Five Questions We Should All Be Asking Brexiteers

It has been nearly two years since around 17.4 million Britons voted to leave the European Union. Yet, as The People’s Vote have indicated, each one of those 17.4 million Leavers voted for a variety of reasons. There were a number of pledges made in the Leave camp, from Boris Johnson’s lies regarding extra funding for the NHS, to greater sovereignty outside European jurisdiction.

And nearly two years on, we still have no idea where the Conservative government is leading us.

Alongside this, we have a much greater understanding of the implications of Brexit than we did in the run-up to the referendum.

Overall, any form of Brexit will have a negative impact on the country. A Hard Brexit, which Theresa May has intended to deliver, looks to be economically catastrophic.

Yet, despite this, support for May remains strong. Is this a sign that a majority of the electorate demands a Hard Brexit?

If true, it is a necessity to challenge the Hard Brexiteers. I want to ask them some simple questions concerning Brexit, and I want them to clarify their reasons for their decisions.

Do you want the economy to strengthen?

If so, then we should not implement a Hard Brexit. Though a Hard Brexit means we would leave the Customs Union and the Single Market, multiple organisations have proved that in nearly every single economic scenario, Britain shall be worse off leaving the EU.  The Office for Budget Responsibility state Brexit will make the UK economy 4.8% smaller, a hit of £100bn to our economy.  

Even if we were to stay in the Single Market and keep the Customs Union but lose control over negotiating European legislation, it is an option considerably economically stronger than a Hard Brexit. However to stay in both the customs union and the EEA and lose our seats in the European Parliament would be a strange move, and at that point Remaining within the EU should surely be back on the table.

As a member of the EU, we have been given a hugely vibrant, strong European market to trade and exchange with.

But surely we can establish new trade deals with other nations? True. However, the UK could be waiting until 2045 until deals with the USA, China, India, Australia and New Zealand can be reached.

Leaving the Single Market and Customs Union will mean food prices will rise and wages will decrease against inflation. No one wants this.

 

Do you want the UK to retain a high employment rate?

Then a Hard Brexit will certainly not guarantee retaining employment levels. It is estimated that the Single Market is linked to 3.3 million jobs in the UK. But even with a diminishing economy, many more of our jobs at risk. Jeremy Corbyn is wrong to pledge ‘jobs for many, not the few’ alongside the advocation of a Hard Brexit. He needs to enforce this, or lose the next General Election and much of his youth-driven support.

Leaving the single market would threaten 1 in 10 jobs in this country, leaving it could be a fatal stimulus dropping us into recession. The uncertainty of Brexit has already seen growth slow to a near standstill, with the UK economy growing at 0.1% in the first quarter of 2018, the economic risk of clattering out of the single market should not be underestimated.

Furthermore, with the thought that May might implement a Hard Brexit, EU immigrants who help drive our economy are less attracted to coming to the UK, decreasing the capacity of a range of sectors, from agriculture to education. More than 2,300 EU academics have resigned from UK universities because they are fearful of their future. And farmers are turning to China; there is much more demand for work in China, whereas EU immigrants who work in the agricultural sector are more concerned than ever regarding their place in the UK.

 

Do you want the UK to continue to increase its funding of the NHS? New housing? The environment?

A Hard Brexit will diminish the power to do so. Boris Johnson’s unacceptable lies during the run-up to the referendum must be accounted for – there will be no more extra NHS funding, particularly as the economy diminishes. There has also been speculation that the NHS will be part of a US-UK trade deal, increasing the price of drugs supplied by the NHS.

What we have to acknowledge is, with a diminishing economy, it also diminishes our capacity to improve housing, improve the environment, improve education. We will struggle to improve anything.

Brexit is estimated to mean a £36bn hit to tax revenue. That’s nearly equivalent to the budget for education for 5-16yr olds. Brexit will only lead to more cuts and the lengthening of austerity.

The UN has stated that environmental protections will significantly weaken post-Brexit. The construction sector has been hit with a blow in Scotland due to higher labour costs. And the UK will fall in global higher education standards after Brexit.

With a Hard Brexit, we will be unable to fund and build upon the foundations of British society which urgently need attention.

 

Do you want tighter immigration rules?

A Hard Brexit might not guarantee this. Yes, the UK will have the power to restrict its net migration levels. But India has already insisted that any trade deal post-Brexit will have to include an eased restriction on Indian-UK migration. New trade deals with other nations might also include an ease on immigration rules.

However, the biggest con the leave campaign managed to pull was on immigration. The EU, in Directive 2004/38/EC gives member states the clear right to deport migrants if they do not meet certain criteria, ie if they become a burden on the state.

What this means, is that the government recognise our level of immigration as being healthy for our country. Not only towards the economy but also due to our demographic needs.

Migrants remain a net benefit to the taxpayer, which the British native is not. EU migrants are a net benefit to the taxpayer to the tune of £20bn. Reducing immigration will mean higher taxes for the rest of us.

It is also worth noting with our ageing population we need more young working taxpayers to prop up the older generation.

Migrants are a necessity to this country.

 

Do you want to enjoy travelling on holiday to Europe?

It will be much harder to do so with a Hard Brexit. Prices for holidays have risen by 6%, according to Thomas Cook, whilst we might have to pay and apply for visas if we wish to travel to Europe post-Brexit. And it was only recently that the EU halted extra roaming charges whilst abroad.

Freedom of movement is a benefit we must cherish to explore and understand new cultures. It is a benefit which we take for granted.

 

If to any of these questions you disagree, I’d like you to think again.

Look how beneficial the EU is to Britain. Look how far we will falter if we apply a Hard Brexit. Do you want this? No. No one wanted this.

We voted to leave. But with greater knowledge of the implications of Brexit, we also have the opportunity to look again and change our minds. Would you continue to proceed the purchase of a house knowing that there were major issues with it?

Leavers are adamant that life outside the EU will provide the power to change society. But they are wrong.

Their views are based upon a major misconception surrounding the source of Britain’s issues. The referendum was a chance to provide the public with change, meaning the EU was targeted as the source of our issues. This is incorrect.

Instead of blaming the EU, let us blame the Conservative governments who have been in power. We have seen a reduced annual increase in the NHS from each Tory government. Homelessness is on the rise. Wages have gone backwards under the Conservatives.

Don’t blame the EU. This is a UK, national issue.

Yes, the EU is not perfect. But, as proven, it is hugely beneficial to our society. Let us indicate that the result of the referendum was not to do with our discontent with the EU, but our discontent with issues at home – our discontent with our own government.

We must realise that we are sovereign. We are not completely ‘held back’ by the EU. We have the power to change our society, but Tory governments have stopped us from doing so.

There is a mirage around the Conservatives. Driven by economics, they pledge prosperity – which only reaches the highest earners. Yet lower income earners continue to believe that the Tories are going to make a difference…except they never will. It is this ongoing belief that those of lower income will eventually prosper due to Tory ‘promises’ which holds the Conservatives up.

Lower income earners must understand that Tory promises are lies. A Hard Brexit will not increase low-earners’ standard of living. Standards of living will continue to decrease.

So we must all speak out against the Tories. Whatever your income level, your social status, your occupation – a Hard Brexit will be hideous for all. And this includes Labour.

Corbyn has shown he is also an advocate for Brexit. It is hardly a vote ‘for the people’. His ambiguity regarding Brexit is running thin.

He is not a man of the people if he chooses to allow a Hard Brexit.

We voted to leave. But we now must realise that leaving will not be beneficial. Let us push for a People’s Vote and reject a Hard Brexit. This will be the only route to regain control of our society and allow Britain to flourish once again.

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Josh Owen

Josh is a History graduate from The University of Manchester.

Josh Owen has 4 posts and counting. See all posts by Josh Owen

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