The EU Referendum: A Game of Hokey Cokey
By James Griffiths.21 Jun 2016
By now, you’re probably sick and tired of all the anti and pro EU propaganda being thrust upon us by the media. Or, you haven’t got a clue what’s going on. The referendum will affect us all living in Britain and, as the younger generations of society, the result will affect us more and for the rest of our lives, as it not the case with our elders. However, we can’t vote, and the fate of our country rests with our parents, grandparents, teachers, aunties, uncles, and that random bloke from the bus stop… and it’s a pretty big deal, so you might as well get a little clued up.
The Facts and Figures
As it stands, there are seemingly many positives and negatives for both sides, but experts seem to disagree on what will actually happen if we stay or leave. So much is unclear at the current time.
It is said that the current trade within Europe is a vital part of Britain’s economy. Almost half of all British exports in goods and services go to countries within the EU, showing it would be extremely ambitious and dangerous to leave this common market. According to ‘Labour IN for Britain’, British households “would be worse off by around £4,300 a year if we left the EU”, whereas some sources say the average person would lose out on £800 in their wage packet per year.
Another impact would be the decline of Britain’s standing as a world power, evidenced by Obama’s comments on trade with Britain, where he commented that “Britain would be at the back of the queue”. Many believe that being part of the EU enhances Britain’s trade and world influence, and being part of the 28 nation club is much safer than being alone.
Another perk of being within Europe is the free movement between the member states of the EU, which means that British citizens only need a European passport to travel. This freedom of movement also allows employers to get cheap and skilled labour quickly and thus makes the UK’s economy more competitive at home and globally. The UK, according to the BBC “could not realistically pull up the drawbridge when its prosperity relies on creating global wealth-generating networks”.
Not only this, education severely benefits from European funding as millions of pounds for research is funded by the EU. The Erasmus programme, a successful feature and accolade of British education, allows British students to study abroad, and this programme also relies on the EU. The EU also offers many other benefits for Britain from cultural and artistic impacts, to immigration.
Key figures behind the ‘remain campaign’ include David Cameron, George Osborne, Lord Rose and Brendan Barber. The Premier League, Sir Richard Branson, Jaguar Land Rover and BMW have also voiced their support for remaining in the EU. It’s important to remember that the EU referendum is not a partisan affair as the Conservative party, Labour party, SNP and UKIP have many divides of opinion. Those who don’t support the ‘remain campaign’ are known as the “Eurosceptics”.
The “OUT” campaign however, obviously takes the opposite stance on the referendum, but why? The campaign, with slogans such as “Take back control”, “Bring back UK Democracy” and “Great Britain is great alone” aims to encourage the British people to acknowledge the fact that Britain could become a world power without the restrictions of the EU.
According to the leave campaign, Britain is losing £350 million to the EU per week, money that could be invested in the NHS for example. Leaving the EU would allow more spending on public services such as the Healthcare and research and development. Other sources, such as getbritainout.org state “EU membership contributions cost Britain £14.5 billion a year” and that “not one job is at risk from Brexit” (which the IN campaign claim to be untrue).
The OUT campaign also believes that a new UK-EU trade deal will be negotiated upon leave, based on free trade and friendly cooperation. They state that leaving will end the supremacy of EU law, and that Britain will regain control over itself. Seats on the World Trade Organisation will also be regained making Britain more a “more influential force for free trade and international cooperation”.
Those who back the OUT campaign also state that the country will have better control over immigration. One of the main aspects of the EU, as we know, is free movement, and many Britons believe this area has been negatively affecting Britain more than any other country. Last year, a record number of 330,000 immigrants entered the UK, which only strengthened the growing sentiment of anti-immigration. The new immigration system would create a threshold for immigrants to meet. This threshold would have requirements of skill, education, language and age, and those who meet the requirements would be eligible to migrate.
Politicians such as Nigel Farage, Michael Gove, Priti Patel and John Mills are major figureheads, both Labour and Conservative, for the OUT campaign. Farage, with strong anti-EU views, states “It’s a European Union of economic failure, of mass unemployment and of low growth.” But who are we to believe? The views on the EU are so radically opposing it’s hard to know who really is right.
As it stands in the polls:
|Ipsos Mori||43% IN||49% OUT||9% UNDECIDED|
|BBC||45% IN||45% OUT||10% UNDECIDED|
|The FT||44% IN||44% OUT||12% UNDECIDED|
|The Mirror||47% IN||43% OUT||10% UNDECIDED|
The Ideals of Jo Cox
“The MP murdered on the street embodied decency and a commitment to all that humanity has in common.”
MP Jo Cox was recently murdered on the streets of her local constituency. Jo campaigned for her ideals and represented everything she believed in, working for charities such as Oxfam and the Freedom Fund before becoming a Labour MP in 2015. Humanity, peace, respect and fundamental decency are qualities which raised her above and beyond her peers. She strived for multiculturalism and encouraged the acceptance of all beliefs and backgrounds. Jo’s campaigning for the wellbeing of refugees serves as a stark contrast to the dangerous xenophobic rhetoric employed by the leave campaign. She was a mother and a driven politician, believed in the cooperation of politicians and people, and wanted the government to serve its country in its best interests. Not to lie, not to insult others’ ideals, but to strive for the best quality of life for the people, regardless of their ethnicity, religion, nationality and gender. Regardless of the result of the referendum, Britain must mend the divisions and hatred that the campaign has unearthed. Only then will we be able to live by the values that Jo Cox held in such high respect.