Should Britain leave the EU?

Britain and the EU

Should we stay, or should we go?

Should the United Kingdom remain a part of the European union or should we leave? This is worth debating, but the people of Britain need to look at the arguments for or against coolly and logically without the emotional campaigning by people, and a political party (UKIP), who have hijacked the issue.

If we had a referendum now, I must admit that I simply do not know how I would vote. I can see that the U.K. is probably stronger as a part of the E.U. but as well as being British, I regard myself as a World Citizen and do not easily associate with a group of rich countries at the expense of poorer countries throughout the world.

Immigration – a false issue

Britain needs immigration. Here are some of the facts.

  • 26% of doctors are foreign-born.
  • Almost 5.5 million British people live permanently abroad.
  • Immigrants are 60% less likely to claim benefits than British-born people.
  • Between 1995 and 2015, EU immigrants contributed £8.8 billion more than they gained.
  • Studies suggest that immigration has no significant effect on overall employment, or British unemployment.

The British government has the power to control immigration from most of the world. If the European Union has any real meaning then it certainly makes sense that people have freedom of movement within its boundaries. After all, many Britons are enjoying living in France, Spain etc.

Racism

The UKIP party insists that it is not racist, but using the immigration issue as scare tactics does in fact stir up the racism that still exists in the general public. A report published by The Guardian tells us that 30% of people admit to some level of racial prejudice.

Foreign Aid

The Conservative/Liberal Democrat coalition has made the U.K. one of the few developed countries to achieve the target of 0.7% GDP given as aid to developing countries. UKIP have attacked this and wants to slash foreign aid. It is a symptom of the small mindedness of a party which somehow wants to cut Britain off not only from Europe but the rest of the world. This issue would stop me from supporting UKIP and clouds the real issues of possible UK independence from Europe.

The 1975 referendum.

In 1975 we had a referendum with a question, “Do you think the UK should stay in the European Community (Common Market)?” I along with 67% of voters said “YES”. But that was 39 years ago and only those who are now over 60 voted. At some point, the Common Market or the European Community became the European Union and United States style Federalism is taking over and there is the danger, (or the opportunity) of Europe becoming a single state and world power.

The real issues.

Leaving aside the distractions of immigration and silly right-wing statements by individual  UKIP candidates, we need to answer these questions.

  • Do we want an independent United Kingdom rather than be a part of a united Europe?
  • Would Britain be stronger on its own, or have more influence being part of a larger power block?
  • What if the residents of Scotland vote for independence from the United Kingdom and we lose a large part of our cultural inheritance?
  • A lot of the wars over the centuries have been caused by independent European countries. What credence can we place in the argument that European unity prevents wars like these?
  • Does European Unity aid world peace?
  • Does it make sense to have large power blocks in the world? Is it a good thing to have a Europe which can compete with the United States, India and China on the world’s stage?
  • Are we promoting an even larger, “US” At the expense of developing countries, or “THEM”?
  • Would we prefer a Europe of independent countries working together?

My message to UKIP

I, like so many other British people are unsure of the issues involved in staying in, or coming out of the EU. But you are going about it the wrong way. By focusing on immigration you are gaining votes by playing with people’s fears, but you are alienating millions more. It is a sign of weakness to find a group of vulnerable people to blame for our present problems. Instead focus on the real issues involved.

My Message to the main political parties.

Don’t just react to UKIP and allow them to hi-jack the issue. Either come out strongly for staying in Europe or strongly for independence. If that is not possible, forget party politics and left and right Allow divergent views to develop from your members and let’s have a sensible cross-party discussion about the issues involved.

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Comments

  1. Bishop Malcolm says:

    Dear George

    I just noticed your post about a follow on comment by Anonymous ! Please by all means publish it and let us see if we can ‘ reason together ‘.

    Bishop Malcolm

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  2. Bishop Malcolm says:

    1 John 2:15

    ‘Do not love the world nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world.…’

    I think Simon is somewhat confused.

    We are to love the PEOPLE of the world!

    If we really love the world, I mean REALLY love the world, our priority as followers of Jesus must be ‘The Great Commission’. The first and most important part of which is to
    Preach The Gospel.

    Jesus and the Apostles never aligned themselves with the world’s politics!

    Apostolic Blessings
    Bishop Malcolm

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    • Dear Malcolm
      Thanks for tying to put me right. I am sure that you meant well but I found your comments somewhat condescending. As a representative of Jesus here on earth I will continue seeking his kingdom first here on earth and seek the justice which is dear to his heart.
      Blessings
      George

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      • Bishop Malcolm says:

        Dear George,

        I am sorry that you found my comments somewhat condescending, however you did invite them and I merely quoted the WORD OF GOD. I always mean well and I am grateful to you for recognising this. I was not trying to put you right. As I am one of many observers who can understand, the reasons behind the recent rise of UKIP, I thought you were trying to put me right!
        As the leader of a Church of some 8500 believers world-wide with significant poverty relief programmes operating in many Third World Nations, I am well aware of the difficulties that arise. Sometimes it is indeed challenging to see God’s Justice at work. Nevertheless, surely you must agree that the Gospel of Salvation should come first in all our efforts for Him?

        n.b. I am surprised that you allow anonymous comments referring to me by name, from someone who obviously lacks the courage to identify themselves! If they ever find the gumption to tell us who they are, I will answer their criticisms hermeneutically point by point.

        Apostolic Blessings
        Bishop Malcolm

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  3. Difficult issue, isn’t it. Like you, I’m somewhat on the fence. Europe is corrupt, and revolving doors between lobbying organisations in Brussels and EU offices disturb me a lot, but I suspect it’s no more corrupt than the UK government (which has been fighting for Monsanto & Bayer in Europe, against proper safety testing of their products, for instance). I don’t think that the UK would sit very comfortably within a federal Europe though.

    As for UK aid, I’m very sceptical of how the aid budget gets used nowadays. Though I’m all for genuine aid, I fear that some of it is used for training terrorists (so-called “freedom fighters”) and as bribes to push through corporate contracts. Consequently my guess is that cutting the UK aid budget would have minimal impact on real poverty. India doesn’t even want our aid, and we have to persuade them to take it.

    I was briefly a UKIP supporter, they have a few good points, but Nigel Farage & others like Stuart Agnew concern me. I’ve switched to Green, albeit at the complete opposite end of the political spectrum. Caroline Lucas seems to talk more sense than the rest of our MPs put together.

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  4. I enjoyed your observations George. There was much wisdom in what you wrote. I sometimes think that people often vote for who they think will be best for them personally instead of standing back and seeing what may be best for the Country as a whole.

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  5. alan bond says:

    George. Thank you for your interesting article. Like the Bishop I am more concerned about the United States of Europe throwing laws at us (we have a parliament here you know) and the incredible waste in the EU. They have accounts which haven’t been audited for years, and I really think we could use those millions we spend on the EU rather better. I agree with your last ‘issue’ that we need a Europe of individual countries working together which I believe was the original idea of the EU.
    Alan Bond

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  6. Bishop Malcolm says:

    Dear George
    I had no idea you were so politically minded! You are obviously anti UKIP!
    I wonder if you have clearly understood their message?
    Foreign aid that is going to some anti – British countries is clearly ludicrous.
    Which party are you standing for and what is their manifesto?
    I think you are losing sight of the big picture.
    Blessings

    Bishop Malcolm

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    • Dear Malcolm

      The big picture is a world which is crying out for justice. Aid should be aimed at the poor and vulnerable of this world who are not responsible for the policies of their governments. (Incidentally 20 years ago I was chairman of Ash parish council – Lib Dem!)

      Like

      • Bishop Malcolm says:

        Dear George,

        I would challenge the assumptions and sweeping statements that you make in your article. IMHO – UKIP are neither racist nor anti-immigration. They are reflecting the views of many people in this nation who are fed up having the laws that govern the UK being decided in Strasbourg by unelected officials. This is why many are seeking a referendum
        ( As I thought, your interpretation of the ‘big picture’ is World – not Kingdom based.) There will be no justice on this planet until the Lord Jesus Christ returns and places all his enemies under his feet. In the meantime we should be proclaiming the Gospel of Salvation and not concerning ourselves with the distracting politics of fallen man !

        Apostolic Blessings

        Metropolitan Archbishop Dr. Malcolm S Wilson D.div(HC) OCE. OST.

        Like

    • Anonymous says:

      George
      You have written something that is not only balanced but has brought me to realise the true issues at hand within our nation. Thank you, I will now definitely not be backing UKIP in any future elections. imagine if they won the next election!!! we would be ushering in a tyrant that would cripple this nation.

      Malcolm, I find your comments somewhat judgemental and narrow minded. George has tried to stay balanced on the issue. I think just waiting for Jesus to come back and gather up his flock is a waste of the time the Lord has given us here on this wonderful planet, and not biblical either. To say there will be no justice until then is defeatist and lazy we are called to justice.
      Micah 6:8 “He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?”
      Amos 5:24 “But let justice roll down like waters, and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream”
      Proverbs 21:15 “When justice is done, it is a joy to the righteous but terror to evildoers.”
      Isaiah 1:17 “Learn to do good; seek justice, correct oppression; bring justice to the fatherless, plead the widow’s cause.”
      Isaiah 56:1-12 “Thus says the Lord: “Keep justice, and do righteousness, for soon my salvation will come, and my deliverance be revealed. Blessed is the man who does this, and the son of man who holds it fast, who keeps the Sabbath, not profaning it, and keeps his hand from doing any evil.” Let not the foreigner who has joined himself to the Lord say, “The Lord will surely separate me from his people”; and let not the eunuch say, “Behold, I am a dry tree.” For thus says the Lord: “To the eunuchs who keep my Sabbaths, who choose the things that please me and hold fast my covenant, I will give in my house and within my walls a monument and a name better than sons and daughters; I will give them an everlasting name that shall not be cut off.”

      Malcolm, for a ‘man of the cloth’ I am surprised that you speak so condemningly, with the list of qualifications before and after your name, coupled with your comments I am reminded of Luke 20:46-47, you strike me as someone that could be a bit like the Scribes. Be careful how you put things in writing, it’s just not loving.

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      • Dear Anonymous
        I came accross your comments in my WordPress spam folder, but as to why it was identified as spam I do not know, so I have ‘unspammed’ and approved the comment. You obviously share my passion for justice and believe with me that we represent Jesus on earth and can help to bring about his kingdom here on earth.
        Blessings George

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  7. George, from an outsider’s vantage point, I hope they remain. I believe a stronger EU will help make the whole better than sum of the parts. In the US, we have some voices speaking against diversity, but to be frank one of America’s greatest features is our diverse population. Ideas and innovation come out of the intersects of groups of people with diverse skills, perspectives, and vantage points. I think Britain would survive well outside of the EU, but I think it would flourish more as a part of it. There is no question that the EU will be better off with Britain as a part of it. That is my opinion for what it is worth. BTG

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    • Btg. I apogise that was a rather uk orientated article but it is topical right now. The wrong arguments are being used and many just want a sensible discussion. But I guess people vote by emotions and not logically.

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      • George, we in America always vote logically and without emotions. :>) I am chuckling as a write this as everything is made political and logic has little to do with what we do more often than not. BTG

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        • George, I have been reading the comments to understand the points of view. Dan’s comments about relative corruption take me back to a post you did a few months ago. You noted that government corruption stands in the way of helping people out of poverty and is key concern. We have to guard against it everywhere. We have some blatant examples here in the states, then we have the very common example of donors funding candidates, which make the elected official beholden to the donor. It was also noted, almost every Congress member leaves Congress with more wealth than when they came in. Now, how is that possible? Sitting here, I don’t know if the EU is more prone to corruption than the UK leadership. I do know we need to be watchful and guard against it. Great post with great comments, BTG

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