Why we still need to be in Europe

by Carol Linton on 17 April, 2018

Everyone is getting exasperated with the millions of pounds and civil service resources that are going into the Brexit project  whilst neglecting the urgent problems of the NHS and social care, education and training, transport and infrastructure, defence review, devolution (especially Northern Ireland) and many more.

The European project has perhaps been too successful in creating a union for peace and security, with economic prosperity as a secondary result. It’s not prefect but lots of countries are still keen to join; the East Europeans to gain protection after the fall of the Iron Curtain; the southern countries to benefit from investment into their economies; the UK to avoid political and trading isolation. Look at the benefits that Ireland has gained from being part of the EU. They proudly advertise where investment as enabled development and employment opportunities. The peace after the Northern Irish agreement is dependent on the EU cross border commonality.

As recent events in Syria and Salisbury have proved, we need to work in partnership with others if we are to protect the UK and play a part in world events.

To deal with the common Brexit points:

  • Immigration. We can already limit non-EU immigration (which is over 50% of the total). We don’t because we need their expertise or cheap labour, or because they are family members. The immigration we can’t control is refugees and there we need partners from Europe, US, Russia and others to solve the violent and poverty in Africa and the Middle East. The UK can’t do it alone.
  • Democracy. We are governed by Westminster and the EU parliament. The EU elections are more democratic than the Westminster one (especially the House of Lords). It is the civil service and EU commission that are not elected (thankfully), but they accountable to the parliaments.
  • Red tape. The EU (after discussion with all members including the UK) has led on introducing rules of recycling, overtime limits, energy efficiency, food and environmental safety and data protection. Some rules may not be ideal (such as banning GM crops) but banning 100 hours weeks seems very sensible. To get rules that are good for the UK, we have to take part in the discussions, not sit outside and complain.

Fishing quotas is a good example of the mess that the UK government allowed to happen. Large UK fishermen sold their quotes and now the smaller fishermen have problems. Other countries got involved and stopped this selling of national assets. It’s got little to do with the EU. Are the Brexitters suggesting that these commercial rights are somehow bought /brought back to the UK, and given/sold to some UK company?

With the current uncertainty, financial institutions have no choice but to set up branches in or move to cities in Europe. The regulatory bodies have started to move from the UK, taking science and technological jobs with them. The universities are losing EU funding and Europeans are reluctant to come here for their research. Transport companies are re-routing to avoid the UK. Rotterdam is investing in larger facilities, more parking for delayed trucks and many more customs officers to deal with split from the UK. The car industry is starting to be more open in the necessity to move into Europe.

Since the Referendum, we have dropped from 5th to 8th biggest economy. Our currency is worth 11% less against the Euro (even after recent rises). Crops are rotting in the fields. We are losing NHS staff. Hate crimes have increased. Many people feel unwanted in this country and families have been split. Jobs are moving to Europe, and we haven’t even started the transition period.

I haven’t mentioned the difficulties of getting a deal on leaving Europe. That is all over the main stream media.

Should the UK government interpret the advisory Referendum to mean leaving anything with Europe in the name? Should the lies spread by the illegal campaign donations by billionaires be dictating government policy to the exclusion of all other considerations?

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