24 May 2015

Let’s Have The EU Referendum ASAFP

By the end of 2017, Britain will decide its future with an in/out EU referendum. Before that, Cameron is looking to decisively reform our relationship with Europe in an act of pro-European propaganda. Cameron has declared himself to be in favour of remaining in Europe and the call for a referendum was only taken because of the pressures of his Eurosceptic backbenchers and the twelve per cent of Brits that voted for UKIP at the election.

When Scotland was waiting for their independence referendum, many suggested that they were stuck between a rock and a hard place in terms of making any progress legislatively as they were unsure about their future. We cannot allow this to happen for the entire union as we wait two years for the referendum. For the country to progress, we need the referendum as soon as possible. But, nothing will happen until Cameron has fully “negotiated” with Europe.

But will Cameron get any powers back? Ideally, Cameron wants to be able to take control of our benefit system and our health system so that it makes our country less desirable for migrants to live here. Moreover, it will see the demise of both benefit and health tourism as they won’t be able to apply for either until they have actively put into the system for five years. Commentators are sceptical whether Merkel will allow us to have such powers. 

When we finally have the referendum, we need to make sure that, firstly, it is an unbiased and fair campaign with both sides having equal money and giving the electorate all of the facts. What we don’t want is the rightwing Murdoch press influencing people because of their political alliance with the conservatives. This was one of the biggest issues during the AV referendum in 2011. The public weren't properly informed and people became confused. Secondly, there’s only one party that wants to leave Europe. (Cameron said he would want to if they can’t negotiate) But, if we get some powers back, it will be UKIP vs. the rest. 

I would argue that if the only party and therefore leader, fighting to leave the EU, Britain will decisively vote to stay in. Farage has been labelled as a marmite figure but I’d suggest it’s worse than that. ‘Marmite’ would indicate a 50:50 love:hate. It’s probably more like 30:70. He has diehard fans and diehard enemies. Everyone else in the middle likes him but doesn’t agree with his policies. Therefore, if he is the face of the ‘Yes’ campaign, they will suffer a huge loss.

Do I think we need to leave?

I would love our farmers and fishermen to have carte blanche over their work. At the moment they are held back by regulation laws. I also believe that the secret trade agreement TTIP will destroy our country. Leaving Europe would also save so much money and eradicate the deficit. But, I am an advocate of freedom of movement and think it should be expanded. Leaving Europe would mean closed borders to the continent and that would be against our rights to move wherever we like in Europe. Tackling climate change is crucial to our existence and doing it alone would have no effect whatsoever. To tackle it, we need to do it as a continent and spread that to the rest of the world.

Regarding jobs and the economy; there are so many different figures suggesting losses and/or nothing at all. So, I’m unsure what the effects would actually be economically. Therefore, perhaps the uncertainty is a reason to remain. But ultimately it is the freedom of movement that makes me want to remain in Europe.

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