The British public will decide, in just a few months, whether they would like Britain to remain in the EU.
David Cameron has confirmed the date for the referendum to be the 23rd June and those who are on the electoral roll will be eligible to vote in a similar way to the general elections, where polling stations will be opened and the future of our country decided.
The European Union is a political-economic union of 28 European countries. Founded in 1993, the objective of the union was to strengthen relations between the countries, create trading links and even prevent another war between European countries in the future.
The campaign has been given the shortened name of ‘Brexit’ and it has even been reported by The Sun that the Queen is backing a British departure from the European Union. It was initiated subsequent to the Conservative Party outlining their manifesto pledge to hold a referendum which would determine Britain’s future in the EU.
David Cameron, Prime Minister and leader of the Conservative Party, has expressed his desire for Britain to stay in the EU. Cameron wants some reformation in the terms of Britain’s membership but adamantly wants Britain to stay. Discussing the future of the EU at Bloomberg, Cameron said: “I’m not a British isolationist… I believe something very deeply- Britain’s national interest is best served in a flexible, adaptable and open European Union and that such a European Union is best with Britain in it.” In a forthcoming speech, Mr Cameron will say, “The question is: where will our economy be stronger; where will our children have more opportunities?” The Prime Minister has also voiced his concerns that Brexit will result in ‘fewer jobs, less investment and higher prices.’
In a speech last month, Jeremy Corbyn, leader of the Labour party, said that, “Our party is committed to keeping Britain in the EU… but we also want to see progressive reform in Europe.”
Nigel Farage, UKIP leader, said that, “It is safer to vote to leave and take back control of our borders.”
A key factor in the minds of deciding British people is the implications of our country staying in the EU and exiting the EU, and the effects on issues British people are passionate about.
Whilst being a part of the EU, there has been a huge influx of Eastern European people coming to live in Britain. UK independence would presumably mean that Britain would be subject to less Europeans immigrating to the UK and this would create more employment opportunities for Britons that would otherwise be taken by Europeans. However, if Britain stay in the EU, British people are able to move freely within the EU and also work in any of the member states. If Britain were to leave, it does not necessarily mean that there will be a significant decrease in Europeans working in our country- a key question is, how will Britain decide who to allow to work in our country?
Although we were previously informed that Brexit will inflate the cost of flights for British people, in particular on budget airlines, it is now being argued that an EU exit will not affect fares by Ryanair chief executive Michael O’Leary.
Economically, Brexit is reported to damage growth, and major firms including BT, Marks & Spencer and Vodafone signed a letter, stating that an EU exit would negatively impact these companies and investment in the UK. In 2012, it was reported that the United Kingdom contribute €180.38m to the EU annually, with the figures published by the EU Budget Office.
A concern if we vote to leave is the exclusion of Britain from being involved with the European Arrest Warrant (EAW). The EAW ensures that criminals in an EU country who flee abroad to another member country can be arrested where they are and then extradited. Brexit would mean that Britain could fall victim to an unprecedented number of criminals escaping to our country without the EAW being in effect, meaning that criminals could be roaming the streets of our nation without the police having substantial powers.
It seems that in the debate regarding whether we should stay or leave, there are copious questions hindering our ability to reach a decision as individuals in a democratic society that allows us to vote and essentially decide the future of our country. Do we really understand the ramifications of an exit, or is it just a leap into the unknown? Is Britain better off as an independent country that can guarantee a better future for its people? Would an exit really control immigration and create jobs for our people, or will we face severe economic problems?
Let’s hope that the British public can come to a sensible decision that can guarantee a better Britain.