I will vote to remain in the EU. Well, would you want to follow Donald Trump’s advice?
I think we are marginally better off inside the EU. For example, the Social Chapter of workers’ and other rights: initially John Major’s Conservative Government sought an opt-out from those rights, then Mr Blair surrendered the opt-out. Rights which are seen as normal and essential across the EU are rejected by British Conservatives. Workers will have fewer rights in an independent Britain.
My friend will vote leave because she believes independence would give greater opportunity if radical grass-roots organisations appear. We have always had them, the diggers and the Chartists, and now there are Transition Towns. I feel we would not be independent, but as constrained by international trade treaties as we are now.
My chief reason for voting Remain is deep loathing of the far-Right Out campaigners. I have just received a leaflet from Grassroots Out. UKIP Leader, Nigel Farage MEP, sets out the case for leaving… EU open door immigration has been a complete disaster for British workers. The over-supply of cheap foreign labour in the unskilled labour market has compressed wages, and pushed down wages for many in this country.
Stay in: “Irresponsible”, “Dangerous”. Leave: “Safe, sensible”. Ridiculous lies: but refuting them takes time and patience, so Farage whips up hatred so his dupes will not listen.
The other technique which made me very angry indeed- even if I break both legs the day before, I will vote Remain- is to pick an issue voters care about, and make a false link between it and the Leave campaign. Two Conservative back-benchers proposed an amendment in the Queen’s Speech debate, seeking to protect the NHS from TTIP, which they presented as an EU scheme. As John Major said, the NHS is as safe with these people as your pet gerbil with a hungry python. The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership indeed threatens NHS privatisation, and the end of legal protection for the environment, consumers and workers- but our way to mitigate its threat is inside the EU. We would be considerably worse off outside the EU.
Now they say we could spend the £350m a day British taxes administered through the EU to the NHS. Leave campaign leaders would far rather give it in tax cuts for the most wealthy, giving it to the NHS would mean ending all farming subsidy and a great deal other spending in Britain, and leaving may lead to recession– we would have less for public services not more.
Here’s the thing: I don’t know, and I don’t particularly trust the speakers. How you describe a particular statistic affects how it looks to a lay-person. The anger, fear and misinformation washing round is as bad as the Trump campaign.