Why I'm voting to remain in the EU

Before the General Election last year, I wrote a couple of political posts and they went down really well. I feel pretty strongly about politics- not necessarily my political leanings (although of course I have strong feelings on those too, despite my current political identity crisis), but that everybody should be informed about the politics of our country and have some form of opinion. For this reason, I like it when those with a platform, such as blogging, share their political views and just generally open up a discussion on current issues.

EU Referendum
I know a lot of people are still undecided on how to vote, especially as it's notoriously difficult to find impartial facts. It's worth noting here- as if the title of this post wasn't a hint enough- that I'm not trying to be balanced or impartial. At the same time, it's not my intention to create propaganda or force people to change their minds. These are just the reasons I personally feel that we're stronger, safer and in a much better position all-round when we are part of the EU. For the purposes of complete honesty, I did consider asking a variety of bloggers to share how they are voting- both in and out- like I did with my General Election post but, ultimately, I am so firm in my belief that we need to remain that I wasn't comfortable with providing my blog as a platform for people to convince others to leave. A final disclaimer before I get on to it- I've used government- and party-released papers to assist with my fact-checking here. I don't claim that they are the most balanced pieces of literature but I do trust the statistics to be accurate.

WHAT IS THE EU?

The European Union was first created as a pact between France and Germany in 1950, five years after the end of WWII, to ensure they would never go to war with each other again. At this time, six nations signed the agreement with a view to sharing their coal and steel resources, giving an initiative to work alongside each other peacefully. In 1957, a treaty was signed by these six nations- France, Germany, Luxembourg, Belgium, the Netherlands and Italy- and created the foundations of the EU. During 1973, a second wave of countries joined- Denmark, Ireland and the UK. Since its conception in 1957 up to the last addition of Croatia in 2013, a total of 28 countries have joined. No state has ever withdrawn from the EU (although Greenland left the previous arrangement in 1985 and Algeria, which used to be a part of the EU as it was French-ruled, automatically lost its place when it gained independence in 1962).

The EU is run by 28 commissioners- one from every country and, like the Government, is made up by MPs (MEPs, to be precise) who are voted for by us, the European citizens. The five aims of the EU are:
  • To promote economic and social progress
  • Speak on behalf of countries within the EU on an international scale
  • Provide all EU citizens with the human rights they deserve
  • Develop Europe as an area of freedom, security and justice
  • Maintain and build on laws that protect EU citizens
HOW DOES THE EU BENEFIT US?

I will be here forever if I list every single reason why I think we should stay, so I'm splitting this into the three main benefits that the EU provides: Trade, stability and security.

Trade

EU countries buy 44% of what we sell abroad- the largest amount of any other state or country. The reason why we do so well exporting to the EU is because of the Single Market, which means EU countries can sell to each other without restrictions. The economy of the Single Market is five times bigger than that's of the UK alone and foreign companies invest £148 million in the UK every single day. Because of the EU, we are an attractive trade partner. 

Stability

Because of the Single Market, around 3 million jobs in Britain are linked to our trade with the EU. This also means we have a more affordable cost of living. Without restrictions being applied to our trading, businesses can save money and pass on these savings to customers for everything from cars to household goods. Not to mention our rights that are protected by the EU. Paid maternity leave, holiday leave and anti-discrimination laws are examples of rights we take for granted. 

Security

Contrary to what some may believe, we are in a much safer position if we are part of the EU. The UK has a special status which means our borders are not open. We still have full control of our borders and check every single person who enters the UK, which you will be all too aware of if you've ever waited in the mammoth queues after landing at London Gatwick! As a member of the EU, we have made full use of the European Arrest Warrant, meaning criminals and terrorists cannot escape justice by fleeing to a different country. We also benefit from the sharing of police intelligence, including fingerprint and DNA information, to track suspects wherever they are in Europe. 

Other Benefits

There are additional benefits which, although I fully appreciate, don't play such a major part in my desire to stay. These include the right to free travel across the EU and access to healthcare while you're in EU countries, cheaper mobile charges when you're abroad, leading the world on tackling climate change and funding research into treatments for cancer, Alzheimer's disease and Parkinson's disease amongst others. 

And, because I've yet to see an argument for leaving that doesn't mention immigration, let's touch on this briefly. Yes, as a member of the EU, other members have the right to live, work and study here but guess what? We have the same right. Nobody whinges that Phil and Maureen have moved to Spain, do they? Yet when European citizens work here, taking up jobs that help you in your daily life and helping boost our economy by paying taxes and shopping in our high streets, everybody is up in arms. New EU regulations state that no EU migrants will have full access to benefits until they have worked in the UK for four years so they're going to have a pretty tough reality check if they're only moving here to sign on.  

The cost of being a member of the EU? 1p per pound you pay in tax. Not exactly breaking the bank, is it? And the best thing is that for every £1 we put in as a nation, we get almost £10 back in trade, jobs and low prices.

WHAT WILL THE EFFECTS OF LEAVING BE?

The short answer: Nobody knows. What we do know is that we would have to sort out some form of arrangement with the EU in order to trade with them but we're not sure what the conditions of that will be or how long it will take. At the moment, non-EU countries that have access to the Single Market still need to follow EU rules, pay into the EU and accept EU citizens living and working in their country so, really, what difference does it make? If we want access to the Single Market, we'd still have to pay the EU and still have European citizens moving to the UK and working here.

Honestly, I've done a lot of research into finding out what the exact benefits of leaving the EU will be. As I write this, I'm on the Vote Leave site but all I can find out is why they don't like being part of the EU (mostly because of following EU rules, paying into the EU and accepting EU citizens living and working in this country... everything we'll need to do if we keep access to the Single Market)

It's likely that, if we lose access to the Single Market, living costs will rise, jobs will be lost and we'll find it much more difficult to trade with other countries. Not to mention that leaving the EU will mean we don't have the Court of European Human Rights to protect us. Some people feel that this is a good thing, because the current Government will be able to enforce their own rights that are made with UK citizens in mind, but, to be honest, I think the EU have got it pretty spot on as it is.

IN CONCLUSION

All in all, I see no reason to leave the EU. I appreciate that it may not be perfect but I haven't had any strong reason to believe that leaving will put us in a better place. It all feels a bit like Deal or No Deal- are we going to risk everything we have for something that none of us (not even the independent adjudicator) can predict? Noel Edmonds isn't going to be there to give us a hug when it turns out we don't win an immigrant-free society and all we're left with is a dead economy and a country where your children will never be able to buy their own home. 

For me, I'm perfectly happy with our place within the EU as it is and I just haven't had enough evidence to convince me that it's worth risking all that. On June 23rd, I will be proud to vote remain.

MORE INFORMATION

As I said at the beginning of this post, I strongly support bloggers who use their platform to discuss politics so here are some fantastic posts from fellow bloggers about the EU (which are also far more impartial than mine!):

It's Sarah Ann // In or Out?
Twenty Something Meltdown // The EU Referendum
Big Fashionista // Stay or Go? (The comments are great)

I welcome comments, no matter what your view, but we're all adults here so be respectful to the perspectives of others and don't be a dick, yeah?
Bloglovin' // Twitter // Instagram

34 comments:

  1. I'm voting to stay in the EU too, as are most of my friends and family my age but my older family are voting to leave - I think it's a generational thing x

    Heather | Of Beauty & Nothingness x

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This definitely seems to be the trend. My mum's voting leave. At least we'll be the ones dealing with the effects for decades if they get their way, eh? ;)

      Delete
  2. I'm voting in/remain, the EU has touched most aspects of my life. I'm from a very poor area, the South Wales Valleys and all the high streets have been regenerated by EU money. All the public libraries I worked in had EU money refurbishments. My work experience placement which landed me my first time job was EU funded and the women in leadership course I did was EU funded. Poorer areas in Wales get back more than they put in. I can see why people don't like the EU and you can certainly be anti EU but pro Europe but for me it's a big cross next to remain.

    Great post, would love to see another blogger posting an opposing view so I can take all of that info in too.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you for this comment- it's fantastic to hear how the EU has really made a difference to your life and highlights some of the things we stand to lose if we leave.

      I'd also like to read a post from a blogger voting leave. I asked Twitter for posts on the EU but the ones I received were all neutral. Great posts but I'd like to see one that's arguing the opposing view.

      Delete
  3. I'm voting to remain too. The EU was formed so that we would unite together with the rest of the European countries in the EU after we were a divided continent on not one but two occasions. I think it's so important for our future to remain in the EU, and it worries me that there are people considering to vote out. We would be incredibly vulnerable, and I don't think we are fully prepared for what would happen if we leave. The EU provides us with so much, and if we are going to pay tax I'd like to know that my money was going to the EU to support us how the EU does. Thanks for sharing this post, it's been a really interesting read!

    Suitcase and Sandals Blog XX

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Completely agree! It worries me that nobody knows what will happen. Not even the Leave campaign can tell us what the effects will be. It's all well and good telling us WHY you want to leave, but unless you can actually give us some concrete benefits of leaving, I'm not going to risk it.

      Delete
  4. I feel exactly the same as you do but you articulated it so much better than I could! I'm concerned because so many people have told me they plan to vote leave but when we discuss it I find it really challenging to explain to them I think why we would safer, and better off, to remain in the EU. A lot of the 'leave' campaign focusses on immigration but it really isn't as simple as just 'closing our borders' as you explained with how we gain access the Single Market which is something I think a lot of people (myself included) know little about. Thank you so much for explaining everything so well, I'm definitely bookmarking this for future reference! x

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I had some really interesting conversations on Twitter last night with people who are planning to vote leave for reasons aside from immigration. So far, everyone I'd spoken to in real life, seen in the media and even the Leave campaign itself, was so heavily focused on immigration that I couldn't see any other reason why people were voting out.

      It was really interesting to get some different perspectives. I still don't agree, and will definitely be voting to remain, but I do wish more people would discuss reasons aside from immigration especially as, like you say, a leave win is unlikely to result in fewer EU citizens living and working here.

      Delete
  5. We have a right to live and work in other EU countries but far more people enter UK and I think there is not enough resources here for that, not enough housing and too much pressure on NHS. I think I'm going to vote leave because of this.
    I'm absolutely sure we will remain in EU though. The majority will always resist change and risk.
    Good for you, making this post; I like to hear people's opinions.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I can understand why you feel that way but it's likely that, if we still want access to the Single Market, we'll need to accept EU citizens anyway (like Norway do) so it wouldn't make any difference to immigration.

      This isn't relevant now since I've left work but without immigration, I wouldn't have had a job! I don't think many people consider how many UK jobs (held by British people) are in existence precisely because of immigration. But that's a whole different argument haha!

      Delete
  6. I loved reading this and thank you so much for linking to my post too!

    I'm voting remain for the same main three reasons as you but it's great to see someone pointing out the smaller benefits too like EU health insurance and phone data, they really aren't focused on in the media as much as jobs and immigration and security but I think it's actually the littler things that impact people without them realising that most voters would relate to.

    So glad bloggers are speaking their minds and talking about this! It's so important!

    Gwennan www.twentysomethingmeltdown.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. No problem! I really enjoyed reading your post so it made sense to link it.

      I feel like- for me, at least- the little things aren't enough to justify either leaving or staying. They're definitely a bonus and, as I travel a lot, play a large part in my life, which is why I still wanted to mention them. I forgot to mention things like consumer rights as well. I've just started up an Etsy shop and have learned so much about EU regulations, such as the right for customers to return items and the right to know exactly how long it will take for their order to arrive.

      Delete
  7. A very informative post and I agree with all your points as I've thought exactly the same!

    ReplyDelete
  8. I am publishing a similar post soon. Tmif any of your readers are unsure on whether they are registered or not, I have a handy guide over at
    Tea in the Tub.
    You need to register by this coming Tuesday and I explain all you need to do :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This sounds fantastic! I'll look out for it. Thank you!

      Delete
  9. I've already voted by post to remain because as a disabled person I know that we'll be one of the first groups to get shafted if we leave, this government has a history of bullying the disabled and I don't trust them enough to give the government full power over our human rights (ALL kinds of rights, not just for disabled people, but things like maternity rights, equal pay, employment holidays, etc, all things which are set out by the EU) Also I agree with your point about immigration, and most of the Brits who immigrate to Europe are retired which costs those countries money but no one complains about that. I also hate how much of the immigration arguments are thinly veiled racism. From what I've read, everybody on the leave side is basically acting on how they think it affects THEM for their own gain instead of how it will affect everyone in the bigger picture.

    ReplyDelete
  10. I've been hoping to read some blog posts about the referendum. Honestly it'll only the second time I've voted (not been eligible to beforehand) & although I think I know which way I'm voting it's always nice to get more information. I too believe that we are stronger within the EU & I plan to vote to remain. I do agree with the point that Heather made though, I do think there's a little bit of a generational divide in terms of In/Out.
    www.natashaparisblog.co.uk

    ReplyDelete
  11. Absolutely agree with you, thanks for articulating the reasons so clearly - I'm sending this onto a few people!!
    Love that you're using your space to talk about what you believe in, we should all be so brave x

    www.un-complikate.com

    ReplyDelete
  12. My mom's boyfriend is British and he lives in Spain on a small pension so he's absolutely terrified that he will need to go back to the UK if Britain votes out. Great post, thanks for making the issue a bit more comprehensible for me.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Absolutely agree with you! Thanks for the post. Will try to share on Facebook.

    ReplyDelete
  14. Such a great post! I was waiting to see one of the British bloggers I follow to publish something like that. I am not British, so I'll have no influence on your referendum, but I really hope you will remain part of the EU.
    Patti Shifting Tales

    ReplyDelete
  15. I'm voting to stay, as simple as this sounds this is what made sense to me. If you don't like how something is being run you don't leave it & give your vote up so someone else can decide your future.

    Dupes Are A Girls Best Friend

    ReplyDelete
  16. I went travelling round Europe last year using the Interrail and it was amazing!! I felt proud and humble being an EU citizen, I had no trouble hopping from border to border - going anywhere I like. If we pull out it would mean to be very difficult getting an interrail pass and going from countries to countries. That is also why I'm voting to stay in as well. xx

    (P.S - I know I wrote this on your FB but thought i would post it here. xx )

    www.annanuttall.com

    ReplyDelete
  17. First off, well done for writing about politics. I feel like political opinions are a bit of a taboo in blogging, even though they really shouldn't be. I'm definitely going to vote to remain as well, but with so few people in our generation even registering to vote we could have a problem on our hands.

    If anyone reading this hasn't registered to vote, the deadline is in just a few days!

    Lisa | farawaylisamae.com

    ReplyDelete
  18. I'm so so glad you've written this. I'm from a small city up North where the large majority of people believe we should leave. It can be quite hard when the subject gets brought up in the pub or at home etc as I think we should stay so I just get told my opinion is wrong. Like you say we don't know what's going to happen if we leave and that isn't a risk I'm willing to take for our future or our children's futures.

    Jess
    alrightblondie.com

    ReplyDelete
  19. Having grown up in Germany and been a member of the EU since I can remember, I do feel very strongly towards it and its values. The initial idea to have peace on our continent and to guarantee trade and safety is something worth aspiring for. United as one, with a harmonious exchange between our nations should be seen as a major advantage, as well as the right to live and travel wherever you want (especially if you have grown up in a divided country such as Germany with many restrictions during the GDR regime and not having the chance to leave the country at all).
    When I read comments about opting out because of the "immigrants", it always makes me really sad. These days immigration has this negative connotation of poor people who've fled their countries, have risks their lives and just seek security and a better life. I do understand that this has gone out of hand and it is also a problem in Germany, however, Brits love to forget, that EU immigratants are not always people from the poor countries. I'm not sure how high the percentage is, but I'm pretty sure, that f.ex. educated people like me or from France, Spain, Italy, Greece, Austia, Switzerland ect want to contribute actively to the British society and want to integrate themselves in the British society. This (and I speak from experience) is very often met with hostility and rejection. This is somehow hypocritic, as Britain also loves to depict itself as a multicultural nation and prides itself on its diversity.
    If people vote to opt out purely because of the "immigration" problem, I think, this is short term thinking. However, everyone is entitled to vote what they think is best, however, I can only strongly underline again to reconsider and think of the initial reason why the EU was created: to be united in peace.

    Caz | Style Lingua

    ReplyDelete
  20. Good for you for blogging about politics! My post about the EU goes up tomorrow! I am voting to remain. The Scottish referendum was almost two years ago and the difference between that and this is like night and day. We were all so excited about that and this is just...awful.
    If I'm completely honest about it, there is a teeny, TINY part of me that wouldn't mind if we left. The 'No' campaign for the Scottish referendum really flogged the fact that we had guaranteed EU membership if we stayed with the UK. A lot of people were swayed by that - possibly even 5% of people! So the 'Yes' voter in me hopes for that, but it is a very small, illogical part of me!
    The rest of me wants free movement of people, workers' rights and environmental legislation. I also don't want to be on the same side of history as racists, which many Brexiters are, no matter what they say. The fact that thousands of people still sit in Calais is total horseshit to me. If they were all Australian or American, they would already be over here. It's because they're brown that they're being left there to fend for themselves.
    Anyway...*draws breath*...good post!

    ReplyDelete
  21. I am a British citizen currently living in Australia (not permanently) and fortunately for me, the timing of my visit back to England for a month coincides with the voting in the referendum. I'll admit, as ignorant as it sounds, I'm not a good one for voting for politics as I generally don't understand anything that goes on and I'm not afraid to admit that, however, I feel as though this referendum is something I NEED to vote in as, if I come back to live in the UK, it could affect me. I'm needing to do a LOT of research before the day because I'm still undecided but I really liked this post, it was informative on the reasons for staying rather than being pushy. I've been wondering what's going to happen if we leave, and by the looks of your own personal research it seems as though nobody really knows. I hope to do some more research into this in the coming weeks but thank you for starting me off on my journey Becky :) Also, kudos to you for putting this out there, stuff like this is very taboo to talk about and can cause a lot of criticism but at the end of the day it's only your opinion and as mentioned before, you were by no means throwing propaganda around the joint. Good for you!

    Katie
    www.katiehodgkinson.com

    ReplyDelete
  22. Thank you for this! I think a huge problem with referendum is that we have absolutely no clue what is going to happen. Your deal or no deal comparison is spot on. There are a lot of problems in the UK but from what I can tell they are caused by the UK government and are absolutely nothing to do with the EU anyway. I was thinking of writing a similar post but you've said it spot on!

    Rachael at broomfie.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete
  23. A massive YES to this post! I am voting to stay in the EU too although I respect everybody's opinion I find that the arguments for leaving are often twisted half truths or just flat out lies. Great post lovely!

    Ella xx
    www.inellaselement.co.uk

    ReplyDelete
  24. Very interesting read. I did not know enough about the subject and have been trying to read up on it more. I've found the comments really interesting too. The mention of it being a census that seems to be generationally divided reminds me of the statehood vs. independence divide of my native country (Puerto Rico). I applaud you for taking a political stance in your blog, and a respectful one at that. I've set as a goal for myself to do the same on mine. Having an online platform is a privilege and an opportunity that should be taken advantage of.
    Good day x

    ReplyDelete
  25. This post is why you're my favourite and why I've linked to it for Thursday's post - if that's chill. I have so much to thank the EU for, and will continue to have so much to thank the EU for, and I can't imagine my life without its input. <3

    ReplyDelete
  26. This is a brilliant post, so thanks for writing it! I'm firmly on the remain side, and it's disappointing to see my dad (and my mum is heading that way) firmly on the leave side.

    One of my reasons is because of the money that we pay in. Yes, it kind of sucks that we lose so much money each year, but then I believe that money we send to the EU is far better spent, than what it would be if we were in charge of it. People keep mentioning the NHS and all these places getting help but let's be realistic here, it wouldn't go to the NHS would it?

    Like another comment mentioned, I'd be very interested in reading a leave post as well written as yours.

    ReplyDelete

I read all comments and appreciate every single one, even if I can't always reply. If you have a question or need a reply, feel free to tweet me @BeckyBedbug- I always reply to tweets!