Should the UK remain a member of the EU or leave the EU
With the EU referendum, on the 23rd June, fast approaching, I thought it would be important to highlight some of the basic claims, benefits and supporters of both the Better Together and Brexit campaign. Whilst the media have been quick to exaggerate the problems or benefits of either side, they have failed to provide a clear and balanced discussion for the referendum. I do not claim to be a political expert, however this post aims to provide an impartial and easy guide to the consequences of your vote – whichever side you choose!
Firstly, what is the EU? The word EU is used so much in everyday life, but many may not know how much of Europe is involved – or its purpose. Made up of 28 countries (see picture below), the EU aims to enhance the shared political and economic relations amongst European countries. With these socio-political links, the EU aims to run as a single market – sharing laws, the free movement of people, goods, services and capital. The single market has the philosophy that countries who trade together and rely on one another, are less likely to go to war.
EU Stay Campaign
Benefits of staying:
- Vital funding to the creative industry – over 280 actors, musicians, novelists etc. signed an open letter claiming the EU provides funding to many UK projects, and without this there may be instability for those working in the industry.
- Roughly 50% of British exports go to EU countries, by having membership, we are able to control trading rules with these countries.
- Renegotiations of EU-membership are suggested to reduce immigration as new arrivals will receive lower rates of child benefits.
- Free movement of EU members in the UK has helped fuel the economy and pay for services.
- EU is important to security – it allows for the exchange of criminal records and can allow for countries to work together on counter-terrorism.
- Under Cameron’s negotiation’s, the UK would have more control over EU regulations, but imposing a red card system – if 55% of government vote against an EU rule, it is discarded.
Disadvantages of staying:
- In the EU, Britain is unable to independently pursue international trade deals with China, India and the US.
- It is believed the majority (95%) of small and medium forms do not trade directly with the Europe, but are still restricted by its damaging regulations imposed abroad.
- Sharing of wealth – large and wealthy countries, like Britain, have to share their wealth with much smaller and poorer countries.
- EU rules and policies are not set to specifically protect the interest of Britain, as they are applied to all EU members.
- The EU is claimed to be an over-regulated and bureaucratic burden.
- Britain’s economy is held back by demands of the regional bloc, whose economy has become increasingly uncompetitive.
Supporters of the Stay Campaign:
In case you’re interested in which way key figures are voting, here are a few of the proclaimed Stay supporters.
- The British Government and David Cameron
- George Osbourne
- Jeremy Hunt
- Jeremy Corbyn
- Sadiq Khan
- Nicole Sturgeon
- Emma Thompson
- Sir Richard Branson
- Benedict Cumberbatch
- Vivienne Westwood
- Jude Law
EU Brexit Campaign
The main uncertainty with leaving is that no one has done it before, so whilst the Stay campaign can highlight certainties and clearly say what the pros and cons are to it, the Brexit campaign is not as clear cut.
Benefits of Brexit:
- No longer have to contribute to EU membership fees – last year the UK’s net contribution was £8.5bn.
- Be free to establish our own trade agreements, and control of the movement of people.
- Whilst many claim there is a huge risk of financial loss, Open Europe predict the worse-case scenario is the economy losing 2.2% of its GDP by 2030 (Note: the 2008-9 recession included a 6% loss) – so financially Brexit has the likelihood of more reward, than loss.
- Free from EU regulations, Britain could reinvent its financial centres, reimagining itself as a super-charged economy – similar to Singapore.
- Re-establish Britain as an independent nation.
- This may be a con depending on how you view it, but if we Brexit, we are still able to compete in the Eurovision song contest.
Disadvantages of Brexit:
- Whilst there is a large upfront contribution to EU membership, do the advantages, such as free trade, outweigh this?
- Risk of losing the negotiating power obtained by EU membership.
- It is unknown how other European countries will trade/ co-operate with Britain – some believe it is in Europe’s interest to re-stablish free trade, whilst others believe Europe will want to make life harder for Britain – France has claimed there will be ‘consequences’ if Britain leave.
- Risk of car production in Britain suffering, as vehicles will not be exported tax-free to Europe.
- Whilst it is not clear what effect this will have, it is noted that 3 million British jobs are strongly linked with Europe, and creates the risk of unemployment.
- Leaving should take roughly two years, but as all 28 countries have to agree, it is predicted last up to 10 years, risking financial uncertainty, as well as employment etc.
Supporters of Brexit Campaign:
- Boris Johnson
- Nigel Farage
- Michael Gove
- Ian Duncan Smith
- Dame Joan Collins
- Sir Michael Caine
- Roger Daltery
- Duncan Bannatyne
- Katie Hopkins
- Theo Paphitis
- Vicky Pattison
- JD Weatherspoon
Don’t forget to register to vote! You can still register online up until 7 June, if you haven’t already. Please leave us a comment and let us know whether this has been helpful for you.
Thanks for reading!