It’s the EU referendum. 23rd June.
I firmly believe that despite some onerous EU restrictions, so called loss of sovereignty and the “migrant flood”, we should remain in the EU. I also firmly believe that given the choice, most UK voters are likely to vote to leave the EU.
I’ve worked in scientific research, which was dominated by very smart scientists from every country imaginable. My mentors in this journey have been of European extraction. They are some of the smartest, most well settled individuals. UK currently punches way above it’s weight in terms of population and size when it comes to scientific research and education. In terms of research paper publishing, we are fourth in the World. That is not only because of UK scientists, but because we have been able to provide a nurturing environment for innovation. Yes, some of these are personal experiences and provide anecdotal evidence at best, but most people vote on instinct and personal experiences.
Even if you take the larger policy view however, we should remain the EU. EU – US are negotiating a free trade deal, which we would be frozen out of if we leave. An argument that we could negotiate our own deal doesn’t work because we have far fewer manufacturers and customers when compared to the continent. Also, the classic fable of being able to break one branch against a collection of branches comes to mind. US, with its larger economy could dictate the terms to us but not if we sit at the table with Germany, France and the rest.
The second argument I hear is, the EU is run by bureaucrats. Well, to change the system you need to be within the system. Find a group of countries within the EU-27 that will support you in your claim for greater level of democracy. If you do not put alternative plans forward and only moan, nothing will happen. Also, before we get on the high horse of there being not enough democracy, let’s look at the voter turn out for the EU elections over the last 5 years in the UK. It’s 39%, 35% and 36% in the last 3 elections.
EU allows the UK to punch way above its weight. Contrary to lack of respect to our history and loss of sovereignty, being in the EU makes it more likely that we are given a platform on the World stage. Let’s be real, UK is not as militarily strong as it was 60 years ago, we are not as economically vital to the World as we were 60 years ago and we are not controlling any territory that matters anymore. So before we speak of the Norway model of EU relations, let’s look at Norway’s position on the World stage. The security council of the UN is due for a reform soon where India, Germany, Japan and Brazil are likely to be included. They will also be given a possible veto power, which will mean that UK will count as one-of-nine countries as opposed to one-of-five. Then, we should have a second avenue to go down and make our voice heard and that avenue could be the EU.
Also, EU migration is a two-way street. Who says we can’t go live and work in the EU? If a Bulgarian migrant can come here, work everyday, speak a second language well enough to survive then what exactly is stopping British citizens from going abroad? Okay, wages might be a little low for you to move to Bulgaria but there is Denmark, Belgium, France, Germany, Netherlands, Monaco, Poland, Sweden, Estonia, Finland and countless others you can move to! I’ll tell you why we won’t, because we like our little pond and being the big fish in our little pond. Who wants to bother learning a new language, making an effort to find a job abroad, possibly live in less than ideal conditions for a little while and most of all, adapt in anyway!
The 21st century is dragging us forward with it and we are trying to hold back like a stubborn dog. It’s a fight we can only lose if we win.