On June 23, 2016, Britons will decide whether to leave the European Union (EU) or stay. Ahead of the UK referendum, however, fear mongers have been trumpeting the reasons (or rather myths) on why people should stay, or leave. Due to differences in “Brexit”, once-good-friends Boris Johnson and David Cameron have now turned on each other’s throats.
Prime Minister David Cameron has been scaring the Britons about the economic, security, democracy, political and even costlier holidays if they choose to leave EU. One of his campaigns had even shifted to exaggerate gear when he suggested that leaving the EU would cause World War III to break out on the European continent.
Not seeing positive results, Mr. Cameron invited President Barack Obama to back him up. Silly Obama warned Britain’s voters that the US and UK would not be able to trade if the people voted to exit EU. That’s because US and UK would need to renegotiate on trade deals and that could take another 10 years to materialize.
Of course, Obama’s intervention in the internal affairs of Britain backfired spectacularly, turning more Britons against staying in EU. Well, even if it’s true that UK would be forced to renegotiate trade deals with the US after Brexit, Obama would be out of the office next year. Guess what, presidential candidate Donald Trump has strongly supported Brexit.
About 65-million Britons have been bombarded with myths (*yawn*) on what they would lose should they choose to exit EU, especially in the economy and financial sectors. The impression they’re getting is such that UK would be isolated overnight and EU and America would stop trading and doing business with them.
Give us a break. Cameron and Obama can argue until the cows come home but the fact remains that Britain is the second largest economy in the EU and the ninth-largest in the world (measured by PPP). Which country in their right mind would stop trading with Britain just because its people choose to say goodbye to EU?
Even if EU wishes to stop trading with Britain, out of vengeance, they can’t because according to the Lisbon Treaty, it says the EU must make a trade agreement with a country which leaves the EU. Another popular myth – Britain simply cannot survive economically outside of EU. If that’s true, non-EU countries such as Norway and Switzerland would be dirt poor today, would they not?
Some even say UK would be defenceless because its security depends on the EU. The only country capable of invading the country is Russia but if Vladimir Putin wishes to do so, he can do it yesterday. When the Russia took away Crimea, did America or NATO for that matter, lift any finger to counter the invasion? Guess not.
Although the Buckingham Palace insisted the Queen is “politically neutral” over the EU referendum, it’s a known fact that she doesn’t fancy the Europe. And it’s not hard to understand why the Queen feels such way. Once the mighty conqueror, the UK currently has only 8.4% of voting power “say” in the EU.
Britain’s 73 MEPs are a minority within the 751 in the European Parliament. That’s as good as saying the once British Empire colonist has now been colonized by the European Union. In actual fact, EU is nothing but an expensive membership club. Being in the EU costs money and UK is paying a whopping £18 billion (US$26 billion; RM107 billion) annually.
After deducting “rebate” of £5 billion and EU’s spending back on UK worth about £4.5 billion (in 2015), Britain’s net burning is estimated at about £8.5 billion (US$12.3 billion; RM50.7 billion) – every year. In comparison, the smarter Swiss calculated that full EU membership would cost Switzerland net payments of 3.4 billion Swiss francs (£2.4 billion; US$3.4 billion; RM14.1 billion) a year, so they didn’t join.
Instead, the Swiss pay the EU under 600 million Swiss Francs (£418 million; US$605 million; RM2.5 billion) a year, but enjoy virtually free access to the EU market. Norway pays only 340 million Euros (£263 million; US$381 million; RM1.6 billion) a year, of which 110 million Euros are contributions related to participation in various EU programmes, to enjoy access to EU market.
Really, UK has been a sucker for as long as one can remember – having paid close to £500 billion (US$724 billion; RM3 trillion) to the EU budget since 1973. But the major factor that has angered Britons is none other than immigration. Because the 28-member club guarantees its citizens freedom of movement, Britain has no control over its borders.
Britain is such a paradise that Eastern European immigrants – such as Romanians and Lithuanians – have been flocking to the country. Last year saw a record high of net migration to Britain at 336,000. Sure, such freedom brought in cheap labour, as cheered by business owners. But it also means Britons with low skills are competing for not only for jobs, but also for hospitals, schools and public housing.
Instead of debating, arguing and worrying about the potential impacts of Brexit, the people of the United Kingdom should just do it – get out of European Union and take back control of their country. As a developed country and one of the world’s economic powerhouses, it’s not difficult to see the benefits against the risk.
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