Tuesday, 21 June 2016

EU: Why We Must Leave

This was the speech given by Oliver Clark in favour of leaving the EU during yesterday's EU referendum debate at PGS.

David Cameron likes to use the analogy of 'Little Englanders' to describe people on the Leave side of this campaign. But believe me, the future of this country outside of the EU is far broader and far brighter than our current prospects.

I'd like to start off with a little history. When we joined the Common Market in 1972, the British were told that this was designed to be a tariff free zone, a relationship based purely on free trade between neighbouring countries. If this were still the case, we would not be even having this referendum. If the EU was about co-operation and unity, like organisations such as the UN and NATO, there would be no issue.

So what do we have today, inside the EU? 

We have an unelected EU commission, who have the sole power to propose 60% of the laws in this country. 28 men and women, including 5 male presidents, who we cannot elect, we cannot replace, and none of us can even name!

We have an EU project that is failing, and ruining the lives of millions of people across Europe. One that's austerity policy has resulted in 50% youth unemployment in Greece, 45% in Spain, 39% in Italy and 30% in Portugal. The only solution that these beaurocrats in Brussels see is more integration, more union, and more control taken away from the people who are suffering the most.

And finally, an EU that's overall objective is to create a European Superstate, to rival the likes of China, Russia and the United States, with a single European Currency, an EU army, an anthem, single Tax system, a flag and a pursuit of expansion not for safety or for security, but for power. 

I could go on and on and on about the very apparent problems of the EU, but the question I would like to offer you is this. Would you like the aforementioned 28 unelected commissioners, to run the future of this great country?

Or do you want democracy. Do you want the people that you vote for on the ballot paper every 5 years to have the power to carry out your wishes.

The Government may not be popular, whether it be Tory or Labour, but at least we as British people can vote them out when they make mistakes and replace them with people who we feel will do a better job. That is democracy. That is what this debate really comes down to for me.

Of course there are a whole number of other issues that will be brought up this afternoon, but they all boil down to this central point of control. Shouldn't our own government be able to set up our own trade deals with non EU countries? Shouldn't our own government be able to decide the number of people allowed into the country each year? Shouldn't our own government be in control over the destiny of our country? This is what happens in every single other country across the globe, except for those within the EU. 

We on the Leave side are asked for 'what will happen' after a Brexit vote. To that I say, look at prominent members of the Remain Campaign. Lord Stuart Rose, the head of the remain camp, stated that 'nothing much will change' and 'wages for the poorest will rise'. And Paddy Ashdown made clear that leaving the EU would lead to cheaper food. This doesn't sound like a Brexit for the rich that George Osbourne talks of.

Whenever the argument over the pressures on public services is made, the fact that we now need to build a house every 7 minutes to cope with current demand from mass immigration, the fact that there aren't enough primary school places for children due to rapidly increasing demand, the fact that the NHS is suffering, and people are having to wait hours for ambulances and weeks for GP appointments, we hear that it's the governments fault, with all their cuts and right wing agendas.

Well here is another fact. Government cuts between 2010 and 2015 saved a total of £36 billion pounds. Our net contribution to the EU, the money we gave to Brussels and did not see again, was £42 billion. With that one removal of spending, it would have wiped out all the austerity measures of the Tories, and left us with £6 billion left over! We are paying extortionate amounts of money to belong to one of two continents that are not experiencing any significant economic growth. At this rate, the Penguins in Antarctica will be overtaking the EU in the not too distant future.

This is not a vote that will lead to isolation. This is not a xenophobic cry for nationalism. This is the one chance that this country has to free itself from a political union that no one ever voted for. After Brexit, there will be opportunities for this country, both social and economic, that we will never have if constrained by our current predicament. 

And for our relationship with the EU? The fact of the matter is, any forms of barriers that will be supposedly forced upon us would have an equally bad outcome for them, and any arguments of these repercussions should be looked at as the scaremongering words of Project Fear, or a now more suitable title of Project Threat. What is so illogical about a relationship based upon trade and co-operation, not political unity?

It is the use of logic, that seems to infuriate the Remain side so often in this debate! The logic that Germans will let us study in their universities of Munich and Berlin, when we let them study at Oxford and Cambridge and of course Portsmouth. The logic that we will be able to enjoy the beaches of Spain when we let the Spanish enjoy the sands of Cornwall. The logic that we will share our security intelligence collectively to make the world a better place. Why would a democratic vote for political freedom put any of this at risk?

This is why I ask those of you who can vote, and those who's parents are going to vote, please do not succumb to the lies and manipulations of Project Fear. The future means uncertainty. Whether we remain or leave. I simply hope that we vote for the side that gives the people of this country the control over their own destiny. 

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