I would like to protest at the referendum. I didn’t want one. People who are on the Leave Campaign didn’t want one until UKIP started shouting about it. This referendum isn’t because it’s best for the country, it’s because Cameron can’t control his party and the Tories have been divided over this issue since joining the EEC back in 1973 and with UKIP becoming the 3rd largest party (because old people turnout to vote and old people like UKIP), Cameron is now scared and has to shut up his part by getting us to do his work. I’m going to hold my hands up high and state which camp I’m on, Remain. For me, it’s a no-brainer. My grandparents were civil servants for the EU, I have been indoctrinated from a young age the benefits of the EU and studying EU politics since September for my A level has only furthered my believe that the EU is better for Britain and all other countries in the Union.
So here are facts, based on what I’ve learned; actual facts rather than the BS both campaigns are spouting; comparing the EU to our own, British-better-than-Brussels democracy. Links to sources will be in the hyperlinks.
1. The EU is (un)democratic
The European Parliament
Well, so is the House of Commons. Turnout for European Parliament elections are low across the EU. In the UK, EP turnout has never been above 40%, a trend felt across the EU as total turnout was only 42% in 2014. Is this really representative of or views? No, it isn’t. But let’s look at our very own House of Commons. The 2015 election had a ‘good’ (as it was the highest since 1997, which was 71%) turnout of 66%. The Conservatives gained 50% of the seats with only 36% of the vote. Labour received 36% of seats and with 30% of the vote. This is what happens with First-Past-The-Post. At least with the EP it is a Part List system, a form of Proportional Representation and so despite low turnout, it represents our views much better than HofC.
Do any of you actually know what this is or does? The Leave Campaign use this to highlight the ‘democratic deficit’ within the EU. They don’t pass legislation. As an MEP explained in Paxman in Brussels , the Commission is like the civil service (only with a civil service to help them). They propose legislation and if passed by the elected EP, they then implement it across the EU. This is of course if the Council of Ministers (our elected heads of governments) don’t veto these in their discussions of major policies. And yes, this is bureaucratic and a hassle but it’s democratic. As well as it being more democratic as it has more checks-and-balances than our own Parliament, the EU employs far fewer civil servants than the UK. For instance, Birmingham Council has more staff and civil (representing Birmingham) servants than the EU (representing all of Europe).
If you want the EU to be more democratic – turnout to vote in the EP elections so that your political views are represented, rather than the eurosceptics’ views. Whilst Nigel Farage makes big speeches which catch our attention saying ‘Who are you?’, actually, in their effort to destroy the EU, they refuse to actually participate in the debate of policies which will be implemented if our representatives don’t stand up and block it and actually do their job of representing our views and deciding if a policy is in the best interest of our country.
2. We give (too much) money to the EU
The Leave campaign say this money would be better spent on the NHS but we all know that if we had this extra money, it would just go to tax cuts for the rich and none would be invested into the country. We’d lose our regional development, in places such as South Yorkshire (ironically where people want to vote leave) and we’d lose investment into our farms which the CAP provides.
I would like to point out some flaws about the CAP. It accounts for around 1/3rd of EU spending but farming is only 5% of total GDP. It does create a lot of wasted product and many argue that getting rid of it would actually increase productivity in the EU. However, it brings about benefits. It provides support for farmers, ensures animal welfare and food safety. It is one of the few areas with tariffs, preventing big American companies to infiltrate and destroy small hard working farmers’ businesses. Also, the UK doesn’t provide any form of subsidy to it’s farmers meaning that if we left, our farmers would be out competed by these big American companies which have (in my opinion) dodgy stuff such as GM crops and not as good animal safety. Likewise, they would get out competed by countries which do provide subsidies, the rest of the EU.
3. We can control our borders again!
No. Just, no.
The Leave Campaign are pretty dubious about what will happen if we leave the EU. What will most likely happen is that we’ll join the EEA, Like Norway and Switzerland. We’ll have to comply with all the same regulations, open borders and pay the same amount of money like Norway does. We won’t have the ‘special’ relationship Switzerland enjoys. Why? Because we’ll have just left the EU, causing lots of paperwork, pissing off the Commission and every other department of the EU so they’ll want to give us a terrible deal. That’s not scaremongering, that’s just common sense.
Say a friend chose to leave your (hypothetical) tennis club because they had to turn up to too many matches. Once they left, the cheeky so-and-so, said, “Actually, can I still use the gym that comes with the membership to the tennis club – ooh and the free parking which is across the road to the shopping centre?” would you let them? No, because they left the club, giving you uneven numbers and messing up something which you’ve slowly grown and has become a significant club, with a waiting list of new members, competing nationally and succeeding (it’s a small example but it shows the EU can be strong against big countries like China).
So those open borders Leave want to close, will remain open. That’s a fact, if we join the EEA, which we most likely will. Britain won’t have the political force to stop big developing countries from crippling the economy. Wake up Britain, we don’t have an empire anymore and when we did, we peed off a lot of countries, they now all hate us and are probably looking for a chance us screw us over.
4. British people can have British jobs again and benefits won’t be wasted on EU migrants!
I see the complaint here. Except, there is no basis for this. EU migrants don’t ‘steal’ ‘our’ jobs. They simply take the ones we don’t want and won’t do. There are EU migrants who work in menial, low paid, ‘below-me’ jobs for more than they would get for their qualified, respectable job in their home country.Think about that. Think about the people xenophobes are demonising and targeting when they wouldn’t dare go strawberry picking: even if, like these migrants, it was the best and only job they could get: far away from home, for 6 months a year, to support their families. It really upsets me that people could be so naive to what these people, these hard working migrants, are doing for their families and how beneficial they are to our economy.
And if they’re not stealing your jobs, they’re stealing our benefits. Again, no. There is some debate over how many receive benefits, but it is certain that EU migrants only make up 2.5% of welfare claimants. EU migrants are actually more likely to work than Brits. So, Brits, we’re the majority of shareholders in benefits.
(first 5 minutes)
5. Too many reasons to mention
There are many reasons why we should vote Remain on the 23rd June. These are the main arguments coming up again and again. I’ll probably write a follow up post to this going into the small reasons why we should #VoteRemain.