Monday, 23 May 2016

EU Referendum

Yesterday was exactly one month to go until the EU referendum and the people in Britain get to make the most important political decision they’ve made in generations.

The Treasury has launched its latest attack on the UK economy, warning of doom and gloom if we leave the EU. However, the Treasury has a history of getting forecasts wrong. Indeed, George Osborne created the independent Office for Budget Responsibility as he admitted ‘the public and the markets have completely lost confidence in government economic forecasts’.

The Prime Minister has made it clear that he wants Turkey to join the EU. This would give 76 million Turkish citizens the right to live and work in the UK, putting huge pressure on our public services. It is evident that the UK poses a significant ‘pull factor’ as our average salaries are far higher than in Turkey. However, this will also threaten our national security as crime levels are also higher in Turkey, as is gun ownership.

SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon has said "overblown" government warnings about the economic impact of leaving the EU risk alienating the public. The Scottish First Minister and Remain supporter said "fear-based" campaigning could have a negative effect on voters. She was speaking as Tory Leave backers dismissed a Treasury study suggesting Brexit would hit growth, jobs, wages and house prices as "more propaganda".

Exactly how democratic is the EU? What are the economic risks to Britain of the Eurozone crisis? Is EU immigration sustainable or unbalanced in the long term? This struggle remains a work in progress. I may have learned more about Britain’s tortured relationship with the EU in the past few weeks than in all my previous years, but even so my analysis is unlikely to be complete by the day of the vote.

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