Brexit: Thoughts from someone on the fence…
Not exactly our typical sort of programming, but then again there’s a reason why I renamed from Sargaming.net to SarCrux.com 😉
So the EU Referendum in the UK is merely days away, and as someone who is pretty firmly-ish on the fence I’ve been doing my best over the past few weeks to make my mind up on the issue.
I am leaning towards a Remain vote at this moment in time, but I do have some serious misgivings both ways.
A handful of days before the ~EURef, and I'm still undecided on Leave or Stay.
Leaning 70/30 one way (Stay) atm, but still not 100%
— Sar (@NerdRooted) June 20, 2016
I had a good discussion with @BenTinyShaw on Twitter today about the pros and cons. He’s pro-leave, but not given to the usual histrionics and nay-saying that seems to mar both sides of the campaign lately.
The leave campaign largely seems to be strongly flavoured by racist and xenophobic lot, a la the BNP, UKIP, EDL, Britain First, Rupert Murdoch’s plethora of rags such as The Sun, and in Northern Ireland politics the DUP. All of the above I abhor with a zealous fervour. That’s why it was good to have that discussion today on Twitter with Ben, because there was none of that. Respect.
Admittedly the Remain camp’s campaign has been nothing short of farcical, with ever-increasingly silly claims about what would happen if we left the EU: “Brexit will drive down wages!” “Brexit will drive up prices!” “Brexit will cause massive job losses and unemployment!”
I await someone seriously claiming Brexit would give us all cancer, blot out the sun or eat our babies!
The Arguments For
So my main concern about leaving the EU is this. The SNP in Scotland at the last election absolutely decimated Labour’s voter base. As a result Labour’s share of the overall vote dropped to a point where it may potentially never recover enough for them to win another election. Certainly for this generation at the very least.
That means that the UK will for a good long while at the very least, be for all intents a One Party State, and that One Party is the Conservatives. This is the same Tory party that loves Zero-hours contracts, wants to repeal the Human Rights Act, had to be forced to bring in legislation on maximum working hours, maternity pay, paid annual leave and other various workers’ rights.
If we were to leave the EU, the Tories would have unfettered ability to repeal all of the above legislation, all of which was ushered in by the EU and has improved the lives of working people right across the UK no end. In other words we’d all be back to doffing our flat caps to our Guv’nors again and offering to polish their shoes.
If we’re going to be a Tory-run country for a length of time, I’d hate for them to run the UK without governance from the EU.
It’s this that is my biggest concern, and the main reason I’m leaning towards a Remain vote.
Also consider the fact that Austerity+ would potentially be the de facto economic status for the UK should the Tories remain in power for the foreseeable future, especially outside of any fiscal oversight from the EU. Not something the EU would have a direct say in, but I’d hate to think how hard the Tories would turn the screw should they be allowed…
At the moment with people free to move about the EU at will and work wherever they like, more people move into the UK to work than leave. This increase in net population levels surely has to place increasing strain on our public services, particularly the NHS and benefits systems? The NHS is already at breaking point, thanks to the Tories (again) doing their best to drive it into the ground in an effort to privatise it and have the UK running with a medical system akin to that in the US. And we all know how broken the financing of the medical system is in the US, being as it is an arms race between the insurance companies and the medical industry in ever-burgeoning costs.
$24,000 for an X-Ray? Pull the other one GOP, it’s $6,000 cheaper.
The Argument For
If we did leave, concerns above aside, we would have full control of our borders & immigration policies.
We’d also have full electoral accountability, given that the leadership of the EU itself is unelected and unaccountable for its decisions. We also wouldn’t be subject to some of the dafter laws, such as no straight bananas. A law which is responsible for so much food wastage across the continent that if donated, would probably end the famine situation in Africa.
And again, against
If we did leave, export tariffs into the EU would come into effect, a zone which accounts for 44% of our exports.
Our single biggest trading partner is actually the US, taking about double that of our second largest export market, Germany. And, despite this, given how much we export to the EU I’m skeptical about how hard they’d hit the UK with import/export tariffs if we did leave.
But I really fear for the future of workers’ rights, the NHS and general wages if we left the EU.
So, like you’ve seen, there are plenty of arguments on both sides. But for me, it’s basically like trying to decide between which bucket full of shit you’ll be prepared to eat if forced. Lumpy or runny?
The process of me sitting writing this hasn’t really helped me all that much, but I hope it’s helped you if you’re still fence-sitting!