I have been trying to write this blog for over 2 weeks and everytime I try to put fingers to keyboard I simply get too angry to write. I have done a lot of writing, editing, deleting and rewriting. The campaign from both Remain and Vote Leave has been truly abhorent however believe that whatever the outcome on 23rd this referendum has provided important debate and highlighted that whatever happens we need serious change.
Here are a few arguments and counter arguements I have been discussing with various people. I should point out that I also attended a meeting with Lord Owen and MEP William Dartmouth where I was able to get more information on the EU, how it is run and how it affects our country. Today I, by chance, walked through the city with my local councillor Chaz Singh who is voting to remain and we were joined by a gentleman from the Out campaign so that added some more dimensions to my views:
According to David Cameron voting out will cause another World War, the country will descend into madness, we will lose our pensions, our jobs and we will increase the risk from terrorism. If that wasn't enough scaremongering Tony Blair has also waded into the arguement, the very man who threw us into the middle of a conflict that we had no place to be in, also tells us we need to remain in. Whether or not you like Blair or Cameron, if you are registered to vote, you have been in a position to vote Blair and Cameron in or out which is a privilege you may not have with the presidents and vice presidents of the EU. If you don't believe this to be true then please reference the Brexit movie which explains how the EU is structured and how little say the UK has in EU decision making. If you thought the MP's expenses scandal was bad then the current EU arrangments make our MP's look honest and transparent!
Going back to one of Cameron's arguements that we need to join the eurozone to safeguard jobs. Have you looked at the current unemployment and in particular youth employment rate in many european countries. Look at Greece, Spain, France, Portugal, Italy and Croatia to name but a few. OK so the UK isn't great but I believe it could be way better out of Europe. Most of Europe, Germany excluded, is plunging deeper into recession with youth unemployment spiralling out of control. The average youth unemployment rate for Europe is 22% with Spain currently at 50% youth unemployment. The UK has a fairly strong economy when you compare it to most EU countries.
An interesting point that doesn't seem to be currently discusssed is the fact that some individuals in EU countries are actually urging their governments for a referendum so that they can vote out. They are placing Uk flags in their windows to support our move to give people a choice. Currently trying to find the news reference I found to support this. I can share this little blog about one fishermans frustration about EU rules.
A point that I have heard raised by people voting to remain is their concerns about where the UK is going, they worry that we are becoming too right wing. The rise of UKIP and Britain's First is certainly a concern but the UK is not alone in this worrying trend. Germany is seeing a huge rise in it's far right movement. Mein Kampff has been re-released for sale. This is something we have to tackle whether in or out but it does concern me deeply and makes me think twice about the ties we are forming with the various EU governments.
Security is another issue that has been barely touched upon in the mainstream media but do we want to hand over control of our Trident and military? The British Military is generally respected across the world and rumours (that may be unfounded) about an EU army certainly give rise to concern.
Travel is another big issue. Do you think that if we leave the EU you will lose the right to travel or work abroad? Hardly! If you want to backpack in Thailand or flydrive to the US then there is nothing stopping you and I am sure the EU countries will not ban travellers from the UK if they want to visit, work or holiday. All that is likely to happen is that you may need to get a visa to work in France, Germany or any other EU country. It is not a big deal we are already happy to do this to travel to Australia or Thailand for example. The aforementioned countries use the visa system to give them more control over who they let into their country so they can choose the most skilled people to benefit their society and/or their tourism industry. If we vote out we can still eat croissants in Paris, teach in Vietnam and backpack in Thailand.
I come back to the idea of decentralisation, can an EU council make decision that are in the best interests of the UK people?
The problem is that both sides, 'Vote leave' and 'Vote Remain' are feeding us lies and propoganda but I think if you sift through this and look at the basics we are better off retaining our independence and therefore retaining our power to make our own decisions.
Going back to Cameron's pledge today that if we vote out we will lose our pensions makes me question what exactly is wrong? We pay into a scheme to pay our pension and then someone in europe is going to have the right to say we are no longer entitled to our money? How exactly does that work?
So the EU funding can have some benefits for us, I spoke to a university lecturer who explained how some of the research at Plymouth University relies on Eu funding. Surely if we pull out of the EU people around the world will still want to invest in our research and if we get a good government then they can use some of the EU money to further invest in UK research? I use the example of one of my students who just found her funding cut but has been offered funding from the US.
If I am honest I think that by voting in we stand a chance to vote out our current electorate who, in my opinion, have let us down badly. We could be brave and create a new country that could lead the world, we could use our consumer power to help tackle tax evasion and help fight the massive divide between rich and poor. I should use an example of this that I think it rather lovely. Slavery in this country was mainly abolished due to women who didn't agree with slavery stopping purchasing sugar, this had a direct affect on the income of the sugar plantation owners and the sugar importers within the UK, change was forced through by the consumers decision. We can all make a difference by spending our money more carefully and more ethcially, this could bring about dramatic change.
I am not about to take sides with those career politicians who have no real interest in what is best for the country, please put Boris, Farage, Cameron and Blair aside and take a moment to think about what you think may be best for our future, not just your future but our future.
If we do elect to vote in don't be surprised if you see the likes of Farage, Cameron and Johnson jumping on the gravy train and taking up unelected posts in the EU! Let's face it Blair has certainly milked his post prime ministerial career.
Basically I haven't heard one argument yet that has convinced me that remaining is a better option than the risk of leaving and I do resepect that there is a risk from leaving as it will be an uncertain time, however I think this will be short term as the country establishes how it moves forward.
If we vote in we must ensure that whoever is in power sticks to their promises and that the money we currenlty invest into the EU is given back to the people/organisations that need it. We do have the power to make this happen, to see more money pumped back into our NHS and spent on the real issues in this country. We can rebuild our economy, we can enjoy migration and benefit from skilled workers who want to work in the UK and who contribute highly to our society. We can make better environmental decisions and protect the vulnerable in our society.
When you vote to remain in do you know for sure that the presidents and vice presidents in the EU council are any better than those who 'serve' us in the UK? Are you sure that Juncker, with his strong catholic beliefs, and his colleagues are going to decide a better future for us?
There are no 100% guarantees whichever decision we make but I know that on the 23rd June I will definitely be voting out. Lets stay in the UK, vote out our current lunatics and try to form a country we can truly be proud of, a country that can still work closely with people from across the globe not just Europe.
Sam :) x x
p.s. Off to hide somewhere as I am sure there will be some varied opinions on my writing!