23rd June 2016 we have this cursed (read that as cursED please) EU Referendum. The longer the campaign has gone on, the less I want to hear about it. Except I am listening to, and watching, and reading various news channels and articles, and blog posts. It’s like a morbid fascination. Or a scab you cannot help but pick at.
The longer the campaign has gone on, the more convinced I am that this referendum is the single most idiotic thing that Call-Me-Dave has done. We should not be having this referendum. It is too complex a question that is being asked in too simplistic a way. There is no single issue that makes a “Yes” or “No” vote a straightforward one to make. “Leave” or “Remain” is too simple, and one that we should not, quite frankly, be voting on.
Twenty years ago, if I had been asked this same question, I would have been out. Twenty years ago, I was very Eurosceptic. Twenty years ago, I was an undergraduate law student, who had grown up under Thatcher, John Major, and back-to-back Conservative governments. Never a Conservative myself, I had always been a Liberal. Then 1997 happened. The year I graduated, and the year the country voted a Labour government in. I graduated, and entered the big wide world of work. I’d decided against qualifying as a solicitor, because my 2:2 was going to make it really tricky, and I did not really feel that I would fit in with the law firms, whose training contract brochures made me cringe.
Fast forward to now (no one needs me to blog my post university life story), and I am considerably less Eurosceptic than 20 years ago. I realised, when researching for and writing my LLM dissertation that actually, being in the EU post 1997 was not the BAD THING I perceived it to be when I was an undergraduate law student. And the main reason for this was the Social Charter. My research had taught me that pre 1997, the UK did not really have anything to do with it. I discovered that employment rights had improved considerably, thanks to the EU, and that the UK employment rights record prior to this was dismal.
I see the Leave argument being centred around immigration, the wholly inaccurate Leave Campaign figure, and democracy/sovereignty. The nation are fools if they think that these things will be solved by leaving the EU. Let us consider democracy, for a start. Do we really have democracy? What about the unelected chamber here in the UK with the House of Lords? Hereditary peers. Bishops. Political peers. Appointed people. Not elected. Is that democratic? Head of State – a constitutional monarch. Not elected. Civil servants. Not elected but still very involved and influential in government. Not elected. If anyone is going to argue that the EU is undemocratic, I suggest they first look at our own system. It is not really that democratic.
I do not believe that any immigration issue will be solved by leaving the EU. The drawbridge would not be pulled up on 24th June in the event of a Leave vote. Again, the nation would be fooling themselves if they believe otherwise. We have been warned of swathes of EU nationals heading towards the UK. Where are they? There have not been swathes of them. Yes, the numbers of people coming to the UK is high, but swathes they are not.
The Leave Campaign figure of what it costs to be in the EU. It is inaccurate. We all know it is inaccurate, and yet it is clung on to as a reason to leave. The argument that the money is not being spent on what we want it to be spent on. Let me pose this question then – the tax that we pay as working UK citizens – does that get spent on what you want it to be spent on? Every single penny? No. No it does not. But that is what happens when you pay monies to government. They charge tax, we pay it, and then the government decides what it is going to spend it on. I do not want my tax money spent on Trident, for example, but it is. I do not want my tax money going to a Tory government that I did not vote for, would never vote for, and who I detest with a passion that is very new to me, but it is. But hey – that is democracy, right? Is that considerably different to the EU? I do not believe so.
My severe dislike and mistrust of this Conservative government in particular, pushes me into the Remain camp. I do not think that the EU is perfect. It needs reform; considerable reform. I see Remain as being a greater alternative than allowing these muppets to be able to ride roughshod, unfettered, over this country. If anyone thinks it is bad under this Conservative government within the EU, just have a think about what horrors they could create outside the EU. Then tell me that it is time we “took back control of our country, our borders and our sovereignty”.