10 reasons to vote Remain, 10 myths of the Leave campaign

This is likely to be my last post before the referendum. I have not managed to write all of the posts I had planned, but I think I’ve managed to cover most of the big issues in the campaign.

This post summarises my thoughts on the EU referendum, and briefly addresses some of the issues I would like to have explored in more detail. I will explain 10 reasons why I will be voting for the UK to remain part of the EU, and point to 10 Leave campaign myths that I believe should not influence your decision as to how you vote on Thursday. Continue reading

Myths on migration

It has been an incredibly sad few days. What happened to Jo Cox MP is tragic, and I’m struggling for words to describe my thoughts on such an awful event. I understand that there have been various suggestions that this may in some way be linked with the referendum, but I would urge us to avoid that sort of speculation until we have ascertained the facts of what happened. Instead, I think we should focus on the beautiful words of Jo’s husband:

“She would have wanted two things above all else to happen now, one that our precious children are bathed in love and two, that we all unite to fight against the hatred that killed her.”

RIP Jo Cox MP, my thoughts are with your family.


This post focuses on what has been the the big issue of this referendum debate – immigration. I confess I’ve felt quite nervous about writing this post. Immigration has proven such a thorny issue, and it all too often becomes mixed up with more sinister political rhetoric. Let’s be clear – it is not racist to be concerned about immigration and its effects on a country. However, the problem is when a debate about immigration becomes about certain populations, when it singles out certain sections of society, or when it involves baseless accusations about “foreigners” and “foreign criminals”. That’s when the debate takes an unacceptable tone. There has been too much of this in the EU referendum debate. If we want to talk about the effects of immigration – that’s fine, but there is absolutely no need to demonize others in the pursuit of this. In fact, I am really saddened by how this referendum has been fought – it hasn’t been about facts, but instead has often revolved around accusations or claims made without evidence. It is irresponsible to have a referendum which does not involve educating the public as to the very thing upon which they are asked to vote.

In this post, I aim to explain the rules on EU migration, and give you an overview of the statistics I’ve managed to find on this area. I have four overall points:

  1. It is untrue to say that we have no control over EU migration;
  2. There is little evidence to suggest that EU migration is having a negative economic effect on the UK;
  3. By contrast, there is evidence that suggests that EU migration is more likely to have a positive economic effect than non-EU migration; and
  4. Voting to leave the EU does not guarantee a reduction in immigration to the UK.

Continue reading

How does a country join the EU?

Before I get into the substance of this post, I want to deal with something I saw on the Leave.eu’s twitter feed this week. I refuse to post a link to it because I do not want it shared any more than it already is. It is a photo with the caption “Islamist extremism is a real threat to our way of life…. Act now before we see an Orlando-Style atrocity here before too long.” It is followed by links etc to the Leave.eu’s website.

It is not an exaggeration to say that seeing this made me feel sick. The events in Orlando are truly, truly horrible and it is devastating to see these things happen. My heart goes out to everyone affected by such a heinous act.

To make the link between something like this and the EU referendum is the lowest form of political propaganda. To leverage events where innocent victims, people’s friends and family, have been killed to further your own political cause is nothing short of hideous. Our country, our political system, is far better than this sort of politics of baseless accusations and completely uniformed attempts to engender fear.

I want to set the record straight (in so far as this needed to be said): there is absolutely no link between terrorism and EU membership. The question of whether our country is likely to be the subject of an attack of any nature does not in any way depend on whether we are an EU Member State. Do not make your decision on this basis. If anything, a number of key figures involved in UK security have explained how we would be safer within the EU because of the intelligence-sharing and common security policies agreed between EU Member States.[i] If you’d like to read about some examples to illustrate this point, I’ve included them in the footnote (just click on the link to the right of this =>).[ii]

Now that I’ve got that out of the way, I want to deal with another myth from the Leave campaign. This one runs as follows: if we remain in the EU, loads of other countries will join which will create even more problems in terms of immigration. Continue reading

An interesting conference on the EU referendum

Those of you looking to find out more about the EU referendum may find this conference interesting…

The Referendum on EU Membership: Pivotal Issues

16th June, 6pm, followed by a wine reception

Location: City University, A130 College Building, St John Street, London EC1V 4PB

City Law School and the Jean Monnet Chair in EU law are delighted to host a debate on The Referendum on EU Membership: pivotal issues on June 16th at City University.

The debate will cover the following issues:

  1. The UK-EU relationship post Brexit
  2. Trade with the rest of the world
  3. Sovereignty
  4. Immigration
  5. Issues for the UK regarding Scotland and Ireland
  6. Peace and Security

Speakers:

Rt Hon Lord Hannay GCMG CH, former UK Representative to EU and Ambassador to UN and USA
Sir Alan Dashwood QC, City Law School, Henderson Chambers
Sir William Cash MP, Chair of House of Commons European Scrutiny Committee
Martin Howe QC, 8 New Square

ChairPanos Koutrakos, Professor of EU Law and Jean Monnet Chair in EU Law

The event will be followed by a wine reception in the Great Hall Foyer.

Attendance is free and the event will be accredited for 2 hours CPD.

 

Places are still available to attend and can be booked directly through the events page.

What does the EU do for us? Three (holiday) benefits

The EU referendum debate is being fought on a number of big issues (not the magazine – I now have visions of David Cameron and Boris Johnson fighting with rolled up Big Issues). The examples are numerous: economics, democracy, sovereignty, security, and of course immigration. I’ve dealt with some of these issues already, and over the next week I will do my best to deal with some of the others.

With the debate raging on such big issues, it is easy to lose sight of other points. One point I think is often overlooked is answering the question: what does the EU do for me? This is a shame, because one of the criticisms of the EU is that it feels too distant, and I think at least some of the anti-EU rhetoric is based on the fact that people don’t really understand what it does, and how it affects them.

Part of the aim of this blog is to provide some of the answers to this question. Here is a summary of the benefits I have identified so far:[i] Continue reading

Euro-myths

I’ve posted less than I planned this week. As I mentioned in the introduction page for this blog, I’m currently training to become a barrister, and I had my two final assessments this week. In fact, I’m writing this on Friday on a train to Manchester after having handed both assessments in at 1pm! Next week I will be back to full blogging capacity.

Over the weekend I’m going to upload two posts, of which this is the first. In this post I want to deal with two common myths about the euro and the UK, and in the second post I plan to point to some specific examples of how the EU benefits us on a day-to-day basis.

There are two myths about the UK and the euro that I want to clarify in this post. Continue reading

Why does the EU make law?

It’s back to a Leave campaign old chestnut today – here’s the argument: X% of our laws are made by unelected bureaucrats in Brussels (we haven’t mentioned the pesky –crats in a while…)

I’ve dealt with the “unelected” part of this statement in an earlier post. Today’s post deals more with the laws themselves. I intend to explain why:

  1. The EU has the power to make law.
  2. Estimating the amount of laws made by the EU is a fruitless and unhelpful exercise.
  3. The focus should be more on the quality of those laws, rather than the quantity.

Continue reading