The EU referendum is in a few short weeks and I’ve been holding off sharing my opinion for a while, waiting to see if the endless bile from pro and anti Brexit parties subsides. With no end in sight, I figured now is as good a time as any to share my thoughts on why it’s a better option to vote Stay.
Let me say, before I get going, that I’m not interested in any xenophobic venom or Daily Mail driven nonsense about bananas or immigrants “taking our jobs”. I don’t know everything about everything, but I also have a healthy suspicion of mainstream media. This argument is not entirely my own, rather I’ve stitched together sense from several pro-stay arguments, and thrown in some retorts to (really poorly researched) pro-Brexit arguments. But I agree with it all.
So, why should we vote stay?
1. Being part of the EU has secured fair working terms and conditions. (Hours, paid overtime, holidays, equal pay). Who doesn’t want that? Alright it might take a long time for those things to be abolished, or they might never disappear, but I’m rather happy with my lot as far as work regulations go!
2. Worried about terrorism? Why wouldn’t we want to be part of the EU where we can share information and resources with our closest neighbours? Incidentally this talk of “closing our borders” to “stop terrorists” entering the UK is nonsense – we’re an island, so we can vet everyone who enters naturally at our ports and offshore ports, and ‘homegrown terrorists’ are already here…
3. Free Trade & Movement of Goods. I’m reading a lot of idiotic things about this – things like how Canada negotiated trade relationships successfully with the EU. Conveniently this argument doesn’t note that Canada hadn’t left the EU beforehand. Why should the EU negotiate better trade terms with us after we leave? That’s sort of an unreasonable/unlikely outcome.
4 Visas. Have you ever tried to get a visa to work or visit somewhere? Why would you want to add that much extra work, cost or stress onto the price of your already increasing summer holiday? I very much value being able to hop on the Eurostar or ferry to Paris or Amsterdam at short notice, no paperwork required.
5 Jobs & Immigration. But the immigrants are taking all of our jobs! We have to stop it!! Are they? Do we?
Many EU nationals working in the UK take up jobs that “our own” people won’t do – because they get paid more here for that job than they do for their skilled professions back home. Or maybe they have no skilled profession, but it’s still more lucrative to be here, working for better money (and paying tax, shopping and generally supporting our economy might I add).
Plus.. as my favourite Mexican comedian says… if someone with no skills or prospects comes from another country, doesn’t speak the language and takes “your” job… then maybe you’re no good at your job.
6 Cameron vs EU. “Why should we trust a totally unelected body that’s not even based in our country?”. Because as a nation, we were trusted with Democracy and ended up with David Cameron. Would it be better if he made all the decisions? Because that would keep me up at night.
7 Tax Havens. Despite what Channel 5 and the Daily Mail tell you, “benefits scroungers” are not the big issue when it comes to obtaining money by deception. Huge earners placing money in offshore accounts to avoid tax are a big problem (I see you, Starbucks) – incidentally much of our mainstream media is owned by very influential and rich people who.. you guessed it… have offshore tax havens! So their newspapers are hardly going to push the Stay agenda, which has vowed to crack down on tax avoidance.
(Aside: If you have a problem with how much the EU costs….you should definitely have a problem with tax avoidance.)
8 Fear of the Unknown. We’ve all heard the phrase ‘better the devil you know’ and it’s true – we know what its like to be in the EU, and we don’t know a thing about what it’ll be like to leave. The predictions on what’ll happen if we leave (read: Propaganda) are all speculative and based on basically nothing, unless you count fear of foreign cultures and general bile. Since its formation, no other country has asked to leave. Many have asked to join (and did you know all EU members have to agree before that’s possible?) so isn’t that valuable at all?
I’ll end with a very popular slogan from the recent Scottish referendum stay campaign. Aren’t we Better Together?