To Brexit or not to Brexit, whether Cameron is cutting it, or Boris is blowing it. How can we know?
By and large our media is Eurosceptic, dominated as it is by Murdoch. It is difficult to understand how the media can play it's role as the "fourth estate" in providing one of the checks and balances to our democracy when we allow it to be foreign controlled and dominated by an individual.
Should we be in or out of the EU that is the question we are being asked to answer.
The "outers" tell us many things, but, do they all stack?
The "stayers" preach death and mayhem if we leave, but, is this true?
As with any argument, there are rights and wrongs on both sides.
If we consider the main argument of the "outers"
Leaving will give us back our sovereignty, control over our destiny.and everything will be wine and roses. We will get control over our borders and resolve the migration issue. Our markets will expand, as we will not be constrained by the EU.
Taking the last point first, we are not constrained by the EU in any way, we are free to trade where ever we please and indeed to enter into agreements with other countries without reference to the EU. Please tell me how Brexit is going to expand our markets, when we are already free to do as we please?
The migration issue, here we need to be clear about what we mean.If we are talking about citizens of the EU, then we should look at those on benefits rather than the total number, for those who are working are indeed contributing to the very wealth of the UK. There are remedies within our control for those on benefits, as we have been told many times … it is within our hands to change our benefits system to one that is contribution based rather than a simple entitlement. If we are arguing that members of the EU are taking away jobs from our citizens then indeed we need to look closely at ourselves … do we have enough people qualified, capable and willing to do those jobs?
The question of Sovereignty is even muddier. Here our complaint is that the European Court of Human Rights can overrule legislation of our parliament. This exists because we subscribe to the Europen Convention on Human rights. If we Brexit we would need to put in place our own Human Rights Act and undoubtedly a court with the power to overrule a Government Act of Parliament.
I cannot see a real difference … the European Convention was largely drafted by British lawyers and British Judges have sat in that court making judgements. Are they going to be any less honest in applying our own law?
So please tell me, dear "outers", what is going to change?
The "stayers" tell us the world will fall apart if we leave the EU. That there will be the loss of millions of jobs, that we will be besieged by millions of migrants. Again I ask what is the truth in all this?
Very little I am afraid!
Even with Brexit trade will carry on as before. The talk of job losses as a result of leaving, is basically plain piffle. The disadvantage to us will be in the longer term, to trade with Europe we will still have to conform with the "directives" of the European Commission … but we will no longer have a say or input into those market regulations.
Our Financial Services industry will no longer be protected by the EU and we may find that in failing to adopt their regulations we slowly get frozen out. Currently we are exempted from much of the EU regulation in financial markets. However much will carry on as before, as the EU will not be wanting to start a trade war, but they could limit our access to their financial markets on the grounds that we are not part of their regulatory regime.
On the migration issue we will no longer be protected by the Dublin Agreement which effectively places the burden on Italy and Greece. However, even if we stay in the EU, the Dublin Agreement will fall away as it basically denies a right granted by the United Nations for any person seeking assylum to have the right to do so in the country of his choice. Whether we like it or not the migrant issue will be with us for the forseeable future, whether we Brexit or not.
From what I have said there is no clear case for either side, so let me tell you why I will be voting to stay in the EU.
Let me start with a quote from FW de Klerk former President of South Africa on celebrating his 80th birthday.
" The climax of my presidency came on 10 May 1994 on the day that I ceased to be President. I felt fulfilled because I had relinquished power – not to Nelson Mandela or the ANC – but to a new dispensation in which the Constitution and the Rule of Law – and not the government of the day – would be supreme."
The speach is well worth reading in it's entirity and can be found here
While we are rightfully proud of our long history of "Democracy", we need to recognise that there are flaws, particularly in the way that parliament is not truly representative of the people, we say that our way as opposed to a proportional represention system gives us a strong government. However a strong government carries risks, it resulted in apartheid South Africa for example, even Nazi Germany was a result of strong government.
There are very few checks and balances in our system. Although we have a free press we have allowed it to be dominated by a person, which has in turn created some unhealthy relationships between various recent governments and the Murdoch Empire.
If the House of Lords attempts to keep the government in check, then the government is capable of stacking the House of Lords to ensure it gets it's way.
We have no guarantees that a future Prime Minister, or indeed political party, may not become so enamoured with an ideology that he takes the country down a path to self destruction.
Look at recent history Tony Blair was and is a flawed person … he had to use lies in Parliament to get his way … and get his way he did, in spite of a vast majority of the British people being against the Iraq invasion of 2002. Or Gordon Brown so wound up with the ideology that unregulated free markets led only to riches. Or George Osborne with his fanatical belief in Austerity. Yes, government should always be prudent about expenditure and cut it's suit according to the cloth, but tempered with wisdom, rather than simply follow an ideology.
Which leads me to the European Convention on Human Rights and the European Court of Human Rights. This convention is basically an updated version of the Magna Carta.
I cheered when I saw the EU adopt these measures whereby governments voluntarily gave up some of their power and subjected themselves to a higher law. I said hurray there can never be another Dictator in Europe. To repeat FW de Klerk, "the Constitution and the Rule of Law – and not the government of the day – would be supreme."
So my main reason for wanting to stay in the EU is the very reason the "outers" want Brexit!
Yes we could create our own bill of rights, but would we create the court with the power to over rule the government of the day?
The economic issues are not clear, being a member of "the club" obliges us to make a contribution, most of which flows back into the country, either directly or indirectly in the price of the food we import from Europe. We should also see that the 3 or 4 billion Euro's that do not come back directly, is our contribution as one of the stronger economies, to helping lift the weaker economies. Surely we should welcome this, as it helps reduce the migratory pressures within the Union. After all, it is a Common Market for labour as well as goods!
We say that we have Sterling, but is it still a strong currency? I know it's reputation is almost written into peoples DNA but the last few governments have done much to destroy that reputation earned over a 1000 years of high discipline and quite brutal punishments to those who harmed the reputation. Currently we have no reserves to speak of and in order to pay our way in the world we sell assets. Fortunately the Euro Zone, because of EU rules, treat Sterling as a reserve currency so our debt to the EU is growing by £30 billion a year (our trade shortfall with the EU).
My own perception is therefore that Brexit is going to cost us a lot more than the few billions of our contributions that we do not directly ir indirectly get back … possibly starting with the £30 billion a year we fail to supply in goods. That we will weaken our own Democracy with a watered down Bill of Rights and no court to hold the government of the day to account.
So please let's not give Buffoon Boris his day, even if Cameron is pretty inept!