Pubs, bus stops and street corners across the nation are murmuring with the unhushed buzz of the EU Referendum. Everyone has an opinion and for the most part they are incredibly keen to share that with you. Last night was the televised debate which saw the Leave and Remain campaigns select their finest, shiniest knights to battle to the death in front of a live audience. Whilst no actual blood was spilt, it did get a little heated. Well you’ve heard from your mate, you’ve heard far too much from “them”, are you still unsure what it all means? Don’t worry friends, not one to keep quiet in a riot your friendly neighbourhood Yack is here to disseminate so you don’t have to.
Now let’s face it, most of us are a bunch of fucking dummies (Yack included), we spend what little free time we have off from work staring vacantly into television and computer screens; what possible understanding could we have of the referendum? Well, an infinitely more complex one than the leaders and politicians involved with the leave and remain campaigns apparently. This debate is such an important one and there are so many different issues to be discussed and yet the propaganda, misinformation and childish tactics employed by both campaigns is quite honestly mind numbing. If the mission was to discourage us from voting at all (and let’s not rule that out…) then perhaps they’ve been doing their jobs very well. However it’s equally possible they believe we’re so stupid that this is the only way to grab our attention, that this circus of poop flinging will capture our limited attention spans for long enough to leave an impression. Well bollocks to that! Let’s prove them wrong eh England? Let’s take to the booths informed in our decisions, let’s not vote leave “coz ov immigrants” or to remain just because “they’re all rascists innit”; instead let’s take our time to immerse ourselves in the argument and come to a decision for ourselves.
Yack doesn’t normally concern itself with the goings on of the political elite… well sometimes we do, but when we do we make sure to do it with bucketloads of irreverency to keep up the facade that we’re cool. In this article we’re going to put together some of the more interesting pieces of information and thoughts that have been presented to us over the course of the discussion; if we’re going to bend over Great Britain one way or the other, we might as well lube it up with the best of intentions. We will endeavour to remain unbiased where possible and apologise if you can see the moose knuckle of our leaning on this topic through the skin tight jeans of journalistic integrity.
The word sounds regal and intellectual, it’s a lot of fun hearing the discussion going on around the issue allowing even the most plebeian of us a chance to exercise something a little outside our usual linguistic lexicon, but what does it actually mean? The concept as it relates to the EU Referendum pertains to whether or not we have control over the laws and legislation put into place within our own country; British laws for the British people. Some may feel that having decisions made for us by an unelected political elite based in Brussells is unjust and uncontrollable, however the truth behind this argument is tenuous at best. As part of the EU we have control over the discussions and rulings that are put into place we have a group of elected officials who represent us in these hearings at a parliamentary level, any rulings proposed are then put forward to the European Commission for final approval. “But Yack what isn’t the commission an unelected governing board? How is that democracy? How is that fair?”. Well dear reader if you think that is any different from how our own parliament is made up of the House Of Commons and then overseen by the House Of Lords then you are very mistaken. The fact of the matter is we do vote for the representatives that voice the concerns of the UK in the EU, if you don’t choose to make your vote count or take part in that process that’s your own fault, not the EU’s.
On top of this the European elections take into consideration proportional representation, which is something we’ve championed before in the past and is a much more accurate register of a countries leaning. If anything, it’s more democratic over there than here in the UK where we’re forced to accept a Tory government thanks to a suspect and outdated voting model. If you want to talk about who has a more accurate grasp on the word democracy our European neighbours are a little in front in our opinion. Now if only there was some way for us all to work together and learn from each other for mutual betterment…
Free movement is a two way street and we’re not going to spend much time on this particular issue. Although it takes up a lot of broadsheet space and seems to be a hot topic on the lips of politicians and passionate electorates, we can’t honestly justify how it has taken such a place of providence. You can find stats or statistics that suit your argument for or against an open border policy and it’s fairly easy to Google this and come to your own conclusion. First hand experience within the NHS tells us that some of our most important services and industries rely heavily on the help of the educated and driven influx of the not necessarily native. We also personally know friends and family working within the EU themselves and know that opportunity and channel is open both ways. Whether you contradictorily believe “they’re taking our jobs” or that “they’re untrained scroungers” seeings as you are free to go and do the same in their country you’re just not inclined to do so is again your problem and not the EU’s.
More importantly than this however is the fact that Leave have never promised to -lower- immigration, only to “take control”. They keep speaking of the Australian points system and I don’t think it means what you think it means, because that model is actually used to encourage growth. Watching the leave campaign sweating and squirming under the microscope of the direct question “are you going to decrease immigration?” was my favourite part of the BBC debate. They just kept robotically repeating the mantra “take control, take control.”, like the Borg, only more horrifyingly rascist.
Leaving the EU has both sides claiming that we will be far better off, which makes it incredibly hard to decide who to believe. We have chosen to ignore both arguments and instead look to history and documented experience to form an educated opinion ourselves. As the fact of the matter is no one can truly know what will happen either way we are wading into unknown territory, no country has voluntarily left the free market before.
Brexit the Movie uses the Switzerland model as an example of just how well a country can work outside of the EU, which is true and completely inaccurate at the same time. The inescapable reality of the situation is that when Switzerland turned down their invitation to the free market of Europe in ’92, the country experienced a recession until stability was slowly restored when they gained access to the free market once again four years later. Whilst it’s possible that there were other external factors at work it seems extremely unlikely. Switzerland’s deal with the EU means they still pay tithes and tributes, they must accept the freedom of movement just as the rest of the EU does and finally they are still obliged to conform to certain laws and legislation. Essentially, it sounds an awful lot like they are a member without actually having any power over the input or formation towards any decisions the EU is going to make. Sounds like a pretty shitty deal right? Well that is precisely what we are going to have to do if we leave the EU and if you think we could negotiate something better than the country with the most stable economy in the world… you’re deluded.
Leave promise higher wages and neglect to mention that wages normally do up during a recession, alongside a sharp increase in the price of living and a drop in the number of available employment. So if you’re lucky enough to keep your job, you will be paid more. But bread will cost like £50… swings and roundabouts.
Remain paint a pretty gloomy picture and want to assure you that we will be forced directly into a recession, which is not necessarily true. I mean all the experts, evidence and history itself does certainly point at that being the logical repurcussion of exiting the single market… but I mean it might not happen, we might be fine. Maybe.
Nigel Farage and the rest of UKIP keep bringing up the mandated and perhaps foolish fishing regulation set out by the EU that meant plenty of perfectly good fish were being thrown overboard as waste. They used this as an example of how the EU enforces idiotic policies and how we cannot escape this terrible tyranny. They are right to an extent, short sighted legislation like this is dangerous and we should do what we can in such instances to change such foolishness. This is precisely what TV chef Hugh Fearnly-Whittinghall did when he encountered this tragic waste; he started a campaign on the issue FishFight and as a direct result the legislation has been changed. In fact the law was turned on it’s head and discards are now banned, meaning this broken mandate has now been fixed and is working in the interest of the entirety of Europe. When you compare this to the vocal dissent of Nigel Farage, who as a matter of public record was on the EU’s Fisheries Commission and never bothered to turn up or vote, it kind of leaves the hypocritical sack of shit with a bit of a red face.
The fact is we do have the power to change any policy within the EU we just have to use the voice and the channels afforded to us. It’s not hard to work that out surely? If a bloody chef can figure it out why can’t the politicians?
Leaders, Lend Us Your Rears
This is a footnote more than a veritable point of contention but when the remain campaign is endorsed by people like Stephen Hawkings, Poet Laureate Carol Ann Duffy and Richard Branson; whereas the leave campaign has such respected intellectuals the likes of Boris Johnson, Nigel Farage and Michael Gove it’s an easy decision for us who we’d like to throw our hat in with to be honest, how about you?
If you can’t be bothered to do the research yourself just quickly Google who is in support of each campaign and their reasons why, it’s the easy way out but could just provide you with enough insight and ensure you’re not just picking blind come election day.
Ok, we lied, that was about as unbiased as George Osborne being the only person to vote no on the banking bonuses reform proposed by the EU, seeings as all his friends are bankers. It was about as unbiased as Rupert Murdoch using his gargantuan and shadowy influence over the media to clearly paint the picture that a Britain removed would be in everyone’s interests and not just his own. It’s about as unbiased as Boris Johnson jumping on a bandwagon to pronghorn a leadership bid for his party to return to the far right in opposition of Corbyn’s progressively left labour. Fact is, it’s impossible to stay in the middle on this topic.
You as an individual have to do your own research into the topic. Feel free to use our own arguments as springboards, find faults in them, chuck them back in our face to make us look foolish. We’re totally down for a heated conversation, because it highlights the issue as a whole and gets people engaged. Fact is this is going to be an incredibly important decision for our country and it is our moral obligation as citizens to be as informed as possible. Britain is great, let’s keep it that way, do we want to work together with our friends in the EU to make a brighter future for everyone or do we want to take our toys home and lock ourselves in with our creepy Uncle Tory?
Stay or leave we’re going to have to work together afterwards though to let’s keep it civil guys. We’ll leave you with a couple of quotes to think about before you make your decision.
“‘That’s easy,’ he replied. ‘When I go into Downing Street they do what I say; when I go to Brussels they take no notice.” Rupert Murdoch interviewed in the Evening Standard when asked why he was opposed to the European Union.
“Convictions are more dangerous enemies of truth than lies” Friedrich Nietzsche, he was pretty smart wasn’t he? Open your ears and your minds people. We’ll do the same.
Remember to register to vote if you haven’t already. Midnight tonight is the deadline. Visit https://www.eureferendum.gov.uk/register-to-vote/ on information how.
Words by Matt Miles.
Images by Jasons Haggard Faces.