So, I thought I'd bumble in with my two Euros (GBP 1.58) worth...
I was going to write a comment, which one would hope would be a reasonably concise reply, but this spiralled somewhat out of control, and became ridiculously long-winded and rather inappropriate as a Facebook timeline sized response.
First of all, for context, here's the article:
And now - based on that - here are a few things that I'm not sure are really the best things for the UK:
First of all I don't think sovereignty is such a hot idea, especially considering the way our government likes to help the most vulnerable at present, having more autonomy to do what it likes - seeing as it already chooses to largely ignore the judgments upon how we're pushing our luck regarding human rights - is something I'd be very worried about.
I do believe there should be devolved decision making, but I think that should be councils within the UK rather than the UK outside of the EU, which I doubt really troubles itself with how Norwich is spending its housing budget (which I imagine is already pretty miniscule at best).
Secondly, this "meaningful immigration target" seems to springboard off of a bizarre fear that we're full, when we're not, most definitely not, and we can and should open up for more immigration.
Also, how would leaving the EU impact the 2.2 million ex-pat Brits living abroad? Not to mention free movement in the EU in general, whilst I'm sure deals could be worked out I think the British passport would lose a lot of its power, it's incredible now how free we are to travel (though personally I think everyone should be freer - is that a word?!), but I imagine Visa costs would leap up a great deal; making living, working, studying abroad very difficult for many people, and all people deserve the right to move freely, that is something we should be moving towards, not tighter restrictions on movement.
Thirdly, focusing attention on small firms and ordinary workers? Is this article also proposing that we overthrow the government at the same time as we leave the EU? If so, then I've changed my mind, I'm all for leaving the EU... If leaving means we can start paying an *actual* living wage, not demonising and attacking Unions who already focus their attention on ordinary workers rights, whilst also taxing big business an appropriate amount, cracking down on those who avoid tax (using loopholes that big business have usually helped create), making sure all businesses & individuals have domiciled status (no nom dom status), providing more stability and better conditions to freelance workers, getting rid of things like workfare, maybe even instigating a Universal Basic Income (UBI)? Anyway, there's so much more I could list there, but I'm already going on a bit too much.
However, far seperated from this within the article is the mention that we'd be globally competitive by having "low taxes for firms to succeed", hmm? That doesn't sound so good to me, considering how tax and business already stand.
Then if one is going to devolve the EU argument down to youth unemployment then I think it's important to realise that no matter what you do there will never be enough work for everyone willing and able to work, there are too many people and the nature of work has changed, sure, we could continually invent redundant roles like "marketing executive" to give to everybody, but what would be the point of that? A different solution *cough* UBI *cough* needs to be found *cough* UBI *cough* to address mass unemployment.
I agree that, if we were to leave the EU, the money we wouldn't be spending on the EU should go into funding our public services, though I'd stress that this should mean halting the privitisation of the NHS as a top priority, but, for some reason, I doubt that'd be exactly what the incumbent government would have at the top of their list. I mean we should already make funding our public services a priority, over things like, umm, Trident for example...
So, with that in mind, it's important to frame the EU in/out debate with the caveat of "How are the Tories going to handle this and will it be good for society?" and, considering how good they are for the vulnerable at the moment, I don't think they'd handle this with a lot of people's best interests at heart.
I think there are some rather fantastical elements within this article, especially with regards to how migration supresses worker's rights and adds pressure on housing and public services. I think that's nonsense, and in an earlier sentence suggesting that the "opportunity to safeguard worker's rights" should be "ultimately determined by Parliament" is vey troubling, considering the erosion of worker's rights, housing and public services already being enacted by the current government.
Anyway, that's my rather lengthy response to the article, and I know that's more reactive than constructive, but I guess - if you'd like to know a few of my reasons for staying (and negotiating for a better EU, because I don't believe the EU is perfect, but then the alternative isn't either) I'd briefly summarise them as:
- Trade gains outweigh expenditure
- Free travel / UK passport = amazeballs
- Without the EU I think the UK's illusion of global importance would be eroded (not by us, but by other countries - here's what the Global Times said about us in 2013: "The Cameron administration should acknowledge that the UK is not a big power in the eyes of the Chinese. It is just an old European country apt for travel and study.")
- And I think - for all its flaws - it's better to try and move towards a world that attempts to work together rather than one that strops off and says "I can do this better on my own", which is a sort of naive way of putting it, but I've already gone on for far too long!
Well, as you can tell that was probably rather an inappropriate length for a Facebook-sized debate. Hence this blog, which I hope is interesting to anyone who might wind up here.
It's nice to try and articulate one's thoughts on something like the EU debate, and, hopefully start a conversation where my points and ideas can be challenged too!
Ultimately, I think there's some use of imagery in this article that feeds upon fears and - oddly - a distrust of the Establishment (the use of the term "bureaucrats in Brussels"), when it would be a Tory Establishment dictating any future for the UK sans EU.
To borrow an image from the article, it says the EU is like the Titanic - and it illustrates this with a still from the 1997 film - I'd say that the EU is potentially more like the film Titanic. Something fraught with production troubles, exponential expenditure, naysayers and competing creative voices, and then - ultimately - beyond all expectations, one of the most successful films of all time.