A question that has dominated British news proceedings over the past 12 months remains one of the most confusing, alliance-driven issues of the past decade: Should Britain leave the European Union and become an independent nation governed by their own set of rules and regulations, or stay put and challenge the issues that define our generation such as climate change as a united continent working for each other?
Since the turn of the last election, in which the conservative David Cameron comprehensively beat Labour’s somewhat socially awkward Ed Miliband to become the leader of the UK, the topic of how insignificant Britain has become in relation to European powerhouses Germany and France has begged the question as to how important the UK truly is to the EU.
Prime Minister David Cameron has been extremely forthright on his opinion to stay within Europe and renegotiate a better deal for the UK that gives them more control on certain agendas and ultimately more power. Whilst the left spectrum of British politics ironically agrees with Cameron’s view, it is members of his own party that have gone against his stance with figures such as the comical London mayor and worryingly potential future Prime Minister Boris Johnson becoming one of the leading figures for the OUT campaign.
This has resulted in widespread coverage, celebrity opinions and politicians generally talking waffle on the matter, yet ultimately no real facts or conclusive evidence of what would change if Brexit (a rather childish yet fitting phrase coined by the nationalist organisation, The British Resistance, to define Britain’s potential exit) were to happen.
On the 23rd June 2016, the EU referendum will commence wherein all of the general public are encouraged to vote on the outcome. Whether anything will be done if Britain choose to leave the EU rather than Mr Cameron using it as hard evidence as to why Britain need a better deal, remains a concern which many political analysts have been quick to point upon including former deputy Conservative leader Michael Portillo who said on the BBC’s This Week a few weeks ago, ‘The only rational thing to do is to vote to LEAVE, because only at that point do you get a proper re-negotiation and the possibility of a proper settlement.’
Whilst many assume that the vote in June will result in a resounding ‘STAY’, the Brexit campaign is arguably being endorsed by members of Parliament to appeal to the right wing conservative public in hope of potential candidacy (Boris hint hint), with many labeling Cameron’s centre views as ‘unconservative-like,’ however all this confusion and inner-party backstabbing has led to the majority of the British public scratching their heads as to what to vote on the matter.
It seems as if this EU referendum is being used to bolster or diminish the public’s perception on certain individuals with no one really knowing the definitive answer as to what would be best for the British people.
It would be idiotic to underestimate the depth of trade and cultural significance Europe has on the UK, and in truth the reliance on the EU is astounding. Only today did the CBI (Confederation of British Industry, the UK’s leading independent employers organisation) release a statement claiming if Britain were to exit ‘a £100bn hole will be blown into the economy and cost nearly a million jobs, with on average every household losing £3,700 a year in income’.
What many people are calling for is an independent initiative set up just before the vote in June, to inform and educate people on the pros and cons of each option using concrete statistics and facts. This would demolish all the bravado and nonsense sprouted by politicians that would potentially influence people’s views and final vote, and instead would give the public an all-rounded view on where Britain would stand. Whether this will come to fruition remains to be seen, however the idea seems the only logical and sensible alternative that would result in the correct and fairest decision.
For now and until June, the proceedings will dominate media outlets, House of Commons debates and even public discussion yet the definitive answer remains unknown. Let’s just hope the British public see the wood through the trees.