by Sam Muir
The daunting and inescapable referendum is looming. On the 23rd June 2016 the fate of Britain in the European Union will be decided. Not only will the results be divisive but the implication of the term referendum is not widespread knowledge. A referendum is where voters choose either “yes” or “no” but regardless of the individuals’ vote, it could potentially be irrelevant. The basis of a referendum ensures it is not legally binding, thus the government can essentially disregard the outcome.
The last referendum was in 1975 when the public voted to stay. Although, after the recent election and UKIP’s cry to leave the EU, the PM David Cameron made the referendum a serious proposition to the British public.
The EU is a political-economic union formed after the Second World War that consists of 28 member states and has seemingly merged to become a “single market”. The theory intrinsic to the formation of the EU is that states, which trade freely between one another are less likely to resort to violence. To aid economic cooperation the EU introduced the Euro, a currency that is shared between 19 of the states to simplify trade.
A prominent reason for many voting to leave is that the EU is held accountable for restraining Britain’s development. The union has imposed a multitude of legislations on businesses and the membership is costing Britons billions with little return. As with a democratic vote there are disagreements with a plethora of sufficient reasons. With the “out” vote comes the necessity for a profitable divorce. Campaigners are looking to follow the “Swiss Model” whereby Britain replicates Switzerland in the sense that it is not a member state but negotiates trade treaties or devises a free trade agreement which allows access to financial services and a respected influence over assigned rules. In terms of affecting the economy the most desirable outcome is a potential 1.6% growth of GDP a year assuming Britain is able to arrange deals that are profitable to the economy. The most intriguing reason for an exit is the subliminally racial drive towards a reduction in immigration. Obviously with an exit from the Union, Britain would regain full control of its borders but is that entirely beneficial?
The benefits for remaining in the EU far outweigh those for leaving. With the immigration example the Office for Budget Responsibility claims the economy, or at least the majority of it relies on migrant labour and taxes paid by immigrants to fund the public services we all access. Leaving the EU would strip Britain of its prominent influence in Brussels, Berlin and Paris, and though Britain would remain in NATO the theory of Britain becoming a maverick state is not so far fetched. However, the most detrimental side effect of departing from the EU is the likelihood of restricted travel. British citizens would have to pay for visas or permits to visit member states. In addition to this, current expats would be considered illegal immigrants and forced into integrative tasks to maintain their citizenship of a foreign state. Currently in excess of 1.2 million Britons live in other EU states and the mass migration back to the UK would cause extreme disruption and an array of socio-economic implications such as an increase in unemployment.
With the exit, a significant amount of migrants would leave the UK and as a result of companies losing cheap labour they would likely outsource the UK and establish HQ elsewhere causing unemployment in the millions, particularly in the financial services sector, which relies heavily on EU legislation. Accompanying this would be an economic crash on a similar scale to the 2008/09 recession and a projected 6.3% to 9.5% reduction in GDP.
To conclude, the options for the referendum the vote to remain strongly overwhelms the exit. Not only would the exit cause a severe economical crash but it would devastate the welfare and wellbeing of Britain’s citizens. The delusion of a “better Britain” is a branch from a Trump-esque ideology and could potentially ruin Britain. Voting day is 23rd June so personally I ask you to consider your vote carefully.