Smashed: The Myths about Leaving the EU

The Queen’s Speech promised an in/out referendum on our membership of the EU. Should we stay or should we go? Ukip member Jordan Wareham examines the myths surrounding a so-called “Brexit.” 

BrusselsBeat
By Jordan Wareham
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It’s time for Britain to get out, and get out now. (Photo: Conservative Home)

British politics has moved on from the general election and now we must turn our eyes to the in/out referendum regarding Britain’s membership of the European Union. Of course, because of my political affiliation, I would urge people to vote out and take back control of our country. This is our chance to leave the EU and set up a system similar to what Norway has incorporated; leaving the EU but remaining a member of the European Economic Area (EEA), meaning that Britain would remain in the single market. The Norwegian Mission to the EU in 2009 estimated that membership of the EEA cost a mere €330 million per year. In comparison, for Britain, it’s estimated that our membership of the EU costs us £77 billion per year. When I pledge this, I’m met with the same responses. Some are good arguments which can be opened up to debate, some are wrong. These wrong ones are what I refer to as the great myths of leaving the EU. 

Great Myth Number 1: Britain would lose jobs if we left the EU.
 
As EU law reigns supreme in Britain, all companies and firms are bound by the same laws, including the smaller businesses. These companies contribute to the 90% of British economy involved in exporting goods that is not involved with EU trade yet are still bound by its laws. Leaving the EU would free small companies of EU red tape. A panel created by David Cameron and headed by Kingfisher chief Ian Cheshire conducted research speaking to both big and small companies, and concluded that Britain’s red tape needed reforming as it cost British companies too much. For example. it was estimated that relaxing certain health and safety legislation would save British businesses £2bn. Staying the EEA would keep Britain’s jobs. We would still be trading with EU countries, therefore the jobs that this trade gives us now will be preserved. Furthermore, with the potential of companies expanding, this can lead to more jobs being created. Thus it is clear that the way forward is to have the best of both worlds; leaving the EU, but staying in the EEA. 
 
Great Myth Number 2: Britain couldn’t survive economically outside the EU.
 
Firstly, Britain would save a significant amount of money taken from a study done by Open Europe in March of this year which stated that the 100 most burdensome EU regulations cost Britain £33.3bn per year. In 2011, the Treasury reported that the government spent more public spending money on the EU than it does on railways, an amount similar to what it spends on unemployment benefits. This means not only does the EU impact Britain’s economy badly; it may also impact British services. A well-documented failing service is our NHS. The NHS Trust Development Authority (TDA) reported a net deficit for NHS trusts of £241 million in 2013/14 (draft accounts), compared with a planned net deficit of £76 million at the start of the financial year. Surely, the money we could be saving by leaving the EU could be spent on improving vital British service?
Secondly, the UK’s best trade partnerships don’t lie within the EU but around the world in North America and Asia. They show that we import and export to Asia mostly, and it’s only a select few EU countries that we have good trade partnerships. The export stats are very interesting to me. They show that we are now exporting less to Italy and France; two of the biggest countries in the EU. Albeit, 44.6% of exports are with the EU, but we could still keep this if we set up a free trade deal with the EU.

Where we export to. (Source: The Week)
Great Myth Number 3: Britain will have no influence outside the EU.
 
A false statement if I ever did see one. Britain has massive influence worldwide! Britain is a member of various influential groups; Nato, we have a permanent seat and power of veto on the UN Security Council, the G8 and the G20 as well as having deadly nuclear power thanks to the Trident programme. Britain would have influence with or without the European Union. 
 
Great Myth Number 4: Britain can’t legally leave the EU.
 
To this I take you to the Lisbon Treaty, the constitutional basis of the EU. In this treaty, Article 50 shows that anybody can leave the EU if they desired to and the EU could set up a trade agreement with the outgoing country. All that would need to happen for Britain to leave the EU would be passing and repealing legislature that bound us to the EU. Repealing the European Communities Act 1972 and its attendant amendment acts through a single clause bill passing through Westminster would achieve this.
 
The way the government are going to settle this argument is through a referendum. If the British public vote in favour of leaving the EU, then the government has no legitimate reason not to do so. They are forced to respect public opinion and cannot justify delaying it in the House of Commons. 
 
Leading up to this referendum, you will see masses of pro-EU and anti-EU propaganda in the streets, online, on the news, and across the media. There will be lots of arguing from politicians and of course, young people like ourselves. Some people may want to remain in the EU; some people like me want us to leave it; some people aren’t to sure what they want yet. The eurosceptics will continue to pledge to leave, the pro-EU supporters will continue to pledge to stay; however, what we can agree on is that it’s going to be an exciting time for the future of British politics.