EU Referendum – Go on Then

June 10, 2016 at 2:07 pm (Politics) ()

Meh.  That was my original thought on the referendum a few months ago.  It’s not the end of the world either way.

Eleven years ago I started working for a Conservative MP and received in the post a banner sticker which I put over my desk “Love Europe, Hate the EU”.  As part of my A-Levels and University studies of Politics I had a lot of knowledge of how the EU operates and I was very against the lack of democratic oversight, the bloated bearucracy and the generally poor efficeincy of how the system was run.

Over the years though I have become horribly middle of the road on so many issues.  I hate reactionary baseless opinions and feel I need to challenge them. As a teacher I felt it was important to always be able to point out the other side of an argument and so I have found myself torn on many issues because I can see both sides. Decisions in politics are not easy and anyone who dismisses them as such has not given them due consideration.

But OMG the brexiteers or the leave camp or whatever you want to call them are just being so goddamn obnoxious!! So far as I can tell at best their argument is sovereignty.  Well guess what.  Parliament is, and always will be sovereign.  When we don’t like EU law we fight it tooth and nail.  Look at our opt out of the social charter from Maastricht in 1992, or our refusal to join the Euro zone or our opt out of the Schengen Area. Further reading if you want all the ins and outs (literally)

Of course their worst argument is “eeeewww foreigners”.  Frankly I do not have time for racism, casual racism or unintentional racism.  We live on one planet.  There are bad people and there are good people.  There are people who respect our customs and those who don’t. Where they were born frankly has sod all to do with that. Factually migration is good for us.  End of.  Get over it.  Don’t believe me?  Well the Guardian says so and that won’t surprise you but so does the Telegraph – albeit begrudgingly.

So lets go back to what my younger self has as reservations about the EU…. Is leaving going to change the way the EU is run? Probably not.  Is staying in going to change the way the EU is run? Nobody knows. Does the way the EU is run outweigh the benefits we get from being in the EU?  Well since there is no real way to quantify any of those things who knows. There are reforms that are needed, there is in fact an excellent report by Vernon Bogdanor (a god in political academic circles) explaining exactly how it could be tightened up.

The fact is the obnoxious nature of the public face of those in favour of leaving the EU is enough to make me vote to stay in.  No strong case has been made for leaving and as an erstwhile conservative I like to stick with the status quo rather than risk unpredictable radical change.  So if you want my advise on how to vote, vote remain, but more importantly – VOTE.  This is going to be a landmark decision in British politics and is probably the most important referendum of our lifetime so make sure you do vote so you don’t regret not having a say.

P.S. Anyone starts talking bollocks about human rights please just repeat after me – the European Convention on Human Rights predates, and is separate from, the European Union and our commitment to support it through the Human Rights Act 1998 will not be changed by leaving the EU.  And while the EU does have a set of rights similar which are enshrined in EU law, guess what?  The UK opted out of that as well.

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