In or out?

A very interesting read. my views on France, but a lot of these are true for the UK too.

On one hand the UK is an open nation, welcoming people over history,in times of war and crisis, having pride in this facet of our heritage and believing that we should celebrate our differences and work together on our similarities (or the opposite, which boils down to the same thing. This side of the nation, open, welcoming, understanding, compassionate had a large place in our hearts. Then UKip and other right-wing parties grew, not just in the UK but throughout Europe. The National Front in the UK and in France and elsewhere have risen up the political elevator .This points to the other side of our Nation. We hang on to a past of Empire and a phony nostalgia for a so-called golden age. But it wasn’t so golden. 
My parents were both baby boomers, born into Steel and Coal industrial backgrounds, yet both were able to get a free university education and to become middle class. Mum was born in Attercliff, the most polluted place in Europe in the 1950’s but today, thanks to both UK and European legislation steel production continues (although not at the same scale) and pollution has gone. My father was born int the Welsh mining communities, where the choice historically was the Pit or the Cloth or Armed Services. He was able to get out too. Yes, the 50’s offered opportunities, but it was hard before the introduction of the Welfare State by the post war Labour  government. 
My father was born in 1938, my grandfather 1906 . In 1906 life expectancy was 46, yet my grandfather lived till his late 60’s
Today thanks to social, medical and technological advances, we live to 80 /81 and have 38 thousand dollars per person per year. That’s nearly 20 more years and 20 thousand more dollars, despite all the immigration, or indeed because of it. because those immigrants become teachers, doctors, dentists, nurses. We need to move away from the stereo types of the Polish Plumber.
We could very well see some of these social and economic gains go backwards, as other countries have, as China for 100 years in the 1800’s and 1950 to 1960 or Haiti in general. We could see the growth of the poor and the powerless.
 We try to keep our country together faced with pressures from outside and from inside, the growth of regional identities and the growth of immigration. Scottish ,Irish and Welsh independence all loom on the horizon , people identify themselves increasingly as “regional” rather than as British. And so we refuse diversity and become permeable to xenophobia, racism and extreme views.
We point at stats : in 1950 4% of the UK population were not born in the UK, but in 1991 it was 7% and today its 14% But we forget that immigrants create jobs and pay into the systems that keep our social system, things like  education health care and pensions going.
Then people point at financial arguments, but even Norway pays  447 million euro per year ( and they don’t get any of the citizenship or legal protection. The UK pays 35% of its gdp, but smaller countries pay much more  which shows countries with smaller economies than the UK paying more than the UK. We don’t hear them complaining too much!
Then people complain that Europe rules us, because immigrants were forced upon us from other countries. But morally we had to accept them. Would you rather they died in camps at the frontier of europe or that they came and worked in our communities.
After, the argument that they take “our” jobs, school places, blocking our hospitals or social housing. But theses jobs,places, health care and housing are not “ours” but any one’s. Government has to react and create more of all, thus creating more jobs, and getting in more tax revenue.
Despite all the immigration, unemployment hasn’t gone up. The rate is still 2.2 unemployed people per job vacancy.
( . This data shows hard times between July 2008 and july 2012 where the rate goes from 3 to 5 and back to 3 people unemployed per job. But this is more of a reflection of the global crisis rather than immigration.
At the end of the day the vote is for influence and geopolitical status rather than anything else. Britain as a nation is the 5th or 6th biggest  world economy now, but in 10 years time it will be the 15th or 16th and THAT is when the negotiations will end to leave the EU  should we vote to do so now.
Our place in the UN, in Nato and in the wider world is already at stake within Europe, outside it, we would certainly lose our place in the UN security council and our influence and capacity in Nato would dwindle. This sends all the wrong messages to an increasingly vigorous Russia who have acted with almost impunity over Georgia and  Ukraine.
The EU imposed sanctions on Russia, which were rather more effective than sanctions imposed by just one country, however their effectiveness could and should now be discussed. Putin wants to restore Stalin’s USSR borders, and the EU stands in his way. We fought WW II in 1938 for Poland and they didn’t get their freedom till 1989.
The UK decided to stay out of the European plan in the beginning in 1956, and it was only at the death of  De Gaulle that we could come in, in 1972. 16 years of trying to get in! If we leave now we will never get back in. 
We are not Norway, or Iceland or Liechtenstein or Switzerland. Our economy is bigger than all of them combined according to so we have a lot more at stake.
People point the finger at the European gravy train, its lack of reactivity, incompetence, corruption and in the main a lot of this is over estimated or over exaggerated but that is not to say that we do need to work towards improving it.
We need an elected head for the european Continent, as in America. But  unlike The USA we don’t have a common language or culture. So we have a lot of work to do!
Our Sceptered Isle, lost in the mists, a mighty warrior , unbeaten by all since 1066, brave and strong. Like Asterix in his village. A cartoon reality.
But we aren’t lost in the mists of the Atlantic anymore. Globalisation and international communication and even the Channel tunnel means that those headlines “Fog in Channel: Continent cut off” are as phony as they ever were, a joke to tell people in a train carriage rather than the reality of the situation.
The arguments :
1 control immigration. People who want out will say “we’ll be able to control immigration” but we wont be able to do any such thing. We don’t have the naval capacity to control all the tiny boats that take the risk of the busy channel as recent events have shown. Even if we vote “leave” we’ll have a two-year period where we’ll have to organise things and will remain a member of the EU and this two year period start date is decided by the UK government, so they could delay this as long as they felt was needed to organise things, say 1 or 2 or 5 years and in that time EU immigrants can and will continue to come into the UK. If, as Gove says in an article in the Times here
““Because we cannot control our borders …. public services such as the NHS will face an unquantifiable strain as millions more become EU citizens and have the right to move to the U.K.” 
What hope after we leave when we cant rely on cooperation from other nations ? And what about non EU migration?
2 The economy/make Britain “Great Britain” again.
Boris Johnson wants out, but just 3 years ago he wanted in, and it’s just that he wants to be PM really.
All the serious financial analysis says “stay”.(FMI, FT )
The EU takes 50% of UK exports and we take 10% of EU imports. We need them more than they need us!
Bureaucrats. yes its the myth of the banana or cucumber or whatever. But they are just myths.(
Or the confusion or the role of the European Council and the European Union.
 The reality is European laws protect your jobs, environment and human rights .
4 Rejection of establishment.
Well ok, I agree, the establishment doesn’t always get it right and that leads people to vote for “boaty mcboatface” as a name instead of “Sir David Attenborough” as a boat name. But let’s face it, the latter makes more sense.
But we shouldn’t dismiss brexiteers out of hand.They have  fears and desires, expectations and needs. We have to work to find solutions
Every issue has this
5 Prices would go down.
Perhaps , but the brexiteers have said that farmers would get the same  as today in subsidies.
Eu prices or world prices. I don’t want to be in a race to the bottom. Prices would go fluctuate, as they always do in world markets.I want to see people able to afford to live in a fair and just world.
We shouldn’t see migrants as obviously different from us, marked out, and unequal, rather we should see them as an opportunity to evolve and progress, by nurturing their talent and welcoming their ideas. Culture and fashion are never static, but evolve.
We keep the things important to us, but also accept those from our adopted country. As an immigrant to France, at Christmas I have “Aperatif” but also “Pudding”. The best of both worlds.
A bunch of sticks is always stronger than just one, so stick together!



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