Brexit – should we stay in the European Union or go?

Before you read on, this is not an endorsement, recommendation or anything else but my thoughts and requirements for the forthcoming referendum on our future in the European Union. If you are not interested then I will spare you now from reading on.

The countdown to the EU referendum has begun. On the 23rd we will be asked: ‘Should the United Kingdon remain a member of the European Union’On the ballot form, you will need to tick one of two answers: ‘Remain a member of the European Union’ or ‘Leave the European Union’. Once the votes have been counter we will know if we belong in the Europe Union, set out on the course for leaving.

The first thing I will say whether we stay or go, the EU needs to be reformed. The current monster that is the EU is not accountable and it is definitely not democratic. Ask yourself without refering to a search engine who are your MEP’s? I bet you will be hard pressed to actually name your MEP’s. And yes we have more than one in the South West.

I have wanted a referendum on in/out for many years. This referendum has been a long time coming and in my view could have been asked years ago. Yet previous Governments were too scared to ask the question for fear of the answer. Even the current Government probably did not think this referendum would happen; as they were not expecting to actually win the General Election outright.

In fact the ideal time for a referendum would have been when John Major signed the Maastricht Treaty in 1992. Yet the public was not given a say unlike other European citizens. The Danish took two attempts to be convinced, and surprisingly, the French narrowly passed this treaty.

My aim for the referendum will be to finally decide once and for all to either accept the EU for its good and bad points, or do something about it and leave. We really cannot continue to have this halfway house of standing in both camps.

Since the announcement was made, the referendum debate has been centering of who is in the in or out camp. Instead of looking at the merits of belonging in or out of the EU, the ‘debate’ has been along the lines on the personalities in each camp. I have to say who really cares. I am really not interested in hearing about the continuation of a rivalry started at Eton between a senior boy and his fag.

No doubt it will get worse when the A to Z list of celebs start to endorse the different camps. Seeing Farage and Galloway sharing a stage brought home the reality this vote could turn in to a circus. This vote is too important to be decided on personalities. If it is, then God – or any other deity – help us. We are lost. We might as well get Simon Cowell to run some sort of X-factor/Talent show to decide our future…

I will be straight; I am truly in the undecided camp. I like Europe; I have lived there, visited most of the EU member states and was even born in West Germany. Yet I really struggle withs the current monster that is the EU and is a far cry from the noble aims of the European Economic Community formed in 1957. The EU needs to be reformed. Plain and simple.

However, before I vote, I want to understand all the positives and negatives for both leaving and staying. For that to happen, each side in this argument will need to rise above the fear factor, mud-slinging and cheap shots to give a clear, thought-out reasoning to their cases. I an affraid to say, this has yet to happen…

I have already heard some of the arguments of being in the EU have prevented war in Europe. Eh… What about the Balkans. There was a brutal war there. I have the campaign medal. And Leaving the EU would be the end of the world and the U.K would end up in some post-apocalyptic wilderness. The world is not flat and if we sail off on our own we will not fall off the edge.

I want to move past the cheap shot of immigration and being fearful of ‘Johnny Foreigner.’ There are an estimated 2.2 million Brits living in Europe, with near half living in Iberia. Immigration works both ways.

I also want to move on from, or better, ignore Cameron’s deal and his ‘Munich agreement’ which I believe is nothing more than a sop to stop Cameron actively campaigning against leaving. His comment of I don’t love Brussels (actually a lovely city), I love Britain was cringe-worthy.

What I want to hear about is the economic, social and environmental reasons to remain or leave the EU based on fact. After all we joined the EEC in 1973 for economic reasons. If we vote to leave, it has to be in the best interests of the U.K. and not for some jingoistic reason.

Whilst the referendum is a national issue, I want to know how leaving could affect Cornwall with it grant funding from Europe. I am no fan of Gove, but it did resonate with me in his words of saying we pay so much in, get some back, but told how we should spend it.

If by chance the referendum returns a vote of wanting to leave as the result are just too close to call, do you really think the other European member states will allow us to leave?

Even with a ‘yes to leave’ vote the negotiations to leave will take up to two years. In that time Germany as the largest contributor will do everything to keep us in. This means in their desperation, we might actually get the reform the EU so desperately needs, but as yet is unwilling.

If we go, who else will follow us out of the door? Do you really think Germany wants to be left as the main contributor to the EU budget? Its own nationals might start to start question about the merits about staying in the EU.

From this we might very well end up with what I call the Irish question. Keep asking until you get the answer you want as was the case of Ireland joining the single currency.

There is a lot to play for in the coming few months. However, I beg the campaigners of each camp, keep to the facts, help us understand, as from this allow us to vote with a clear understanding of what are voting for. As whatever the outcome of the vote, will have far reaching consequences on all our lives.