The people of Britain are about to have a vote to decide if we should stay in, or to leave the European Union. It is truly the most remarkable opportunity to have our say, but the problem is that the arguments being put forward by the IN and OUT teams are virtually all based on ‘Ifs’ ‘buts’ ‘could’ and ‘possibly’.
There are very few hard and fast facts on offer, and much of the rhetoric is based on the fear of staying or going.
So how does a typical member of the British population make up their mind where to put their cross on June 23rd?
I have a deep concern that most people will go the way of the press and television channels are biased towards. Yes I said they were biased as it is obvious that they have stuck a wet finger in the air and checked which way the wind is blowing. They are in the dark just as much as the rest of us are.
So other than the undecided tossing a coin, what else can we use to make our minds up?
Britain pays around £13 billion to Europe annually, or about £35 million a day. Putting it another way each member of the population pays around £200 a year.
OK, Britain actually gets around £5 billion back in subsidies, help for deprived areas, and investments into research. Most of that money goes to the farmers. They get more than £3.5 billion a year.
Yes we must support our poor farmers….mustn’t we?
Firstly, if we come out of the EU we could still pay subsidies to our farmers. But also we could take away the rules and regulations that the EU have created that force our farmers to grow certain crops and avoid others. In other words we would have the freedom to decide the best ways of producing crops, meat and dairy products to match our needs as much as possible.
Going out on our own might also lead Britain to decide just how many farms and farmers we need, and sadly it might show that we have too many. Let’s be honest, no matter who, is subsidising the farmers, we shouldn’t be paying people who are not necessary.
Thinking in a similar way, the money that we get from the EU to invest into research or helping the less well-off areas of Britain could still be available from the money we are no longer contributing.
And that still leaves £8 billion available.
Now, the economic argument has been the major thrust of the ‘IN’ campaign. They threaten us that we will all be worse off, that prices will rise, that more people will be out of work and nobody in Europe will ever trade with Britain again.
This might be true…but no one actually knows until the decision is made.
Even if the predictions are roughly correct, they might just be temporary effects and we could soon have an economic boost as the dust settles. The difference would be that Britain would be making its own decisions about what it does.
Strangely when David Cameron was busy sorting the EU out a few weeks ago, one of the major thrusts of the changes demanded was about immigration. So far the ‘IN’ campaign has not raised the issue of immigration, and the ‘amazingly successful changes’ that Mr Cameron negotiated have not been used.
To balance my thoughts, the ‘OUT’ campaign has similarly avoided facts about what we might gain by leaving the EU. They are also using the ‘might happen’, and ‘poo pooing’ the economic Armageddon threatened by their adversaries.
What the ‘OUT’ side is very clear about is that Britain would have the power to decide so much more than it does at present. We would have more freedom to make and implement laws. We would return to being the nation of Britain rather than an annoying neighbour on the edge of the European club.
Finally I have a suspicion that many politicians, and business organisation would prefer to stay in the EU because it would be easier to continue the quiet easy life that they have now. If we leave the EU these people are going to be forced to make plans, make decisions, and make investments again to make Britain work. They may not like everything that Europe tells us to do, but it does make their lives simpler while they sit back and enjoy their fantastic salaries while the EU does all the hard work.
I seriously doubt if Britain will sink if we leave the EU.
I cannot believe that all the countries in Europe will refuse to sell us what they produce, and even buy the occasional Land Rover, Jaguar, or some of the amazing engineering products that Britain creates.
Of course one of the major benefits of leaving the EU might be that we could stop taking part in the Eurovision Song Contest. We already know the rest of Europe hates our music and this could be the moment the BBC saves a significant amount of their budget.
Oh dear, now I am suggesting a ‘might’ and ‘could’ in my arguments.
Good luck voters, and don’t believe everything the press and politicians tell you.