As you know, I don’t discuss politics here on my blog but I’m going to make an exception for the EU Referendum because, whichever way you look at it, it’s a big deal.
I have agonized about my decision. There are lots of reasons why we should leave and similarly valid reasons why we should stay (there’s a basic guide to the EU and the referendum on the BBC’s website). I’ve taken everything the politicians have said with a pinch of salt: they have their own agenda and self-serving interests, none of which have anything to do with your average Joe in the street. They lie mercilessly. In fact, the propaganda surrounding the referendum has sickened me. I’ve always liked Barack Obama but when he waded in with veiled threats about not doing trade with the UK if we leave Europe I went right off him. How would he feel if Europe told him we wouldn’t trade with America unless they unrestrainedly opened their borders to Mexico and accepted the hundreds of thousands of immigrants that would flood in? Citizens they didn’t need or could afford in a time of huge austerity? He’d tell us to bugger off and that America’s immigration policy was none of our damned business, and that’s exactly what I wanted to tell him to do.
It’s been almost impossible to find non-biased information and even my friends are very firmly in one camp or the other, constantly on Facebook spouting the latest propaganda and their reasons for staying or leaving. Many of which may be valid, but are often based on information fed from the camp they are in allegiance with.
Here would be my reasons for leaving:
- Britain entered the EU, formerly the Common Market, in 1975 with the sole purpose of helping trade between member countries, which then stood at 8. The reasoning behind the formation of the Common Market is that you are less likely to go to war with countries with which you trade.
The EU now contains 27 countries (soon to be 28 with the addition of Turkey) and the European Parliament makes laws on everything from human rights to the environment, monetary policy to safety at work. Britain, as a nation, did not agree to this. We agreed to a committee of 8 neighbouring countries making combined decisions on trade, nothing else.
- The UK, like all the other EU nations, elect MEPs (Members of the European Parliament), to vote at the European Parliament in Brussels. However, the job of an MEP is to represent the interests of Europe not its own nation or people. So, although they are elected by the British people they do not represent the British people in Parliament, instead deciding on laws which benefit Europe as a whole.
- Because we belong to the EU we have to accept workers from the other 27 EU countries. We have no control over these workers. They don’t need to be skilled or even speak English. We are a tiny island. Germany is 5 times the size of the UK, yet has a population of 80 million against the UK’s population of 64 million. In order for Germany to be as cramped as the UK it would have to swell its population by 240 million. It has the space for 2 million immigrants. We do not.
- As of today, the UK has 1.67 million unemployed people. We don’t have enough jobs for our own citizens, let alone people from other countries.
- We have a massive housing shortage in the UK because of our ever growing population and lack of land. One of the reasons for the horrendous flooding we experience in the UK nowadays is that we keep having to build houses and build houses and build houses……….on grassy fields which used to soak up rainwater. The more people who live here the more houses we will need to build on an ever decreasing land mass. You don’t need to be a rocket scientist to know that given this scenario the flooding is going to get worse. Much worse.
- Our health service is literally cracking under the strain of our current population. Our schools have to do charity fundraisers to buy computer and gym equipment. Our Victorian sewerage and drainage system is crumbling. Our roads are without a top layer of tarmac because we are, effectively, skint. We can’t afford to house and sustain the citizens we already have, let alone a few million more.
- We fought 2 wars, and lost millions of our people, to not be ruled by anyone. Especially Germany. Enough said. Would American agree to abide by laws made by Vietnam or Japan? I think not.
So, for me personally, the main reason to leave the EU would be so that we can control our borders. I’m not talking about immigration here, or asylum. I’m talking about the free flow of workers (who can then also claim our welfare benefits, eg. weekly child allowance for children who are still living in Poland and have never even been to the UK) through EU countries.
Here would be my reasons for staying:
- We currently have a Government who, this week, is being hauled up in front of the United Nations for abusing its most vulnerable citizens. We, the 5th richest economy on the planet, have taken austerity out on sick, disabled and disadvantaged people to such an extent that we are being accused of violating human rights. It’s sickening. My Government has done this despite being watched by the European Court of Human Rights and the UN. Can you imagine what they’d do to their citizens if we left the EU and no-one was watching?
- We may have to abide by laws made by the European Parliament but this may be no bad thing. My Government has tried for decades to abolish rights for blue collar workers, rights our ancestors died for, and without our membership of the EU would have succeeded.
- Our seas and rivers were filled with raw sewage and our countryside decimated by environmentally disastrous farming practices until we joined the EU. Membership of the EU has been hugely beneficial to nature and our environment.
- I live in the north of England, an area completely ignored by my Government and left to rot for decades. The north has received millions of pounds from the EU for regeneration without which it would be a wasteland.
- UK farmers receive large monetary subsidies off the EU, without which many would not survive.
- Europe faces a terrorism threat. We are safer being part of the EU, with its inter-agency and police co-operation and intelligence, than standing alone.
My main reason for staying in the EU would be the watchful eye Brussels keeps on my Government and its violation of human rights.
Notice I haven’t once mentioned the Economy. That’s because no-one knows what would happen if we left the EU. Leading up to the vote on whether or not Britain should ditch the £ and join the Euro currency there was dreadful scarmongering about what would happen to the UK’s economy if we didn’t adopt the Euro and guess what? We didn’t adopt the Euro and absolutely bugger all happened – life just carried on as before. In fact, as a nation we all breathed a sigh of relief following the crash when first Greece went bust, then Ireland went bust and Britain stayed one of the strongest economies in the world. So I don’t listen to a word that’s said about falling stock markets or bankrupcy should Britain leave Europe because it’s all bollocks.
So, which way will I vote? It’s been incredibly difficult to make up my mind. We simply cannot cope with the free movement of workers in the EU and our Prime Minister tried very hard earlier on this year to reach an agreement with Brussels on limiting the influx of European workers to the UK and failed. However, I worry more about my Government’s austerity measures which have impacted the sick and disabled to such an extent they are using food banks for survival, yet have left the richest 5% of the country better off. So I will vote to stay, reluctantly and with huge reservations. I don’t know if it’s the right choice or not, only time will tell.