Today, the 23rd of June you have the opportunity to help steer this country’s future direction. Please use it! Here’s my humble attempt to clear up a few misconceptions.
This unwelcome, unwanted EU referendum is nothing to do with immigration. Most migrants in the past 40 years have come from outside the EU in any case, and overall they make a positive contribution: i.e. they take out less than they put in through paying taxes. Besides that, the NHS could not function without them. Border security is stronger through international co-operation.
This referendum has nothing to do with sovereignty, either. It does not mean ‘taking back control’ because we never lost it. Europe cannot force any laws on us without the agreement of Parliament. No other country (e.g. Turkey) can join the EU without the agreement of all member states. But if we left the community, we would have far less power to influence events, not more; and we’d be obliged to accept measures decided by other people. So it would mean a net loss of control.
Nor is it anything to do with democracy. Britain has the least democratic electoral system of any advanced country: we have an unelected House of Lords and a House of Commons where many votes are wasted and one party can gain a majority of seats after winning less than 25% of the vote! The EU is already much more democratic than the UK, not less.
These issues are all really red herrings, so what is it all about?
The only reason we are having a referendum at all is to satisfy the interests of a tiny group of wealthy and powerful right-wing extremists, some of whom (like Rupert Murdoch and other owners of tabloid papers) are not even British residents. Politicians pressing for Britain to leave Europe – Boris Johnson, Michael Gove, Nigel Farage and Ian Duncan Smith – are well to the right of a Conservative government that’s already far right of centre. Yet these figures exert an influence through the media well in excess of any electoral support they command across the UK. Incredibly, their greed and lust for power are so big, they want even more control over you and me!
Outside the protection of EU laws on, for example, human rights, pollution and trade unions, these so-called ‘patriots’ would be able to promote an even more anti-social, racist, regressive austerity programme that would send Britain back to the 1930s. Do not be fooled by the way they like to wrap themselves in the union flag; if ‘Brexit’ happened, it’s likely there wouldn’t be a United Kingdom for much longer anyway. In fact these people are quasi-fascists who would grind the British people into the dirt without the restraints of EU rules that currently protect us.
In contrast, anyone with some intelligence and a grasp of history and world politics – like Prof. Stephen Hawking, most of the scientific and artistic community, people who do business every day and can create jobs – all agree that Britain is stronger, more prosperous and stable thanks to its membership of the EU. Sixty years of peace in Western Europe is testament to the international understanding and co-operation bred by working together instead of fighting. Recently Greece has had enormous economic problems (mostly of its own making) but even so, the country is bending over backwards to stay inside Europe, because its people recognize the obvious benefits membership brings. Without the various grants we receive from the EU, such as farm subsidies and poverty relief, the gap between rich and poor here – already far too wide – would be even wider, and social mobility increasingly curtailed.
To be honest: the problems we face in the UK today have nothing to do with our membership of the EU. They are entirely the fault of this (possibly illegitimate) Conservative government, who have bullied the media – especially the BBC – into keeping quiet about their track record of disastrous failure. Since they came to power on a pledge to tighten the budget and reduce the UK’s national debt, it has actually doubled – at a terrible cost in human suffering as health care, welfare and social services have been slashed. Leaving the EU would just mean more of the same failed policies, only worse – because as trade barriers and tariffs go up and the pound plunges, everything will cost much more.
On the world stage, Britain (or England) would be reduced to a little, insignificant offshore island devoid of international power or influence, but at the mercy of the likes of the increasingly powerful US, Russia and China. We would be exploited, our wishes ignored – and it would be impossible for us to get back into the #EU or count on our neighbours’ support.
The obvious choice: Vote Remain.