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Why I Oppose Brexit

062016-Brexit-PollOn Thursday Britain will vote on whether or not to remain in the European Union. This is a vitally significant decision for both Britain and Europe and in my opinion, far more important than a general election. It will have far-reaching consequences that will last generations.

The vote is happening because prime minister David Cameron was stupid enough to promise a referendum on the matter during the general election, though to be fair he thought there was no danger Britain would actually vote to leave the EU – the so-called British Exit or Brexit.

At first, those politicians opposed to Brexit didn’t even campaign for it as they were so sure it wouldn’t happen. Then various opinion polls started showing that more and more people were being persuaded to the Brexit camp and they suddenly had to start speaking up for their cause.

Since the opinion polls started showing that a Brexit was possible the value of the British pound has steadily fallen, giving a consistent indication of what the world financial markets think of the move. Today, with a poll showing that the mood has changed, it has suddenly rallied for the first time in months.

British MP Jo Cox (Source: www.standard.co.uk)

British MP Jo Cox (Source: www.standard.co.uk)

I can’t help thinking that the tragic murder of MP Jo Cox on 16 June has something to do with that change in mood. Cox was a passionate supporter of the Remain campaign, and when the man charged with her murder stood up in court he would only say “My name is death to traitors, freedom for Britain.” It has also come to light that he was a long-time supporter of multiple neo-Nazi, white supremacist, and pro-apartheid groups. That reminded people that many of the people who lead the Brexit campaign, while in no way as extreme as the killer, have similar leanings. To me, one of the more powerful arguments against Brexit was just who was supporting it – people like Nigel Farage (leader of far-right political party UKIP), Donald Trump, and Vladimir Putin.

Today, reader Diana McPherson shared the following video on Facebook. It outlines all the reasons I support Britain remaining in the EU, and is far more entertaining and interesting than me. (Like Diana I’m a bit of a fan of John Oliver, so it’s always good to have an excuse to add a clip from him too!) Make sure you watch it right to the end – his re-writing of the EU anthem is hilarious!

I really hope the British vote to remain in the EU. Imperfect as it is, it’s still an example of multiple countries cooperating for peaceful reasons and the betterment of their citizens. It will be weaker without a country with the size and influence of Britain, and Britain will be the poorer, both economically and socially, without it.

I’m going to stick my neck out and predict that the vote will be to remain, and that the number of supporters will be significantly larger than the polls currently show.

10 Responses to “Why I Oppose Brexit”

  1. GravelInspector-Aidan says:

    I put my postal vote in the mail box several days ago – for Remain, of course.
    Of Irish descent, and remembering great granny Cooke who learned Irish in the “hedge school” – because teaching Irish in the formal school was illegal, and would likely have triggered a visit from the Black’n’Tans with multiple deaths and th village burned to the ground, I’m sympathetic to the idea of small countries having self-determination.
    However, the reality of the last several centuries of history has been against small nations in favour of larger economic units.
    There’s a modest difference between the USA-Canada (~350 million) and Europe (~500 million) ; a larger difference between “the West” and China (~1100 million) or India (~1200 million), both of whose living standards are rising faster than the West’s ; but in either comparison, the UK at ~65 million just doesn’t cut it. (And at ~5 million, Ireland doesn’t either ; but they recognise that. Same for Scotland.)

    • Good on you! As you say, no-one’s pretending the EU is perfect. However, the Brexit campaign seems to be saying that leaving would solve everybody’s problems and make Britain into some sort of Utopia. Except for the rain.

      I haven’t checked, but I believe that there’s very strong support in Scotland to stay in the EU.

  2. Ken says:

    I’m a fan of former Greek finance minister, Yanis Varoufakis, who has also spoken against Brexit. He of course believes that the EU has a huge democracy deficit and that the Eurozone is even worse. He would not have embarked on monetary union without political union first. But now that it is there he believes dismantling it would leave Europe in an even worse position, so feels it must be reformed from within and worries that Brexit would instead lead to disintegration. He also says that it wouldn’t change much for Britain anyway, as the financial sector would not allow them to leave the common market even if they leave the EU. And to take part in the common market, they need to adhere to the same Brussels rules and regulations. Ironically, this includes the free flow of labour, so Britain couldn’t stop internal European immigration either.

    • That point about the common market rules is one the Brexit campaign have been strangely silent on – they know bloody well that their campaign relies in a big way on the amount of anti-immigrant feeling they can engender. However, the Bremain camp hasn’t talked about it either because they know it won’t help their cause.

  3. Ken says:

    Also, I haven’t heard much about what the Scots think, but if Brexit occurs, I predict a UK Scoxit within five years.

    • HaggisForBrains says:

      I don’t claim to speak for Scotland, but for myself I wish that the UK remain in the EU, and that Scotland remain in the UK, for similar philosophical reasons, namely that in the long term it is better for all nation states to seek to work together more closely. Brexit is largely being driven by xenophobia, and as you have pointed out, leaving the EU would not solve the perceived immigration problem anyway (the Brexit campaigners are careful to avoid this aspect). In the run up to the Scottish independence vote, most supporters of the status quo kept a low profile, but voted for the the Union on the day. I hope and believe that a similar scenario will play out tomorrow, helped by the tendency of floating voters to favour the status quo when the crunch comes.

      As you correctly point out, Scotland is generally more pro Europe than England is, although this is partly because the SNP realised when pushing for independence that Scotland alone in the world would be really scary to the voters, and so actively promoted Scotland independent of the UK but within the EU. The SNP are now actively campaigning for a “remain” vote in Scotland, in the fond hope that England will vote “leave”, leaving the SNP with an excuse for another referendum.

      In the words of the Rugby anthem, I hold to the ideal of “A World in Union”. Not in my lifetime, I know, but Brexit for me is a step backwards.
      Cheers,
      Colin.

  4. Lee Knuth says:

    It seems if Trump and Putin are for it, it isn’t in Britain’s best interests to exit.

  5. I’m voting remain. However, though the nonsense and scare mongering on the Remain side isn’t as bad as that for Leave, it’s bad enough.

    Supposed liberals are supporting the EU with anything they can in a quite undemocratic manner. If the British public vote to leave, that’s direct democracy in action – even if in the opinion of many it’s the wrong choice. The point of democracy is to have the public make a choice, not to fix things so they can’t or so that they vote your way for the wrong reasons.

    Some of the latest BS Remain I’ve seen?

    – A picture of a load of Daily Mail headlines, with the claim that this is the reason for Mair’s ‘radicalisation’ – and from the people that post this BS, not a dicky bird about the explicit content of the Quran that is used to radicalise Muslims.

    – Billy Bragg’s BS post of Nigel Farage (I’m not fan of Farage, but FFS) in front of a poster of migrants, pointing out that they are ‘brown’ people. The point is the numbers and the religious-political persuasion of the migrants, not their skin colour – which is coincidental of the region of the world where the political-religion is dominant.

    – The use of the death of Jo Cox as a political tool to demonise Leave, by association with Mair’s xenophobic craziness.

    Right now there are a number of factors:

    Economic – something like a 3% – 5% predicted drop in GDP over some period. This isn’t that much different than typical swings in GDP over the past few decades. Principles outweigh this factor for me.

    Population density – Britain has a far greater density that Germany or France. They would need to absorb changes in population of 13 million, and 81 million respectively.

    Rate of Population Increase – High rates of population increase put pressure on the building of infrastructure: housing, health services. It can take ten or more years to adapt to changes, but a sudden increase in population, and a continued increase over several years, can put strains on services that are already deemed to be inadequate.

    Democratic representation – While no current democracy is perfect ( or can be ) there are aspects of EU power base that are specifically non-representational and need addressing.

    These make a strong case for the Leave side (I note that the term ‘Brexit’ is preferred by the Remain side as this allows them to demonise the Leave side most effectively).

    If you want to weigh up the various factors:

    Economic – You’re selfish self interested, caring more about the short term financial effects. Remains that use this aren’t particularly virtuous in my book.

    Self determination and democracy – Better; and a good case, based on issues of democratic self-determination, population control for the benefit of the current population (whatever their ethnicity or original immigrant status – many previous immigrants support immigration control).

    Long term principles of helping each other towards a better more inclusive future – This is what motivates me. This is why, even though current Leave arguments are strong, I’m prepared to continue down the path of unity and hope we can bring more immigrants to value the secular liberal democracy that gives them the freedom of belief that they might not enjoy under stricter theocratic systems.

    But, we have to face some hard facts. Population increases through large families are not necessary in the modern world, though they might have been crucial in human history when populations were very small. Christian, Islamic and other religions encourage large families, fro both theocratic (anti-birth-control etc) and political (increase the religious belief base). The population increase cannot be sustained indefinitely globally – unless massive efficiencies in production/recycling of resources can be achieved.*

    Of course, this means telling some religious people they aren’t acting in the best interest of their fellow humans, and that’s, well. bigoted, right?

    * The sun provides so much power that with recycling of resources and reduction in CO2 the planet could support many more people – but in the mean time, as we move to that state, we risk planetary inhabitability and the death of humans through the lack of ‘managed’ resources and the climate change that endangers most life. The planet doesn’t give a flying f**k about humans and will go on regardless, in a flourishing biological state or a dead biological state.

  6. Plingar says:

    With all due respect to your views unless you are closely associated with the mood in the UK, particularly England you do not understand the immense groundswell of dislike of the EU and its beaurocratic unelected hierarchy.
    I was born in the UK served in the RAF worked for many years in aerospace and finally left quite recently in my mid fifties sensing the looming disintegration of this fine nation governed by incompetent politicians in the main and disengenuous ones at best and I believe that I am probably much closer to what is happening than you are living in delightfull splendour in New Zealand. No offence intended.
    I am in close contact with family and many friends and and the message I am receiving is not positive for remaining part of the EU. This is a nation with a population approaching 60 million and is at bursting point both for space and resources and suffering the results of the born again Christian one Anthony Blair and his multicultural society, multicultural disaster more likely based on my personal experiences. Recent reports expect the population to exceed 80 million in 30 years. If you have visited the UK recently you will fully understand what this means. To take one simple example, there is not sufficient water resources now to satisfy the current demand let alone a significant increase in demand.
    All of my family and friends are telling us that we took the correct action in leaving and unless something significant occurs to change the current situation we will not be on our own.
    The something significant is seen as regaining control of the nation and whether they are correct or not only time will tell but continuing in this example of multiple countries cooperating for the benefit of its citizens, really! did you follow the Greek financial fiasco? Do you really think the German population is happy being overwhelmed with economic migrants? are these examples of cooperating for the benefit of its citizens? I think not.
    Regardless of the intent of this referendum or its results it will not alter the fact that around fifty percent of the UK nation are deeply unhappy with the current situation and a majority deciding to stay will not alter this.

    • I acknowledge that I cannot have as good a feeling for what’s going on over there as you, but I have noticed the growing major antipathy to the EU. I fully recognize it’s flawed and needs reform. Also, at the moment some of your leading politicians are pretty rubbish and that makes things more difficult too. However, in some ways I think I could be a better judge of what may be the best thing because I’m not caught up in the emotion of the situation and I currently have no close family living there. As I said in the post and elsewhere, there are problems with the EU that need sorting but also “baby” and “bath water” come to mind.

      As you say, it’s important for politicians to recognize once this referendum is over that there are a lot of unhappy people, and they have good reason to feel like that. They should already know that – the election of Jeremy Corbyn as Labour leader was a bit of a pointer, as is the rise of Nigel Farage. Britain does seem to be falling apart in many ways and government isn’t keeping up with the changes in society.

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