Friday, 1 February 2013

EU Referendum

(Eeek! Sorry this is...3 days late!)

Despite past protestations that this is not in any way a political blog, I have been posting about politics somewhat regularly recently. That said, politics tends to be the more interesting news during a standard week. In any case, I will protest again "this is not a political blog".

You may have guessed from the title - at least I hope you did ;) - but I was happy that the news this fortnight finally gave me an excuse for an EU rant.

David Cameron, in his recent EU speech, stated that he'd like to:

  1. Renegotiate the terms of the UK's continued membership in the EU in return for the continuation of a "healthy" relationship with the EU (which is apparently one in which we are part of the EU - I agree with this point however) and
  2. At the end of negotiations, hold an EU referendum.
Well someone is delusional aren't they? I'd like to point out that you can negotiate all you want, but if you hold a referendum, the British public will - because the majority of them have no idea what the EU actually does for us - vote for us to get out. So in 2017 I will watch the UK get even more insignificant - because we kinda really are already - and then try to apply for a visa so I can permanently emigrate somewhere else. Like America, because their political system makes a lot more sense than the UK's...

Back on topic, you may be asking "what does the EU do for the UK"? (Or you might not be, oh well...) And here are a few (eh, 3 and a bit) points:
  1. Trade: Us being in the EU means that we trade one heck of a lot more with EU-member countries than we would otherwise. Some argue that we'd trade with countries like Canada a lot more if we weren't in the EU, but that's crap - we trade with Canada as it is, and Canada really doesn't seem to be bothered at all with our membership of the EU (they actually quite like it...more on that later). But what about Free Trade agreements!? Ah yes, but you forget that the world doesn't like the UK as much as they do Switzerland and the like. In fact, most countries hate our guts.
  2. A degree of significance: For Britons still stuck in the era of the British Empire, I'd like to announce something... we're not an empire, we don't matter all that much any more - we're now not even America's seemingly best friend; more like the small child America humours/tolerates. The EU makes us part of something bigger which could be classed as significant (see last week's news post). Oh, and Barrack Obama agrees with me here (well not me particularly, but he is thinking along the same lines :P)
  3. Everyone else says we should stay: So maybe it's no-one else's business how we run our country, but while the EU could quite frankly take us or leave us, lots of non-EU countries are telling us we need to stay. Like America - as aforementioned - because as loathe as I am to agree with Nick Clegg, we provide a use for America in our EU membership. Canada, lauded as our main trading partner if we left the EU, is currently negotiating CETA - a trade agreement with the EU. Hell, even Germany says it'd be a shame if we left (while telling us we're getting on people's nerves and if we want out then we should get out).
  4. Readers of the Daily Mail think we should leave: This is a pretty petty point, but a good one. For those of you that don't know, the Daily Mail is a newspaper that produces more crap than a dog with diarrhoea. Not willing to take my word on that? Here's the Daily Mail Cancer List, one of a tonne of zombie attack articles (I'll have to start a list someday as I can't find a pre-existing one), oh oh! And a Daily Mail article claiming that the EU will be bothered at all by our threats (they wont).
Sorry, that last point was a bit off-topic. I really do hate the Daily Mail though.

Back on topic: "But what about all that stuff they take away from us?" Really? Really? We have to lose stuff to gain stuff, and (sorry fishermen) a few restrictions on fishing (and the other small things they "impose" on us) are a small price to pay to be honest.

We need the EU. We need the EU more than the EU needs us. And voting for us to get out is a crapshoot.

See you next time,

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