Britain has been part of the EU since 1973, originally attempting to join in 1963 but was rebuffed by French president Charles De Gaulle used his veto to block Britain’s entry. He was concerned Britain would act as America’s path to meddle in European affairs. After the nationalistic Frenchman was voted out of office, Britain was allowed to join the EU in 1972. So should we, as a nation, go it alone?
One of the main benefits of leaving the EU would be not having to pay the EU membership fees. There have been various figures put forward around, especially during last year’s leader’s debates, when Nigel Farage claimed that the UK paid £55 million per day, which equates to around £20 billion per year. These figures aren’t entirely accurate, Britain regains around £8 billion through various things such as the EU’s rebate system and trade benefits. The more accurate figure is around £12 billion a year, or £33 million a day. That’s twelve billion pounds a year that could be used to back up and boost the UK economy. Yes, the UK’s nearly spending is massively higher than £12 billion pounds but that figure would act as a sizeable boost to the UK’s spending on education or defense, especially defense as it would admittedly need bolstering after leaving the EU and not being able to call on its armory any more.
Since the world economic crisis of 2009, Europe has been struggling to recover. Billions of Euro’s (and Pound Sterling) have been poured into trying to keep Greece afloat and trying to make their situation better, but they still have enormous national debt and an unemployment rate of 25%. As part of the EU, Britain has had to fund the struggling Greek economy, the bill was made even bigger when Britain’s position within the EU was taken into account (Britain is one of the biggest countries in the EU, along with Germany, France and Italy). The British economy grows slowly each year, could our growth increase without having to play our part in Europe?
Britain would still be able to trade with the EU and EU nations: Norway and Switzerland both do very good business with the EU. This is one of the biggest points in the amicable divorce (the nickname for the terms that would be agreed should the public choose to leave the EU). Free trade with EU nations is a big benefit of being part of the EU but, in or out, countries in Europe would still want to trade with Britain, particularly if the oil near Gatwick airport turns out to be as big as estimated by some people.
Immigration is another big issue that would be affected by a British exit from the EU. In 2015, 336,000 people immigrated to Britain. I am not against immigration at all, but there has to be a limit, because of the public services that are available in Britain. The NHS is a prime example of this, the population is getting bigger and this stretches the NHS. Can the already under pressure organization really take an extra couple of hundred thousand people per year? This goes for the school system as well, and the benefits scheme (which would be limited under the new deal with the EU).
At the moment, Britain has to comply with EU legislation on how many people it will take under its wing. Should Britain leave the EU, this would hand total control of the borders to the government, who would be able to make sure that Britain took in enough migrants to save some people from where they fled but not have to take in so many that the public services becomes overwhelmed and can no longer cater for the population.
One thing that would definitely be given back to Britain and to the British government is to have more control over where the nation goes moving forward. We would decide how we react to future world events, how to keep up with ever developing and growing countries like China and Brazil. Britain is doing fine as part of Europe, but is fine really enough? Maybe we see it’s time to break away, to start afresh, for the good of Great Britain and the Great British public.
Image credit: flickr.comykoutsomitis