The results of the EU referendum were pretty clear cut, over 50% of the UK voted to leave, equating to 51.9% of the total cast votes. (That is a whopping 17,410,742 people!) The vote had an impressive 72.2% turnout, even more than the original vote to remain part of the European common market.
The UK has been a part of that common market since 1973. So it’s been a long journey of campaigning for some groups, and a turnaround in the way of thinking about membership by others. So then, what is the vote going to do to England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland? The truth is that no one knows, but just because the UK is independent once again, it does not mean it will crash and burn. It will reinvigorate the very principles of the UK democracy, allowing the real decisions that affect the country, to be made in the country. Up to now, Brussels has been heading such discussions, for which they do not have any real standing. But because the UK is an EU member, it must do as it is told otherwise, it gets caned.
The pros and cons are clear and anyone can weigh them up without feeling like a moron:
- Improved financial situation – The UK currently ‘pays’ a membership fee to be a member of the European union. A neat sum of £13 billion is standard, each year. This money could be better spent on the NHS, for which cuts are abundant, or defense. Is the free trade worth that?
- Immigration – The one point that people tended to focus on. As the UK has membership with the EU, it allows anyone in member states to settle in Britain, and vice versa. However, with the UK leaving, it would mean Westminster parliament have the power to change laws and reduce immigration, saving the homes and jobs for the British people.
- Regain fishing rights – Leaving the EU means the UK will also leave the common fisheries policy, which allows EU fleets access to all EU waters. An independent UK could develop a fisheries regime that is tailored to the UK and the UK waters.
- Security – By having an open and unchecked border, the UK is susceptible to the influx of criminals and terrorists, because people coming in cannot be checked and controlled sufficiently.
- Increased price of imports and exports – The EU gives a 50% discount to its members to trade, without membership, the price inadvertently goes up.
- Restricted travel – UK citizens are free to travel to any country in the EU, and vice versa. However, by leaving there will most likely be the introduction of the need for visas and other restrictions.
- Decreased influence – The EU accounts for the second highest GDP in the world. By leaving, the UK also leaves the ‘prestige’ of that strong relationship, and possibly loses out to deals with other nations.
- Jobs – An estimation of around 3 million jobs is said to involve membership of the EU, and leaving could see them losing their jobs.
As you can see, the argument for both remain and leave is strong, however, the people have spoken and in a democratic country, the people make the decisions. By continuing to be in the EU, the UK subsequently gives up law making powers, which essentially defeats the purpose of having a democracy in the first place!
At least when the article 50 is triggered, the journey can officially begin. The government would have no doubt foreseen that there would be a surge of immigrants coming to the UK in the run up to this. But this then poses that black cloud over the head question, is the UK racist and discriminating by leaving the EU? That is for another time.
Please comment on why you personally voted in or out, and what persuaded you to do so.