Thursday, 23 June 2016

#EUref - Remain or Leave? The 3 Key Factors

As a eurosceptic, I was initially inclined to vote Leave.  I've spent June investigating the pros and cons of the Remain and Leave options with an open mind.

The choice between Remain and Leave boils down to three key factors.  It's then a matter of assessing the likelihoods of what will happen in future.

I believe the evidence points to Remain as being in the UK's best interests overall.  You may come to a different conclusion. .It's for you to judge and vote accordingly...

(1) "It's the Economy Stupid"

Elections are usually won or lost on the economy.

The independent economic forecasters say:
  • For all the rhetoric, there is little if any economic advantage to Leave in the medum and long term
  • But it is highly likely Leave would trigger a recession in the short term. This is principally because uncertainty around any new trade deal with the EU would result in business investment and consumer spend being deferred.  A Leave vote for Brexit will also cause ripples across Europe, with likely negative economic consequences for the UK's biggest export market. 
Hands up who wants a recession?  Thought not!

Clear advantage: REMAIN

(2) Immigration Control Unaltered?

Immigration into the UK is roughly 50% EU nationals and 50% people from outside the EU. The UK already has control of its borders for people outside the EU. But "Free Movement of People" (FMoP) allows EU nationals to freely live, work and travel here (and Brits around the EU of course, which mustn't be forgotten!).

To control borders for EU nationals would requre a new trade deal with the EU that does not incorporate FMoP.  This is possible for countries in other continents. But there is no such precedent for any European country. Notably Norway, being outside the EU, has accepted full FMoP to win free trade with the EU.

So what are the chances of a EU/UK trade deal without FMoP?  As the UK is more dependent on the EU as an export market (around 50%) than the EU is on the UK (around 10%), the far bigger EU is in a  stronger negotiating position. This is despite the EU selling more to the UK than we sell back.  There is every reason to believe FMoP would be part of any new deal.  Indeed it is far more likely the EU will insist on FMoP.  In which case there will be no change from today.

No clear advantage either way

(3) Sovereignty and Influence

Any gain in terms of sovereignty will be countered by the loss of influence in the EU. UK nationals will no longer be represented in the European Commission that sets regulations, particularly those relating to trade. UK businesses exporting to Europe will still be subject to EU trade regulations, but with the UK having no further influence over those regulations.

No clear advantage either way

On that basis Leave has no net advantage over Remain, whereas the risk of recession after Leave is unacceptable.  REMAIN is clearly preferable.

There are a number of other factors discussed in this longer article, but all support REMAIN

So Remain or Leave? To me the only sensible vote is to REMAIN. Furthermore:
  • If Remain, the option to Leave continues, in the form of Article 50 that would be invoked whenever a country wishes to leave the EU.  As a eurosceptic, I would want to keep the leave option under constant review as the EU changes. 
  • However a Leave vote is final.  The EU can't be expected to take the UK back.

How will you vote?  I'll be voting REMAIN. Will you?

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