Greece voted to stay in the EU with the Grexit and now it is Britain’s turn to vote in the Brexit. Polls indicate a close call – how will you vote?
On the 23rd of June, the people of Great Britain will head to the polls in a potentially life-changing vote. They’re voting on whether or not they would like to stay in the European Union and I for one am sick of the misinformation that is spread by the media from both sides of the argument. This recently culminated in the Leave campaign telling voters that non-EU members were more likely to win the Eurovision Song Contest; total rubbish by the way. It certainly seems to have divided the nation the polls are showing an even split amongst voters, but what are the real facts when it comes to Brexit? I am going to try to be impartial here, although I do have my personal views.
Let’s dive straight in with the most divisive point in the entire argument. I would first like to point out one huge factor in this; Britain isn’t part of Schengen. For those who don’t understand Schengen, it’s a system set up in Europe to allow freedom of movement among European nationals. It was intended to encourage business as people could travel freely between Germany, France and the other countries without customs or border control. Britain isn’t part of this, which is why you have to show your passport whenever you come back from France. Therefore, Syrian migrants, and any migrants for that matter aren’t going to get into Britain unless the British government allows it, or they hide in the back of trucks; both of which are not influenced by leaving the EU.
There is one other serious migration problem that the newspapers are not talking about, which has the potential to cause real issues. British migrants, or ‘expats’ as they like to call themselves, might have problems obtaining a visa in their adoptive countries. Depending on the relationship the British government has with each individual country, some people might face the prospect of having to return to Britain because of work, healthcare and visa problems. Some say Britain is crowded; the prospect of an additional 5 million people returning to Britain isn’t going to help matters and whilst this is unlikely, it cant be ruled out. Pro Brexit campaigners say that leaving the EU means we ‘can take back our borders’ and cut immigration massively.
2. Membership fee
Another divisive point is the membership fee we pay to be part of the European Union. If we left, we would no longer have to pay £13billion to be a member. That was our fee last year, and it could possibly rise next time but we do get a great deal back for our money. Immediately we received £4.5billion in spending on infrastructure and other projects which means our net contribution was about £8.5billion. To put that figure into perspective, it was around 7 percent of what the government spent on the NHS last year. It is extremely difficult to calculate in monetary terms if this is a good investment. Pro Brexit campaigners say we pay too much and the savings could be better used elsewhere.
50% of our exports go to the European Union. It’s like a newsagent that sells half of his products to one child, thinking about banning the kid from the shop. Whilst that might be a poor analogy, membership of the EU allows us have a say in trading rules. Without the EU, Britain is free to try and negotiate its own deals but there is no guarantee that they will be better deals for us.
UKIP leader Nigel Farage thinks that we could join the Norwegian club and follow their lead of being out of the EU, but still following most of its rules. Most are skeptical about this and the Economist said:
“If Britain were to join the Norwegian club, it would remain bound by virtually all EU regulations, including the working-time directive and almost everything dreamed up in Brussels in future. And, it would no longer have any influence on what those regulations said.”
It all depends on what deals the British government could manage with other European countries and that creates uncertainty; markets hate uncertainty. One thing to bear in mind is the fact that when negotiating trade deals with Brussels, the EU is likely to make things extremely difficult for a post-EU Britain to discourage further breakaways.
What is the Brexit going to cost? The Guarduian put it at £4,300 per household:
The Treasury’s estimation of the long-term cost of leaving the EU is put at £4,300 per family by 2030. However, the Treasury also regularly has to adjust forecasts for GDP and tax receipts for the next few months and years, let alone a forecast of figures that are decades away.
Britain’s biggest industry is banking; that is a fact. We rely so heavily on the income taxes paid by bankers in London that any sudden changes could cause another recession. Without the EU, American banks would no longer see us as a gateway to Europe and would probably move to France or Germany. Pro Brexit campaigners argue that it would do the opposite and encourage even more banks to come to Britain. BMW recently reminded its employees in the Britain of the importance of the European Union and they have indicated that investment would drop if we left.
Former London mayor, Boris Johnson, is a big character in the Leave campaign:
“They want to prop up the euro by creating an all-out economic government of Europe. They want a euro-area treasury, with further pooling of tax and budgetary policy. They want to harmonize insolvency law, company law, property rights, social security systems – and there is no way the UK can be unaffected by this process.”
A study in the early 2000’s indicated that as many as 3 million jobs were linked with European Union trade and if we left the EU, there could be a whole lot more people unemployed. If EU trade fell dramatically, many of these jobs would go but if they rose, more jobs would be created. The situation on this front is extremely blurry and depends on a variety of other factors.
Chris Cummings, chief executive of TheCityUK said:
Major firms from across the world come to London to access Europe’s single market, bringing with them jobs and investment. While Brexit may not be ruinous for the UK economy, it does risk damaging the UK-based financial services sector, particularly over the short term, delaying investment decisions and reducing activity. It also threatens the overall competitiveness of the UK as a place to do business.
So maybe I was a little less impartial that I’d hoped to be. I think I will vote Remain but I can certainly understand why people would vote to Leave. It will definitely be a close call and you can be sure to hear a lot of misinformation thrown around by both sides of the campaign.
Which way will you vote and why?
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