The easy question first: If we weren’t already in the EU, would you vote to join?
We can actually ignore the majority of arguments put forward by the 2 sides in this debate. Democracy is the most precious commodity any country can have, and which many don’t have. A Greek word, but essentially given to the world by the Mother of all Parliaments, with the UK being a long standing proponent and protector of democratic rights for all. The EU, with no accountability or oversight, is not democratic.
The Remainers are trying to scare us into not taking a “leap in the dark”. Alarming us into staying in, where it’s better the devil you know. I prefer to see a positive vision for Great Britain, working and trading with all of the countries of the world, including the EU states, for a brighter, better place for us all to live outside of the EU.
Remain tell us that we can’t say what leaving would look like. Here’s a clue; there are approx. 175 countries in the world not in the EU. Are they all doing so badly? The EU now has slower economic growth than any other continent apart from Antarctica.
And, what does staying in look like? The EU is in a constant state of change as they move towards “ever closer union”. The EEC that we joined in 1973, and that we voted to stick with in 1975, was a completely different beast to the EU of today. It wasn’t just a new name, by any means. Major changes were made by the Treaties of Maastricht (1993) and Lisbon (2007) which the citizens of the UK weren’t allowed to vote on.
The Danish rejected the Maastricht Treaty until they gained some modifications and were asked to vote again. The Irish rejected the Lisbon Treaty the first time, having been the only country allowed a referendum on this game-changing Treaty.
So, voting Remain is not to accept the status quo. Massive changes are proposed for the EU, not least the accession ambitions of Turkey, Serbia, Macedonia and Albania, as well as the ubiquitous “ever closer union”.
What will happen to the NHS if we leave?
Nothing that won’t also happen if we stay, except that having fewer people in the country will reduce the pressures on the NHS. (That the NHS is under such pressure due to under-funding by successive governments isn’t something that will change whatever the result of the Referendum. That’s a different, although very valid, argument. Public Health Expenditure as % of GDP in 2012: France 11.6%, Germany 11.3%, Greece 9.3%, UK 9.3% – https://www.oecd.org/els/health-systems/Health-at-a-Glance-Europe-2014-CHARTSET.pdf)
If we refuse properly to fund the NHS, (and schools, roads, police, housing, etc), then we must reduce the numbers using these services or they will collapse. Chorley A&E closed in April and Wigan A&E will now only accept very serious emergencies. The NHS staff are doing a fantastic job in extremely difficult circumstances but net immigration to the UK of 333,000 a year (2015) isn’t helping.
Which leads us directly to the big elephant in the room – immigration.
I’m not a xenophobic, racist, Little Englander like some of the loonies & fruit cakes in UKIP. I welcome immigrants to the country as I recognise that they bring great benefits. I have been an immigrant to New Zealand in the past, and I worked for many years in France and across Africa, amongst other places. I am an Internationalist. I love Europe, but not the political entity that is the EU.
By allowing mass, uncontrolled immigration of EU citizens, we are losing the ability to attract other, possibly better qualified or needier, folk to move here. An “Australian Style” points based system will allow us to regulate the numbers of people we can cope with, proactively choose which skillsets are required at any time, and allow in more war refugees and less EU chancers.
The migrants and refugees from the war torn countries such as Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan etc tend to be their middle classes. They couldn’t afford to get here without having funds behind them, which suggests they are hard workers. As such they will be well qualified and motivated to take those jobs that we need to fill. Such as doctors and nurses. Or plumbers and barbers if we suddenly have a shortage. We can help them and ourselves at the same time. We can’t do that in this small island if we’re too full.
We have great, historical ties with some of the world’s most successful countries through the Commonwealth and we should be welcoming people with a stake of some sort in this country, before any EU citizen that fancies living here for a bit.
Also under pressure from a combination of under-funding and too many people in the country are schools, housing, roads and policing. All would benefit from a marked reduction in the numbers allowed into the UK.
My son / daughter wants to travel, work and study in the EU. Brexit means they won’t have this chance.
Of course they will. There are many Aussies, Kiwis, Canadians, South Africans and Americans etc happily doing just that, right now. Just as we won’t throw all EU citizens out, so we won’t be dumped out of the EU. We, and they, may have to apply for the correct paperwork, but that’s it.
In seeing whether, or not, we can survive economically outside of the EU look at Australia, Canada, Japan, Malaysia, New Zealand, South Africa, USA, etc to name just a few. None of them as geographically close to the EU markets as we are, yet all trading happily with the EU, all surviving reasonably well, and most better off than we currently are.
The Remainers tell us that we won’t have access to the “single market” unless we pay and accept free movement of EU citizens. That single market restricts the countries that you are allowed to trade freely with. I don’t see any reason why we would wish to be in! We would have to accept EU safety regulations, of course, but it’s a given that we must do that for every market that we trade with anyway.
The Remain camp are scaremongering that we’ll all be poorer, with no evidence to back these claims up at all. The “top economists” rolling out their Doomsday scenarios in the event of Brexit are all part funded by the EU. Most of them also said we should join the Euro. They are backers of big business, banks and tax evaders. We cannot trust them an inch!
But the EU protects us from tariffs and competition from the rest of the world!
Well, not so. Our shops are flooded with cheap Chinese imports which the EU has done nothing about, causing the loss of many jobs throughout the EU. We are in a Single Market “trading block”, (which is what we thought we’d originally signed up for in 1975). But this has become more and more powerful, (not to mention becoming a political Union without our consent being sought, or given).
The way it works, especially with the Common Agricultural and Fishery Policies, is to damage our own farmers and fishermen and to prevent smaller, developing countries from trading with us. It also prevents the UK from setting up its own trade deals with our long term friends throughout the world.
The CAP has kept our prices high, whilst reducing farmer’s profits. This is why supermarkets now sell milk with promises such as “25p goes direct to the farmer”, (when it costs 33p to produce). The CFP has decimated our fishing industry, despite the UK having the most fish of any EU country!
There are EU Directives which control the size and shape of fruits such as plums and peaches that may be sold. In theory this is to ensure the proletariat, sorry citizens, only get good quality food. But, in practice, it keeps prices high as farmers have to throw away so many “inadequate” fruits.
Similarly, the CFP causes havoc with imposed fishing quotas. The quota allows a certain amount of each fish to be landed. So fishing boats catch as much fish as they can, then throw away the “surplus”, dead.
Farmers in the developing world, desperate to scratch a living from generally poorer quality soil, simply cannot export to us. They may wish to sell us allegedly “inferior” produce, at a lower price, but the EU won’t allow this. So we must support them through charity instead.
Back in the 80’s Bob Geldof infamously declared “Just give us your effing money!” as the poor farmers of swathes of Africa saw drought decimate their crops. Now the EU is destroying the same farmers through restrictive and protectionist trade practices that safeguard rich, “Western” farmers at the expense of the poor of the world.
If you donated to Band Aid and are thinking of voting Remain, then you should hang your head in shame.
The EU isn’t a “Free Trade” area, it is a “Customs Union”. This places tariffs on those countries outside of the EU who wish to trade with us, making their goods more expensive. It’s why the likes of Nissan and Toyota have manufacturing plants here, purely to avoid those punitive tariffs. But, it also prevents us from importing goods freely from outside of the EU, (except for strange reasons from China. Which begs the question of whether they actually control the EU?)
We would be better off trading freely with the rest of the world and paying EU tariffs in order to export to them. (Nissan, Toyota, Honda, Vauxhall, JCB etc etc see no reason to leave the UK post Brexit. They have too much to gain from our solid business reputation.)
By trading with the whole world we shall be able to increase our manufacturing base (badly depleted under Thatcherism & New Labour). This will improve our balance of payments and increase the number of jobs available.
But, it isn’t all about economics. We’re all poorer in a democratic sense having a faceless, backroom dealing, Commission (or Commissariat) actually determining which laws they wish to enact.
I dislike almost all of the politicians in the forefront of the Referendum, from both sides. Cameron, Osborne, Blair, Boris, Gove, Farage – all in it for their own careers.
I want fewer politicians in my life which will lead to greater democratic accountability of those who are there. At the moment I can pop in to my local pub and chat with Lindsay Hoyle, my MP. But he’s toothless in the face of an unapproachable bureaucracy that refuse to admit that, in fact, they run the EU
What if I like being in the hands of big business, banks and politicians?
In that case, vote Remain. Global organisations, businesses and banks spend billions lobbying the corrupt EU to ensure things go their way. They would have much less sway over a UK government.
What about worker’s rights? The EU protects them.
Not so. Most worker’s rights come from either the UK government or the World Trade Organisation and, of course, the Trade Unions. Competition for immigrants around the world also has an effect. If we don’t like something the EU does for us, we have no democratic recourse. If we dislike a UK government, we can vote them out.
But I don’t like Farage. I don’t want to live in his UK.
It is the case that UKIP in general, and Farage in particular, have been instrumental in bringing about this referendum. But, they have been side-lined by the Vote Leave campaign who recognise their divisive style is not the best way forwards. Most of the Leave campaigners see UKIP and Farage as strange bedfellows, but needs must.
Once we have left the EU a General Election cannot be far off, especially as the Tory party rips itself in two. That will give us the chance to determine who we want to have running the country. And that government will be in full charge, not simply poodles of an unaccountable EU Politburo.
Additionally, Farage, Boris, Gove, Cameron, Osborne et al are ephemeral. They’ll all be retired within 10 years. Democracy however, is for life.
We are trapped in this loveless, abusive marriage, too scared to leave and desperate to believe our other half’s promises of change. Despite knowing, deep down, that it will never happen. Divorce is very scary, but it will allow us to walk out of the door, head held high, to a better, brighter, more exciting, future of freedom.
© Michael Donkin 2016