’ve lost track of the various percentages of laws that are made by the EU rather than us.  The fullfact website does a good job of the detail on this and many other questions.

Endorsements: Letters signed by business leaders, world leaders or cheerleaders recommending us to stay or leave should be discarded.  Their vote is worth just the same as yours.  As for politicians, always remember that a step up to a job in the EU is pretty much getting into First Class on the gravy train. Unelected commissioners like Neil Kinnock are earning far more than the Prime Minister.

It is your vote and it counts. Please make sure you use it.

5 thoughts on “The not so great EU Debate

  • June 4, 2016 at 9:42 am
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    The biggie for me is the Environment….. And this knows no borders. This is an issue that goes way beyond Europe and can only be truly tackled on a international level. Being part of the EU allows us to influence and have a say in a direct sense so may more folk. We have so many British students and graduates all over the world leading the way and their influence will be better felt inside an international forum. It’s all about a voice that’s heard. Raging from the sidelines is not the way to solve issues. Engagement and inclusivity. BREXIT, to me, is a backwards step.

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    • June 4, 2016 at 2:50 pm
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      I think you’re mistaken if you think we actually have any serious influence within the eu even when we’re in it. If you want to influence on an international level, then we need to leave. The eu will talk internationally for us to suit their needs, which are usually the needs of big business. Beyond the relms of the eu (international) we are only a tiny voice within the eu. Leave, and we can talk internationally ourselves.

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    • June 5, 2016 at 10:04 pm
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      You say that it needs to be tackled at an international level and we have students and graduates all over the world but then you say we should stay in the EU which means sidelining the rest of the world. There’s nothing the EU does that we can’t do for ourselves.

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  • June 4, 2016 at 10:48 am
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    For me both Campaigns have very lacklustre. Leave haven’t outline specifically how things would work outside of the EU. They reject both the Swiss and Norwegian models insisting a British model would be the way forward without saying what that would be.

    The remain side are failing to inspire people to say “Yeah! There are great things about freedom of movement, immigrants are contributing to the economy and the environmental protection it is promoting is so good.”

    I hope we remain and finally engage actively in the EU. I’m not saying we should adopt the Euro as our currency or become part of an EU superstate but we need to use our influence for the greater good.

    The EU is and will remain our most important market whatever we vote. Surely it would be better to take the lead in making that market as strong as possible. For the greater good!

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    • June 5, 2016 at 10:22 pm
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      We have next to no influence in the EU. We have 9% of the seats and on every occasion the British government has tried to block EU legislation they’ve failed. The EU is done *to* us, not with us.

      We have an opt-out from the €uro – something we’ve always had despite David Cameron trying to claim it as a “victory” in what he laughably refers to as his renegotiation of our membership. However, the EU is committed to ever closer fiscal union and only this week plans for an EU-wide taxation system and personal and corporate asset register that were being saved for after the referendum were leaked to the press. Our opt-out means that the EU can’t pass a law requiring us to join the €uro, it doesn’t mean that they can’t change the way the EU works to make it so difficult to be in the EU and not the €uro that we have no choice but to join.

      The EU isn’t our most important market. Over 80% of UK trade is domestic trade, about 8.5% is exports to the EU and about 9% to the rest of the world. The amount we sell to the EU is decreasing as a share of our export market and will continue to decrease as the EU’s share of the global economy continues to decrease. The 80%+ of our trade that never leaves these shores is all subject to EU laws and regulations, much of which is irrelevant and the 9% of exports that we send to the rest of the world is also subject to those EU laws and regulations as well as the laws and regulations of the country they’re going to. If you make something in the UK to export to the US you have to comply with British standards, EU standards and American standards. Every registration costs money and generates extra work.

      Reply

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