In, Out, Shake It All About – The Referendum
You may have heard that there is a referendum coming up soon about whether the country should remain in the European Union or to leave and go it alone. It’s been in the news constantly for some time and a lot of people are still uncertain as to which way to vote.
The personalities on both sides of the argument have been criticised by members of the public, by journalists, and naturally by those of the opposing viewpoint. The methods of putting their viewpoint across has not been popular with the voters and haven’t helped people to decide in this very important crossroads for the nation.
The facts about Europe
- There are 28 countries in the EU, 19 of those have the Euro as their shared currency.
- The last referendum was in 1975 where 67% voted to stay in the European Community (The Common Market) as it was called then. The EU has transformed massively from what was ‘on the table’ 41 years ago. The world as a whole has also changed. Our country has certainly changed from the state the nation was in during the mid 1970s.
- 25,848,654 voted in that referendum, of which 17,378, 581 voted IN –
- The turnout in 1975 was 48.2% but turnout for major elections have improved since then. The 2015 election turnout was 66.1%. Voters do appear interested in taking part in this referendum, and whilst many people are turned off by politics as a whole, the interest is there for this topic.
- Greenland are the only other country to have left the EU. They left in 1985 and they felt they had a better deal after leaving. Their country only has a population of 56,000 though, so has a very different scenario from our nation.
The arguments for in and out
The Remain campaign say…
- Britain gets a big boost from being in the EU
- It is easier selling to other EU countries
- The young migrants from European countries are keen to work, and people are able to come here
- Being in the EU fuels economic growth for the country
- Britain’s status in the world would be damaged if we leave
- It is easier to move money and products around the world, as well as people moving around
The Leave campaign say…
- Britain is held back by the EU – too many rules for business, they charge £bns for little in return
- Britain should be able to take full control of its borders
- They want to reduce the number of people coming to work here
- The idea of an ‘ever closer union’ and move towards a US of Europe is not wanted
- They would welcome a reduction in red tape for business, and will be able to negotiate their own deals with other countries in the world
What happens if the nation votes to leave?
If the country votes to leave, the country would then review the EU laws that have been passed and then decide which ones they want to keep, which ones to scrap, and which ones to seek to write their own ‘British’ version.
Agreements would need to be made with other countries as to what arrangements they would have with a post-EU Great Britain. This may take a long time to conduct and no one knows whether we would get a better deal or a worse deal from those countries. It may free up new opportunities to deal with other countries where we didn’t previously.
How have the two sides conducted themselves so far?
Not well at all!
There has been a lot of talk from both sides that have involved the use of words such as ‘could’, ‘may’, ‘might’, ‘possibly’ among others. These modal verbs express the possibility of the action and that the action described is not certain. Examples of these are rife in the headlines each day, and the use of these modal verbs are often how people portray a risk of something happening, hoping for the fear factor to be brought in and for the reader or listener to think the worst when the certainty is far from being known.
There is a distinct lack of addressing the risks and issues that are involved in this debate. Those who are talking about the risks (Remain campaign) if we leave aren’t talking about the issues that are worrying and concerning people. Those who are talking about the issues (Leave campaign) aren’t talking about the risks put to them. I have seen very little from the Remain campaign about what plans should be put in place to deal with issues. Likewise I have seen very little from the Leave campaign about what mitigating actions they would put in place to counteract the risks that are put to them. It is very difficult for voters to come up with a decision based on this approach from the politicians trying to persuade us one way or another.
I would really like to see the nation be able to fix the problems that blight it, either independently or with assistance from the EU. I don’t think it is unfair for the government to be able to help its own population and not to be held back by certain aspects such as not being able to offer tenders to British companies only, or not being able to deport undesirable criminals in a quick and easy way. Britain knows Britain better than Europe knows it. The relationship between the two should be more fluid and involve greater understanding and cooperation between the two.
Whatever way possible, solutions should be identified and the nation should be able to resolve problems without hindrance.
What I would like to see in the rest of the campaigning time
I would like to hear more about what both sides would do to try and boost the British economy by backing ‘Buy British’ campaigns. I really would be pleased if we could move to become a self-sufficient nation that didn’t have to rely on other nations as much as we do currently. To boost our own prospects, we need to boost our home grown industries regardless of whether we are in or out of the European Union. If we remain, then negotiation needs to made to support our own hunger for improving our own destinies.
Phrases such as ‘build a better future’ have turned into political rhetoric rather than an actuality. But the sentiment should be crucial to either side of the argument. We should be building on our strengths, working on our weaknesses, and developing a brighter landscape for those living in this country. Being in or out shouldn’t deflect from our aim to improve the country and to brighten the prospects of the young people growing up.
There are opportunities to come out of this debate, and if only the politicians focused on these positive opportunities rather than just running their opponents down. I would like to see backing for an entrepreneurial approach to developing growth and determining our own prospects by looking to invest in Great Britain.
Overall, I would like to see a large turnout to vote in the referendum. I would like more people to understand the real issues and to look beyond the personalities involved. This is a serious decision that the country is about to take and one where uncertainty can breed opportunity.
Make your mind up which way you are going to vote, and then use your vote wisely.