The pro-EU campaign is a campaign of fear. It’s high time that these falsehoods were exposed and challenged.
As the referendum on Britain’s EU membership approaches, the “In” campaign has begun to employ a strategy of fear and false information. Due to the importance of this referendum to the future of the UK it is imperative that these statements be challenged. In past weeks David Cameron has suggested that “Brexit” would mean that the UK would get a deal similar to Norway. This is useful for the prime minister as he rightly argues that Norway has no say over EU legislation but I have heard no Eurosceptic seriously advocating this type of agreement. Even so the Norwegians have consistently opposed EU membership knowing that they have no say over the negligible amount legislation imposed on them. On top of this the volume of trade between the UK and the EU means that the UK is likely to sign a more favourable trade agreement than either Norway or Switzerland, both of whom pay small budget contributions whilst being able to trade freely with EU nations in addition to any nation they choose.
One such claim is that in leaving the EU Britain would leave Europe, which is impossible unless the British Isles drift off into the Atlantic. This choice of phrase may seem minor but it is in fact extremely harmful to the “Out” campaign, particularly when Britain Stronger in Europe is a leading europhilic voice. The damage will become evident if those in favour of EU membership continue to manipulate the understanding of a post-“Brexit” UK in this way.
Europhiles suggest that membership of the EU has forced governments to legislate for human rights; however there were few, if any, contraventions of human rights prior to the passage of the Human Rights Act 1998. Despite this, President Juncker recently told the European Parliament not to “harp on” about human rights with regards to Turkey, which was justified by the feeble excuse that Turkey is bearing the brunt of the refugee crisis and has nothing to do with the fact that Turkey is a likely candidate for EU membership.
The most common misconception about “Brexit” is that UK-EU trade would suffer, which is nonsense as the UK is one of the EU’s largest trade partners. The suggestion that “Brexit” would end positive UK-EU trade relations would mean that European businesses would be losing access to one of their largest markets on the basis that we wouldn’t be in the same club, is ludicrous. Furthermore the UK would be able to negotiate free trade agreements with many countries, as the Swiss managed to do. This would provide Britain with the best of both worlds because it could have access to the Single Market, just like Switzerland, and to be accessible to global businesses as it frees itself of restrictive EU rules. Proximity means less than it did in the past so the UK would easily be able to trade freely with the world, particularly the US, as confirmed by Republican candidate Jeb Bush. It should also be pointed out that the imposition of trading standards for imports to the EU would not be a new thing as every trading nation must meet certain standards in the goods it exports.
The cost of EU membership, £55 million per day, is unjustifiably bloated. However this does not account for the fact that the EU can fine its member states, such as the fine for Britain’s economic success in comparison to the Eurozone. Additionally the lack of borders across the Union has caused a mass migration of people from the poorer East of the EU to the West, which has led to wage compression due to an oversupply in the labour market and pushed the government, in its impossible quest to lower immigration figures, to reject non-EU migrants.
There can be no doubt that the “In” campaign will ruthlessly exploit the electorate’s ignorance of many of the issues surrounding the UK’s EU membership and will use any medium, such as the Confederation of British Industry, the same organisation that advocated Britain’s adoption of the euro. To make up for the fact that EU tariffs make foreign imports so much more expensive it has become common for EU nations to spend exorbitant amounts on foreign aid to make up for the restrictions on trade which would help many developing nations to tackle poverty. If there is still any doubt about businesses supporting “Brexit”, the responses of JCB, Nissan, and until recently Lord Rose, should have all but dispelled fears that, as Nick Clegg claimed, three million jobs will be lost.
Finally, but perhaps one of the most important myths, is that the UK will become an inconsequential backwater. Few people seriously believe that one of the permanent members of UN Security Council, a member of the G7 and Nato would lose all of its influence on the world stage. This defeatist attitude epitomises the “In” campaign’s approach. Surely the British people can see through this web of deceit and, as Britain’s former colonies were encouraged to do, choose independence and freedom?