Tuesday, 7 June 2016

Talking about the European Union (EU)

So now I am being tormented with the Remain and Leave campaigns. I've now lost count of the number of campaign leaflets that have been put through my door.

There is an ongoing debate in the UK about whether the UK should stay-in or leave the European Union. The referendum on the EU will take place on the 23rd June. Much of the current debate (sovereignty/democracy) is the same as the discussions I was having ten years ago as an undergraduate student.

What I am hearing is conflicting information, unsupported arguments and general one-up-man-ship being played out between the Leave and Remain Campaigns. Considering I have a degree in Politics (part of which was studying the EU), an MSc in African Studies and I am currently finishing my PhD - If I am confused in my attempts to understand 'arguments' put forward by the campaigns then what hope does the average member of the public have. 

I have watched some of the debates/discussions and found myself shouting at the screen - some of the arguments being put forward are founded on a poor understanding of EU politics/economics and general misrepresentations. I'm yet to hear or read an argument which is evidenced through facts and figures and actually demonstrates comprehension and understanding of the subject area....oh wait...that is what is expected in an academic essay....not necessarily from our politicians. 

The spin that is being wheeled out by the campaigns (and I think this goes for both sides) does not begin to scratch the surface of what EU membership means for the UK. I have realised that I am actually looking for the arguments from my experienced, peer-reviewed, published and competent academic colleagues. Not the empty, rhetoric of Cameron, Boris and Farage whilst they point score and treat their respective campaigns like it's an Eton debating contest where the loser gets the chores to do for a month!

Now I realise you probably want to know how I am voting - well I will be voting for the UK to remain as part of the EU. For many reasons but mainly because I believe that EU memberships has many more benefits for the UK (Jobs, travel, funding, trade) and that economic immigration should be embraced and welcomed. 

Also, the arguments I have heard from the Leave campaign say nothing for how the UK would contribute on the world stage as non-members of the EU. They focus only on what leaving does for the UK by keeping the rest of the world at arms length - I have yet to hear a convincing argument for leaving the EU.

I am Scottish, I am British, I am European but most of all I am a member of the Human Race and a citizen of the World. 

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