The EU referendum seems to stir a lot of emotion in people. Also, if you happen to air your views on social media, it can lead to some rather vitriolic vilification. Whilst I have tried to portray as balanced an argument as possible (although strictly not necessary as I do not work for the BBC), I still leave myself open to some accusation of an inherent bias in the report. However, this has certainly not been my intention. However, now it is time for me to give the 5 reasons for why I will be voting in the Brexit referendum.
Initially, just as a little disclaimer of my own, I am aware of no vested interests that would benefit from pushing readers either one way or the other.
I hold no adamant view about the prospect of Brexit and in many ways I can understand both sides of the argument. Through compiling my reports I have often found myself wavering in my views depending upon the issue that is being debated. I have though made up my mind and for the avoidance of any significant doubt it is probably best to now lay my own cards on the table.
For me, the argument boils down to economics versus the social impact of immigration. To a certain extent it can be seen as an issue of whether to go with the head (the negative economic impact) or the heart (perceived loss of sovereignty and the social impact of immigration).
Being an analyst I tend to try to weigh arguments with more of a logical viewpoint. So, when I look at the economic arguments of a Brexit which generate such huge uncertainty, this fills me with concern. The fact that no-one knows what the impact could be with any degree of certainty leaves me somewhat sceptical of it being a good idea. Better the devil you know than the devil you don’t… Furthermore, I hold a rather cynical view of politicians and their ability to get the job done in a timely fashion and the concern is that the trade deals could drag on for years to come. Subsequently, the economic argument for a Brexit does not hold any appeal to me.
As for immigration, I do not live in London and the impact on my local schools, public services and housing is less of a pertinent issue for me. Additionally, I do also believe in the benefits that immigration brings for the economy being able to fill the much needed skills shortages. Furthermore, in my experience, EU migrants are far more willing to undertake jobs that UK natives prefer to shun. They are much needed lifeblood of the economy. In an ideal world, perhaps there should be more control of immigration (as Germany has found out with the flood of migrants), but this is not an issue that sufficiently urges me to push for a Brexit.
As for sovereignty, I think the view that Britain would do better on its own is a rather introspective and, to a certain extent, is a backward-looking view. I believe that a Brexit is inherently insular and is more driven by a “Little Englander” perspective than opening up the UK to the rest of the world. Whilst the EU laws and directives can be constrictive, I do not feel this justifies pulling up the drawbridge.
Also, I do not believe that this is the time to be going it alone in the world. Politics away from the centre ground seem to be finding more voice recently. The appeal of Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders in the US and the rise of extremist/nationalist figures/parties such as Marine Le Pen of the Front National in France, Beppe Grillo and the Five Star Movement in Italy, Podemos in Spain and of course the United Kingdom Independence Party in Britain appear to be mounting. In many ways, this does seem to be a response to consistent failings of the established governing bodies to deal with the moribund international economy in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis. However, I do not see any viable alternative that will bring back prosperity and I do not feel it is the time to cut ties with the EU, our largest trading partner.
With religious extremism a very real threat to Europe, I am concerned that security could be compromised following a Brexit. The UK leaving the EU could have a significant domino effect on extremist/anti-establishment parties in Europe gaining momentum. Could it even cause the terminal fracturing of the very fabric of the European Union itself? The EU has been a force for stability across a historically volatile continent and has helped to prevent war from returning to Europe. Its demise is not something that I am interested in contributing my vote towards.
As, I imagine, many other people in the UK are probably feeling, I am disappointed that there are so many politically motivated voices that are clouding an issue that could have a profound impact on the UK for years to come. Wouldn’t it be great if someone gave an honest appraisal rather than what is likely to be resorting to increasing hyperbole in the countdown to the referendum?
So having weighed up as many issues as my limited mind could cope with, I will be ticking my box for Remain in the EU referendum on 23rd June.
I make no urge for you to do the same as me. Hopefully you can weigh up the views for yourself. It is too important a question to be blindly led by someone else. BritaIN or BritOUT? You decide…