On June 23rd, there will be the most important democratic decision taken in the UK, ever. The British People and those of Northern Ireland will be asked if they wish to remain in or leave the European Union. I am firmly of the view that both collectively and individually we will be better off, have more freedoms and a richer political, and non-political culture if we remain in. Like others, I have a list of issues that I believe need to be considered, mine are, Jobs & Prosperity, Citizenship Rights, Sovereignty and Peace & Hope.
Jobs & Prosperity
The economics is done. We are and will be better off in the EU, the alternatives are bad or terrible; it all depends upon the terms of exit from the EU. The Treasury categorises the options as similar to the Canadian agreement, the European Economic Area agreement or falling back on World Trade Organisation Terms. They estimate a reduction in GDP of between 3.2% and 7.2%. Other economic forecasters have a different set of ranges.
Membership of the EU confers a number of rights on UK citizens. Leaving the Union will mean losing these as rights, or losing their legal guarantee. It’s one of the reasons that the Tories that want to leave, want to leave. These rights cover employment protection, including the right to organise, rights to holiday pay and maternity leave and pay, consumer rights, the right to work anywhere in the EU. These rights and their cost to business are what the brexiteers refer to as the bureaucratic regulatory burden; which they want to abolish. In addition, as citizens we have the right to live anywhere, and buy property anywhere in the EU. More importantly a number of citizenship or human rights: freedom of speech, right to organise, the right to an education, right to liberty, freedom from torture are guaranteed as part of the EU accession treaties. They may be more accessibly enforced via the ECHR and its court, but the strength of the guarantee to us as citizens by the EU treaties is stronger. These are in jeopardy should we leave.
Much is made by both the right and left opponents of the EU of the issue of sovereignty. The UK is unique in not having a written constitution and not having a basic law. This means that Parliament, which in effect means the…