Wednesday, 24 February 2016

On the EU referendum

The great in out shake it all about European Union referendum campaign has gone into full swing following the British Premier, David Cameron's meeting with EU leaders and the announcement a 'deal' had been reached.
The one thing many who do not have strongly entrenched positions have pointed to is there seems to be a lack of qualified independently compiled statistics looking at areas such as what the total contribution to the EU budget the UK is, How much the UK gets back, How much trade is directly with the EU and how much we trade with it (How does that compare to the Rest of the World?) How the immigration and migration levels between the UK and EU compare and so on.
These are both the things people who are uncommitted need to help them arrive at their own thoughts on leaving or staying in and also the means those with more established principled stances check the arguments put forward do actually stack up as politicians like salesmen are prone to exaggerate at the very least their claims. 
A job for ONS and the LSE perhaps?

1 comment:

mittfh said...

It doesn't help that Europe is a complicated mess, with three separate branches of the EU government (European Council, which comprises heads of government; which appoints members of the European Commission, which actually do the business of government; which have to be approved by the European Parliament, the directly elected bit) plus a separate institution, confusingly called the Council of Europe, which is both older (est. 1949) and larger (47 Member States) than the EU and which is responsible for the European Convention on Human Rights, the European Court of Human Rights and the European Court of Justice.

I'd personally like to hear more nuanced arguments myself - numerous Tories are claiming that it soaks up large amounts of money (although Nigel's £50m a day figure is a back-of-the-envelope calculation, covering both gross contributions [excluding the amount we get back in rebate] and what he claims are other assorted costs of belonging to the EU [e.g. regulation]), doesn't give us control over our borders (conveniently ignoring the vast numbers of non-EU migrants) and doesn't give us any sovereignty (never mind we can cheerfully ignore EU decisions when it's politically convenient, e.g. the blanket ban on prisoner voting, no scheduled reviews of long term prisoners).

Conversely, the 'Stay' campaign just gives vague notions that it might be harder to do business if we left and doesn't really seem to have a strong answer to the Pythonesque question "What has the EU ever done for us?"

If they don't get their act together, we may be heading towards Brexit, given the majority of the opinionated media seem to be Eurosceptic to varying degrees and the "Leave" campaign has now picked up Boris and Gove (although the former seems to think that if we voted to leave, he could renegotiate a far better deal then have another referendum to reverse the first - completely bonkers but could win over some fence-sitters).