7 reasons why you might be voting leave the EU today — and why you might be mistaken.
I have spoken to dozens of people from all walks of life over the past few weeks, many of whom are voting for Britain to leave the EU. The EU is by no means perfect, and there are plenty of good arguments against continued membership. However, it shocked me how many times people were choosing to leave based on assumptions and misinformation, and because of that, Brexit might not lead to the future they imagine.
So here are the seven most common reasons I heard to leave the EU, and why I think you’re mistaken.
If you’re planning on voting out…
1. … because there’s too many immigrants coming to the UK.
I won’t argue about whether immigration is good or bad, instead I’ll cut to the biggest lie that Vote Leave are peddling — that immigration from the EU to the UK will end with Brexit.
Vote Leave are arguing that the UK will join the common market like Norway and Switzerland after Brexit, but on one thing all EU countries are clear: to join the common market, you must accept freedom of movement. That is the case for current EEA members who are not members of the EU, and that will be the case for us. If you look back, you’ll notice that not a single major Vote Leave spokesperson has promised that they will end EU immigration or even reduce immigration substantially. Because they know that they cannot do both that and enter the common market.
2. … because Turkey are joining the EU and will flood the UK with more immigrants.
Joining the EU is a 35 step or “chapter” process, and in 1987 Turkey began step one of that process to join. 27 years later, Turkey has only finished step one. To join the EU, you must meet certain democratic and human rights standards that Turkey does not fulfil right now and will not fulfil for the foreseeable future.
Even if they did meet all of the criteria, new members must be approved by all 28 current members and then their parliaments. So our MPs could easily veto Turkey’s joining if we really wanted to do so.
Another huge block to Turkey joining the EU is the situation in Northern Cyprus. The Turkish occupation of Northern Cyprus is viewed as illegal by the EU, and Cyprus and Greece as member states would be almost certain to veto Turkey’s joining while that situation is ongoing. If they won’t even vote for Turkey in Eurovision, they are certainly not going to vote for Turkey to join the EU.
3. … because the EU is undemocratic.
The main decision making bodies of the EU are the European Parliament, the Council of the European Union, the European Council and the European Commission (side note — the EU are awful at naming things). Of those:
- The European parliament is directly elected by you.
- The Council of the European Union is made up of the ministers of each country in the EU. We indirectly elect our representative by voting for our chosen political parties.
- The European Council is made up of the Heads of State of member states of the EU. Whether I like it or not, we voted for David Cameron.
- The EU Commission is made of representatives appointed by the European Council, who we in turn elected.
I am the first to admit that the EU system is not perfect, but it’s a lie to say we don’t have a voice.
Turnout in the 2014 EU elections was a paltry 35.60% in the UK. Even in our latest general election, turnout was only 66.1%. If you are part of that third who did not vote in the last election, or the near two-thirds who did not vote in the last EU election, then your right to crow about the democracy of the EU is somewhat lessened.
4. … because we spend too much money on the EU.
Enjoy this pie chart:
That is how pie chart of how the taxes of a person making £30,000 were spent in the 2014–15 tax year — £51. Draw your own conclusions. You probably spent more this year on a gym membership you didn’t use.
5. … because we need that money for our NHS/Schools/Pensioners.
For this one, I will agree to a theoretical situation where we really did get back £330m a week after leaving the EU — even though that figure is nonsense. Do you really trust the leaders of the current government or the their likely replacements on the remain campaign with that money? Do you trust it will go to the NHS and not to tax cuts for the wealthiest? Do you trust Boris Johnson to redistribute that money fairly, up and down the British Isles? Brexit isn’t just about leaving the EU — it’s about who gets to make the new rules when we leave. And I feel Michael Gove and company would write rules that are much worse for the average person than those we currently have in the EU.
6. … I’m sick of criminals taking advantage of their human rights.
If I had time or thought you cared, I could write reams on why human rights are brilliant. Instead I’ll tell you that current human rights law and our use of the European Court of Human Rights has exactly nothing to do with the EU. We joined the ECHR in 1959, before we joined the European Union. We would still be a member of it even if we left the European Union.
7. … because what has the EU ever done for me.
I am always reminded of the scene from Monty Python’s Life of Brian were the People’s Front of Judea argue that the Romans have done nothing for them… except for all the things they have done. So without further ado:
- Increased workers’ protection including strengthening labour protections, working hours protection so you must be paid overtime if you work more than 48 hours a week, extending number of holiday days, and protecting maternity, paternity and sick pay.
- Increased consumer protection — one example is extending the warranties on electrical goods to four years. So don’t listen to the Apple Geniuses when they try and sell you AppleCare — you get it for free from the EU.
- Ending roaming charges so you aren’t ripped off when you travel abroad
- Flight delay compensation, for when Ryanair lets you down (again)
- Clear food labelling, saving the life of people with allergies
- Free healthcare when you travel in Europe
- Ability to travel, live and work across Europe
- Cleaner air, beaches and rivers
- Cross-border policing
- Bankers’ bonuses cap
- Regional funding to revitalise cities like Liverpool (where I’m from)
The list goes on and on and on. The EU, in a myriad of tiny ways you don’t always notice, helps make your life better. That’s the beauty of the EU, but also to its detriment — you won’t realise all it gives you until its gone.
I truly believe that voting remain is the right choice, and I still believe in the power of an old-fashion debate on the issues. So feel free to message me on Facebook or tweet me @unachance if you have any other questions on the EU — whether you agree, disagree or are still undecided. Just whatever you do, in or out, get out there and vote.