In out, in out.
Britain and the EU
On June 23 this year the people of the United Kingdom and Gibraltar will have the the chance to vote in a referendum on whether they wish to remain as members of the European Union.
The debate has started, and it is not easy to sort out.
The remain people are accusing the out group, dubbed brexit by the press, of lying about the EU.
The brexitters are accusing the remain campaign of lying.
But whilst both cannot be false, one of them is lying, possibly both are.
Whichever way the vote goes about half of the people of the UK and Gibralter will be disappointed. The day of the vote will not be the day the hurling of insults stops, but something has to be done, someone will have to step into the breach as mediator between two groups when some politicians, will be doing the political equivalent of shouting “Ner ner ner,” at the other side. You thing we are governed by adults? Just wait and see.
Money is one of the sticking points. The leave campaign is saying that we contribute a lot of money. The implication is that we will be better off by billions of Euros if we leave.
The remain people talk about the EU subsidies. “Look at what the Europeans have done for us.”
The truth is between the two. What we actually contribute is per capita the lowest in the EC. our net per capita contribution is about €60 p.a. Not a lot in tax terms, as those who pay most tax contribute most.
Financially we will not have to pay but we will lose the subsidies. We will not gain much at all from an exit. If we leave the subsidies, which go to financially vulnerable people such as Welsh hill farmers, will go. The UK domestic policy does not tend to support such people. It is ironic that to follow the lead of the remain campaign, which is being led by Prime Minister David Cameron and Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne is that some vulnerable groups will have protection from the financial policies of Cameron and Osborne.
Mark Carney, the governor of the Bank of England, joined the debate last month saying that an EU exit would be bad for the economy in the short term as EU membership makes the UK economy more dynamic, but that the long term effects were unknown.
So as far as the UK domestic policy goes, there does not seem to be a lot in it whether we stay in the EU or leave.
Although there is not a lot to go on domestically, when I look at what the UK being in the EU means internationally things look different as the question moves from what we get from being in the EU to who we can help.
The EU would be stronger with the UK involved. Our membership is better for Europe.
President Obama of the USA has said he would prefer to deal with the UK in the EU than out, but he is coming to the end of his maximum 8 year term, so this cannot be seen as a conclusive reason to stay.
The International Monetary Fund have got involved. They say that Britain existing the EU would be severe damage to the global economy.
There is only one argument I have heard that I dismiss out of hand, and that is the one that says that large federations of countries always end in breaking up. They cite the breakup of the Warsaw Pact countries after only 45 years as evidence.
But what of the USA? Has any state left the union since it started?
Is it inevitable that federations break up? Some do, but some don’t. It is a non argument.
There are two questions here. What we get out of the EC and what we can contribute. I think that any arguments based on what we get alone are at best selfish, a balanced approach is needed.
As the domestic arguments are not determined, the balance, as I see it, are left with the international arguments. Which I believe point closer to stay than leave.
But whatever we conclude and vote for, we have to treat the views of those with other views with respect.
Since I started writing this the names of the two campaign groups have been revealed. They are:
Britain stronger in Europe