Sunday, 22 May 2016

EU referendum

The EU referendum is now entering its final phase. The general tone has been far from elevated with both sides using scaremongering and exaggeration to make their case. The main issues raised have been economics, immigration and sovereignty.

The Remain side are vigorously arguing that we will all be better of financially and economically if we stay in the EU. It is claimed that the advantages arising from our membership of the vast EU single market are so overwhelming that it would be folly for Britain to be on the outside. No doubt there are some benefits but there are also disadvantages. We would be binding ourselves too deeply into a sclerotic economic regime where many countries are suffering high unemployment and little growth. Moreover, the whole edifice is likely to collapse as a result of the internal contradictions of the single currency.

More importantly the price of access to the single market is unacceptable as it requires free movement of people between member countries. Although EU citizens, being mostly of European descent, are likely to integrate better than people from the rest of the world, they nevertheless still lower wages for the less skilled and add pressure to already stretched essential services such a health, education and, most especially, housing. The likely accession of Turkey and other countries will seriously exacerbate this problem.

The Leave side have half heartedly warned about the dangers of uncontrolled immigration if we stay in the EU. However, they are hampered in exploiting this issue by the fear of being labelled as racist, nasty and extreme. It is however a very sound argument for leaving the EU, since if we remain we will have absolutely no control over the large number of East Europeans who are likely to be attracted to come here, particularly when the living wage is raised to the level that is being planned by 2020.

But the huge problem of uncontrolled immigration is not the main reason why Britain should leave the EU. The main issue is the lack of sovereignty and the consequent loss of democratic accountability. If we remain in the EU we no longer posses the ability to govern ourselves, and as a nation we remain vassals to an outside authority over which we have little influence. The need to reclaim the right to govern ourselves is why it is vital that Britain's interests are best served by voting to leave on June 23rd. Addendum: Since writing the above the Leave camp have shown a little more vigour about warning of the dangers of open ended immigration. As a result they moved from being several points behind Remain in the polls to several points ahead. Remain have been smearing the Leave case as promoting 'hate' and 'division' within society. The reality is that the Leave side merely wish to regain national sovereignty, and the ability to control our own affairs without interference from an unaccountable and undemocratic supra national body. It is to be hoped that neither side exploit the senseless murder of Jo Cox MP, or that voters are distracted from the real issues in this referendum campaign by this crazed and wicked act.

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