We asked two of our top writers, Atif & Damir, to tell us why they want to stay in/leave the EU on 23rd June. This is what they said.
Why We Should Remain in the EU —Atif Rashid
With what’s being described as the most important decision in a generation, it’s imperative we don’t get the EU Referendum wrong. Both sides, Leave and Remain have made bold claims and equally been criticised for the way they’ve conducted their campaign1. I guess it’s down to us individuals then to figure out what remains best for not just the UK, but Europe as well.
Despite what some may claim – that it’s all about the UK – this referendum is bound to have a rippling effect across Europe, if not the world2. Lest we resign ourselves to selfishness, we must consider how our decision will affect everyone, not just our own nation. In the global village we live in, any other approach to this referendum is simply callous.
Many are still 50/503 and undecided whether to vote to leave or remain. A sagacious approach would be to play it safe when faced with an uncertain vote. The safest vote, which would have no unforeseen consequences, would be to vote remain. No-one, not even the Leave campaign have yet been able to confidently establish how trade, immigration and the plethora of individual negotiations we’d need to carry out with other countries, would work4. The risks and uncertainty are far too high.
Prime Minister Cameron has already negotiated favorable changes for the UK’s EU membership5. Isn’t it better to stay in a union and negotiate changes rather than just leave – without any thought for the consequences?
The Leave campaign, comprising the likes of Nigel Farage, a notorious leave-supporter, is campaigning hard to take the UK out. Farage has, numerous times, expressed his disdain and opposition to immigration and stated this as the reason for his anti-EU stance. But not only have immigrants contributed dynamically to the UK, and made it an amazing place to be, many prominent contributors to the UK have been the offspring of immigrants. Let’s not forget London’s Mayor, Sadiq Khan, or Lord Tariq Ahmad of Wimbledon. If Farage had his way, he’d have blocked their forefathers coming to the UK long ago. Indeed, one of the reasons we need immigrants is because we have a skills-shortage in the UK and EU migration plays a vital role in plugging that gap. It’s the very reason we agreed to the Schengen zone in 2004 in the first place. That reason still applies.
Trade, Travel & Security
Two years ago, Scotland voted “no” to independence. It was clear that being part of something bigger and rejecting the negative campaigns of those who’d like to leave was the popular decision6. Voters should take the same approach in the EU Referendum. Being in the EU means we’re not just Brits, but also Europeans and have a bigger voice on the world stage – meaning we have influence in European affairs. We can also travel and trade freely with the EU, being part of a larger network7.
We can also share intelligence and collaborate on security efforts8. This is all made seamless with our membership of the EU and leaving will not only cause uncertainty for all involved but may cause a ripple effect, resulting in other countries having to bear a bigger burden9.
Economy & Strength in Unity
The facts are quite clear: our Prime Minister, who has the country’s best interests in mind, is strongly for remaining as is former Prime Minister John Major. We benefit greatly from being in the single market and we benefit from the EU in so many other ways11. Moreover, only recently, the German finance minister warned that Brexit would exclude the UK from the single market – which means we can freely trade and travel with minimal restrictions as part of single alliance. Leaving would greatly affect our economy.12
We’ve negotiated a better deal and we know there is always strength in unity. Cooperation and collaboration is what success is built upon, not distrust and disunity.
Leaving would be a sad day and a backward step. Remaining would solidify our alliances and keep us progressing as we are. Vote remain for unity.
Why we should Leave the EU —Damir Rafi
There are good reasons why the latest polls are showing that the majority of voting Britons are for Brexit. Here are what I think are the best reasons.
Lack of democracy
The structure of the EU, with its numerous (often similarly titled) institutions13, is inherently so complex that the common man, even with effort, is incapable of properly understanding it. Consequently, this means that to hold it to account is too onerous, if not impossible, compared with what should be the case in an open and fair society. Moreover, the EU is composed of not one but four presidents, none of whom are directly elected by voters14. As a result, these leaders are largely anonymous to the public, and the lack of a clear figurehead again hinders the process of accountability. Absurdly, it is not the European Parliament, but the European Commission that has the sole right to propose laws, which potentially have far-reaching effects on Britain and every other country within the Union. Given that the Commission is composed of 28 unelected Commissioners, who again are not required to be held accountable, it is clear that at best, the EU inherently does not serve the interests of the public, and at worst, is a dangerous force capable of heavily influencing Europe without so much of a whisper of fair discussion or debate15. The EU is thus a faceless organisation, embodying values that are the antithesis of freedom, democracy, and justice.
Too much regulation
We’ve all heard about eccentric EU regulations, such as banning the sale of curved cucumbers, or prohibiting labelling water as a drink that can fight dehydration, but the actual list of regulations is almost unimaginable. EU regulations follow us around from morning to night. As elucidated in the documentary Brexit16, there are an estimated 109 EU laws pertaining to pillowcases, 118 laws governing shampoo, 454 laws on towels, over 12,000 laws about milk, and so on and so forth. But this is not simply a trivial matter. For small- and medium-sized businesses, having to comply with regulation comes with huge costs, and falling in breach of them is potentially catastrophic. Excessive regulation ultimately means less creativity and entrepreneurship. Large corporations, on the other hand, don’t mind the regulations since they, unlike smaller businesses, have the means to be able to comply with them through hiring large legal teams to aid them. Onerous regulations therefore mean less competition from smaller rivals. The cost of EU regulation on the UK economy is over £600 million each week17, and this value, compounded by the approximate value of £250 million a week that the UK must pay just to be a member, poses the question: how much better off would the UK economy be and how much healthier would UK businesses be, without having to bear the crippling financial burdens that EU membership demands?
More trade freedom
Perhaps the weakest aspect of the ‘Leave’ campaign has been attempting to convince the public that UK trade would not be worse off were it to leave the EU, given that the UK has a free-trade agreement with the Union. However, if the UK were to leave, it would surely remain in the best interests of European countries to continue trading with the UK, given that it is the fifth largest economy in the world. The EU itself becomes a hindrance to trading with non-European Union countries, many of which are economically growing and thriving to a far greater degree than the EU. Leaving therefore would open opportunities to join free trade agreements with other nations18. The success that Switzerland, a non-EU country, has had in establishing trade deals has in fact been greater than that of the EU. If the UK were to leave, it would have two years in which to negotiate a withdrawal agreement19, meaning that a sudden trade disaster, which some fear, is in reality not a genuine worry. The UK would have time and opportunity to negotiate mutually beneficial trade agreements with both EU countries as well as with the wider world.
So what did you think? Reckon Atif’s got it bang on? Has Damir hit the nail on the head? Let us know with civilised, constructive dialogue in the comments below?
- http://www.yorkshirepost.co.uk/news/cameron-faces-criticism-as-he-spends-almost-10m-on-remain-campaign-publicity-1-7837655, http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2016/jun/05/john-major-nhs-risk-brexit-pythons-johnson-and-gove
- http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2016/05/09/how-brexit-could-lead-to-other-eu-countries-following-the-uk-out/; http://www.gkstrategy.com/eu-referendum-series-ireland-brexits-ripple-effects/; http://www.wsj.com/articles/impact-of-u-k-exit-on-jobs-could-ripple-across-eu-1460917981
- http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2016/06/01/george-osborne-and-alistair-darling-leave-campaign-making-it-up/, http://www.spectator.co.uk/2016/04/the-leave-campaign-is-right-not-to-lay-out-a-plan-for-britains-future/
- http://www.wsj.com/articles/impact-of-u-k-exit-on-jobs-could-ripple-across-eu-1460917981, http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/brexit-boris-johnson-break-up-britain-independent-scotland-nicola-sturgeon-dismantle-commonwealth-a7056181.html
- Brexit the Movie: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eYqzcqDtL3k