If I was to put myself on the political spectrum, you would find me in a centre-left position. So, as you can imagine, I am infuriated by the right wing dominance of the EU referendum. We have Jeremy Corbyn, the leader of Labour, campaigning for the Remain case, even though he has been anti-EU all of his life. This sudden U-turn has caused a lot of Labour supporters to lose trust in their leader as no one really believes Corbyn. The reason for this is that Corbyn’s and Labour’s arguments for staying in Europe are weak with many holes in. Then there is Nigel Farage, the leader of UKIP, forming the argument that immigration is the source of all our countries problems; this argument stirs up the underlying racism in our society, and Farage uses this to drum up support for Brexit. David Cameron and Boris Johnson are fighting a civil war as a side focus to the referendum debate. Johnson has always been anti-EU, but he can be accused of making the wrong arguments for Brexit.
I’m here to provide the left wing argument for Brexit, to voice the argument that has been has not been mentioned due to the lack of support from Corbyn, Labour and the influence right wing media. Below are the reasons for my decision to vote leave on 23rd June.
The main reason why I am voting leave on 23rd June is due to the lack of control we have over laws. 59% of our laws come from the EU. We have to comply with all EU law, even if we don’t agree with it. Labour’s main argument for remain is for workers rights; the argument makes some basic, positive points like the EU has helped with minimum wage and maternity leave. Labour’s version of scaremongering asks us if we will be safe under the Conservatives, who developed the “nasty” image during the Thatcher years. To vote remain because of the sole reason that the EU protects workers through the Social Chapter is poor, to say the least. If we leave the EU, the laws that we abide by will not change as most of them are already written into our laws, so we would effectively keep the same laws and get rid of the laws we don’t like. Left wingers are scared that the Tories will take away some of these workers rights; however, they need to ask themselves the question that do they think the Tories would remove some of these laws? The answer is no; if they did try to remove some of these workers rights, there would be public revolt against the Conservatives, and they are unpopular enough as it is. Also, the move would most likely be blocked by Labour, the Liberal Democrats and some moderate Conservative MPs. Also, half of the Conservatives are voting remain, so do you think that if they really wanted to get rid of the minimum wage, they would just vote leave?
When Ted Heath signed us up for the EU in 1973, he did it to join the single market for trading. However, since then, the EU has developed into a political organisation filled with unelected people who write 59% of our laws. The EU is trending in the direction of being more closely integrated, with a vote on whether the EU should have an army (!) taking place after the referendum. Jean Claude Juncker, the President of the European Commission, said that “The EU should have its own army to convey its threat to Russia.” This scares me, a lot; in this day and age, countries have the capability to destroy Earth with the technology and nuclear weapons they have at their disposal. Juncker’s statement is an agressive one that seems to promote war.
Did you know that 10,000 people who work for the EU are paid more than David Cameron, our Prime Minister? That means that 10,000 people are earning AT LEAST £143,000 a year. This equates to a minimum salary of £1.43 billion per year, which we have to contribute to. This is a prime example of the fact that the EU does not exist to protect workers, it exists as a capitalist body aimed at pleasing the big businesses and banks.
People on the Remain side may counter this argument with the statement that we already have the House of Lords. That is true, but the European Union is twice as bad as the House of Lords as they have more influence on us. No likes the the House of Lords, so why would you vote Remain and have a bigger, more powerful version of the House of Lords creating laws that we have to abide by?
To use Boris Johnson’s favourite slogan of the referendum debate, we have to “Take back control.” A vote for remain is a vote that surrenders democracy.
The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership is a deal between the USA and the EU. TTIP aims at giving US companies the option of purchasing Europe’s public services, in particular the health services. This essentially means that when TTIP is pushed through by the EU, the NHS is up for privatisation. You have every right to be sceptical of Johnson and Gove as they pose as the “saviours” of the NHS, but it would be foolish of you to vote Remain on the reason that you don’t believe them. Jeremy Corbyn said that he would veto TTIP if he were PM, but the chances of him becoming PM are lower if we are inside the EU. The Conservatives may a attempt to push through TTIP if we leave, but we can vote them out in the next general election. The EU are definitely going to push through TTIP, but we cannot vote the unelected presidents out who push through TTIP.
It is claimed that 3 million jobs are linked to the EU, and if we leave, a high percentage of those jobs would be at risk. This is simply not true. We have been trading with the EU for over 40 years, so if we leave, the regulations would still be in place for us to trade freely with countries inside the EU. Leaving the EU is a process that will take time, we don’t just suddenly leave and lose all the trade we had a day before. All our businesses are already complying with the required EU regulations, so the claim that it would take 10 years to renegotiate a trade deal is absurd. Britain has one of the largest economies in the world, so the EU need us just as much as we need them. You have to be realistic and ask yourself, would the Germans stop selling us their cars? Would France stop trading with us? The answer is most likely no, they would not. You also have to look at countries who trade with the EU but aren’t in the EU. Norway and Switzerland are prime examples of countries who fit into this category. They both have their own tailored trade deal with the EU. Switzerland also has free trade deals with China and Japan. They are a country who boast the fact that they are the second richest country in the world by nominal GDP per head and they have an unemployment percentage of just 3.5. By leaving the EU, we would be able to secure a trade agreement similar to Switzerland’s and Norway’s, but we would also be able to develop stronger trade links with Asia, the USA and maybe even the Commonwealth.
There may be tariffs imposed on us if we leave the EU, with the World Trade Organisation claiming that we would face £5.6 billion worth of tariffs a year. However, as we are already £8.5 billion worse off from being in the EU, we would actually be £2.9 billion better off from leaving. You may think that I have made up the figure £8.5 billion, but here’s how I have got to it- the BBC claims that we spend £361 million a week towards the EU, resulting in a £17.8 billion bill per year. We recover some of this money back through the rebate Margret Thathcer secured for us in 1984, bringing down the yearly cost to £12.5 billion. If you were to then subtract public sector recipts, the total would come down to £8.5 billion per year. Granted, we do receive funding for important areas such as Science and Technology from the EU, but you must remember that it is just our money being sent back to us in a different way or form.
THERE IS NO REFORM
Every time David Cameron mentions the “EU”, he always seems to mention the word “reformed” in front of it. Cameron wants us to stay in the EU so he can trot off to Brussels and renegotiate Britain’s position within the EU. You may be thinking that Cameron has already gone over to the EU for renegotiation. You would correct in thinking this. Cameron came back with a minuscule deal on migrant benefits which is not even legally binding. Miriam Gonzalez Durantez, the wife of Nick Clegg, referred to this as a “Mickey Mouse negotiation.” Britain is viewed as an “awkward partner” by many members of the EU due to our refusal to join the Euro, so a reform is not beneficial to EU members. If we vote Remain, we are sending a message out that we are happy with how everything is, so what makes you think that the EU is willing to reform?
Nigel Farage looked like the biggest idiot in Britain on Wednesday 15th June, when he went parading about on the River Thames. He went out there shouting about how the EU is ruining our waters, only to be confronted by Bob Geldof, who arrived on his own boat. Even though Farage looked stupid in making his point, his point does have some merit. Others countries in the EU lobby for our fishing waters, causing the destruction of the fishing industry; jobs are lost and we buy fish from other countries that were originally in our waters.
THE POLITICAL SITUATION IN OUR COUNTRY
Perhaps I’m getting ahead of myself with this point, but hear me out. If we leave the EU, the Prime Minister and the Chancellor will have been on the losing side of the biggest vote in Britain’s history. This means that Cameron or Osborne (or both) will lose their job. Johnson will get support from within the Tories, making his case for leader even stronger. All of these factors will result in a clear demise of the Conservatives as they will descend into chaos. This will boost the credibility and popularity of Labour under Corbyn, who will then have a real chance at becoming Prime Minister in the next general election; there will be some exciting times ahead for you socialists.
I have left this point till last for a reason- it is not that big of a factor in my decision to vote leave. Immigration is not an issue for me, our country needs it. However, we have uncontrollable, mass immigration in our country that we cannot completely control. The problem with the EU is that it contains many Eastern European countries, such as Romania and Bulgaria, who have minimum wages that are a fraction of ours. The attraction of a higher minimum wage and a better standard of living is a understandably too hard to ignore for people from these countries. They are allowed to cross through a border-free EU zone (thanks to the Schengen Agreement) to get to our country. We might not be signed up to the Schengen Agreement but we still are not in complete control of immigration. Immigration is good for our country as immigrants work hard, benefit our economy and some of them go into the NHS, which is in need of help at the moment. However, the unfairness of our immigration policy is that Europeans can arrive in Britain much easier than someone who happens to live outside the EU.
The promise of a points style immigration system, similar to Australia’s policy, is very attractive. It means that everyone will be judged fairly before they are allowed to come into Britain, with equal rules for Europeans and people from the rest of the world. A points style system means that we can take in as many immigrants we need in areas where workers are required, such as doctors for the NHS.
To conclude, I believe that Britain will be better off in the long term economically, politically and socially if we leave the EU; I believe that we will save democracy by holding the politicians of our country accountable for their decisions, we will be able to save the NHS, we will be able to be governed by people who we voted into power, we will be able to have a stronger economy in the long term and we will be able to offer a points style system of immigration that is fair to all.
I hope to have informed people from both sides of the debate on the left wing case for Brexit. I did not write this article to try and force you into changing your mind, but to simply inform you of an argument that appears to have gone missing over the course of this referendum campaign.
Thank you for taking the time to read this.