EU debate: The impossible choice

Why is the referendum causing such a ferocious split among the population, experts and politicians alike?

Thursday, 16th June 2016, 4:52 pm
Updated Friday, 8th June 2018, 2:43 am

Why are normally friendly, chatty families now spending breakfast meals glaring at each other across their Sugar Puffs in aggressive, hostile silence. Why do I feel the need to rush out of the room in a panic whenever the subject of Brexit comes up on the gogglebox?

The answer is easy. It’s because we are being given an impossible choice.

Who in their right mind could approve the EU, with all the gross deficiencies we now all know about? The corruption, wastefulness, greed, unaccountability etc etc. Do we really want to be part of a homogenised state of a failing Europe, controlled by bureaucrats who know little of us, and care even less? Did we really fight two World Wars only to let Germany control Europe through economics and politics instead?

Who also likes the idea of maybe 300,000 plus of uncontrolled immigration from the EU every year for the foreseeable future. Even ignoring the ludicrous limitations the EU insists on imposing, such as our right to extradite criminals. What will the UK be like after 10-20 years of this? What will be the effects on not only housing, education, the NHS etc, but also on the character of UK life and culture in general?

But on the other hand, to counter all this, who wants to put the UK economy at serious risk in a host of ways that even the baffled brains of the World’s “experts” cannot predict. The effect of Brexit on the £, inflation, the City, devaluation, inward investment, house prices, interest rates, recession etc – who knows? It’s anybody’s guess. There are possible threats to small businesses, big businesses – mostly unknown, but real, worrying, potentially catastrophic, and already having negative effects on the investment plans of several UK employers.

And we are told that our trade with the EU is too important to them to give us a hard time when renegotiating. That may be logic. But we are talking human beings – emotions count too. How will French and Spanish fishermen react when we impose new fishing limits on them in UK waters. How will French farmers take to continuing British exports of beef, speciality cheeses etc. And how will EU nationals appreciate being denied residency in the UK? We could end up being hated, or worse, ignored and ridiculed. The cod wars with Iceland and the more recent lamb wars with France could seem a picnic, by comparison. A full blown European trade war is a distinct possibility.

And the complete breakup of the EU is another. Maybe no bad thing in itself, but the effects on the World economy? Would we be immune from these within our BREXIT powerhouse? Don’t you believe it! And can we count on the support and welcoming open arms of the Commonwealth, Australia and New Zealand in particular? Have they forgotten the pain of being dumped by the UK when we joined the EEC? Maybe, maybe not. We don’t know – and that’s the point. How will the USA, Japan, China and India respond to our friendly trading overtures? Will they share our ancient, historically based puffed up view of our importance in the World, or will they see us as just another isolated medium sized country increasingly desperate for crumbs from their huge trade tables in an increasingly competitive and hostile World? And does it matter?

It matters.

This is not a game – although all the casual chat about multi billions of pounds makes you wonder sometimes if it’s all just monopoly money.

It’s not. This is real – the outcome will effect the lives of millions of us, and anything could happen.

Added to that, we would surely expect UK and other politics to be seriously harmed as a result of the nastiness this divisive debate is generating, adding to the likely economic chaos. This is all, of course, to be added a World beset with many other woeful problems.

How can an open-minded, well informed referendum voter like myself weigh all this up sensibly?

I can’t. It’s impossible.

A third option is required – a cross in both boxes would perhaps represent a vote for our politicians to return to the EU for serious renegotiation so the people can really go for it, make a real choice. Not Cameron please – too weak. Not Boris – too dim. Maybe pugnacious Nigel could handle it.

Someone needs to.

Brian North

Norfolk Place


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