Britain And The EU Debate – In Or Out?

For some two years the debate about whether Britain should stay in the EU or get out has seen much discussion. David Cameron has promised a referendum on the subject if they get back in in 2015, but I have to ask, are the British general public aware of sufficient facts to form an objective opinion? Going by many of the comments seen on various news items I very much doubt it. I have the feeling that if it were put to a simple in or out referendum the answer from most people would be the latter.

European Union Building Brussels

European Union Building Brussels

What the general public see of the EU is what they read in the papers and on the TV news. I have myself been a vocal critic of many of the EU polices that have come out of Brussels. I believe the most contentious is the Human Rights Charter (HRC) that has seen countless abuses in the past. Most Brits feel quite rightly that it is not for Brussels to tell us who should go to prison and for how long for example. Ridiculous Health and Safety Rules (HSR) are another problem that has resulted in many needless deaths because the rescue services could not help for fear of breaking these laws.

Court of Human Rights

Court of Human Rights

From the public’s viewpoint I believe the HRC is the most unpopular when people think of Europe’s failures. These laws, in particular the infamous Article 8 which states that “every person has a right to family life”, has been used countless times by convicted criminals to escape justice. This is just one example of how these laws have been misused, particularly by unscrupulous lawyers who milk them for all they are worth. Two well known terrorist preachers who persuaded many young Muslims to fight for terror groups or strap on a bomb is a good case in point. Both Abu Qatada and Abu Hamsa managed to evade deportation to face terror charges in America and Jordan for more than ten years.

In regard to the HSR, a case that comes to mind is an old man in a park who drowned while feeding the ducks. He was floating face down in three feet of water and would be alive today if the rescue services had gone in the water and dragged him out. Unfortunately for him the Fire and Rescue crew that attended did not have anyone qualified to enter water that deep and had to wait for the arrival of specially trained men. This is just a single case of a Health and Safety cock-up that could have been avoided if our Rescue Services had been able to operate as they used to.

Typical Anti-Europe Headline

Typical Anti-Europe Headline

These are the kind of stories that get into the press and turn people wholly against the idea of EU membership. But unfortunately, there is another side to this saga that many of the general public know nothing about. I am speaking mainly of the financial sector that has its base in London.

London's Financial Centre

London’s Financial Centre

Whether you know it or not, London is the financial capital of the entire European Union. Business Secretary Vince Cable said in a speech to the City of London’s Guildhall, “Pulling out of Europe would damage the economy, deter investors and undermine Britain’s standing. Britain is the world’s sixth largest economy and has Europe’s biggest financial centre”.

The main worry is that if Britain leaves the EU, all the major world banks and companies that have their corporate headquarters in London will move to mainland Europe resulting in London, by comparison with today, becoming a ghost town. This would obviously not be good for London, and financially, not for the country.

Vince Cable MP

Vince Cable MP

This view is not held by everyone however, for Conservative lawmaker Jesse Norman said “London’s finance industry could still prosper outside the EU due to its size, time zone and use of the English language. Britain could also improve trade with emerging markets”,

Looking at the facts though, putting our trust in developing nations and “emerging markets” could prove difficult, but possibly successful in the long term. In the in-between-years however, life would be hard.

A recent poll has suggested that the ‘Out’ vote is currently at 43%, with the ‘In’ vote trailing at 39% which gives an indication of how the vote might go at this time.

David Cameron

David Cameron

Prime Minister Cameron is attempting to get some leeway by trying to persuade other European States to allow Britain to reclaim some of the powers from Brussels, although the report does not say which ones, but its a fair bet the Human Rights Charter is high on the list.

Unfortunately he does not seem to be making any progress with this move, because other member countries fear that if Britain does such a thing other nations may well follow, and this could lead to the breakup of the Union. For a start, the government needs to put constant pressure on Brussels to give us back our laws and our standards of justice which have served this country well for centuries.

According to Vince Cable, Britain should stay in the Union and try to change things from the inside. This may well prove to be the wisest course for Britain to follow.


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