Brexit vs Bremain has gone too far

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Flickr/Abi Begum

When did almost 53% of our society become so nauseatingly narrow minded? At what point did we start to justify prejudice, when did we start discriminating against our neighbours and friends and why has Racism become the norm? We need to ask ourselves why intolerance and deep rooted suspicion of the ‘other’ has become the cornerstone of British Politics in recent months?

Our elected representatives are fighting like feral animals, pointing fingers, crying lies upon lies and hurling insults. Is it just me, or has the entire EU Referendum debate brought to the fore what is base about our polity?

If you want know why I’m asking such a tirade of questions, look no further than Nigel Farage’s unveiling of the ‘Breaking Point’ campaign poster. When Michael Gove told Andrew Marr he ‘shuddered’ at UKIP’s Brexit propaganda, he can’t undo it now, can he? You cannot justify the blatant absence of any white faces on the borders of Europe (Slovenia, 2015).

Farage’s stance is starkly reminiscent of Nazi Propaganda branded about in the 1930’s, he is absolutely opposed to the free movement of people, and justifies his argument in the most barbaric way possible, by making a mockery of the refugee crisis.

Dividing lines

Undoubtedly since the hail of the Brexit campaigns and its counterpart ‘Bremain’, we have become ever more divided. Whichever margin of the debate you support, or even if you’re simply sitting on the fence, praying for a miracle that will guide you on June 23, our society has become deeply suspicious and paranoid.

In the face of what is set to be the most important and far-reaching decision we will make in years to come, why is the debate focusing on immigration? Why has the far-right been allowed to grasp the agenda.

It is far more noticeable, less than 24 hours away from the Referendum Vote that we are now living in a climate of hatred and cynicism, one that we have built! Doesn’t anyone else think that we’ve gone too far?

I apologise if I offend, but I just don’t buy the ‘English as a persecuted minority’ argument, one echoing Enoch Powell’s ‘rivers of blood speech’. Why are Brexiteer’s trying to con us with phrases like ‘Make Britain Great Again’? I’m sorry, but I didn’t receive the memo to say that we’ve lost our greatness in the first place!

After watching a recent BBC Documentary, ‘The Immigration Question’ presented by Mishal Husain, I feel like I need to respond.

I say this with the greatest respect to Mrs Chowles who is going to have to wait 15 years for a Council house to accommodate the needs of her disabled husband, but Brexit is not a silver bullet! Clacton, despite having unemployment above the national average, has relatively little immigrant influx compared to other cities in the South of England, it actually houses few people who were born outside the United Kingdom.

Where the problems truly lie

The truth of the matter is, that core issues with the NHS, housing, unemployment, social security and education can’t and won’t disappear overnight. They will be present on June 23 when we vote, and regardless of which way we decide to vote, we will wake up to these issues once again on June 24.

Unfortunately, Mrs Chowles’ determination to vote Brexit, and others also motivated by the same concerns, will undoubtedly realise that their legitimate concerns, have never been the fault of immigrants, rather the failure of successive governments to provide sufficient funding and resources to these areas.

If the NHS is stretched, why can’t we give them more money, more Doctors and more Nurses, don’t scrap the bursaries! If we don’t have enough homes and Council houses, then why aren’t we building more? If there aren’t enough jobs, are you sure you’re looking properly?

Eastern European immigrants are being exploited by British businesses who abuse their work ethic for low pay, don’t insult immigrants for a problem that doesn’t lie with them. These issues have little to do with our membership of the EU and more to do with the fact that during the 2015 general election, the majority of us, voted in a Conservative Government to run our country.

Immigration has never been, and will never be the problem. As a second generation British national, I am greatly offended by the divisive tactics used to scaremonger our society. In the face of threats like home-grown terrorism and climate change we should not delude ourselves that standing isolated is standing strong.

Unity is the bedrock of British success and progress; standing united with Europe is the only chance we have to fight the threats we face today. We all know deep down, that Brexit flies in the face of British values, values that countless generations before us have fought tooth and nail for. Why should we dishonour them now?

Don’t be impressed by nostalgia and notions of exceptionalism, let’s show men like Farage that we don’t need to succumb to prejudice and discrimination, that we can build a better future with tolerance, respect and unity, one hopefully within the EU.

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Demystifying the Brexit fear campaigns

© European Union 2013 – European Parliament – Pietro Naj-Oleari:

The campaign for ‘IN’ or ‘OUT’ has been a long drawn out process, one which has captivated the nation for all the wrong reasons. Seemingly, the new way to win a political campaign is to scare everybody with any given excuse. As a soon to be Politics graduate, I find this a sad and sorry state of affairs.

In this two part series I shall seek to demonstrate what these political campaigns have failed to do, provide fair debate and factual statements.

Admittedly, I am a supporter of the European Union and I will be voting to remain. However, I will not seek to scare you, I simply intend upon feeding you the truths that I believe to hold firm through my own research. As such, I implore you to read on, what I say next may well change your minds, for the right reasons.

In this first part I will cover three main topics, the environment, the NHS, and the economy and sovereignty.

The climate

Even if you dislike some of the EU ‘red tape’ the media perpetually talks about, it is hard to argue with arguments surrounding the environment.

Climate change and the environment more generally will without a shadow of a doubt be the challenge of our generation. It shall not be – as some might have you believe – terrorism, Corbyn becoming prime minister or about any of us finding a job.

If you decide to vote to stay in the EU even if it’s just for the one reason, I would encourage you to make it a climate reason.

The EU climate and energy package was adopted in 2009 to implement the 20-20-20 targets endorsed by EU leaders in 2007 – by 2020 there should be a 20% reduction of Green House Gas emissions compared with 1990, a 20% share of renewables in EU energy consumption, and energy improvement by 20%.

It has also implemented a single EU-wide cap on emission allowances from 2013 onwards, with a linear annual reduction until 2020 and beyond.

To deal with climate change we need transnational organisations. Climate change is not confined to borders, it is worldwide and to fight it, prevent it and save ourselves we must be part of bodies such as the European Union.

The NHS

The next topic for scrutiny is the much talked about NHS issue, perhaps the best and most incredible British institution. Much is being made about staying in the EU costing our NHS because of ‘uncontrolled immigration’ and the money spent on the EU which could be better spent ‘elsewhere’.

For starters, the money we get from being part of the EU to fund research and development is huge. Furthermore, the EU promotes joint action for cancer research and control where member states work together. There is also a large body of evidence suggesting that the NHS is also critically reliant upon the U.K. economy, which as we know would suffer no end if we ‘Brexited’.
Much of the furore surrounding the NHS regards the issue about TTIP, which many people are worried about. The NHS is currently being negotiated out of a deal for this transatlantic trade agreement and would therefore not affect the workings of the NHS.

Equally, the main advocates for leaving the EU, Michael Gove, Boris Johnson and Nigel Farage have all spoken about their desire to privatise the NHS, so when they claim they want to give it more funding or whatever else they may say, you may want to challenge that.

EU migration also makes up around 10% of NHS doctors and 4% of nurses.

The economy and sovereignty 

Both campaigns have also fed the general public questionable figures. Ipsos Mori have carried out a non biased research analysis into the EU, the following were some of the central findings.

48% of the UK’s total international investment comes from the EU and 44% of our total exports are sold to EU countries – china only accounts for 1% of investment and 5% of exports respectively.

23% of those intending to vote leave don’t think that MEP’s are elected. Much of the general public as well as the media also peddle the sovereignty argument regarding Britain not having control over its own laws and regulation.

Instead of persistently looking at the negative portrayal of the EU, why not take a positive stance and view what regulations and laws the EU has brought into place which have benefited us all; trade agreements to reduce tariffs and agree increased trade between EU countries, a cap on the amount of hours an employee can make an employer work for, price caps on mobile roaming charges, ban on tobacco advertising, a minimum of 4 weeks holiday per year and a cap on banker’s bonuses.


Ultimately, in a globalised world of interconnectedness, one which we ourselves pushed and furthered, it makes no sense whatsoever to now become isolationist. Yes, certain aspects of the EU need reform but the wider, transnational issues at hand need to be dealt with collectively. You go and look back at history and tell me how successful and peaceful the Europe and the world more widely has been a) when it has been split up into individual bodies and b) when it has been held together by multi-nation bodies. The proof is pretty clear.