The EU Referendum, media coverage and should we stay or should we go?

 

Todays BBC headline reads ‘’David Beckham backs EU Remain vote’’, this is typical of the type of journalism that surrounds this debate, with less on the reasons for either side of the argument but more on the people who back the remain or leave campaigns. While I don’t doubt such celebrity endorsements can be used effectively by each sides campaign I worry that such articles will convince the British people to vote either way for the wrong reasons. Additionally, YouGov conducted research on how people thought fictional characters might vote in the EU referendum and all I can think is ‘who cares?’.

The campaigns have become too focused on people, but not ‘the people’ who matter, us. It is our everyday lives that will be effected by the result of the referendum so it is important that come Thursday 23 June you go out to vote for what you believe. This is a once in a lifetime vote. In this post I will discuss the important matters to give you a guide of what could happen if we vote each way. Personally I will be voting to remain in the EU, but on either side there is uncertainty of what the outcome will be.

National Sovereignty. The leave campaign claim that the UK gets bossed around by Brussel’s, however since 1999 the UK has been on the winning side of decisions 2466 compared to being outvoted just 56 times (just 2.27% of decisions). Although some UK laws are made in Brussels and other member states can force through laws against the UK’s wishes, this is rarely the case. Even so, Britain retains a veto in many important areas and additionally Cameron’s EU deal allows national parliaments to block EU legislation.

Immigration. As mentioned in a previous post, most peoples concerns over immigration are shown to be wrong as in total EU migration helps to benefit the UK economy. However, as I am from the East Midlands I understand many concerns as I have seen first hand ghettos forming within this country, driving out many UK natives as they are being ‘overrun’. Nevertheless, I believe the free movement of people within the EU and being part of this would be better for the UK.

Trade. Currently, as a member of the EU we can trade freely with other member states, with around half of the UK’s overseas trade with Europe. If we were to leave the EU, it is likely this trade would reduce, causing some firms to struggle and the likely result is higher unemployment. The leave campaign points to other countries which trade freely with the EU without being a member state, for example the Swiss model. However, such a transformation for the UK not guaranteed as trade deals cannot be made overnight and there are many risks that high EU trade barriers could become a problem for UK export industries. Not forgetting likely higher prices for imported goods, reducing overall consumer welfare. So there is too much uncertainty for trade if we were to leave for my liking.

Uncertainty. In this run up to the referendum uncertainty is high. Will we leave? What happens if there is a Brexit? What will the future hold? Simple economics can tell you that uncertainty can lead to a slowing economy through a fall in spending and investment as no one really knows what will happen in the future. Q2 growth in the UK is expected to fall to 0.2% from 0.4% in Q1 due to the uncertainty of the referendum result. If we vote to leave the EU, the future will be uncertain, it is likely that growth will slow further. This link http://www.ft.com/cms/s/2/0260242c-370b-11e6-9a05-82a9b15a8ee7.html#axzz4CDpif0Pv gives an excellent explanation of the possible consequences a Brexit might have.

Therefore, while I have not covered every possible topic up for debate in this referendum, I hope I have provided a clearer understanding as to the reasons why some people want to leave or stay in the EU. The only thing that we know is that the future is uncertain, whether we leave or stay with high political pressure on both sides. In my view, we should stay in the European Union as we gain more from it than we contribute and the future if we leave is uncertain with many promises that will be broken from the leave campaign.

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