So the posturing and career enhancement has begun. All sorts of venal weasels have emerged from the political undergrowth to bloviate (Look it up) without actually offering the British people an objective picture of how things actually work outside of the bizarre rhetoric. So, here is an ordinary person’s rough guide to some of the issues being discussed.
We pay money to be a member. 0.7% of national income, and 0.3% of VAT.
We pay more in than we get out. But for every pound more that we contribute than we receive, we get a rebate of 66 pence. It is true that if we leave we won’t have to pay, but it’s a bit like saying, “Hey darling, I’ve stopped the papers and with the money we’ll save, I’ve bought a Ferrari now.” It is all kinds of crazy to think we’d suddenly have a pot of money to spend.
We are subject to EU law. Um, no. Categorically not. There are EU directives which are incorporated into domestic law, which we have input on before they are passed. There are EU Regulations which come into immediate effect. An example would be the harmonization of divorce proceedings which determined that the jurisdiction in which a divorce is filed, is the jurisdiction which applies. (In Sweden you don’t need to cite grounds, in Malta it’s only just become legal) Except that it doesn’t apply to Britain. Because we exercised our option to opt out. Our (UK) elected representatives didn’t tell you they opted out. They didn’t want you to worry.
We can trade independently. Yes. And to trade with EU countries, we pay to do so, and have to sign up to EU legislation. Without getting to have a say in the drafting. But we’d be sovereign in that. We would then be competing with the BRIC countries and the US. (BRIC is the 4 advanced economies, Brazil, Russia, India and China) so that’ll be okay then. We have never upset any of them, historically. Incidentally, UKIP suggested trading with commonwealth states. We trade more with Ireland than all the Commonwealth nations (aside from India) put together.
We’ll have control over our borders. Well, yes. We will. No reason to suppose people will stop traveling. But perhaps a new wave of apprenticeships will recruit enough staff to adequately cover points of entry. Except apprenticeships are currently funded by EU money. But on the other hand, we won’t be paying the EU except to trade, so the 6 kids we could afford will be able to handle it.
By now you’ll have worked out that I am strongly against leaving. Historically we have a role to play in mediating and mitigating the effect of larger nation states. Of adapting and of being coy about our genius for compromise. I am also unpersuaded by the poor arguments of the OUT campaign. They are either misleading or untrue, and usually made by people you wouldn’t want to leave your kids with for 10 minutes.
Maybe there is a strong argument to leave, it just hasn’t yet been made. Incidentally, and to round off this is the legacy of our relationship with the European court. The UK government loses because its arguments aren’t good enough. The UK government wanted a qualifying period of service before someone got paid holiday. The European court summed up by saying “eveyone will be put on 3 month rolling contracts and never qualify”. So much for our ‘best interests. Similarly. The UK was ruled against on the right to vote for prisoners. That was years ago. We couldn’t mount a convincing ‘law and order’ argument. We have yet to see the effect of the judicial activism BoJo spoke of. Except the judges serve the interests of the people of Europe far more than any professional politician ever has.