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Should we leave the EU?

David Cameron has promised a referendum on whether Britain should remain in the European Union in 2017, if the Conservatives win the next general election.  It is interesting that this topic has continued for so long, yet, the public’s opinion seems to be equally divided with no heavily weighted obvious direction:

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Below there is a chart of positive and negative attributes to leaving the EU, this chart does seem a little bias to the ideas of a referendum… However, you must bear in mind that it was taken from the rather opinionated ‘different minds’ website, whose slogan is: ‘Where great minds differ’ and seem to resemble a Russell Brand style illusionist stance on political matters… Nevertheless, the chart does portray a great visual tool in terms of talking of the EU referendum: 

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“We need to get out the EU, their taking all our jobs!”

When you’re average Joe is asked of the EU debate, a common theory is that the EU causes immigration problems, that ‘foreigner’s take our jobs’ and we should be an English only workforce.  I think this topic is generally, a great misconception… what the average Joe fails to see, is that a lot of the work ‘foreigners’ have adopted, is work that many British people refuse to take part in. (Check out this documentary ‘The day the immigrants left’ to see just how ironic the ‘take all our jobs’ statement really is.)

Similarly, if we were to leave the EU and banish the ‘dreaded’ immigration laws, people will probably forget that this means us ‘sun hungry’ Brits, will struggle to achieve the idealised 6months of sunshine working abroad. Visas for us could become a problem, and, British students would have to pay the extortionate British fees, rather than flee to somewhere extravagant and get a cheaper education. (Which, by the way seems very hypocritical that we get annoyed at foreigners using Britain as a free ‘meal pass’, however, we think it perfectly acceptable to send little Johnny over to Denmark to come back cultured and educated… for free.)

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“Britain could leave the EU and save BILLIONS, but still trade fairly with the European countries… The EU is not about trade it is about a centralised, federal government”

It is suggested that trading as part of the EU benefits us immensely, however, on average the membership of the EU is costing us billions:

“The UK paid £8.9bn into the EU budget in 2010/11, says the Treasury, out of £706bn in public spending .That’s slightly higher than the country spends on railways and similar to cost of unemployment benefits. The European Commission puts the UK’s contribution at £5.85bn” (BBC online, Brian Wheeler and Laurence Peter).

  Furthermore, it is said that trading with Europe wouldn’t stop if we left the EU, if anything, it is believe that is could be better: “We will continue to trade with Europe, as part of an association of nation states,” (Bill Cash, Tory MP).The UK would be free to establish bi-lateral trade agreements with up and coming trade markets such as China, Singapore and Russia because of the world trade organisation. Similarly imported food from non-EU countries could get cheaper, as tariffs are lowered. A break from the EU could enable broader trader deals with other countries.

However, is this really doable? The UK’s main trading partner is worth £400bn a year that equates to 52% of the total trade for our company. This main partner is the EU.  According to Emma Reynolds, the UK’s European spokeswoman, “The UK is always likely to be better positioned to secure beneficial trade deals as a member of the EU than as an individual and isolated player.” The future paves way for the EU and the US to create the world’s largest free trade area… Something that the UK would most defiantly benefit from if they were part of it. Yes, yes, the UK’s allies would probably agree to trade with them whether they are part of the ‘gang’ or not, but is it really advisable to bite the hand that could possibly feed us so to speak? 

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“An EU withdrawal is necessary if Britain is to regain control of its justice system”

The topic of human rights …Well I could probably go on all day about this, the pros and cons of the EU’s influence on this are endless, and I don’t think there’s an obvious answer. The case of Abu Qatada, Is a small scale example of the request to abolish the EU’s  Human Rights laws, for the UK to take full control of our judiciary system. The radical was finally deported from Britain, not by our force, but because he agreed to do so. This case cost the tax payer £1.7 million. 

This extremely controversial topic of human rights will start fires within the most timid of people. Who are we to take away the rights of a human being, irrelevant of what they have done? Similarly, why should we have to support a foreign terrorist, just because he so happens to reside in our country?

It is important to remember, no matter how blood boiling this topic can get for supporters and non supporters of the EU, leaving the EU would not abolish the UK’s attachment to the human rights act. The country would be free from the EU warrant arrest law, and other such EU instructed protection laws, however, the European court of human rights is a separate system, and the UK cannot escape these boundaries, despite people’s strong opinions.

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In reality, we Brits can’t have everything we want, we might be used to this ideal lifestyle of ‘having our cake and eating it’. But when it comes to political attachment, there is no way we can take and not give. Wanting to un-latch ourselves to the EU, yet still trade with them and remain strong allies is essentially the kid in school that goes to every party but has no real friends. Yes, there are endless benefits the country could gain from total independence, but in reality, you can never really escape certain EU laws, and surely it is better that we help write them, than be dictated by these laws that we have no valued opinion on.  

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