Miscellany and detritus, from the writer of Is This Mutton?com

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Monday, May 30, 2016

Travesty of This Referendum

Right then. The EU Referendum.

I am not one of the millions who can't make up their mind.For me it was In, Remain, from the start.
I can't believe what a travesty the whole thing has become. Is either camp using "proper" PR strategists to drive their campaign?

Neither the Remain or Brexit camp has put up proper arguments, just alarmist scare stories which have all the accuracy of a Mystic Meg prediction.

The Tories have descended into their usual silliness:  plots to oust Cameron; Cameron replacement candidates all stabbing each other in the back;  Boris standing for Brexit for no other reason than becoming Prime Minister quickly if the Remain camp lose (does he really think we're so stupid we didn't see his shallow motives?).

Quite a few Brexiters say they're voting Out purely to get immigration under control. Hmm, I wonder how that will work.  Do we suddenly recruit thousands of Border staff, charter thousands of boats and somehow protect every port and marina? Because we only seem to have 2 ships doing this to date.

Voting Out does not mean our borders suddenly and magically close, and we start cherry picking "the best migrants." Europe needs to work together on solutions. Cameron's original strategy of improving things at source was the right one: helping to broker peace and improve people's prospects so that they don't have to leave their countries. The EU can do that as a united community: the UK cannot, on its own.

What has the EU ever done for us?

I am a proud Briton but also a proud European. You can be both!

Thanks to the EU, we are safe at work; we get a certain number of days holiday; we work a certain number of hours; we have the same rights whether or not we are full or part time, temporary or permanent.  We have maternity and paternity rights; sickness rights; equal pay.

I was asked if we would have got all those things anyway, if we were not part of the EU.  Not necessarily. Successive governments have not had the rights of workers at heart. Labour did very little for the private sector worker. The Tories confounded everyone with the Living Wage but their sympathies are usually with those who run businesses, not those who work for them. It's far easier to make people redundant in the UK than it is in France or Germany; they get longer holidays; they get far more generous redundancy settlements. So "UK plc" is not a guarantee of fairness for the workers.

We swim in clean water on clean beaches, thanks to the EU.

We safeguard the future of fisheries, no matter how much it irks those who think we should be allowed to plunder recklessly if the fish are in "our" waters.

The EU has poured investment into the UK. We are one of the largest recipients of research funding in the EU. Over the period 2007 – 2013 the UK received €8.8 billion out of a total of €107 billion expenditure on research, development and innovation in EU Member States. This represents the fourth largest share in the EU.

Don't think that, cast away from Europe, we can count on the US as a substitute.

The US likes to talk about a special relationship when it suits them, but Obama was speaking the truth when he admitted we would get no special treatment for exports if we leave the EU.

The US has a different agenda to us in many areas. Foreign policy for one. Particularly if "The Donald" is voted in.

Don't sacrifice our place in a special community

There is safety and comfort in numbers. We may speak different languages but our DNA is largely the same.  Crack open any of us and our ancestry will be Celtic. Gaelic. German. French.

Cast adrift, it may all work out;  who knows? The fact is, the UK now accounts for less than 1 per cent of the world's population and less than 3 per cent of global income (GDP). Each year that goes by, these numbers shrink a little. We will find it increasingly hard to get our voice heard on topics that affect our prosperity and well-being if we go it alone.

The European Union is larger than any individual economy in the world. Its GDP surpassed the USA’s in 2003.

Once Out, we may never again get back In. Is that something you want to foist on your children, grand children and future generations?

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