Sunday, 19 June 2016

Brexit: What's it all about?

On 23rd June 2016, British citizens will gather at their local voting centres, to provide their answer to the big question: “Should the United Kingdom remain a member of the European Union or leave the European Union?”

Britain became a member of this alliance of 28 member states in 1973 – then known as the European Economic Community; though, in contemporary times, a hot seated debate has risen surrounding whether the ‘Brexit’ will prove beneficial. Anticipation of the outcome of this referendum, which has been referred to as “the most important decision for this country in a generation”, is obviously a highly opinionated matter. It has been estimated that the national divide in opinion is relatively equal; and thus the true outcome is yet to unfold. 

Driving the support of the exit, most notably, are the United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP); amidst individuals of the Conservative, Labour and Democratic Union parties. It is felt by many, including Chris Grayling – leader of the House of Commons and member of ‘Vote Leave’ – that the nation’s depart will result in greater ascendancy. 

This proves probable in the predicted economic outcomes; considering that it is often argued that membership within this alliance fails to reap what it sows – with billions spent annually on membership fees, to receive very little in return. Without such fees, tariffs, and additional EU legislation surrounding the many sectors which impact trade are noted by supporters as probable to increase trade; so much to a potential annual GDP increase of 1.6% by 2030. 

Immigration is often perceived as a significant issue within a nation, often deemed rather superior in its welfare state and economic opportunity, and it is felt that EU departure is likely to provide solution to this. Amongst many, desires are held for a Free Trade Agreement – which would entail eradication of the current allowance of free inter-European migration, in addition to charges, whilst there still being the allowance of trade. 

Campaigners point to the greater number of job opportunities, and reduced pressure upon vital public services, which would be a consequence of European independence, and subsequently reduced immigration levels. 

 However, a much more conservative perspective towards the potential reform is held by a number of prominent individuals, including David Cameron and Stephen Hawking. In response to the supporting arguments, it is seen that Britain will struggle to succeed in holding such a finicky, “pick and mix” attitude towards EU involvement and standards – as many EU countries are probable to present opposition. What is additionally recognised by those of this attitude is the benefits that EU immigration holds, in terms of economy – considering that the thousands of young workers arriving from surrounding nations each year provide valuable support to the growing British economy; and, in turn, the public services of such emphasised importance. 

A similar idea is conveyed in Stephen Hawking’s idea that the change would prove “a disaster to British science”, as the nation restricts its access to some of the continent’s most talented scientific minds. 

The outcome for those within the Gibraltar – an island of overseas British territory, situated on the southern Spanish border – would be set to be largely negative, if Britain was to segregate itself from the European Union. This is in light of the fact that many of its residents are of Spanish descent, and that fact that over ten thousand Spaniards work within the area. 

Furthermore, perhaps another factor which ought to be considered is the impact of this potential change upon the approximate 2.2 million British individuals who work within the EU’s other 27 member states; each of whom could face job loss as national borders between Britain and said countries are made highly limited. 

As such a controversial state of affairs, whether support of the ‘Brexit’ is superior to that surrounding conservatism is yet to be unveiled. 

Do stay tuned and check out tomorrow's post - in which I'll discuss my personal opinion surrounding the referendum. 

Kate 

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