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.
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.
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.