Fear is such a strong emotion. Every fear has its ying and a yang – agoraphobia – the fear of open spaces / claustrophobia – the fear of enclosed spaces. Fear should not be a way to persuade opinion, if that happened in the playground it would rightly be described as bullying.
It is sad then, but no surprise, that the respective sides in the European Referendum debate are already resorting to such tactics. No surprise because it worked so readily in the last general election. Is the vote going to hinge on the side able to bully enough votes their way?
I also use the word ‘debate’ tentatively, because, genuine debate requires some facts to be expressed to be discussed. So far little has come out in the way of facts. Facts are positions that no side are able to repudiate.
For every expert telling us the world will end if we leave EU there is an equal number of experts telling us the world will be a better place.
Those fears are of course real.
If we leave, will the financial implications be catastrophic? No one knows, there are lots of opinions and these can be picked apart by both sides to prove their stance. No one knows if Germany will stop us exporting to them but does anyone really anticipate the euro zone wanting to enter a trade war?
If we stay, will the pressures on immigration get to great? No one knows if Turkey will join the EU adding another potential 74 million free to set up home here. We do know from, available figures, that against all predictions, the influx from Romania and Bulgaria is around 300,000. That is a city the size of Bradford.
We were told by many of those experts joining the Euro would be in the best interests of this country. The IMF argued hard for us to join – they are now arguing we should remain in the EU. Were the wrong on the euro?
David Cameron is quick to point out we are not in the Euro and never will be – it appears to be one thing both sides of the debate agree on. Has the Euro been a success and has it seen real growth or is stumbling along waiting for the next Greek tragedy?
Euro – success or failure?
The ‘Schengen Agreement’ was signed in June 1985 and taken into EU law in 1999 – it allows for visa free travel within the boundaries of the area. Two countries opted out – the United Kingdom and Ireland. Any new country joining the EU has to legally join the ‘Schengen’ area.
Much is made of the migrant crises, and rightly so, it is a humanitarian disgrace on all parties. Does Schengen help or hinder this situation? Post Schengen the migrants would have had to cross at least four borders before ever entering France, now it is just one.
Would the camps in Calais even exist if it was not for Schengen?
Once they are inside the EU and have an EU passport they are free to set up home here.
This in itself gives the migrants some false hope that once in the EU they will be looked after by someone. False hope solves nothing.
The EU response to this tragedy is at the core of its inability to get anything done when you are trying to balance the needs and opinions of twenty eight different countries. While Germany has adopted an open door policy – others are closing their borders.
Free movement is a wonderful aim, does it help with the security of anyone?
David Cameron again is quick to point out that we are not part of Schengen, is this because it has been such a successful experiment, or because it has been a complete failure?
Schengen – success or failure?
Two thirds of the core experimentation in closer union failed. What makes anyone think the other third, the part we are been asked to remain in, ever closer Union, has been a success.
Staying in gives us the opportunity to reform from within – this has been stated by both David Cameron and Jeremy Corbyn, but is there the appetite for the EU to change – where is the evidence to back up the claim?
In February this year David Cameron sat round a table for over 30 hours with the other leaders of the EU. The aim was to thrash out a ‘better deal’ for Britain. Regardless if the deal is good or bad, why at a time when Macedonia and Austria were closing their borders and putting up barbed wire, did 28 world leaders find 30 hours to discuss what benefits could and should be paid to who in what time frame?
Does this one act define how inept the EU is at getting anything done? Or did the leaders want a piece of paper for David Cameron to wave in order for us to vote to stay in because they need us?
We do know the referendum in June 1975 had the following question on the ballot paper: ‘Do you think that the United Kingdom should remain part of the European Community (the Common Market)’
Supporters of the no campaign at the time were drawn from all political parties, with such notable names as Tony Benn fervently against remaining. He predicted and argued at the time, the ‘project’ of a ‘common market’ would lead to ‘ever closer political union’.
The voters at the time were told he was wrong, the aim of the European Common Market was to bring together like minded countries to be able to trade freely.
The ‘Treaty of Lisbon’, initially known as the ‘Reform Treaty’, signed in 2007 and coming into force on 1st December 2009 formed the constitutional basis for a European Union.
They even changed the name to the European Union.
Britain signed up to this treaty – without the promised referendum and by its very signature signed up to been part of the European Union.
Does the name of an organisation reflect its intentions or is it just a name. In 1975 there appeared to be a clear aim towards a ‘Common Market’, it said so on the ballot paper, is this still the case or is Tony Benn’s opinion of ‘ever closer political union’ reflected in the name change to European UNION.
David Cameron is very keen at every opportunity to tell us this country has a ‘veto’ and ‘opt out clauses’. This is something he tells us he is ‘proud of’ so if the EU is such a good deal for us why do we require either a veto or any opt outs.
Surely if you join a democratic organisation you have to take the good with the bad, there should be no place for ‘veto’s’.
If David Cameron, or any other ‘yes’ campaigner is so keen for this country to be able to set its own agenda by using the veto, then surely the best veto we have is to vote ‘no’ and exercise our ‘opt out clause’ for good.
The EU parliament moves from Brussels to Strasbourg once a month for a four day sitting. The cost estimated (estimated because no one really knows) is around £93 million a year. The EU has given Turkey £2.2 million to ‘solve the migrant crises’.
How much would £93 million solve?
You may ask why can’t they just stop this stupidity and save the £93 million. The EU parliament did just that voting to stop the nonsense.
Why then does is still go on? The French Government has a ‘veto’ and their parliament voted to block the decision – is this democracy in action?
So where can we look to get some facts?
History is always a good place, we do not have to be jingoistic; the defeat of the Nazi’s was as much a victory for the people of Germany as it was for us and the rest of Europe.
However we should not be shy or ashamed that this country was prepared to stand up and be counted. We have shown the world that we are prepared to fight for the good of others and for the fellow Europeans.
If we choose to leave the EU it does not make us bad people or bad Europeans.
We should not be apologetic about our place in the world and the impact such a tiny nation has had. The rights and wrongs of the empire are a different debate but the Commonwealth is real and an organisation we are restricted in trading with because of the EU.
We have produced many great inventors, sports people and even politicians. Most of the facts looked up in today’s world are done so via the net – invented by a Brit.
History tells us that we have not done so bad over the past 1000 plus years.
We have stable government and are one the most multi-cultural countries in the world.
Why would any of this alter if we as a country choose to retake, peacefully, democracy back into our own hands on June 23rd?
So in the absence of any facts entering the debate will your decision on June 23rd end up being based on what you fear the most?
I find it profoundly sad if this is the case that such a massive decision will distil down to fear.
I just want a country where the general election actually makes a difference. I find it absurd that the Prime Minister and the man that wants to be Prime Minister think so little of that great office they are prepared to campaign in order to see power drain to an unelected unaccountable unworkable EU.
This experiment in social manipulation has not worked and there is little fear it ever will.
You might have guessed I am voting no.
Fear should not play a part – I think the fact is this country is able to stand in the world and be proud.