In or Out?
You may or may not be sick to the back teeth of politicians telling us what will happen if Britain decides to leave or remain within the European Union, whilst the truth is nobody really can predict what the consequences or benefits of any Brexit would be.
Ultimately the aim of equality is to afford the same chances to all of Earth’s citizens regardless of nationality. Specifically looking at the UK this leaves a very difficult decision for those tasked with determining our future and relationship with Europe possibly for at least the next 50 years.
We’re yet to hear from anybody who claims that the European Parliament in its current guise is a beacon of democracy, hope and equality. Those campaigning for an ‘In’ vote come June certainly do have their work cut out.
From the point of view of those wanting to Britain to leave the EU, and intervention from Brussels, the obvious flaws within the current system have been well highlighted, as well as being exaggerated with some very creative statistics.
With such a crucial decision on the near horizon it’s important that the true facts are made available to the electorate to allow them to vote, so lets go over them now.
The main issues raised so far by the person on the street tends to surround the cost of EU membership, and the freedom of movement of people between member countries. So let’s look at the independent facts from https://fullfact.org/. The UK’s net cost of membership to the EU for 2015 was £8.5bn, indeed it’s not the £55m/day as is regularly quoted by UKIP leader Nigel Farage. On the topic of EU immigrants, current figures suggest that for every £1 that is taken from Britain by an immigrant, £1.34 is recouped, meaning EU immigrants actually make a contribution to Britain’s economy. Immigrants from outside the EU contribute £1.02 for every £1 they take out. There is further research on this topic, but what these figures don’t address is the opinion that jobs in the UK are being given to immigrants rather than the indigenous population. Other critics of the EU will also suggest that it involves far too much bureaucracy and removes control from UK courts, law and decision makers. All of which are compelling arguments to leave the EU.
This week has even seen the brother of the leader of the opposition speak out in support of a Brexit, as Piers Corbyn disagrees with his brother’s current support of remaining. He cites that the wealth within the EU is distributed in to the wrong hands, and the EU is an organisation that is far from equal and is partly concerned with protecting its own wealth rather than sharing and redistributing amongst the union. Yet another compelling case, and this time from the left on why Britain should exit.
The equality argument to remain will point back to the ultimate objective of equality, and that is that it should not be restrained by international borders. That is why come June 23rd to support European wide equality an ‘In’ vote is the only option.
It’s with the current criticisms of the EU in mind that this point is made. Whenever a politician has spoken on what has inspired them to choose the career path they did, all have spoken of a desire to implement change, for what they perceive as the greater good. It is given that this is the role of politics. It is only when part of an organisation that we’re able to do this. Much in the same way that it’s only the elected MP’s that are able to vote on reform within the House of Commons, it’s only member countries that are able to implement change on a European scale. By voting campaigning to vote ‘Out’ our politicians are neglecting their duty by not trying to implement change.
The EU has already begun to change the landscape of Europe for the better, an ever closer Union has meant that there has been no direct conflict between two member countries since it’s inception. Furthermore the living standards for some of the poorest countries within Europe have improved no end, this is something that Britain should be proud, not resentful of.
In relative terms, the cost of membership is quite low when compared to the budgets for defence, health or education within Britain, but it does still create a considerable dent in the public finances, of that there is no doubt. It’s here that to truly believe in a progressive Europe an open mind is required. In terms of defence, health, education, crime and so forth that remaining a member of the EU public savings could be made. Britain is quite rightly proud of it’s armed forces, and to some extent it’s health service. It could be argued that within the EU we are perhaps the leaders in these fields.
Many arguments have been made against the notion of European wide set of army, naval and air forces but why? The idea of any human being not being as capable or intelligent as the next in terms of learning how to become a good soldier, naval officer or pilot based on their nationality is preposterous to the point of being xenophobic. The idea of a truly equal Europe would see member states pass on their expertise in the fields they currently excel in. In this case British forces would take the core responsibility of the creation, training and maintenance of an EU army. This would ultimately lead to considerable savings from our own defence budget.
To those who state, “Why should we train other countries to our high standards for free?” it could be argued that we’re not doing that, for in other fields such as education, or infrastructure where the Scandic countries and Germany excel respectively, we’d be in receipt of their expertise in theses areas. This would not be an erosion of British values at all, and to those who claim it is, simply ask yourself this question; Do you want Britain to have an education or infrastructure systems second to any other EU member state? Of course the answer is No.
With respect to our laws, and control of our own destiny: a good law is a good law, and a silly erroneous one is still a silly erroneous one in any country. Why should we be so fearful that Europe wants to govern our land with too much bureaucratic red tape to our detriment? We should be working together with other member states to ensure that laws thorughouut Europe are harmonised and build on shared beliefs of what is right, wrong, moral and ethical and what is not. If fact a closer harmonisation on law and domestic front would completely negate the freedom of movement for people, as if policies such a European wide minimum wage were implemented along with a European welfare system the need for economic migration would be removed.
British identity does not have to be compromised by Brussels, even with an In vote it will still be possible to drive on the left side of the road, have red letter boxes, retain the £ (for now*), speak in our own tongue with regional dialects, compete in sporting occasions under the flag of St. George. We should be proud to be leaders in the implementation of a harmonised progressive Europe that does not only benefit Britain, but all member states as we share and pool our resources for the good of all Europeans.
That is why come June 23rd, for those who believe in a true equality for all your vote must be Yes to remain, followed up by constant campaigning and lobbying to facilitate change for the greater good for all.
- The introduction of a single currency was doomed from the start, and hastily rushed through, though that is not to say with drastic reform Britain should never be part of a European currency that did allow for subtle differences in industrial production between member states.
This week has seen one of the biggest thorns in the side of equality brought to justice. Radovan Karadžić was the leader of a breakaway Serbian Republic within Bosnia during the conflicts between 1992-1995. During this period awful atrocities such as the Srebrenica massacre and Siege of Sarajevo were carried out. The Judge in his trial ruled that amongst other charges he was guilty of being culpable in the deaths of over 9,000 Bosnian Muslims, and Bosnia Croat’s in the Srebrenica massacre. His army general from the time Ratko Mladić is still awaiting trial.
Such barbarity within Europe had not been seen since WWII, and much like Hitler, everything Karadžić stood for was the polar opposite of equality. Here we have a man who choose not to allow all man equal rights, but instead choose to build his state based on ethnic make-up. He didn’t want Croat’s or Muslim to be part of his Serbian controlled state of Bosnia, and he wanted to eliminate them in the worst possible way.
It’s saddening to see that despite everything history has taught us, views of this nature can still be held. More concerning is that individuals who hold these views can ever come to positions of power.
It’s with disappointment that this topic needs to be covered in the context of equality in the UK today, but the point does need to be made! During times of economic uncertainty fringe ideologies are often presented as an alternative to austerity. Austerity does not work, people want an alternative and the blame game gains media interest. This has seen a swell of support towards leftist policies, which is no bad thing, however as the left mobilises, so does the right. Money, jobs and prosperity are all currently in short supply. It is of no coincidence that during the downturn of the UK’s economy we’ve seen a rise in parties such as UKIP, who will continue to push their narrative that much of the downturn could be remedied by ‘taking control of our borders’ and creating ‘British jobs for British people’.
Also in the world today we’ve seen the rise of ISIS, who within the last year, have claimed responsibility for two indiscriminate acts of terrorism in Paris and Brussels. ISIS will use examples such as the crimes committed by Karadžić & Co. in their propagander, to sell their story of how Muslims around the World are persecuted and victimised. It’s a lethal mix, especially to young, confused and disenfranchised Muslim’s who may also be the victims of reprisal attacks, as happened following the tragic murder of Lee Rigby in Woolwich. This is the aim of terrorists, they want to create a feeling of hostility towards Islam as it helps them sell their narrative to more new recruits. Fueling the flames with nationalist tripe serves no purpose other than the compound a jurassic tribal mentality of us vs. them.
The real solution to these tensions is simply equality. What has happened has happened, and as regrettable as it is, harbouring hostility towards entire nationalities or religions is not the answer, it only breeds more hatred. It’s time to stand side by side as man regardless of faith, ethnicity, nationality or religion and all say we want peace, don’t kill in the name of my religion or country!
It’s only when all are religions are treated equal, without hostility can the war on ISIS be won. Blaming Islam for the crimes committed in its name by ISIS wouldn’t be so different from blaming Christian’s for the crimes committed by Karadžić. In actual fact it is Karadžić himself who has more in common with ISIS than your average British Muslim, in as much as he and his cronies are nothing more that ideological idiots intent on inciting religious hatred.
As a final thought, one man who was most certainly not an ideological idiot, but instead a bastion of peace among all men was Asad Shah. He was a Muslim shopkeeper in his home city of Glasgow who it appears was violently stabbed to death by an extremist for wishing his christian homeland a happy Easter. It’s his message that should be continued to be shared by all in the face of Karadžić, ISIS and the extremists who oppose our vision of a harmonious society for all.
R.I.P. Asad Shah